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The latest big news out of the Ukraine

Have you heard what the latest big news out of the Ukraine is? No? There is a mini-Maidan under way and Ukrainian nationalists seem to hope that Poroshenko will be kicked out before the end of the week. You did not know? Well, that is the real big news, the fact that you did not hear about this.

Truthfully, what is going on is kind of interesting. Let me sum it up: the former President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili (who was stripped of his Georgian citizenship and of this Ukrainian citizenship) recently crossed the border (through Poland, of course) and proceeded to travel to Kiev to demand Poroshenko’s resignation. You think that I am kidding? Check t he Wikipedia article about him, it has all the details. It gets better. There is a consensus amongst analysts that Saakashvili is being used as a battering ram by somebody far more influential – Iulia Timoshenko, of course. But what is really new is that many well informed analysts and commentators seem to think that the USA and EU are not the main driving force behind these latest developments (though they are involved, of course).

What is going on here?

Well, as I said, the big news is that you did not hear about it. You did not hear about it because fundamentally nobody cares, least of all the Trump Administration. True, the Trump Administration is so busy self-destructing that it does not really care about Kurdistan either and that implies that it does not even really care about the Holy of Holies : Israel (cry me a river Bibi!). So never mind the Trump administration, even the Ziomedia mostly seems not to care anymore what happens in the Ukraine (of course, some hardcore hardliners still continue to hallucinate). Hence the (relative) silence on this issue. What this tells the Ukrainian politicians is that they are pretty much on their own. And that is why they are taking matters in their own hands.

I don’t think that it is worthwhile to plunge into all the personalities and factions which are currently involved in the political struggle. I can summarize it by saying that there are four main group currently identifiable: bad, worse, even worse and the silent majority. Let’s begin by the last one, the silent majority.

By all accounts (and from all my personal contacts) it is pretty obvious that the vast majority of those who could not leave the Ukraine are now depressed, silent and in a “survival mode”. The Ukrainians, like the Russians, are extremely good at this survival mode which a very painful history has taught them: they could survive in conditions where everybody else would perish. Their history has also taught them that there are times when you want to stay low, shut up and focus on making it through the day. I also think that most Ukrainians fully realize that there is no faction/force out there representing their interest and that means that they have absolutely no reason at all to get involved. This has nothing to do with passivity or political ignorance: that is common sense. Getting involved is what gets you killed. Hunkering down until the worst of the storm passes is the only correct survival technique in times of very ugly political struggles.

Then there are bad, worse and even worse. Bad – that’s Poroshenko. Worse – that’s the crazies à la Oleg Liashko. Even worse – that would be the rabid ideologues like Tiagnibok or Farion. We can think of it as the Crooks, the Clowns and the Nazis.

The Crooks, the Clown and the Nazis:

Right now, the Crooks are still in power but they are struggling. Worse, the Crooks are terrified of the Nazis, so they constantly have to engage into a stream of concessions to try to appease them which, of course, fails, and only emboldens the Nazis (sounds exactly like Trump’s never-ending stream of concessions to the Neocons, doesn’t it?). As for the Clowns, they can be bought by both sides, sometimes at the same time, and they keep the people entertained by their antics. The Clowns are really a byproduct of the terminally lunatic Ukrainian nationalist ideology, but they don’t really represent a powerful constituency: the Crooks and the Nazis are far more powerful. Still, don’t dismiss the Clowns too soon, because they could suddenly switch to the Crooks or the Nazis depending who offers them a better deal (or scares them most).

This would all seem rather amusing if yet another Urkonazi attack was not a very real possibility. Here is how this could happen.

The Crooks are barely holding on to power, and they might have to start a war to deflect the mounting political pressure against them in another direction. Wars are good for circling the wagons and crushing the opposition.

The Clowns, due to their ideology, would have to approve of a new war. They simply could not say anything against it. If a war is launched, they would have to give it a standing ovation. Besides, if they tried any form of disagreement they would be easily crushed by the Crooks and Nazis. So the Clowns will always support whatever the other two factions agree upon.

As for for Nazis, well, war against Russia and anything Russian is their raison d’être, the very core of their identity and the purpose of their lives. The Ukronazis have a profoundly revanchist worldview and agenda and if defeating Russia is not an option (although some of them won’t even accept that as a fact of life) then killing or expelling all the non-Ukronazis from the Ukraine is an acceptable substitute for them. Yup, they even have some convoluted racial purity theories (Ukie Aryans versus Finno-Ugric Russian Mongols). True, bona fide Nazis are a minority in the Ukraine, but the compensate for that by having guns, lots of guns.

ORDER IT NOW

What has kept the Ukronazis from attacking since their last attempt is the painful memory of the crushing defeat they suffered at the hands of the Novorussians. But herein also lies a very real risk: defeats often make armies better, victories often makes them complacent. When I hear the Novorussians speaking of “next time we go to Kiev” I hope that their confidence is warranted, but I am afraid that they might be underestimating the opponent.

Are the sides really ready for a resumption of warfare?

In truth it is very hard to assess the chances of another Ukronazi attack. On one hand, the Ukronazi forces have had two years to regroup, lick their wounds, reorganize, rearm, retrain, etc. Most importantly, it appears that they have built defensive positions in depth, possibly including 2 or even 3 defensive echelons. Why does defense matter? Because if your defensive positions are strong, then the risk of counter-attack by the enemy’s forces are much lower and that, in turn, means that your offensive is far less likely to end up surrounded in a “cauldron” (I simplify here, in reality this is a little more complicated as it depends on the depth of your attack, but never mind that). A couple of years is a lot of time to dig in and prepare for defense and without access to classified data it is hard to gauge how effective these efforts have been. In terms of new equipment (whether Ukrainian or new deliveries from the Empire), this will make no difference at all, that’s just political talk. My advice is that as soon as you hear or read anything about the delivery of “lethal weapons” you ignore everything that comes after that. Ditto for training by Polish or US experts. That is just propaganda. What is not propaganda is the intelligence support offered by the Empire overtly (satellites) or covertly (EU ‘observers’ etc.). That and the fact that the Ukronazis have a 2-2.5:1 numerical advantage over the Novorussians.

Much of the same could be said about the Novorussians: they also have had 2 years to dig in, by all reports they have now integrated their forces into a regular army capable of operational-depth counter-offensives, their morale and training is probably much higher than on the Ukronazi side and they can count on Russian support (intelligence, logistics, training, etc.). Also, they would have the home turf advantage. Finally, and Putin very clearly stated that recently, Russia will not allow the military reconquest of Novorussia, which means that even if the Ukronazis somehow succeed in breaking through the Novorussian defenses they will be engaged by the Russian armed forces, primarily by missile/bombing strikes at which point the war will stop in less than 24 hours.

The big conceptual mistake, however, would be to assume that the Ukronazi really want to reconquer Novorussia (or Crimea, for that matter). In reality, everybody knows that these territories are gone forever and that Kiev simply has no means to control them even without Russian assistance. Let me repeat this: even if by some magical effect the Russians were to let the Ukronazis invade the Donbass this would result in a fantastically nasty guerrilla war by the locals which the Ukronazis would have no chance at all to defeat. Yes, it would be a bloodbath, but it would never end with a workable pacification of the Donbass my the Ukronazis. I would therefore say that the role of Russia is not to prevent Kiev from regaining the control of the Donbass, but to prevent a bloodbath in the Donbass.

The real goal: not to win, but to trigger a Russian intervention (same old, same old)

Now I have been saying for years that the real goal of the junta is to force Russia to openly intervene in the Donbass. As soon as the Russians overtly get involved that would kill the Minsk 1 and 2 agreements, it would turn the current disaster in the Nazi occupied Ukraine into a war of national liberation against the hated Moskals, NATO would immediately put an end to all that recent cozying-up of various EU political parties towards Russia and the AngloZionst Empire’s wet dream would finally come true: such a Russian intervention would usher a new Cold, possibly even Tepid, War in Europe thereby giving a meaning to NATO (finally!) and crushing any kind of anti-imperial feelings in Europe. The Balts and the Poles would finally be secure in their mission to “protect Europe from a resurgent Russia” and the US Neocons would have a big victory party. True, Russia would liberate all of Novorussia in 24 hours or less and, yes, with Russian help the Novorussians could push the line of contact (well, at this point, the frontline) pretty much as far West as they would want to. But that would be a small victory in the context of a global political catastrophe (along with an ugly bloodbath).

This is why the Russians have made a huge effort not to intervene, even if that has costs them a lot of political capital (there are still those out there who speak of a Russian “sell-out” of the Donbass). Unlike their western counterparts, who still don’t understand that the purpose of warfare is to achieve a political objective, the Russians fully realize that an (easy) military victory against the Ukronazis would come at a cost of an immense political disaster. The last thing the Kremlin wants is to copy what the US Americans did in Iraq and Afghanistan: begin by an easy victory, declare victory, and then end up with an absolute disaster on their hands from which they sill are unable to extricate themselves. In this respect, the Crimea was a totally different and unique case: a vitally important piece of land, which historically was Russian, populated by people who were overwhelmingly pro-Russian (or, simply, Russian), with easy to control choke-points connecting with the Nazi occupied Ukraine and fantastic economic prospects. And yet, even in these ideal condition, the Russian economy is struggling to rebuild this relatively small territory.

It is pretty clear that at the end of the day, Russia will also have to pay for most the reconstruction of the Donbass, however hard this will be. But as much as that is possible, Russia would much prefer to make the reconstruction of the Ukraine an international problem, yet another reason for her to try to avoid any real, overt, military intervention. Because once Russia occupies any territory, she owns it and she becomes responsible for it.

The bottom line is this: we don’t hear much about the Ukraine right now because at least the Americans seem to have given up on this entire project and because they are busy with more important issues (self-destructing, mostly). But that does not mean that the situation in the Ukraine cannot suddenly reignite with very serious international consequences.

So when I speak of Crooks, Clowns and Nazis, I am not taking these issues lightly at all. Yes, they truly are crooks, clowns and Nazis, but they also very dangerous individuals, especially collectively.

A tiny ray of hope for “less bad”?

Rumor has it that the two big figures behind the scenes in the Ukraine are Igor Kolomoiskii (who now has a personal vendetta against Poroshenko and Saakashvili) and Iulia Timoshenko. I honestly have no means to assess these claims, but I will say that while these two are truly profoundly evil and hateful people (Kolomoiskii was probably deeply involved in the MH-17 false flag), neither of them is stupid. Furthermore, they are both Crooks, not Clowns or Nazis, which means that they can be negotiated with, however distasteful this maybe. Last but not least, they both have a real power base in the Ukraine, money in Kolomoiskii’s case, true popularity in Timoshenko’s case. In this I see a tiny ray of hope.

With the Americans busy fighting each other internally, and with the Europeans slowly waking up to the total disaster “their” (it is not really “their’s” – but nevermind that) Ukrainian policy has been, maybe, just maybe, there is a tiny chance of, say, some EU leaders getting together with, say, Timoshenko (Kolomoiskii will never be a public official again, he will pull the strings in the back) to sit down with the Russians and the Novorussians and finally seriously negotiate some kind of end to this very dangerous situation. Remember, Poroshenko is a pure US puppet, and he is weak. There is no way he could negotiate anything of substance any more. All he needs to do now is to prepare his flight to the US, UK or Israel. But Timoshenko is still “for real” and she is far more capable of dealing with the Nazis than Poroshenko, his billions, his chocolate factory and his Eltsin-like dependence on alcohol.

Of course, there is “the devil you know” argument. And in many ways, Poroshenko being the greedy weak booze-soaked coward that he is looks like the lesser evil. The problem with that is that he is terrified of the Nazis and that they are either paralyzing him or making him do stupid things (like the recent law making Ukrainian the sole language used in schools). And for all the desperate window-dressing the fact remains is that the Ukraine is already a failed state which is going down the tubes with a momentum which nobody can stop, at least not with the current political deadlock in Kiev. Still, we should also remember that Eltsin was also a greedy weak booze-soaked coward, but that did not prevent him form triggering the bloodbath of the First Chechen war. Greedy weak booze-soaked cowards can be extremely dangerous.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Ukraine, Ukrainian Crisis 
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  1. Dan Hayes says:

    The Saker,

    Thank you for your Ukrainian Rogues Gallery of the good, the bad and the ugly. Plenty of badness and ugliness, and not much goodness!

    Like a bad penny, Saakashvili always seems to show up. I thought that he was safely ensconced in Brooklyn after escaping from Georgia a few steps ahead of their gendarmes. But no, he then miraculously parachuted out of the sky into Ukraine. Whatta Guy!

    Thank you for pointing out the problems of any major Russian intervention. I hope that Putin can continue to avoid this major potential quagmire/trap .

    With one notable exception, in the US of A we are only presented with the neoconservative interpretation of Ukraine. The exception being Prof Emeritus Steve Cohen. Have you any thoughts on Cohen? If so, I would very much like to hear them.

  2. This is why the Russians have made a huge effort not to intervene, even if that has costs them a lot of political capital

    Only among “strategic thinkers” such as Girkin, Rozhin and followers of their cult–hardly a significant majority. In fact, Russia never had so much political capital in her modern history once one considers what processes have been started in 2014. Strategic ramifications of “not interfering” are already immense, in fact, global paradigm changing.

    True, Russia would liberate all of Novorussia in 24 hours or less and, yes, with Russian help the Novorussians could push the line of contact (well, at this point, the frontline) pretty much as far West as they would want to. But that would be a small victory in the context of a global political catastrophe (along with an ugly bloodbath).

    Larger issues here are at play. One of them is WHO will feed them? Also, the factor of a brainwashing, especially youth, and I have my own contacts, can not be ignored. It is a huge factor. Kharkov had its chance, they chose Kernes. Too bad, people need to go through the phase of living with the consequences of their decisions. I have a very good first-hand experience with how real self-determination movements start, no part of the Novorossia, with the exception of Lugansk and Donetsk, matched even one tenth of scale and effort required to get back to Russia, or, at least, get away from Kiev. I don’t blame them but it is what it is and this couldn’t be ignored and it is not being ignored, thankfully.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  3. Russian activity in Syria and Ukraine are moves of desperation from a position of weakness. The United States has Russia boxed in. The United States forced Putin to take these actions. He would be removed from power otherwise. He had no choice. He is not in control.

    In Russia you are either strong and in total control or they murder you. At least that has been the case for the last thousand years.

    There was no “huge effort not to intervene.” If there was, I’d like to know who made it and when.

    This is not Iraq or Afghanistan. Comparisons to American involvement in these two places have limited utility.

    Just because one thinks American moves are not “strategic” only means you don’t fully grasp what is going on. Remember, the narrative which is being presented here is that the United States has caused both conflicts. A coup in Ukraine and supporting regime-change in Syria. That necessitates that Russia is reacting – not calling the shots.

    The United States is not in “control” either, but it has the initiative and has Putin off-balance.

  4. Furthermore, they are both Crooks, not Clowns or Nazis, which means that they can be negotiated with, however distasteful this maybe.

    Crooks keep their money in westerns banks and companies, and they’re vulnerable to criminal prosecution by western powers (see Dmytro Firtash, for example). Thus, tasteful or not, it seems highly doubtful to me that they can be negotiated with.

  5. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Saakashvili (who was stripped form his Georgian citizenship and of this Ukrainian citizenship)

    seems not to care any more

  6. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Still, don’t dismiss the Clowns too soon, because they could suddenly switch to the Crooks or the Clowns depending who offers them a better deal (or scares them most).

    You mean the Nazis?

    yet another Urkonazi attack

    You mean UKRO-Nazi

  7. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Why does defensive matter?

    You mean defense.

    but nevermind that).

    Never mind

    their morale and training is probably much higher

    are

    As soon as the Russian overtly get involved

    The Russian what?

    even if that has costs them a lot of political capital

    Cost

    Unlike their western counterpart, who still don’t

    doesn’t

    In this respect, Crime was a totally

    Crimea

    the Russian economy is struggling to rebuilt this relatively small territory.

    rebuild

    they are either paralyzing him or make him do stupid things

    making

    • Replies: @JGarbo
  8. To better understand what is going on, all three groups — crooks, clowns, and nazis — fall into the schnook category. They are being duped and used by the Globalist Empire that also controls the US. US is the Jewel in the Crown of the Globalist Empire but still a subject than a sovereign nation. It’s like India was the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire but not a free independent nation.

    The US is part of a world empire that might be called Judenia or Sempire(Semitic Empire). The ‘migrant crisis’ in Europe is also the result of this power. US and EU are used to fight Wars for Israel and then burdened with taking in ‘refugees’ from these wars and chaos. 99% of the Russia Hysteria in the US is the result of Sempire’s total grip on the mass media. And it is now moving on internet platforms to shut down alternative news. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are all working with Zionist ADL that seeks to Palestinianize white Americans.

    So, even as Saker says the US no longer cares about Eastern Europe, Ukraine has been turned into a bear trap by the Sempire. The Sempire just waits for Russia to make a move and then get its paw ensnared.

    The only way this Semperial Narrative of ‘Russian Aggression’ can be countered is by exposing the true nature of power in the world.

    All this talk of the US, Russia, EU, Ukraine, and etc misses the point because it leaves out the discussion of the greatest power pulling the strings of all nations. Judenia or Sempire.
    It’d be like discussing a battle with no mention of air power. It’d be like discussing African wilderness without mentioning elephants. It’d be like discussing football with no mention of quarterbacks. It’d be like discussing the British Empire without mentioning the role of Anglos. I mean, how could Indian affairs be understood without acknowledging the dominant power of the Brits? And ‘neocons’ just won’t to. It’s a trick-term to conceal the ethnic character of the agenda.

    • Replies: @Issac
    , @Kiza
    , @Anonymous
  9. Beckow says:
    @Johnny Rico

    Assigning emotional labels is not helpful. You are right that Ukraine is nothing like Iraq or Afghanistan, it is hard to understand why Saker would use such a facile analogy.

    You are also right that US-West have the initiative. But that is not necessarily a sustainable advantage. Hitler had the initiative too, and so did Napoleon, they had all the initiative until they didn’t. (I know poor analogy, but tempting).

    The prize in Ukraine was Crimea and the Russian Naval base. That was the prize, not who gets to grow potatoes in Lviv or scoop up coal in Donbass. Crimea is gone, and I think all rational people would agree that for now that is irreversible. So what is the fight about? Torch marching in Kiev, Nato relevancy, or who gets to subsidise 40 million very poor people? To control Ukraine (Kiev really) is now a hot potato that nobody particularly wants. It is like fighting over who has the control of Bihar in India, or eastern Nigeria, or any number of poor, non-strategic backwaters full of people who mostly want to emigrate.

    Washington (with Poland and a few other fire-eating nut-cases in EU) made a strong move in 2013-14 trying to get their hands on Crimea and to replace the very strategic Russian Navy base in Sebastopol with a Nato base. They invested a lot in it, and they had the initiative. But the locals screwed up, they were too slow, too unfocused and too distracted by nationalism. So Russia won Crimea and all else are just provincial consequences of little long-term interest.

    Ask yourself a simple question: would Washington be better off with the status quo ante, would they be happy to go back to 2012? Of course they would – Crimea would be in Ukraine and in play, Russia would be subsidising Ukraine (not EU or IMF). But most importantly Russia would be sweating what ‘might happen’ with Crimea. Once West made its move and lost that threat was gone. It was just stupid.

  10. @Beckow

    You are also right that US-West have the initiative.

    Is it really so? They lost in Syria, they are stuck with Kiev with no discernible game plan (far as I can tell anyway), and they’re fighting various insurgencies inside their own domain. I don’t see any initiative anywhere at the moment, frankly.

    • Agree: Cyrano
    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Sergey Krieger
  11. peterAUS says:
    @Johnny Rico

    A coup in Ukraine and supporting regime-change in Syria. That necessitates that Russia is reacting – not calling the shots.

    The United States is not in “control” either, but it has the initiative and has Putin off-balance.

    Well, I’d say:
    A coup in Ukraine and supporting regime-change in Syria. That necessitates that Russia was reacting – not calling the shots.

    The United States is not in “control” either, but it has the initiative and had Putin off-balance.

    What has been interesting to me is something Martyanov hinted to here:

    no part of the Novorossia, with the exception of Lugansk and Donetsk, matched even one tenth of scale and effort required to get back to Russia, or, at least, get away from Kiev. I don’t blame them but it is what it is and this couldn’t be ignored and it is not being ignored, thankfully.

    My take is that people there, based on a long experience, simply recognize that they are caught between two oligarchies, and unwilling to choose between them.
    That….lethargy (for a lack of better word) is interesting.

    They don’t buy US/West vision anymore.
    The thing is, they don’t buy Russian either.

    They just don’t care.
    Maybe that’s worse than fighting for either side.

    When you are, effectively, in a state of constant conflict between …states….and most of population doesn’t care, that looks as people there got their spirit crushed.

    And, oligarchies do like people with crushed spirit.
    Just a pliable mass doing what’s told.

    Just a thought.

    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
  12. Beckow says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Initiative means that US-West are the ones starting conflicts. It is neither good nor bad and initiatives that fail are worse than if they had done nothing. That is true about Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine; in each case the status quo before the ‘initiative’ was better. Russia and China don’t show anywhere as much ‘initiative’, they mostly react, they don’t set the agenda.

    People with too much initiative get stuck in muck of their own creation and eventually lose even what they safely controlled before. But the Washington-Brussels elites cannot help it, they must start things because they are not fully serious, they have had it too good, they believe in their own mythologized narratives, and their careers are based on it. So they will keep it going. The insurgencies within the domestic domain are still very minor, this has years to go, maybe decades.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  13. @Beckow

    I agree with much of what you say.

    My feeling is that The Saker is always talking about the superiority of Russian “strategy” in retrospect while speculating about the minutiae of tactical deployments.

    Americans rarely talk strategy and there is always an ongoing discussion in the higher levels of foreign policy academia and journals about what exactly the policy or strategy is or whether we even need one.

    That was the title of Kissinger’s 2002 book :

    Does America Need a Foreign Policy? : Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century

    This, however, does not mean there is no strategy.

    The United States does not care about Poland or Estonia or Crimea or Ukraine or Syria or Georgia or even whether the other NATO members spend enough money. It cares about the bigger long-term picture.

    We are not fighting insurgencies (as Mao Cheng Ji contends). That ended in Iraq in about 2010 and Afghanistan in about 2012.

    Since 1980, Russia and the Soviet Union have lost FAR more troops (especially as a proportion of total population) in combat than the United States.

    Everywhere US elite light infantry troops are stationed now they basically sit on their asses safe in bases. Occasionally they go out and call in airstrikes for local allies or conduct a raid on a “high-value target.” Occasionally they die or get suicide-bombed by a local infiltrator.

    All the guys I’ve ever met that are in these units LIVE to do what they are doing. I even know a couple dozen guys who have been either kicked out of the military or been wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq and they still say that the best time of their lives was walking around over there with a rifle.

    They would be quite surprised by the notion that they are being forced to do what they do by the “ZioMedia” – whatever that is. This is not 1968 in Vietnam.

    Syria has no oil. Ukraine is a basket-case economy with too many people. Georgia has 4 million people. That’s more than Albania and less than Massachusetts. Most Americans couldn’t find the state of Georgia on a map – nevermind the country.

    Now in 2008 Russia launched an assault on Georgia that it had been planning for at least a decade after provoking what it wanted. It didn’t go well technically but it went okay tactically, but because of the size mismatch it couldn’t not be a success for the Russians. But it was quick because the Georgians are stupid but not that stupid. So it could be called an operational and strategic win. The United States tailored its response. But here you will always see it portrayed as some great Russian victory over a NATO-trained military and an attempted genocide of the South Ossetians. The Russians it appears used it successfully as a learning experience and got their act together militarily.

    All along the periphery of the Russian Empire/former Soviet Union the US and the Russians play games. It’s a big game.

    Saker’s last article was about whose propaganda is better. It’s a big game. It keeps people employed in the respective defense industries.

    The latest thing I read is that the US is spending $8 Billion on a rapid response division or something in Eastern Europe. There was a Toyota ad I think for an armor brigade in Poland during the Super Bowl. Ridiculous. A single division.

    Nobody wants a war. There isn’t going to be any fighting in Poland. If Russians and Ukrainians want to kill themselves over Kharkov, Americans don’t care. I think the Russians and Germans fought three times over Kharkov. I guess it had a railroad track or something. Americans don’t care.

    All this stuff like the coup in Ukraine, sanctions over Crimea – it’s just probing moves, games. The US has Putin boxed in. He’s got to scrape and claw over nothing.

    The Saker always talks about Russia having a “defensive” strategy. Change the perspective for a second. Knowing that all the planet’s real estate is “owned”- where the US Empire stands now – trade routes, bases everywhere around the remaining oilfields in the Middle East. AND, here is the kicker – what if you consider that the US has the defensive strategy now? That is some serious flexible depth.

    And Russia is still boxed in.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Sergey Krieger
  14. @Beckow

    Initiative means that US-West are the ones starting conflicts.

    I guess it’s kinda true in the sense that the US specifically (not necessarily the West as such, it seems) needs to have the uninterrupted chain of wars and cartoonish all-powerful super-evil adversaries threatening its very existence.

    I suppose it’s needed for economic (mic) reasons, to maintain the internal unity/morale/discipline, and to run the usual protection racket abroad. Sorta like Oceania in Orwell’s 1984.

    But I don’t think this amounts to ‘initiative’ in any flattering sense. By the same token a rabid dog shows ‘initiative’.

  15. bob sykes says:

    Please explain the map legend “Occupation of RSA” with respect to Kharkiv. Who is doing the occupation, and what are their goals and allegiances?

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  16. Beckow says:
    @Johnny Rico

    Change the perspective for a second. Knowing that all the planet’s real estate is “owned”- where the US Empire stands now – trade routes, bases everywhere around the remaining oilfields in the Middle East. AND, here is the kicker – what if you consider that the US has the defensive strategy now? That is some serious flexible depth.

    You can call it ‘depth’, or you can also call it being exposed with too long supply lines. I don’t think there is an automatic benefit to being everywhere, it could be a liability in a multi-site crisis. Hitler controlled almost all of continental Europe (and so did Napoleon), all it did was that when he was forced on a defensive (in the east), all of those territories became potential liabilities with allied landings, rebellions, countries switching sides, etc…

    Another problem is that US is trying to do it on the cheap with bombing, technology and allies – but with minimal casualties. The inability to take casualties is a weakness, you cannot in the long-run control all this geography and also protect every GI’s life.

    And Russia is still boxed in.

    Russia is boxed in by its geography, and so is China. There is nothing new there. Enemies have been pressing on Russia’s extensive borders forever. It is not likely that anyone would actually try to cross that border given this one reality: nuclear weapons. Unless the constant prodding has an answer to that reality, what is it all about? What’s the point?

    Nobody wants a war. There isn’t going to be any fighting in Poland.

    Wars happen even if nobody ‘wants’ them. There are situations when wars happen almost on their own and nobody ever claims ownership. And if there is a war, there will be fighting in Poland – it is literally ground zero (as so often before), and no amount of NY Times editorials will make any damn difference. The country is too small, so it would be annihilated. Poland is storing missiles and ‘defensive’ divisions for its allies across the Atlantic with an open admission that they are targeting Russia. What do you think would happen in a real crisis or a war? Do you think US would look kindly at Russian missiles in Canada or Mexico? That is the true madness, and Poland is kind of in a heart of it. As so often before.

    I don’t think either Russia or West have better or worse ‘strategy’. They play with what they have. Lately Russia has been prevailing, maybe because West pushed too far and is on thin ice in most of these far-away places.

    By the way, your description of the Georgia conflict in 2008 omitted the key event: as the Beijing Olympics were starting, Georgia attacked S Ossetia with massive bombardment (100+ civilians killed). You say that somehow Russia ‘anticipated’ it and took advantage. Isn’t it their job to ‘anticipate’? Wouldn’t any country? But the key point is that without the extremely stupid, almost suicidial attack by Georgia, none of that would happened. Who the hell told Saakasvilli that this would be a good idea? Some ‘strategist’ who likes to ‘poke the Russian borders’ to keep them in a ‘box’? This is abstract thinking at its worst. Get real.

  17. peterAUS says:

    Speaking of crooks and thieves.
    True, those Ukrainian elites are that.
    Can’t argue that most of US/Western elite aren’t.

    But, Russian (current) regime elite?
    How about this:

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

    So, I guess that an average Ukrainian ponders a simple question:
    For which crook I am supposed to lose my life and limb? And risking the same for people I care for?
    Tough decision.
    If if doubt do nothing feels as the best option.
    Keep your head down, keep your mouth shut and try to scrap a living there.
    Or, if you can, emigrate somewhere.
    If you can that is.

  18. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow

    …what is it all about? What’s the point?

    That rhetorical question?

    Regime change in Moscow->incorporating Russia into Empire at vassal level.
    Or…back to happy Yeltsin era.
    Happy for some I mean.

    With vengeance.

    As for this:

    There are situations when wars happen almost on their own and nobody ever claims ownership

    Couldn’t agree more.

    That’s the real worry at present.
    Combination of who are people in power and means of warfare.

    People on the ground in Ukraine at “West” side incompetent and weak crooks.
    People on the ground in Ukraine at “East” side are also incompetent crooks. Not so sure how weak they are, though.They must be weak enough to obey Moscow but hard enough to keep….ahm..pruning… own ranks from those unpopular with Moscow. Besides, they got into power by armed insurrection so usually those types can be hard.

    I, personally, don’t see much fuss about all this. Could be wrong, of course.

    The real question would be how, really, good Ukrainian armed forces are.
    Have they used the time well to get good enough to create a serious problem for Donbass.

    My…feeling ….(haven’t spent much time researching it) is they have not.

    Now, not so sure, whatever Saker is saying here, how good Donbass military is. In reality.
    I concede that they got better organized and equipped. Doesn’t mean much , IMHO.
    The more important is how WILLING they would be to face an attack.
    I….suspect….that the will when it was all started isn’t there anymore. Could be wrong. Still think I am not. Or, better….feel that way. Those assassinations, plus overall quality of life there, plus unclear future (not what Moscow is saying, people on the ground don’t buy that) aren’t good for combat morale.

    At the end, I suspect, when/if it comes to renewal of hostilities, it will be:
    First and foremost artillery exchanges. Nothing changes.
    Then, small unit raids. Nothing changes.
    Then, tactical incursions by Ukrainian best. After initial success they’ll be met by Donbas best.Because either side don’t have many of those nothing changes too.
    A lot of talk from Washington and Moscow. Some dead/mutilated mercenaries.
    And while those “games” go the rest of peoples there just keep what they’ve been doing so far.
    Oceania vs Eurasia ……..

    • Replies: @Beckow
  19. Issac says:
    @Priss Factor

    Saker writing a Philip Giraldi level expose from that angle would probably have him out of a job. The Russian ruling class is not interested in making an enemy of Israel or vice versa.

  20. @Beckow

    Again, I agree with a lot of what you say.

    However, I’m not sure if you are expert in the history of Russian-Georgian-NATO-US relations since the fall of the Soviet Union and specifically what happened in 2008.

    It is more complex than you describe and than the Russians on UNZ Review will admit.

    Ten years later, nobody has described a path of actions Tbilisi could have taken that would have avoided the Russian response.

    The Russian-Abkhazian-South Ossetian coalition committed every escalating action FIRST. Whether in minutes, hours, days, or months.

    It was planned by the Kremlin for years.

    This is how the big boys play hardball. They set everything up meticulously to make it look like they are the nice guys, acting to help the poor South Ossetians.

    Just read the propaganda RT fabricates every day. You’ll get the idea.

    You don’t think all of Putin’s opponents and none of his supporters get murdered or jailed by accident, do you?

    • Replies: @Beckow
  21. I want Saakashvili back in power. I am having my dog pre-chew a new tie for him.

  22. Beckow says:
    @Johnny Rico

    “nobody has described a path of actions Tbilisi could have taken that would have avoided the Russian response”

    How about, don’t start shooting? Tbilisi had the option of not starting the war. You can talk about ‘provocations’ all day long, with that logic Hitler was ‘provoked’ into attacking Poland. Saakasvilli was an emotional moron who somehow came to believe that Nato will come and fight a war on his behalf against Russia. Now, who made him think that was even a possibility?

    “It was planned by the Kremlin for years”

    Obviously, that’s what military planners do. In Russia, in Georgia, in Brussels, everywhere, that’s pretty much their main job. Is that a surprise to you? If yes, you need to get out more. If no, why would you use it in a facile propaganda way here?

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    , @Wally
  23. Beckow says:
    @peterAUS

    “Regime change in Moscow”

    The single best way to assure that there isn’t a ‘regime change’ is by constant probing of Russia’s borders, by constant attacks, etc… So I don’t buy that, the experts in Washington are not that stupid. They understand fully well that placing missiles, coups, border harassment are by far the most reliable way to make sure that nothing changes in Moscow.

    The Ukraine situation will not be decided by fighting in Donbass, or in Moscow. It will be decided in Kiev (and Odessa, Lviv, Charkov) by the currently passive masses. Unless a miracle happens, or most people emigrate, this is not a sustainable situation. They are living worse than in 2013, and they already had it very bad in 2013. Marshall Plan isn’t coming, membership in EU isn’t coming either. Once that sinks in – it might take 5-10 years – things will change.

  24. @Beckow

    What is your source for the events in Georgia? Just curious. Are you just recalling what you saw on the news 10 years ago and combining that with things you’ve heard since?

    And why do you keep making Hitler analogies?

    No offense, but I’m not really learning anything here. I get out plenty. Thanks. I’m out right now. Waiting for like 6 friends to show up for dinner. Bye.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  25. peterAUS says:

    They understand fully well that placing missiles, coups, border harassment are by far the most reliable way to make sure that nothing changes in Moscow.

    That’s one way to look at it.

    Another is that they believe that’s exactly what’s needed.
    Worked rather well since ’91 I think.
    US soldier couldn’t get pass Germany (West/East) border.
    Now……

    It will be decided in Kiev (and Odessa, Lviv, Charkov) by the currently passive masses.

    Sounds reasonable.
    In meantime……

  26. Beckow says:
    @Johnny Rico

    My source? EU report from 2009, look it up. It clearly states that Georgia attacked and started the war. It criticised Russia for ‘provoking’ and ‘over-reacting’. But it established black on white that Georgia started the war.

    I am baffled that you would seriously consider ‘anticipation’ or similar vague nonsense a valid argument. It is not, it is nonsense that you throw around to muddy up what happened. This is an issue with Western thinking, you lost the ability to speak clearly, you think that adding colourful verbiage means something. It means nothing, it is semi-infantile to argue that a war was ’caused’ by Russia’s anticipation and provoking, instead of simply stating what happened: Georgian army attacked in the middle of the night. Try to be serious.

    • Replies: @Dube
  27. The Tagliavani report by the EU, as well as OSCE reports on what happened, (one of them attributed the Georgians as “displaying deficits concerning the operation of their weaponry”, I somehow love that phrase), as well as the fact that Georgia reannexed Adjaria and tried to repeat the Adjarian scenario in South Ossetia in 2006 (which basically explained why the South Ossetians were prepared for a quick mobilisation) all speak pretty clearly about what happened.

    Choice for Georgia: Honor the comittments (you see, South Ossetia and Abkhazia won the civil war, the loser does not get to annex the winner, heck, Abkhazia got blockaded by Russia when they broke the “peace” in the mid 90s by launching an invasion in order to exploit disorder in Georgia).

    Recognice, as the current government does, that pursuing an anti Russian foreign policy is simply a bad idea and that, in order to ever get Abkhazia and South Ossetia back, they must create situations in which becoming a part of Georgia is an attractive choice for South Ossetians and Abkhazians.

  28. @peterAUS

    The thing is, people gotta work.

    People work for one of these oligarchies or the other.

    When a computer scientist — 22 years old, in debt to her eyeballs but with top notch skills from hard work and study — lands a job with Lockheed Martin — HOORAY! The family back home in the mountains celebrates — first member of the clan to graduate from college, we are all so proud of you!

    Lockheed flew her to her new job site, picked her up at the airport in a limo, housed her in the company suite until she can find an apartment — WOW, dazzled. All that hard work paid off! I’m smart and LM recognizes it, rewards me for it.

    The kid ends up effectively working for Oligarch A. She didn’t CHOOSE to be part of what Priss (correctly) named the “US . . . part of a world empire that might be called Judenia or Sempire(Semitic Empire).”

    As Priss points out, a choice for Oligarch B would still make our bright young grad embarking on her career a “part of a world empire that might be called Judenia or Sempire(Semitic Empire).”

    She can’t NOT choose to be ” part of a world empire that might be called Judenia or Sempire(Semitic Empire).”

    My take is that people there, based on a long experience, simply recognize that they are caught between two oligarchies, and unwilling to choose between them.
    That….lethargy (for a lack of better word) is interesting.

    Eventually, she will be soul-killed.

    How do you drop out of this trap?

    Not to choose is not a choice.

    ——-

    Is Iran an option? Real Men (and Women) Go to Iran, or North Korea — where Judenia/ the Sempire is resisted.

    How about China? Will Zuckerberg divorce his Chinese wife?

    • Replies: @Sherman
  29. WAY off topic……WTF is going on with the UNZ???

    the whole middle panel of links does not work at all until I get to the geezer article…….none of the links work when I click…….I thought it was just because of my AT&T dialup connection.

  30. Question to The Saker. Do you speak Ukrainian fluently enough to have serious conversations with people for whom it is their main language?

  31. Another question to the Saker who appears to be displaying that weakness of confident but unsupported assertion which too often undermines his credibility. I refer to the use of “false flag” applied to the downing of flight MH17. Where’s the evidence? What is the case? FWIW I think the most likely explanation is that it was a mistake by the Russian assisted or backed anti Kiev forces. The alternatives are all too complicated.

    • Replies: @Kiza
    , @Eagle Eye
  32. Wally says: • Website
    @Beckow

    ” with that logic Hitler was ‘provoked’ into attacking Poland”

    Indeed, he was / Germany was.

    You brought it up, but for starters:

    “Poland wants war with Germany and Germany will not be able to avoid it even if she wants to.”
    - Polish Marshal Rydz-Smigly as reported in the Daily Mail, August 6th, 1939)

    Polish war mongering in 1938

    https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=11335

    and:
    Polish Atrocities against Germans before 1. September 1939

    https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=7525

    and:
    Gleiwitz

    https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=7282

    and:
    Responsibility for WW2 – summary of the revisionist view

    https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=7544

    and:
    Hitler’s Peace Offers Vs Unconditional Surrender

    https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=10192

    Cheers.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  33. Dube says:
    @Beckow

    “Georgian army attacked in the middle of the night.” That is correct.

  34. Let’s hear it for the Gas Princess.

    Our Treeza can soon cut a Friendship, Trade & Gas Mutual Defence Treaty with her once we’re finally out of the EU and free to think global. And Donald’s got our back.

  35. @Andrei Martyanov

    It is the case similar to that story that you once brought up regarding Syria of young and old bulls standing on a hill looking down for cows. No need to fiddle with one cow when one can get the whole herd with patience and right behavior.
    One man I know used to say that “через жопу до головы дойдёт”- getting hurt at backside will make things better in head. I think eventually it will get to Ukraine population as well. They seems have not got enough. Russia also should work i interests of own people to improve life of own population to the level that it becomes the envy. Then things will go easy everywhere.

  36. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Being desperate busy body, making badly thought through and ultimately failed moves time after time is not exactly sign of having initiative. In body increased activity leads to increased metabolism, which leads to need for increased food intake and what if that food is not available in necessary quantities anymore? Often doing nothing or as little as possible is the best option but the West lacks wisdom and faculties to behave in this way. Russia on the other hand.,…

  37. @Johnny Rico

    I am sorry but I have to say this. How has led by Kissinger and Nixon strategy of opening China worked out? Is creating major geopolitical foe where there was none considered a sign of deep strategical long term thinking?

  38. Kiza says:
    @Priss Factor

    I fully agree with your explanation of the root-cause and who is TPTB as anyone sane would. But you are a little unfair to Saker because what you are discussing is not what he was discussing. You know how in every lord’s household the servants and hands met usually in the kitchen and discussed and quarrelled? Well, this Sakers discussion is from the global kitchen, not from the lord Israel’s study where the important decisions are made. Also, Saker is not afraid of being labeled anti-Semite as far as I am aware from his writing.

    Finally, I am truly happy that the regular paid Hasbara trolls at UNZ (PeterAUS, Johnny Rico etc) are starting to debate their sh** among themselves when no sensible and respectable people here want to engage them any more. Only this newbe Beckow fell for the tricks. I do skip everything those sh**-generators excrete, but I am also happy that most others have wizened up. It is true that our tax dollars are paying for the efforts of these excrement manufacturers, but nothing lasts forever and the globalists may hit a brick wall one day soon.

  39. Kiza says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Oh, our pet Martian, the Wizard wants proof that MH17 was a false-flag organised by Western intelligence and paid for by Kolomoiskii? Because you are also my pet Martian, I will ask you a question – do not you think that the whole chain of command of the Russian air-defence which (supposedly) shot-down MH17 would have been identified three years after the event? Instead, there is an attempt at this by the plausibly deniable “citizen-journalists” Bellingcat. The fact that Bellingcat are insinuating this is a mighty proof that there is no evidence that the Russians did it, because the citizen-journalism does not need the same degree of proof as an official intelligence agency assessment.

    So far the best the CIA could do is – we know that the Russians did it, but if we showed you the proof we would have to kill you (because our satellite images are so secret). But the satellite images of blowing up the Russian Metrojet over Egypt that our terrorists did were not so secret because they were proving our (rare) success.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  40. @Kiza

    Your somewhat excitable ramble round your mind has not produced anything relevant to my Comment. I said nothing about all the Russian activity you hypothesised. You have given me no reason to follow you in interest in Bellingcat.

    Why anyone should think a highly risky false flag operation with seriously bad consequences if exposed is a priori more likely than a stuff up resulting from a missile launcher crew mistakenly thinking they were firing at a Ukrainian military aircraft escapes me. And that deems to be consistent with the conclusion of the five nation inquiry. Feel free to prove that was incompetent or corrupt.

  41. @Wizard of Oz

    Question to The Saker. Do you speak Ukrainian fluently enough to have serious conversations with people for whom it is their main language?

    Aside from the fact that their main language is most likely a local dialect, why would you need to converse in their main language necessarily? Russian works just fine.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  42. Joe Hide says:

    Sealer,
    Brilliant description of current events and behind the curtains political manipulations.
    You still have it wrong about what’s actually being performed through Trump, but you’re smart enough to eventually figure out that hidden game as it unfolds.
    Again, great analysis put in colorful & mentally involving terms!

  43. Che Guava says:
    @bob sykes

    I would not holding my breath for a reply from the Saker to anyone here. Have never seen an example.

    RSA, of course, is meaning ‘Republic of South Africa’, they were briefly to set up a statelet there.

    More seriously, also being curious, the map is a direct lift from the English Wikipedia, or Wikimedia Commons.

    RSA is ‘regional state authority’, so the meaning of the poor map legend is ‘Occupation of regional state authority buildings [or building]‘.

  44. @Mao Cheng Ji

    With what authority do you assert that Russian would have sufficed for his informing himself of the views of Ukrainiams and the information they could provide? My best Ukrainian friend has just told me that over 90 per cent of Ukrainians (I think he means those ruled from Kiev) identify as Ukrainian. That, at least means that a person of Russian background who wants them to speak frankly would do well to speak their language fluently. What dialects are you referring to that woyld be spoken by the people an inquiring journalist would seek out? Urban peasants perhaps?

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  45. @Wizard of Oz

    Much could be cleared up by simply releasing the air traffic control tapes. The Americans won’t do so because the Russians know what’s on them, having acquired the black box from the rebels after the crash.

    • Agree: Che Guava
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  46. @Wizard of Oz

    resulting from a missile launcher crew mistakenly thinking they were firing at a Ukrainian military aircraft

    Sounds like a solid assumption, but still – there’s much more to it.

    Kiev definitely knew that the rebels had BUKs (they captured a few at a military base about a week before) . And Kiev admitted that much itself.

    A few days before MH17, Kiev’s airstrike sent an apartment building crumpling to the ground Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, right around that area.

    And then they send civil aircraft right there, along their main military air force route?

    If you don’t want to call it ‘false flag’, how about ‘frame up’ or ‘set up’?

  47. Che Guava says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Yes, they were clearly corrupt. NATO and NATO flunkies.

    Up to you, Wiz, to do a little more reading on it.

    Resistance were never capturng a Buk unit.

    You really think, with all of the caution Russia has been showing in all of this, they will be driving one across the border and say, ‘Here you are. Have fun!’

    Ukraine is also equipped with Buk.

    Flight was shadowed by two Ukraine jets.

    Russia was releasing all of their information on it.

    Ukraine even was sealing air-traffic control records.

    USA was releasing almost nothing, one satellite photo that is displaying nothing of meaning.

    Not, of course, to saying that I know, but I know which side is looking suspicious.

  48. @Wizard of Oz

    My best Ukrainian friend has just told me that over 90 per cent of Ukrainians (I think he means those ruled from Kiev) identify as Ukrainian.

    That’s silly. And irrelevant. I identify as American, but among the languages I communicate there is no “American”.

    That, at least means that a person of Russian background who wants them to speak frankly would do well to speak their language fluently.

    Yes, and I’m saying that Russian would perfectly suffice. You were talking about their “main” language before, and that’s what I objected to.

    What dialects are you referring to that would be spoken by the people an inquiring journalist would seek out?

    Again, that was in response to “main language”. Various groups speak various dialects, as their “main” language. All I’m saying is it’s not necessary to learn those to communicate with them.

  49. Mr. Hack says:

    Much of the same could be said about the Novorussians: they also have had 2 years to dig in, by all reports they have now integrated their forces into a regular army capable of operational-depth counter-offensives, their morale and training is probably much higher than on the Ukronazi side and they can count on Russian support (intelligence, logistics, training, etc.).

    Like so much of this article, Mr. Saker includes just a little bit of truth to his dialogue, and then embelishes it with loads of BS. Here’s a good example. The ‘Novorussian’ fighting forces have been integrated supposedly into a ‘regular army’. Why not just be truthful and admit that the ‘Novorussian’ fighting forces have from the very beginning just been a rag tag collection of Chechen and Russian mercenaries,with a few local alcoholic yahoos, all directed by imported Russian degenerates,supported all along with Russian national troops and armaments. Everyone remotely familiar with the situation
    know that this is true, and yet trying to spin the Donbas conflict as some sort of a homegrown phenomena is funny if not outright insulting to human intelligence.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Anatoly Karlin
  50. @Beefcake the Mighty

    Can you spell that out? Are you referring to Ukrainian air traffic control tapes? What do you say that they contain? Why do you say that they are in American hands and not disclosed? I understood that they were available to the Netherlands led inquiry and fotmed part (a minor part) of the evidence they relied on. Not so?

    And whst do you say was on the black boxes, and how would it match up with snythimg on the traffic control records? Why wouldn’t the Russians disclose what they lesrned from the blsck boxes? Or are you saying that the Americans want it to be left open that Russian troops shot down the plane and the Russians don’t want to confirm that it was their protegés, with a Russian weapon snd technical support, that did it?

  51. Beckow says:
    @Wally

    Interesting, I wasn’t aware of some of that information.

    Nevertheless my point was correct: you can assemble a lot of information that Poland behaved irresponsibly, provoked, prepared, or even thought that it was ‘in a war already’. None of that changes the fact that WWII started with Sep 1 attack by Germany on Poland. Germany started the shooting, they are the ones who crossed the border, therefore they started the war. All that happened before that moment can be analysed and criticised, but it wasn’t a war.

    My analogy to what Georgia did in 2008 is imperfect. In many ways what Georgia did that night by starting to bomb S Ossetia, killing over 100 civilians, and invading with its army was different. In some ways worse, in others better. E.g. S Ossetia was more of a ‘disputed territory’ than Danzig or Silesia, it was ethnically more complicated.

    What is dangerous about a lot of official Western thinking on the subject of Georgia (or Ukraine) is the shallowness and lying, the complete unwillingness to know the reality. See the Rico gentleman above, he simultaneously says ‘I am not an expert’, but also throws around serious accusations. That is what Western media has become in a nutshell: proudly ignorant advocates for their own cause. It doesn’t work and it could get us all killed. Starting a war is a crime under international law – Georgia started a war in 2008 and lost. Let’s admit it. (Same with Germany in WWII. If there are other circumstances, provocations, etc.. we should consider them, but still, starting a war was the ultimate crime.)

  52. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    “‘Novorussian’ fighting forces have from the very beginning just been a rag tag collection of Chechen and Russian mercenaries,with a few local alcoholic yahoos, all directed by imported Russian degenerates,supported all along with Russian national troops and armaments”

    All soldiers today get paid, thus you can call all of them ‘mercenaries’. All soldiers drink. Their ethnicities are hard to establish and generalize. Words like ‘rag tag’, ‘yahoos’, ‘degenerates’ mean literally nothing in this context, you just add them to make yourself feel better.

    If you take what your wrote and strip out the unnecessary poetry you might be closer to the truth: Novorussian forces are a combination of local separatists and volunteers who joined them mostly from Russia; Russia has provided most of their modern arms. Russia also acts as a backstop in case of another Kiev offensive to make sure that they cannot be defeated.

    See, I fixed it for you. Now drop the poetic abuse and tell us what can be done about it. And take into account interests of all parties and their relative strength. All people are equal, applying emotional adjectives to your enemies changes nothing.

  53. Sherman says:
    @SolontoCroesus

    Hey Chuck

    What was that part about your parents teaching you to respect Jews?

    :)

    Sherm

  54. Eagle Eye says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    An old quip in linguistic is that “a language is a dialect with an army.” In Soviet times, Ukrainian was treated as a dialect (because it did not have its own language then.)

    At present, people in the West of the Ukraine region speak Polish dialects, those in the East speak Russian dialects, and those in between speak various dialects which are now classed as “Ukrainian.”

    “Ukrainian” and Russian are closely related. The main difference seems to be that Ukrainians pronounce a Russian “G” as “H.” This leads to common Russian names like Igor, Sergei and Grigoriy becoming Ihor, Serhiy and even Hrihoriy.

    Similarly, the Ukies insist that the Russian-speaking district of Lugansk is called Luhansk, and their capital is Kyiv rather than the Kiev.

  55. Eagle Eye says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    …the downing of flight MH17

    Whoever or whatever caused the MH17 disaster, the aftermath – massive anti-Russian propaganda, increase of military supplies to the Ukies, etc. – was precisely what you would expect had the original incident been a false flag. In other words, it might as well have been a false flag, whether it actually was or not.

    Going back in history, it remains unclear to this day who set the famous Reichstag fire in Germany that triggered the de facto abolition of democratic rule. Some historians not suspected of harboring National Socialist sympathies seem to take seriously the possibility that the perpetrators may have been misguided communists acting without official encouragement by the National Socialist.

    Certainly, the National Socialists – like all successful political groups – stood ready to exploit to the hilt any incident that could advance their agenda.

    Just because a dramatic incident is explored by one side does not mean it must necessarily be a false flag. Sometimes, s–t just happens.

    Conversely, a false flag should always be suspected where a dramatic incident seems too convenient to the supposedly opposing side. False flag operations have been staged by political operators since time immemorial.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  56. @Mr. Hack

    Restoring my two comments to Mr. Hack:

    1.

    The Saker does indeed peddle a lot of BS, but you are hardly one to talk.

    1. The Chechens were briefly involved in 2014, have long since left.

    2. The vast majority of the NAF (80%) are Ukrainian citizens, as confirmed by multiple sources including a list of names leaked by your ideological comrades at the Peacekeeper website. About another 10% are Russians from the Kuban, which is ethnically and culturally close to the Donbass, while the last 10% are Russians and other adventurers from the wider world.

    So yes, it is indeed very homegrown, though it is true that the NAF would not have survived in its embryonic stages without the more competent and experienced Russian volunteers like Strelkov, as well as Russian logistical and artillery support.

    3. NAF volunteers are indeed probably lower than average on the socio-economic scale, but I would be exceedingly surprised if it was otherwise for the UAF and the independent batallions. Certainly the chronic drunkeness, accidents, etc. in the Ukrainian Army that are constantly being written about indicates that doesn’t harvest the cream of Ukraine’s crop. (And that makes sense – apart from a hard core of patriots and nationalists, any Ukrainian would pay to avoid conscription, if he has the means).

    2.

    So, even by your own admissions,up to 20% of the NAF’s forces are made up by foreigners and Russians…

    It was clear from the outset that the bulk of the Donbass resistance was local and I appreciate your Peacekeeper friends for helping quantify it more or less exactly. Not my admission, theirs.

    Take up any complaints about “fudging” with Anton Gerashchenko.

    It’s interesting to note that a high percentage of Ukraine’s forces are actually assembled by Eastern Ukrainians, and not the proverbial Galicians or Nazis that one often hears about.

    It’s more the case that there are fewer shirkers amongst them. The Galicians are very loud in their nationalism, but tend to fade away into the background once the time comes for making more concrete contributions to the cause.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  57. Here’s my disappeared WSJ picture again:

    See how the MH17 flight (and other flights, no doubt) is directed towards Snizhne?

    That’s the same Snizhne where 3 days before the crash Kiev’s military jet destroyed a perfectly civilian apartment building, murdering 11 perfectly civilian people, causing tremendous outrage among the rebels: http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/airstrike-demolishes-apartment-block-in-ukraine-killing-11-1.1914458

    And here, again, the WSJ piece acknowledging that Kiev’s authorities knew about BUKs in rebels’ hands: https://www.democraticunderground.com/10025263801

    Looking at these facts, I don’t think any reasonable person can have any doubt whatsoever that sending MH17 onto that course was a deliberate provocation, a planned scenario.

    Now, whether the rebels shot it down (which seems likely), or whether they didn’t and a Kiev’s BUK had to do it, I have no knowledge of that.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  58. Pavel says:

    From the very first lines with all these “ukronazis”, “junta” and “Novorossia” it’s clear that the author is extremely pro-Russian biased and it weakens his article significantly. It makes it no different from Russian official position on the invasion, occupation and annexation of parts of the sovereign nation – annexation without any territorial claims or even voiced concerns prior to sending the troops. Invasion which was nothing but a cowardly, unprovoked attack on supposedly brotherly nation.

    During the invasion, Putin said he did not know “who it was”… only to admit on Russian TV, in a documentary about annexation presented, proudly, to the world, that it were his soldiers, acting on his orders, in uniforms without insignia.

    The bottom line is this – Putin did not like Ukraine’s pro-West trend and used Ukraine’s domestic political conflict of early 2014 to simply rob Ukraine of part of her territory, specifically, Crimea, which even former president Yanukovich always wanted to remain as part of Ukraine – he publicly said so at his last press conference from Russia, which actually became his last public press conference exactly because of his position on Crimea.

    There is no such thing as “Novorossia”. Small parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions (oblast) of Ukraine currently occupied by Russian mercenaries and regular troop. These parts are much smaller than we see on the map on top of this article. What the Russians wanted to become part of Russia you see marked as “pro-Russian protests” regions on the map, the protests carefully arranged for by FSB (yes, it has been proven, same groups of Russians were bused in to “protest”) but actually dissolved by the people of Ukraine, regular citizens who are nothing much but patriots of their Motherland – Ukraine.

    Russia could not possibly do anything, except annexing Crimea, and for one reason and only – population of Crimea, predominantly Russian ethnically and culturally, all of them of course Russian speaking and a very large number of them Russian ex-military allowed to stay with their families in Crimea, – supported the annexation. Only two other areas within Luhansk and Donetsk regions remain under the control of Russian invaders now, and only because there is not enough Ukrainian resistance in these areas which – thanks to Stalin’s population replacement policy – were intentionally and deliberately “russified”, populated by ethnic Russians during the Soviet time.

    What Russia holds now is small parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which border Russia, add here predominantly ethically and culturally Russian Crimea. Sure the Russians can destroy Ukraine, but they cannot subjugate her. Ukraine won’t be Russian slave any more, plain and simple. Putin did everything to ensure that now Ukraine won’t even be a close friend. Smart politics?..

    Putin knows that any move against Ukraine now would be met with resistance resulting in dozens of thousands dead bodies of invader soldiers, with or without insignia, coming back to Russia from Ukrainian war, not to mention guerrilla war which would be taken inside Russia, too. Putin knows that his popularity inside Russia would plunge and disappear if it happens. Russians in modern times like to win without casualties, and no attack on Ukraine can be without mass casualties.

    Ukrainian politics… Politics of alive nations, dynamic and developing nations, are always messy. Sure Ukraine has domestic problems, like many others, for better or worse, but what the author, just like his Russian compatriots, cannot understand is that their “concern” about Ukraine is pathetic. They just cannot let Ukraine go. Russia behaves like a loser drunkard husband whose beautiful wife has decided to leave for good – Russia runs around her, with an axe in hand, yelling obscenities in a weird mix of “I love you, please get back!’ and “I will kill you now!..” Pathetic, to say the least.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  59. @Pavel

    … thanks to Stalin’s population replacement policy – were intentionally and deliberately “russified”, populated by ethnic Russians during the Soviet time.

    Yes, a popular svidomy fairytale. Here is a map of the Malorossiyan percentage of the population in the guberniyas of what is today Ukraine:

    Southern Novorossiya is far more Ukrainian today than it was in 1897, thanks primarily to Lenin and Stalin.

    Here is how Bolsheviks (rabid haters of so-called Great Russian chauvinism) viewed the Donbass in 1921 – as the “heart of Russia.”

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  60. Mr. Hack says:

    Ukraine won’t be Russian slave any more, plain and simple. Putin did everything to ensure that now Ukraine won’t even be a close friend. Smart politics?…Russia behaves like a loser drunkard husband whose beautiful wife has decided to leave for good – Russia runs around her, with an axe in hand, yelling obscenities in a weird mix of “I love you, please get back!’ and “I will kill you now!..” Pathetic, to say the least.

    Good comment. I totally agree with you.

  61. Cyrano says:
    @Pavel

    They just cannot let Ukraine go. Russia behaves like a loser drunkard husband whose beautiful wife

    I have a better analogy. Russia might be a jealous husband, but Ukraine is a stupid ho, whose escapades threaten to ruin the poor husband.

  62. Mr. Hack says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    All that the map that you show does is to verify that the majority of inhabitants of the fictious land of ‘NovoRosija’ were indeed Ukrainians. Only the very outer core of the Donbas region, the part roughly held by the rebels today, is made up mostly of non-Ukrainian stock.

    By the way, the ‘Novorosija’ land (gubernia) lasted for roughly 25 years (1764-1783, 1796-1802). Apparently the name itself was not all that important, and the land area was enlarged and subdivided into 3 separate gubernias. It’s ironic that Russian nationalists had to pull the name out of the dustbin of history and try to reanimate it in 2014. Modern history shows us just how popular the ‘NovoRosija’ experiment was among the majority population of Ukrainians in these southern Ukrainian lands, all except the Crimea and the furthest wisp of borderland in far eastern Donbas.

    • Replies: @Mikel
    , @Anatoly Karlin
  63. @Eagle Eye

    Well that’s balanced reasoning in contrast to the usual certainties on these threads!

    But I think you are wrong about the “increase of military supplies to the Ukies” if you are implying that should count for much in the reasoning becaise it is my understanding that restraint on supplying Ukraine with serious weaponry has been practised – and criticised.

    • Replies: @Eagle Eye
  64. @Eagle Eye

    Thanks. BTW – since I take you to know somethiñg of these things – what is the significance of part of Ukraine being Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. My understanding is that there were lots of good Christian young men (probably Ukrainian Catholic) who joined the Waffen SS towards the end of WW2 (and even had priests in the division, unknown to Himmler, simply because they hoped to join up with the Western allies and march on Moscow when the Germans lost…. I suspect some of the throwing round of “Nazi” today is rather out of context.

  65. Mikel says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Hi Mr Hack,

    How do you feel about the Ukrainian armed forces killing so many civilians (the ones they are supposed to protect from aggression)?

    Apart from the images and videos that we have all seen, especially during the recovery of most of Donbass by Ukraine in 2014, reports by the UN, HRW or Amnesty International leave no doubt that indiscriminate shelling has caused a carnage of civilians.

    Now that the disputed/occupied lands approximately correspond to the areas where people are most strongly pro-Russian, as you yourself recognized, is it worth it to continue the bloodbath?

    Can a democratic, civilized and Western oriented Ukraine be conceived while it causes such suffering to its own people?

    Regards,
    Mikel

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  66. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Looking at these facts, I don’t think any reasonable person can have any doubt whatsoever

    Yeah. Of course. If you are using that line, then you must be 100% correct above everything you say ;)

    Those are the ONLY FACTS there are, right?

  67. peterAUS says:
    @Pavel

    You appear to know a bit about the place and, surprisingly enough here, on the Kiev side.
    So, while you are still around (before being chased away by the resident….. horde of Rusophiles) could you please give us a bit more insight into Ukrainian military?
    Just from your perspective.
    Any progress made since Maidan?
    Organization, recruitment, TRAINING, LEADERSHIP.
    You could skip weapons and equipment if you wish.
    Or if you could point to a more or less realistic/less patriotic/less propagandist Website where one can take a look?

  68. peterAUS says:
    @Mikel

    Maybe I could try.

    How do you feel about the Ukrainian armed forces killing so many civilians (the ones they are supposed to protect from aggression)?

    Regrettable collateral damage.
    As a lot of French/Dutch civilians killed by Allied effort against Nazi Germany.

    Apart from the images and videos that we have all seen, especially during the recovery of most of Donbass by Ukraine in 2014, reports by the UN, HRW or Amnesty International leave no doubt that indiscriminate shelling has caused a carnage of civilians.

    Disagree.
    It was a careful targeting of Donbas militia who deliberately put their own assets close to civilian objects. Also, there was a case of, as with any young army, incompetence of handling artillery.
    We regret those casualties. And it wasn’t carnage, just an expected number where civilians are caught in combat zone.

    Now that the disputed/occupied lands approximately correspond to the areas where people are most strongly pro-Russian, as you yourself recognized, is it worth it to continue the bloodbath?

    We see Ukraine as one country. We regret any civilian loss of life. Civilians would be advised to LEAVE combat zone. The combat zone is all of Donbas unfortunately.

    Can a democratic, civilized and Western oriented Ukraine be conceived while it causes such suffering to its own people?

    Our goal is a democratic, civilized and Western oriented Ukraine.
    We deeply regret all loss of life and property.
    We believe that so-called leadership of Donbass. should lie down their arms…..

    Not bad a?

    • Replies: @Mikel
  69. Mikel says:
    @peterAUS

    It was a careful targeting of Donbas militia who deliberately put their own assets close to civilian objects.

    No. Just to set an example, the plane that threw a missile in the middle of Luhansk at the beginning of the hostilities and killed 8 civilians (horrible images uploaded by passers-by and even recorded by a CCTV) did not have such an excuse. And, obviously, the High Command people who ordered attacks like these did not care much about loss of civilian lives. Assuming they didn’t actually desire to deliberately kill a good bunch of those Eastern “Katsaps”.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  70. peterAUS says:
    @Mikel

    I see that you didn’t get my point.

    A couple of things regarding war, if you please.

    War is about killing people. Modern war is about ripping human beings into shreds, burning them etc. in terrible pain.That’s what modern munitions do. Much worse than being hacked by a sword.
    Children too.
    That is why modern wars are much worse than those of old while firing lasts.
    True, after the firing stops usually there are no massacres and such, but, while it lasts it’s worse.

    War is a serious state business. Moral considerations mean nothing. Or, better, it’s about “managing perceptions”….ONLY. The real decision makers don’t take them into account.

    Most of civilians posting on Internet do not want to understand that.
    For many reasons….

    So, that what you posted…means nothing in real play.
    Now, if you want to play “ethics” here, no prob…just count me out.

    Your post is either propaganda (which I respect) or misguided naivety.

    So, here is a bit of propaganda back:

    Just to set an example, the plane that threw a missile in the middle of Luhansk at the beginning of the hostilities and killed 8 civilians (horrible images uploaded by passers-by and even recorded by a CCTV) did not have such an excuse.

    We regret any civilian death in our struggle for independent and whole Ukraine.
    We tried to investigate that unfortunate event but local authorities refused to cooperate.
    From available sources we came to conclusion that those civilians were close to a house where a command post of Donbas militia was stationed. The missile was launched on that command post but was jammed and missed the target killing the civilians.
    Also, we believe that some of those images have been doctored for propaganda purposes.

    And, obviously, the High Command people who ordered attacks like these did not care much about loss of civilian lives. Assuming they didn’t actually desire to deliberately kill a good bunch of those Eastern “Katsaps”.

    The High Command always pays the highest attention to prevent civilian casualties.
    In this particular case we had strong intelligence that a command post was in the object and decision to launch a surgical strike was taken after much consideration.
    It is assumed that jamming of the missile came from a site where a unit composed from Russian volunteers was stationed.

    We can play this stupid game if you want.
    I just posted above on the fly, from top of my head. Real pros do it much better and in their sleep.

    Your call.

    • Replies: @Mikel
    , @Erebus
  71. Mr. Hack says:
    @Mikel

    Your feeble attempt to try and run some sort of interference for Karlin is really quite pathetic. I was commenting about Karlin’s map, that shows that historically, the ‘NovoRosija’ gubernia was predominantly made up of Ukrainians, not Russians. Come back when you’re better prepared for an adult discussion.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  72. Wally says: • Website
    @Pavel

    said:
    Sure the Russians can destroy Ukraine, but they cannot subjugate her. Ukraine won’t be Russian slave any more, plain and simple. Putin did everything to ensure that now Ukraine won’t even be a close friend. Smart politics?..

    Russia is not interested in any of that. The have the Crimea and the Russians in that region, and that’s all they wanted … the Crimea will remain Russian.

    The last thing they want is the need to support the pathetic Ukrainian basket case.

    • Replies: @Pavel
  73. Mikel says:
    @peterAUS

    I think that it is you who is not getting my point.

    Let’s assume that some armed Catalan hotheads occupy public offices and such. Spain would not reduce Barcelona and Girona to rubble killing thousands of civilians. It would not be tolerated by the EU, the Press, the UN, etc. But much more importantly, the Spanish people itself would not have the stomach for such a carnage. Same in a Scottish rebellion scenario. Can anyone imagine Edinburgh and Glasgow subject to indiscriminate shelling with cluster bombs by the UK armed forces?

    That’s why I was asking this question not to you but to a person of Ukrainian roots. The whole Maidan revolution thing was about Ukraine becoming an EU-like country, wasn’t it? But, at the first chance they truly had to demonstrate how different from and more civilized than the Russians they were, they botched it big time.

    • Replies: @Eagle Eye
    , @peterAUS
  74. Eagle Eye says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Yes, some actual constraints appear to have been in operation.

    There was certainly a lot of media TALK about providing more sophisticated weaponry to “defend” the Ukies, disturbingly referred to as our Ukrainian “allies.” One would assume that a lot of armaments before and after MH17 were provided surreptitiously.

    Hillary all but threatened a hot war with Russia during the election campaign. Her motivation is puzzling given her personal background in doing deals with Russia. To look tough? To satisfy McCainist bloodlust? Alinskyite misdirection? Yet another Clinton kickback deal?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  75. Eagle Eye says:
    @Mikel

    Spain would not reduce Barcelona and Girona to rubble killing thousands of civilians. It would not be tolerated by the EU, the Press, the UN, etc.

    Your trust in “the EU, the Press, the UN, etc.” is touching.

    In reality, all of these organizations are slavering for the blood of rebels against rule by the GLOB.

  76. Mikel says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Your feeble attempt to try and run some sort of interference for Karlin is really quite pathetic.

    I think that it is very clear that I was trying to get some critical assessment from you of how the Ukrainian government has conducted the war in Donbass. But well, perhaps your answer above is all I can expect from Ukrainian nationalists. It is what it is.

    The one time I visited Kiev I did get the impression that Ukraine was actually more “Soviet” than any other neighboring country.

  77. Cyrano says:

    I think it was Churchill who once said: “Russia is a mystery, wrapped into enigma, inside a Rubik’s cube” – or some stupidity like that, I really don’t want to waste time looking for the exact quote on the internet – I don’t really care.

    Anyhow, I want to update that saying and apply it to Ukraine. So here it is:

    Ukraine is a disaster, wrapped into calamity, inside a basket case.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  78. @Cyrano

    Well done. On the stupidity scale you established above (with or without the Rubik’s Cube anschronism) you have hit the jackpot.

    • Replies: @some points
  79. @Cyrano

    Congrats – see #78

    • Replies: @Cyrano
  80. @Eagle Eye

    You point to puzzling questions.

    The only thread of rationality I can find is that Israel is genuinely afraid of Iran and its protegés, wants 99 per cent assurance of security (cp. say Thailand about 85 per cent, Australia say 90-95 per cent….) and therefore uses its control over US ME policy to try and leave the Arab world Balkànised and not under Iranian influence. But what explains anything else which is controversial about US foreign policy is hard to make out.

  81. Erebus says:
    @peterAUS

    We can play this stupid game if you want.

    Only you seem interested in playing games on these threads. On those occasions where you seem to have a point, it struggles to make itself known against a background of puerile noisiness. I wonder why you don’t tire of it.

  82. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Southern Novorossiya is far more Ukrainian today than it was in 1897, thanks primarily to Lenin and Stalin.

    Today is 26 years after independence. 1989 would be more relevant.

    Well, Kherson guberniya in 1897 (which included the city of Odessa, but not the area south of Odessa city that is currently part of Odessa oblast) was 53.5% Ukrainian, 21% Russian, 11.8% Jewish, 5.4% Romanian and 4.5% German.

    I don’t think Lenin got rid of the Jews, and the elimination of the Romanians and Germans was probably not part of some sort of Ukrainian nation-building project.

    In 1990 Odessa oblast was 27% Russian (today it is about 21% Russian).. Couldn’t find data for the other parts of Kherson governate.

    But:

    Here is demographic data for Ukrainian SSR as a whole

    In 1926, the Ukrainian SSR was 80% Ukrainian and only 9% Russian. In 1989 it was 73% Ukrainian and 22% Russian, despite the annexation of western Ukraine.

    From 1926 to 1939 the Ukrainian population increased by only 1.93% but the Russian population increased by 56%.

    So Ukrainians were killed, Russians were settled in.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  83. AP says:
    @Mikel

    How do you feel about the Ukrainian armed forces killing so many civilians (the ones they are supposed to protect from aggression)

    Every civilian death is a tragedy. Ukraine is not operating with precision weapons and highly trained forces, against an enemy that has embedded itself in highly settled areas. This situation is similar to the one Russia encountered in Chechnya (Ukrainian military was probably not unlike the Yeltsin-era Russian military, even further degraded), or Syria in its country.

    The civilian death toll in Donbas is estimated at around 3,000.

    Estimates of civilian casualties in Chechnya (which has fewer people than Donbas) range wildly from 50,000 to 250,000.

    The Syrian civilian death toll is estimated at about 98,000.

    So Kiev has acted much less inhumanely towards civilians than have Russia or the various sides in Syria, though in a way that probably* not in accordance with modern Western European norms. It is somewhere between these two.

    *Of course, no western European country has recently had a situation such as Kiev has in Donbas. Scots and Catalonians are nonviolent. IRA never seized and embedded its forces in civilian areas within large parts of northern Ireland. OTOH Croats killed more Serbs in the 90s than Ukrainians killed in Donbas, and Croatia is in the EU.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Mikel
  84. @Wizard of Oz

    Life is too short to waste it on sophism and pointless mental jousting (unless one gets paid for it of course; money trumps everything). Ancient Greece did sophism and look where it got her. Well, at least wise men and play writers understood the problem. Like in Aristophanes’ “The clouds’, the father sends his son to learn sophistry (ie, how to make a bad argument look good), only for his son to then beat him up and argue that it is just for a son to beat his father and even his mother. That is what the so-called Ukraine does. It thinks itself to be smart and cunning and ‘everyone has its own truth’, only to beat itself up and get nowhere.

    Rome did not do sophistry, nor did it do racism. Rome did Empire. English did Empire and did racism and did not last long (one can argue that the English sort of stumbled into an Empire merely following their commercial interests). Russians and the Cossacks handed English their asses at the Battle of Balaclava. It was one of the worst defeats suffered by the English. When the historian and pretend car enthusiast Jeremy Clarkson visited Crimea and Ukraine, that was the only thing he could think about (see Top Gear). The English got maneuvered into galloping on horses with their swords against … cannons… cannons!… like some aborigines (no offence to aborigines) would do against the English in the tropics and be slaughtered. That was the end of the English adventure (no offence to English; it is what it is) into Russia and the Cossack land. At this very time these same English were destroying the Qing dynasty of China in the Second Opium War. (Those losses on the part of Han eventually led to the fall of the Emperor and the rise of the Communist Party.)

    That is inspiring… I am one of probably a few people from a small village in the middle of nowhere (where people speak a native Ukrainian) who through happenstance has gotten a chance to travel the world. I know I can do well. Behind me are successful forefathers. And if they could do it, so must I.

    Now, what does the ‘modern’ ‘Ukraine’ offer me? Stale German racism… In 1990s, these students from the West of Ukraine would whisper these jokes: ‘what is better than a dead Russian? A fresh dead Russian everyday!”. Now this kind of garbage is shouted openly on the streets of Kiev. Seriously? Not interested… And yes, my grandfather did fight against Germans in WWII. You want me to think of my grandfather as a traitor of your racist ideals… Not interested… And the Cossack regiment in my village did go against Mazepa and held him to as a traitor. You want me to believe that somehow they got it all wrong. Well, they were the winners, and your idols were the losers. My forefathers got it right…

    I believe that we will have a back to the future moment of clarity soon.

    • Replies: @Cyrano
  85. @Eagle Eye

    An old quip in linguistic is that “a language is a dialect with an army.”

    Yeah, and that’s fine. I love Ukrainian dialects, they’re incredibly cute. However, one thing y’all are missing about the current official ‘Ukrainian language’ is that it’s no one’s dialect. It’s an artificially created mumbo-jumbo. That’s common knowledge, see here, for example: http://www.odnako.org/blogs/ne-rodnoy-rodnoy-ukrainskiy-yazik/

    • Replies: @AP
  86. peterAUS says:
    @Mikel

    Not bad.

    You omitted, though, in your Spain/UK examples, the elephant in the room.
    Russia.
    Which changes all that dynamics a lot, don’t you think?

    But you are correct in the point that different rules apply to countries on the “correct” side of the Iron Curtain and those on the other side.
    History and such.

    But, when we do play those games here, here is one for you:

    Russia, after the fall of Communism, wanted to become modern democracy.
    So, pray tell, how then this could happen:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Russian_constitutional_crisis

    Quote: Tanks of the Taman Division shelling the Russian White House on October 4, 1993

    Imagine British Army shelling, by direct tank fire, the Westminster?
    Or Spanish tanks shelling their own parliament.
    Terrible, a?
    Or not?

    • Replies: @Eagle Eye
  87. Eagle Eye says:
    @peterAUS

    the current official ‘Ukrainian language’

    Officially, we must now call it the Ukrainian lanhuahe. Ukies like to replace Gs with Hs, e.g. turning Lugansk into Luhansk.

  88. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    It’s an artificially created mumbo-jumbo. That’s common knowledge, see here, for example: http://www.odnako.org/blogs/ne-rodnoy-rodnoy-ukrainskiy-yazik/

    A fairytale commonly passed around by Russian nationalists is not common “knowledge.”

    Only someone totally unfamiliar with Ukraine and its language would believe the nonsense in the article. Thanks for yet again proving your gullibility.

    A funny example made famous by Bulgakov, which has nothing to do with the actual Ukrainian language but which a Russian-speaker might think its true –

    “И со словом «кит» – этим словом обозначается и тот, что на заборе сидит и мурлычет, и тот, что в океане плавает.”

    Nope. In the Ukrainian language a cat is “кит”, a whale is “кыт” (not quite – there is no sound in Russian exactly like the this vowel in Ukrainian). It is clearly two different words with two different vowels. This example is a dead giveaway that the author is gearing B.S. towards Russian who don’t know anything about Ukrainian.

    Article is another example of Russians ascribing to Ukraine what is true of Russia. The Russian literary language is the artificial one, significantly changed in the late 18th century/early 19th century, loaded with Church Slavonic and French words, and grammatically simpler, losing cases (such as the vocative, kept in Ukrainian as in other Slavic language, lost in Russian, retained only in archaic phrases such as Боже мой).

    Here is Kotliyarevsky’s Aneida, written in the 18th century, easily understandable for modern Ukrainian-speakers:

    http://www.knyga.in.ua/index.php/biblioteka/k/kotlyarevskyy-ivan/1178-eneida-1-sha-chastyna

    Intermedia. :cat in a bag”, from a play written by Mitrophan Dovhalevsky in 1619:

    http://www.everyday.in.ua/?p=12327

    Климко. Що ты тутъ, побратиме, собі порабляешь?
    Кажи мені, як живешь, та якъ ся маешь?

    Стецько. Я тут не роблю ничого. Ось иду до дому свого
    Та и зъ тоіеми горшками, якъ зъ своими сусідами.

    Closer to modern Ukrainian than Shakespearean English is to modern English.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mr. Hack
    , @Mao Cheng Ji
  89. AP says:
    @AP

    Some detailed comments by someone else, about Russian vs. Ukrainian linguistic artificiality:

    Compared to Ukrainian, Russian is a poor and underdeveloped language from every linguistic point of reference, particularly in terms of its vocabulary and grammar. It’s understandable, as modern Russian, from the historic perspective, is a very young and largely artificially created language, a sort of Esperanto; and it hasn’t had enough time, unlike Ukrainian, to develop the variety of linguistic forms and shortcuts that emerge only when a language is used naturally and for a long period of time by common people communicating with one another daily , rather than via being concocted in an ivory tower. As a result, there’re thousands of Ukrainian shortcut adverbs (e.g.: торік, чимдуж, etc.) that can be expressed in Russian only by using a combination of three separate words. Likewise, Ukrainian has three single-word superlative degrees, while Russian has only one. Ukrainian has two Infinitive forms for every verb (e.g.: робити/робить) versus a single form in Russian. Ukrainian has single-word forms of Future Imperfect (e.g. матиму, матимемо, матимеш, матиме, матимуть) completely absent from Russian. Ukrainian has the Plus Quam Perfectum tense (e.g. він почав був читати, та його зупинили); Russian doesn’t. And the list goes on and on.

    Examples:

    Every U verb has two Infinitive forms (e.g., робить/робити) vs one in R (e.g. делать).
    All U verbs in Present Imperfect ending in “є” also have two forms (e.g., буває/бува) vs only one (бывает)in R.

    Every U verb can be used in Plus Quam Perfectum (e.g., я був почав); this tense is absent from R altogether.

    Every U verb can be used in a single-word Future Imperfect (e.g., матиму/матимемо/матимеш/матимете/матиме/матимуть); again, there’s no such tense in R.

    Scads of U verbs have synonyms, usually more than one (e.g., говорити/казати/мовити), for a corresponding Russian single verbal form (e.g. говорить). Plus, each of them has yet another form (говорить, казать, мовить) per the note above.

    Every U verb, adjective, and adverb with prefix “у” has its exact counterpart with prefix “в” (e.g., умерти/вмерти, уперта/вперта, упродовж/впродовж, etc.) vs a single form in R (e.g. умереть, but not вмереть).

    U has an astonishing variety of synonyms when it comes to nouns, especially related to things of nature. E.g. U has 13 synonyms for the word “horizon”: горизонт, обрій, небозвід, небосхил, крайнебо, круговид, кругозір, кругогляд, виднокруг, видноколо, виднокрай, небокрай, овид. R has just one: горизонт. And it’s just one example.

    U has thousands of single-word shortcut adverbs absent from R, such as торік, чимдуж, здебільш, навшпиньки, насамперед, завдальшe, etc. absent from R, all of which require two or three R words to express the same.

    U has three forms of superlative adjectives and adverbs (e.g., найвищий/якнайвищий/щоякнайвищий) vs one in R (e.g., наивысший).

    While in U, all of the above forms were present in common everyday speech in the 1700′s (that’s the speech and vocabulary Kotliarevsky used to write “The Aeneid” published in 1798), R at the time was a mere rudiment of what it has become after Pushkin and is today.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Anatoly Karlin
  90. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    You’d think that Mao Cheng Ji would quit posting his insincere and dilettantish quips regarding the Ukrainian language by now. It’s obvious that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that his posting of these unfounded memes is a total waste of the reader’s time. :-(

    On a similar path to posting dilettatish quips is Karlin himself? He and his map of Southern Ukraine seem to have been complete wash out…

  91. @AP

    Bugakov’s got nothing to do with it, not to mention the 18th century. The issue is vandalizing the language by overenthusiastic nationalist savages within the last 20 years or so.

    • Replies: @AP
  92. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    No wonder, the great Slavic linguist Mao Cheng Ji loves the

    Ukrainian dialects, they’re incredibly cute.

    For they seem to be much more sophisticated than the formal Russian language! :-)

  93. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    I showed that the idea of “vandalizing the language” is a fantasy. “Vandalizing it” by bringing it in line with how it has always been? Bulgakov’s example showed that the article simply contained a false statement – “И со словом «кит» – этим словом обозначается и тот, что на заборе сидит и мурлычет, и тот, что в океане плавает.”

    That’s just not true, as I explained.

    Ukrainian word for cat – кіт (Russian, pronounced кит)
    Ukrainian word for whale – кит (Russian doesn’t have quite the same sound, but basically кыт)

    Two different words. Bulgakov joked that it was the same word, and Russians who don’t know Ukrainian believed him. Russians who don’t know Ukrainian but read this article will think the claim is true, when it is not.

    You are gullible as always.

    BTW I am amused that your source is of course a Party of Regions guy from Donetsk. Your go-to source for “information” about Ukraine :-)

    vandalizing the language by overenthusiastic nationalist savages

    Language was vandalized by communist savages in 1933. It came back to the pre-1933 Kharkiv standard.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  94. anon • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Amazing what Tolstoy, Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, etc were able to do with such an awful language. Who are those towering figures of Ukranian literature again?

    • Replies: @AP
  95. @AP

    I’m well aware of кiт and кит, and the Bulgakov’s works, and most likely much more aware of all that than you are.

    Again, this has nothing to do with overenthusiastic nationalist savages vandalizing the perfectly fine language in the last 20 years or so. Your replies are non-sequatures.

    • Replies: @AP
  96. Cyrano says:
    @some points

    Every human life lived involves some kind of suffering. But not every human suffering deserves sympathy. Not in my wildest dreams I could summon the generosity of spirit to have sympathy for someone like Hitler. Although there is no doubt in my mind that he suffered too, I have no sympathy for such suffering.

    Quite often the suffering comes not as a result of some unfavorable conditions outside of our power to influence them, but it comes as a result of our own stupidity.

    The chain of events is like this: Stupidity produces evil which produces suffering both for the person with whom the stupidity originated and for those around him.

    That’s why I have no sympathy for the suffering of the Ukrainians. People will say, what kind of Slav are you if you can’t have sympathy for your fellow Slavs? They might think that I should be more forgiving towards them because they are Slavs.

    Actually, I feel the opposite. The stupidity of the Slavs bothers me more and makes me angrier, because it reflects on me too. If, for example, the Anglo-Saxons or the Romanic nations, or any other nations did something stupid that doesn’t affect the rest of us – it doesn’t bother me. They are free to engage in any kind of stupidity in their own free time – as long as they are the only ones that will suffer the consequences of their actions.

    I find it unforgivable when Slavs do something stupid. Like the Ukrainians. And then they cause suffering for themselves and others. For themselves – they deserve it, for the others – that’s who I feel sympathy for. Ukrainians never seem to have learned one very simple and basic fact. Going against Russia has never brought them anything good and this time is not going to be any different either.

  97. @Mr. Hack

    All that the map that you show does is to verify that the majority of inhabitants of the fictious land of ‘NovoRosija’ were indeed Ukrainians. Only the very outer core of the Donbas region, the part roughly held by the rebels today, is made up mostly of non-Ukrainian stock.

    Yes, exactly. In 1897 (i.e. before Stalin) and today (i.e. after Stalin).

    In other words, the dominant effect was not Stalin killing off Ukrainians and replacing them with Russians, but Ukrainians Russifying in the Kuban, and southern Ukraine Ukrainizing from 55% in 1897 to around 65%-70% in 1989.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mr. Hack
  98. @Anatoly Karlin

    Russian volunteers like Strelkov

    LOL. Anatoly, in this case I have to ask you–and in what sense are you better than Saker?

    as well as Russian logistical and artillery support

    Only that?

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  99. AP says:
    @anon

    No one said “awful”, the posted comments stated artificial and simpler, and provided examples of this. The genius of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, etc was largely in their ideas and stories, language itself is less relevant.

  100. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    I’m well aware of кiт and кит, and the Bulgakov’s works, and most likely much more aware of all that than you are.

    So why do you knowingly post an article that lies?

    vandalizing the perfectly fine language

    When someone restores a nice old building by removing the crap such as aluminum siding added onto it in recent times is this “vandalizing” in your world?

    In 1933, Communists vandalized the Ukrainian language by trying to bring it in line with Russian. They removed the letter “g”, for example, so that that Ukraine only had the letter “h”, and made it correspond exactly with the Russian letter “g”. They simplified the Ukrainian grammar. They tried to purge some words that were similar to Polish. This was the vandalism.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  101. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    southern Ukraine Ukrainizing from 55% in 1897 to around 65%-70% in 1989.

    It was more like 57% in 1897 (53.5% Kherson governate, 60% Tavria governate outside Crimea). The loss of Jews and Germans accounts for much of this increase.

    Stalinism did involve mass killing of Ukrainians and importation of Russian colonists.

    From 1926 to 1939 the Ukrainian population increased by only 1.93% but the Russian population increased by 56%.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  102. @AP

    However, Kherson is much more Ukrainian than is Odessa.

    Your UkSSR data is a much better argument.

    However, I should remind readers that Pavel was making a more specific argument:

    … and only because there is not enough Ukrainian resistance in these areas which – thanks to Stalin’s population replacement policy – were intentionally and deliberately “russified”, populated by ethnic Russians during the Soviet time.

    But the areas in question (Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts; former Stalino during 1924-30) always had a very strong Russian presence.

    In 1926, Ukrainins were: 53% in Stalino (now Donetsk oblast, roughly); 52% in Lugansk; 26% in the city of Donetsk (Russians 57%).

    In 1989, Ukrainians were: 51% in Donetsk (now including the city!), 52% in Lugansk oblast.

    Source.

    So he is specifically wrong on the specifics.

    Second, yes, Russians immigrated into Ukraine during the USSR, as they did to Central Asia, and Ukrainians did to places like Central Asia and the Russian Far East as well.

    But that was a steady pattern through Soviet history that was not specific to Stalin, nor synchronized with the Holodomor.

    • Replies: @AP
  103. @AP

    Some detailed comments by someone else, about Russian vs. Ukrainian linguistic artificiality.

    Complexity tends to be more a feature of underdeveloped languages.

    Some of the most complex and impenetrable ones belong to small bands.

    The great “world” languages, such as English, Russian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese (that is, in comparison with local variants) are grammatically simple for ease of communication in the context of large unified nation-states and/or empires.

    OTOH, small languages suffer from not having the vocabulary to describe many of modern civilization’s more technical terms.

    • Replies: @AP
  104. @Andrei Martyanov

    Formally Strelkov was retired, certainly he had no contractual obligations to go to Slavyansk, and most certainly his militia was composed of volunteers, so what, exactly, do you wish to nitpick?

    Only that?” No, but those were the major contributions. Was I writing an essay about the scope of the Russian intervention? Again, what specifially do you want to nitpick?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  105. @AP

    So why do you knowingly post an article that lies?

    It doesn’t lie, it expresses a point of view. And this point of view is extremely common, and incidentally it’s common pretty much everywhere: in the East, South, Zakarpattia, and Kiev. Maybe less so in Galicia and Volhynia, but that’s a different story.

    • Replies: @AP
  106. Pavel says:
    @Wally

    Look at the map on top of the article. What you see in color is exactly what the Russians wanted to become their “Novorossia”.

    The goal was clear and simple – to invade, occupy and quickly, through what has become known as “occupendum” (referendum in the reality of foreign armed forces occupation), take over the Crimea, then immediately start “building the land bridge” to the annexed peninsula through the Ukrainian south-east.

    In reality, despite occupation and annexation of Crimea were successful (no surprise here, when one stabs his declared friend in the back it’s usually successful), the Russians could not achieve anything apart from holding small parts within Luhansk and Donetsk regions (mind it not whole regions, but small parts of them only).

    The Russians could not even hold Mariupol, in the Donetsk region, which was quickly retaken by the Ukrainian army and the National Guard, same way as Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, and certain other towns within Luhansk and Donetsk regions were liberated from Russian troops, uniformed or in plain cloths.

    It’s not that the Russians did not want to split Ukraine in 2 and made south-eastern part of her, plus Kharkiv region (currently fully under the control of the Ukrainian government) their “Novorossia”. They wanted exactly that, and they were working hard to make it happen. Putin talked publicly about it using the terminology such as “Novorossia”, but the fact was, and remains to be, that the Russians just could not achieve their goal.

    The main reason of the Russian failure in creating “Novorossia” is that Putin finally understood, probably in late 2014, that splitting Ukraine in 2 would cost him his presidency and, most likely, his life, because even within his close circle of friends, no matter what they say publicly appearing as “united”, people were not, and are not, prepared to lose everything – add here guerrilla war against them personally, their interests everywhere, both outside and inside Russia – in exchange for this “Novorossia” imperialist fantasy.

    Please do not try to present it as if Russia did not want to split Ukraine and create “Novorossia” because of some rational considerations. Russia wanted “Novorossia” to happen, badly, it’s just that Russia could not get it done, for various reasons, among them moral unpreparedness of the Russian people to lose dozens of thousands of lives of young Russian soldiers in stupid Kremlin war with neighboring white European nation of Ukraine, in the reality of rapidly growing Ukrainian patriotism in the reality of foreign aggression committed by supposed “friend” (which added bitterness to natural anger in response to cowardly backstabbing attack).

    Russia has no problem supporting “the pathetic Crimea basket case”, which cost Russia a lot, as reported by the Russian government economists. Russians inside Russia does not like it very much, but at least annexation of Crimea was somewhat “justified” to them preying on their respect to history of the region combined with the complete juridical illiteracy. However, of course, annexation still remains to be illegal because one just cannot grab what he believes is his without at least
    presenting claims in civilized manner first, pursuant to the international law which, let me remind you, applies to Russia equally thus protecting her current ownership of the territories which not that long ago belonged to Finland, Germany (Prussia), China and Japan.

    Crimea will of course be returned to Ukraine, but not before Russia realizes that this is a necessity to restore trust-based relationship with Ukraine and, through this example, others. It will happen when Russia will finally accept herself as true European nation, not a semi-Asiatic rogue state. It will be extremely difficult for Russia to restore this trust, it may take a couple of generations.

    Another important aspect of what has happened is that Putin sent his troops, many of them Muslim Chechens and Asiatic Buryats, to kill white European Ukrainians, his nation’s (even if not his personal) natural allies. By his cowardly, backstabbing, stupid imperialistic attack on brotherly nation of Ukraine, Putin committed not just a crime but delivered great disservice to his own nation and severely damaged the entire concept of white European brotherhood about which many bright minds, from Guillaume Faye to Alexander Dugin, have written. To add insult to injury, Putin has thrown in jail true Russian patriots, nationalists, who openly opposed the attack on brotherly white European nation.

    It’s worth to mention that ones who support Putin’s aggression on Ukraine are simply anti-white.

  107. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    This is a very good point. OTOH these imperial languages tend to be more artificial or manufactured. The comment I posted was in response to the common (false) Russian idea that the Ukrainian language is an artificial one, in comparison to Russian, when in reality the opposite is the case.

    Modern Ukrainian is very similar to the excerpts I provided from 1619 and 1798, and has preserved archaic grammar features that have disappeared in Russian. When Ukrainian was standardized (as Little Russian) by Little Russian activists in the 19th century there was a very deliberate effort to use the pure speech used by people was Poltava; Russian in contrast used a lot of Church Slavonic and French words; it was less organic. I suspect this had to do with the fact that Ukrainian was standardized a few decades later, when Romanticism had come to emphasize peasants, than was Russian.

  108. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    In 1926, Ukrainins were: 53% in Stalino (now Donetsk oblast, roughly); 52% in Lugansk; 26% in the city of Donetsk (Russians 57%).

    In 1989, Ukrainians were: 51% in Donetsk (now including the city!), 52% in Lugansk oblast.

    Rural Ukrainians also traditionally have had a significantly higher fertility rate than ethnic Russians, who tended to be urban. This, plus the disappearance of Jews and Germans, accounts for a relative increase in the Ukrainian %.

    Second, yes, Russians immigrated into Ukraine during the USSR, as they did to Central Asia, and Ukrainians did to places like Central Asia and the Russian Far East as well.

    But that was a steady pattern through Soviet history that was not specific to Stalin, nor synchronized with the Holodomor.

    Correct for most of the Soviet period. This process would result in a slow and gradual erosion of the Ukrainian % in the Ukrainian SSR, which is what happened.

    Stalin’s time was different, however. But during the Holodomor, the Ukrainian population dropped while the Russian population kept increasing. That’s why from 1926 to 1939 the Ukrainian population increased by only 1.93% but the Russian population increased by 56%. The reason for that, of course, is that the Holodomor killed millions of peasants (most of whom were Ukrainians) but didn’t really affect city-dwellers much (where the Russians lived and moved to).

  109. Mr. Hack says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    In other words, the dominant effect was not Stalin killing off Ukrainians and replacing them with Russians, but Ukrainians Russifying in the Kuban, and southern Ukraine Ukrainizing from 55% in 1897 to around 65%-70% in 1989.

    So, whether we believe your version of the facts regarding the importation of Russians into Ukraine to replace dying Ukrainians, or AP’s different version, the fact remains that Ukrainians were (in 1987), and still remain (2017) the dominant ethnic group in these Southern Ukrainian lands. And, as you point out, for whatever reason, the Ukrainian ethnos is increasing there all of the time. Isn’t this enough reason for you to give up on the outdated and revisioninst idea of somesort of a new NovoRosija. It seems clear, that even your close Russian nationalist cohort, Ahdrei Martyanov, is smart enough to see the bright light:

    I have my own contacts, can not be ignored. It is a huge factor. Kharkov had its chance, they chose Kernes. Too bad, people need to go through the phase of living with the consequences of their decisions. I have a very good first-hand experience with how real self-determination movements start, no part of the Novorossia, with the exception of Lugansk and Donetsk, matched even one tenth of scale and effort required to get back to Russia, or, at least, get away from Kiev. I don’t blame them but it is what it is and this couldn’t be ignored and it is not being ignored, thankfully.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  110. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    It doesn’t lie, it expresses a point of view.

    No, it made a factual claim:

    И со словом «кит» – этим словом обозначается и тот, что на заборе сидит и мурлычет, и тот, что в океане плавает

    That was clearly false. A lie.

    Nothing else the author wrote can be trusted.

    And this point of view is extremely common, and incidentally it’s common pretty much everywhere:

    Translation: some dishonest Party of Regions writer in Donbas said it’s common, and gullible Mao believes him.

    I’m sure that Russian nationalist activists from all over the place make this claim. This doesn’t make it true.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  111. Part 1 of 3

    The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia

    [MORE]

    Chapter 9
    After August 7: The Escalation of the Russia-Georgia War
    byPavel Felgenhauer
    The sequence of events that led to the Russia-Georgia war is a matter of political contention and shifting blame, even though there is broad agreement on the narrative of the subsequent combat per se. Of course, the fog of war continues to obscure many details; staff documents are still secret on both the Russian and Georgian sides, as are figures on the exact number of men, tanks, and warplanes that were involved. However, there are good estimates on numbers and on the moves made by both sides in a short but eventful war.
    The Strategic Mismatch
    The Russians and their separatist allies in Abkhazia and South Ossetia prepared and executed in August 2008 a war which the Georgians did not predict or expect. The Georgians, until they were plunged headlong into the fighting, appear to have prepared only for a replay of previous confrontations in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions in the early 1990s, which had resulted in a military standoff with the separatist forces, who were sup-ported to some extent by the Russian military and by so-called North Caucasian volunteers and Cossacks. But this time, the Russian military staged an all-out invasion, planning to totally decimate and destroy the Georgian military—in effect, a full demilitarization of Georgia, as well as to overthrow the hated pro-Western regime led by President Mikheil Saakashvili. For this purpose, the Russian staffs mobilized and prepared for action tens of thousands of servicemen from the Navy, Air Force, and Army. The Russian war plans also envisaged a possible escalation of the conflict with Georgia to involve the U.S. and NATO.

    In the actual fighting in August 2008, the separatist forces that the Georgians had seen as their main adversary played only a supporting role as a vanguard to the Russians, to engage and draw the Georgian forces into combat. Subsequently their role shifted to that of an auxiliary infantry. This strategic mismatch in perceptions and planning produced a disastrous result for Georgia and threw Western policy-makers into disarray and created utter uncertainty over what to expect from Russia in the Caucasus or else-where. This confusion persists to the present.

    In public testimony before a parliamentary commission investigating the war with Russia, the Chief of Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces during the war, General Zaza Gogava, disclosed that “military and foreign intelligence information coming before August was not comprehensive enough to indicate that such a large-scale Russian military intervention was to be expected. We were not expecting what started on August 9 – a full-scale military intervention with the goal to take over the capital city, Tbilisi.” Gogava, as well as other Georgian officials who testified before the commission, divided the Russian military intervention into two phases—the first from August 7-9, and the second starting from August 9, when Russia launched what the Georgians term a “full-scale aggression.” The Georgian failure to predict the Russian intervention was attributable in part to intelligence failure. Indeed, Gogava complained ruefully that “In 2005 the Intelligence unit in the Ministry of Defense had been disbanded.” [1]

  112. @Anatoly Karlin

    Formally Strelkov was retired, certainly he had no contractual obligations to go to Slavyansk, and most certainly his militia was composed of volunteers, so what, exactly, do you wish to nitpick?

    Anatoly, Girkin (aka Strelkov) is a fraud, what is interesting, he is a multidimensional fraud: militarily, geopolitically, politically, ideologically etc. Today more and more information becomes available both about the fate of Slavyansk and of Girkin’s activity there. After non-stop delirium which Girkin delivers for the last three years–enough to read (difficult to do without cringing) his “forecasts” on Syria–on the whole range of issues, one has to face not only on the merit but irresistible question–what does it say about a person who states this:

    So yes, it is indeed very homegrown, though it is true that the NAF would not have survived in its embryonic stages without the more competent and experienced Russian volunteers like Strelkov

    I’ll open some secret to you–there were more competent, more courageous and more experienced people than Girkin and who still remain in the shadows, as they are supposed to do. The more I learn details, the more I (and not me only) have questions about Girkin “competencies” as a military man.

    “Only that?” No, but those were the major contributions. Was I writing an essay about the scope of the Russian intervention?

    But you still made, entirely false, statement above. In fact, if not for Girkin, LDNR might have had a better strategic position today. The actions of Moscow on several major levels, of Russia’s Armed Forces, of intelligence services etc. made sure that Republics will not fall.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  113. @Pavel

    Please do not try to present it as if Russia did not want to split Ukraine and create “Novorossia” because of some rational considerations.

    No, it didn’t. If it did, it would have been done in a matter of weeks, and with minimal casualties, considering the degree of chaos and lack of Ukrainian military preparedness at the time. Establishing a land bridge to Crimea would have even more trivial.

    Russians inside Russia does not like it very much…

    By “Russians inside Russia” OP evidently means about 10% of Russians, that is, West-worshipping liberals and the small percentage of self-hating nationalists who are Nazi-LARPers.

    It will happen when Russia will finally accept herself as true European nation, not a semi-Asiatic rogue state.

    And you are qualified to adjudicate between the two… exactly how?

    … and severely damaged the entire concept of white European brotherhood about which many bright minds, from Guillaume Faye to Alexander Dugin, have written.

    Dugin has nothing to do with either white European brotherhood nor bright minds. He is an open borders Eurasianist who wants to create a Greater Turkestan, and (thankfully) has minimal influence within Russia itself . Though I will give him kudos on his hardline stance on the Ukraine.

    To add insult to injury, Putin has thrown in jail true Russian patriots, nationalists, who openly opposed the attack on brotherly white European nation.

    Putin throws nationalists in jail without much regard for their pro/anti-Ukraine status.

    Almost all Russian nationalists apart from aforementioned Nazi-LARpers support Crimea, and a solid majority believes Putin cucked on Donbass.

  114. @Pavel

    You really need to get back on your meds. But it seems that living in the reality is not a thing practiced by Ukrainians anymore (I doubt it was in the last 25 years).

    Another important aspect of what has happened is that Putin sent his troops, many of them Muslim Chechens and Asiatic Buryats, to kill white European Ukrainians,

    I have some good news for you–10 Buryat Armored Divisions (all equipped with T-14 Armata MBTs) have been just demolished by VSU near Kherson and hospitals are filled with wounded Buryat tankers. Meanwhile Chechen armies are in full retreat around Donetsk. Schee Ne Vmerla Ukraina!!! ;-)

  115. Mr. Hack says:
    @Mr. Hack

    ’1897′ not ’1987′.

  116. @AP

    I’m sure that Russian nationalist activists from all over the place make this claim. This doesn’t make it true.

    I’m sure Russian nationalist activists don’t care. But ordinary people from all over the place say that they have trouble understanding crappy official mambo-jumbo language that sounds like a parody of itself. And that’s all there is to it.

    • Replies: @AP
  117. Part 2 of 3

    The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia

    [MORE]

    The secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council during the war, Alexander Lomaia (appointed Georgian ambassador to the UN in December 2008), testified that Russia used about a third of its combat-capable land forces in the operation against Georgia (“over 80,000 Russian servicemen were involved in all operations”) and that “neither we nor any foreign intelligence service had any information about Russia’s expected full-scale invasion and occupation of a large part of our territory – it was a shock and a surprise.” According to Lomaia, it was known that several thousand Russian troops deployed during the Kavkaz-2008 military exercises on Georgia’s northern border and in the vicinity of South Ossetia in July 2008, began moving through the Roki tunnel into South Ossetia on August 7, but the Georgian leaders believed they had enough troops to deal with such a force. Apparently, the Georgians did not notice a statement by General Yuri Netkachev that the number of troops involved in the Kavkaz-2008 exercises (8,000) “was officially underestimated.”[2] According to Lomaia:

    “We can suppose that a political decision [on full-scale military intervention] was made in Russia on August 9 when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Vladikavkaz; it seems that he was informed about the heavy damage inflicted on the Russian forces [already fighting in South Ossetia]
    and it seems that the decision was taken, after that to put into operation the plan involving a full-scale intervention.” [3]

    Georgian leaders did not fully understand Russian intentions, and made staggeringly erroneous assessments that led to strategically disastrous decisions. Georgian foreign intelligence service chief Gela Bezhuashvili, a former defense and foreign minister, in public testimony before the parliamentary commission stated that:

    Our information suggested Russia was planning a military intervention. A decision was made in principle to carry out aggression against Georgia in the second half of 2007. Analysis of both open and secret sources indicated that provocations were being prepared in the conflict areas, involving training and arming of the separatists forces, as well as preparing Cossacks to intervene in the area of conflict. The mobilization of Russia’s air force started at the Mozdok airbase in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic. Russia’s A-50 reconnaissance aircraft, which is an AWACS type spy-plane, landed in Mozdok on August 4 or 5th. It is capable of correcting [i.e. tracing] artillery fire. [4]

    Bezhuashvili’s assessment seems to be accurate, though some mistakes in it have never been corrected. For example, the old Russian A-50 AWACS is equipped with ancient electronics, cannot “see” anything on the ground, and cannot possibly “correct artillery fire.” Such mistakes, apparently, led to disastrous misinterpretations. Bezhuashvili acknowledged that “an assessment of the expected scale of the aggression was not easy.” As a result, according to Bezhuashvili, Georgian foreign intelligence did not foresee that war might break out in August. “We were expecting that Russia would escalate tensions in September, October or in November 2008.” The Georgians did not foresee that Russia was planning an invasion on two fronts (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) at the same time. To quote Bezhuashvili again, “we had no intelligence information that Russia was planning to occupy western Georgia including Poti, Senaki and Zugdidi.”[5] Apparently, the Georgians did not take seriously a statement by Abkhazia’s foreign minister, Sergey Shamba, made in May 2008, that “it will take us two days to go on the offensive into Western Georgia and create a security buffer zone.” [6]

  118. @Andrei Martyanov

    Anatoly, Girkin (aka Strelkov) is a fraud, what is interesting, he is a multidimensional fraud…

    Yes, I’m quite aware that you have a low opinion of Strelkov. That is not news to me.

    But you still made, entirely false, statement above.

    In the same way that I made a false statement about Russia not having an alternative to SWIFT c. 2014, which you disputed, but were unable to provide any hard evidence of? (Apart from your secret high-placed sources).

    In fact, if not for Girkin, LDNR might have had a better strategic position today.

    Possible course of events if Strelkov had mounted a last stand in Slavyansk (as Kremlin flunkies like Kurginyan wanted him to): He and his men would have died martyrs’ deaths, Ukrainian Army would have swept into Donetsk without any major resistance, Russia’s leadership would wash their hands of a major headache.

    Or maybe not, and you are right. I don’t have the detailed insider information needed to make an accurate judgment on this score, but you will forgive me for suspecting that in this respect, we are comparable.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  119. peterAUS says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    No, it didn’t. If it did, it would have been done in a matter of weeks, and with minimal casualties, considering the degree of chaos and lack of Ukrainian military preparedness at the time. Establishing a land bridge to Crimea would have even more trivial.

    Yes and no.

    Yes if Russia had used own armed forces.
    No, as it didn’t, for obvious geopolitical reasons.

    The effort relied on local forces (with help from Russia but not direct involvement…let’s not get into semantics here) and it failed.
    Lack of enthusiasm among locals, IMHO.

  120. @Anatoly Karlin

    Yes, I’m quite aware that you have a low opinion of Strelkov. That is not news to me.

    Wrong framing of the issue. What I think is really not that important, more important–what do actions say. If you want to deny that Girkin is grotesquely incompetent man, such as his “thoughts” which he “shares” with uneducated people, testify to, be my guest. I wonder about your opinion on how did he manage to leave 25 wounded soldiers behind in Slavyansk.

    (Apart from your secret high-placed sources).

    It is called PerSec, actually, since some of those “sources” used to be a very remarkable people. I can only talk about people who are public and do not hide, quite justifiably, behind some avatars when they make their opinions public. Even those who are more-or-less public still may not necessarily be enthused on conveying their opinions with association to their names. I “got out of the closet” also relatively recently, 2014, but then again, circumstances demanded it. I even have a photographic proofs of what I am talking about.

    Possible course of events if Strelkov had mounted a last stand in Slavyansk (as Kremlin flunkies like Kurginyan wanted him to): He and his men would have died martyrs’ deaths, Ukrainian Army would have swept into Donetsk without any major resistance, Russia’s leadership would wash their hands of a major headache.

    Absolutely a wild claim with not a shred of proof and which was utterly debunked in 2014, and in 2015, and in 2016 and… fill in the blanks. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Highlighted in bold is altogether an exact thing which puts anyone even remotely acquainted with causality into stupor. Just a reminder.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/04/russia-military-exercises-ukraine-border

    Or maybe not, and you are right. I don’t have the detailed insider information needed to make an accurate judgment on this score, but you will forgive me for suspecting that in this respect, we are comparable.

    I don’t think that we are comparable in any respect, least of all in the military issues. You can not even grasp the abyss, even with your obviously high IQ.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  121. Mikel says:
    @AP

    You make good points, as usual.

    But I used to discuss this with Ukrainians at the Kyiv Post, when it more or less allowed a certain degree of debate, and your position largely resembles the predominant one there: “the Russians also done it”, “the Russians are worse”,…

    I have a problem with a country that declares its intention of becoming more civilized, modern, European, etc but then engages in a war against a part of its own citizens and satisfies itself with saying that they were less barbaric than the Russians or the Syrians. This may be true (although I didn’t see much evidence that Ukraine made any less military progress due to a lack of willingness to inflict damage to civilians) but it doesn’t show much real ambition in its Europeanization project.

    The other thing is that Croats indeed killed Serbian civilians (and vice versa) and Russians killed Chechen civilians. Ukraine declared an “anti-terrorist” operation but what we all saw was the quelling of a rebellion that involved killing thousands of its own civilians.

    That the Russians were clearly supporting that rebellion does not have any obvious relationship with the willingness of the Ukrainian authorities (and the Ukrainian society at large) to resort to those brutal measures. People in Donbass had recently voted overwhelmingly for the deposed President so very large numbers of them were undoubtedly opposed to the new authorities, with or without Russian intervention. Once the ATO was put in place from Kiev, to this outside observer it looked like the loss of civilian Moskali lives was not given much consideration (remember what Timoshenko said that should be done with them).

    • Replies: @AP
  122. @Anatoly Karlin

    and a solid majority believes Putin cucked on Donbass.

    1. Solid “majority” of who?
    2. Any numbers to back such a claim?
    3. What is a claim of that “majority” to being privy to everyday diplomatic, humint, signint, analytical and other highly classified data which Russia’s leadership receives? May I go on a limb here in defining who this “majority” is?

  123. Part 3 of 3

    Chapter 9
    After August 7: The Escalation of the Russia-Georgia War

    Pavel Felgenhauer

    The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia

    [MORE]

    Georgia’s defense minister during the August war, Davit Kezerashvili, told this author in Tbilisi in November 2008 that, “if we would have known the scale of the Russian invasion, we would have prepared defensive positions, trenches and dugouts.” Several days later, Kezerashvili told the parliamentary commission that “Georgia’s army was not prepared for conventional warfare, as its training was mainly focused on lower-scale operations and anti-terrorist operations. In Principle, we knew Russia might attack, but I was not sure it would until August 7. Friendly Western nations all told us that it is impossible that in the twenty-first century Russia might initiate a direct intervention. We could have built fortified defense positions, dugouts and bunkers from Gori to Tbilisi and from Abkhazia to Kutaisi, but this could have led to panic [of the civilian population].” [7] Therefore, nothing was built.

    The massive Russian invasion caught the Georgians off guard and unprepared both strategically and tactically. Russia, led by former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, managed to hide its preparations and intentions not only from the Georgians, but also from Western governments and intelligence services. The Georgian military was ready for a mobile, mostly offensive war either in Abkhazia or South Ossetia, but not for simultaneous large-scale combat with superior, heavily armed, and air-supported enemy forces invading from Abkhazia and Ossetia, in other words, on both fronts at the same time. As Georgian forces pushed north into South Ossetia during. August 8, they may have been prepared to fend off a limited Abkhaz assault against the heavily fortified upper Kodori Gorge, but a full-scale Russian invasion over the Inguri River to occupy western Georgia was surely a surprise. Because of this huge strategic blunder, from the very first shot in August 2008, the Georgians had no chance of successfully repelling the Russians. Political and military disaster was inevitable.

    The Russian War Machine Goes into Action

    Once the fighting was over, a Georgian parliamentary commission publicly scrutinized the events of the August war, though some of these proceedings in Tbilisi took place in secret. In Moscow, however, there were no public official hearings of any sort, or detailed official disclosures about the pre-war plan of combat or the actual course of the war. Moscow wanted its military action in Georgia in August 2008 to be seen merely as a reaction to “Georgian aggression” against Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, and against Russian peacekeepers in the region. However, this official Russian position ignores the simple fact that an invasion of such a magnitude would require long-term preparations involving the entire Russian military, including the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

  124. Pavel says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    There is no hypothetical in regards to “Novorossia” project. It existed, and Kremlin did not make a secret out of it. Let’s talk facts here. Russia was trying hard to create “Novorossia”, for many months, not weeks. Everybody in Ukraine, Russia, and outside remember the aggressiveness of Russian special propaganda at that time, specifically on that matter. Putin himself talked, publicly, about “Novorossia” and how she’d become a reality.

    But soon he realized that going through south-eastern Ukraine would not be as easy as backstabbing attack on Crimea, which succeeded largely because of the factor of suddenness. Putin understood, and you probably should, that taking over the territories is meaningless, unless you either prepared to keep your occupying troops there permanently, or unless you have a majority of the people there supporting you.

    In Crimea you had, and continue to have, a very large number of ethnic Russians who always considered themselves nothing but Russians and were loyal to Russia, despite their Ukrainian passports. Also, following the annexation, many Ukrainians refused to live under the Russian occupation and moved out of the annexed Crimea, objectively increasing the number of pro-annexation Russians.

    But in south-eastern Ukraine, or elsewhere in Ukraine, sizable ethic and cultural Russian presence is simply not the case. In some cases, like Odessa, for instance, most ethnic Russians clearly identify as Ukrainians and are openly anti-Putin. Mind that before the Russian attack on Ukraine most of them were unquestionably friendly towards Russia.

    Simply put, you can occupy, but you cannot hold, unless the population accepts you, or unless you are ready to wipe the population out and replace it with the one loyal to you. Putin understood that and thus he made a decision, probably in late 2014, not to advance in Ukraine. Let me repeat his obvious rationale: he could not, and cannot, afford keeping dozens of thousands of soldiers in that area to hold it, and he could not, and cannot, afford receiving truckloads of soldiers killed in action occupying Ukraine.

    This is not to mention that in weeks following the annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian patriotism has reached the unprecedented level and citizens were ready to fight the Russian aggressors everywhere. Putin made a huge geopolitical mistake by invading, occupying and annexing Crimea, but he was correct in deciding to drop the fantasy of “Novorossia” as extremely dangerous – moving forward would have undeniably created something way more disastrous for Russia than Afghanistan or Chechnya.

    Ukrainians would have brought this Russian war to the streets of Russian cities. Sure Putin could have nuked Ukraine out of existence, potentially, but what’s next?.. He’d immediately received dramatically increased NATO presence in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, and Finland would have probably joined NATO in a matter of weeks (you know they seriously considered this, it was discussed in the Russian media). It would all have complicated Putin’s reality, Russia’s existence, beyond belief. Putin understands that. You also should try.

    Russia failed and then started to talk about how she supposedly did not even attempted. This is not only dishonest (however, in all fairness, nobody expects honesty from Russian advocates of backstabbing attacks on neighbors), but exceptionally pathetic.

    This war brought you Crimea, temporarily, but you lost Ukraine. It’s a Pyrrhic victory for Russia. To be blunt, it’s a complete loss. And, “thanks” to Putin, Ukraine, despite our domestic problems, are united as a Nation like never before.

    By “Russians inside Russia” I mean that most Russian residents would not like to see their husband, son, brother, cousin, friend or neighbor killed in a war with (out of all places) Ukraine. 10% liberals you are talking about would have not even consider sending their males to that war, they’d rather leave Russia immediately. By “Russians inside Russia” I mean people who support Putin on everything, including on Ukraine (as they are not sophisticated enough to see that taking part of a foreign country by brutal force is no different from taking some of their property, say, a summer cottage outside of town (dacha), by brutal force).

    These people would have not tolerated receiving dozens of thousands of dead young Russian soldier bodies from Ukraine. People would have rebelled, not just some “liberals”, but the masses. Russians can tolerate losses, yes, but only when Russia is under attack, not when Russia is an actual attacker such as in the war against Ukraine, which many Russians, not just some “liberals”, see as at least “somewhat unnecessary”.

    I am sure none of you pro-Russian propagandists here would go to fight in a large scale war in Ukraine, and of course none of you would send your own brother or son to possibly die there. This is what I am talking about. Ukrainians, to the contrary, would go and fight. Why? – Because they are the ones who were cowardly attacked. Because they defend themselves and what is dear to them – their soil, their culture, their families, even their own mess. In that sense, Ukrainians feel no different from how the Soviet people felt about Nazi Germany’s attack in June 1941.

    Most true white Russian nationalists do not support the war on Ukraine. These include people who fought for the USSR in Afghanistan and for Russia Chechnya, or who supported USSR and Russia, respectively, in these wars. Why they do not support an attack on Ukraine? – Because they see it as an attack on the brotherly white nation.

    Interestingly enough, battalions of Ukrainian National Guard comprise patriots of Ukraine who are not only ethnically Ukrainians who speak the Ukrainian language. Some of these patriots of Ukraine, – call them “Nazis” all you want – are ethnic Russians and Russian speaking Ukrainians, like many in the “Azov” battalion.

    They all serve the sacred duty – defend our Motherland, Ukraine, against the brutal, lying, backstabbing coward from the East who we, erroneously, considered our brother just a few years ago.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  125. C’mon people, don’t be so hopelessly high-IQ.

    Recently I started to like Girkin, all his bullshit notwithstanding. There was something very fascinating in the story, something of Spanish conquistadors and Russian rebels, like Razin. Super-colorful characters: Babai! Strelkov! Shtepa! Real-life adventure-action-thriller happening right in front of our eyes, day after day. Don’t you miss the excitement?

  126. Heros says:

    Nazi, Nazi, Nazi, UkroNazi, Nazi,Nazi,Nazi

    These “Ukronazis” are clearly on the Jewish/Mossad payroll and agenda, and they are also clearly slavic.

    So if we set aside the “Nazi’s” racism towards slavs and jews, what exactly is the difference between “Nazi’s” and “Fascist’s”?

    Hatred for Germans.

    Sometimes I thank Saker=Morgentau.

  127. Cyrano says:

    One of the reasons why Stalin couldn’t stand the look of the Ukrainians is because they acted like they are too good for Communism – I guess based on their pheasant aristocratic background they felt that they are above all that Communism nonsense.

    Nothing much has changed since then. Now the Ukrainians are acting like they are too good to be Eastern European.

    Well, what are you going to do about it? Here is a suggestion – strap Ukraine around the necks of the Ukrainians – some of them seem to have pretty strong necks – like oxen – some of them actually have the intelligence to match too, and then when Ukraine is safely attached around the necks of the Ukrainians, just whip them up into action and don’t let them stop until they’ve reached Western Europe.

  128. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    You can not even grasp the abyss, even with your obviously high IQ.

    As I tried to point out to Karlin above, contrasting your own views with his regarding the viability of a ‘NovoRosijan’ project in Ukraine. :-)

    I have a very good first-hand experience with how real self-determination movements start, no part of the Novorossia, with the exception of Lugansk and Donetsk, matched even one tenth of scale and effort required to get back to Russia, or, at least, get away from Kiev. I don’t blame them but it is what it is and this couldn’t be ignored and it is not being ignored, thankfully.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  129. peterAUS says:

    Well…a good idea, overall.

    https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/sergeants-call-shots-ukraines-improving-army.html

    Now, implementing this could prove…tricky.
    I mean, they’ve waited 3 years just to come up with the idea.
    The article, abridged:

    Ukraine will take a leaf out of U.S. military manuals, and build its new army and navy around a professional sergeant corps surrounded by a range of other mid-ranking officers.
    To prevent this from happening, all fire teams, squads or platoons are to be commanded by skillful and experienced servicemen with the rank of sergeant. While higher-ranking officers take the tactical decisions, sergeants will follow their orders on the ground and lead the soldiers in battle. New recruits will be brought up to scratch by professional drill sergeants serving as instructors at training camps.
    That, in general, has been the practice of most of Western militaries for decades.
    However, since independence, Ukraine’s forces continued to use the less effective Soviet approach, where a sergeant is merely a link between soldiers and officers, with the rank sometimes even being given to a conscript.
    Ukraine’s supreme command eventually decided that a reformed Ukrainian army should be built around a robust core of contracted career sergeants.
    For example, in the modern U. S. Army a fire team of three privates is led by a sergeant — the fifth rank (E 5) in the 13 ranks of enlisted men in the army. Two such fire teams make up a squad, commanded by a staff sergeant (E 6), and three squads make up a platoon, led by a sergeant first class.
    All sergeants are directly responsible for their subordinates, and live and work with the lower-ranking soldiers.
    All of Ukraine’s combat units have been switched to the new system, and all of the non-commissioned officers leading fire teams, squads and platoons now have to be contracted career servicemen.
    Moreover, in June, the Ministry of Defense said it had drafted a bill to completely reorganize the rank system to NATO standards. According to ministry spokesperson Oksana Gavrilyuk, the bill will introduce the ranks of Corporal, Sergeant, Senior Sergeant, Sergeant Major, Staff Sergeant, Major Staff Sergeant, Master Sergeant and Chief Master Sergeant.
    The military says they hope the bill will pass during the current autumn session of parliament and enter into force next year.

    So, as I read this, the best case scenario (for the regime in Kiev) is to have some sort of decent armed force comes summer 2018. Somewhat unlikely, IMHO related to lack of enthusiasm of an average Ukrainian.
    From now to then……..let’s say that Novoroissia, even without help by Russian units, has nothing to worry about. Which can be good or bad, of course.Actually, that would be a good time to go on the offensive against regime in Kiev. No wonder the regime dug in well.

    From summer to winter Novorossia could have a bit of problem but should solve it by itself.

    Now, comes winter 2018, with just decent work by Ukrainians, Novorossia could face a problem it won’t be able to solve by itself. Russia would need to get involved a bit more….

    But, good ideas or not, it all really boils down to how motivated Ukrainians are/will be to join that armed force.

  130. peterAUS says:
    @Pavel

    Agree, more or less and up to a point.
    What puts me a bit back are “attributes/adjectives/emotionally loaded” as:

    They all serve the sacred duty – defend our Motherland, Ukraine, against the brutal, lying, backstabbing coward from the East who we, erroneously, considered our brother just a few years ago.

    This is of some interest:

    I am sure none of you pro-Russian propagandists here would go to fight in a large scale war in Ukraine, and of course none of you would send your own brother or son to possibly die there. This is what I am talking about. Ukrainians, to the contrary, would go and fight.

    Now…be that as it may, could you post how many people you personally know joined combat units of Ukrainian military? And, how many of your….say…bloodline….joined too? Percentage wise would suffice. Say….of all males capable of service I know half joined (not got conscripted…joined). Or, 2/3 of my relatives volunteered and joined.

    I am not trying to be difficult. Just, by those very numbers, we’ll know more about all that stuff than by reading any “professional analyst” …position paper.

    Or…you can say, “sorry, OPSEC/PERSEC’ and I’ll buy it.

    • Replies: @Pavel
  131. @Mr. Hack

    The actual numbers of those who really wanted to get away from Ukraine were relatively small in most locations. What were the exact percentages–only GRU and FSB (and Putin) know. I know how almost 600,000 people in 1.5 million population city on one square look and sound like and what happens when shit really begins to hit the fan–a lot of corpses, shooting, burning and other “wonderful” things. Now, even in the first approximation, Kharkov, which had a reputation for being the most “Russian” city in 2014 barely scrambled (even by the looks of it) 50000 at the peak of activity, in reality, probably, even fewer people–what shoud one expect? Demonstrations are called such for a reason. I guess, it is precisely the case which calls for: let the numbers speak. Donetsk and Lugansk, we all know what happened–people wanted to fight and die for the cause. Now comes this very sensitive point, that Russia’s main geopolitical objective was Crimea alone but it seems that many, obviously, think that contingency planning is very easy in the nation with such a position and weight as Russia. It is not. The main Girkin’s “point” that Russia “flushed” Donbass down the toiled was, well flushed down the toilet by all events of the last three years.

    • Agree: AP
  132. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Never heard it when I was in Ukraine,including central Ukraine. And your “evidence” was a blog post by an obvious liar.

    I suspect: recent events meant Russians are more exposed to Ukrainian than before. Contrary to their stereotype, they can’t understand it that well. So this is an “explanation” – the language isn’t “real”.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  133. Mr. Hack says:
    @Pavel

    This war brought you Crimea, temporarily, but you lost Ukraine. It’s a Pyrrhic victory for Russia. To be blunt, it’s a complete loss. And, “thanks” to Putin, Ukraine, despite our domestic problems, are united as a Nation like never before.

    You’re spot on here, that’s for sure. By pursuing Putin’s half cocked ideas, Russia has greatly diminished its influence in Ukrainian affairs, for many years to come. Just consider, had Russia not fomented war in Eastern Ukraine, and then outright annexed the Crimea, how things might be today.
    A newer, more calculating and impressive pro-Russia political power would have taken the place o the moribund and totally corrupted Regionaire mess. The float in Crimea would still be operating, under its recently renogiated 50 year extension. The Crimea and Donbas would have continued with their historic pro-Russia platforms, and Russia would not be experiencing world sanctions for its aggressive behavior. I’d say, Russia, under Putin’s tutelage has taken a major step backwards! Oh, did I forget to mention that Ukraine wouldn’t be nearly so aggressive, as it is today, in trying to shore up its NATO relationship?…

  134. AP says:

    Just consider, had Russia not fomented war in Eastern Ukraine, and then outright annexed the Crimea, how things might be today.

    A newer, more calculating and impressive pro-Russia political power would have taken the place o the moribund and totally corrupted Regionaire mess.

    I doubt it. Ukraine was slowly drifting westwards. The demographics favored a westward approach (large population decline in the East, stability in the West). What probably would have happened, is that Ukraine would have been a relatively pro-Russian country in the EU orbit, not as pro-Russian as Greece but fairly friendly towards Russia. And NATO would have had about 25% popularity. Instead, Ukraine has become like another Poland. But Russia has Crimea.

  135. @Pavel

    By Nazi LARPers, I was referring specifically to the only sort of nationalist in Russia where there was some significant degree of support for the Ukraine (and not a majority even amongst them).

    I thought that was pretty clear.

    Incidentally, I am pretty familiar with Russian nationalist circles, and your idea that there is any groundwell of pro-Ukrainian sentiment there is one of the most delusional ideas I have heard this past month.

    Ukrainian patriotism has reached the unprecedented level … This is what I am talking about. Ukrainians, to the contrary, would go and fight. …

    That’s a lot of words but the mobilization statistics in 2014-15 indicated quite the contrary.

    The idea that there would be any significant guerilla campaign in places like Odessa or Kharkov, where Euromaidan vs. Antimaidan sentiment was 50/50, is similarly delusional (I will leave the fever dreams about Russia nuking Ukraine out of existence uncommented, and leave this particular fantasy to Ukrainian Defense Ministers).

    In the west, yes, you’d probably have something in between Chechnya and Northern Ireland in intensity in the event of a Russian occupation, but nobody is, was, or will be interested in that agricultural backwater anyway.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Pavel
  136. The US’s purpose for Ukraine is many Imo and doesn’t require much forethought or hands on management.
    1. Ukraine is now within the US influence. In reality, the US can do with Ukraine whatever it wants. For instance, if it wanted to set up some Missile Bases there, it will, using some tired and lying trumped up defensive reason. The US wields power and influence now in Ukraine that 5 years ago it could only dream of. Right up to Russia’s border and, that may be a thorn the Western Zionists can use at any point into the future and, for any nasty anti Russian reason they can think of.

    At the moment it looks like the US have lost focus and interest in Ukraine but they still hold the reins of power in the place. That is real power and, it’s how the US likes to operate.
    2. The US Corporations have already come into Ukraine and raped the place for any value they can find. They will sell the leaves off the tress if they can find a buyer. This is the other ‘fiscal’ motivation for the coup.
    The Eastern part of Ukraine has rejected the US authority but the US knows that they don’t really matter that much for their purposes. The US is not intending to rebuild Ukraine or invest huge amounts of money into the place to make it a shining example of Western hegemony in action. They don’t care what happens to Ukraine or the people as long as they control the real power of decisions there when they decide to act.
    3. Russia is the obvious long term enemy of the US zionists and Ukraine gives them a wonderful staging area to do their evil deeds whenever they deem it necessary.
    The ONLY threat to the US’s power in Ukraine are the normal people. The silent majority you called them. They are too busy keeping their heads down and trying to find enough food to feed their families. But, if they ever tire of what is happening in their country and start to organise and fight against the Nazi’s and the corruption then, and only then, will the US start to worry about what’s happening in Ukraine.
    Russia should be funding, organising and trying to initiate a groundswell movement to assist and help normal Ukrainians to retake their country but, does the normal Ukrainian have the guts, interest, and vision to start the resistance?
    Time will tell but, their decision will cause them to see their next generation either have bent backs from slavery and no hope or, strong straight backs with confidence, purpose and vision for the future.
    I know which future I would choose if I happened to live there.

    • Replies: @polskijoe
  137. peterAUS says:
    @Mr. Hack

    That’s one way to look at it.

    There is another:
    NATO troops would patrol Ukraine/Russia border.
    NATO heavy assets would be positioned in Ukraine.
    The fleet would be effectively besieged in their base rendering it almost inoperable. That would directly affect current state in Syria.

    Also, after consolidation of the regime in Ukraine a next phase of the “push Eastwards” would commence. The same push that’s been going on since ’89.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  138. AP says:
    @Mikel

    your position largely resembles the predominant one there: “the Russians also done it”, “the Russians are worse”,

    Well, Ukraine is a post-Soviet country with a post-Soviet military. It is expected that its military would act a little like Russia did in Chechnya. That’s just the way it is. Ukraine didn’t have precision missiles and deadly drones to take out its enemies (and even those produce some civilian casualties). It has artillery. But, it was much less deadly towards civilians than was the Russian military.

    I have a problem with a country that declares its intention of becoming more civilized, modern, European, etc but then engages in a war against a part of its own citizens and satisfies itself with saying that they were less barbaric than the Russians or the Syrians

    I don’t know if it is satisfied. Ukraine would probably love to get its hands on better Western equipment, that would minimize civilian casualties. But if the situation is – “our positions are being attacked from this civilian area, we can either just take the bombing, abandon our positions, or shoot back” – shooting back is not unreasonable, even though the consequences are tragic.

    Again, 3,000 civilians died in Donbas. 50,000-250,000 civilians died in Chechnya. Clearly the Ukrainian forces aren’t trying to maximize civilians casualties.

    Ukraine declared an “anti-terrorist” operation but what we all saw was the quelling of a rebellion that involved killing thousands of its own civilians.

    Well, didn’t Russian civilians die in the anti-terrorist action in the the NordOst theater and in Beslan? In Nordost 170 civilians and 40 terrorists died. The civilians died from gas poisoning by Russian forces. In the Beslan school siege 31 terrorists and 340 civilians were killed. According to human rights organizations (so perhaps, take with a grain of salt) 80% of the civilians casualties came from Russian fire.

    The ratio of dead civilians to dead militants in ATO is much better than that.

    Once the ATO was put in place from Kiev, to this outside observer it looked like the loss of civilian Moskali lives was not given much consideration

    If the Kiev forces were totally indifferent to civilian lives (or worse, wanted to kill a lot of civilians) the death toll would have been much higher than it has been. Donbas rebels and Russian volunteers are operating out of heavily-populated urban areas, because such areas provide good cover for them. Civilians pay the price.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Mikel
  139. polskijoe says:

    Why are people pointing fingers at only one country?

    This whole situation had several players involved.

    I assume the modern Russian tactics are not to overextend (like SU)
    but to limit Western influence.

    They took Crimea and small area of Donbass (fighting still happening?).

    I dont buy arguments they are gonna start rolling tanks to Warsaw or Berlin or Kyiv.

  140. polskijoe says:
    @Peppercorn

    wouldnt it be, Liberals, Neocons and Zionists all leading the charge?
    I guess the Ukrainian lobby have significant influence over in Canada too.

  141. polskijoe says:
    @AP

    Makes sense I guess.
    Although Poles are split on Ukraine (aid them or not, friendly or not).
    And with Russia, while most Poles distrust Russia, half want to trade, the other half do not.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  142. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    What probably would have happened, is that Ukraine would have been a relatively pro-Russian country in the EU orbit, not as pro-Russian as Greece but fairly friendly towards Russia. And NATO would have had about 25% popularity. Instead, Ukraine has become like another Poland. But Russia has Crimea.

    How did what I write contradict your own thoughts on the matter?…

    • Replies: @AP
  143. Mr. Hack says:
    @peterAUS

    Before Putin’s Ukrainian war began, Ukrainians were hesitant to join NATO:

    According to polls conducted between 2005 and 2013, Ukrainian public support of NATO membership remained low.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] However, since the start of the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, public support for Ukrainian membership in NATO has risen greatly. Since June 2014, polls showed that about 50% of those asked supported Ukrainian NATO membership.[17][18][19][20] Some 69 percent of Ukrainians want to join NATO, according to a June 2017 poll by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, compared to 28 percent support in 2012 when Yanukovich was in power.[21]

    A big miscalculation for Russia!

  144. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    The idea that there would be any significant guerilla campaign in places like Odessa or Kharkov, where Euromaidan vs. Antimaidan sentiment was 50/50, is similarly delusional

    Guerrilla activity of course not. But IRA attacks, bombings, shootings – likely. Right Sector, Azov, etc. are mostly eastern Ukrainians. Presumably, however, Russian intelligence services would be able to infiltrate and liquidate these within a year or two, at which point you would have a largely resentful (over half opposed to Russian rule) but peaceful population.

  145. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    You wrote that a savvy pro-Russian party would/could have come to power in Ukraine if Russia hadn’t taken Crimea and helped the rebellion in Donbas. I think that would have been very unlikely.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  146. Mikel says:
    @AP

    shooting back is not unreasonable, even though the consequences are tragic.

    I am sure that there are Ukrainians that consider that it is not worth it to retake Donbass if the only way to do it is by shedding civilian blood and causing so much suffering. But to date I have not been able to meet any.

    That is, BTW, exactly how I feel about my native Basque Country. I would like it to be independent from Spain and France but if achieving that goal requires killing anyone (I’m not even talking about civilians), I’d rather stay the way we are. I have witnessed violence and it is a very messy business. You destroy the lives of the people you kill, their children, spouses,… too much suffering and moral degradation for a simple political gain.

    I know for a fact that this is the way most Basques feel and the same goes for Catalans (as we are witnessing right now), Scots, Flemings, Lombards… Perhaps it’s not s not just the military that was post-Soviet in Ukraine but also the mentality?

    Again, 3,000 civilians died in Donbas. 50,000-250,000 civilians died in Chechnya.

    Indeed, there we go again. The Russians are even worse. Maybe. But in Crimea there were around zero casualties. It looks like that time they did take some care to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @AP
  147. Bill says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    As far as I can tell, the evidence continues to favor the theory that Ukranian forces shot down MH-17. Is there good reason to believe that the militias had BUKs? For example, how many Ukrainian aircraft were shot down by BUKs? Most likely, it was an accident, perhaps a drunken accident as Seymour Hersh reported.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  148. Mikel says:
    @polskijoe

    Poles are split on Ukraine (aid them or not, friendly or not).

    It looks like things have changed a lot since the 90′s. I have plenty of family and friends in Poland and when I decided to travel to Kiev everybody advised me strongly against it. There was a lot of banditry coming from the East in those days and Ukrainians were particularly feared. Najgorsze Rossii, they used to call them. But nothing bad happened to me.

  149. @Beckow

    Countries like Poland develop a habit of wanting to be kicked around. It doesn’t feel normal otherwise.

    • Replies: @Cyrano
  150. peterAUS says:
    @Mikel

    I would like it to be independent from Spain and France but if achieving that goal requires killing anyone (I’m not even talking about civilians), I’d rather stay the way we are. I have witnessed violence and it is a very messy business. You destroy the lives of the people you kill, their children, spouses,… too much suffering and moral degradation for a simple political gain.

    Auh………..!?!

    Im….pressive……

    If I’d only known.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  151. @Wizard of Oz

    Most Ukrainians speak only Russian. Timoshenko speaks Russian most of the time.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @Cyrano
  152. peterAUS says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Yeah…..

    And that would’ve made a difference.

    I mean….what people want versus what bought up politicians want (or, better, their true masters).
    In Ukraine?

    You serious?

  153. @Johnny Rico

    Yes Tommy, you are right. America never stages coups in foreign countries. But it does help freedom loving people everywhere, just not in Crimea or in Russia.

  154. @Mr. Hack

    It would have been fine. But the US helped Ukraine with five billion dollars to create anti-government demonstrations and then hired snipers to shoot at both sides at night. Why did they do that?

  155. Cyrano says:
    @voice crying in the wilderness

    You got it man. What was that philosophical BS – I think therefore I am. Translated into Polish: I am being kicked around therefore I am. It’s the only kind of existence they know.

  156. Mikel says:
    @peterAUS

    Auh………..!?!

    Im….pressive……

    If I’d only known.

    People keep forgetting how horrible and messy wars are. Which is why they start them once and again. Which is why we’re having this particular discussion.

    Fortunately, places like Western Europe have learned to avoid wars for 80+ years. And it turns out that life is much better that way. That’s obviously why most everyone in the rest of Europe wants to join our institutions, including Ukrainians. But it is not unwise to allow only peaceful, stable countries to join.

  157. @voice crying in the wilderness

    Why do you utter such utter BS as your first sentence witbout at least looking up something like Wikipedia’s Languages of Ukraine and acknowledging that you need to do quite a bit of work if you are to maintain any credibility. (Warning: it is long and cites and links many studies).

    It wouldn’t be a bad idea to start by defining what you mean by “Ukraine” when making such assertions. Donbass included? Crimea?

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  158. @Bill

    Obviously you have only a casual interest in the matter, like me. But I know of no actual evidence that the Ukrainians shot down MH17 and have never heard the “drunken accident” applied to them – only deliberate “false flag” (with zero evidence).

    You should get up at least to the bog standard level of assertive ignorance on these threads. Look back on this one and I think you will agree that no one with any memory neurons left is denying that a Russian BUK was moved into and out of the rebel area at relevant times. Who was manning it is perhaps less clear but it seems likely that it would have included some Russians trained to use them. (Could have included some Russophile former Ukrainian servicemen I supposè).

    • Replies: @Erebus
    , @Bill
  159. AP says:
    @Mikel

    I am sure that there are Ukrainians that consider that it is not worth it to retake Donbass if the only way to do it is by shedding civilian blood and causing so much suffering. But to date I have not been able to meet any.

    I don’t know what the polls are – IIRC perhaps 1/3 don’t want to retake Donbas. I wish it were higher. As I’ve mentioned in other posts – one reason for fighting there is so that the fight won’t spread elsewhere. One hears that from a lot of people in Ukraine. Typical comment, said to me by some lady from Dnipropetrovsk, former Yanukovich voter, who had opposed Maidan actually: “we didn’t fight in Crimea, so they took it. At first we didn’t fight in Donetsk, and they started taking towns. How much could we allow them to just take? So we had to do something.”

    the same goes for Catalans (as we are witnessing right now), Scots, Flemings, Lombards… Perhaps it’s not s not just the military that was post-Soviet in Ukraine but also the mentality?

    The people you mention also, all don’t mind packing their countries with troublesome Muslims. Unlike Eastern Europeans. I’m not sure the latter mentality is “post-Soviet”, rather than simply pro-Polish, pro-Ukrainian, etc.

    That is, BTW, exactly how I feel about my native Basque Country. I would like it to be independent from Spain and France but if achieving that goal requires killing anyone (I’m not even talking about civilians), I’d rather stay the way we are.

    A saintly attitude (I say this without mockery). The problem is that in this case, the preemptive surrender for the purpose of not taking of lives, means that you cede the world to those who are willing to take lives. Is this reasonable?

    Maybe. But in Crimea there were around zero casualties. It looks like that time they did take some care to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. Maybe. But in Crimea there were around zero casualties. It looks like that time they did take some care to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.

    Ukrainian troops in Crimea, unlike Donbas rebels and Russian adventurers, didn’t fight back out of populated areas, drawing fire into them. They basically didn’t fight at all. Do you think that if the Ukrainian troops dug into residential areas and shot at the Russians, the Russians would leave Crimea alone? I doubt it – they would have wiped put the Ukrainian forces and there would have been civilian collateral casualties.

    Kharkiv didn’t fight against Kiev – and no bloodshed.

    If Ukrainians refused to fight in Donbas, do you think that those rebels and Russian adventurers would have respected pacifism and politely stopped at the border of Donetsk oblast? Or would they have instead set up Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Odessa, etc. Republics. Hell, out of Kiev’s 4 million or so people, a few 10,000s pro-Russians could be found, to set up a pro-Russian Republic there too, if every Ukrainian was a pacifist who refused to fight, in order not to take any lives.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Mikel
  160. peterAUS says:
    @AP

    A very reasonable post.

    The issue is, though, you are debating with a pacifist.

    Your call.
    Good luck.

  161. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    I should have been clearer there. What I meant to say is that a new pro-Russian party could have supplplanted the moribund party of the Regions, but not one that would take the ruling role in Ukraine.
    It could have rebounded the pro-Russian orientation to some degree and had a significant voice perhaps in Ukraine’s future course but as it turned out, the pro-Russian politicians have not been able to regroup in today’s Ukrainian political landscape.

    • Replies: @AP
  162. Pavel says:
    @peterAUS

    If you take my word for it, the honest answer is – yes, I personally knew people from Mariupol who joined, and other guys who I met but could not say I knew well, some of them from occupied by the Russians Donetsk. Also, I watched with my own eyes, in Lviv, in spring 2014, young and not-so-young guys staying in line for a long time waiting to be interviewed to join, as volunteers, anti-invasion forces.

    I also know a few guys who wanted to join, wholeheartedly, but could not do it at that time as they’re married with kids, were only bread runners to support their families, and leaving everything at that time could have simply ruined their families. But they stayed prepared, they got a basic training (they served in the army years ago, conscription) with one of the National Guard battalion, and they made it clear to all, and it was well received and well understood by their families, that should that cowardly backstabber Putin continued his aggression, moved further inside Ukraine, then they’d have no other choice but put everything aside, leave jobs and their families, hopefully temporarily, and join the patriotic national force to fight the invasion.

    Because in that case, frankly, it would have been no other choice left for anybody who considers himself a true Ukrainian – either you fight the invading force, or you lose everything which you hold dear, including your Nation.

    Look, people under attack do not have much to lose, they have a simple choice – you defend your home or you become a slave. This is very different from invaders who, like Russian contractor soldiers, went to fight in Ukraine basically for the money, despite how the Russian propaganda tried to present them as “conscious defenders of Russians in Ukraine” etc. These Russian contractors did not want to die, they did not see why they should, they did not really care about “Novorossia” and all that bs. Most of them, as it became clear once some of Russian war prisoners were questioned, did not even have any strong feelings against Ukrainians to begin with.

    Sure Ukrainians did not want to die too. Nobody wants to die. But you may try to understand the difference in attitude – the Ukrainians went to defend their Motherland under attack, whilst the Russians were part of the invading force fighting in the foreign country, away from their homes, defending nothing but Putin’s stupid neo-imperialist ambitions.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  163. Erebus says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    “Casual interest”, in your case Wiz, can usually be substituted with “ignorant of the facts”. When it comes to the MH-17 incident, it can certainly be.

    If you wish to remedy that, I suggest you look up the following:
    - the real-time Twitter postings by Carlos, the Spanish air traffic controller at Kiev ATC during the shootdown
    - photos of the pilot’s body, still strapped in his seat, riddled with what appear to be bullet holes
    - photos of the plane wreckage, esp the panels closest to the pilot seat
    - what a typical BUK warhead consists of, and whether it could have caused any of the visible damage
    - the hacked Facebook accounts of Kolomoisky’s associates, giving each other shit for having released press statements about the shootdown the day before it happened (in Ukrainian)
    - reports of 2 Georgian marked, Israeli modified, Scorpion missile equipped SU-25s that were parked at Dnepropetrovsk early in the day, but were never seen again
    - what the Scorpion’s warhead consists of, and its modus operandi (these are critical)
    - Kolomoisky’s relationship to Dnepropetrovsk’s airport
    - what it takes to use a BUK, or any other sophisticated Air Defence Complex.

    There’s more, especially concerning the extraordinary legal restrictions and undertakings surrounding the official investigation, but if you get through those above you’ll be able to pontificate from a position somewhere above rank ignorance. Not sure if that suits you, but it would be a welcome change.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  164. Pavel says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Why you guys are so obsessed with Ukraine, which, let me remind you, elected pro-Russian Yanukovich who ran on the platform of… euro-integration (and it is exactly his betrayal of this platform in 2013 that ignited the Maidan movement)? Why you even discuss which part of Ukraine would you steal and which you would not want? It’s not yours and it won’t be yours no matter what!

    Ukraine is backward? Sure, Ukraine is smaller than Russia. Ukraine stupidly gave up her nukes, the 2nd largest arsenal within the USSR, in exchange of Russia’s and certain others guarantees of safety and security, including territorial integrity. If Ukraine had nukes, you’d never attack.

    But why are you focused on Ukraine so much, which is a foreign country to you? You won’t unleash a new Holodomor on Ukraine, comrade commissar Karlin. We won’t allow that. You’d better focus on your own country, Russia, which cannot even feed herself and continue to depend largely on food imports, mostly from supposedly hated, “scary” NATO block (which Putin applied to join just some 15 years ago). So much for your “greatness”…

    Sure Ukraine has a lot of problems, but they are not much different from the problems Poland or Romania faced some 25 years ago. Leave us alone, and we will rebuild Ukraine, for Ukrainians. You know we will. But maybe this is what makes you so angry, comrade commissar Karlin?

  165. Cyrano says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Thanks man, I was just trying to be funny. It would have never occurred to me that Churchill actually died about a decade before the Rubik’s cube was invented, you stupid monkey.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  166. @AP

    I suspect: recent events meant Russians are more exposed to Ukrainian than before. Contrary to their stereotype, they can’t understand it that well. So this is an “explanation” – the language isn’t “real”.

    Oh, good – now we are getting somewhere. You certainly have the right to an opinion. But, as much as it may be hard for you to believe – so do other people.

  167. @Wizard of Oz

    His is wrong that

    Most Ukrainians speak only Russian.

    But he’s certainly right that most of the population of the former state of Ukraine prefer Russian and speak Russian at home. Simply because most people live in cities, and Ukrainian dialects are mostly spoken in villages and smaller towns.

    It (obviously) doesn’t contradict the fact that most of them identify as Ukrainians.

    It’s somewhat similar to English vs Gaelic in the Irish Republic.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Wizard of Oz
  168. Cyrano says:
    @voice crying in the wilderness

    “Ukrainian” is just a broken Russian. That’s because they are too stupid to learn the proper one.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @Cyrano
  169. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Okay – this is accurate.

    Prior to recent events 65% or so of western Ukrainians had positive feelings towards the country of Russia.

  170. @AP

    is that Ukraine would have been a relatively pro-Russian country in the EU orbit, not as pro-Russian as Greece but fairly friendly towards Russia

    Wrong. I’ll give you only one thing, though, Ukraine DID happen as a nation and that is a factor which cannot be dismissed and it was not dismissed. This whole conversation, everyone included, lacks two things:

    1. Real logic;
    2. Any serious geopolitical, military and economic knowledge.

    I understand people’s sentiments around here, but most of it is BS. Ukraine cannot exist as a whole state and be “friendly” to Russia–it is not a possibility. States and nations are not static, they move. Where they move–is another matter. One can only speculate on the future of a Ukrainian State but it is not bright to put it mildly. Comes 2019, well, it is a whole other game altogether. Russia is NOT interested in Ukraine anymore other than it being a security risk and the rights of Russo-phones there. This is not to mention that many of them moved to Russia anyway. This whole idea that Russia is simply not really interested in Ukraine may seem as anathema to many Ukrainians but that is exactly what it is. What’s left for Ukraine? War. But that is also whole other subject altogether.

    • Replies: @AP
  171. @Mr. Hack

    Before Putin’s Ukrainian war began

    LOL.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  172. @Pavel

    Angry, me? To the contrary I am amused more than anything to deconstruct your delusions (the latest one: That the world’s largest wheat exporter “depends largely” on food imports from “hated NATO block”).

    I also don’t understand your hatred towards the Bolsheviks, since they did more than anyone else to make Ukraine possible.

    • Replies: @Avery
    , @AP
  173. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    But he’s certainly right that most of the population of the former state of Ukraine prefer Russian and speak Russian at home

    Certainly wrong about that:

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/materials/articles_HVE/16_linguaethnical.pdf

    When 10,000s of Ukrainians from all regions over a couple years were asked to complete a survey in Russian or Ukrainian, about 40% chose Ukrainian, 43% chose Russian, the rest were completely indifferent.

    Among ethnic Ukrainians, a little over 50% chose Ukrainian, 32% chose Russian. Among ethnic Russians preference for Ukrainian vs. Russian was 4.6% and 84%, respectively.

    With Crimea and urban Donbas gone, certainly over 50% of the general population is Ukrainian-speaking at home.

    It’s somewhat similar to English vs Gaelic in the Irish Republic

    This is true of the urban ethnic Ukrainians who outside Lviv mostly speak Russian, except that far fewer than 40% of Ireland’s people speak Gaelic at home.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  174. @Cyrano

    You were cleatly struggling with something. “Trying to be funny”: a genial aspiration. Can I introduce you to someone who runs courses in that. I am sure he could sell you one and then the ultimate purchse like the Brooklyn Bridge.

  175. @Cyrano

    Is that you “trying to be funny” again. You’d better flag it to relieve doubt.

    • Replies: @Cyrano
  176. @Pavel

    You know we will

    OK. The problem with this statement is that “rebuilding” Ukraine (whatever that means) requires two things:

    1. A lot, like really-really huge sums of money and resources. And I am talking hundreds of billions of dollars. You mentioning of Poland, which was afforded huge low interest credits and straight financial aid to make her a facade of new “Europe” testifies to a complete obliviousness to the real situation. BTW, Poland was largely deindustrialized. Romania–this is not serious.

    2. Population and its qualifications. I am not sure about actual numbers of Ukrainians permanently living in Ukraine proper but, call it a hunch, numbers are not as high as they are presented and judging by the “developments” such as slow painful death of Antonov and Yuzhmash turning into a zombie–I doubt it will become better.

    In the end, don’t listen to me–here is a father of Ukrainian “Ukrainiansm” (that is “Not Russia”), a former President and a Yuzhmash CEO, Mr. Kuchma and I quote:

    We are becoming a raw materials appendix. What’s left is metallurgy, chemical industry and agriculture. We practically do not have any high tech industries. Where are we going? We rejoice at the free trade with Europe. And what do we offer for this trade with Europe? Look at the statistics. Wheat. Other than agricultural products there is nothing more to offer. Quotes are rigid, we filled practically all of our quotes in first quarter of this year. And now observe how Europeans put us on our knees–”harvest your forests and bring timber to Europe”. Where is any concrete help to Ukraine, to put her on her feet!? If we remain poor nobody will need us.

    Pay attention to what is in bold–a typical Ukrainian attitude. And that is why “rebuilding” contemporary Ukraine is not physically possible. Here is an original:

    https://112.ua/mnenie/ni-ssha-ni-evropa-ukraine-ne-pomogut-my-prakticheski-odni-397265.html

    But the question is deeper and the stopwatch started. Ukraine has to be used for a single purpose–to drag Russia in war, any war. And it will be used and nobody gives a flying fvck about Ukrainians and Ukraine after the war starts. It never was about Ukraine. This is the thing which many here (not all) completely do not understand. In the end, the red (or was it a blue? Do not remember) pill will have to be taken.

    • Replies: @Pavel
    , @peterAUS
  177. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “Ukraine would have been a relatively pro-Russian country in the EU orbit, not as pro-Russian as Greece but fairly friendly towards Russia”

    Wrong.

    How so? When I visited in 2013, there was a lot of hatred of Yanukovich in the center and west but he was perceived as a Ukraine problem (or a Donbas problem), not a Russia problem. Polls showed that even 65% of western Ukrainians had positive feelings towards Russia. While western Ukrainians certainly wanted to join the West, the animosity towards Russia/Russians was fading. Hanging out in Lviv with Russians – we encountered less negative feelings than Anglos can in Quebec City.

    And that is western Ukraine. The center was even more friendly towards Russia (despite, as in western Ukraine, strongly preferring to integrate with the EU). And then there was Ukraine’s East.

    Here is the latest KIIS Levada poll which also shows pat attitudes:

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=722&page=1

    As late as November 2013, over 80% of Ukrainians had positive feelings towards Russia. It’s now at under 40%, having dipped in September after rising a little in MAy.

    So overall, had Ukraine been left alone by Russia, it would have closer toward the EU and would have been a Russian friend within the EU’s orbit, being populated by people who like Russia.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  178. @Erebus

    Well one word is well chosen, but to descrine your own emission. I mean “pontificate”.

    I challenge you to show how my expressions of doubt and pointing out to Bill (not you) that he was in error about the BUK missile launcher can amount to pontificating.

    I take it that you have assemblèd from memory (and not checked as the absence of links suggests) what you regard as important and weighty as proof that Ukraine shot down MH17. Still, if there is so much, where is the book? From you or anyone credible?

    Why have the Russians not proved the downing of MH17 to be according to your script?

  179. Avery says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    {the Bolsheviks, since they did more than anyone else to make Ukraine possible.}

    Sure did.
    Lenin, then Stalin added large chunks of lands to Ukraine (…according to this map).

    (Does someone know who those lands belonged to before they were annexed to Ukraine?)

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Pavel
  180. @Mao Cheng Ji

    If you are goung to bother to persist why not at least do better than “voice cryong in the wilderness”. As i pointed out assertion is no substitute for reading something like the Wikupedia article I referred to and then answering its facts if ýou can.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  181. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I also don’t understand your hatred towards the Bolsheviks, since they did more than anyone else to make Ukraine possible.

    Myth. Bolsheviks made Ukraine possible like they made literacy, or electrification, or antibiotics, possible.

    In 1917 prior to Bolshevik rule an easy majority of people in what is now Ukraine had already voted for Ukrainian parties. During the Civil War, there were no major pro-Russian armed bands or leaders among ethnic Ukrainians/Little Russians in Ukraine. Zero. There were nationalists, anarchists, a few Bolsheviks (but not many), but zero pro-Russians. Territory of the Ukrainian SSR was based on the territory of the pre-Bolshevik Ukrainian National Republic. (non-Galician) Ukraine may have been unorganized, and rudimentary, but it already existed. Bolsheviks didn’t make it possible.

    Bolshevisk did not have an easy time subduing Ukraine. The first attempts involved Russification policies and ended in failure. Concessions in terms of language were made to the locals in order to placate them while the state tightened its grip.

    S0-called “Ukrainianization” was merely teaching Ukrainians in their own language as they attained literacy. I suppose improvement in literacy in Russia would be “Russification?”

    Ukrainian SSR was over 70% ethnic Ukrainian, yet the chart you posted shows that never, under the Soviets, were 70% of books in Ukraine published in Ukrainian. By 1990 it was down to about 20%.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  182. @AP

    So overall, had Ukraine been left alone by Russia, it would have closer toward the EU and would have been a Russian friend within the EU’s orbit, being populated by people who like Russia.

    Again–wrong.

    1. Statistics, especially…well anywhere is a very imprecise tool. So, the only real things statistics gives in human field (precise sciences–this is a completely different field and there precision matters) are the feels of the trends. So we may overdose here on statistics but it will, for the most part, fail in giving a good grasp. A great demonstration of this whole “human” statistical approach being totally discredited–look at the results of last US Presidential Elections. As they say: statistics-twististics. So, let’s leave it here at that.

    2. Many Russo-phones, including from the East, are the most rabid Russophobes and all these never-ending polls cannot realistically register a complex set of attitudes to one or another event, especially in the nation which, as I said, did happen, and which was subjected for the last 25 years to incessant propaganda of own uniqueness and not being Russian. The major rationale behind modern Ukraine is simple–Not-Russia, which translates into Anti-Russia easily. And it did.

    3. A defining characteristic of Ukrainians, which is proverbial in Russian culture is–my hut is on the fringe. Moya Hata s Krayu. This is a cultural background which, for all numerous polls testifying often to a mutually exclusive trends, produced since 1990s what we all have today. It is a hard cold reality which cannot be ignored. The mood of the so called “Russia-friendly” Ukrainians was not, in the same time, foundation of their world-view. Hence really fast change.

    4. Youth, here we come to the key issue–Maidan was produced by Ukrainian youth to a large degree. Ukrainian youth is not “pro-Russian”, whatever that means.

    These are just some of the factors which create a complex but also a deadly dynamics for both Ukraine and her neighbors. While Ukraine did happen as a nation, it is the country with effectively external rule. It is also a militant oligarchy. This is not a mix which could have been some “friend” of Russia and the “liking” of Russia would be diminishing one way or another because of the radical difference in the economic dynamics in Ukraine in Russia. In fact, it is happening as I type this. Today, Ukraine is a full fledged third world nation which can not and never could exist as the first world one, especially in the “EU Orbit”, that is LOL. Sure, that is why they came up with Europe of Two Speeds concept in EU. Yes, sure, Germans, French and Italians are rushing like crazy to build modern manufacturing plant in Ukraine, LOL. In other words, a little bit more realistic assessment of own capability and the place in the world could be a good start but I don’t hold my breath. After all, we all know that Kerch Straight Bridge is a hologram, right? ;-)

    • Replies: @AP
  183. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Is there really any doubt at all that the go ahead offensive actions in Ukraine were all hatched in the Kremlin? Name even one Donbas separatist leader in 2014 that was a Ukrainian? How about Putin’s little green men that subdued the Crimea?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  184. AP says:
    @Avery

    Map is largely false. Half the yellow area (including Kiev, Chernihiv, and Poltava) was the Ukrainian Hetmanate that was not annexed to Ukraine by the Tsar.

    Since Ukraine participated in the Tsar’s wars it earned spoils also.

  185. @AP

    Myth. Bolsheviks made Ukraine possible like they made literacy, or electrification, or antibiotics, possible.

    Actually, those are cold hard facts, with the exception of antibiotics. LOL.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  186. Cyrano says:
    @Cyrano

    Keep writing you stupid monkey. You are only few more posts away from single-handedly winning Crimea from Russia back. When the see what a brave patriot you are, they’ll get scared and give it back to you. Keep writing, monkey.

  187. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    Isn’t this the point where Karlin conveniently disappears from the discussion, because he doesn’t have anything worthwhile to counter with? You’ve checkmated him with this move, he’s cornered, and he has nowhere to go. I’ve seen this before, and he should admit that you’re right. But don’t hold your breath waiting…

  188. @Mr. Hack

    Is there really any doubt at all that the go ahead offensive actions in Ukraine were all hatched in the Kremlin?

    You see, here one has to have a very good grasp of what “offensive” is. There is no denial that in regards to Donbas Moscow initially was in a pretty reactive mode and a lot of improvisation went into the initial phase. Far form any “offensives”, the early task was to give the movement some structure. After initial battles, starting in Autumn 2014, one already could see the hand of the General Staff. So, in this sense, they were hatched.

    How about Putin’s little green men that subdued the Crimea?

    Very wrong semantics since there was no subduing anyone. Crimea was and is overwhelmingly Russian in its attitudes, which is known to anyone who even remotely knows what Sevastopol and Black Sea Fleet mean for majority of Russians. I know this on a professional, highly informed, level. Operation was brilliantly executed and most forces were those of Black Sea Fleet and other units of Russian MoD, which were in Sevastopol since late 18th Century and never left, with the exception of 1942-44 short period of time.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @peterAUS
  189. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Would ‘annexed’ the Crimea be preferable than ‘subdued’? Don’t change the subject. I didn’t ask you what motivated the invasion, but where were these ideas hatched in the first place? Oh, and you somehow, conveniently, forgot to answer the first of only two questions that I posed to you:

    Name even one Donbas separatist leader in 2014 that was a Ukrainian?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  190. Mikel says:
    @AP

    A saintly attitude (I say this without mockery).

    Not really. A simple rational calculation of costs and benefits. One that, as I said, is shared by the vast majority of people in the part of Europe Ukraine wants to adhere to.

    I’m not into religion but, as I understand it, it takes much more to become a saint than being unwilling to kill civilians in order to have one passport or another.

    the preemptive surrender for the purpose of not taking of lives, means that you cede the world to those who are willing to take lives.

    No. If an armed robber tried to steal my wallet I might surrender it. But if he tried to harm my family be sure that I’d fight maybe as hard as an Azov patriot. In fact, I’ve been in that situation a couple of times when I lived in Latin America. I doubt that the last bastard who tried to assault me has recovered yet.

    If Ukrainians refused to fight in Donbas, do you think that those rebels and Russian adventurers would have respected pacifism and politely stopped at the border of Donetsk oblast?

    Well, that’s pretty much what happened. While the first ATO operatives were surrendering to the defenders of Slavyansk, the rebellion did not take hold in Kharkiv and Odessa and, as even Martyanov is explaining, everybody lost interest, especially the Russians, who didn’t even send enough resources to keep the majority of Donbass in rebel hands.

    I didn’t like the Western interference in Ukraine but I would have supported Ukraine against a full blown invasion by Russia. That’s not quite what happened though and, as things stand now, it might make sense for Ukrainians to accept that part of the territories they inherited from the USSR are inhabited by people with more allegiance to Russia than Ukraine. How about ceasing all hostilities and negotiating a binding, OSCE-monitored referendum in Crimea and Donbass? If most people there do not want to belong to Ukraine, Ukraine is better off without them, just as Russia is better off without hostile Ukrainian territories.

    Best regards,
    Mikel

    • Replies: @AP
    , @polskijoe
  191. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    For somebody who purports to have an intelligence that’s way off the charts, perhaps on a par or greater than Karlin’s himself (wow!), your reading comprehension skills seem to be sub par. AP convincingly negated your nonsensical held belief that somehow the Bolsheviks created Ukraine. Reread his whole reply to Karlin (who has conveniently disappeared again). I’ll quote only one part of his informative rebuttal to your nonsense:

    Territory of the Ukrainian SSR was based on the territory of the pre-Bolshevik Ukrainian National Republic. (non-Galician) Ukraine may have been unorganized, and rudimentary, but it already existed. Bolsheviks didn’t make it possible.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  192. @Wizard of Oz

    As i pointed out assertion is no substitute for reading something like the Wikupedia article

    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit? Seriously?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  193. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    So we may overdose here on statistics but it will, for the most part, fail in giving a good grasp. A great demonstration of this whole “human” statistical approach being totally discredited–look at the results of last US Presidential Elections.

    Stats about Ukraine showed 80% plus viewed Russia positively in November 2013. This was a very stable trend. So whatever actions Ukraine would take, it would be a country where an overwhelming majority of the people liked Russia as a country – even if, as was the case, a slim majority preferred integrated with the West rather than with Russia.

    Many Russo-phones, including from the East, are the most rabid Russophobes

    Currently – yes. Indeed some of the most extreme Russophobes may very well be Russian-speaking. Azov battalion is mostly from Kharkiv.

    The major rationale behind modern Ukraine is simple–Not-Russia, which translates into Anti-Russia easily

    This is a myopic Russian view that doesn’t correspond to reality. A Russian who knows little about Ukraine but who holds the false idea that Ukraine really is the same as Russia, will see in Ukrainian nationalism nothing but rejection of Russia, because what else could there be?

    It’s like an American claiming that Canada is nothing more than not-America. Or for a Brit – America – nothing more than not-England. Ireland too – just not-England. To a German, Austria- simply not-Germany. To a Swede – Norway – not-Sweden. Etc.

    So when Ukrainians yearn for a democratic system as in other Western countries and which they themselves once enjoyed in some form this is nothing more than a rejection of Russia. When they promote their own native language – this is a rejection of Russia. When they promote their own historical myths rather than Russian or Polish or some other historical myths – a rejection of Russia.

    defining characteristic of Ukrainians, which is proverbial in Russian culture is–my hut is on the fringe. Moya Hata s Krayu

    Another example of Russians falsely claiming Ukrainians to be like them.

    Ukraine IIRC has a history of cooperatives and credit unions and other such mutual aid societies and community involvement. Indeed its history of popular revolts speak to a greater degree of community involvement, and less apathetic “moya hata s krayu”, then among many peoples (including Russians).

    Today, Ukraine is a full fledged third world nation which can not and never could exist as the first world one,

    Sour grapes? Ukraine’s 2016 per capita GDP (it is going to be a bit higher in 2017) was on the same level as that of Belarus in 2004. Was Belarus a “full-fledged third world nation” in 2004? Ukraine’s Human Development Index ties it with Armenia, and places it above China (and above the world average). Full-fledged third world nations? Ukraine does well per capita in programming competitions, not a third world characteristic. Ukraine’s GDP is growing again – it’s not getting poorer. Ukraine is having problems to be sure, it is one of Europe‘s poorest countries, but let’s not exaggerate.

    Yes, sure, Germans, French and Italians are rushing like crazy to build modern manufacturing plant in Ukraine

    They are rushing in and building a lot of light industrial plants making stuff like wire cables for their cars. Not rockets or airplanes, but not nothing, either.

    As for Kuchma’s quote:

    We are becoming a raw materials appendix. What’s left is metallurgy, chemical industry and agriculture. We practically do not have any high tech industries. Where are we going? We rejoice at the free trade with Europe. And what do we offer for this trade with Europe? Look at the statistics. Wheat. Other than agricultural products there is nothing more to offer.

    I know you prefer hardware to software, but Ukraine’s very strong IT sector (worth $2.7 billion in 2016, and expected to increase this year), ignored by Kuchma, ought not be simply dismissed. It’s pharmaceutical industry is also increasing.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  194. @Mr. Hack

    Would ‘annexed’ the Crimea be preferable than ‘subdued’? Don’t change the subject

    No, the preferable would be return. But since you a feisty little fella, let me first answer your question on that:

    Name even one Donbas separatist leader in 2014 that was a Ukrainian?

    Most of them were Ukraine citizens from Gubarev, to Pushilin to Kofman (this one is a Jew). So, what is your point? I think it is you who have really serious difficulties understanding basic facts, hence pretense as seen from your quote above with “changing subjects”. Now, without changing subject, what about “offensive”, again? And I don’t mean merely semantics, I understand that you have no a fvcking idea what Combat Manual is or how “offensive” is used in military professional environment, so what about “offensive” (Goggle, Google, dive, dive).

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  195. @AP

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/materials/articles_HVE/16_linguaethnical.pdf

    Pew says 83% pick Russian.

    Some Kiev thing named KIIS (that obviously has a dog in the fight) reports (according to you) something weird:

    about 40% chose Ukrainian, 43% chose Russian, the rest were completely indifferent.

    About 40%? And what did the rest, the ‘indifferent’, choose? Between Russian and Ukrainian, ‘indifferent’ is not a choice…

    Nah, I think I’ll go with Pew here.

    • Replies: @AP
  196. AP says:
    @Mikel

    “If Ukrainians refused to fight in Donbas, do you think that those rebels and Russian adventurers would have respected pacifism and politely stopped at the border of Donetsk oblast?”

    Well, that’s pretty much what happened. While the first ATO operatives were surrendering to the defenders of Slavyansk, the rebellion did not take hold in Kharkiv and Odessa

    Because they faced violent resistance. A small mass of violent pro-Russians attempted to take over Odessa, but they were outnumbered by violent pro-Ukrainians, the pro-Russians were beaten back, chased off and it culminated in the so-called Odessa “massacre.”

    Had Ukrainians been pacifists in Odessa, Odessa could have been taken too.

    It would have been better if neither side were violent. But when one side is, and the other side refuses to respond likewise – the violent side wins.

    How about ceasing all hostilities and negotiating a binding, OSCE-monitored referendum in Crimea and Donbass? If most people there do not want to belong to Ukraine, Ukraine is better off without them, just as Russia is better off without hostile Ukrainian territories.

    I agree on this completely.

    And special status for Donbas, allowing it to have veto-power over all-Ukrainian policies, should be off the table. Let them either be independent, part of Russia (on whatever terms Russian would like), or part of Ukraine (on whatever terms Ukraine wants). Personally I hope Donbas would choose to stay out of Ukraine, the country is better off without it.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  197. @Mr. Hack

    For somebody who purports to have an intelligence that’s way off the charts,

    I think you feel now the humiliation coming.

    1. I never purported my Intelligence “off the charts”, for starters, if you can show me where and present a quote where I did so we may talk. But both me and you know that this is not the case and you will spend eternity trying to find the “proof” for your full of shit statement. Well, it is expected from bullshitters like you.

    2. Since you do have serious reading comprehension, you evidently do not understand the difference between IQ religion which Karlin professes, and which I treat with sarcasm, and simple competencies and experience. I’ll be very straight with you–you have none, being a simple troll. Maybe some hasbara type or maybe some svidomy or Polish type who fights own complex of inferiority. So, do I start stopwatch on you delivering my claims and I quote: “purports to have an intelligence that’s way off the charts” (c) ? Yes, No–very simple Boolean. Get the question? Answering this question will present a good indicator (one way or another) of who you are.

    Karlin’s himself (wow!), your reading comprehension skills seem to be sub par.

    I am not interested in Karlin’s opinions on any military, geopolitical or history questions. I deal with facts.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  198. Bill says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    OK, where is the evidence that there was a Russian BUK which was moved into and out of the rebel area at relevant times?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  199. @AP

    Listen, we have been through this, haven’t we? This:

    Sour grapes? Ukraine’s 2016 per capita GDP (it is going to be a bit higher in 2017) was on the same level as that of Belarus in 2004. Was Belarus a “full-fledged third world nation” in 2004? Ukraine’s Human Development Index ties it with Armenia, and places it above China (and above the world average). Full-fledged third world nations? Ukraine does well per capita in programming competitions, not a third world characteristic. Ukraine’s GDP is growing again – it’s not getting poorer. Ukraine is having problems to be sure, it is one of Europe‘s poorest countries, but let’s not exaggerate.

    Sour Grapes? LOL. Dude, visit Moscow, St. Pete, Yekaterinburg , Vladivostok –Kiev is a shithole compared to them. Compare actual wages in Russia and Ukraine. Get the load of reality. Your tiresome “programming” “argument” is simply preposterous. Same as your Lviv “argument”. Soviet Ukraine used to build space vehicles and aircraft, it can not build now a freaking simple good APC and sells the remnants of once mighty military-industrial complex to North Korea and whoever else has money. Yes, Ukraine’s GDP will “grow” the same as US GDP “grows” through creative bookkeeping.

    I know you prefer hardware to software

    Really? And me stupid thought that it is universal, even among moron monetarists in USA, clear understanding that “hardware” is the key–one doesn’t produce hardware, one is nobody. I have thousand years of human history backing this “my” argument. Sure, writing some shit in C++ is an equal substitution to producing CNC machining centers and state-of-the-art aircraft. So, what about “sour grapes”?

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Pavel
  200. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I’m sorry if I thought that your IQ was ‘off the charts’. Obviously this assumption of mine was not warranted and I retract it, until proven wrong. Okay?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  201. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Pew says 83% pick Russian.

    Gallup, not Pew.

    With a small sample (only 1,000 people in the entire country), run by Russians, in urban areas.

    Some Kiev thing named KIIS (that obviously has a dog in the fight) reports (according to you) something weird:

    Surveys were conducted during the Eastern Ukrainian Kuchma government, with 10,000s of participants over a few years, from all regions.

    about 40% chose Ukrainian, 43% chose Russian, the rest were completely indifferent.

    About 40%? And what did the rest, the ‘indifferent’, choose? Between Russian and Ukrainian, ‘indifferent’ is not a choice

    Sure it is. They said – “I don’t care which language, it doesn’t matter to me.”

    40% chose to take the survey in Ukrainian, 43% in Russian, and the rest said it didn’t matter to them which language they used for the survey.

    Is that hard to understand?

    Nah, I think I’ll go with Pew here.

    Of course you will. You are, after all, ignorant and gullible.

  202. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I asked for one ‘leader’ of the pack that was Ukrainian, not some unemployed, gun toting peon. You’ve failed this test.

    So, what is your point?

    My point goes back to my original post that you first replied to:

    Is there really any doubt at all that the go ahead offensive actions in Ukraine were all hatched in the Kremlin? Name even one Donbas separatist leader in 2014 that was a Ukrainian?

    Get it, now?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    , @AP
  203. @Mr. Hack

    Okay?

    OK. FYI, I am a man of no special “intelligence” powers, I graduated naval academy closer to the bottom of the first top one third (still respectable) of the Class of 1985. I know what people of true immense intelligence are and what they can do and how they can also fail, sometimes spectacularly. IQ is just one of very many metrics which come into defining a human.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  204. @AP

    Sure it is. They said – “I don’t care which language, it doesn’t matter to me.”

    I thought it would be something like that (in Ukrainian), forcing people to make the conscious choice. Which makes it meaningless.

    The way to do it is to hand out two copies, one Russian and one Ukrainian, side by side, without saying anything, and let the person pick one. And that’s how you get 83%.

    • Replies: @AP
  205. @Bill

    Sorry, I can’t be bothered. If you are now beginning to be seriously interested in the fate of MH17 you will certainly find the evidence in your researches. That is about the least contentious point.

    • Replies: @Bill
  206. @AP

    Sure it is. They said – “I don’t care which language, it doesn’t matter to me.”

    I thought it would be something like that, forcing people to make the conscious choice. While, most likely, talking Ukrainian to them. Which makes it a travesty. Talk about the ‘ignorant and gullible’…

    The way to do it is to hand out two copies, one Russian and one Ukrainian, side by side, without saying anything, and let the person pick one. And that’s how you get 83% going for Russian.

    • Replies: @AP
  207. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Dude, visit Moscow, St. Pete, Yekaterinburg , Vladivostok –Kiev is a shithole compared to them

    Compared to Moscow and St. Pete – sure, as are most Russian cities. Compared to, say Chelyabinsk – no. I haven’t been to Yekaterinburg or Vladivostok. And Lviv beats Kiev and most Russian cities, not in income but in quality of life.

    Your tiresome “programming” “argument” is simply preposterous.

    Did IT services generate $2.7 billion in 2016 or not?

    Soviet Ukraine used to build space vehicles and aircraft, it can not build now a freaking simple good APC and sells the remnants of once mighty military-industrial complex to North Korea and whoever else has money.

    Which is bad. The world moved on. My uncle was chief engineer at a secret plant that produced electronics for Soviet missiles, shut down when Kuchma pressured by America refused to export to Iraq. His son is a senior manager at a very large IT outsourcing firm and lives much better than his dad did. Lviv overall is much nicer now, than it was in 1990.

    Really? And me stupid thought that it is universal, even among moron monetarists in USA, clear understanding that “hardware” is the key–one doesn’t produce hardware, one is nobody

    I’m not claiming is hardware isn’t important, I am simply stating that software is not nothing. Do think Silicon Valley is nothing compared to Detroit or Gary Indiana?

    To quote another commenter from a previous discussion :

    “The granular problems of particular industries are of scant consequence in context. Industries come and go, companies come and go, technologies come and go. The point is to structure your property-rights regime, your regulatory regime, and your tax regime in a way that investors and proprietors benefit from productive efficiency borne of innovation and miscellaneous process improvements and not from accounting games, political connections, or criminal propensities. If for technical reasons blocs of your industrial plant are unimprovable, your business class will redirect their investments if not impeded from so doing.”

    Ukraine has lost much of its heavy and aviation/rocket industry that had been integrated with Russia. Regions reliant on these industries have been suffering. OTOH its IT sector has been booming. It’s light industry, integrated with the West, is taking off. It’s pharmaceutical industry (less reliant on Russia) seems to be doing well. Regions where these industries are important, are doing well.

    Yes, Ukraine’s GDP will “grow” the same as US GDP “grows” through creative bookkeeping.

    For example, is all the traffic of modern cars in Lviv, or Kiev, merely creative bookkeeping?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  208. @Mr. Hack

    I asked for one ‘leader’ of the pack that was Ukrainian, not some unemployed, gun toting peon. You’ve failed this test.

    LOL. So now citizens of Ukraine do not count–you see, you are demonstrating extremely well the substitution of thesis. No, your question is this:

    Name even one Donbas separatist leader in 2014 that was a Ukrainian?

    I gave you a list of Ukrainian citizens who became leaders. Do you need me to go further with the list? How about Kononov? What about Mozgovoi? All names I posted here (and above) are those of people native to Donetsk or Ukraine in general and who were Ukrainian citizens in 2014. Mozgovoi, f.e. served in Ukrainian Armed Forces in 1990s. Who gives a shit if they were peons or well-educated engineers? You asked a question I gave you names. But the issue here is not even me “failing” whatever the lame testing you try to conduct here but in your basic illiteracy by comparing apples to swine. Social status and nationality (as in citizen) with ethnicity are two different entities and can not be compared.

    Get it, now?

    You see, how can I explain anything to someone who doesn’t know shit from shinola? You, probably, will agree that you have to try harder trying to give at least some coherence to your questions and prove that you are not a complete troll. In the end, looks like the word “reactive” didn’t attract your attention. Google what “reactive” is. Per Crimea, I already told you–yes, planned, modeled and executed brilliantly under the auspices of General Staff, its GRU and FSB. Operation years in development. If you need addresses of the building in which it was developed–Google will help.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Pavel
  209. Pavel says:
    @Avery

    Crimea was administratively transferred to Ukraine by Klim Voroshilov, not Nikita Khrushchev, but it’s not that important. It was one of dozens of administrative land transfers within the USSR. “Russian tsars” were hardly “bolcheviks”, but this is also not that important in the context of this discussion.

    What is important though is that these territories were added not to Ukraine, but to the Russian Empire and later to the USSR (Soviet Empire). At that time, nobody saw Ukraine as an independent nation. In the eye of tsars and later “bolcheviks”, Ukraine was just a piece of their own empires.

    What is also important is that Ukraine is an independent and sovereign state now, no matter how much some in Russia may hate this reality same way they hate Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, even Finland and some of them… Alaska not being parts of their Russian empire.

    As Ukraine’s borders were agreed upon within the frame of the international law, and as Russia, as a state, has accepted them, voluntarily, what’s the point of discussing which parts of Ukraine belonged to who in the past?..

    But if you feel like talking history – parts of modern day Russia belonged to Finland, Germany (Prussia), China and Japan not that long ago. Should these parts be returned to their lawful owners now? If you are OK with Crimean “occupendum”, how do you feel about asking people in Vyborg – mind without presence of a foreign well armed soldiers being present – whether they’d prefer to “come back” to Finland or remain in Russia?

    But Putin outlawed this kind of referendums in Russia immediately – immediately – after the Crimean “occupendum”. Coincidence, I guess…

    This is not to mention that a huge part of modern day Russia historically belonged to Mongols. Should it be given back to Mongolia now, in all fairness, as they are direct descendants of those Mongols?

    • Replies: @Avery
  210. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Sure it is. They said – “I don’t care which language, it doesn’t matter to me.”

    I thought it would be something like that, forcing people to make the conscious choice. While, most likely, talking Ukrainian to them. Which makes it a travesty. Talk about the ‘ignorant and gullible’…

    Vs. an unconscious choice?

    The way to do it is to hand out two copies, one Russian and one Ukrainian, side by side, without saying anything, and let the person pick one. And that’s how you get 83% going for Russian.

    That’s not how Gallup did it. Gallup used a face to face interview. The people being surveyed were asked which language they want to use – Ukrainian or Russian. The number who stated they didn’t care weren’t recorded, only the ultimate result was. So the Gallup poll included less info than the KIIS one, but the methodology was the same. It just used a much smaller sample size (1,000 for Gallup, vs. 63,000 for KIIS), skewed urban.

    Again, 20% of Ukraine joined in 1939. These regions are 95% Ukrainian-speaking. For the 83% figure to be true, practically nobody in Ukraine from within the 1939 border would be Ukrainian speaking. Which is obviously absurd.

    You are ignorant and gullible, indeed.

  211. Pavel says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Comparing “actual wages” is a weak argument. You have to compare the buying power. Visit Ukraine, disarmed if you want to get back to Russia, especially the western part, and find out for yourself that on $100 USD one can live better than on $1,000 USD in Moscow. Much better. Easy.

  212. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    I asked for one ‘leader’ of the pack that was Ukrainian, not some unemployed, gun toting peon. You’ve failed this test.

    Sorry, but you are wrong on this point. There were Russians in key roles, especially in the beginning, without whom the project would have likely failed. But there were plenty of Ukrainian citizens involved in the rebellion too.

  213. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Sure it is. They said – “I don’t care which language, it doesn’t matter to me.”

    I thought it would be something like that, forcing people to make the conscious choice. While, most likely, talking Ukrainian to them. Which makes it a travesty. Talk about the ‘ignorant and gullible’…

    Same method as the Gallup poll. Was that a travesty?

    The way to do it is to hand out two copies, one Russian and one Ukrainian, side by side, without saying anything, and let the person pick one. And that’s how you get 83% going for Russian.

    That’s not how Gallup did it. Gallup used a face to face interview. The people being surveyed were asked which language they want to use – Ukrainian or Russian. They were probably asked in Russian, because Gallup operates out of Russia in the former USSR. The number who stated they didn’t care weren’t recorded by Gallup, only the ultimate result was. So the Gallup poll included less info than the KIIS one, but the methodology was the same. It just used a much smaller sample size (1,000 for Gallup, vs. 63,000 for KIIS), skewed urban.

    Again, 20% of Ukraine joined Ukraine in 1939. These regions are 95% Ukrainian-speaking. For the 83% figure to be true, practically nobody in Ukraine from within the 1939 border would be Ukrainian speaking. Which is obviously absurd. Drive an hour outside Kiev and you’ll hear plenty of Ukrainian. Or go to a market where villagers sell stuff.

    You are ignorant and gullible, indeed.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  214. Pavel says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Nobody cares about Russia. Really, no offense, but nobody. All what world wants from Russia is that she remains in her internationally confirmed borders and mind her own business. Nobody wants a war with Russia either. There is no need and no purpose. Russia will sell anything she has anyway, and on a cheap.

    Nobody wants to invade Russia, well, except the Chinese, but they will take the eastern part of Russia peacefully, without even a circus of sending soldiers with no insignia, but with a smile, slowly but surely, like a python swallowing a rabbit. We know it has already been happening.

    All you guys in Russia have to do is to leave Ukraine alone, stop lying to others and to yourself that Ukraine could have potentially cause any danger to you, even if she has joined NATO. Turkey and the Baltic States are in NATO, the distance from the Latvian border to Moscow is almost the same as from the Ukrainian border, not to mention that missiles from either Turkey, Bulgaria or Romania, also NATO countries, can destroy Russian aircraft and navy vessels in Crimea and the Black sea in a matter of short minutes. Are you losing your sleep over it? Of course you don’t.

    What’s driving your obsession with Ukraine is that you cannot accept the fact that she’s not your slave any more, that she’s drifting away from you, becoming more and more independent and more and more European (slowly, but surely).

    All your supposed riches part of which has been promised to Ukraine in exchange of her love result in nothing, and it makes you mad. Yes, this is what makes you mad.

    You just cannot let Ukraine go, like that dumped drunkard husband with an axe from my first comment here. Sure, you were sad when you lost Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, but they were “Nazis” in your eye anyway so you did not worried too much about them leaving. Sure when Kazakhstan left it caused you pain too, but they’re “narrow eyed” aliens to most Russians anyway, so you do not care much, too – especially because you’re convinced that you’d keep them dependent on you one way or another and through this continue to exercise your influence, just like you do with Belarus, a white European nation, which depends on you, for now, to a significant degree.

    But Ukraine… You see she does not want to be with you, and you know that she does not really need you all that much. This is exactly what maddens Russia. Russia hates to be rejected, especially by the ones who you guys consider to be your eternal slaves.

    But if you consider yourself a male, grow a pair, Russia. Quit whining all the time. Behave like a grown up, behave like a man. Yes some divorces can be hurtful and messy, but they are not reversible. Let it go. Nobody can force others to love them, and you, Russia, is no different. Your stupid actions only breed hatred towards you. Get it already.

    • Replies: @ANOSPH
  215. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    No reason to fire so many expletives towards me. I admit that I was wrong, and that there were indeed some Ukrainian citizen leaders involved in the initial uprising in Donbas. Live and learn. But, also as you’ve pointed out:

    Far form any “offensives”, the early task was to give the movement some structure. After initial battles, starting in Autumn 2014, one already could see the handt argument of the General Staff. So, in this sense, they were hatched.

    BTW, neither you, nor Karlin have been able to counter AP’s very cogent argument regarding the BS regarding the benevolent Bolsheviks creating Ukraine:

    Territory of the Ukrainian SSR was based on the territory of the pre-Bolshevik Ukrainian National Republic. (non-Galician) Ukraine may have been unorganized, and rudimentary, but it already existed. Bolsheviks didn’t make it possible.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  216. peterAUS says:
    @Pavel

    Thanks for the reply.

    This is helpful:

    If you take my word for it, the honest answer is – yes, I personally knew people from Mariupol who joined, and other guys who I met but could not say I knew well, some of them from occupied by the Russians Donetsk. Also, I watched with my own eyes, in Lviv, in spring 2014, young and not-so-young guys staying in line for a long time waiting to be interviewed to join, as volunteers, anti-invasion forces.

    I also know a few guys who wanted to join, wholeheartedly, but could not do it at that time as they’re married with kids, were only bread runners to support their families, and leaving everything at that time could have simply ruined their families. But they stayed prepared, they got a basic training (they served in the army years ago, conscription) with one of the National Guard battalion, and they made it clear to all, and it was well received and well understood by their families, that should that cowardly backstabber Putin continued his aggression, moved further inside Ukraine, then they’d have no other choice but put everything aside, leave jobs and their families, hopefully temporarily, and join the patriotic national force to fight the invasion.

    As for this:

    Because in that case, frankly, it would have been no other choice left for anybody who considers himself a true Ukrainian – either you fight the invading force, or you lose everything which you hold dear, including your Nation.

    There are two more options, of course:
    1. Flee (preferably into West)
    2. Submit to the occupying force at least temporarily.

    Look, people under attack do not have much to lose, they have a simple choice – you defend your home or you become a slave.

    Sounds patriotic.
    In reality, though, there is another option: flee….or, in modern terms, emigrate.
    And as for this:

    This is very different from invaders who, like Russian contractor soldiers, went to fight in Ukraine basically for the money, despite how the Russian propaganda tried to present them as “conscious defenders of Russians in Ukraine” etc. These Russian contractors did not want to die, they did not see why they should, they did not really care about “Novorossia” and all that bs. Most of them, as it became clear once some of Russian war prisoners were questioned, did not even have any strong feelings against Ukrainians to begin with.

    If I were you I wouldn’t buy it. Your call, of course.

    But you may try to understand the difference in attitude – the Ukrainians went to defend their Motherland under attack, whilst the Russians were part of the invading force fighting in the foreign country, away from their homes, defending nothing but Putin’s stupid neo-imperialist ambitions.

    Well, I believe I have a quite good understanding of the topic. A bit..how to put it….. more….complicated…than yours.

  217. Pavel says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “Ukrainian citizen” does not necessarily mean Ukrainian, neither ethnically or culturally. Lots of ethnic Russians in Ukraine were, and remain to be, citizens of Ukraine, but some of them are loyal to the foreign nation – Russia.

    Why they remain in Ukraine while loving Russia so much is beyond my comprehension. If Russia is so good and so sweet, so rich and so powerful, why would they not just move out of Ukraine and into Russia, to be finally happy? What keeps them in Ukraine? We surely don’t. They are free to leave, but no, they cannot take parts of our internationally (including by Russia, officially) recognized territory with them.

    If you throw a name of supposedly Ukrainian who joined the so-called leadership of the anti-Ukraine separatist gangs and, to reinforce your statement add that he’s served in the Ukrainian army (which was basically an extension of the Russian army back in 1990-s), I suggest you look at the general Vlasov, your own Russian general, who joined the Nazis during the WWII.

    See my point?

  218. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Ukraine has to be used for a single purpose–to drag Russia in war, any war. And it will be used and nobody gives a flying fvck about Ukrainians and Ukraine after the war starts. It never was about Ukraine.

    Agree.

    But, then, again, Ukrainian nationalists seized the opportunity.

    Where all this will be going, well, one way to see it.

  219. @AP

    You are ignorant and gullible, indeed.

    Thank you for volunteering your ignorant opinion about my humble persona. Please rest assured that it will receive all the attention it deserves.

    For the 83% figure to be true, practically nobody in Ukraine from within the 1939 border would be Ukrainian speaking.

    What the hell does it even mean? People prefer the Russian-language questionnaire over the one written in official Ukrainian. This gives no clue at all whether they are Russian-speaking or bilingual Ukro-Russian. Indeed, as I suggested about a million times already, they might speak their Ukro-dialect at home and still prefer the Russian-language questionnaire.

    You live in the US, and you may speak Polish at home, but you might still prefer to deal with some (most, even) subjects in English.

  220. @AP

    For example, is all the traffic of modern cars in Lviv, or Kiev, merely creative bookkeeping?

    Delhi or Mumbai have traffic which is off-the scale. Do you need me to continue, if you know what I mean (wink-wink). So, our definitions of shitholes vary, I give you that.

    And Lviv beats Kiev and most Russian cities, not in income but in quality of life.

    This delusional LOL. Lviv is a dirty pretentious village, with the exception of its historic center, compared to say Yekateringburg (Meanwhile, remember you saying something about actually living in Eburg recently? Help me out on that, I simply do not remember) or even Vladivostok. You wanna see how first world economy looks like?

    Novosibirsk alone will make Lviv look like a backwater in every single metric from quality of life to…. fill in the blanks. Evidently the issue of scales and substance is long became an unknown in all of Ukraine.

    Did IT services generate $2.7 billion in 2016 or not?

    OK, say it did. Hell, yes. Do you understand now that it is about ten times smaller (in reality even much-much smaller than that) than the GDP of the city of Yekaterinburg alone. Ask yourself a question, who is Ukraine’s main trade partner? LOL.

    • Replies: @AP
  221. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    You see, here one has to have a very good grasp of what “offensive” is. There is no denial that in regards to Donbas Moscow initially was in a pretty reactive mode and a lot of improvisation went into the initial phase. Far form any “offensives”, the early task was to give the movement some structure. After initial battles, starting in Autumn 2014, one already could see the hand of the General Staff. So, in this sense, they were hatched.

    Agree

    most forces were those of Black Sea Fleet and other units of Russian MoD, which were in Sevastopol since late 18th Century

    Most…but not all….those “little fellows” weren’t initially there. They flew in.
    But, that’s nitpicking, I admit.
    Crimea was logical and well executed move by Moscow.

  222. ANOSPH says:
    @Pavel

    Pavel,

    I am Ukrainian born and disagree with you on almost every point you’ve made. The heart of our common (Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian) civilization is to the east. The West can pay occasional lip service to an independent and “free” Ukraine, but all they (the US really) need is a doormat from which to pressure the only geopolitical foe that can compete with the US in the near term. You can foam at the mouth and continue with your Russophobic rants all you want, but our alternative to aligning with Russia is disintegration. The current regime in Kiev and its foreign backers do not care about us and people like you are simply useful idiots for their geopolitical projects.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    , @Pavel
  223. @Mr. Hack

    BTW, neither you, nor Karlin have been able to counter AP’s very cogent argument regarding the BS regarding the benevolent Bolsheviks creating Ukraine:

    OK. So:

    1. I don’t think AP has any cogent arguments on this issue other than very hm..how to say–not scientific ones. But I gladly take a backseat on this specific issue (and you can easily browse my post history to see that it is not the thing which really interests me). I guess my repeated, over the years now, stressing that Ukrainians did happen as a nation (in this thread alone I repeated it several times) should give some clue that the issue of pure historic geopolitical argumentation is not very high on my list of having fun discussing things here.

    2. So, I simply am not interested in “countering” something that doesn’t matter now anyway since reality on the ground, speaking in plain language “it is what it is”. I also stress here my full support for Russia NOT invading Ukraine in 2014. The wisdom of this decision was clear to me as early as Autumn 2014. Today this wisdom is absolutely clear and Russia won a huge necessary time for an incomparably larger and more important fish to fry. So when (if.. when 50/50 in my view and, of course, I could be wrong) the provocation (a big one) and attack comes things will be decided very fast, much faster than it would have been done in 2014.

    Is this good enough of explanation or you need me to elaborate more on the issue of me not “countering” supposedly “cogent” argumentation? ;-)

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Simpleguest
  224. Bill says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    I remember it being quite contentious. I don’t remember ever seeing any persuasive evidence, though my interest in the matter waned for quite a while. It is quite odd how reticent you are to provide links given your enthusiasm for demanding them from others.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  225. Mikel says:
    @AP

    the pro-Russians were beaten back, chased off and it culminated in the so-called Odessa “massacre.”

    I think that the so-called Odessa “massacre” was indeed a massacre, however one chooses to look at it. But no massacres were necessary in Kherson, Mykolayiv, Zaporizhia,… With moderate resistance from the authorities and pro-Ukrainians they fizzled out for the reasons Martyanov has admitted.

    When you violently oust an elected President you’re going to have to deal with the consequences in the regions where most people voted for him. Like it or not. In a couple of them many, probably a majority, reacted by supporting secession whereas in others the reaction was much more moderate.

    I agree on this completely.

    Nice.

    But I understand that separatism is illegal in Ukraine. There’s hardly a country in Western Europe without some legal separatist movement. They may not have many chances of changing the legal status (except for Scotland) but certainly nobody faces criminal prosecution for that.

    Now, according the the OSCE daily reports, the Ukrainian army also uses residential areas to station their tanks and artillery (and the rebels are also causing civilian casualties due to this). http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/reports Do you support this strategy by the Ukrainian military?

    As for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, there is much evidence of war crimes having been committed by both sides. Do you think that the responsible Ukrainians should also face trial?

    • Replies: @AP
  226. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I agree with most of what you state, except wonder about this statement:

    I also stress here my full support for Russia NOT invading Ukraine in 2014.

    Was this because Russian planners were not prepared to help foment war in other Ukrainian territories considered ‘NovoRosija’ even if the local populace had been more open to the message, or as Pavel, a Ukrainian citizen who seems quite in tune with the realities on the ground, states:

    There is no hypothetical in regards to “Novorossia” project. It existed, and Kremlin did not make a secret out of it. Let’s talk facts here. Russia was trying hard to create “Novorossia”, for many months, not weeks. Everybody in Ukraine, Russia, and outside remember the aggressiveness of Russian special propaganda at that time, specifically on that matter. Putin himself talked, publicly, about “Novorossia” and how she’d become a reality.

    But soon he realized that going through south-eastern Ukraine would not be as easy as backstabbing attack on Crimea, which succeeded largely because of the factor of suddenness. Putin understood, and you probably should, that taking over the territories is meaningless, unless you either prepared to keep your occupying troops there permanently, or unless you have a majority of the people there supporting you.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  227. Cyrano says:

    Ukraine is following in the footsteps of Poland by applying a makeup made of religion, excessive nationalism (based on some phony historical greatness) and anti-Russian-ism in order to make themselves more appealing to the west.

    Thus they (thought that they) were able to overcome their humble Slavic origins which used to restrain them from acquiring their rightful place in the west. Why would their main preoccupation be the desire to be liked by the west is a mystery to me, but it seems to be working for them as a main motivating factor behind their existence.

    Unfortunately for Ukraine, pretty soon they’ll have to substitute their favorite makeup for a mortician touches in order to make the dead w**re look more respectable in death than it ever managed to look while alive.

  228. Avery says:
    @Pavel

    { “Russian tsars” were hardly “bolcheviks”,}

    I am pretty sure I know the difference between Orthodox Christian Tsars and anti-Christian, atheist Bolsheviks.

    This is what I wrote in my original post: {Sure did. Lenin, then Stalin added large chunks of lands to Ukraine (…according to this map).} Notice the two names, and only the two names there?

    {This is not to mention that a huge part of modern day Russia historically belonged to Mongols}

    Nothing historically belonged to Mongols other than their Mongolian steppes: historically their lands, where their nomad tribes roamed for 1,000s of years.
    They surely dominated most of Russia for about 300 years or so, but they were foreign invaders who were eventually thrown out.

    Roman empire was also huge and had conquered many lands.
    Such as Spain, France/Gaul, etc.
    But Rome’s homeland was Italy, and that’s where it eventually contracted to.
    Half the world belonged to the British Empire for a couple hundred years.
    It’s back to its original origins on that large island.
    So your example of most of Russia supposedly ‘belonging’ to Mongols is bogus nonsense and smacks of desperation.

    I have no dog in this fight: I am neither Russian, nor Ukrainian, nor Slavic.
    I just presented a historic map that shows Lenin and Stalin – Bolsheviks – annexing large chunks of lands to Ukraine. That it.

  229. @Mr. Hack

    Was this because Russian planners were not prepared to help foment war in other Ukrainian territories considered ‘NovoRosija’ even if the local populace had been more open to the message, or as Pavel, a Ukrainian citizen who seems quite in tune with the realities on the ground, states:

    1. First, immediate question–WHO would pay the bills and would feed the population of these lands EVEN if Russia was prepared, as you say “to foment” anything there and they would be more pro-active? The correct answer to this question, no mater how simple it seems cannot be obtained without looking back at war of 08-08-08 and the processes which started there.

    2. Here is another clue–almost catastrophic failure of Serdyukov’s “reform” of Russian Armed Forces and urgent appointing of Shoigu in his place in late 2012. After that, the speed of the structural and technological (much needed) change is simply astonishing but it had NOTHING to do with Ukraine or any designs on it–it had everything with the US.

    3. Only Crimea was in plans and the whole Russian political elite’s life would last only till the first NATO ship would take a permanent basing in Sevastopol. US had those plans. Imagine, Russian Navy “moving in” into San-Diego and then demanding from California to annul any treaties re: its basing there. Imagine reaction, granted, of course, that Americans have no clue what it means to defend own city against aggressor. Russians spilled so much blood defending Sevastopol and Crimea in several wars that it only takes Anatoly Karlin with his “insights” to write about Russian WW II “cult”, while in reality Sevastopol is covered with cemeteries and memorials.

    4. Donbas was a curved ball. It was, of course, monitored (if it wouldn’t have been–SVR should have been disbanded for unprofessionalism) and, I suppose, some contingency planning was done but nothing drastic. But US and EU inspired bloody overthrow of Yanukovich government changed calculus completely in several very important aspects and it completely exposed the US, especially after Crimea, which miscalculated, yet again, in the lands it has impression from all kind of hacks pretending to be scholars.

    5. After Crimea US had only one hope of mitigating an unfolding geopolitical disaster for itself–to drag Russia into war in Ukraine proper, with all consequences of that action playing dramatically against Russia and her Armed Forces and economy being in a transition phase. Russia NOT invading Ukraine and being able to very effectively structure, train and supply LDNR forces came as a shock to D.C. “elite”. There were, actually, several shocks, especially in military field.

    6. Then came Syria and then came what we all observe today. In other words: Russia was conserving and accumulating precious resources for much bigger, existential, fight, which could turn global, and in this case–any idea that Russia wanted to annex anything other than Crimea is preposterous since contradicts any serious military-strategic logic and now is completely debunked by the overwhelming empirical evidence.

    Let me quote myself (gotta love internet–easy to maintain the record) from three years ago:

    I observed for decades now a consistent pattern of the wrong assessments, loony strategies and deliberate misrepresentation (lies?) of facts coming from the top of US establishment, which since 1991 lives in the make-believe world built by the triumphalists. It is difficult to explain to the average Joe that Baseball World Series, or Superbowl “World Champions” have no relation to the World and are purely internal American affairs. That there is a huge wide world outside and that it lives and moves not in accordance to the American narrative. Explaining to American “elite” the fact that US didn’t “win” the WW II, that “winning” the Cold War came about because Soviet people simply decided to end it, that Wall Street “economy” has no relation to real economy and that real wars produce misery and destruction on a scale which is incomprehensible for the “populace” of the Washington D.C. “strategists”, it is not just difficult–it is next to impossible. So, the events must run the course. But it is already clear that by failing to achieve any sensible political objectives in Ukraine and in Russia, and, by this, starting a massive global re-alignment, the United States sustained a defeat. What will be the consequences of this defeat? I hate to speculate, I just know that they are already big and that the moment of facing the reality is coming. My suggestion to those who are still making decisions–open and start reading War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I don’t hold my breath, though. The moment US handlers of their Kiev puppets conceived that Ukrainian Army can “win” in Donbass, the stopwatch started.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2015/01/sand-castle-geopolitcs-vi.html

    Utter, sheer bellicose incompetence of US “elites” has been exposed and that marked the beginning of the end of the “world order” as we know it.

    Is it in a ballpark or do I need to go further? ;-)

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Erebus
    , @Pavel
  230. @Andrei Martyanov

    If I may share my observations on this topic.

    Being in the year 2017, I believe we all can see much clearer the big picture, hiding behind the events in Ukraine of 2014.

    Based on everything that took place since then, I deduct the following:
    1. The main goal behind the “collective West” behavior in Ukraine in 2014 (the instigation of the coup) was to substantially reduce the Russian ability to influence the events in the Middle East by:

    – Gaining control of Crimea by acquiring full control of whole of Ukraine – that would be plan A;
    – Provoking RF into an open war in Ukraine that would also significantly reduce its potentials in that area – and that would be plan B;

    Eliminating Russia from the Middle East would have enabled the “collective West” to finally reshape it according to its interests.

    Neither of the two took place, probably because the Russian leadership had the right information and made, I agree with you, the correct decisions to keep its focus on the Middle East.
    This is where the true battle lies.

    Unfortunately, real aspirations of many in Ukraine, especially its youth, were cynically abused in a geopolitical conflict against Russia, however improbable that statement may look.

  231. @ANOSPH

    One of the pillars of modern Ukrainianism is the fact that Russians, in accordance to modern Ukrainian academia, are Mongoloid backward people, or as General from Shtirlitz’ coupe in 17 Moments of Spring stated (I believe it is 8th Episode)–Russians are wild and backward people, or in general, rash-ridden Bolshevik Cossacks. Ukrainians, as viewed by many Ukrainians themselves, especially from Western Ukraine, are, of course, advanced and truly European people. Highly enlightened and with some of roots going back to Ancient Greece with Aristotle speaking Ukrainian language:

    https://lifeua.net/aristotel-i-diogen-razgovarivali-po-ukrainski-yushhenko-v-etom-uveren-a-vy.html

    I am personally a race realist, but being constantly mistaken for Scandinavian (once, for God knows for what reason was mistaken of all people for New Zealdnder) and all that shit, I was really surprised to find myself belonging to Mongoloid group. My wife, who is partially Polish (some Lithuanian bloods too) was also kinda offended for her Russian heritage;-)

  232. @Simpleguest

    You almost said it in unison with me, I merely expanded somewhat on it. Very good points.

  233. @Simpleguest

    The main goal behind the “collective West” behavior in Ukraine in 2014 (the instigation of the coup) was to substantially reduce the Russian ability to influence the events in the Middle East

    Too deep, too complicated. Rather: simply getting another client state in a strategic area; further uses to be determined, depending on situations and opportunities. Otherwise, what’s the main goal behind their behavior in, say, Macedonia?

  234. peterAUS says:
    @Simpleguest

    Based on everything that took place since then, I deduct the following:
    1. The main goal behind the “collective West” behavior in Ukraine in 2014 (the instigation of the coup) was to substantially reduce the Russian ability to influence the events in the Middle East by:

    – Gaining control of Crimea by acquiring full control of whole of Ukraine – that would be plan A;
    – Provoking RF into an open war in Ukraine that would also significantly reduce its potentials in that area – and that would be plan B;

    Eliminating Russia from the Middle East would have enabled the “collective West” to finally reshape it according to its interests.

    Neither of the two took place, probably because the Russian leadership had the right information and made, I agree with you, the correct decisions to keep its focus on the Middle East.
    This is where the true battle lies.

    Unfortunately, real aspirations of many in Ukraine, especially its youth, were cynically abused in a geopolitical conflict against Russia, however improbable that statement may look.

    Sounds reasonable.

    A bit of different viewpoint:
    Based on everything that took place since then, I deduct the following:
    1. The main goal behind the “collective West” behavior in Ukraine in 2014 (the instigation of the coup) was to expand NATO eastwards.

    – Gaining control of Crimea by acquiring full control of whole of Ukraine – that would be plan A;
    – Provoking RF into an open war in Ukraine that would also significantly reduce its potentials in that area – and that would be plan B;

    At the moment the “collective West” got 2/3 of Ukraine and working on plan B.

    The true battle lies in replacing the regime in Moscow by “West friendly” one.

    The real aspirations of many in Ukraine, especially its youth, were used in a geopolitical conflict against Russia.
    That is still going on, gaining more traction and working towards plan B.

    In a similar way the real aspirations of many in Novorossia/Donbass, since push against the regime in Kiev, have been used in geopolitical conflict against “collective West”.
    That is also going on and working towards preventing plan B.
    In a couple of ways. Not necessarily in sync with the real aspirations of many in Novorossia/Donbas.

  235. @Beckow

    “Washington (with Poland and a few other fire-eating nut-cases in EU) made a strong move in 2013-14 trying to get their hands on Crimea and to replace the very strategic Russian Navy base in Sebastopol with a Nato base. ”

    Is this just speculation on your part or do you have actual evidence that this was the plan? The US does dumb stuff all the time but I find it very hard to believe that anyone was planning anything quite as stupid as a US military presence in Crimea. I’m pretty sure such a presence would be violently rejected even in western Ukraine, let alone any ethnically Russian area.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Mao Cheng Ji
  236. Beckow says:
    @Dicky Cone

    Let’s walk through what we know:

    1. Ukraine was going to join Nato
    It was a part and a pre-requisite of Ukraine joining EU. That was the same rule applied to all other eastern European countries joining EU, they are all in Nato. It is a pre-requisite.

    2. It is inconceivable that Russia Navy headquarters in Crimea would be in a Nato country. That simply not possible in the long run, Russia is deemed to be Nato’s main enemy.

    3. Russia only had a ‘lease’ on Sebastopol. That could be terminated by Kiev. If there was resistance, Ukraine would cut off water, electricity, supplies, surround the bases, etc… Not a sustainable situation.

    Is that a ‘speculation’? I don’t think so, it has a logic and is based on what has already happened and on what Kiev, Brussels and Washington are saying (“Ukraine will be in Nato”). Given that, it was a likely outcome that Russia would be pushed out of Crimea and sooner or later, Sebastopol would be a Nato base. There would be no ‘violent rejection’ in Western Ukraine, none.

    Yes, it was quite stupid. It could have worked if the locals in Kiev were not even more stupid and incompetent. We avoided a potential nuclear crisis by Russia preventively taking over Crimea. Not pretty, but it beats the likely alternative.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Erebus
  237. @Dicky Cone

    I’m pretty sure such a presence would be violently rejected even in western Ukraine, let alone any ethnically Russian area.

    Ever heard of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base? It’s been rejected by Cuba and Cubans for about 60 years now; a lot of good that does…

    • Replies: @Dicky Cone
  238. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Since you acknowledge that there is indeed a modern Ukrainian nation, and therefore presumably the right to form its own state and country structures, certainly you can understand that Ukraine has for a very long time tried to find at least some distance from the controlling arm of an imperialistic Russia.
    After all, the latest incarnation of separation didn’t just all occur at once in 2014. How can Ukraine and Russia reapproach in the future? Should Russia learn to judge her neighbor more as an equal (at least politically), and at least find less militaristic means to regulate border/sovereignty issues? Can Ukraine become a Norway to Russia’s Sweden?

  239. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow

    Agree up to and including

    There would be no ‘violent rejection’ in Western Ukraine, none.

  240. @Bill

    Surely it is very odd to wonder why someone should not want to waste time searching for and evaluating links so he can send them to someone he doesn’t know and whose views are not informed by vreat and conscientious interest.

  241. peterAUS says:
    @Mr. Hack

    There is some….misunderstanding……..going on here.

    Let’s make it simple.

    There is a geopolitical struggle between two superpowers.
    Russia, as one of those powers, has, as a state, concerns, interests..stuff like that.
    It has nothing to do who/what is the current leader/leadership.
    That game has been going for quite some time.
    In that game Russia must not allow the opposing power to station strategic/operational assets (military, intelligence etc.) on its borders.
    It just isn’t on.

    That is the fundamental level, the very foundation of West/Russia relationship.
    When you start to think from that basic premise the rest simply just clicks.

    From then on you have next levels: who is in Moscow, what kind of regime is there, and the same for Washington.

    Then…and only then….you have players as Ukraine.
    Legitimate or not historical grievances, relationships, interests, concerns……

    Then, you have a current regime in Kiev and situation in Novorissia/Donbas/Crimea etc.
    Although Crimea has direct relationship with the foundation of all this.

    So, bottom line is: trying to prove/disprove Russia moves through Ukraine, well, is pointless really.

    When Russia deals with Ukraine (or Donbas/Novorossia/Crimea) it does that through the foundation…the security of the state.
    Not regime in Moscow, not Putin and his guys…the very state of Russia.

    This thing goes back to mid 19th century.
    If you want to see it that way.

    I am sure Russian elites do.

  242. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Apples and oranges. Yes the Cuban government is strongly opposed to Gitmo but I highly doubt the Cuban population is anywhere near as opposed as the ethnic Russian population of Crimea would be to a US presence. I speak Russian and I’ve been to Crimea several times. They seemed on the brink of seceding from Ukraine last time I was there back in 2004 and things were far less tense then. I just can’t see anything but all out war if it were attempted and even the Americans must realize that.

    My knowledge of western Ukraine is much murkier (never been there) but my impression is that the ukronazis, as Saker calls them, while happy to accept US intelligence and supplies don’t exactly love the Americans either and would violently resist establishment of a base.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  243. Beckow says:
    @Dicky Cone

    I agree that Gitmo is not a good analogy, it predates current Cuba’s government and there has never been a contentious rival for it.

    It is likely that an attempt to replace Russia in Sebastopol with Nato (not US at first, Nato is a useful fig leaf, maybe start with a few Italian or Danish ships) would trigger disturbances among Crimea Russian majority. So what? When was the last time civil demonstrations had any effect on Western policy? Can you think of a single case? People riot and policy goes on.

    But my view is that it would not happen that way. It would be stretched out over 10-15 years, or more. First nothing would change, then the lease would be terminated – and Nato would sanctimoniously say that it is Ukraine’s ‘business’, but nobody can intervene. Over time Russia’s navy would be either pushed out or dramatically reduced, their lives there would be made miserable. Still, Nato would be quiet and Western media would lie through their teeth about Russian ‘paranoia’, living in 19th century, blabla… Then, once Russian Navy would be out, a decent interval would take place with nothing happening. Population would be propagandised about economic benefits of navy ships, a few non-core countries’ Nato ships would visit, then visit again, stay longer, manoeuvres would be held.

    Finally, a crisis is stirred up in the vicinity, maybe Belarus, or Georgia. Ukraine would ask for a semi-permanent presence of Nato navy in Crimea. Lots of protests from Russia, some fake ‘assurances’, and boom, Sebastopol is a Nato base. That is the scenario that Nato has followed in moving east. There is absolutely no reason why the same scenario couldn’t be played out in Crimea. And what could Russia do? Short of threatening a nuclear war, nothing. What happened in 2014 was probably a lot better because it shut down this possibility.

    Still, what a bloody gall to try to replace Russian Navy headquarters with a Nato base. One can see the Washington literati shaking with excitement over the daring geo-political move. This is what they live for, this why they take out maps after dinner at Georgetown and dream. The plan failed because Russia moved first. Thus the hysteria.

    • Replies: @Dicky Cone
  244. Cyrano says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    No, man, seriously, I am just trying to help. You know how for example Italian is sometimes referred to as “language of the lovers”, or how French is referred to as the “language of diplomacy”. In same vein I think that “Ukrainian” should be known as the language of the stupid. I think you got that part of the market pretty much cornered.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  245. @Cyrano

    The only reason I take more than glancing notice of matters to do with Ukraine is my friendship with an investment banker who spent 20 years as a full professor at a top 100 university between careers as constructive investment banker. He lectured in Ukrainian as a visiting professor in Kiev. Obviously a stupid person’s language. There seems to be unwillingness to grasp the extent of the anti-Soviet, and no doubt by extension some anti Russian, feelings amongst Ukrainian speakers from Galicia in particular. And one can hardly forget the Holomodor in estimating what might be natural Ukrainian speakers attitudes to Moscow government and those associated with it. Catholic Poles and Catholic Ukrainians would, I suppose, have much in common in their attitudes and those attitudes wouldn’t tend to make Russian speaking more than a tool with a glance at 19th century literature as well.

    • Replies: @Cyrano
    , @Mao Cheng Ji
    , @Anon
  246. Cyrano says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Let me tell you something about the catholic religion and the Polaks and the Ukrainians. They use that religion as a proof that they are better than the Russians. Same way that you won’t find anybody in Hollywood to confess that they are conservatives, because they consider liberalism –even the phony one – to be avant-garde and progressive and therefore better than the conservatism.

    I read somewhere recently that 41% of the Polaks go to churches. Who does that in this day and age? It has nothing to do with religion. The reason why they do it is because they watch some outdated American programming in which people go to churches all the time and the Polaks think that by hanging around churches they’ll become if not American, at least western.

    I said once before, a religion that will make the Polaks and Ukrainians better than the Russians hasn’t been invented yet – it never will be.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  247. Erebus says:
    @Beckow

    Is that a ‘speculation’? I don’t think so…

    Actually, the cancellation of the Sevastopol lease was part of Right Sector’s published political platform, prominent on their website.

    It could have worked if the locals in Kiev were not even more stupid and incompetent.

    … and if the residents of Crimea hadn’t stood up and taken action when they saw the writing on the wall. If anyone’s interested, they can read about some of that from a “street level” view, along with anecdotal evidence of NATO’s anticipatory preparations here: http://www.russiadefence.net/t4947-events-leading-to-crimea-joining-rf

    • Replies: @Beckow
  248. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    For example, is all the traffic of modern cars in Lviv, or Kiev, merely creative bookkeeping?

    Delhi or Mumbai have traffic which is off-the scale. Do you need me to continue, if you know what I mean (wink-wink). So, our definitions of shitholes vary, I give you that.

    You posted a very nice tourism video of Vladivostok. The bridge is certainly impressive. I prefer regular videos, not specially produced tourist videos however.

    This is a video of random (bad) drivers in Lviv (not tourism video):

    Driving around Kiev Feb. 2016:

    Do they look like third world places to you? Streets are normal, people look normal, cars are normal.

    Let me guess: you have not been there recently.

    Driving around Yekaterinburg:

    Here is Novosibirsk a few months ago. Skip to 1:24 to see the city:

    Driving around Novosibirsk in 2012:

    LOL @ “Novosibirsk alone will make Lviv look like a backwater in every single metric from quality of life to…. fill in the blanks. ”

    Don’t look better than Kiev, and look worse than Lviv. The Russian cities have more and newer highrises, indicating more money, but the differences don’t make Kiev or Lviv “third world” compared to those Russian cities.

    (Meanwhile, remember you saying something about actually living in Eburg recently? Help me out on that, I simply do not remember)

    I lived in Moscow. Never been to Eburg, I visited elsewhere in the Urals. Lviv certainly is nicer than are provincial Russian cities, no question. Moscow is of course a different world. I haven’t been to Saint Petersburg since 2004. Lviv looks no worse now than Peter did then (it is much smaller, of course) but I assume Saint Petersburg has changed a lot since 2004.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  249. AP says:
    @Mikel

    I think that the so-called Odessa “massacre” was indeed a massacre, however one chooses to look at it.

    Two groups of armed thugs (pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian) fought each other. The fighting was provoked by the pro-Russians who had hoped to disrupt the Ukrainian march, as had been successfully done by pro-Russians in Donetsk. The pro-Russian group lost the struggle, some of them retreated and made a stand in a building where they foolishly encouraged regular non-violent pro-Russian protesters to join them. People from both sides threw Molotov cocktails and shot at each other. The building ignited (perhaps a stockpile of cocktails by pro-Russians got hit and caught fire) , over 40 people inside died. Some of the pro-Ukrainians tried to save the people inside as they jumped out, once it became obvious how deadly the situation was, but other pro-Ukrainians beat them (and some of the pro-Ukrainians stopped the others from beating the pro-Russians). This was how the UN observers reported it (page 9):

    http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/UA/HRMMUReport15June2014.pdf

    Russian sources claimed it was a massacre, hundreds were secretly killed in the basement, etc. etc. It became a rallying cry for their rebels. Ukrainians were going to massacre everybody. But this was a one-time tragedy.

    Ukrainian government arrested pro-Russians but not pro-Ukrainians who were involved in these fights.

    But I understand that separatism is illegal in Ukraine. There’s hardly a country in Western Europe without some legal separatist movement. They may not have many chances of changing the legal status (except for Scotland) but certainly nobody faces criminal prosecution for that.

    It became that way as a result of and during this war in Donbas. There were openly pro-Russian Unity parties before. They got a very small % of votes, even in Crimea.

    Now, according the the OSCE daily reports, the Ukrainian army also uses residential areas to station their tanks and artillery (and the rebels are also causing civilian casualties due to this). http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/reports Do you support this strategy by the Ukrainian military?

    I do not, by either side. But note that the rebels do it much more – it is actually their main strategy.

    As for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, there is much evidence of war crimes having been committed by both sides. Do you think that the responsible Ukrainians should also face trial?

    Yes.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  250. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Yes, seriously. I decided against anticipating that characteristic lame jibe about Wikipedia (though my “something like” ought to have warned you to think twice). If you had read ANY substantial collection of material on the issue you would have had reason to pause before rabbiting on, with, unfortunately, no one to edit you.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  251. @Wizard of Oz

    And one can hardly forget the Holomodor in estimating what might be natural Ukrainian speakers attitudes to Moscow government

    Don’t be silly. You’re buying into idiotic nationalist narrative that makes no sense and has nothing to do with reality. There was a famine in the Soviet Union during collectivization, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with “Ukrainian speakers” or “Moscow government” – whatever the hell each of this phrases means, because they mean nothing.

    Obviously a stupid person’s language.

    It’s not a ‘stupid’ language, it’s just a spectrum of dialects spoken by simple people, villagers. A ‘radical’ (so to say) analogy would be ‘ebonics’ in the US. A version of ‘ebonics’ may very well become eventually the official language of Liberia (or some other African country), and professors will be lecturing in it, and that’s fine, why not. Still, it won’t be perceived by anglophones as a ‘serious’ language for a while.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @AP
  252. Erebus says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    6. Then came Syria and then came what we all observe today.

    To my mind, Syria’s (un)civil war is not about pipelines, Shia Crescents, or Oded Yinon Plan(s) so much as it is directly linked to Assad’s “Four Seas Strategy” as announced in Ankara in 2009.

    The Strategy called for Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran to integrate their economies, especially in the energy sector, and use their collective access to the Mediterranean, Caspian, and Black Seas, as well as the Persian Gulf, to put the integrated group at the fulcrum of Eurasian trade in the context of China’s New Silk Road. In Assad’s words, “… we’re talking about the center of the world” for transport, investment, finance, with (he hoped) Damascus as the centre of it all. Assad discussed this plan with both Medvedev and Yanukovich as well as Iran’s Khamenei, who gave his blessing. Assad’s Four Seas Strategy would provide the critical maritime and land links for goods and energy to move across the continent along the southern routes.
    Ukraine, of course, would lie on the natural Northern Silk Road route, both overland through Russia, and as the northern terminus on the Black Sea. A grand vision that caught the attention of a few evil eyes.

    Russia, with its Black & Caspian Sea exposure, as well as its long relationship with Syria, would naturally find such developments attractive, but in any case would be compelled to get involved as its critical national interests would be affected. Here, it gets a little complicated, as the core 4 lie in the “strategic energy ellipse”, which features Iran as its centre and whose northern end extends to Russia’s Arctic. The Saudis have nothing but oil, so there is a natural rivalry between Russia and Iran as the 2 big dogs in the neighbourhood. They had to fix that.

    The ellipse holds 70% of the world’s known energy reserves, so is a geo-political prize for whoever controls it. I haven’t seen anything indicating Medvedev’s response to Assad’s idea, but I think that what we’ve been witnessing over the last 5 years is the American response to Assad’s affront to American Hegemony, and the Kremlin’s parrying moves to run out the clock and allow their resource and organization levels to rise to the point where they could defend against what would undoubtedly become increasingly violent attempts to kill both Four Seas and OBOR, and gain control over the ellipse.

    To that end, Russia sacrificed the Ukrainian pawn to pocket the Crimean Rook, and thus stabilized the Black Sea. It signed a number of agreements with other Caspian littoral states to stabilize that sea. Meanwhile, it kept Assad alive with weapons, supplies and training just as long as Russia needed to get its ducks in a row. With Crimea safely in hand, the rest of Ukraine on ice, its stand-off weaponry & delivery systems tried and found true, its military (re)organization and personnel at a fine state of hone both on the Western front and those assigned to the Syrian expedition, and (critically) an at least tacit agreement with Iran, Russia was ready to move. It put the US in zugzwang when it went live with an expeditionary force in Syria, and immediately showed that it was ready to defend it “with extreme prejudice” by firing 26 Kalibrs from the Caspian into Syria. That, and the US election brouhaha has kept the US off-balance ever since.

    So, I would add that not only does…

    … any idea that Russia wanted to annex anything other than Crimea is preposterous since contradicts any serious military-strategic logic…

    , it also contradicts Russia’s primary geo-political imperative, which is to stabilize the strategic energy ellipse so it can feed Eurasian growth. Taking Ukraine, even just up to the Dnieper, would have sacrificed that imperative. They will need a stable Ukraine later, but that can wait. One should never, as they say, confuse urgency and importance.

    Putin is now in Tehran, along with Azerbaijan’s Aliyev (an important “ellipse” country), no doubt to make explicit their understandings going forward.

    A map of the strategic energy ellipse can be seen here:

    http://energyskeptic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/German-peak-oil-strategic-ellipse.bmp

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    , @Beckow
  253. @Erebus

    it also contradicts Russia’s primary geo-political imperative, which is to stabilize the strategic energy ellipse so it can feed Eurasian growth. Taking Ukraine, even just up to the Dnieper, would have sacrificed that imperative.

    Some superb points you made here. Syria, of course, is also instrumental in restoration (on a new technological foundation) of the 5th OPESK (Fifth Operational Squadron) which is instrumental in covering East Med, including but not limited to, such things as the further edge (kromka) from possible TLAM attacks by US (and NATO) Navies against Crimea and Southern Russia plus providing an alternative route for 3M14 Kalibr against ground installations of MK41 in Romania. Ramifications in general are huge.

    They will need a stable Ukraine later, but that can wait.

    100% agree. Interestingly, today’s interview by Zakharchenko on integration of LDNR with Russia fully supports your point. Zakharchenko was explicit and I quote: “We (Donbas people) are worth nothing if we care only about our immediate desires and do not account for Russia’s interests and what immense international problems she would have if we join now.”(c) Stable Ukraine by default means Ukraine friendly to Russia and, most likely, greatly truncated, this is without, obviously, Donbas which is already long along the path of becoming part of Russia.

    It put the US in zugzwang when it went live with an expeditionary force in Syria, and immediately showed that it was ready to defend it “with extreme prejudice” by firing 26 Kalibrs from the Caspian into Syria. That, and the US election brouhaha has kept the US off-balance ever since.

    Exactly. That is the point I was making pretty much from the onset of events in 2014 and that is why I also opened my blog because already then it became clear of what was coming. Exactly a month before the salvo from Caspian Sea that is what I wrote in my blog:

    The thing with these ships is that with the displacement of about one ninth of Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the price tag of about the same proportions, that is about nine times less expensive, they can provide the coverage for the whole Black Sea. One, of course, has to consider three points above that. The brigade of such ships can also provide a salvo to the strategic depth of land theater of operations or, speaking plain language, such ships can strike any city in Europe or, can strike land targets in the Persian Gulf while themselves being in the Caspian Sea.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-perils-of-mosquito-iii.html

    And lo and behold for Western so called “experts” off they went. US blindness (and incompetence) to all that was simply astonishing, hence zugzwang for US. But that is, of course, the whole other huge problem requiring in depth discussion.

  254. @AP

    I lived in Moscow. Never been to Eburg, I visited elsewhere in the Urals. Lviv certainly is nicer than are provincial Russian cities, no question.

    But you stated something about the flat of your wife in Eburg and how this flat (apartments) had some amenities which were accessibly only by nomenclature? It is somewhere in Karlin’s blog recently. Don’t you remember? As per bad spots in the cities–any city has shitty spots, it is just that Ukraine has their number increasing almost exponentially. Per Vladivostok–there are TWO state-of-the-art bridges, one of them–to Russki Island–is gigantic. Obviously apart from natural beauty and being a center of Asia tourism (believe me–the number of Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Malayans etc.) tourists there is off the scale and Vladivostok being in the world’s Top 10 for the most beautiful Ocean Front cities in the world, kinda should have given you some clue.

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/photos-top-10-oceanfront-cities/

    But no, you went to Youtube to dig up some irrelevant facts forgetting, instead, to look up this.

    http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/200981/zvezda-shipyard-secures-first-orders/

    The scale of that is gigantic. And that is Vladivostok only, so what are we talking her about? Yeah, impress me with this backwater Lviv. Now I am waiting coherent explanation on those apartment in Sverdlovsk/Eburg.

    • Replies: @AP
  255. @Mr. Hack

    Since you acknowledge that there is indeed a modern Ukrainian nation, and therefore presumably the right to form its own state and country structures, certainly you can understand that Ukraine has for a very long time tried to find at least some distance from the controlling arm of an imperialistic Russia.

    How about I give you a foundation. I know many of our Ukrainian “friends” and “friends” of Ukraine here may have aneurysm reading that, but it is what it is:

    1. Sure Ukraine has rights, that is why Russia didn’t invade it, despite non-stop statements to the contrary from many Ukrainians, who sincerely think that Ukraine fights Russian Army in Donbass. I can tell you, those Ukrainian Armed Forces are so damn good to keep those Buryat and Chechen Divisions in check that one has to admire that. LOL.

    2. Yes, Ukraine formed as a nation but did I say anything to the effect that it is a viable, or nation with the bright future anywhere? Don’t remember doing this, I said, however, that it matters WHERE nations go. And here is a problem, Ukraine is a very, how to put it politely, weak, in fact freakish nation since already has both virus and deformities in here, the same as some children born with cerebral palsy and deformities. They still live, sometimes fairly long, they still exist, they are still humans but they are incapacitated to a huge degree and without care of parents die fast.

    So, Ukraine can exist only in two shapes, because despite Ukrainian claims to being the creators of European Civilization at the times of 10s of thousand years ago, reality is–Ukraine as we know it, came about as a nation in approximately XIX century and reached its peak economic and cultural development namely in Soviet times. Just to give you example: famed KB Antonov, responsible for development of the world’s largest and unique cargo planes, has been transferred to Kiev from Novosibirsk in 1950s, same goes for many, sometimes unique, industrial plant, including many top of the line research institutes of military and space thematic. Now, when one looks at the “achievements” of Ukrainian nation in the last 26 years one can see how it not only demolished the only things which could serve them for prosperity and bright future–its Soviet industrial heritage. While doing so, especially using a dominant, state-sponsored for many years ideology of “Not-Russia” (Kuchma even wrote a book on this shit) this nation went off the rails mentally too and it shows in every single facet of its life, which, of course, West (and especially the US) ignored but which begins to bite them in the ass and it hurts. So the two shapes Ukraine can exist are:

    1. NATO (US mostly) ram against Russia. Perspectives? A destruction of Ukrainian state in the most brutal, fast and efficient way, sealing the territory off and a long process of sanitation, and de-nazification, and then eventual dissolution between Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia (if Russia will decide to do so–that is still a huge question, Russians don’t like freeloaders).

    2. State, still truncated (how, I don’t know in this case), which effectively becomes an allied state of Russia but only on an equal economic bases and most likely doing economically what needs to be done, but that implies a “revision” of Ukrainian “oligarchy”, some of whom, most likely will run to the West to write memoirs about how democracy was killed in Ukraine, others have to disappear and they will one way or another. Perspectives? I don’t know? It is a very long process.

    These are ONLY two ways Ukraine can exist. I think Russia considers pp.2 since trade with Ukraine (for which Russia–aggressor, Ukrainian-phobic vatnik Mongoloid untermensch, is a #1 trade partner and the trade glows as I type this). But NO, never again Ukraine will be allowed to have any pipelines or any other transit capacities.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Wizard of Oz
  256. @Wizard of Oz

    If you had read ANY substantial collection of material on the issue

    What’s the issue, though? I get the impression that you heard some silly Ukro-nationalist narratives from your professor friend, got impressed by them, and now you’re peddling them here. Getting warm reception from similar North American cult-followers. If it is an issue, it’s your issue.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  257. Beckow says:
    @AP

    “Ukrainians were going to massacre everybody. But this was a one-time tragedy.”

    That is rich. How many years of self-brainwashing does it take to be able distinguish a ‘one-time tragedy’ from a ‘massacre‘? ‘Demonstrators‘ from ‘thugs‘? Does Western media provide a list of criteria? Einmal ist keinmal – right?

    I suppose one-time is ok. The damn Russian speakers should had waited for at least 2 or 3 more ‘tragedies’. And the gall to use a ‘tragedy’ to stir up separatism! That has never been done by the West. Oh, no, Western liberals have never stooped to using dead people to stir up anything. Really? We both know that West literally invents ‘tragedies’ to get its way, dead are useful, they cannot be wasted on the enemy. If the enemy gets caught up in a ‘tragedy’, it is only ‘one-time’, nothing but ‘propaganda’.

    With this level of tribalism by the Western apologists, no wonder we are heading towards oblivion. But the ‘words’ can always be found to make yourself feel better, right?

    • Replies: @AP
  258. Beckow says:
    @Erebus

    “residents of Crimea hadn’t stood up and taken action when they saw the writing on the wall”

    My humble opinion is that they succeeded because Maidanistas were way too busy touring Yanukovitch’s saunas, deciding who gets to attend what meeting (Nuland), and lining up for visas to ‘be a part of Europe’.

    They forgot the primary objective and instead of militarily taking over every public building in Crimea, detaining the local leadership, blocking traffic and sending armed supporters, instead of doing that obvious thing in the first few days, they played with golden buddha statues in some gaudy saunas. I guess that was more glamorous. So they lost the prize. And with that they lost their ‘revolution’.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    , @Erebus
  259. @Beckow

    Could be man, but it’s still a hairbrained plan. The Crimean Russians aren’t stupid and they’d see right through it. Russia did good moving first but regardless i cant see a western base in Crimea ever happening.

    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
  260. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    “On January 13, 2010, Kiev Appellate Court posthumously found Lazar Kaganovich guilty of genocide against Ukrainians for his participation in the 1932-33 Holodomor.
    Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich was a Soviet politician and administrator and one of the main associates of Joseph Stalin. http://theinfounderground.com/smf/index.php?topic=12654.0
    When the Gentile communist Nikita Khruschev accused Kaganovich in 1957 at a Soviet Party Congress of having murdered 20 million Russians during his career, Kaganovich didn’t even deny it. He only accused Khruschev [a Ukrainian] of being a murderer too…
    Lazar Kaganovich was a Jew raised in the Jewish tradition, a yeshiva boy taught to guide himself on the basis of doing always what is best for the Jews… He attended his first Communist Party meeting in 1911, when he was 18, to hear the Jewish communist Trotsky give a speech in a synagogue in Kiev. He rose rapidly in the inner circle of the Communist Party, which contained many more Jews than Gentiles. His success was due primarily to his aggressiveness and his ruthlessness. He was a gangster among gangsters. In 1930 Kaganovich organized a special department of the Soviet secret police, with himself as the head. It was referred to as the department of “wet affairs,” with “wet” meaning “bloody.” That is, it handled clandestine mass executions, of the sort carried out later at Vinnitsa in Ukraine and at Katyn in Russia and at a thousand other places throughout the Soviet Union over the next two decades.”

    The Jewish library completely omits any mention of Kaganovich’ leading role in organizing Holodomor. Fortunately, his nephew wrote a book about his bloody uncle: Stuart Kahan, “The Wolf of the Kremlin,” http://mailstar.net/kaganovich.html

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  261. @Beckow

    They forgot the primary objective and instead of militarily taking over every public building in Crimea, detaining the local leadership, blocking traffic and sending armed supporters, instead of doing that obvious thing in the first few days, they played with golden buddha statues in some gaudy saunas. I guess that was more glamorous. So they lost the prize. And with that they lost their ‘revolution’.

    Yeah, sure–I would love to see how that “military” would have dealt with, say Black Sea Fleet marines (from what used to be 810th Brigade) or with other units of Black Sea Fleet–all very well (much better than their Ukrainian counterparts) equipped and trained. I, of course, am not talking about very highly likely, in case of serious deterioration, “sudden” access of Sevastopol and Simferopol and other Russians would have to the Black Sea Fleet and Coastal Units arsenals. But your point is absolutely makes no sense since operation for the return of Crimea was in works well before bloody coup in Kiev and this scenario, which you describe, was exactly PREVENTED. In the end, if need be, I can only imagine “fun” Ukrainian military would have had (in the worst case scenario) of dealing with 98th or 106th Paratroop Divisions. That would have been a sight to behold. You definitely do not understand what Sevastopol, its people, and the Black Sea Fleet are.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  262. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Your rough and ugly prognostications of how and why Ukraine’s future with Russia will evolve is plenty of reason for the ‘Nazis’ and fascists in Ukraine to keep evolving their separatist ploys. The future that you envision has nothing to offer Ukraine, Russia nor the world. No wonder so many Westerners categorize Russia as a backwards and brutish country driven by unrealistic and messianic nightmares.
    :-(

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  263. Beckow says:
    @Erebus

    “Russia sacrificed the Ukrainian pawn to pocket the Crimean Rook”

    Good summary…

    I am still puzzled how could Maidan sponsors not see this coming. But the main Western objective is to slow down the economic development in Russia by any means available. They are partially succeeding. If Russia grows and reaches living standards similar to average EU country, the consequences would be dire. It would re-calculate everything. So delaying Russia’s development (= quality of life) is very important. And in that, the Ukraine’s crisis has been partially successful. But at the cost of hurting EU’s economy and devastating Ukraine. If there is another economic crisis in the West, or energy prices go up, the blowback could be ugly.

    It is not sustainable, so what now?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  264. @Cyrano

    “I said once before, a religion that will make the Polaks and Ukrainians better than the Russians hasn’t been invented yet – it never will be.”

    Ah, but your Russians are the descendants of Viking invaders, raiders and slave traders are they not?

    • Replies: @Cyrano
  265. @Dicky Cone

    but regardless i cant see a western base in Crimea ever happening

    I disagree. The ‘president’ in Kiev signs a 99-year lease of Sevastopol, and that would’ve been the end of it, just like with Gitmo or Hong Kong/GB. The place becomes part of the US territory and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

    • Replies: @Dicky Cone
  266. @Mao Cheng Ji

    The issue which you seem to have forgotten, though you started it, is (a) whether there is any relevance in asking whether The Saker could speak with people whose vernacular is Ukrainian, or whether, (b), as you asserted, Ukrainian was more or less irrelevant and hardly spoken, and (c) whether you have any reason or authority for your glib assertions – though you have produced nothing on this.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  267. @Andrei Martyanov

    I don’t claim to know or care much about Ukraine but note that you don’t seem to pay any attention to the reality of Ukraine’s history as including a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and therefore people who see themselves as very different from Russians culturally, religiously and historically. Also you seem to discount the fairly obvious advantage of a free trade deal with the comparatively rich EU in contrast to anything it could get out of association with Russia. The new Silk Road might suggest other possibilities but, again, connecting more to EU than Russia. Oh, yes, and how do you factor in the memories/stories of the Holomodor?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  268. @Mao Cheng Ji

    You write as though you know your subject – language and culture in Ukraine let’s call it – but I know of no reason to accept your authority. Is it as a linguist, or historian, or can you list your sources?

  269. @Mr. Hack

    Your rough and ugly prognostications of how and why Ukraine’s future with Russia will evolve is plenty of reason for the ‘Nazis’ and fascists in Ukraine to keep evolving their separatist ploys. The future that you envision has nothing to offer Ukraine, Russia nor the world. No wonder so many Westerners categorize Russia as a backwards and brutish country driven by unrealistic and messianic nightmares.

    Well, that is because they are badly educated, uncultured, emasculated and, in general, ignorant and have no even rudimentary skills in critical thinking as overwhelming empirical evidence suggests. So, you are free to remain ignorant and be subjected to a non-stop stream of major cognitive dissonances which will leave you with nothing more than BS and hot air of desperation spreading all over public forums. As per Russia, I think you should really get on the neocon forums, try commenting in Newsweek for example, thus adding even more to a complete sore losers’ delusion which gripped those “Westerners”. I still cannot put exactly a finger on you, though–if you are Hasbara or some Uki/Polish troll, or one of those “Westerners”, could be all of that combined, though. As per “offering”, LOL–one of the reasons for hate of Ukrainians to Russia is the fact, that while still facing number of problems, Russians live incomparably, that is dramatically incomparably, by a long shot, better than Ukrainians and the gap grows. So, what West has “given” Ukraine is rather obvious. Hey, let them live like that, after all, Poles need somebody to clean their toilets.

  270. Beckow says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    The goal for post-Maidan Kiev was not to ‘win’ in Crimea, it was to create a stalemate, a division like what happened later in Donbas. Yes, they would lose militarily, but they had a reasonable chance to hold a small piece of Crimea territory, or at least to cause a much worse media fed ruckus in the West with some serious casualties (Tatars could be great for that).

    I agree that in a confrontation, Kiev would lose. But since they were totally unprepared, they lost in a way that gives them no way back, no room to even negotiate. The first 10 days after Maidan were crucial and Maidanistas were distracted by minutia, personal in-fighting, passing a ban on Russian language, prancing around Yanukovitch’s saunas – that was a failure.

    They were supposed to deliver or at least neutralize the Russian base in Crimea. And they failed. Since then any real interest in post-Maidan Ukraine has been dissipating, they lost the prize, so what is really the point of spending billions on them? The hurt to Russia – slowing down its economic development – is valuable, and will be pursued by the West. But it has horrible side effects on EU and Ukraine itself, and it has turned Russia’s economy to self-sufficiency and China. That is also a failure for the West. This has been a spectacular fiasco. Whoever managed this for Washington failed because they ignored the realities on the ground.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  271. Cyrano says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Why don’t we start calling the things by their proper name, instead of W of Oz, how about the douchebag from Livov (and I don’t care for your stupid Ukrainian spelling either).

    Tell those that pay you, that you are doing a lousy job here, you are not winning any support for the Ukrainian “cause” with your writing.

    The main feature of stupidity is inability to learn anything from experience. If they replay 1939 (which what 2014 is – sort of) a 1000 times for the Ukrainians, they’re going to make the same mistake a 1000 times – choosing the wrong side. Have a nice day, douchebag.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  272. @Dicky Cone

    i cant see a western base in Crimea ever happening.

    Agree but with one caveat or phrase “anymore”. Before that it was a very real possibility and that was one of the pivotal goals for the US in Crimea. Well, it is over, although the war may still come when things will become really-really desperate for both US and Ukraine.

  273. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Yes, Ukrainian neo-Nazi are very upset. – As well as the US ziocons.

    “A vassal state of the Ottoman Empire since 1478, Crimea evolved into several political entities after the Russo-Turkish Treaty in 1774.
    Russia fought and defeated the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774. “The Porte never ceased to drink in each drop of revolt among the Tatars…Our only wish has been to bring peace to Crimea…and we were finally forced by the Turks to annex the area.” Count Alexander Bezborodko.
    The Crimean War (1853–1856), a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the Duchy of Nassau. [Note the deep brotherly love between the Christian invaders and the Muslims united against Russia].
    Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became an autonomous republic within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the USSR.
    During the World War II, Crimea was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast and then, in 1954, it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR from the Russian SFSR by Nikita Khrushchev. That was in violation of the Constitution of the Russian SFSR and the Constitution of the Soviet Union. According to the Soviet Constitution the borders of a republic within the Soviet Union could not be redrawn without the agreement of the republic in question. The matter should have been submitted to an open discussion by the Supreme Council of the Russian SSR. Moreover, a referendum should have been conducted to find out the opinion of the residents of the two republics. Nothing of that happened. [The Soviet dictator, Khrushchev, had disregarded the voice of the sizeable Russian population in Crimea, the progeny of those who fought for Crimea against the Ottoman Empire and British-French aggressors. - But the US ziocons love "their" dictators].
    After the US-sponsored regime change in Kiev in the 2014, the territories of Sevastopol and Crimea were seized by the Russian Federation; annexation was formalized following a referendum.
    In a region-wide referendum on the peninsula’s future held on March 16, 2014, almost 97 percent of Crimean residents supported reunification with Russia.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  274. @Anon

    Thanks. And if your implication is that the Ukrainians shouldn’t hold the Holomodor against the Russians I suppose one should add that Stalin was a Georgian. But I have no doubt there are far more subtleties and nuances to explore in Ukrainian history and attitudes (inclduding as I have noted elsewhere the history of part of it as Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire).

    I would look to attitudes of people who saw themselves as the heirs to the original Slavic (or was it part Viking – I don’t know?) civilisation on which eventually the Czarist Empire grew to the barbarous Muscovy regime that grew from the 15th or 16th century. Mere distance can be a factor. E.g. even now there is talk of Western Australian secession as there was, quite seriously, in the 1930s despite an ethnically, linguistically and culturally virtually indistinguishable part of Australia having, after some hesitation, joined the Australian federation in 1901.

    On the Jewishness of Kaganovich I note that there was a considerable scandal in Australia when “The Hand That Signed the Paper” by the pseudonymous Helen Demidenko (real name Helen Darville) won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1995. I understand that it seemed to affirm the view of her Ukrainian protagonist that the Jews were responsible for much of the inhumanity displayed in Ukraine in the 30s and 40s.. It certainly produced an outcry from Jewish organisations.

  275. polskijoe says:
    @Mikel

    That sounds decent.

    West shouldnt have been involved. Now there is a clash of civilizations (perhaps refering to Samuel Huntington).

    If the Russians invaded Ukraine completely, than everyone would be on alert.
    Then everyone would be more worried (for Central and East Europe).

    So in the current stance they should do some referndum in Donbass.
    I dont know too much about OSCE, or what would be done.

    Now several millions Ukrainians/Ukrainian-Russians have gone to Poland or joined Russia.

  276. @Wizard of Oz

    I don’t claim to know or care much about Ukraine

    I do.

    Also you seem to discount the fairly obvious advantage of a free trade deal with the comparatively rich EU in contrast to anything it could get out of association with Russia

    Do you need me to quote you Leonid Kuchma, who accidentally is informed on the real state of Ukrainian affairs on several orders of magnitude better than me, not to speak of you, or will you find his assessments of this “free trade advantages” in my above posts? There is NO Free Trade, it is all BS, a figment of imagination of Anglo-Saxon economic school which formed away from wars and destruction. Yes, right now US government sits and plans for allowing honest “free trade” with Europe, LOL. Recall this?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/business/25tanker.html

    Just an example, there are very many of those. And, of course, as I said above, I see a long line of Siemens, Airbus, BASF, MTU, you name it, trying to build manufacturing plant, research facilities and everything that goes in Ukraine. They just are dying from this desire. Remember proud Polish shipbuilding industry? Gone. Guess why? I’ll give you a hint, several of them: Alvaro De Bazan, Saint Nazaire STX, Germany’s shipbuilding industry? Get it? Ukraine in Europe is already doomed to, as Kuchma himself stated and I quote, again:

    We are becoming a raw materials appendix. What’s left is metallurgy, chemical industry and agriculture. We practically do not have any high tech industries. Where are we going? We rejoice at the free trade with Europe. And what do we offer for this trade with Europe? Look at the statistics. Wheat. Other than agricultural products there is nothing more to offer. Quotes are rigid, we filled practically all of our quotes in first quarter of this year. And now observe how Europeans put us on our knees–”harvest your forests and bring timber to Europe”. Where is any concrete help to Ukraine, to put her on her feet!? If we remain poor nobody will need us.

    You may still continue to believe into fairy tales of “democracy” and “free trade” and whatever other BS they teach in humanities madras in the West, but the world is a damn cruel place where ONLY big shots rule and where anyone who inserts itself in the big game pretending to be a subject gets one or two new a-holes ripped or… killed. Darwinism in its purest form, while good standard of living and the rule of law (while it lasts) are only for own, and not all of them at that. Now I have to ask you a question–WHY the EU of “two speeds”?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/welcome-to-a-two-speed-europe-deal-british-voters-brussels-open-marriage/

    I know the answer and what it entails but I want to hear your thoughts on that.

    Oh, yes, and how do you factor in the memories/stories of the Holomodor?

    I don’t factor them at all–a propaganda BS invented in Ukraine about the famine in Southern Soviet Union (including Ukraine), about the same crap as 60 millions Russians killed in GULAG. In that Holodomor huge number of Russian died too, but never mind them, they don’t count. In related news, Aristotle spoke Ukrainian. Same ol’, same ol’.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @AP
  277. @Beckow

    They were supposed to deliver or at least neutralize the Russian base in Crimea. And they failed.

    Again, you are wrong. Even in the worst case scenario there was NO military way for Ukraine to “neutralize” anything in Crimea even if those thugs and the so called “military” would have been doing it from the onset. You cannot fvcking neutralize 30000 superbly equipped and trained Russian servicemen who were ALREADY in Crimea being a part of the Black Sea Fleet and its coastal units. Russia could have deployed two paratroop divisions in Crimea within 24-48 hours. The “jump” of Air Force from Kuban–1-2 hours max. Yes, there would have been many corpses, mostly Ukrainian, but Ukraine had NO required force nor was it trained and equipped to do anything other than a pathetic attempt to “seize” some grocery store.

    This 28 of February 2014, a first batch from Kuban:

    How can I explain ti now, in what language? OK, let me try it from the other side: Russian forces in and around Crimea would fvcking roll over any Ukraine “military” even if Russia wouldn’t plan the operation which was executed brilliantly and prevented an unnecessary bloodshed. Let me try it in even simpler way–imagine Mike Tyson and Woody Allen getting at it on the ring. Russian forces were Mike Tyson. Does this analogy help?

    • Replies: @Beckow
  278. @Beckow

    I am still puzzled how could Maidan sponsors not see this coming.

    Because West’s in general, and US’ in particular, Russian “Studies” field is mostly formed and provided by such people as many in these comments–former Ukies, Poles, some deranged Russian “experts” as Masha Gessen or so called Russian “nationalists” such as Solzheintsyn or Karlin, for that matter, so it is not surprising that combined West doesn’t know shit from shinola when it comes to Russia. I mean it, I do not exaggerate or being facetious–it is monstrous strategic intelligence-military-cultural catastrophe for the US and yet, it still doesn’t learn. It is very dangerous. Ziocons, of course, are one of the pillars of that utter failure–they are both ignorant and vengeful. So no conditions exist for a classic Boyd’s OODA Loop, since both Os (Observe and Orient) are completely missing, it is inevitable in the case of “intellectual” level of contemporary American power elites. That, plus arrogance.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @peterAUS
  279. Beckow says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Ok, I am wrong.

    “imagine Mike Tyson and Woody Allen getting at it on the ring”

    Now just imagine the Western media coverage of that fight. I suspect Woody would score some points in that one….and that was my point. We would be still looking at endless pictures of bloodied Woody ( or dead Tatars or whatever) and the media campaign would have some oomph. As is, it was too bland for good propaganda. The lack of putting up a fight in Crimea has been embarrassing for post-Maidan Kiev.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  280. AP says:
    @Beckow

    That is rich. How many years of self-brainwashing does it take to be able distinguish a ‘one-time tragedy’ from a ‘massacre‘?

    We discussed this in the past and you failed to prove it was a massacre. Your self-brainwashing at work.

    Definitions of massacre:

    Noun:

    an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people

    Verb:

    deliberately and violently kill (a large number of people)

    If the pro-Kiev people deliberately herded the pro-Russians into the building and then set it on fire for the purpose of killing them, this would have been a massacre.

    The reality, as the UN report shows and which video evidence make clear, is that both sides were fighting, both sides were shooting, and both sides were throwing Molotov cocktails at each other. During this fight the building caught on fire (probably because there was a stockpile of Molotov cocktails or material to make them inside), probably by a cocktail thrown in, but possibly by an accident inside. Once the nature of this situation became clear, many of the pro-Ukrainian people on the outside were trying to save the people inside from the fire, though some beat them (and were stopped by others). So clearly it wasn’t a planned deliberate act with intent to mass kill which is what a massacre actually is.

    Do you want to redo your entire previously failed arguments?

    I suppose one-time is ok.

    It means that this is not a systematic strategy of some sort.

    That has never been done by the West. Oh, no, Western liberals have never stooped to using dead people to stir up anything. Really?

    Whataboutism at its finest. West did is, so its okay for us to do it too.

    • Replies: @Anon
  281. @Andrei Martyanov

    It’s 4.55 am and I’m just going to grab another hour’s sleep after havimg glanced at your comment. I note your derision at “free trade” and you seem to think its use vitiates everything it touches. But it is merely shorthand for something more like “getting the advantage of a common market with much richer EU countries”.

  282. Beckow says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “combined West doesn’t know shit from shinola when it comes to Russia”

    I think that is the core issue. Yes, the ‘Russian experts’ are almost exclusively bitter emigres and their offspring, or from nations that have an axe to grind against Russia. There are also know-nothing security types that have a skewed vision of the world to start with, and add crazy Risk-like game platitudes – e.g. ‘soft underbelly’, etc…

    But the main factor is the sheer careerism. A Russian ‘expert’ is paid and kept on if they think the right way. So they think the right way. It is endlessly asking a barber if maybe ‘another haircut is needed’. And we end up with a fiasco like Crimea-Ukraine.

    See what Defense Secretary Mattis said at Heritage last year. In somber voice he preached that Russia is finished due to its long geographic borders and poor demographics. He said that ‘arithmetically’ there is nothing Russia can do – they are finished and will be overrun. He then said that West offered to help and was going to save Russia (for its own good), but Russia is just too stupid to see it.

    The reality is that a low density, homogeneous, well-educated, but stable population, with a large land-mass in the north (and global warming), enormous resources and nuclear weapons, is unlikely to be the most ‘demographically exposed’ country. But they really believe it and all else follows.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  283. @Cyrano

    You are a fool. And not even one of those specialised academic ot tunnel visioned intelligent fools. Just thick, ignorant, lazy, unobservant and dishonest in handling evidence.

    • Replies: @Cyrano
  284. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Next phase of Maidan, this time with the betrayed Ukrainians who have got the taste of the US-installed Yats, Poroshenko, and Jaresko and the US-supported & provided neo-Nazis: http://theduran.com/ukraine-is-being-gripped-by-a-new-maidan-but-the-western-cameras-and-cookies-are-absent/

  285. @Beckow

    The lack of putting up a fight in Crimea has been embarrassing for post-Maidan Kiev.

    As any violent overthrow of government, the coup “leaders” couldn’t do shit about anything for two major reasons:

    1. Ukrainian military was not ready and paralyzed, not least through itself being a superb source of intel for Russia–too many Russia sympathizers (purged since, including most competent leaders). It also had no real resources to do anything sensible.

    2. The cabal of conspirators in Kiev were too busy with cutting what’s left of Ukrainian pie (that is the only reason Ukraine “elites” exist–to rob) for themselves and still shaking at, in their thoughts, real possibility of Russian VDV dropping on their heads. They knew then that they were criminals.

    We would be still looking at endless pictures of bloodied Woody ( or dead Tatars or whatever) and the media campaign would have some oomph

    Agree, that is how combined West fights its wars (it can not win any in real life)–in virtual space: TV, Internet, other media.

    What many forget here, though, is the fact that there was a violent unlawful overthrow of government in Kiev. I think, it is one of those facts which will be brought to the fore at some point of time, even despite Russia “accepting” Poroshenko as a “partner” for Minsk format.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  286. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    ….combined West doesn’t know shit from shinola when it comes to Russia. I mean it, I do not exaggerate or being facetious–it is monstrous strategic intelligence-military-cultural catastrophe for the US and yet, it still doesn’t learn… .

    That’s an interesting point.

    Let’s see some facts.
    In ’89 an American soldier in a full combat uniform was able to stroll along the West/East German border and along Italian/Yugoslav and Austria/Hungary border. Yugoslavia was more or less in O.K. terms with Russia at the time.

    Now, that same soldier can stroll along that Ukraine/Donbas border. Definitely in Kiev. Can openly train Ukrainian soldiers. Compare that to ’89…….

    The same soldier couldn’t have put his foot in Syria in ’89 either. Or Afghanistan. Or Iraq.
    Now he can.

    Some catastrophe…..

    • Replies: @Beckow
  287. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    But you stated something about the flat of your wife in Eburg and how this flat (apartments) had some amenities which were accessibly only by nomenclature?

    Nope.

    Flat is in Moscow. Had been occupied by some USSR minister before her family moved in. The previous occupant had during a meeting complained about something in one of the Republics (I think Ukraine) and as a result was sent to Kiev (or whatever) to fix it. His wife was probably not amused by performance at that meeting :-)

    But no, you went to Youtube to dig up some irrelevant facts forgetting, instead, to look up this.

    I just posted videos by regular people driving around Kiev, Lviv, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk. People can view for themselves how third world Ukrainian cities are compared to Russian ones and how Lviv compares to the provincial Russian cities.

    You posted a self-promotional video for tourists.

    You write about Ukraine, as a clueless Russophobe from Poland or western Ukraine who has never visited Russia, writes about Russia. In both cases you know more about your target than does, say, a naïve Westerner, but in both cases there is a lot of nonsense in your claims.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  288. @Anon

    I’m interested that you refer to Kruschev as a “dictator” since he didn’t become Premier as well as Gen Sec until 1958 and he surely can’t have stepped into Stalin’s shoes in 1953. Is that a tendentious choice of word? What reasons were given for transferring Crimea to Ukraine? Presumably administrative convenience and efficiency would have been credible.

  289. @Beckow

    See what Defense Secretary Mattis said at Heritage last year

    I am not surprised with anything anymore, especially from the garbage coming from Heritage. Their main Russian “scholar” is Ariel Cohen, a graduate of some Israeli madras and whose only “background” in USSR/Russia is that he is a Jewish emigre’. This moron gets humiliated on Solovyov’s talk show non-stop. Well, I wrote a book on that all. And yes, I know how Russian military history is “written” by Western “historians”, granted with some notable exceptions.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  290. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    You’re buying into idiotic nationalist narrative that makes no sense and has nothing to do with reality. There was a famine in the Soviet Union during collectivization, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with “Ukrainian speakers” or “Moscow government”

    Words of our ignorant and gullible friend who probably learned what he knows from some Party of Regions guy in Donetsk and believes it, as usual.

    USSR famine killed about 6 million people, half of whom were within the Ukrainian SSR. Of those who died within the Ukrainian SSR, ethnic Ukrainians were disproportionately affected, because the famine killed rural-dwellers rather than city-dwellers.

    So Ukrainians were the biggest victims in terms of raw numbers, and probably second biggest victims in terms of % of population (Kazakhs were worse off here).

    Policy was the work of Moscow’s government. If Ukraine had been independent, or a German or Polish puppet state, there would have obviously been no famine there. But it was ruled from Moscow.

    It’s not a ‘stupid’ language, it’s just a spectrum of dialects spoken by simple people, villagers.

    True of all languages, at their root. The civilized world doesn’t operate in Latin or Church Slavonic anymore.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  291. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @AP

    Well. Here are dates and facts. Face them in adult manner, not in some petulant teen’ way of pseudo-righteous invectives.

    “A vassal state of the Ottoman Empire since 1478, Crimea evolved into several political entities after the Russo-Turkish Treaty in 1774.
    Russia fought and defeated the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74. “The Porte never ceased to drink in each drop of revolt among the Tatars…Our only wish has been to bring peace to Crimea…and we were finally forced by the Turks to annex the area.”
    The Crimean War (1853–1856), a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the Duchy of Nassau. [Note the deep brotherly love between Christian imperialists and the Muslims].
    Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became an autonomous republic within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the USSR.
    During the World War II, Crimea was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast and then, in 1954, it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR from the Russian SFSR by Nikita Khrushchev. That was in violation of the Constitution of the Russian SFSR and the Constitution of the Soviet Union. According to the Soviet Constitution the borders of a republic within the Soviet Union could not be redrawn without the agreement of the republic in question. The matter should have been submitted to an open discussion by the Supreme Council of the Russian SSR. Moreover, a referendum should have been conducted to find out the opinion of the residents of the two republics. Nothing of that happened. [The dictator, Khrushchev, had disregarded the voice of the sizeable Russian population in Crimea, the progeny of those who fought for Crimea against Ottoman Empire and British-French aggressors].
    After the US-sponsored regime change in Kiev in the 2014, the territories of Sevastopol and Crimea were seized by the Russian Federation; annexation was formalized following a referendum.
    In a region-wide referendum on the peninsula’s future held on March 16, 2014, almost 97 percent of Crimean residents supported reunification with Russia.

    Currently, Ukraine is a NATO occupied vassal of the ZioconUS. Look at your leaders – Poroschenko, Yats, Timoshenko, Groysman, Parubyj, Lyashko, Kolomoysky, Saakishvili… Don’t you like this collective face of the new Ukraine? Send a big “thank you” to Nuland-Kagan, Pyatt, Volker, and the whole Kagans’ clan. You see, they took care about “democracy on the march” in Ukraine and about cultivating the Russophobia (to weaken the eastern Slavs). Mind Nuland-Kagan’s collaboration with neo-Nazis – priceless. It seems that the ordinary Ukrainians are finally realizing that neither EU nor ZUSA have any interest in their well-being. No cookies. No money. Only weaponry against the neighbors on the east.

    http://theduran.com/ukraine-is-being-gripped-by-a-new-maidan-but-the-western-cameras-and-cookies-are-absent/

    • Replies: @AP
  292. AP says:
    @Anon

    You didn’t address my post, but just wrote your mix of fact and nonsense.

    • Replies: @Anon
  293. All this arguing about whether Ukraine or Russia is better is a convenient distraction from the more relevant relationship of Russia’s economy and budget to the world as a whole.

    In 2016, The Russian Federal Government spent about $230 Billion. The US government spent $3.9 Trillion – 17 times more. The US runs a huge deficit, as we know, but it still collected $3.3 Trillion in revenue in taxes – 14 times more than what Russia spent. This is what a real economy looks like. Russia is only half the size of the US. That should give you an idea of the disparity.

    China collected $2.3 Trillion in revenues in 2016 to give more perspective.

    Quick research shows that The Russian Federal Government only collected $182 Billion in revenue in 2016. Around 2013, the Russians were running a deficit of about $21 Billion. In 2012, Russian oil and gas revenue was about $215 Billion dollars.

    More quick research shows that in the last decade, oil and gas revenues account for at least 50% of the Russian budget.

    So much for a growing, diversified vibrant economy. Russia is completely dependent on oil and gas exports and weapons exports.

    The choice for a Ukrainian or Eastern European of any nation of being in either the Russian or the American sphere of influence is a no-brainer.

    http://www.aei.org/publication/the-political-economy-of-russian-oil-and-gas/

    And also, Chechnya and Putin’s relationship with Ramzan Kadyrov is a joke. Kadyrov is a clown.

  294. @Andrei Martyanov

    Care to provide one of those notable exceptions?

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  295. @AP

    Nope.

    But, but..how about this then? And I quote you:

    Before being upgraded to Moscow my wife’s family lived in a 5 room flat with high ceilings overlooking the central square of an oblast capital in the Urals.

    I understand, that shit has to be made up with a great deal of improvisation but here is the source, you:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/socialism-not-dead/#comment-2040550

    I asked you a very clear cut question. I repeat it, here it is:

    But you stated something about the flat of your wife in Eburg and how this flat (apartments) had some amenities which were accessibly only by nomenclature?

    I grant you that there two oblast in Ural which are purely Ural–Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk. But your forgetfulness is rather strange, don’t you find it such? I know there are many pretentious creeps here hiding behind avatars and their pretensions range from combat veterans to astronauts, some probably even see themselves as deep undercover spies, but I find this avoidance of any specifics, there are some other people here who speak, deliberately in platitudes since otherwise they will be exposed as frauds, rather understandable, but you surely should have reacted to the apartments question or, at least corrected me? Isn’t it a reasonable thing to do, in the end–Orenburg and even Perm Oblast are also sort of Urals. Many Pemyaks call themselves Uraltsy, you know. So, no PerSec issues. Fascinating, isn’t it?;-) You should work with more finesse, man.

    • Replies: @AP
  296. @Johnny Rico

    Care to provide one of those notable exceptions?

    In general geopolitics: Phil Giraldi, even Pat Buchanan, Patrick Armstrong, Colonel Pat Lang, Colonel Wilkerson, Professor Stephen Cohen. In more specific military history: House and Glantz, obviously, Von Hardesty of Smithsonian, Scott Ritter. These are those who are fairly notable in the public eye. Purely professional, in depth military (and history) issues is a separate topic. It is not gonna help you, though.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  297. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    They just are dying from this desire. Remember proud Polish shipbuilding industry? Gone.

    And are you suggesting that Poland is now deindustrialized?

    I see a long line of Siemens, Airbus, BASF, MTU, you name it, trying to build manufacturing plant, research facilities and everything that goes in Ukraine.

    Some German companies.

    Leoni:

    https://www.just-auto.com/news/leoni-opens-second-wiring-systems-plant-in-ukraine_id178896.aspx

    (their largest plant is actually in Ukraine)

    Kromberg and Schubert:

    http://en.lawyers.ua/krombergschubert-increases-the-investments-in-its-plant-in-zhitomir.html

    BASF:

    https://www.theubj.com/news/view/germanys-basf-finds-growth-in-ukraines-regions

    R & D :

    News from 3 days ago:

    Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson opens R & D office in Lviv.

    https://www.dev-pro.net/blog/why-big-tech-names-have-opened-rd-facilities-in-ukraine/

    Samsung. Boeing. Oracle. Magento. Ubisoft. What do all these tech companies have in common other than making a huge amount of revenue year in, year out? No? Give up? The answer is that they all have dedicated R&D centers throughout Ukraine. In fact, the country is home to more than 90 different global tech companies’ R&D centers, ranging in activities from software to electronics to gaming to e-commerce..

    These are just some examples, there is lots of this going on.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  298. @Wizard of Oz

    The issue which you seem to have forgotten, though you started it, is (a) whether there is any relevance in asking whether The Saker could speak with people whose vernacular is Ukrainian, or whether, (b), as you asserted, Ukrainian was more or less irrelevant and hardly spoken, and (c) whether you have any reason or authority for your glib assertions – though you have produced nothing on this.

    This is a comment thread, you know. Commenters express their opinions, and the rational ones among them neither claim any special authority not demand it from their fellow commenters. What I say is based on my life experience, my observations, and my analysis of the above-mentioned. I expect it’s the same in your case.

    I didn’t say that “Ukrainian was more or less irrelevant and hardly spoken”; what I said was that village people do indeed speak various Ukrainian dialects, and that official Ukrainian is hardly spoken, and that Russian is perfectly sufficient for any full-fledged conversation with most of everybody there. This should be painfully obvious to anyone who’s traveled around the place.

    Also, how come the burden of academic proof is on me? Is it because you’ve read the English-language wikipedia article? Are you aware that wikipedia is unreliable for highly politicized topics? And surely you have to be aware of a significant number of aggressive Ukro-nationalist English-speaking nutcases, residing in North America? A few can be easily observed right here, in this thread.

    Finally, you want a historian-linguist? Here’s one for you, enjoy:

    …He has added that Ancient Greek philosophers talked in Ukrainian, and Diogenes allegedly even advised to use him [sic] as state [language]. “Anakharsis wrote maxims in this language, then they together with Solon have created fundamentals of legal philosophy, and Diogenes in 300 years recommended to use this language for public affairs” — Yushchenko has emphasized.

    http://currentlynews.us/articles/the-brother-5665

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  299. @AP

    Words of our ignorant and gullible friend who probably learned what he knows from some Party of Regions guy in Donetsk and believes it, as usual.

    Yes, dear.

    Of those who died within the Ukrainian SSR, ethnic Ukrainians were disproportionately affected, because the famine killed rural-dwellers rather than city-dwellers.

    What’s your point, dear? Like I said, there was a famine in the Soviet Union during collectivization.

    Policy was the work of Moscow’s government.

    Moscow’s government deals with cleaning dog shit off the streets in Moscow.

    If Ukraine had been independent, or a German or Polish puppet state, there would have obviously been no famine there.

    Lol. Yes, obviously. You can google reports of the 1932-33 famine in Poland-controlled parts yourself. And Germany – obviously – in 1932-33 it was extremely concerned about feeding ethnic Ukrainians in their villages. And eventually it got a chance too.

    Great comedy, by the way. Thanks.

    True of all languages, at their root.

    Dunno about all languages, but perhaps, sure. What of it? Like I said, I love Ukrainian; it’s the cutest. Great folk songs too.

  300. @Andrei Martyanov

    Thank you.

    I’ve read all those guys. I’ve read 6 or 7 of Glantz’ books. I own 5.

    Here’s how most Americans think about Putin and Russia (if they pay any attention or care at all about Russia, which they don’t):

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/putins-revenge/

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  301. @AP

    LOL. OK, specialist in “foreign investments”, here is some Boeing info for ya:

    The Boeing Design Center (BDC) in Moscow is the largest design center for computer aided design of aerospace structures outside the United States. The BDC consists of nearly 250 Boeing direct employees managing a team of 1,200 contract engineers from the Russian and Ukrainian engineering companies NIK Research and Engineering Co. as well as aerospace co mpanies Ilyushin, Sukhoi Aviation Corp. and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center .

    Just to give you some sense of scale, which, obviously is beyond your grasp:

    http://www.boeing.com/resources/boeingdotcom/company/key_orgs/boeing-international/pdf/russia-cisbackgrounder.pdf

    But forget that: Just to give you, yet again, the scale of things–the already in operation new Zvezda near Vladivostok is $4.2 billion of Russia’s own capital. The same goes to massive projects such as Power of Siberia which Russia builds on her own, same goes to the state-of-the-art military, same goes for other huge projects. Now, here it is:

    https://sputniknews.com/business/201706291055069187-china-hopes-top-trade-russia/

    Read some numbers on Power of Siberia, as an example.

    http://www.hydrocarbons-technology.com/projects/the-power-of-siberia-gas-transmission-system-gts/

    But it seems that you still continue to work your check list without understanding the difference between serious industry and GDP structure and what it means being relegated to the raw materials “appendix” with some minuscule serious manufacturing. Sure, wiring, together with IT (LOL), will necessarily get Ukraine “there”. Do you have any idea of WHAT it takes to be competitive across the board for the nation? Man, talk about delusions of grandeur. Now, go to Youtube and look at what happened to Ukraine’s shipbuilding industry. Do you know, all Soviet (and Russian) Aircraft Carriers were built there. But I digress, so what’s the deal with your wife’s apartment?

    • Replies: @AP
  302. @Johnny Rico

    Here’s how most Americans think about Putin and Russia (if they pay any attention or care at all about Russia, which they don’t):

    No, here is how such neocons like you think about it. That is why nothing is gonna help you. I made it clear.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    , @Beckow
    , @Beckow
  303. Beckow says:
    @peterAUS

    Interesting and partially valid point. Except of course, no American soldier was ever on ‘Austria-Hungary’ border, Austria was and is neutral and is not in Nato.

    It is a question of timing, through 80′ and 90′s Washington was relatively well governed and was able to harvest the fruits of its long-term policies. And of the fact that its rivals self-destructed. But clearly the intellectual level of people running the State Dept/CIA/Congress was way above what we have today.

    Starting in 1999 with an absolutely disastrous and self-defeating Nato attack on Serbia to force Kosovo independence they seemed to have lost sound judgment. Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine followed – each badly thought out, impatiently implemented, and making things worse for pretty much all involved. How is that for a good policy making? I don’t think having a few special forces hiding in some boondocks in Syria, or a few national guards teaching hapless Ukrainians in Lviv how to use night goggles, that is not a winning strategy. What matters are the economics and who controls the strategic choke-points. And who has more stability in their lands. Lately with Brexit, Catalonia, migrant disaster, and Trumpo-phobia taking over half of US, it hasn’t been very stable.

    You are right about 1989, but we are in 2017. The picture has clearly changed.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  304. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Nope.

    But, but..how about this then? And I quote you:

    Before being upgraded to Moscow my wife’s family lived in a 5 room flat with high ceilings overlooking the central square of an oblast capital in the Urals.

    Not Sverdlosvk. Note that I did not mention the city. And that was before father’s promotion to work directly for ЦК КПСС, so nothing at that time about real “nomenklatura.”

    But you stated something about the flat of your wife in Eburg and how this flat (apartments) had some amenities which were accessibly only by nomenclature?

    Again, nope. Never mentioned it.

    But your forgetfulness is rather strange, don’t you find it such?

    No forgetfulness. Everything I wrote was and is honest.

    but I find this avoidance of any specifics

    I choose keep myself and my family anonymous so I don’t publicly provide such details.

    but you surely should have reacted to the apartments question or, at least corrected me

    Would you want me to post specific addresses?

    Interesting how you avoided the substance of my post.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  305. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Here is some Boeing info for ya:

    The Boeing Design Center (BDC) in Moscow is the largest design center for computer aided design of aerospace structures outside the United States. The BDC consists of nearly 250 Boeing direct employees managing a team of 1,200 contract engineers from the Russian and Ukrainian engineering companies NIK Research and Engineering Co. as well as aerospace co mpanies Ilyushin, Sukhoi Aviation Corp. and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center .

    And here is some Boeing info for ya:

    https://www.theubj.com/news/view/boeing-quietly-expands-kyiv-design-center

    Boeing Quietly Expands Kyiv Design Cente

    KYIV – Behind two meter high walls and inside an unmarked office center in Lukyanivka, the world’s largest aerospace company is quietly building a major design center based on Ukrainian brainpower.

    At last report, the floor size of the Boeing Design Center Kyiv doubled this year, expanding the payroll to about 300 engineers. Hard facts are hard to come by as Boeing spokesmen decline to give specifics.

    In contrast to this low profile in Kyiv, the Boeing Design Center Moscow, located a 15-minute walk from the Kremlin, was once a high profile showcase for US and Russian economic partnership. It drew glowing articles from the likes of The New York Times and site visits from US Cabinet members, including then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    But times have changed.

    Elena Alexandrovna, Boeing spokeswoman for the Russia/CIS region, declined from Moscow to arrange a Kyiv site tour or to set up an interview with a Boeing official in Ukraine.

    “One of the most important reasons for establishing Boeing Ukraine was to take advantage of the untapped potential of the aerospace engineering community in the Ukraine,” she eventually emailed.

    Opened here in November 2013, days before the Maidan, Boeing’s Kyiv Design Center took on a real life in the spring of 2014 after dozens of Ukrainian designers in Moscow decided they no longer wanted to work in Russia.

    • Replies: @AP
  306. Cyrano says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Go f*ck yourself, you ignorant Ukrainian monkey.

  307. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @AP

    Actually, I did; namely, my post addresed your delusional belief, permeating all your posts, that Crimea should be Ukrainian. Hence the chronicle of Crimea.
    And the following is not “nonsense” – this is the sad reality of the allegedly “independent “ Ukraine. Dare to argue?
    “Look at your leaders – Poroschenko, Yats, Timoshenko, Groysman, Parubyj, Lyashko, Kolomoysky, Saakishvili… Don’t you like this collective face of the new Ukraine? Send a big “thank you” to Nuland-Kagan, Pyatt, Volker, and the whole Kagans’ clan. You see, they took care about “democracy on the march” in Ukraine and about cultivating the Russophobia (to weaken the eastern Slavs). Mind Nuland-Kagan’s collaboration with neo-Nazis – priceless. It seems that the ordinary Ukrainians are finally realizing that neither EU nor ZUSA have any interest in their well-being. No cookies. No money. Only weaponry against the neighbors on the east.

    • Replies: @AP
  308. @Andrei Martyanov

    Haha. I am not a neocon. You make very little clear except some of your glaring character flaws…or maybe you are just playing.

    You are as paranoid of neocons and Jews as Stalin was of Trotskyists. It’s cute.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  309. Beckow says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “if they pay any attention or care at all about Russia, which they don’t”

    That is hard to believe. American media, news and political life is absolutely obsessed with Russia, Russian collusion, Russian meddling, Congressional hearings on Russia, Facebook and Russia, investigations, etc… – they have hardly been doing anything else but “Russia, Russia” for almost a year.

    Thou protest too much, my friend. Own up to your unhealthy obsession, that’s the first step in a recovery process. It will be a long way back to sanity. Last I heard people are facing years in prison for not remembering precisely when they met a ‘Russian’, or a ‘Russian-connected’ person. A bit extreme, me thinks. In what country is lying about meeting a Russian a “crime”?

    You do pay attention, why lie about it?

    • Agree: Mikel
  310. Beckow says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Sorry, I was responding to Johnny Rico, the proud indifferent American. I hit the wrong button…

  311. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Indeed people on s Comment thread express opinions but when they purport to state facts which are or may be at variance with those which others rely on being true it is reasonable to expect some supporting information. In the case of “opinion evidence” which can include “facts” such as the law of say citizenship in Ukraine as at a certain date, or conceivably, the principal languages, courts applying common law legal standards require the witness to be qualified as a relevant expert. I wouldn’t want to hold a commenter to that standard but it would be interesting to hear for example “I decided to learn Russian and chose the best value good language school in the Soviet Union which was in Kiev. At weekend and on holidays I found myself in many small towns and villages where the variants of Ukrainian I heard were very different from the Ukrainian which I heard from people in Kiev (which was only about X per cent of city dwellers by my estimate over 6 months)” E.G.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  312. Beckow says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “that is how combined West fights its wars (it can not win any in real life)–in virtual space: TV, Internet, other media”

    Agree, and that explains why they are going hysterical that their monopoly is not as air-tight as it used to be. It literally drives them crazy that some other viewpoints can seep through, so much for ‘internet will free the world’ mantra of 10-15 years. Now it is all ‘no divisive views allowed, and absolutely no views that don’t denounce Russia allowed‘. A weird development that suggests panic. Self-confident winning civilizations welcome open discussion – with anyone – because they have truth and logic on their side. That seems gone in large parts of the West.

    I am reluctant to call Maidan ‘violent unlawful overthrow of government in Kiev’. Yes, on some level it was. But the demos were real and Yanukovitch was on his way out in any case. He sat between two chairs, never fully committing to EU or Russia, so he was doomed. I also have a certain sympathy for street demonstrations, it keeps the powers in check. Process-wise it was dirty, and a coup, but it is really not that relevant to the story.

    What matters is the seeming failure of the people who demonstrated to get what they wanted, in that respect Maidan has been a total failure. The per capita income in dollars is down almost 4-fold from 2013, in other words salaries (in dollars) are around 25% of what they were before Maidan. The corruption is about the same, the oligarchs are still there, safety is way worse, Ukraine has taken on some major debts (IMF, EU) that will have to be paid back, or at least serviced. The economy has nowhere to go: no markets, trade with Russia mostly gone, no resources, no stability, no rising incomes. That is in my view the damning thing about Maidan, not that they didn’t follow a few process rules.

    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mikel
  313. @AP

    Again, nope. Never mentioned it.

    OK, let’s try again a direct link to your post:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/socialism-not-dead/#comment-2040550

    Here is quote from you:

    Before being upgraded to Moscow my wife’s family lived in a 5 room flat with high ceilings overlooking the central square of an oblast capital in the Urals.

    Now to this:

    No forgetfulness. Everything I wrote was and is honest.

    So, do you understand now, which you know, that everything you write is a complete made up Bullshit? Including the refusal of into your face your own lie? That is why you are not original and spread here the same svidomy propaganda.

    Not Sverdlosvk. Note that I did not mention the city. And that was before father’s promotion to work directly for ЦК КПСС, so nothing at that time about real “nomenklatura.

    Yeah, yeah, sure. Statement in bold shows how your ability to make shit up suddenly diminished drastically. Really, and what was real “nomenclatura”, tell me , actually don’t–I am not interested in your crap. You have nobody who was in ЦК and never had–and it is easily checked, if it comes down to it.

    I choose keep myself and my family anonymous so I don’t publicly provide such details.

    Of course, of course.

    Interesting how you avoided the substance of my post.

    You are not worth any response. Good luck with your propaganda.

    • Replies: @AP
  314. Pavel says:
    @ANOSPH

    Unfortunately some “Ukrainian born” have betrayed Ukraine and keep betraying her. The fact of being born in a country does not make you a true citizen of the country, no matter what others say. Same way some who were born in Russia cannot be considered Russians, for one reason or more, despite holding Russian citizenship.

    By “west” I usually mean western part of Ukraine, which is, objectively, more Ukrainian. I see Ukraine as a European nation, who she is, but not part of the western Europe, but rather eastern and central Europe, along with Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania (including Moldova), Bulgaria and part of the Balkans. To simplify, I see Ukraine as potentially a very important, and very natural, part of enlarged Visegrad.

    We had nothing against Russia as a nation up until the moment when they, without making any territorial claims, without any warning of any kind, brutally attacked, invaded, occupied and annexed part of the land internationally – including Russia up to the moment of annexation – recognized as Ukrainian.

    You say Ukraine will disintegrate unless she aligns with Russia. I say you are wrong, this is why: Russia stabbed us in the back, cowardly, traitorously. Russia has proven that she applies brutal force whenever she wants, and you cannot be a friend of a person who, and you know it for the fact, can stab you in the back at any time. We could have aligned with Russia, it would be historically and geopolitically natural, – I agree with you on that, – but… Putin made it impossible, in the foreseeable future.

    Ukraine may become rather like Poland, in a sense that she’s, just like Poland, not going to become a slave to Brussels, at the same time keeping a healthy distance from the aggressor from the east. What many Russians, it seems, fail to understand that when a slave frees herself from one master, it does not mean that she’s going to be enslaved by another. No. The former slave becomes free and joins a free association of other free entities, each of which are interconnected and, to a various degree, interdependent, but nevertheless free. Like free people in free society.

    I do not care that much about the regime. In a free country regimes change during each election cycle, and no regime is perfect. But you have patriotic regimes, or you have traitors. Yes, some things are simple and do not require over-complication. I do not agree that being patriotic means being a “useful idiot”. Following your logic, any person who supports freedom of his or her nation is “useful idiot”. Ukraine won’t disintegrate. But I sense Russia could. Only time will tell whose “vision” is correct.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @ANOSPH
  315. Pavel says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Comrade commissar Martyanov, no matter what you Russian propagandists say, the simple undeniable fact remains:

    Russia, without presenting any claims to Ukraine, territorial or others, and without any warning, perfidiously attacked Ukraine, a neighboring nation, and invaded, occupied, and annexed part of her internationally recognized – including by Russia – territory. There is simply NO justification for that.

    There is no justification for that, all your silly excuses from “it was not us”, which in about a year changed to “yes, it was us, but we came to protect ethnic Russians” do not worth a dime.

    See, if a friend rushes to his neighbor’s home to help fight a fire (or at least says so) but then grabs property of that very neighbor using “it belonged to my grandpa before and he was wrong to give it to you”, it’s called theft. That simple. THEFT. But in your case, it was armed robbery. ARMED ROBBERY. Nothing can justify that. Nothing.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  316. @Johnny Rico

    Haha. I am not a neocon.

    Of course you are. Anybody who chooses such handle as Johnny Rico (I am sure you should have gone full monty and went with, say, Maverick, or Iceman) and posts such amount of BS here is full of shit and is very young. You know shit about Russia and Russians and, thankfully, you do not represent all Americans (neocons are, actually, traitors to Americans)–so, you simply vent your incompetent self here and Beckow already gave you an excellent retort.

    You make very little clear except some of your glaring character flaws…or maybe you are just playing.

    I have many really serious character flaws, I don’t deny it. One of them–my very sensitive (and accurate, I may add) BS meter. But yes, I am a fallen person, unlike you.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Johnny Rico
  317. AP says:
    @Anon

    Actually, I did; namely, my post addresed your delusional belief, permeating all your posts, that Crimea should be Ukrainian

    I never emphasized this. I merely stated that Tatars were the indigenous inhabitants and that Russian demographic dominance has been rather recent, i.e. that this isn’t some sort of “ancient Russian land.”

    Do you have reading problems?

  318. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow

    Not bad so far.
    At least no name calling.So far I mean.

    But clearly the intellectual level of people running the State Dept/CIA/Congress was way above what we have today.

    Agree.

    Starting in 1999 with an absolutely disastrous and self-defeating Nato attack on Serbia to force Kosovo independence they seemed to have lost sound judgment. Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine followed – each badly thought out, impatiently implemented, and making things worse for pretty much all involved. How is that for a good policy making?

    That’s a hard question.
    Expansion, perhaps?

    US military intelligence personnel now freely roam…no…they actually control much more SPACE then before.
    And , consequently Russia controls less.
    Or that’s something to dispute?
    Or just not important?

    I don’t think having a few special forces hiding in some boondocks in Syria, or a few national guards teaching hapless Ukrainians in Lviv how to use night goggles, that is not a winning strategy.

    Sounds good.
    It, then, wouldn’t matter when the same guys start operating along the same lines in Donbas/Novorossia. Not a big deal…..definitely not a winning strategy. Who cares……

    What matters are the economics and who controls the strategic choke-points.

    Agree.
    Remind us again who is imposing sanctions and on whom?
    By choke points you probably meant world trade sea routes? And Russia is that one which controls them.
    Interesting.

    You are right about 1989, but we are in 2017. The picture has clearly changed.

    Definitely.
    Like picture of US soldiers training Ukrainians on Ukrainian soil.
    And, to ad insult to injury, no picture of Russian soldiers training Novorissians on Novorossia soil.
    The irony.

    • Replies: @Simpleguest
  319. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Here is quote from you:

    “Before being upgraded to Moscow my wife’s family lived in a 5 room flat with high ceilings overlooking the central square of an oblast capital in the Urals.”

    It is correct.

    Now to this:

    No forgetfulness. Everything I wrote was and is honest.

    Also correct.

    So, do you understand now, which you know, that everything you write is a complete made up Bullshit?

    Everything I wrote above is correct, so it is not.

    Have you become so angry that your nonsense about Ukraine has been demonstrated to be the nonsense it is, that you have lost the ability to read accurately?

    Do you have reading comprehension difficulties?

    “Not Sverdlosvk. Note that I did not mention the city. And that was before father’s promotion to work directly for ЦК КПСС, so nothing at that time about real “nomenklatura.”

    You have nobody who was in ЦК and never had–and it is easily checked

    Again you fail to read and understand, and falsely attribute dishonesty to someone based entirely on your own reading comprehension failure.

    Not in ЦК but worked directly for ЦК.

    Understand the difference?

    “Interesting how you avoided the substance of my post.”

    You are not worth any response

    Not a very dignified or direct way of admitting you are simply wrong here.

  320. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I have many really serious character flaws, I don’t deny it. One of them–my very sensitive (and accurate, I may add) BS meter

    LOL. We have seen its failure right here.

  321. @Pavel

    and without any warning, perfidiously attacked Ukraine

    I can give you several scenarios of how Russia can “attack” Ukraine. It is not going to be pretty for Ukraine and it’s going to get really ugly really-really fast for Kiev–in about 12-24 hours. So, no, Russia didn’t attack Ukraine. OK, assuming that I am a Russian propagandist, Ukraine has no historic or any other claims to Crimea and it is just that. Wait when Ukraine’s Hungarians will start moving–and they will. That will be really fascinating to observe.

  322. AP says:
    @Beckow

    The per capita income in dollars is down almost 4-fold from 2013, in other words salaries (in dollars) are around 25% of what they were before Maidan.

    Don’t confuse exchange rate with income.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=ukriane+nominal+gdp+dollars+2013&oq=ukriane+nominal+gdp+dollars+2013&aqs=chrome..69i57.9335j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    Ukraine’s nominal GDP was $181 billion in dollars ion 2013. In 2015 it was down to $91 billion. So it became a little more than 50%, not 25% of 2013. In 2016 it improved to $93 billion.

    The drop in per capita was from $4,030 to $2,125.

    Of course everything became a lot cheaper, so the PPP drop was not as extreme. There was a similar but less extreme phenomenon to the drop in the ruble -it did not mean that Russians suddenly became dirt poor (as often claimed in the Western media). It’s funny when pro-Russians apply similar b.s. to Ukraine that Westerners apply to Russia.

    The corruption is about the same, the oligarchs are still there, safety is way worse

    Correct, though safety has been improving since 2015 and is still not even close to, say, 1990s level.

    The economy has nowhere to go: no markets, trade with Russia mostly gone, no resources, no stability, no rising incomes.

    Economy has stabilized, with 2.3% growth in 2016, 2% in 2017, and improved projections in 2018 to 3.5%:

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/07/c_136345217.htm

    So there is stability and rising incomes, compared to the low point in 2015.

    Many more Ukrainians want to pursue a European course vs. a Eurasian one, and nobody in Ukraine wants Yanukovich back. So this major thing – geopolitical orientation – was accomplished in a way that the people wanted.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  323. @peterAUS

    “US military intelligence personnel now freely roam…no…they actually control much more SPACE
    then before.”

    I’d like to ask how this statement corresponds with the following headline (Oct. 30, “Zero hedge”):

    “The US Government Quietly Added $200 Billion To The National Debt This Month Alone”

    Not many benefits from all that “freely roamed space”, isn’t it.
    Unless you think that accumulating debt freely is somehow beneficial.
    Personally, I think it puts a ticking bomb under your bed, and forces upon you all kind of hasty and irrational decisions.

  324. Beckow says:

    Let me first answer some of your (thoughtful) points, and then we can do some name calling :)…

    Expansion per se is not a plus. It depends on where and what you control. There are benefits and there are costs. For example taking over North American continent or Siberia is largely positive. Occupying a piece of India, or Afghanistan, or Niger not so much – the costs outweigh the benefits. The urge to expand can be harmful to a country. Controlling a smaller area with good resources and allied, friendly population is better than controlling everything at a high cost with a bunch of angry locals. Do you think taking over Bangladesh or Nigeria, with all the problems and hundreds of million of eager subjects, would be a plus today?

    That applies to Ukraine too: Lviv locals have never liked Russia. Trying to control them is pointless and costly. But they are eager to embrace the West, so you get happy national guardsmen teaching military ‘skills’ during the day and having fun with Lviv girls at night. Good for them, everybody is happy. That’s not the case with Donbas (or Crimea), people there like Russia, so Russia has an incentive to protect them. Do you get the distinction?

    Sanctions: when West takes their toys home and refuses to play, the other side simply finds new toys, new playmates. So over time the sanctions backfire – West loses access to the Russian market, but still have to buy their energy, and Russians happily produce their own stuff or buy it from China, Brazil, Korea…there have been plenty of eager sellers. In today’s economy, making stuff is not that unique, what is sought after are paying markets. Russia was a paying market. Unless I am missing something, losing that market (even partially) will be more costly to the EU sellers than to Russians. See how much ads we get all the time to buy, there is too much stuff, too many sellers, sanctions simply make no sense against a large, resources-rich country. In 5-10 years the sanctions will be openly denounced as among the more stupid, self-defeating policies that Obama-Merkel had come up with (and they did a lot of stupid stuff.)

    Now for the name calling: Crimea was the choke point in this conflict. None of the other stuff matters that much. And who is prancing around Crimea? Ouchh…you must feel like s…t…

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  325. Beckow says:
    @AP

    I don’t confuse exchange rate with income, I understand that PPP is a better measure. (It is true that Western media experts often intentionally don’t want to see that distinction when it comes to Russia.) In any case, Ukraine’s incomes are way down, even in PPP terms. And you are wrong about ‘everything has become a lot cheaper’. No, utilities, drugs, all imports, travel, education, etc… all of those have gone way up. Ukrainians today live worse than in 2013, whether it is 25%, 50% worse is hard to calculate precisely. But they are worse off.

    The mild recovery in 2016-17 was based on two things: you can only go down so much before basic survival economy kicks in; and IMF-EU loans, tens of billions of them. For an economy smaller than $100 billion, those are huge debt liabilities. Or you think that West will eventually write them off?

    At 3% growth, to get back where Ukraine was in 2013 would take 25 years. Do you think that is a success? The structural problems in the economy are very serous: nothing desirable to export (except food), no full access to either EU or Russia’s trading block, very low incomes so hardly any consumer market, very high debts, lots of young leaving to work abroad. This is not a good picture.

    I don’t care about what people dream about. That should be reserved for their sleep. ‘Geopolitical orientation’ is a slogan, it means nothing to most Ukrainians. My point is that none of the major Maidan promises – membership in EU, no corruption, better living standards, end to oligarchs – none of them have been even partially fulfilled. How do you define a failure if not failing at all things that Maidan had promised? They are neither EU nor Russia-friendly, they are ruled by an oligarch with other oligarchs busily enriching themselves, they are divided, and they are very poor. You tell me how this can turn around. I like Ukrainians, but this doesn’t look good.

    • Replies: @AP
  326. Mr. Hack says:

    Wait when Ukraine’s Hungarians will start moving–and they will. That will be really fascinating to observe.

    And you’re the one who likes to try and present himself as some sort of hard boiled realist, with an advanced knowledge of military matters? Do you know how funny and incredulous your statement about Hungary attacking Ukraine is? Are you comparing Hungary to Russia? A nation of 9.5 million,
    also greatly splintered among different political visions, a member of NATO and the EU? About 150,000 Hungarians live within Ukraine. Ukraine today has arguably one of the most battle hardened
    troops within Europe, steadily increasing in experience and adding to its military arsenal every day.
    It doesn’t take an analyst from West Point to understand how puffed up and on script your rhetoric can be, Comrade.

  327. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow

    Do you get the distinction?

    I guess.
    So….all that…movement…closer and closer to Russia’s own borders has been actually good for Russia and bad for The Empire.
    Got it.

    sanctions simply make no sense against a large, resources-rich country.

    Like Russia?
    O.K.

    Now for the name calling: Crimea was the choke point in this conflict. None of the other stuff matters that much.

    Good to hear that.
    I was thinking about Bosphorus for a starter and then about Hormuz, Suez, Cape of Good Hope, Malacca Straight and such.
    Good to hear that too….

  328. Erebus says:
    @Beckow

    “residents of Crimea hadn’t stood up and taken action when they saw the writing on the wall”

    My humble opinion is that they succeeded because Maidanistas were way too busy touring Yanukovitch’s saunas,

    I guess I should have made my point more explicit. Yes, the Maidanistas were utterly unaware of their real role, and even less aware of the implications of what they were doing, but they couldn’t have done much in Crimea in any case. Had Right Sector types tried anything along the lines of Odessa/Maruipol, I’m convinced they would have been turned into ornaments on 1000s of lamp-posts.

    My point was that it was the 10,000s of Crimeans that stood up and filled the streets, including bloodshed, that legitimized the legal process that followed.
    In a nutshell, by coming out they allowed the Kremlin to take the West’s claim of Maidan’s legitimacy and use it as legal precedent to legitimize the breakaway of Crimea. To be sure, the Kremlin demanded that the finer legal requirements be met as well (Rada voting, declaration of independence, referendum, etc), but I attribute that to Putin’s legalistic tendencies and a “belt and suspenders” approach to solving problems. At the most fundamental level, they pulled the rug out from under any legal case that could be made against Crimea’s return to Russia.

    I think we all agree that it would have been geo-political suicide for Russia to accept the loss of Sevastopol. One can’t imagine that the Kremlin wouldn’t have resorted to force of arms to keep it and so Crimea became yet another example of the Western elites’ devastating inability to assess their adversary objectively, and then to think their plans through to their logical conclusion.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  329. @Andrei Martyanov

    Ooooooh. Wow. Looks like I hit a nerve.

    You are fun to play with.

    Nope. I’m still not a neocon. In fact, I have always been a committed opponent to the ideology. I was never a fan of Cheney, or Kagan, or Wolfowitz. Andrew Bacevich is more my style.

    I’ve never said I know anything about Russia or Russians. Just know what I hear from Russian friends and stuff I read by Russians.

    And that is A LOT of stuff.

    I do know a little about Americans, the United States, and its military, though.

    Be care throwing around terms like “cognitive dissonance” unless you are positive you are not suffering from it. And if you are delusional…how would you know?

    “Don’t tell me what you think. Give me the facts and the source!” -Stalin

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  330. Mikel says:
    @Beckow

    The corruption is about the same, the oligarchs are still there, safety is way worse, Ukraine has taken on some major debts (IMF, EU) that will have to be paid back, or at least serviced. The economy has nowhere to go: no markets, trade with Russia mostly gone, no resources, no stability, no rising incomes.

    And thousands of young people with PTSD, morally degraded after having taken part in a conflict where their fellow civilian countrymen are being regularly killed.

    Besides, they can now roam visa-free in the EU, where they’re not likely to show the best of the Ukrainian character and thus lower further the EU citizens’ willingness to expand the Union. Not that the EU citizens’ opinion matters much for these things but still.

  331. ANOSPH says:
    @Pavel

    I don’t recall saying that being patriotic means being a useful idiot. A foreign country (the US) installed a regime in Kiev to try to corner its geopolitical foe in the region. Ukrainians were (and continue to be) used as collateral damage in that geopolitical project. That blatant breach of Ukrainian sovereignty is apparently okay to a Ukrainian patriot like you, but it’s less okay to an unpatriotic Ukrainian like me. Russia acted to defend its interests, as any nation worthy of the name would.

  332. Mr. Hack says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Reply 328 was made to Andrei Martyanov regarding Hungary attacking Ukraine.

  333. @Wizard of Oz

    but it would be interesting to hear for example “I decided to learn Russian and chose the best value good language

    You suggest that we exchange personal anecdotes, and indeed you shared one (something your heard from your friend).

    I was tempted to do it too. I have hundreds of them. All extremely entertaining and convincing. But then, again, this is a comment thread and we are anonymous commenters. Whatever story I tell, it may or may not be true. If it is true, it’s certainly influenced by my perception, my unconscious biases. So, what’s the point? This will lead, most likely, to frustration and bitterness (and probably mockery).

    Plus, I don’t like to share my personal information, so every story would have to begin with “my friend told me”, and this has gotta hurt its credibility…

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  334. @Mr. Hack

    Ukraine today has arguably one of the most battle hardened troops within Europe, steadily increasing in experience and adding to its military arsenal every day.

    LOL.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  335. @Johnny Rico

    I’ve never said I know anything about Russia or Russians.

    That pretty much answers the question, doesn’t it? ;-) Obviously you don’t, but you still continue to offer your amateur points here.

    I do know a little …the United States, and its military, though.

    No, you don’t. Maybe on the level of basic squad platoon tactics and firearms, at best. You are typical rah-rah fanboy.

    Be care throwing around terms like “cognitive dissonance” unless you are positive you are not suffering from it. And if you are delusional…how would you know?

    Well, wait for my next piece on Unz (here). Then wait wait for my book in print–it addresses precisely those issues in depth. Then you may (I doubt you will, but still) can compare “notes”, that will answer your question.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  336. @Erebus

    I think we all agree that it would have been geo-political suicide for Russia to accept the loss of Sevastopol. One can’t imagine that the Kremlin wouldn’t have resorted to force of arms to keep it and so Crimea became yet another example of the Western elites’ devastating inability to assess their adversary objectively, and then to think their plans through to their logical conclusion.

    Excellent point and at the core of the issue. Only two more or less prominent people in Anglo-sphere who raised the voice openly and unequivocally about this were Peter Hitchens and Stephen Cohen, Esteemed Ambassador Jack Matlock joined in later, Pat followed. That is about Sevastopol and what it means to Russia. As per what is in bold–it is a Clear and Present Danger both globally and for the US itself. It is one thing, however bad, to miscalculate in Iraq or Afghanistan, totally another to do the same (and this was done) with Russia: her intentions, capabilities and history. Nothing changed: as former recent Russian Ambassador to US Kislyak stated in his last week (IIRC) interview to one of major Russian news outlet: US elites are delusional and arrogant. Result are rather convincing and spin is becoming less and less effective.

  337. AP says:
    @Beckow

    I don’t confuse exchange rate with income, I understand that PPP is a better measure. (It is true that Western media experts often intentionally don’t want to see that distinction when it comes to Russia.) In any case, Ukraine’s incomes are way down, even in PPP terms.

    Not as far down as you may think. Here is World Bank:

    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=BY-UA-LV

    2013 – Per Capita GDP PPP $8,630
    2015 – $7,948
    2016- $8,271

    Trading economics has slightly different numbers:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/gdp-per-capita-ppp

    2013 – $8,340
    2015 – $7,465
    2016 – $7,668

    Obviously 2017 would be further slightly improved for the figures above.

    IMF has the most up to date figures, up to 2017:

    2013: $8,730
    2015: $8,000
    2016: $8,320
    2017: $8.660

    Keep in mind that the decline has not been spread evenly throughout Ukraine. Eastern regions more dependent on Russia have declined more, and recovered less. They are still far behind. Some of the Western regions, on the other hand, are doing no worse now than they were in 2013.

    No, utilities, drugs, all imports, travel, education, etc… all of those have gone way up.

    You are right. I was thinking of things such as food, local beers, locally-made clothes or shoes etc. which have become very cheap. All foreign-made stuff has indeed become almost twice as expensive for locals, in accordance with their decline in income in actual $. So the market for new foreign cars (a very expensive such good) collapsed.

    The structural problems in the economy are very serous: nothing desirable to export (except food),

    IT services are Ukraine’s second largest export (after agriculture) and increase every year. Light manufacturing (such as electric cables for cars) is picking up significantly. This is a myth.

    lots of young leaving to work abroad.

    And they return with money, which helps alleviate problems in the short term.

    ‘Geopolitical orientation’ is a slogan, it means nothing to most Ukrainians.

    Leaving behind Eurasia and linking up with the Western neighbors, on the contrary, is important for very many Ukrainians.

    none of the major Maidan promises – membership in EU, no corruption, better living standards, end to oligarchs – none of them have been even partially fulfilled.

    More like mixed results, rather than no results.

    1. Yanukovich (who had been consolidating his rule) out – has been fulfilled.

    2. Ukraine no longer tied forever to Eurasia – has been fulfilled.

    3. Ties to EU – partially fulfilled. More EU investment than before, and visa-free travel (which everyone knows also means some unofficial work).

    4. Oligarchs – still there, though they are at least local ones now.

    5. Corruption – still there, only marginally better.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  338. AP says:
    @AP

    Oops, no comment about this from Martyanov, who would rather have a discussion about his faulty memory for which city in Urals contained an apartment.

    https://www.theubj.com/news/view/boeing-quietly-expands-kyiv-design-center

  339. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Fair enough. I don’t like to let on that I’m 91, almost at the point of omniscience and still getting wiser. But it can be quite entertaining to guess what is pure fiction in a Comment, what kind of tweaks have been performed on reality for anonymity or for some other reason, and in the end whether it has added anything worthwhile.

  340. Mr. Hack says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    In 2014, the Ukrainian army was a rudderless force, which had been gutted in equipment and personnel by 25 years of purposeful neglect and dismantling by successive, corrupt governments that were beholden to Moscow.

    In the past three years, and while fighting a war, Ukraine has rebuilt its military into the second-largest in Europe, comprising about 250,000 active-duty troops and 80,000 reservists. On the Continent, only Russia’s military is bigger.

    Ukraine’s current defense budget of about $6 billion represents roughly 6 percent of the country’s [gross domestic product]. And military spending is set to increase by about 10 percent annually.

    Ukraine now operates more than 2,800 tanks—compared with 423 in France, 407 in the U.K., and 408 in Germany.

    Similarly, Ukraine’s arsenal comprises 625 multiple launch rocket systems—compared with 44 in France, 42 in the U.K., and Germany’s 50.

    Ukraine now has a battle-hardened military that has been fighting a type of conflict, with which virtually no active-duty U.S. troops have combat experience.

    Trench warfare, tank battles, artillery and rocket barrages—Ukraine’s army has years of experience fighting a conventional war with no air support, scant possibility of air medevac, and limited supplies. They’re used to being on the weak side of a fight. That’s not a familiar place for most U.S. troops to be.

    Ukrainians also have years of experience defending against Russian hybrid warfare, including cyberattacks and targeted propaganda. In short, Ukraine has a lot of experience, which the U.S. military and its allies, if they are wise, should study to understand what a war with Russia would look like.

    The war in Ukraine is a case study in Russian hybrid warfare. And Ukrainian troops, with limited means available, have improvised a successful defense against it.

    http://dailysignal.com/2017/08/10/truth-war-ukraine/

    Hey Andrei, you’ve conveniently forgotten to review Hungary’s threat to Ukraine? :-)

    • Replies: @AP
    , @peterAUS
  341. Ukrainians also have years of experience defending against Russian hybrid warfare, including cyberattacks and targeted propaganda. In short, Ukraine has a lot of experience, which the U.S. military and its allies, if they are wise, should study to understand what a war with Russia would look like.

    Now you see why US cannot win a single war anywhere? It comes up with simulacra, in reality BS, such as “hybrid warfare”. But this is a doctrinal issue. But what you conveniently forgot is, of course, a complete moral degeneration of VSU with alcoholism, drugs, self-inflicted wounds, rape and pillage, including the food which looks like slime and, finally, the fact that quota for recruits recently was fulfilled by about 3%, being what defines it. But sure, all those numbers of legacy junk, much of it non-functional will produce impression on all kinds of ahem… hacks. Nothing personal. Per ECW–they don’t have ANY experience of fighting it, they simple have no means to do, neither does US. But that is a separate question. And per aviation, LDNR also have none yet they kicked VSU’s assess with catastrophic results for it, while being outnumbered around 3 to 1.

    Hey Andrei, you’ve conveniently forgotten to review Hungary’s threat to Ukraine?

    Review what? Hundreds of thousands of local Hungarians and Romanians (and Rusins) demanding strong autonomy or separation? Well, gee wheez, I guess it will be very “difficult” for Hungary, as an example, to arm them, right? So goes for Romania which has even longer common border which is not controlled by Ukraine. What kind if review do you want?

    • Replies: @AP
  342. @Andrei Martyanov

    That doesn’t even make sense.

    You have serious English reading comprehension issues.

    Why does a person of your supposed status and self-importance act like such an obnoxious buffoon so much of the time? You are insufferable.

  343. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    You make some good points, but don’t be too optimistic: a lot of Ukraine’s increased defense budget is wasted in corruption, and furthermore this corruption has really degraded its ability to produce weapons. Here is a sobering article about the state of Ukraine’s arms industry from a Polish source. It is a year old, have things changed?:

    https://wiadomosci.wp.pl/polska-zbuduje-nowy-smiglowiec-wspolnie-z-ukraina-robert-cheda-to-bedzie-jedna-wielka-fikcja-6048587356865665a?ticaid=117ec3&_ticrsn=3

    Some lowlights from the article:

    *Some time ago, the media event number one in Ukraine was to present by the defense industry new 60 mm mortars, which were to replace the old Soviet structures. Out of a batch of 12 mortars that reached one of the units at the front, two were busted during transport, two exploded during the first shootings, the rest after two weeks of delivery dropped off the paint and corrosion began

    *One plant modernized AK carbines (Kalashnikov machine – editor), the treatment consisted in the use of flasks in standard slide, with adjustable length. The only problem was that the solution used and the low quality of the materials used made these flasks begin to fall off after firing the first magazine.

    *The flagship product is a BTR-4 wheeled armored transporter, a completely new design. Iraq, which bought the vehicles, began to pay for them due to poor quality of service (Iraq ordered more than 400 BTR-4s, canceled the contract after receiving 88).

    *There was also a Croatian contract for the purchase and modernization of MiG-21 fighters. The case ended with a huge scandal, when it turned out that the Ukrainians from the Antonov factory did not produce new subassemblies, only used parts used from various scrapped aircraft.

    *The story of the Ukrainian armored vehicle Dozor-B, which was supposed to be manufactured using Polish armor plates from Stalowa Wola (the Armstal 500 armor). During field trials, it turned out that these sheets were cracking. The entire echelon of the Ukrainian press fell on Stalowa Wola, and one of the most serious Ukrainian weekly conducted his own investigation. And what happened? That was not Polish plates, only the intermediary defrauded the funds for this contract, and the sheet of poor quality brought from Belgium. This shows the mechanism of withdrawing money from the Ukrainian defense industry.

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

    That being said, Ukraine’s military is vastly improved from how it had been in 2014. It is much larger. In early 2014 the estimate for combat-ready soldiers was only 15,000, currently it’s probably over 100,000. It’s soldiers are indeed battle-hardened and experienced. They have much more equipment (albeit of mixed quality). And most of the Russian spies have been purged. Furthermore, as demobilized soldiers have returned home, the Ukrainian population now includes many experienced fighters who know how to use weapons – so a guerrilla war would be far more costly to Russia now, than it would have been had Russian occupied Ukraine in 2014. Not that Russia is planning an occupation.

    In 2014 Russia could have just swept in if it wanted to; now Russia would have to destroy Ukraine’s large and entrenched military through airpower and long-range missiles first (which it is capable of doing) before marching in, and would then face a very expensive guerrilla war. It could do it, but never would.

    Of course the idea of Hungary being able to grab a chunk of Ukraine on its own is laughable; it would only happen if Russia were to invade the entire country.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  344. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Hundreds of thousands of local Hungarians and Romanians (and Rusins) demanding strong autonomy or separation?

    You have gone from Hungary’s threat (laughable) to a Hungarian-Romanian joint operation (more feasible).

    Include a Russian invasion into this mix and then you will finally be realistic in terms of threat to Ukraine’s territorial integrity from Hungary.

    There are only 160,000 Hungarians in Ukraine. They are 12% of the population in one oblast. You can add about 10,000 self-identified Rusyns in that oblast.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  345. Beckow says:
    @AP

    You numbers are little bit too optimistic. If you check CIA Factbook the drop in living standards – even for PPP – has been steeper. But, I will concede that people in general err on the other side and over-estimate economic drop based on factors like exchange rates and mis-understanding how inflation works. But there is no question in anyone’s mind that Ukrainians today live worse than in 2013. Some not so much, e.g. Lviv region, some vey substantially worse, e.g. Kharkiv, Zaporozje.

    IT accounts for 1.5% of Ukrainian economy – that is the official estimate. So fast-growing IT services can only do so much for the economy (this is the case in many other places where IT is used as a magic solution to everything.)

    The dramatic drop in traditional exports – machinery, chemicals, consumer goods for the Russian market – has not been replaced with the few new offshore factories. If you look at numbers, foreign investment and exports to EU would have to go up by 200-300% to compensate for what has been lost in losing Russia’s market. How is that going to happen? How long will it take?

    Ukraine needed in 2014-25 a form of Marshall Plan around $50 to $100 billion in grants (not loans). It instead received $15-30 billion in loans and some of that was used to service previous loans. That is simply not sustainable. Pretending that ‘IT offshoring’ or some miracle will fix it is not serious.

    Ukrainians who are leaving to work in EU (and Russia) tend to be the most productive ones. They also do not send as much money back because most are simply migrating permanently and bringing their families (doctors, engineers, scientists…). Most have no plans to ever go back – I can attest to that.

    Now for the Maidan results. You say ‘mixed’, I think more like almost non-existent, thus a failure.

    1. Yanukovich was on his way out. He was gone regardless. Maidan only assured that another group of oligarchs took over instead of having an actual free election.

    2. “Ukraine no longer tied forever to Eurasia – has been fulfilled” – that is an empty slogan. Ukraine is where it is, it was always in ‘Europe’, or not, depending on how you see it. This is not a serious argument, it is an emotion that means very little in day-to-day life.

    3. Ties to EU – partially fulfilled…and visa-free travel (which everyone knows also means some unofficial work)

    This is one thing that I agree has happened. But it is a double-edged sword: with borders open to EU, those who can are leaving, it is a demographic disaster. It also means that Ukraine will not be allowed in EU – with the mass migration an appetite to allow Ukrainians to legally move, study, work in EU is less now than before 2014. EU has actually said so much – the partial links are all that EU will give. The dream of Ukraine in EU is over (same as Turkey). Once that sinks in, the political consequences will follow (as in Turkey).

    4. Oligarchs … Corruption – still there, Yes, in no way better, same as before. In that Maidan failed across the board.

    The first step in fixing things is in understanding reality. The happy talk doesn’t help Ukrainians or anyone else.

    • Replies: @Avery
  346. AP says:

    You numbers are little bit too optimistic. If you check CIA Factbook the drop in living standards – even for PPP – has been steeper.

    Those stats do seem optimistic after reading a lot of stuff on Russia-affiliated websites. But I posted form three separate sources.

    But there is no question in anyone’s mind that Ukrainians today live worse than in 2013. Some not so much, e.g. Lviv region, some vey substantially worse, e.g. Kharkiv, Zaporozje.

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

    http://www.lv.ukrstat.gov.ua/

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

    The dramatic drop in traditional exports – machinery, chemicals, consumer goods for the Russian market – has not been replaced with the few new offshore factories. If you look at numbers, foreign investment and exports to EU would have to go up by 200-300% to compensate for what has been lost in losing Russia’s market.

    This is not false, but a big exaggeration.

    While exports have fallen, there has been considerable replacement.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/exports

    Value of Ukraine’s exports is about 60% of what it had been in 2013. It would not have to go up 200%-300% more to replace Russia’s market.

    Ukrainians who are leaving to work in EU (and Russia) tend to be the most productive ones. They also do not send as much money back because most are simply migrating permanently and bringing their families (doctors, engineers, scientists…).

    Do you have stats for how permanent this migration is? My anecdotal evidence is that that these people move abroad for a few months, and come back with money. It’s very easy to do this in Europe, and cheaper/less disruptive for the family to stay at home. The visa-free regime is not for work, but my cousin’s husband went to Germany and worked in skilled construction (he actually did this before the visa-free rules; now it will be even easier for him). He came back with enough funds to finally remont their house properly and with a four year old small Western car. He wants to go back for another few months if he can convince my cousin to let him go.

    Those millions of Ukrainians legally working in Poland do the same thing, mostly.

    Yanukovich was on his way out. He was gone regardless. Maidan only assured that another group of oligarchs took over instead of having an actual free election.

    Wishful thinking. He might lose power, but high odds he would have manged to keep his team in power somehow.

    Ukraine no longer tied forever to Eurasia – has been fulfilled” – that is an empty slogan. Ukraine is where it is, it was always in ‘Europe’, or not, depending on how you see it. This is not a serious argument, it is an emotion that means very little in day-to-day life.

    Locking Ukraine into the Eurasia would have precluded further integration with Europe. Ukraine now has expanded trade with Europe (so a lot of new light manufacturing plants in Lviv, Zhytomir, etc.; also good for IT expansion) and visa-free travel to Europe.

    This is one thing that I agree has happened. But it is a double-edged sword: with borders open to EU, those who can are leaving, it is a demographic disaster.

    Not really, see above. Sure, some leave permanently. but most migrants make money, send it back, and come back.

    What is easier – you move to Germany, work for 6 months, and come back to Ukraine with money you’ve saved and where your German-made money can go very far – or you settle your entire family in Germany and try to live like an illegal with a bunch of Afghans or whoever.

    At any given moment there are millions of Ukrainians in the EU but these are not settlers and they are not all there at once.

    EU has actually said so much – the partial links are all that EU will give.

    For now of course, not forever. If Ukraine gets its act together (big if), who knows. Turkey has always been much less realistic.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Beckow
  347. peterAUS says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Well…..not…………quite…..

    The most important:

    Ukraine now has a battle-hardened military that has been fighting a type of conflict, with which virtually no active-duty U.S. troops have combat experience.

    Trench warfare, tank battles, artillery and rocket barrages—Ukraine’s army has years of experience fighting a conventional war with no air support, scant possibility of air medevac, and limited supplies. They’re used to being on the weak side of a fight. That’s not a familiar place for most U.S. troops to be.

    People often mix “battle hardened” with simple competence. Especially in complex, modern, warfare.
    Syrian Army is ….battle hardened.
    So are African militias.

    U.S. (or any developed world country) armed forces have qualities, based on institutional culture, tradition, equipment, TRAINING, which makes them better than any of those “battle hardened” types.

    And the same applies to Russian armed forces. Expecially to them actually.
    Now, they do have both that inherent quality and specific combat experience for THAT war.
    The catch is, of course, employment of Russian armed forces in (possible) flare of the conflict.

    Bottom line, I do not, personally, rate Ukrainian armed forces much.

    Now, having said that, if they do go with this latest (NCO) initiative, it’s another matter.
    But it would take them at least 6 months of hard and competentt work to get there. Most likely a year.
    And, even then, they will never be able to go directly, in conventional, with Russia.

    Now…against Novorossia/Donbas, is another matter altogether.
    THAT would be interesting.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  348. AP says:
    @AP

    What is easier – you move to Germany, work for 6 months, and come back to Ukraine with money you’ve saved and where your German-made money can go very far – or you settle your entire family in Germany and try to live like an illegal with a bunch of Afghans or whoever.

    Moreover, the ones who have lived in the West are even more bitter about Ukraine’s corruption relative to that of the West (which is a good for the population – to see how things can be better) and at the same time see what a bad idea it is to have all these Muslim refugees running around; they have seen with their own eyes the consequences of that. The income they bring back relieves financial pressure on their families. It is, overall, a good thing.

  349. peterAUS says:
    @AP

    now Russia would have to destroy Ukraine’s large and entrenched military through airpower and long-range missiles first (which it is capable of doing) before marching in, and would then face a very expensive guerrilla war. It could do it, but never would.

    Pretty much.

    The, probably, interesting question would be, though: how good Ukrainian mlitary is in executing offensive operation.
    Emphasize on “offensive”.

    My take: poor.

    With this, possible, “NCO initiative” and, of course, the rest of reorganization and TRAINING, in, say, 6 months, more likely a year, it could be good enough to try to take on Novorossia/Donbass.
    Never on Russians, of course.

    Maybe we are going into that direction?

  350. Avery says:
    @Beckow

    { exports to EU would have to go up by 200-300%}

    What exactly can Ukraine, or any other former USSR republic export to EU that is value added, i.e. manufactured goods. As far as I know none of them, including Eastern European countries (Warsaw Pact) have anything they can sell that can compete price & quality wise. Price can be dirt cheap, but quality would be poor, and consumers in the West wouldn’t touch it.

    As far as I know the only thing those countries export to EU -West is ag produce. (aside from tiny IT ‘exports’).

    • Replies: @Beckow
  351. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    You have gone from Hungary’s threat (laughable) to a Hungarian-Romanian joint operation (more feasible).

    Really? More feasible? Last I read, Hungarians and Romanian still had a lot o outstanding issues as regards to Hungarian ethnic towns etc; within Romania. Then there’s the small matter of Moldavia, which is clearly Romanian ethnic territory, where the local Romanians seem to always vote for pro-Russian Romanians and ethnic Russians to run the show. A Romanian-Hungarian alliance seems really far fetched to me…

  352. Mr. Hack says:
    @peterAUS

    Now, having said that, if they do go with this latest (NCO) initiative, it’s another matter.

    I’m not familiar with the acronym ‘NCO’? I do know that Ukraine’s military planners are not standing still and have some interesting projects on the books to bring the Ukrainian military forces into the 21st century with new drone and unmanned vehicle technologies:

    http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2017/10/armed-ground-robots-could-make-their-combat-debut-ukrainian-conflict-next-year/141677/

  353. peterAUS says:
    @Mr. Hack

    I’m not familiar with the acronym ‘NCO’?

    A..h..u..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-commissioned_officer

    I do know that Ukraine’s military planners are not standing still and have some interesting projects on the books to bring the Ukrainian military forces into the 21st century with new drone and unmanned vehicle technologies

    I see.
    Thank you.

  354. Beckow says:
    @AP

    “optimistic after reading a lot of stuff on Russia-affiliated websites”

    If you believe that CIA Factbook is Russia-affiliated, you might have some issues that no amount of discussion will solve. (CIA, who knew? Maybe that’s how Trump got elected?)

    You keep on dwelling on Lviv, how about Ukraine as a whole. Lviv is only the 7th largest city in Ukraine, and all of Western Ukraine is only around 20% of Ukraine. So the fact that Lviv living standards have not dropped is not that important. It is selfish to only think about how one small part of Ukraine is ‘doing fine’, it is a big country, don’t the rest have some rights too?

    The export substitution has not happened. You say that I exaggerate, but the numbers are there to see: Ukraine’s overall exports are down more than half, to Russia almost 80% and still dropping. And there is zero chance that EU in the next 5-10 years will agree to import all that surplus stuff, they have to protect their own producers. The only country that was willing to buy it was Russia. And they have gradually shut down their markets to Ukraine. Ukraine still gets $3 billion for gas transit from Russia to EU. That will be gone by 2020, that is 3% of the economy in hard currency. Do you not understand math?

    It is hard to get reliable data on Ukrainian migrants in EU, so we can throw ad hoc examples all day. I know around 15 Ukrainian families with children (professionals) who moved to Bratislava, none of them plan to go back. One hears similar stories from friends in Hungary, Austria, Poland – doctors with families, etc… But we don’t know, maybe a lot of others are going back, the less educated, etc. I am not sure this is a net plus for Ukraine.

    The ‘Euroasia’ argument is weird, you sound quasi-racist. Look around Western Europe and its multi-cultural populations. In any case, Ukraine at this point is neither in ‘Europe’ nor in what you refer to as ‘Euroasia’. They have become an expensive orphan. The chances of Ukraine to ever get into EU are about the same as Turkey’s: talk to Western Europeans, unlike many of us, they don’t see ‘white Europeans’, they see Ukrainians the same as Turks, Moroccans, Nigerians – just poor foreigners who want to come into Europe. Actually many see Ukrainians as less deserving, you know the ‘white privilege’, etc…

    This is not going to be easy. I would also remind you that in 2017 Russia living standards (income per capita) are 3-4 times higher than Ukraine. So much for those ‘E-Asians’….

    Yanukovitch was gone by February 2014. Your paranoid, ‘he would find a way’, really reflects a desire that people who voted for Yanukovitch have no political rights in Ukraine. That is not going to work, there are too many of them. You cannot shut out permanently 20-30% (or more) of the population.

    Maidan has been a failure. Now for the consequences.

    • Replies: @AP
  355. Beckow says:
    @Avery

    Seeing Eastern European countries as a monolith is a mistake. They are not at all the same and vary as much as Southern Italy is different from Germany, or Portugal from Denmark.

    Some have had a strong economy for 100+ years with good technology, educated population, good infrastructure (Czech R, and western Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia). Others are frankly irredeemable basket cases, like most of Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria. It varies.

    Ukraine had some features of the more advanced group, e.g. it was heavily industrialised mostly in its east. It also had decent education and infrastructure. But most of that is gone: the industry was heavily linked to Russia (and Russian markets), and with the sudden, unprepared break in relations, there is no way to save it. Nobody has thought through how to gradually transition it, so most of it is just sitting idle with qualified workers leaving (both to EU and Russia) and the capital assets rusting. It might be an almost total loss.

    You are right about the quality of goods, and that’s where going to EU markets would be very difficult. What I see happening is a slow return to a largely agrarian economy, Ukraine has great soil. And a gradual decrease in population, some people abandoning the cities, many emigrating, the social infrastructure collapsing. They are about to re-live the ‘freedoms’ of the 90′s, this time with the rapacious oligarchs already in place.

    • Replies: @AP
  356. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    Good post. I had similar thoughts when Saker said that the Trump’s Administration doesn’t care about the situation in Ukraine so everyone in the area is “on their own”.

    That’s beyond naive. Trump himself might not care much but his Administration is filled with swamp creatures and the Tribe’s globalist apparatus is intact. They didn’t go anywhere.

    It really looks like Saker can’t comprehend the big picture. He’s looking at the individual national leaders, parties and personalities while completely ignoring the supranational cabal behind those chess pieces. No wonder most of them seem crazy or delusional to him when he refuses to see the strings.

  357. AP says:
    @Beckow

    If you believe that CIA Factbook is Russia-affiliated, you might have some issues that no amount of discussion will solve. (CIA, who knew? Maybe that’s how Trump got elected?)

    I wasn’t commenting on that specifically of course, but Russia-affiliated websites (like this one, or Karlin’s blog) in general. Perhaps out of a sense of betrayal, or whatever, these Russian sources present Ukraine post-2014 as being in a state of permanent collapse. I went to see for myself this summer, and it doesn’t look that way at all on the ground, at least in Kiev and Lviv. The data I posted from 3 sources confirming that the difference in per capita GDP PPP from 2013 to 2017 is rather small, and corroborates those personal impressions. According to those sources, Ukraine’s per capita GDP PPP is about 89% or so what it was in 2013.

    So the fact that Lviv living standards have not dropped is not that important. It is selfish to only think about how one small part of Ukraine is ‘doing fine’, it is a big country, don’t the rest have some rights too?

    Sure. And the country as a whole is improving. I just pointed out Lviv as an example of a place that has already surpassed where it had been in 2013. Other areas will slowly do so as well.

    The export substitution has not happened. You say that I exaggerate, but the numbers are there to see: Ukraine’s overall exports are down more than half, to Russia almost 80% and still dropping.

    From 2013 to 2017 Exports are down 45% or so, not more than half:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/exports

    Obviously, if exports to Russia are down over 80% but overall exports are only down 45%, there has been considerable substitution. Not enough to compensate for all of the lost trade with Russia, but enough to compensate for much of it.

    Also, keep in mind that due to territorial adjustments Ukraine’s population is about 10% smaller, which partially explains the 45% drop in exports from 2013.

    The ‘Euroasia’ argument is weird, you sound quasi-racist

    Ukraine had to choose between seeking an orientation towards the European Union or one towards the Eurasian Customs Union. Europe or Eurasia. What is quasi-racist about that? Anti-Eurasia people in Ukraine sometimes refer to Eurasia as Aziopa.

    This is not going to be easy. I would also remind you that in 2017 Russia living standards (income per capita) are 3-4 times higher than Ukraine.

    And not nearly as high as in Poland, Hungary or Slovakia – places that weren’t much richer than Ukraine in 1990 but which unlike Ukraine headed straight for Europe. Many Ukrainians have been to both Poland and Russia and they would prefer their country to be more like Poland. That is their right.

    Yanukovitch was gone by February 2014. Your paranoid, ‘he would find a way’, really reflects a desire that people who voted for Yanukovitch have no political rights in Ukraine.

    Ironically, and this was a reason for the overthrow, the 45% of Ukrainians who were pro-Yanukovich had managed to completely monopolize power over the 55% of Ukrainians who were anti-Yanukovich. Successful uprisings occur when the majority doesn’t feel that it can achieve its wishes peacefully and through normal political processes.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jon0815
  358. AP says:
    @Beckow

    They are about to re-live the ‘freedoms’ of the 90′s, this time with the rapacious oligarchs already in place.

    Ukraine would have to collapse more than in 2014 to achieve another 90s – the 2014 crash only brought Ukraine down to the 2009 level. Its per capita GDP in 2015 was more than 3 times higher than in the late 1990s. (this is the problem with Russian media – it made it look like Ukraine got back into the 90s, and people who consume that media believe it)

    And instead, its economy is growing.

  359. Beckow says:

    “Russia-affiliated websites like this one”

    Unz is now also ‘Russia-affiliated’? So any views you don’t like you simply call ‘Russia affiliated’? Maybe you should run for Congress, but among saner people having different views is usually not labeled. Why do you do it?

    I don’t think that Ukraine is in a ‘state of permanent collapse’ (and I haven’t seen too many people claim it). I think they are worse off than in 2013 and all data supports that view. Some more, some less, but in aggregate things have gotten worse. That doesn’t mean that day-to-day live doesn’t go on, or that some people, or regions (Lviv) are not actually doing ok.

    “as high as in Poland, Hungary or Slovakia – places that weren’t much richer than Ukraine in 1990 but which unlike Ukraine headed straight for Europe”

    The difference between Russia and Poland is very small compared to very large difference between either one of them and Ukraine. Ukraine has fallen quite a bit behind. The countries of Central East Europe have always been much wealthier that Ukraine or Russia. It is simply not true that living standards in Prague were ever comparable to Kiev (or Lviv). Look into the historical statistics, Ukraine was always closer to Romania than to any of its Western neighbours.

    My point is that Ukraine is not going to join EU. To constantly talk about ‘we are going to Europe’ when EU said ‘no’, and when the possibility that EU countries would vote to accept Ukraine is nil, is irresponsible and escapist. Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia will also not join EU. This reality is unpleasant to many, but they need to learn how to deal with it.

    “45% of Ukrainians who were pro-Yanukovich had managed to completely monopolize power over the 55% of Ukrainians who were anti-Yanukovich”

    Beautiful. So Maidan reversed it and now you have one half oppressing another half, quite a democracy. Where else in Europe is one half allowed to fully dominate another half? I am using ‘half’ because it is closer to reality, precise numbers can vary from year to year, but in general about half of Ukraine is inclined to speak Russian, have pro-Russian sympathies, and had Russian economic links before Maidan. For you with a straight face to dismiss that is insane and undemocratic. Democracy doesn’t mean that 50+1 gets to do whatever they want to 49%. But you must know that.

    • Replies: @AP
  360. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @AP

    Europe or Eurasia.

    Eurasia. People’s lives are getting better there as opposed to the EU which is dying. The globalist EU project is becoming deeply unpopular among the people who actually live in the Union because, again, their lives are getting worse, on average, for decades.

    You’re deluded if you believe that Ukraine can benefit from joining the Union which has already curb-stomped Greece, de-industrialised Italy and is busy replacing Germans with the mystery-meat from the World’s premier shit-holes. Brussels is not your friend. This kind of wishful thinking and provincialism is unforgivable if you have your eyes open even a little.

  361. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Unz is now also ‘Russia-affiliated’?

    This blog has three Russian nationalist contributors: Saker, Karlin, and Martyanov.

    So my description is accurate.

    So any views you don’t like you simply call ‘Russia affiliated’?

    No.

    I don’t think that Ukraine is in a ‘state of permanent collapse’ (and I haven’t seen too many people claim it)

    Then you haven’t been keeping track of some of the comments.

    I think they are worse off than in 2013 and all data supports that view. Some more, some less, but in aggregate things have gotten worse

    Correct. Ukraine as a whole is years away from recovery, though particular regions have already recovered and indeed are now doing slightly better.

    The countries of Central East Europe have always been much wealthier that Ukraine or Russia.

    A myth. In 1991 Poland and Ukraine were about equally wealthy, and Russia was wealthier than both.

    In 1991 Poland’s per capita GDP was $2,235, Ukraine’s $2,114 and Russia’s was $3,485.

    Look into the historical statistics, Ukraine was always closer to Romania than to any of its Western neighbours.

    In 1991 Romania’s per capita GDP was $1,260. So no – Ukraine was closest to Poland, historically.

    Note that all of these countries that went towards Europe did much better than did Russia itself. Romania jumped from having 25% of Russia’s per capita GDP to 60%; Poland has surpassed Russia. Ukraine, which did not pursue a European course, fell far behind everyone.

    My point is that Ukraine is not going to join EU. To constantly talk about ‘we are going to Europe’ when EU said ‘no’, and when the possibility that EU countries would vote to accept Ukraine is nil, is irresponsible and escapist.

    Currently, and in the next 10-20 years, of course not and nobody expects this. If Ukraine gets its act together, who knows?

    Beautiful. So Maidan reversed it and now you have one half oppressing another half, quite a democracy.

    55% being in control is better than 45% in control, isn’t it? You think the two situations are equal? Were you complaining when 45% were in control?

    And actually now that Crimea and urban Donbas have left it is more like 70% vs. 30%.

    Democracy.

    Democracy doesn’t mean that 50+1 gets to do whatever they want to 49%.

    So what is your opinion of pre-Maidan Ukraine, when 45% got to do whatever it wanted to the 55%?

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Jon0815
  362. Beckow says:
    @AP

    “This blog has three Russian nationalist contributors: Saker, Karlin, and Martyanov”

    It also has quite a few anti-Russian contributors, pro-Ukraine, pro-EU, etc… Different viewpoints are good, get used to it. ‘Affiliation‘ means something else, you are mis-using the term. Unz has a free exchange of views, that is what freedom of expression is all about. Are you against it?

    “particular regions…are doing slightly better”

    But Ukraine is not. That is what matters, not that a few IT guys in Lviv get to sip a higher quality espresso. We evaluate countries as they are, you are instead cherry-picking what you like. People from Zaporozje are equal to people from Lviv, do you accept that basic concept?

    You are wrong about Eastern Europe. You randomly pick GNP in dollars in 1991, that is not serious. The exchange rates fluctuate. A random year when e.g. zloty was undervalued or before Ukraine and Russia freed its foreign exchange is not a valid metric. Over the last 100 years (take out the wars) the relative quality of life has been very consistent. Prague is better than Budapest, Budapest is better than Warsaw, and Poland has always been more prosperous than Ukraine, Belarus or Russia. Romania was in general worse than all of them. This is simply the way it is there and all locals know it. Similar to e.g. to Milano being better than Naples.

    What has changed in the last 25 years? Czech, Hungary, Poland, Russia have gotten much better, they all grew – for different reasons – much faster than surrounding regions. Romania got better, but from such a low base that it still lags behind – it is no success story, in absolute terms the per capita deficit is about where it was in 1990. In relative terms, since Romania was so badly off they ‘closed the gap’, but that is how math works. The real laggards have been Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – all 3 dramatically lost both in absolute and relative terms. They are also stuck in a dreamy land of ‘we want to go to Europe’. Well so do Nigerians, that doesn’t make it real. And as I pointed out to you, an average Westerners has more sympathy for Nigerians than for Ukrainians, the white ‘guilt’ thing.

    Geographically and culturally Ukraine is more like Romania/Bulgaria and less like Poland/Czech. Draw your won conclusions.

    It is also 2017 and EU has changed. There will be no enlargement for at least a generation and there is no money to subsidize new-comers. Poland has received almost $500 billion over 10 years and moved 3 million workers to the West, that will never be allowed to happen again. Ukraine in EU is a fantasy, people who live in a fantasy land end up regretting it.

    Democracies don’t allow 55% (or even 70%) to totally dominate the rest. Do you get that? Are you familiar with EU and its rules? It also a lie or an exaggeration that under Yanukovitch it was the Russian-affiliated that oppressed the 55% majority. That is simply not true, it was a contested and lively fight, but Yanukovitch was far from a dictator. He spent his term negotiating a treaty with EU, how is that for ‘pro-Russian’? Was the guy faking it? Are you seriously that uninformed?

    • Replies: @AP
  363. AP says:
    @Beckow

    It also has quite a few anti-Russian contributors, pro-Ukraine, pro-EU,

    I was discussing the website, not the people who make comments. The website has three Russian nationalist writers. Any pro-Ukraine, pro-EU ones?

    I’m not complaining, they are interesting ones, I’m stating a simple fact.

    You dispute this?

    You are wrong about Eastern Europe. You randomly pick GNP in dollars in 1991, that is not serious. The exchange rates fluctuate.

    You are consistently wrong on this.

    http://ivanstat.com/en/gdp/su.html#sosed1

    1980: USSR: $3551
    Poland: $1652
    Romania: $1,613

    1970, same thing.

    Russia was higher than USSR average, Ukraine lower than USSR average (close to Poland, probably actually a bit higher).

    Romania and Poland did very well leaving behind Eurasia and going for Europe.

    Geographically and culturally Ukraine is more like Romania/Bulgaria

    Ukraine is close to Poland, was part of Poland-Lithuania for 400 years, language is closer to Polish than to Romanian or Bulgarian, and Ukraine’s level of education is closer to that of Poland.

    Democracies don’t allow 55% (or even 70%) to totally dominate the rest.

    Which Ukraine doesn’t do.

    It also a lie or an exaggeration that under Yanukovitch it was the Russian-affiliated that oppressed the 55% majority.

    Not oppressed, merely dominated. Did what it wanted against the wishes of the larger population, like turning away from EU.

    The was a choice: EU or Eurasia. More wanted EU, but the minority tried to lock Ukraine into Eurasia (and was overthrown).

    Now instead of 52% not getting what it wants, 30% doesn’t get what it wants.

    You don’t think this is better?

    • Replies: @Beckow
  364. Jon0815 says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Trench warfare, tank battles, artillery and rocket barrages—Ukraine’s army has years of experience fighting a conventional war with no air support, scant possibility of air medevac, and limited supplies. They’re used to being on the weak side of a fight

    It’s absurd to call Ukraine the “weak side” in the Donbas conflict (which is clearly best described as a civil war, even though Western media never does so). Ukraine’s military numbers over 250,000, with around 150,000 troops and allied neofascist militia deployed on the contact line. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government recently estimated separatist troop strength at less than 40,000 (including allegedly 2000 Russian troops, who probably don’t exist). Whether you agree with the rebels’ cause or not, they are the brave underdogs standing up to a vastly superior force.

    • Disagree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  365. AP says:

    It’s absurd to call Ukraine the “weak side” in the Donbas conflict (which is clearly best described as a civil war, even though Western media never does so). Ukraine’s military numbers over 250,000, with around 150,000 troops and allied neofascist militia deployed on the contact line. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government recently estimated separatist troop strength at less than 40,000 (including allegedly 2000 Russian troops, who probably don’t exist).

    The latter are lavishly supported by Russia, and can thus be considered an extension of Russia. Russia has stated that it will provide whatever is necessary to keep the Ukrainian government out of Donbas. Indeed, in past moments when Ukrainian forces were breaking through, Russian troops got involved in the conflict in sufficient force to repel the Ukrainians. Thus, Ukraine is the underdog there.

    If Russia fully abandoned Donbas, it would be a different story.

    • Replies: @Jon0815
  366. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    Sure. And the country as a whole is improving. I just pointed out Lviv as an example of a place that has already surpassed where it had been in 2013. Other areas will slowly do so as well.

    “Improving” is a really low bar. Virtually every country on Earth is improving. North Korea is improving (at a faster rate than Ukraine). But a country with Ukraine’s intellectual capital, and the per capita GDP of Nigeria, should have GDP growth of at least 5 or 6 percent. Instead, it’s growing at 2-3%, about the same as Russia, despite having only 20% of Russia’s per capita GDP.

    Like every neocon project, the Maidan has objectively been a failure and a complete disaster for the country involved.

    • Replies: @AP
  367. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    55% being in control is better than 45% in control, isn’t it?

    Not necessarily. Tyrannies of the majority can be more repressive than tyrannies of the minority. There was more free speech under Yanukovich.

    Anyway, why not wait a few months to see whether it was actually true that Yanukovich couldn’t be removed by election?

    • Replies: @AP
  368. Beckow says:
    @AP

    We both agreed previously that unexamined dollar based GNP figures are not accurate, that exchange rates make all the difference (remember above?). For countries that have no free currency exchange, as all East European countries before 1990′s, the GNP number in dollars means very little. The rate they randomly fixed was political, not economic, since you couldn’t freely exchange zlotys, rubles, forints.

    But you doubled down with a mindless quoting of ‘statistics’ to somehow show that Romania, Ukraine and Russia were more prosperous under socialism than Poland, Hungary, Czech. This is nonsense, don’t do it, it undermines your credibility. It is simply not true and if you don’t get it, you really should not comment about that region.

    Few more points:
    - Unz is not ‘Russia-affiliated’. Period. Get used to free speech.
    - Dominating a minority, as Ukraine tries to do today, is un-European. It doesn’t belong in EU or anywhere close to it. If you don’t get it and engage in some revenge politics, you are only hurting yourself.
    - Only a small part of Ukraine in the west (20% or so) is similar to Poland. The rest is much more like Moldova, Romania, Russia. From Orthodox religion, Byzantine-like culture, cyrillic script, habits, customs, history – most of Ukraine is very different from Poland. Not that Poland is something to aspire to, but Ukraine east of Lviv is not Poland-like.

    Maidan was a failure. It might take you years to admit it, but it failed. The consequences over the next few years won’t be pretty. There won’t be ‘EU’ or ‘Euroasia’, there will just be grinding poverty, emigration, more fanatics of all flavors, and – of course – the oligarchs. Enjoy.

    • Replies: @AP
  369. Mr. Hack says:
    @Jon0815

    (including allegedly 2000 Russian troops, who probably don’t exist).

    Oh, they’re there alright, just open up your eyes and see:

    On 7 October, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak unveiled a sensational investigation into the part Wagner played in the majority of Russian military operations on Ukrainian soil from 2014 to 2015, beginning with the occupation of Crimea. The Wagner company, according to the information provided by the SBU and published by Russian journalists, consists of between 2,000 and 5,000 well-trained professional soldiers, as well as tanks, howitzers, and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. They train in a special, secret training ground in Rostov Oblast.

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2017/10/19/wagner-mercenaries-what-we-know-about-putins-private-army-in-donbas/

    The army is fully controlled by the staff of a Russian army stationed in Russia’s Rostov Oblast near the Ukrainian border and by the GRU, the foreign military intelligence agency of the Russian Armed Forces. The Donetsk local special service is known as MGB, it is under full control of the Russian special service FSB. There are multiple pieces of evidence to the fact:

    Many Russian officers who have been observed in the “DNR” army, which gets its full army supply from Russia (equipment, ammunition, manpower)
    Most “DNR” battalions were trained in Russian territory or Crimea, before training camps and artillery ranges were created in the occupied territory of Donbas.
    When regular Russian units were invading Ukrainian territory, their actions were synchronized actions with the “DNR army,” with the two divisions acting as one.
    Several ceasefires brokered by the Minsk contact group involving representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and/or France, Germany, and the OSCE showed that the “DNR” forces can stop military action by an order from Moscow.

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2017/10/31/russia-rules-occupied-donetsk-via-law-enforcement-agencies-puppet-government/

    • Replies: @Jon0815
  370. AP says:
    @Beckow

    We both agreed previously that unexamined dollar based GNP figures are not accurate, that exchange rates make all the difference (remember above?).

    Yes, but if Poland had half the GDP in dollars than did the USSR (which means less than half of Russia, which was above average for the USSR) it is likely that the purchasing power was also less.

    You also claimed that 1990 was a mere snapshot. You wrote: “You randomly pick GNP in dollars in 1991, that is not serious. The exchange rates fluctuate. ”

    I showed that this was true not just in 1990 but for 20 years (at least). So not just a reflection of exchange rate fluctuation.

    Now you change the subject to how much a dollar meant in Poland, vs. in Russia.

    Well, you are wrong here too.

    In 1990 Poland’s GDP PPP was $11,000.

    In 1990, Ukraine’s GDP PPP was the same, $11,000.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/gdp-per-capita-ppp

    In 1990 Russia’s GDP PPP it was $20,000:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/gdp-per-capita-ppp

    But you doubled down with a mindless quoting of ‘statistics’ to somehow show that Romania, Ukraine and Russia were more prosperous under socialism than Poland, Hungary, Czech.

    I didn’t mention Hungary or Czechia. Please try to be honest. It isn’t hard.

    Now, if you review what I showed - with evidence - you will see that Poland and Ukraine were about equally wealthy under socialism, and that Russia was wealthier than both of those.

    Few more points:
    - Unz is not ‘Russia-affiliated’. Period. Get used to free speech.

    It has three Russian nationalist writers, no one with the opposite perspective (at least, in Eastern Europe). Please explain how pointing out this obvious fact has anything to do with “freedom of speech.”

    Dominating a minority, as Ukraine tries to do today, is un-European. It doesn’t belong in EU or anywhere close to it. If you don’t get it and engage in some revenge politics, you are only hurting yourself.

    Ukraine had to make a choice: go towards EU or towards EC. either way one side would be unhappy and “dominated.” If Ukraine had moved towards EC, the pro-western larger group would be “dominated.” If towards EU, the minority would be. This is true of many issues in a democratic system. A lot of people were unhappy when Obama was elected.

    So which is preferable? That the larger group be unhappy, or the smaller one? It’s a question you refuse to answer.

    Only a small part of Ukraine in the west (20% or so) is similar to Poland. The rest is much more like Moldova, Romania, Russia. From Orthodox religion, Byzantine-like culture, cyrillic script, habits, customs, history

    Wishful Russian thinking. Unlike all of the other Orthodox countries, Ukraine spent centuries – during its formative stage! – as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. For centuries, local elites studied in Polish-style schools. About 10% of Ukraine’s population were ethnic Poles – these were absorbed by the Ukrainian natives (so the old expression abut Russians – scratch a Russian and you’ll find a Tatar – is true of Ukrainians with respect to Poles). This is reflected in Ukraine’s language, its political culture and history. Haven’t you noticed how Ukraine’s election patterns follow the Polish-Russian border of the 17th century?

    So stuff like Cyrillic script and Orthodoxy masks these deeper phenomena.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Beckow
  371. AP says:
    @Jon0815

    “Improving” is a really low bar. Virtually every country on Earth is improving. North Korea is improving (at a faster rate than Ukraine).

    From 2015 to 2016 Belarus’ nominal GDP per capita fell dropped by about $850, Ukraine’s rose by about $50.

    “But a country with Ukraine’s intellectual capital, and the per capita GDP of Nigeria, should have GDP growth of at least 5 or 6 percent.

    1. Ukraine per capita GDP is $8,272, Nigeria’s $5,867. And Nigeria has a lot of oil.

    2. How was Serbia improving during the Yugo wars?

    • Replies: @Jon0815
  372. Beckow says:
    @AP

    You don’t seem to understand that socialist countries’ exchange rates were fixed politically for the whole ’20 years’ that you so proudly claim. Money was not freely exchanged and the rate was set to reflect political biases, e.g. Poland was a rebellious outlier, Romania had a proud nationalist communist government that liked to pretend that Romania was really ‘advanced’. And of course anything in Soviet Union (Russia, Ukraine), had to be built up and celebrated. Do you get that those were political rates and didn’t reflect buying power? Only after 1990, around mid-90′s, with an introduction of free floating exchange rates you can start using them for comparison.

    I included Czech, Hungary because it matters – the Poland-Czech-Slovakia-Hungary sub-region has a lot in common (although Poland is the poorest part, especially eastern Poland next to Ukraine), it was by far the most prosperous part of the east and had best infrastructure, industry, etc… That is one reason why after joining EU (2004) they have prospered so much. But those countries did quite well even before EU, in the 90′s. They are just better off than Romania or Ukraine. You extrapolate that if Ukraine would be in EU, it would be like them. No, it wouldn’t. It would be more like Romania-Bulgaria. Don’t over-sell it.

    Regarding Russia: without EU and without any debt (Russia’s debt is around 15% of GNP, minuscule by global standards), Russia grew dramatically, tripling its GNP/capita in 15 years. So did by the way Kazakhstan, and Belarus almost as well. Your argument that ‘only in EU’ and by ‘abandoning Eurasia’ can a country prosper is not supported by data. Russian living standards are very close to Poland and substantially higher than Romania/Bulgaria. How do you explain that? Moscow is a lot richer city than Warsaw, higher incomes, better infrastructure, etc…

    You have a cultural issue (or possibly racial), disliking the east and ‘E-asia’. I don’t care, hate all you want, but don’t pretend that EU is a panacea for all and that being outside of EU means some Asiatic serfdom.

    The specific case of Ukraine with its previous heavy reliance on massive exports to Russia and benefiting from Russia’s energy and trans-shipments through Ukraine, and with the reality that EU will not give Ukraine money or allow massive migration of millions to work in EU (as they did for Poland), the calculation is not that clear-cut. My estimate is that about 30% of Ukraine benefits from EU-link (West, Kiev), about 30% loses (east and south), and the rest is too poor to care. In any case there will not be EU for Ukraine so this is all theoretical.

    Ukraine will be permanently stuck in a no-win situation, isolated from the Russian economy and only minimally welcomed in EU. It will be a slow, painful lesson that geography means something.

    • Replies: @AP
  373. Beckow says:
    @AP

    “About 10% of Ukraine’s population were ethnic Poles – these were absorbed by the Ukrainian natives (so the old expression abut Russians – scratch a Russian and you’ll find a Tatar – is true of Ukrainians with respect to Poles)”

    Not quite true, only in the Western part of Ukraine is there detectable Polish presence. But let’s say you are right, let say that up to 10% Ukrainians have some Polish heritage. Ok, but we also know that at least 17% Ukrainians have Russian heritage (actually a lot more, with mixing etc…).

    Why is it ok for you to dismiss and persecute 17%, but you want to celebrate the 10%? You sound like an ethnic hater, you like some, dislike others, and your views are purely based on those emotions. That will get you nowhere, we are all equal…

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  374. AP says:
    @Jon0815

    Not necessarily. Tyrannies of the majority can be more repressive than tyrannies of the minority. There was more free speech under Yanukovich.

    Yanukovich was moving in the worse direction with respect to repression (remember his last anti-protest laws). Slightly lighter repression of the majority isn’t better than slightly heavier repression of the minority.

    And let’s not minimize the fact that under Yanukovich it was impossible to have one’s voice through elections count. That’s rather extreme repression. Under Yanukovich the media was a little more free, but the majority of the people had votes that wouldn’t count. Which is better?

    Anyway, why not wait a few months to see whether it was actually true that Yanukovich couldn’t be removed by election?

    So why take the chance? The moral high ground while siting in exile with one’s people being repressed is worse than being accused of not waiting, by the bitter supporters of the minority who lost power over the country.

  375. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    I’d be careful in labeling AP as an ‘ethnic [Russian] hater. If I’m not mistaken, he has a solid marriage to a Russian gal, lives(d) in Russia, and quite often speaks positively of his Russian friends. Part of his family too, has identified in the past as Russians too, if memory serves me correctly. But, perhaps he should explain his own affinities and ethnic prejudices and tolerances to you more directly.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  376. AP says:
    @Beckow

    You don’t seem to understand that socialist countries’ exchange rates were fixed politically for the whole ’20 years’ that you so proudly claim. Money was not freely exchanged and the rate was set to reflect political biases, e.g. Poland was a rebellious outlier, Romania had a proud nationalist communist government that liked to pretend that Romania was really ‘advanced’.

    Do you have actual data corroborating these claims?

    Data shows similarity between Ukraine and Poland, with Russia higher. For both GDP nominal and PPP.

    I wasn’t in Poland at that time, but I was in Ukraine in 1990 and poor Poles were selling stuff there.

    Regarding Russia: without EU and without any debt (Russia’s debt is around 15% of GNP, minuscule by global standards), Russia grew dramatically, tripling its GNP/capita in 15 years

    You didn’t mention oil?

    Russian living standards are very close to Poland and substantially higher than Romania/Bulgaria. How do you explain that?

    Romania went from 30% of Russia’s per capita GDP to 60% of Russia’s GDP. It certainly outperformed Russia – without oil.

    Moscow is a lot richer city than Warsaw, higher incomes, better infrastructure, etc…

    It is. But the country as a whole is poorer. And in 1990 it was a lot richer.

    You have a cultural issue (or possibly racial), disliking the east and ‘E-asia’

    LOL, no I do not. Where would you get such an idea?

    • Replies: @Beckow
  377. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Not quite true, only in the Western part of Ukraine is there detectable Polish presence.

    Nope.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poles_in_Ukraine#Within_the_Cossack_Hetmanate

    Polish influence upon the local Ukrainian culture remained strong until the mid 18th century, however. The Polish language was the administrative language of the Hetmanate and the language of command for the Hetmanate’s military forces. The Hetmanate’s most prominent schools, the Kiev Academy and Chernihiv Collegium, used Polish and Latin as languages of instruction. [11] Polish was taught in schools and Kiev and Chernihiv hosted Polish printing-houses. [7]

    Under Russia:

    At the time of the partition, approximately ten percent of the population of the territories annexed by Russia was Polish.[12] Poles included wealthy magnates with large estates, poorer nobles who worked as administrators or soldiers, and peasants. Long after this region ceased being a part of Poland, Poles continued to play an important role in both the province and in the city of Kiev. Until the failed Polish insurrection of 1830-1831, Polish continued to be the administrative language in education, government and the courts.[7] In 1812 there were over 43,000 Polish noblemen in Kiev province, compared to only approximately 1,000 “Russian” nobles. Typically the nobles spent their winters in the city of Kiev, where they held Polish balls and fairs.[13] Throughout the Tsarist period Poles wielded considerable influence. Polish landlords owned approximately 46 percent of all private property in Ukraine west of the Dnipro River.[7] Until the mid-18th century Kiev (Polish Kijów) was Polish in culture.[12] although Poles made up no more than ten percent of Kiev’s population and 25% of its voters. During the 1830s Polish was the language of Kiev’s educational system, and until Polish enrollment in Kiev’s university of St. Vladimir was restricted in the 1860s they made up the majority of that school’s student body. The Russian government’s cancellation of Kiev city’s autonomy and its placement under the rule of bureaucrats appointed from St. Petersburg was largely motivated by fear of Polish insurrection in the city.[13] Warsaw factories and fine Warsaw shops had branches in Kiev. Józef Zawadzki, founder of Kiev’s stock exchange, served as the city’s mayor in the 1890s. In 1909, 9.8 percent of the city of Kiev’s population (44,400 people) were Poles.[7] Kieven Poles tended to be friendly towards the Ukrainian national movement in the city, and some took part in Ukrainian organizations.[14] Henryk Józewski, a Pole from Kiev, served in the government of the Ukrainian People’s Republic under his friend Symon Petliura and later as governor of Volhynia under Poland.[15]

    But let’s say you are right, let say that up to 10% Ukrainians have some Polish heritage

    10% was for central Ukraine. Gogol was 1/4 Polish – a typical example.

    Western Ukraine was 25% Polish. Interestingly, there may have been less mixing between Ukrainians and Poles in western Ukraine than in central Ukraine, because the Polish community was large enough to avoid assimilation into the Ukrainian community. The Poles in Kiev, and other regions were just absorbed.

    Here is the 2004 election:

    Here is the old map of the Russian-Polish border:

    This tells you where Ukraine’s true roots are.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  378. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    “he has a solid marriage to a Russian gal”

    Yep, that explains it. It is very common, he fears the ‘east’, the ‘euro-asians’, and his spouse’s origin just reaffirms it.

    I thought he might be Polish, they have an almost pathological fear of even a drop of ‘eastern’ blood. If they could they would move to the north-west of Iceland and claim that they are actually ‘Celts’.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  379. Beckow says:
    @AP

    “Poles were selling stuff there”

    Right, Poles sell ‘stuff’ all the time, that’s what they do.

    “You didn’t mention oil?”

    Oil is less than 10% of Russia’s economy and it didn’t tripled in price. So there is a lot more to this than ‘oil’. But if you care so much about oil the following countries dramatically improved their GNP with oil: Norway, Canada, UK, most of Middle East…are you going to tell Norwegians that they are nothing, that it is all just the ‘oil’?

    “Romania went from 30% of Russia’s per capita GDP to 60% of Russia’s GDP.”

    Romania under Causescu famously published bulls..t numbers about everything, those numbers were ‘political statements’ not based on data. They were an odd bunch, allied with the West, anti-Russian, not in Warsaw Pact, and yet fanatically communist and poor. If Ukraine gets its act together, in a generation or two they can aspire to reach the level of Romania.

    If you really believe that any part of Soviet Union had higher living standard than Poland in 1989, then you simply don’t know anything about the area. I can’t help with that.

    “Where would you get such an idea?”

    Maybe from your constant harping about ‘Euro-asians’ and how horrible they are. Read what you said above, you seem to be obsessed with EU-West versus Euro-Asia dichotomy.

    • Replies: @AP
  380. Beckow says:
    @AP

    “This tells you where Ukraine’s true roots are”

    No, it tells you that Ukraine is divided. You never mention the eastern-southern half of Ukraine that has never had any Polish presence. Half of modern Ukraine. They had historically huge Russian presence (speak Russian, trade, inter-marriage). Do they count for anything in your mind? Half of Ukraine that wants to have nothing to do with Poland, or Western Ukrainian weird nationalists.

    Zakarpatia – what is going on there? Was Yanukovitch’s wife from there? Or do they have old Russian border guards running it? The ultimate West of Ukraine, and they voted Yanukovitch. Go figure.

    This is more complicated than what you would like, a divided country with many ethnic groups, with different views of history, different economic interests. If you try to force them into a Western Ukrainian (‘Polish’) mold, Ukraine will not survive. What you need is tolerance – and I mean tolerance of the large Russian population in the east or south. Or give up, vacate east and south and live happily in a pure Ukraine.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mao Cheng Ji
  381. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Again, Crimea is not Cuba. It’s also not Hong Kong.

  382. JGarbo says:
    @Anon

    Hey, Anon, when you’re through nit picking, I have a bunch of hounds with fleas you can play with. Saker is a non-native speaker, typing very fast. The facts matter far more than the grammar. If you understood journalism, you’d be admonishing his sub editor, not him. Now where do I send my hounds?

  383. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    The latter are lavishly supported by Russia, and can thus be considered an extension of Russia.

    Not really “lavishly.” The total dollar value of Russian military support for the DLNR from 2014-2017, has probably been less than Kiev’s $6 billion defense budget in 2017 alone. Recent reporting from the DLNR front line indicates that Kiev’s forces are noticeably better-equipped.

    Russia has stated that it will provide whatever is necessary to keep the Ukrainian government out of Donbas.

    When did Putin promise he would militarily intervene to prevent Ukraine from retaking the DLNR? Given that he has stupidly insisted on maintaining the pretense that Russia has not even been arming the rebels, let alone sending troops to fight with them, I’d be surprised if he had made such a specific pledge to intervene directly in the future.

    It’s probably true that Putin would reluctantly intervene to prevent a total rebel defeat, even if that required him to do so in such a visible way, that he had to abandon Russian’s official stance of non-involvement. But it’s far from certain.

    Indeed, in past moments when Ukrainian forces were breaking through, Russian troops got involved in the conflict in sufficient force to repel the Ukrainians.

    It’s actually unclear whether Russian troops (who according to contemporaneous NATO estimates only numbered 1000-2000) were decisive in repelling the Ukrainians. Russia allegedly intervened at the end of August 2014. By early August, the “ATO” was starting to run out of steam, its big advances in the early summer having come at the cost of more than half of its tanks and other equipment. The separatists had halted Kiev’s advance from the north, and begun their own advance southward along the Russian border, in a counter-offensive towards Novoazovsk on the coast. It’s possible that they might still have encircled Kiev’s forces in Ilovaisk, and captured Novoazovsk, even without Russian reinforcements.

    And even if those reinforcements were essential, it still required the rebels to create the conditions where such a relatively small Russian force could make a difference, by holding their own against the far more powerful Ukrainian army.

    If Russia fully abandoned Donbas, it would be a different story.

    Well, if that happened of course the separatists would be quickly defeated, since they depend on Russia for resupply. Just like virtually every rebel army has depended on foreign support.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  384. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    From 2015 to 2016 Belarus’ nominal GDP per capita fell dropped by about $850, Ukraine’s rose by about $50.

    Most countries occasionally have recessions. But it’s not an achievement to simply have some positive GDP growth for a few years. And Ukraine’s GDP growth ever the next few years is likely to continue to be less than North Korea’s.

    1. Ukraine per capita GDP is $8,272, Nigeria’s $5,867. And Nigeria has a lot of oil.

    I meant nominal, not PPP-adjusted. And it’s not at all clear that Nigeria would be worse off with less oil (and hence a more diversified economy).

    But regardless of exactly how well Ukraine is doing relative to Nigeria, the point is that it is a very poor country, and needs to grow much faster if it is to make any significant progress in closing the large gap with Russia. Which is unlikely to happen as long as it chooses to remain estranged from Russia.

    2. How was Serbia improving during the Yugo wars?

    The Donbas conflict is not even close to being the primary reason for Ukraine’s economic failure. Also, it’s a war of choice that Ukraine could end at any time, by complying with the Minsk agreements, or simply agreeing to UN peacekeepers on the contact line without absurd conditions.

    • Replies: @AP
  385. AP says:
    @Beckow

    “You didn’t mention oil?”

    Oil is less than 10% of Russia’s economy and it didn’t tripled in price.

    Natural resources (oil, gas, minerals) are something like 30% of Russia’s economy.

    Although it’s a myth, popular among Russophobes, that Russia’s rise was solely due to natural resources, they did make a big difference.

    And oil more than tripled in price.

    In 1990 it was $23 a barrel, down to $16 in 1999, the year before Putin came to power. In 2013 it was $91. Currently its around $45

    Obviously, Russia managed the oil wealth well – it is not Venezuela. But oil played a large role.

    are you going to tell Norwegians that they are nothing, that it is all just the ‘oil

    I never said Russia is nothing, that it’s all oil.

    You have a habit of inventing things about other people.

    But Norway’s per capita GDP PPP is $59,000, Denmark’s and Sweden’s are only $49,000.

    You don’t think oil makes the difference?

    Romania under Causescu famously published bulls..t numbers about everything, those numbers were ‘political statements’ not based on data.

    You can use 1990 as a starting point then. Russia’s per capita GDP was 30% Russia’s.

    If you really believe that any part of Soviet Union had higher living standard than Poland in 1989, then you simply don’t know anything about the area.

    I personally was not in Poland in 1990, so I cannot compare. I point out the statistics for both Soviet times and immediate post-Soviet times and they show Poland and Ukraine about equal in both nominal and PPP per capita GDP, and Russia much higher than either of those two. You claim those stats are faked. Ok – do you have other evidence?

    Maybe from your constant harping about ‘Euro-asians’ and how horrible they are.

    I never said “Euro-Asians” are horrible, nor did I “harp” about them. Once again you invent things.

    I supported the choice of Ukraine’s people to join the European Union rather than the Eurasian Customs Union. It is called the Eurasian Customs Union, btw. For some reason you have the bizarre idea that the word “Eurasia” is a slur.

    • Replies: @Jon0815
  386. AP says:
    @Beckow

    No, it tells you that Ukraine is divided.

    So do you concede that you were completely wrong when you claimed there was no Polish influence beyond 20% Western Ukraine?

    You never mention the eastern-southern half of Ukraine that has never had any Polish presence. Half of modern Ukraine.

    Aha. And who settled this half? Mostly people from the Polish-part of Ukraine. But mixed with them were Russians. So the orientation is mixed.

    Also with Crimea and urban Donbas gone it’s now less than half.

    Half of Ukraine that wants to have nothing to do with Poland, or Western Ukrainian weird nationalists.

    You make yet another mistake. Half of Ukraine does not behave as does Crimea. If what you say were true, half of Ukraine would be gone too.

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=720&page=1

    Among southern Ukrainians, 37% prefer European orientation, 16% Eurasian orientation, 26% independent orientation, 20% unsure. Among Eastern Ukrainians – 30% Europe, 27% Eurasia, 32% independent, 12% unsure.

    Again, you make statements with no basis in reality.

    Zakarpatia – what is going on there? Was Yanukovitch’s wife from there? Or do they have old Russian border guards running it?

    First round. Yatseniuk and Yushchenko took a lot of votes in this region, splitting the pro-Western vote in the first round so Yanukovich got more votes than anyone else (he got 30%, vs. 26% Tymoshenko, 10% Yatseniuk, 6% Yushchenko, etc.) . But in the second round Yanukovich lost in Zakarpatia, Tymoshenko got 52%.

    Again, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    If you try to force them into a Western Ukrainian (‘Polish’) mold, Ukraine will not survive.

    Would you have been happy if the West were forced into the pro-Russian mold, by Ukraine’s ascension into the Eurasian Customs Union?

    Who is arguing against tolerance?

    • Replies: @Beckow
  387. AP says:
    @Jon0815

    Most countries occasionally have recessions. But it’s not an achievement to simply have some positive GDP growth for a few years. And Ukraine’s GDP growth ever the next few years is likely to continue to be less than North Korea’s.

    I don’t know what relevance North Korea has here. It has less than 1/3 of Ukraine’s per capita GDP and is on another continent.

    But regardless of exactly how well Ukraine is doing relative to Nigeria, the point is that it is a very poor country, and needs to grow much faster if it is to make any significant progress in closing the large gap with Russia.

    It was never close to Russia in the last 50+ years, I’m not sure closing the gap is a realistic expectation.

    How was Serbia improving during the Yugo wars?

    The Donbas conflict is not even close to being the primary reason for Ukraine’s economic failure.

    Donbas war and economic blockade with Russia go together, as did Yugo wars and sanctions by the West against Serbia.

    So despite war and despite, to put it mildly, trade problems with the largest neighbor, Ukraine still managed 2% growth in 2016, on track for 2% growth this year, and projected 3.5% growth next year.

    • Replies: @Jon0815
  388. Beckow says:
    @Jon0815

    “When did Putin promise he would militarily intervene to prevent Ukraine from retaking the DLNR?”

    I recall him saying that if Kiev overruns Donbas it would lead to potential genocide or mass expulsion. And that Russia would not allow it. So there is a backstop. Russian government could not stay in power if they let Donbas (or Crimea) go. This will go on.

    There is no obvious military solution and politically there isn’t much to negotiate: time for extensive autonomy has passed because there is no trust left. Full separation would be internationally awkward. They are stuck: each side is hoping the other side will collapse internally first. Not much chance of that, both are more robust than they seem. It could take decades. I think in the long-run whoever manages to create a better, more attractive economy will prevail. That is the reason why West is desperately trying to slow down Russia’s development. And vice-versa, Russia is doing all it can to economically hurt Ukraine. A classical village stand-off: ‘I hope my neighbour’s cow dies first’. This is not good for anyone.

  389. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    He doesn’t seem to really have any unfounded prejudices against any ethnicity, certainly not Russian. He does seem to see the Ukrainian and Russian nations in two different civilizational worlds, not unlike the author of this article:

    http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1970&context=ccr

    It’s a well written piece that might add a diffrrent point of view to the ones you’re used to reading. I may not agree with all of AP’s opinions, but I have to admit that he does his homework and comes well prepared to the discussion table.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @AP
  390. Jon0815 says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Oh, they’re there alright, just open up your eyes and see:

    There probably have been some Russian troops assisting the rebels in the past, but Ukraine’s estimates of their numbers have almost certainly been greatly exaggerated. If there are still any there now, they probably number at most in the hundreds, not 2000. In 2015, while Ukraine was ridiculously claiming 10,000 Russian troops in Donbas, NATO analysts estimated the real number at 250-1000 advisors. That’s a realistic figure for the average Russian troop level, with brief spikes up to perhaps the low thosands in August 2014 and February 2015, during the battles of Ilovaisk and Debaltseve. Quite possibly there have never been as many Russian troops in Donbas, as there are currently US troops illegally occupying parts of Syria (and Russia never conducted airstrikes on Ukrainian forces, as the US has repeatedly done to Syrian forces who got too close to its illegal bases on Syrian soil).

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  391. Mr. Hack says:
    @Jon0815

    No need to squabble over the number of Russian troops within Ukraine, there should be -0- as Herr Putler seems to realize (at least at some point):

    In an interview with French television channel TF1 and Radio Europe1, Russian president Vladimir Putin said: “There are no armed forces, no ‘Russian instructors’ in Ukraine—and there never were any.”[158]

    I see Jon0815, that in your case, the blind are leading the blind. :-)

  392. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    I don’t know what relevance North Korea has here. It has less than 1/3 of Ukraine’s per capita GDP and is on another continent.

    In 2016, NK had a nominal PCGDP of about $1300, or 60% of Ukraine’s. Both countries are impoverished. Whatever advantage in growth potential NK gains from being somewhat more so, is probably outweighed by the fact that it is a command economy governed by an insane personality cult, which spends something like 25% of GDP on its military and nuclear program, and of course is under UN sanctions. So it seems like Ukraine should at least be able to meet the benchmark of growing as fast as NK, but in 2016 NK grew twice as fast.

    It was never close to Russia in the last 50+ years, I’m not sure closing the gap is a realistic expectation.

    Well, I have more faith in the people of Ukraine than you do then. At the very least they should be able to return to the 50% of Russia’s PCGDP they had in 1991.

    So despite war and despite, to put it mildly, trade problems with the largest neighbor, Ukraine still managed 2% growth in 2016, on track for 2% growth this year, and projected 3.5% growth next year.

    I doubt they will reach 3,5% next year, but even if they do, that would still not be very impressive. Yanukovych’s best yearly performance was 5.6%.

    • Replies: @AP
  393. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    I supported the choice of Ukraine’s people to join the European Union rather than the Eurasian Customs Union.

    It would be more accurate to say their choice to sign an association agreement with the EU, rather than receive a $15 billion bailout from Russia: EU membership is not an option anytime in the foreseeable future, and Yanukovich had not actually committed Ukraine to joining the Eurasian Economic Union, just indefinitely suspended the association agreement.

    Also, Ukraine would not technically need to join the EEU to have customs-free trade with Russia: It could always have an arrangement similar to what Norway has with the EU.

  394. Jon0815 says:

    No need to squabble over the number of Russian troops within Ukraine, there should be -0- as Herr Putler seems to realize (at least at some point):

    The DLNR aren’t Ukraine.

  395. @Beckow

    Zakarpatia – what is going on there? Was Yanukovitch’s wife from there? Or do they have old Russian border guards running it? The ultimate West of Ukraine, and they voted Yanukovitch.

    They had a referendum in 91. According to wikipedia:

    The vast majority taking part in the referendum voted for the “Independence of Ukraine” (90.13%), and accession of Transcarpathia to Ukraine with the status of a “Special self-governing territory” (78%). There should be noted the high turnout at the referendums (700 555 thousand).

    Summarily ignored, obviously.

    The region is extremely diverse, ethnically. No demand for unitary mono-ethnic Ukro-nation whatsoever.

    Also, (anecdotally) it has (or had? not sure) very tight economic connection with the east: their smugglers’ mafia (possibly the main source of income in the region; HQ in Mukachevo) had been functioning in tandem with the eastern brunch located in Lugansk.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  396. Beckow says:
    @AP

    You are a master in cherry-picking. What you present is not a complete and objective picture of Ukraine. You consistently over-state the ‘Western’ or ‘Polish’ part of Ukraine, under-state the eastern Russian part, play with communist era numbers to ‘prove’ that Poland was worse off than Russia already in 1990, try to talk down Russia’s GNP growth, ignore the role $500 billion in EU aid to Poland and allowing 3 million migrants played in rising Polish economy, etc.. You play with small numbers and go back to silly ‘mid-18th. century Polish feudalism’. Yes, only about 20% in Western Ukraine has a strong Polish link, and most of them actually resent and dislike Poland – after all Poland was the feudal overlord, there were massacres, suppression of Ukrainian language, church, etc…

    (By the way, I know all about Zakarpatia, you didn’t get a joke?)

    You did say earlier that Ukraine saved itself and escaped the ‘Euro-Asian’ misery. So for you now to argue that you are somehow not biased against ‘Euro-Asia’ is disingenuous. You need to get over it, people are equal, Russians in Ukraine are a large minority with legitimate interests. You are seriously quoting ‘polls’ about how they are not all that pro-Russia. These ‘polls’ are done in the middle of a civil war, with Kiev security forces sitting on top of them, literally killing dissenters and persecuting any ‘pro-Russian’ sentiment, and you want us to take that seriously?

    Get over the low-level bias that you have, treat all people living in Ukraine as equal, stop making up stories that are false on their face, and admit that Maidan has made some catastrophic mistakes that are going to hurt Ukranians for a long time. This is just a short list of those mistakes:
    - jumping the gun on preventing a democratic transfer and real elections in February 2014 when Yanukovitch was definitely on his way out
    - trying to ban Russian language as an official language (1 week after Maidan)
    - Odessa massacre
    - attacking Donbas with artillery and bombing
    - talking endlessly about joining Nato
    - stupidly cutting off Ukraine’s trade with Russia (yes, they did, you can’t yell at your customers, call them names and then insist that you still want to ‘trade’ with them)

    But the biggest mistake that Maidan made was to over-promise: ‘we are joining EU’, ‘we are going West’. Well, the door is shut, there will no EU, and now there is no Russian link either. As I said above, Ukraine has become an expensive orphan living in a no-man land. That will hurt, just wait a few years until the consequences fully play out.

    • Replies: @AP
  397. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    “to see the Ukrainian and Russian nations in two different civilizational worlds”

    Interesting article, with an ‘agenda’ to create division where there is historically continuity. ‘Civilizations’ seldom separate with sharp boundaries, so to discover that there are ‘two’ where most people see one, is not a distinction that can be resolved. It depends on how a ‘civilization world’ is defined.

    I have an issue with the pre-history assumption in the article. I think ‘Slavs’ as a large tribal group have lived in Central-Eastern Europe – from Danube to Elbe to Dnieper continuously as farmers since the end of the last Ice Age. It is not conceivable that a large group of tribes, speaking a similar Slavic IE language, emerged from Oder-Visla region, or even bizarrely, from the ‘Pripiet marshes’, and settled within 200 years half of Europe. I believe that Slavs are autochthonous to the area and that only the names have changed over time as a different military, nomadic or religious group formed its elite and interacted with the Mediterranean world. Recent genetic data has validated this theory.

    My issue with people like AP, or possibly you, is that they tend to present a good-bad one-sided narrative. In general that view dismisses and even demonises anything ‘eastern’, and tries to brown-nose and please anything western. It is actually often most pronounced among those whose families originated there – a bit of self-hatred, or a desire to be liked by the West. It is not realistic, it ends up lying about history and reality, it cherry-picks small ‘facts’.

    What makes it so weird is that these are the same people who endlessly preach about ‘equality, EU values, rights of minorities’, but the moment anything ‘East European’, especially Russian, comes up, they abandon the ‘European’ principles and busily proceed in the most tribal, almost hateful way to argue for their side.

    So Tatars in Crimea (13% of population) have all the rights in the world, but Russians in Ukraine, or Latvia, have none. This is not sustainable, it makes people saying it – often high level EU politicians and media types – into hopeless hypocrites with no credibility. Politics based on ‘revenge’ is not democratic and has no ‘values’. And that could eventually lead to a fatal confrontation that we will all regret. If anything is left.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  398. Beckow says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    If Zakarpatia was allowed it would have a referendum on joining Hungary and/or Slovakia, and would join EU that way. They are not Ukrainian nationalists, but they want to go ‘west’.

    Yanukovitch and his ‘Party of the Regions’ represented the non-nationalist half of Ukraine (mostly Russian, but also Zakarpatia and other regions that have their own distinctive culture). He was not – and never could be – a ‘Pro-Russian nationalist’. He was simply not an obsessive Mono-Ukrainian as the people who organised Maidan.

    Interesting thing is that in general the West, and EU, supports the anti-nationalist forces. Today they hate Poland and Hungary because of their ‘nationalism’. But in Ukraine, EU openly and enthusiastically sided with the Ukrainian nationalist forces. This shows us that the celebrated EU ‘values and principles’ are a convenient lie. Beneath is not much more than old-fashioned tribal politics. And that is a hypocrisy so massive that one wonders how EU can in the long-run survive it. We have seen it again and again, from Kosovo to Crimea to Catalonia the real message from EU is ‘we have no values, just those we like and those we dislike’.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  399. @Beckow

    If Zakarpatia was allowed it would have a referendum on joining Hungary and/or Slovakia, and would join EU that way. They are not Ukrainian nationalists, but they want to go ‘west’.

    I doubt it. They seem much more aligned with Ukraine and Russia (the horrible Euro-Asian civilization) than with the West. Culturally, that is. Just the impression I have. Self-governing autonomy integrated with Ukraine (not the current crazy ‘Ukraine’, obviously) would be perfect for them.

    Yanukovitch and his ‘Party of the Regions’ represented the non-nationalist half of Ukraine (mostly Russian, but also Zakarpatia and other regions that have their own distinctive culture). He was not – and never could be – a ‘Pro-Russian nationalist’. He was simply not an obsessive Mono-Ukrainian as the people who organised Maidan.

    Yes, I agree. To be fair, the western narrative doesn’t label him “pro-Russian nationalist“, just “pro-Russian”. But that’s because to them anyone who isn’t openly russophobic is “pro-Russian”.

    the real message from EU is ‘we have no values, just those we like and those we dislike’.

    Not like/dislike. Western elites are pragmatic, rational, strategic. Whatever they feel is to their advantage they declare to be ‘right’, ‘good’, ‘moral’. Whatever is deemed to be to their disadvantage is ‘evil’. First, strategic imperialist thinking, and then the usual bullshit, propaganda, to justify the chosen strategy.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  400. Beckow says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    “not “pro-Russian nationalist“, just “pro-Russian”

    True, but that distinction is lost in the Western media. An ‘enemy’ is qualified with any adjective or descriptor, the real state be damned. It seems on an auto pilot.

    “Western elites are pragmatic, rational, strategic”

    Are they? They used to be and there is some rationality left. But with things not going their way, and with self-centered, ignorant career types taking over all institutions, we are seeing more emotional and badly thought-out behaviour, impatience and shallowness.

    Zakarpatians would abandon Ukraine if they could be in EU. Once it becomes clear that all of Ukraine will not be allowed in EU, this will become more of an issue. They have cultural links to the Ukrainian-Russian world, but the dream is too strong. We will see, but Kiev better get its act together or Ukraine could be be a truncated stump in more ways than one.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  401. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    Interesting article, with an ‘agenda’ to create division where there is historically continuity. ‘Civilizations’ seldom separate with sharp boundaries, so to discover that there are ‘two’ where most people see one, is not a distinction that can be resolved. It depends on how a ‘civilization world’ is defined.

    The problem that I see both you and AP have reached is that you’re not appreciating the other’s point of view, and are just talking past one another. You both make some good and valid points. ‘Ukraine’has not earned its reputation as a ‘borderland’ country for no apparent reason. Ukraine has indeed, at various times been a part of two worlds. The Polish or Western (Austrian) one, even and including Kyiv as AP points out, and also the Russian Empire, where many Ukrainians were instrumental and diligent in helping to create this empire. Ukraine could have been a part of either of these worlds, but because of Russia’s brutish and insensitive moves against Ukraine’ sovereignty, the die has now been cast towards its European aspirations. It may prove to be true that Europe’s abilities to extend full membership to Ukraine will be an empty unfulfilled dream. Personally, I think that a neutral Ukraine, remaining in a borderland buffer position, may prove to be the best and most realistic position for it to assume. In any case, I think that Pavel, a Ukrainian citizen has summed up what Ukraine’s EU aspirations might consist of:

    Ukraine may become rather like Poland, in a sense that she’s, just like Poland, not going to become a slave to Brussels, at the same time keeping a healthy distance from the aggressor from the east. What many Russians, it seems, fail to understand that when a slave frees herself from one master, it does not mean that she’s going to be enslaved by another. No. The former slave becomes free and joins a free association of other free entities, each of which are interconnected and, to a various degree, interdependent, but nevertheless free. Like free people in free society.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  402. AP says:
    @Jon0815

    In 2016, NK had a nominal PCGDP of about $1300, or 60% of Ukraine’s.

    UN says nominal per capita GDP of $683:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita

    Here is a claim for $1,013:

    https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2016/09/29/North-Korea-per-capita-GDP-rises-above-1000-think-tank-says/3151475161041/

    Again, Ukraine is in a totally different part of the world with very different circumstances, so little relevance.

    Well, I have more faith in the people of Ukraine than you do then. At the very least they should be able to return to the 50% of Russia’s PCGDP they had in 1991.

    In 1991 oil was at $25 a barrel. Currently it is at $45. Perhaps if it goes down to and stays at $25 Ukraine will be capable of getting back to 50% of Russia’s per capita GDP.

    I doubt they will reach 3,5% next year, but even if they do, that would still not be very impressive. Yanukovych’s best yearly performance was 5.6%.

    And under Yushchenko it was 7.9%. Neither one was weaning Ukraine off Russian dependence.

  403. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Great catch, great article.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  404. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Yes, only about 20% in Western Ukraine has a strong Polish link

    Utterly disproven in my previous post:

    https://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-crooks-the-clowns-and-the-nazis-a-dynamic-analysis/#comment-2064955

    Repeating something that is false, doesn’t make it true.

    play with communist era numbers to ‘prove’ that Poland was worse off than Russia already in 1990,

    I operate with the evidence I have, and provided.

    I asked you to provide other evidence to provide a clearer picture. you refused to do so. Why?

    You have a pattern of repeating falsehoods and making many mistakes, so when you make a claim, please provide evidence for it.

    You did say earlier that Ukraine saved itself and escaped the ‘Euro-Asian’ misery.

    Misery? I said more Ukrainians preferred EU orientation vs. Eurasian orientation, and the Maidan made sure that they got what they wanted. People should get what they want, right? It is democracy. “Misery” is another example of you making things up.

    You are seriously quoting ‘polls’ about how they are not all that pro-Russia. These ‘polls’ are done in the middle of a civil war, with Kiev security forces sitting on top of them, literally killing dissenters and persecuting any ‘pro-Russian’ sentiment, and you want us to take that seriously?

    A convenient excuse to dismiss evidence that you don’t like. You could visit there and ask people. I’ve been to Ukraine this summer, I didn’t visit the South but I’ve spoken to people from southern Ukraine. Somehow their attitude matches poll numbers. Somehow poll numbers match election patterns. Somehow southern Ukrainians, unlike people in Crimea or Donbas, refused to rebel against Kiev. There must be real mysteries to you, but are obvious evidence for objective observers.

    stop making up stories that are false on their face

    Provide one example of a made up story. You are the one who makes up stories. See above.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Beckow
  405. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Trust me I appreciate all rational viewpoints, But discussion consists of challenging other ideas, not in reinforcing them – as modern Western media seems to believe with their ‘truth checking’ and intolerance for dissent.

    I agree that best option for Ukraine would be a neutral status, but Maidan has made that impossible. You keep on over-looking the explicit ‘we will be in Nato’ program of the Maidan leadership. You also over-look the ugly ‘anti-Russian’ emotions that were driving Maidan.

    All of that preceded what you refer to as:

    “Russia’s brutish and insensitive moves against Ukraine’ sovereignty, the die has now been cast towards its European aspirations”

    Well, no, obviously not, the timing was different. Even if one would accept the ‘brutish move against sovereignty‘ (and I don’t), Maidan happened before this alleged ‘move’. You can’t reverse calendar, the mass demonstrations for EU and against Russia, and the loudly announced plan that ‘Ukraine will be in Nato’ happened first. Crimea and Donbas happened later.

    That shows that the division in the society predated Maidan. And that the Russian half (or so) of Ukraine was never treated as equal by either Western Ukrainians or the West itself.

    You can’t undo Maidan (or Crimea, Odessa, Donbas). So Ukraine will have to live with the consequences. Trying to close one’s eyes to it, to the fact that there will be no EU, and also no Russia trade or assistance, and that Crimea is gone, and that the huge debts will have to be paid back, who does that help? Russia took what it had to – Crimea couldn’t be a headquarter of their Navy also simultaneously in Nato. So they in effect won.

  406. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    I thought that you would enjoy reading it. I was looking for an opportune time to present it. :-)

  407. @Beckow

    Zakarpatians would abandon Ukraine if they could be in EU. Once it becomes clear that all of Ukraine will not be allowed in EU, this will become more of an issue.

    Well, all of them (all those who want, anyway) already have EU passports.

    What they do want (anecdotally) is better roads, end of barbaric deforestation of the mountains, which is pretty much destroying the region. Schools and town government using local languages, as they always did, including the Soviet times. That sort of thing.

    I think they also understand (much better people in Kiev) that being in the EU would have serious disadvantages.

    • Replies: @AP
  408. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    I believe you menti0ned having been to Zakarpattia.

    Your writing about it is actually generally accurate. If you had visited Lviv or Kiev too, perhaps your writings about the rest of Ukraine (such as the disconnect between the language spoken by the people and the “official” language) would not be so nonsensical.

    Also, (anecdotally) it has (or had? not sure) very tight economic connection with the east: their smugglers’ mafia (possibly the main source of income in the region; HQ in Mukachevo) had been functioning in tandem with the eastern brunch located in Lugansk

    A lot of Ukrainian mafias are tied with eastern Ukraine, because this was Ukraine’s crime region. Anecdotally there were complaints in Kiev that when Yanukovich came to power there were more Donbas goons running around shaking down local businesses.

    Politically, however, what sets Zakarpatiya apart from Galicia on the other side of the mountains is that it resembles central Ukraine. Galicia is “western” in that is dominated by generally grassroots or normal, principle-based political parties, rather than oligarch-centered ones controlled by people like Poroshenko, or Tymoshenko, or Kolomoyski (who funds and controls Lyashko’s Radicals and the Okrop party).

    Zakarpattiya is like central Ukraine in that it has a local oligarch in charge – Viktor Baloha. His son is Mukachevo’s mayor, one brother was in Ukraine’s parliament, another brother was head of the regional council. Baloha was a Yushchenko ally, but cut a deal with Yanukovich and worked in his government when Yanukovich became Ukraine’s boss, then dropped him – rather like Poroshenko.

    The region is generally pro-Ukrainian, but mildly so – like Cherkassy, rather than like Lviv or Ivano-Frankivsk. Baloha at times flirts with local separatism but only 1% or so of the locals have declared themselves to be of Rusyn nationality.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  409. Mr. Hack says:

    I think they also understand (much better people in Kiev) that being in the EU would have serious disadvantages.

    It sounds like you’re projecting your own point of view here. What proof can you show for making a statement like this?

  410. Beckow says:
    @AP

    I like a good discussion, but it is hard to argue with someone who insists on denying the obvious. Like e.g. that communist exchange rates were not ‘market’, so they are useless for comparisons. Or that polling people in a civil war situation has its limits. Or that only a minority of Ukraine in the West (15-20-25%?) has a strong historical link to Poland. And a substantially larger part in the east and south has a strong link to Russia. You insist on cherry-picking facts, but also blatantly ignore what doesn’t fit your narrative.

    “People should get what they want, right?”

    Yes, they should. Ukrainians will not get EU. They will get isolation from both sides and lots of useless slogans from their Western friends. If that’s what they wanted (or a ‘plurality’ of them), that’s what they will get.

    • Replies: @AP
  411. Beckow says:
    @AP

    “only 1% or so of the locals have declared themselves to be of Rusyn nationality”

    True, their identity is fluid, alternating between Ukrainian, Rusyn, etc… What is interesting is that a large percentage who cross to Slovakia, Czech R or Hungary (to live, get EU passports), claim Rusyn nationality, or Czech, Slovak, Hungarian heritage. That helps to move to EU, so they discovered it in their past. (Past and family histories are complex in this part of the world.)

    What I have also noticed is that almost none of them supports Maidan or the current Kiev government.

  412. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Like e.g. that communist exchange rates were not ‘market’, so they are useless for comparisons.

    So provide another source of data, please.

    Or that polling people in a civil war situation has its limits.

    Your words: “Half of Ukraine that wants to have nothing to do with Poland, or Western Ukrainian weird nationalists.”

    This roughly describes Crimea. You claim that half of Ukraine is like Crimea.

    Guess what? Prior to the war in Ukraine, Avakov (the interior minister), running on Tymoshenko’s party, got about half of the vote in Kharkiv’s mayoral election. He lost by .63%

    Before the war, pro-Western parties got about 1/3 of the vote in Odessa oblast in the 2012 election.

    Karlin posted pro and anti-Maidan vkonakte. This was before the war. This tells you how young people felt. Guess what? It was evenly divided in Odessa and Kharkiv.

    There was no mass anti-Kiev uprising in Odessa or Kharkiv. Whaty does that tell you?

    Naturally, when the other country grabs territory it will have a negative effect on opinion towards that other country.

    So the polls that you pretend are wrong, merely corroborate various other data.

    Or that only a minority of Ukraine in the West (15-20-25%?) has a strong historical link to Poland.

    Sorry, but it is clear that you know as little about history as you do about anything else Ukraine-related.

    Reread this before discrediting yourself further:

    https://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-crooks-the-clowns-and-the-nazis-a-dynamic-analysis/#comment-2064955

    And a substantially larger part in the east and south has a strong link to Russia

    Smaller part, and smaller still now that Crimea and urban Donbas are gone.

    Yes, they should. Ukrainians will not get EU. They will get isolation from both sides and lots of useless slogans from their Western friends

    Ukrainians now have visa-free travel to the EU. Is that isolation?

    • Replies: @Beckow
  413. Beckow says:
    @AP

    You can also find substantial percentages in the West who voted for pro-Russian parties and Yanukovitch. Ukraine has been divided roughly 50-50 at least since 2004. That has not changed. Even if you subtract Crimea and Donbas, the Russian friendly voters are still 35-40%.

    My point is that ‘we will join Nato’ and anti-Russian demonstrations preceded Russia action in Crimea. You cannot reverse the calendar. When you try to confuse people and pretend that A followed B, not vice-versa, you betray your biases. Maidan was anti-Russian and pro-Nato before any ‘sovereignity’ violation. So what are you arguing, that Maidanistas were preventively hating and trying to join Nato? It makes no sense.

    “Ukrainians now have visa-free travel to the EU. Is that isolation?”

    It is more like an escape hatch. But if the point of Maidan was to get visa-free travel to EU, then how does it differ from just a desperate desire to emigrate and live in EU? How does that make Ukraine better? I have always suspected that energy behind Maidan was the desire to be allowed to emigrate to EU. Basically, Nato wanted Crimea and Maidanistas wanted visa-free so they can leave Ukraine. Quite a revolution.

    The problem is that visa-free is not allowing Ukrainians to live, work, study in EU. It just allows them to visit as tourists. Of course they will stay and work illegally and that will create a backlash – EU is not looking for more migrants. By the way, both Yushenko and Yanukovitch desperately tried to get visa-free access to EU and were turned down. On this topic, all Ukrainians are united. One wonders why and what that says about the future of Ukraine.

    • Replies: @AP
  414. AP says:
    @Beckow

    You can also find substantial percentages in the West who voted for pro-Russian parties and Yanukovitch. Ukraine has been divided roughly 50-50 at least since 2004.

    Correct. For example about 1/5 of Kiev voted for pro-Russian parties. Which is why it would be absurd to say “half of Ukraine wants nothing to do with Russia” when speaking of territorial regions. This is only true of Galicia and Volhynia.

    The rality is that about 20% of Ukraine wanted nothing to do with Russia, 20% wanted nothing to do with the West, and the rest was somewhere in between. Ukraine was stuck between both worlds, moving nowhere. Now the 20% of Ukraine that wanted nothing to do with the West is mostly gone. This is good for Ukraine’s stability.

    Even if you subtract Crimea and Donbas, the Russian friendly voters are still 35-40%.

    More like 30%-35%.

    I know that you pretend that no polls in Ukraine are valid, but keep in mind that Russia has turned some people against her, in Ukraine.

    My point is that ‘we will join Nato’ and anti-Russian demonstrations preceded Russia action in Crimea. You cannot reverse the calendar.

    Crimea action was planned well in advance and because a turn to the West after the revolution was inevitable, action to secure the region would have been taken despite any NATO demonstrations.

    Ukrainians now have visa-free travel to the EU. Is that isolation?”

    It is more like an escape hatch.

    This is not mutually exclusive with the idea of lack of isolation.

    Ukrainians can now visit the EU without a visa, before they couldn’t. That’s not isolation.

    But if the point of Maidan was to get visa-free travel to EU, then how does it differ from just a desperate desire to emigrate and live in EU?

    That was not the point, but it is a very nice bonus. In 2016 exports to the EU increased 3.7%.

    The problem is that visa-free is not allowing Ukrainians to live, work, study in EU. It just allows them to visit as tourists. Of course they will stay and work illegally and that will create a backlash – EU is not looking for more migrants

    They work illegally. DO Europeans prefer their Muslims over the Ukrainians?

    • Replies: @Beckow
  415. Beckow says:
    @AP

    “Crimea action was planned well in advance”

    These contingent plans are done by all countries, that’s what militaries do. Are you seriously justifying Maidan’s slogans ‘we will be in Nato’ and ‘Russians out’, with what happened afterwards? Or with the lame excuse of ‘they were planning it’, so we preventively decided to stage a revolution to be in Nato. Do you understand how explosive and dangerous the crazy plan to get Ukraine into Nato and get Russians out of their bases in Crimea was? This was borderline insane and could had started a nuclear war. The sequence was indisputable: first Maidan, then Crimea (and Donbas). You can’t wiggle out of this one.

    I was talking about Ukraine’s economic isolation, not tourism. As of today, Ukraine is isolated from all major trading blocks; they are more or less banned from selling to Russia, and the EU Association trade is limited and unfavourable to Ukraine. That is isolation and it is reflected in the numbers on Ukraine’s economy. Their GNP is substantially smaller than it was in 2013, and even with 3% growth per year it will take at least a decade to get back to 2013 level.

    “DO Europeans prefer their Muslims over the Ukrainians?”

    Unfortunately, most Western Europeans do prefer Muslims or Africans to Ukrainians. They are deep into the ‘white privilege guilt’ and in general don’t like Eastern Europeans. This is maybe something you and I would agree on, the EU has gone nuts. It is even possible that Merkel and Co. will try to push some of the Third World migrants to Ukraine, they are desperately trying to offload some on Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary. Ukraine is probably next. There is also a factor that most Russia-haters don’t understand well: most eastern Europeans are in Western minds linked with Russia, so more Russia hatred there is – and there is a lot right now – more it also rubs off on the other easterners. In other words, Ukrainians might as well be Russians as far as most Westerners are concerned.

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