How to stop Putin

March 21st, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Fred Kaplan writes at Slate:

And so the main goal of the United States, the EU, and NATO should be to deter and dissuade Putin from moving his troops deeper into . There are two ways to do this, seemingly contradictory but actually (if well-managed) complementary. First, ratchet up the penalties. Second, leave room for diplomacy.

Crimea is gone and done, but the key is now to stop Putin there.

The penalties should include—right now—stepping up military deployments to the NATO allies, especially to Poland and the Baltic nations, which were once tied to the Soviet Union. Another: Draw up plans for containing and countering Russian troops in the event of an incursion into Ukraine—not sending U.S. or NATO troops, but shipping arms, maybe some advisers and black-bag Delta forces—and talk about these plans with the allies, and Ukrainian officials, on open phone lines. Putin surely knows the limits of his army. The ground forces in that sector of Russia could invade Ukraine, but they lack the resources and logistical lines to sustain an occupation for very long, especially in the event of even slight resistance. We have to make him realize we know these limitations, too.

Putin has won a tactical victory with the annexation of Crimea, but he has made a strategic blunder as all his neighbours are turning against him, and his dream of a Eurasian Union will die.

Finally, plans should be drawn up to flood Ukraine with Western money. Putin knows that the Warsaw Pact nations that joined the EU are much better off than those that didn’t. Freedman points out that, in 1990, just before the implosion of the Soviet Union, Poland’s GDP amounted to $64.5 billion, while Ukraine’s was a bit better at $90.2 billion. In 2012 Poland’s had skyrocketed to $489.9 billion, while Ukraine’s was much worse at $176.3 billion. Make plans to turn Ukraine into another showcase—another way of demonstrating to Russia’s thinning gang of allies that they’ve chosen the wrong side.

Shows the benefits of capitalism and trade.

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98 Responses to “How to stop Putin”

  1. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    authoritarianism
    so close to Marxism
    and just a step past Conservatism

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  2. tas (649 comments) says:

    The west’s challenge is to not look impotent in the face of Russian aggression. So far the west is all talk and no action.

    The problem is that Ukraine has lots of problems – financial, political, and social – that the west doesn’t want to deal with. Is the west really willing to throw tens of billions at a country where much of that will be pocketed by officials?

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  3. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    Here’s an item from the Irish Times. Back in 1990 the west promised not to push NATO eastward. That EU deal also included Ukraine aligning its forces with Nato’s.

    Russia is right to push back.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/if-we-have-to-pick-a-side-over-crimea-let-it-be-russia-1.1731105?page=2

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  4. EAD (1,331 comments) says:

    Why do we want to “stop Putin”? Russia has acted calmly and reasonably in protecting her legitimate interests in the Crimea, historically part of Russia with a majority Russian population and home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

    The real cause of the problem is the EU’s reckless imperialism in attempting what amounted to the political and economic takeover of the Ukraine, which any fool could see is a vital Russian sphere of interest.

    From 1917-90, Russia was in the grip of a ruthless and pitiless ideology, enforced by ruthless and pitiless men, whose only service to humanity was to help defeat an even more evil, ruthless and pitiless ideology during the years 1941-5.

    When Russia came blinking into the modern world, the West colluded with the asset stripping of Russia’s natural resources, and indulged Boris Yeltsin because it suited them. When Putin arrived, and began to organise matters on a more pro-Russian basis, the west took umbrage, and has been trying to punish him for his temerity since.

    Yes he may be “authoritarian”, but with such a dysfunctional, ravaged and corrupt country that had just defaulted and experienced a hyperinflation in 1998, somebody was required to pull the once proud Russia from its knees and the results have been impressive – under his presidency wages have tripled, unemployment has halved, GDP has grown by 72% and taxes have fallen to a flat income tax of 13% with practically zero government debt. Compare that with Obama’s America – 50million+ on foodstamps, $18 trillion in debt, $1 trillion+ annual deficits, multi hundred billion pound trade deficits and interest rates being held to zerobound to stop the country going bankrupt.

    Exactly what money is the West going to flooding the Ukraine with?

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  5. redqueen (583 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t trust the Russians, but I wouldn’t trust the gang currently running amuck in the rest of Ukraine either. This analysis is flawed in three, reasonably simple, ways:

    1) the West has no real reason to do anything (who actually cares about Ukraine, beyond feining moral superiority over evil Russian aggression?);
    2) the assumption that Russian Army logistics ‘lack the resources and logistical lines to sustain an occupation for very long, especially in the event of even slight resistance’ is total fantasy. The Russians could easily support and supply an invasion and occupation force up to the Dnieper, and even past it, with reasonable ease. NATO would have a harder time moving supplies to Ukraine, by comparison; and
    3) Any money sent to Ukraine will be pilfered by the criminals now occupying the title of ‘government’. We’re talking about a fundamentally corrupted society here, not a nation of nice, caring, social democrats who are all wishing to embrace the European ideals of…wait a second, they could probably teach Brussels a thing or two about screwing everyone else even more…but very seriously, this isn’t a ‘let’s help them’ thing, this is a massive, decadal, project.

    So to recap: the West has no real care, the Russians are capable of using real force, and we’d have to spend billions and decades to ‘fix’ Ukraine. I seriously doubt any hard decisions will be made…outside of the Kremlin.

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  6. cha (4,084 comments) says:

    Here’s the nuclear threat.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/russia-warns-west-it-may-change-its-stance-iran

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  7. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    red queen

    I don’t trust the bastards in the White House ,Downing Street or Brussels either. And nor do very large sections sections of their electorates.

    In the last five days 5000 illegal immigrants ,mainly Muslims ,have been intercepted heading to Europe.And European leaders are sanctioning the Russians for righting a Soviet era decision!

    The Russians are right not to trust the west.The Cyprus bank bailout was intended as a German punishment of the Russians.

    http://www.dw.de/russias-rich-dominate-cyprus-largest-bank/a-17146540

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  8. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    Yes as others have said it’s quite obvious this is not Russian aggression in any way. The power of western propaganda seems to have a completely blinding effect on some.

    Here’s an interesting possibility that may or may not be true but establishing that is not why I post it, but merely to give you something to watch for as this develops – that the Ukrainian military might not be with the US-installed Kiev satraps, which rings true doesn’t it. I mean if it is as some of us think – a US coup that’s going wrong by the day – then why the heck would the Ukrainian military want to support such a govt. OTOH if it really was the people fighting for democwacy, then you’d expect the Ukraine military to be with them in Kiev.

    Just a thought to bear in mind, wait and see how it plays out.

    http://usawatchdog.com/collapse-and-systemic-failure-at-all-levels-coming-to-us-dmitry-orlov/

    Here’s the nuclear threat.

    That’s not a threat, that’s Russia refusing the play the wests game with Iran because of what its doing to her in Ukraine, and on a zero-consequence basis, since Iran has no intention of being aggressive and never has had, unlike Israel, which does it all the time.

    But once again, black-is-white to those people completely blinded by western propaganda.

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  9. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    You mean Putin challenged the oligarchs

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  10. Huevon (223 comments) says:

    Putin dreams of a Eurasian Union? Read it first here on Kiwiblog!

    I don’t know who to believe in this whole debacle. The English-speaking media swings between missinformation and propaganda. The Russians are just talking smack. Obama looks out-of-his-death, if we didn’t know that already. And the EU “leaders”, seriously??

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  11. dave_c_ (226 comments) says:

    And the best way to stop the west (USA et al) invading countries who hold no threat against them is …………
    What utter hypocrisy those who rail against Putin demonstrate

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  12. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    It was just another one of Obama’s spring things which never deliver democratic Governments, you’ld think the bozos in the American State department would have figured that by now.

    But this one was in Russia’s backyard and the wet dream of the bozos in the State Department was that one of the things it deliver was denial of Russia’s access to the Black sea.

    And Putin who is way smarter than the entire Obama administration combined killed that fantasy in a matter of days.

    The thing Americans don’t get is that not everybody wants to be an American

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  13. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    Further on the Iran angle, this could be why Russia has been prompted to issue that statement:

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.580701

    China and Russia have always been against the west’s Iran policy because they know it’s a manufactured threat by Israel – always has been.

    you’ld think the bozos in the American State department would have figured that by now.

    It’s the neocons who are doing this Andrei, State don’t make policy, they carry it out. And the neocons are fanatics, just like their fellow travellers in their homeland are.

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  14. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Of course when you hear Americans go on that this is about freedom and democracy™ you can just laugh in their faces – the Government they engineered the overthrow of was democratically elected for all it sins whereas the one they recognize now consists of those Deputies allowed to enter the Rada by the armed men with Nazi sympathies who actually control the streets of Keiv

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  15. cha (4,084 comments) says:

    Tax and spend.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling on billionaires to pay taxes amid fears that a new wave of Western sanctions against the country over the annexation of Crimea may hit businessmen.

    At a meeting Thursday with Russia’s richest men in Moscow, Putin said businesses “ought to register on Russian territory and pay taxes in our motherland.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101510510

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  16. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Occupation Costs resources.

    The result is destruction of economic value for both the occupied and the occupier.

    Connectivity means it is impossible to misdirect the public as to the living standards inherent in its choice of Philosophy of Economics. Political System Or Geo Political alignment.The power of the connected public has been growing exponentially since the wall in Berlin.

    The annex of more terrorists covertly or overtly by invasion may be a gain short-term. it introduces more diversity and more dissatisfied connections. more chance of unrest resistance and revolution . As well as economic costs.

    China is going to be interesting.
    The middle class is a rapidly growing Gremlin on its back.
    Gravity the atmospheric limits of economic growth and insufficient integrity in the enveloping political system will result in a very unhappy Gremlin on getting its first introduction to full reality of economic gravity and boom / bust cycles.

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  17. Nigel Kearney (1,051 comments) says:

    I don’t know the answer but I certainly would not like to be a Ukrainian citizen right now. On one side they have a totalitarian behemoth that is hell bent on restoring the Soviet Union in all but name, and on the other side are the Russians.

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  18. cha (4,084 comments) says:

    a manufactured threat by Israel – always has been.

    Juice, the real enemy.
    //

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.580701

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  19. Jack5 (5,167 comments) says:

    Russia’s Putin:

    …has made a strategic blunder as all his neighbours are turning against him…

    Has China turned against Putin? I though it abstained in the Security Council vote.

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  20. Paulus (2,672 comments) says:

    Putin agreed to the Crimea move a while ago but waited until the Sochi games were over.
    In addition he is doing what he can whilst the USA has a lame duck President – who is more wimpish than ever.

    Wait until soon Chechnya, backed by Saudi Arabia, says it wants to secede from Russia.

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  21. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    “…..Exactly what money is the West going to flooding the Ukraine with?…”

    Exactly as per usual…………..YOURS! :cool:

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  22. thePeoplesFlag (257 comments) says:

    Does Fred Kaplan actually want to provoke a war with a nuclear armed Russia? It is fucking terrifying that he might represent the thinking of the Washington establishment. What is it with the American desire for reckless adventurism in other people’s sphere of interest? What part “never again” to losing 25 million people to an unprovoked attack from the west does Fred Kaplan not understand? The whole purpose of the Ukraine (and Belarus) is to act as a buffer state between Russia and the West. As it is, the Atlantic powers reneged on the tacit agreement that in return for allowing Germany to reunify it would not extend it’s military power eastward.

    Russia will not allow a pro-western NATO client state to exist in the Ukraine. The ignorance that Kaplan displays as to the violence of Russia’s reaction to any attempt to turn the Ukraine into such a NATO client state is deeply, deeply alarming because it indicates the Washington establishment has learnt nothing from it’s humiliation over the annexation of the Crimea by Russia. Russia isn’t playing a game. To repeat – they lost 25 million people to an unprovoked attack from the west within living memory. For the Russians, a weak and pro-Moscow Ukraine is a non-negotiable bottom line for the security of the Russian people and the Russian state in the aftermath of WW2. Any attempt to meddle in that state of affairs and the Russian WILL invade the Ukraine, because they know their nuclear arsenal guarantees the West will do nothing about it and they’d prefer an Ukrainian insurgency to German tanks on NATO manoeuvres less than 300km from Moscow.

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  23. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    I think it’s worth pointing out the Ukraine crisis timeline.

    1991: August: Ukrainian parliament declares independence from USSR following attempted coup in Moscow. In a nationwide referendum in December, 90% vote for independence.

    2004: November: Orange Revolution begins after reports of widespread vote-rigging in presidential election nominally won by pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych. Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko leads mass street protests and civil disobedience. Supreme Court annuls result of poll.

    2004 December: Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko tops poll in election re-run. Rival candidate Viktor Yanukovych challenges result but resigns as prime minister.

    The pro-Russian candidate who was vote rigged in as President in 2004 is the same guy who was President this time around before he fled to Russia. According to Pravda earlier this month, he apparently died of a heart attack, but then was in hospital but alive and well.

    And remember Viktor Yuschenko, who was almost killed by dioxin. He survived, but his face was heavily marked.

    Say what you like about not trusting the West, but opposition leaders in Western countries are not being assassinated, as seems to be par for the course for anyone coming up against Russia.

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  24. Jack5 (5,167 comments) says:

    Paulus at 9.14:

    …Wait until soon Chechnya, backed by Saudi Arabia, says it wants to secede from Russia…

    It has been trying to do that for years, and the Saudis have been backing the Chechens for years. Hasn’t worked so far.

    And the Russians are backing the Saudis’ enemies in Syria to some effect.

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  25. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    thepeoplesflag,

    To repeat – they lost 25 million people to an unprovoked attack from the west within living memory.

    If you are talking about WWII, Russia provoked that war. Unfortunately for them, their ally turned on them.

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  26. thePeoplesFlag (257 comments) says:

    “…If you are talking about WWII, Russia provoked that war…”

    You are a completely ignorant fucking idiot.

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  27. EAD (1,331 comments) says:

    @ Lucia Maria,

    Russia provoked the war?

    Here was me thinking it was the National Socialist Party of Germany who were then joined by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?

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  28. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    EAD and peoplesflag,

    You guys might want to read up on the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939. A joint invasion with the Nazis, except they hung back to make sure the Poles were fully distracted before attacking from the east.

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  29. jcuk (718 comments) says:

    I thought it was the British and French Governments who said ‘boo’ to Hitler and nearly got scuppered in the process? :)

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  30. thePeoplesFlag (257 comments) says:

    Are you claiming Nazi aggression was a result of an alliance with the USSR? If so, you have no clue as to the nature and dynamics of the German leadership. The Soviet-German non-aggression pact allowed the USSR to extend it’s border a couple of hundred kilometres further westward at the expense of the Poles and the Balts, a distance that as it turned out was critical to their survival and subsequent victory in WW2. When they signed the non-aggression pact with Hitler The Soviets (along with everyone else) never dreamed that the Germans would defeat the French in ten weeks. they had the happy expectation that the fascists and the capitalist would spend several years slaughtering each other in Northern France, and the USSR planned to help things along a bit by making sure the Germans got enough raw materials to keep fighting. Once France fell, so did Soviet diplomatic assumptions and they were terrified of a war with the Germans in 1941, especially after Stalin’s purge of the military. That is why they kept up supplies of raw materials to Germany, in the hope they could buy Hitler off long enough to frantically rebuild their army. Some 35,000 Red Army officers had been purged (largely killed) by 1939, leaving the Red Army (which was also expanding) short of almost 40,000 officers. The training and doctrines of the Red Army were devastated. Almost all their general officers were gone. Also, like Italy, the USSR re-armed to soon and although on paper the numbers were impressive in 1941 the Red army possessed largely obsolescent equipment. Stalin knew how weak the USSR was. Stalin had no intention of provoking a war with the Germans.

    In fact, Russian motives today are no different from Soviet motives in 1939 – keep as big a buffer as possible between the Russian heartland and any potential enemies.

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  31. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    Lucia, the history and geography behind a cocked gun being fired does not mean that that was the reason the gun was cocked and fired in the first place.

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  32. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Lucia – Stalin didn’t trust the West and when Hitler made a deal with him that allowed him to restore the Borders to where they were in 1914 Stalin took it – it was a mistake on many levels but despite your family suffering as a result it actually saved your fathers life that this happened if you think about it.

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  33. Fentex (1,042 comments) says:

    The penalties should include—right now—stepping up military deployments to the NATO allies, especially to Poland and the Baltic nations, which were once tied to the Soviet Union.

    This is the sort of self reinforcing pissing match that leads to wars. Ever since the end of the Soviet Union NATO has pressed to expand it’s presence and tighten it’s perimeter around Russia.

    One can see how fear of aggression tempts one to bulk up defences and assert the willingness to resist but it’s easy for that to become participation in a feedback of macho threats that provoke conflict.

    Putin may very well have felt fear of encirclement and justified in annexing the Crimea for worry that Russia’s fleet, it’s lease in Sevastopol under threat by an unfriendly Ukraine, being replaced by a NATO (i.e U.S) fleet for exactly this kind of thinking.

    There are a lot of pundits around that seem to be relishing the thought of a return to the Cold War. I think them foolish and callous.

    If I wanted to pressure Putin because I concluded the Crimea was not unique and his intentions are a danger to other states I would be looking for a way to take cash from Russian oligarchs and industrialists – use their wealth (and threats to it) to undermine his power base in Russia.

    A problem with this is that places like the City Of London profit so much from laundering their ill gotten gains that they become an issue themselves in organizing cohesive and effective action.

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  34. mikenmild (11,792 comments) says:

    More support to the Baltic states now would be a good thing, especially given recent Russian threats againnt Estonia in particular.

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  35. symgardiner (13 comments) says:

    There is no need for Russia to maintain a force in Crimea for population control. There will be no local resistance because the local population are Russians. This is what most people don’t get… Crimea is primarily populated with Russians. And they want this.

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  36. ChardonnayGuy (1,217 comments) says:

    What worries me is what happens if Eastern Ukraine also gets the separatism virus and decides to break away from Kiev as well, and then petitions to (re)join Russia as well. I don’t like this. We may be one misstep away from a formal Russian-Ukrainian crisis. However, given that Russia has still got headaches in the Caucasus, I don’t think a full-scale invasion of the Ukraine is likely.

    Anschluss 2014?

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  37. cha (4,084 comments) says:

    Crimea is primarily populated with Russians.

    Forcibly deporting the entire population of Tatar’s in 1944 obviously wasn’t enough so they’re going to have another go at making damn sure that Russians are the majority.

    http://en.ria.ru/world/20140319/188544777/Crimean-Tatars-Will-Have-to-Vacate-Land–Official.html

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  38. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/violence-and-terror-the-ukrainian-and-colombian-road-to-empire-building/5374440?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=violence-and-terror-the-ukrainian-and-colombian-road-to-empire-building

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  39. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Cha,

    Bloody hell re your Tartar link!

    This is what I don’t get – the Russian aggression against Ukraine is so incredibly obvious – you only have to look at the vast swathe of news reports to see who the aggressor is and who is showing the utmost restraint – and yet we have threads like this where people are falling over themselves to excuse Russia for annexing Crimea. It just blows my mind.

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  40. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    To all those that believe that the Soviets didn’t provoke a war in 1939, where do I start?

    First off, the Germans would not have invaded at beginning of September 1939 if it were not for that non-agression pact, that had secret protocols to divide Poland and other countries between them into “spheres of influence”. Because of that pact, I hold Germany and Russia jointly responsible for WWII, which btw, everyone believes to have started with the attack in Poland by both. Anyone who thinks that Russia didn’t have what was coming to them in 1941 is either blind or is a commie sympathiser or is mentally deficient. The second is a mind virus, so I don’t hold much hope for people like that, but the other two conditions are easily remedied.

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  41. ChardonnayGuy (1,217 comments) says:

    Granted, Lucia Maria. Some of it might be Russian Orthodox slavophilia, although given that the *Ukrainian* Orthodox Church supports the current reformist government in Kiev, they might want to doublecheck their confessional loyalties. I imagine some of it is facile social conservative Obamaphobia (look who have become the new anti-Americans!!!) and Europhobia. Putin has become a post-communist tyrant and real Russian parliamentary democracy is effectively either dead or comatose. And now, he’s engaged in neo-Soviet irredentism. What next? Eastern Ukraine? Estonia? Lithuania? Latvia? Belorus?

    And granted, Stalin was a brutal dictator, tyrant and mass murderer and vitriolic anti-Semite in his own right, but don’t forget, Operation Barbarossa also helped to facilitate the expansion of Hitler’s paradigmatic Holocaust into the Ukraine, Belorus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia itself. In some cases, wilfully assisted by the occupied non-Jewish population, especially in Lithuania.

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  42. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Andrei,

    it actually saved your fathers life that this happened if you think about it

    Yes, I have thought about it. My dad wasn’t home when Ukrainian nationalists murdered all the Poles in that area, so being transported to Siberia in cattle carts during winter actually saved his life. Even purposefully being dumped in Kazakhstan to starve to death after being supposedly allowed to leave the Soviet Union a couple of years later didn’t kill him, despite the Soviet’s best efforts. Did kill his mother, though, and a number of his siblings.

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  43. cha (4,084 comments) says:

    Lucia

    If supporters of the Chekist Putin had grown up listening to my uncle Pat’s tales of the German invasion in 1939, his deportation to Stalin’s Siberian labour camps, the march to freedom in Iran and then to the Pahiatua Children’s Camp in 1944 they might have a clue about why the events in Crimea and Ukraine matter.

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  44. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    keep as big a buffer as possible between the Russian heartland and any potential enemies.

    This is the root of the problem
    Putin sees the world as a giant chessboard and eastern Europe and Russia’s sphere of influence. Where as if he did not have such a dark view of the world, he could see the West as potential friends. If he had the will he would realize that central Europe is far better off today than 25 years ago and Russia could be too

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  45. stephieboy (3,414 comments) says:

    Andrei (2,362 comments) says:
    March 21st, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Just a cheerful reminder re your deluded pro Putin rants,

    http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/putinmurders/

    The deluded ex KGB Lt Colonel wants to roll back the the losses of 1991 and reestablish Soviet styled hegemony in Eastern Europe

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  46. ChardonnayGuy (1,217 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria: I hope you don’t have any relatives remaining in Poland. God only knows how you must be feeling at this point in time. If you do, my thoughts and prayers are with them at what must be a frightening time for the people of Poland, given their understandable bitter historical memories about unjustified prior Russian aggression against their people.

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  47. cha (4,084 comments) says:

    The 56 journalists killed in Russia.

    https://cpj.org/killed/europe/russia/

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  48. thePeoplesFlag (257 comments) says:

    Anyone who thinks that Russia didn’t have what was coming to them in 1941 is either blind or is a commie sympathiser or is mentally deficient.

    Ah, I see. in Lucia Maria’s mind her father’s misfortune to become a victim of Stalin when the USSR took over is justification enough for the genocidal killing of 25 million Soviet citizens. Anyway, the Poles were a revanchist and reactionary lot who were no friends of the USSR, maybe her dad deserved to be deported.

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  49. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Peoplesflag,

    Anyway, the Poles were a revanchist and reactionary lot who were no friends of the USSR, maybe her dad deserved to be deported.

    Yep, commie sympathiser.

    My dad was a child at the time, he would have been either 11 or 12 years old. Even his baby sister (who died in Siberia) was deported.

    ChardonnayGuy,

    Thanks. I have lots of relatives in Poland.

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  50. tom hunter (5,100 comments) says:

    … they had the happy expectation that the fascists and the capitalist would spend several years slaughtering each other in Northern France, and the USSR planned to help things along a bit by making sure the Germans got enough raw materials to keep fighting.

    I love the fact that you’re comfortable with this while at the same time constantly getting all outrageously outraged about the shitty things the West did to destroy the USSR. Better to just assume utilitarianism on both sides and choose the side, as your moniker so clearly shows you did.

    I hold Germany and Russia jointly responsible for WWII, ….

    Damn straight. As you point out the Nazi’s needed that agreement with Stalin before committing to the attack, but I’ve had this argument with Andrei and others two years ago:

    My definition of “owe” does not rely on the base use of statistics, but on the reasons for fighting against the Nazi’s. I don’t “owe” anything to a massively murderous totalitarian regime that just happened to fight for it’s survival against another massively murderous totalitarian regime that finally attacked it, particularly when the two of them colluded to start the whole firestorm in the first place.

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  51. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Cha,

    If supporters of the Chekist Putin had grown up listening to my uncle Pat’s tales of the German invasion in 1939, his deportation to Stalin’s Siberian labour camps, the march to freedom in Iran and then to the Pahiatua Children’s Camp in 1944 they might have a clue about why the events in Crimea and Ukraine matter.

    Ahhh, that’s why you understand what is going on.

    I found a history on an Australian website a while back. You (and others who want to understand) might find it useful: The General Langfitt Story. This site has many more links with many, many personal stories: Kresy Siberia Reference Centre

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  52. ShawnLH (5,761 comments) says:

    Is no one else disturbed at hardcore communists and, ahem, “conservatives”, being on the same side of an issue?

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  53. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Tom,

    Ah, so you’re another one who has had family with personal contact with the Soviets (I read your whole comment). That does tend to drive out any romantic notion about them and allow for clearer vision.

    I have a book by Norman Davies called Rising ’44 in which he writes about Allied fliers who were trying to help Warsaw during the 1944 uprising with supply drops, preferring to fly over German controlled airspace rather than Soviet on the way back, because being shot at by your supposed allies was just too much for them.

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  54. tom hunter (5,100 comments) says:

    Ah, so you’re another one who has had family with personal contact with the Soviets (I read your whole comment)

    Then you should read further down that old thread to see what happened to other members of my family:

    About a year ago my eldest son had to conduct an interview with a WWII veteran or other survivor, and since we were visiting Chicago he chose one of my elderly in-laws – who just happened to have lived in those Eastern, “Ukranian” parts of Poland. The stories he told my son were ones I’d never heard nor ones his kids had. To say that they were bone-chilling is an understatement, and the chilling parts related to what happened after the Nazi invasion but before the Russians hit, and had nothing to do with either. Basically the Ukrainian peasants decided to come across the border for the spoils of the Polish peasants, before the official business started. Think Tutsi-Hutu.

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  55. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Tom,

    I have heard of those, and yeah, it’s not something it was aware of until the last number of years, and it’s what I was referring to when I said that being deported from Poland most likely saved my dad’s life (at 11:01am).

    Do you have what your son heard written down anywhere?

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  56. Jack5 (5,167 comments) says:

    Re Lucia at 12.19:

    …I have a book by Norman Davies called Rising ’44 in which he writes about Allied fliers who were trying to help Warsaw during the 1944 uprising with supply drops, preferring to fly over German controlled airspace rather than Soviet on the way back, because being shot at by your supposed allies was just too much for them.

    This from Wikipedia about the Warsaw airlift you refer to:

    The Warsaw Airlift was an Allied air operation to re-supply the besieged Polish Home Army (AK) in Warsaw during the Second World War. It took place between 4 August and 28 September 1944 and was conducted by Polish, British and South African aircraft flying from Celone and Brindisi in Italy and Soviet aircraft from occupied Ukraine. One airdrop, launched on 18 September by United States aircraft was launched from Great Britain and the aircraft were forced to land at Poltava in Soviet occupied Ukraine as the distance to the drop-zone precluded the aircraft returning to base. The flights from Italy were night operations with low level cargo drops, conducted without fighter escort while the single United States Army Air Forces mission of 18 September 1944 was a high-altitude, daylight operation consisting of 107 B-17s protected by P-51 fighters. From the night of 13/14 September the Soviets began their own airdrops, dropping about 130 tons in total until 27/28 September. Initially, this cargo was dropped without parachutes, resulting in much of the payload being damaged or destroyed.

    Allied aircraft dropped a total of 370 tons[Note 1] of supplies in the course of the two months of operations, of which at least 50% fell into German hands. The airlift proved to be ineffective and could not provide sufficient supplies to sustain the Polish resistance, who were overrun by Nazi forces on 2 October 1944. The airlift was further hampered by the Soviet Union initially not allowing Western Allies the use of its airfields, forcing flights to operate at extended ranges from Italy and Britain and in so doing, reducing payload and limiting the number of sorties. An estimated 360 airmen and 41 British, Polish, South African and American aircraft were lost.

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  57. tom hunter (5,100 comments) says:

    Do you have what your son heard written down anywhere?

    We have it recorded, uploaded into a computer and backed up, but it has not yet been transcribed.

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  58. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Now here’s a strange thing – the current junta in Kiev are made up of the descendants of those Ukrainians who committed those massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia and look to their leader Stepan Bandera as inspiration and yet those of Polish descent seem to favour them over the descendants of the people who fought in the Red Army and put an end to their atrocities against the Poles.

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  59. JMS (342 comments) says:

    Andrei,

    because the Red Army committed atrocities against them as well.

    The Red Army not only raped millions of German women and girls, they also raped those they were supposedly liberating, ie. the Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians.

    Of course the Russians live in denial about all of that to this day, just like the Turks do regarding the Armenian Genocide.

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  60. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Jack, yep, that was it.

    Tom, if you ever transcribe it, could you email me? Or if you upload to Youtube (which you can with an audio file, you just need editing software to add a picture). Or if you are happy to share the raw file .. email me as well (email address on this page)

    Andrei,

    Both were bad. I would prefer them separate rather than united, given that neither has come to terms with their pasts as yet.

    Besides, the Ukrainians gave up their nukes, while as Russia has threatened to use hers in recent days.

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  61. tom hunter (5,100 comments) says:

    Is no one else disturbed at hardcore communists and, ahem, “conservatives”, being on the same side of an issue?

    Indeed. It’s also been disturbing to see the types of arguments being mouthed by right-wingers in defense of Putin, in particular the “Othering” meme that constantly claims or implies that “they” have done something because of what the West is doing. That’s been the argument with regards to the USA and the rest of the world for years now from the likes of ThePeoplesFlag. He/she must be feeling a warm glow now with the likes of Andrei on his side – right down to re-producing Soviet Communist Art Propaganda on the NZ Conservative website.

    Another terrible similarity that has sprung to life has to do with the claims of Fascism. Some years ago on this blog, reference was made to the Hungarian revolution of 1956, and another little Soviet lickspittle called “simonway” started rabbiting on about the Fascist elements in that “Counter-Revolution” inspired by “Imperialist Amerika”. Perhaps I should go find the old thread to see if Andrei is present there and which side he takes.

    Which also raises the question of US involvement in the whole deal. First up I would note that I’ve never had any problems with the basic idea that the USA (and the West in general) should make efforts to get rid of shitty governments. It’s exactly what the communists tried to do to the West for decades – but aside from the occasional anarchist one never heard them called Imperialists. In the Cold War such actions saw a lot of counter-attacks from left-wingers defending the likes of Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua and the big USSR-enchilada itself. One still sees it with regard to Venezuela.

    Now we see it from supposed right-wingers in the case of Ukraine, right down to the classic half-truth debating stance of ignoring Russia’s “interference” in the Ukraine, as if that has not been happening for years. The claim that the Ukrainian people should have sat on their asses until the next election is to live in world of rainbow unicorns where such elections are not utterly corrupted. There’s a perfectly fine Western tradition of overthrowing corrupt governments that cannot be changed in any other way, especially when people realise they’re being sold out to the likes of Putin, direct heir of the types of people who persecuted them in the not-so-distant past.

    As far as the US is concerned the “help” has hardly been in the league of the CIA’s efforts during Cold War days (say Iran in 1953). This is not your fathers CIA. The help the US has given to date was outlined quite well in that phone call between two idiot US diplomats some weeks ago (almost certainly recorded and released by the FSB with the aim of fracturing the Euro-US by including the Fuck the EU comment): talking to Ukrainian opposition leaders, providing money to support communication …. Pathetic.

    As with Putin, the fact is that these “others” do what they do for their own reasons – not because we “offended” them or “frightened them” or “encouraged” them.

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  62. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    Fuck the EU comment

    Yeah, I seem to remember reading the Russophile side bitching and moaning about how this was unacceptable interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs. A few weeks later Russia invades and annexes Crimea and the same people are now defending that.

    Fucken hyprocites

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  63. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Just to be clear, the NZ Conservative website is mine as well, and there have been a few arguments on various threads to do with this Ukraine thing between Andrei and me there, and in various General Debates here as well. Not all conservatives are following the whatever Putin wants, Putin gets, line.

    I think the whole Bengazi and recent Syria thing has added to the distrust of the media that conservatives naturally have, and that distrust is being applied to the Ukraine crisis, which is something different altogether.

    Putin would have known to ride along on the coattails of the kudos he got for averting a Western involvement in Syria.

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  64. tom hunter (5,100 comments) says:

    In light of the we made them do it meme ….

    Putin may very well have felt fear of encirclement …

    Given Russian history that’s very possible, but one can hardly laugh at the pitiful European Union and at the same time claim that it’s a threat in the traditional military form.

    If Putin wanted to argue that being swallowed up by the EU would slowly destroy the ability of Russians to control their own country in a traditional Democratic sense, he might well have a point, as voters in the UK, France and Denmark have begun to realise. But that’s not the argument being made by Putin and would be a farcical one given the pitiful state of democracy in Russia today as a direct result of his efforts to become a 21st century czar.

    In fact that’s really what this is all about. Even if he knows he can’t get the old USSR back, Putin is using the theories of Aleksandr Dugin to try and re-create a Great Russia, both in domestic and foreign policy:

    The core idea of Dugin’s Eurasianism is that “liberalism” (by which is meant the entire Western consensus) represents an assault on the traditional hierarchical organization of the world. Repeating the ideas of Nazi theorists Karl Haushofer, Rudolf Hess, Carl Schmitt, and Arthur Moeller van der Bruck, Dugin says that this liberal threat is not new, but is the ideology of the maritime cosmopolitan power “Atlantis,” which has conspired to subvert more conservative land-based societies since ancient times.

    It should also be noted that Putin would definitely not want any Russian people getting ideas about throwing him out of power along Ukrainian lines, even though that’s exactly what needs to happen for the good of Russia.

    Finally, the whole effort that may distract his own citizens from realising how much trouble they’re in, even having admitted it themselves:

    According to their projections, the world’s economy will grow on average 3.4 percent a year between now and 2030 but Russia’s will grow much less quickly, only 2.5 percent annually. As a result, Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukayev says, Russia’s share of the world economy will decline from the four percent it represented in 2012 to 3.4 percent in 2030.

    Which is really where Russia needs to be hit in the goolies rather than all this semi-military crap being proposed by the likes of Kaplan or the pitiful sanctions being pushed by the equally pitiful Obama administration. Think the asshole bankers in The City are going to do anything about all that Russian money Putin’s mates have invested there? Pffft.

    No to most of this. Russia’s economy used to be able to balance it’s budget with oil at $US34 a barrel, now it needs $US100 per barrel. So Europe needs to get fracking and the USA needs to start exporting LPG and oil big-time. Then we’ll see how tough Putin is.

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  65. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Here’s how you stop Putin:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fd/Dr._Strangelove_-_Riding_the_Bomb.png

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  66. muggins (3,816 comments) says:

    muggins (2,877 comments) says:

    February 26th, 2014 at 1:00 pm
    In my opinion Putin will probably re-annex Crimea. That could be done quite swiftly with virtually no resistance seeing as most people living there are ethnic Russians.

    Krushchev gave Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 and Putin has taken it back as I said would happen almost a month ago.
    95% of the 80 odd % of citizens living in Crimea that voted in the referendum wanted Crimea to go back to Russia.
    I don’t reckon anyone can argue with that.
    As for Ukraine, well hopefully Putin will keep his word and not invade. But there will still be problems because there are many residents of Ukraine, specially Eastern Ukraine , who don’t want to be part of the European Union.

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  67. stephieboy (3,414 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria, you make a very good point. I do note how many Conservative blogs frame the Crimean crises around the alleged and false Benghazi conspiracy. The paper trail and blame invariably leads back to , of course, the US’s first black President.
    It’s a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t . This given Obama’s perceived ‘paper waving peace in our time ” Munich crises appeasement of Putin and the Kremlin.
    I think we’re lucky that we don’t have a Pallin in charge in the US as it would most likely be back to building our own fallout shelters or the Dr Strangelove answer as per RRM.

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  68. tom hunter (5,100 comments) says:

    Dr._Strangelove_-_Riding_the_Bomb.png

    Actually it may be Dr Youko, Dr WielisŁaw, or Dr Hwan.

    That’s been my biggest worry out of this whole shit-storm; what it will do for Nuclear deterrence.

    I think help should be given to the Ukrainians – a lot more help than has been given to date – but I don’t think it should be military. As angry as I am about Putin’s efforts I’ve always acknowledged that a big part of the Ukraine has always missed Mother Russia and that a peaceful partition into a Western and Eastern Ukraine might be the best resolution. Václav Havel allowed it to happen to Czechoslovakia: he did not like it but realised that people have to be allowed to go their own way. In the case of Ukraine it would be a sad and morally compromised solution to be sure, but better than years of combat between Ukrainian partisans and the Russian Army.

    I have to agree with the so-called pragmatists or “realists” that the Ukraine is just not worth more than such an effort from the West. In and of itself it’s not a direct security concern or threat that could justify military support – even covert support. I think the whole thing will prove counter-productive for Russia, if not for Putin.

    My concern has always been more for what this means around the rest of Russia – and farther afield too. Again I see a right-wing repeat of a left-wing meme, in this case the argument that Iran (and others in the ME) need nuclear weapons to deter the USA.

    Well now it may be the turn of countries such as Poland to have such thoughts (very, very quietly I’m sure): go nuclear to deter a threat from …… Russia. Then there’s Taiwan, Japan and South Korea in regards to China. They’re all going to be looking at the West in general, the US in particular, in relation to the Ukrainian clusterfuck that could have been prevented with more care and attention in the first place. They’ll observe the pitiful reactions. They’ll observe the US left dumping Liberal Internationalism and the increasing demands to pull back from the world, in concert with the rising tide of Isolationism on the US Right. They will conclude that it goes beyond the feckless, useless Obama, that no future US president will be able to re-build the credibility that has been deminished – at least not quickly and not without some major revisions in thinking and commitment (such as Jimmy Carter underwent in 1979 when he finally woke up to the reality of the USSR).

    They’re going to be asking themselves how alone they are. The result could be ironic for a US President who aimed for a world with fewer nuclear weapons.

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  69. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    emmess @March 21st, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    There is nothing more hyprocritical than the so called champions of freedom and democracy™ supporting a Government that has seized power after overthrowing a Democratically elected Government because the Democratically elected Government that was the legal authority in its own sovereign Nation took a bailout offer from Russia rather than one from the EU and IMF because it perceived the Russian offer was in its own nations best interests.

    Anf there is nothing more outright wicked than a nation from the other side of the world pouring billions of dollars into undermining a Democratically elected Government by stirring up ancient tensions and emnities that exist within that nation to cause civil mayhem, disorder and bloodshed – in fact that meets the definition of evil.

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  70. Gulag1917 (1,026 comments) says:

    THE GERMANS REFUSE TO PLAY BALL
    Freeman of All Noise and Smoke, 8 March 2014 — Translated by Michael Colhaze. The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel (Daily Mirror) launched an online survey on March 6th, asking its readers in faulty German of how the West should react with regard to Russia’s incursions into Ukraine. What follows were the different answers from which the readers could choose.
    – Russia’s exclusion from the G8 summit should be considered
    – The conflict can be only solved diplomatically, and the G8 summit is important in this respect
    – Western censure is hypocritical, since Russia defends legitimate interests
    – If the escalation continues, a military intervention by NATO forces should not be excluded
    By four o’clock in the afternoon, 9420 readers had answered the survey, and what they had to say filled the presstitutes from the Tagesspiegel with sheer horror. Because only a puny four percent, and we know who those are, favoured a military intervention by NATO forces. Whereas a staggering seventy eight percent believed that Western hacks like Kerry or Merkel were mere hypocrites and that Russia defended indeed legitimate interests. So what happened? At four o’clock and five minutes, the survey was abruptly taken off the net and never seen again.

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  71. cha (4,084 comments) says:

    THE GERMANS REFUSE TO PLAY BALL

    Oh look, white peoples powers…
    /

    http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2014/03/the-germans-refuse-to-play-ball/

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  72. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    95% of the 80 odd % of citizens living in Crimea that voted in the referendum wanted Crimea to go back to Russia.

    Well, there is no way it was 95% but I have no doubt that in a free and fair referendum, they would have gone with Russia.
    Shit, I would have voted to join Russia if I lived there due to their much wealthier economy (can’t say based on my ethnicity though as I am not Russian, Ukrainian or Tatar)
    But it begs that question, why was the process not then done freely and fairly? I had never heard of any desires for Crimean independence or to join Russia up until the invasion. Why did Russia not just support and fund local activists to promote the idea and eventually it would have happened. It may have pissed off Ukraine but it would have saved itself from becoming an international pariah?

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  73. Fentex (1,042 comments) says:

    Is no one else disturbed at hardcore communists and, ahem, “conservatives”, being on the same side of an issue?

    Totalitarians all stand on the same side, they just sometimes disagree on whom they ought stand on to be there.

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  74. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Why did Russia not just support and fund local activists to promote the idea and eventually it would have happened. It may have pissed off Ukraine but it would have saved itself from becoming an international pariah?

    Because Ukraine is in a state of civil war and Russia wants to secure Crimea because of its strategic importance.

    If Mexico was fighting a civil war the USA would do very similar things.

    In the not to distant past they have knocked over Grenada and Panama, spilling a great deal more blood in the process than Russia has regaining Crimea

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  75. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    Democratically elected

    I may be at risk of having Godwin’s law here invoked here but the response is so blindingly obvious
    So fucken what, so was Hitler
    Everyone has an absolute right to peacefully overthrow terrible governments and use limited violence when it turned on them.

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  76. stephieboy (3,414 comments) says:

    I just wonder where Russia’s ” legitimate ” Interests begin and end.?
    Eastern Poland.?
    The Baltic Republics.?
    Former East Germany.?
    Kazakhstan ,??
    Recall also the deliberate policy of the Soviets to try and Russify many of the lands in the Soviet Empire especially the Baltic Republics

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  77. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    Russia wants to secure Crimea because of its strategic importance.

    Ok, thanks for the honesty here
    You are a Russian nationalist

    If Mexico was fighting a civil war the USA would do very similar things.

    Which you would vehemently oppose and if it was a similar situation so would I

    So it is clear now, your views are based on national chauvinism and are not based on any sort of philosophy of what is right and what is wrong.
    There is about as much point arguing with you as there would have been with Bin Laden.

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  78. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    This story will get legs as it continues, no wonder Putin has already moved on Crimea: ‘Yanukovych Leaks’ documents abuse of office:

    Fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych led a lavish lifestyle – allegedy financed by money laundering and bribery. Journalists are analyzing documents he left behind – and putting them online as well.

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  79. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    So it is clear now, your views are based on national chauvinism and are not based on any sort of philosophy of what is right and what is wrong.

    What is right about a regime-change operation from a foreign power that is then countered by a democratic referenda?

    That’s what happening, the only people who can’t see that are those who get their geopolitics from some 1980’s Morning in America fantasy that never even existed anyway.

    The CIA did it to Iran’s democratically-elected Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953, to Indonesia’s President Sukarno in 1965, and to Chile’s Prime Minister Allende on September 11th, 1973. They did the same thing to Ukraine’s legitimate president, Viktor Yanukovych, a few weeks ago. Neocon regime-change apparatchik Victoria Nuland (The assistant US secretary of state,) got caught admitting that the US had spent five billion dollars to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically-elected government; and EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton was heard on tape discussing the “news” that the Maidan Square snipers were part of the US-sponsored coup.

    To name a few. History repeats when you forget it, or when you haven’t even bothered to learn it.

    I mean even the head of Stratfor admitted the US was behind it in the video I gave above. Even him.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/03/19/355259/putin-puts-fear-of-god-in-nwo/

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  80. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    Seriously, are you for real?

    What is right about a regime-change operation from a foreign power that is then countered by a democratic referenda?

    You are referring to anywhere other than Russia?
    I already Crimea could have gone if it wanted to but there was no will until very recently

    Then you quote Iranian government propaganda

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  81. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    Then you quote Iranian government propaganda

    No I quoted history emmess. Such as those US coups. Those can be researched on any site you care to look at, I’m surprised you don’t seem to know about them already, they’re pretty standard knowledge, as is Nulan’s admission that the US has already spent $5 billion and Ashton’s taped conversation about the snipers.

    As I say to children like stephie who don’t know how to think properly, what matters is the content of the item reported, not the site its on. And if you’re interested in the content, whether you agree with it or you doubt it, then the logical thing for you to then do is to seek verification elsewhere, not just to, as stephie does, dismiss it because, in your opinion, the site isn’t “reliable.” I mean, such actions are simply letting someone else do your thinking for you, and that’s not just crazy, it’s dumb as well. Isn’t it.

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  82. Fentex (1,042 comments) says:
    If Mexico was fighting a civil war the USA would do very similar things.

    Which you would vehemently oppose and if it was a similar situation so would I

    On the theory that some who denounce Russia’s occupation of Crimea might be people who applauded the U.S’s of Iraq I thought I’d test the theory in an exercise of Google Fu and see if I could find an example of apparent hypocrisy.

    This seems like it might be. It appears to be the same quoted commenter maintaining now they would denounce any invasion once applauding the U.S conquest of Iraq.

    I suspect opinion on the righteousness of invasion is largely subjective and highly sensitive to allegiance.

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  83. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    If you want to trawl back to any ones old comments, I am sure you can find inconsistencies

    Iraq was a victory
    That’s all that matters now

    Yeah, sure maybe that was a bit flippant and doesn’t represent my exact thoughts on the matter.

    For the record, I think Iraq was justified but in retrospect, it wasn’t worth it
    But how is it hypocrisy to support the removal of totalitarian dictator and oppose the annexation of part/all of a neighbouring country. That is close to what Saddam did when he annexed Kuwait.

    The Russian nationalist argument is we oppose what America did so we will do it too but it is okay when we do it but not when they do.
    They are the ones trying to make out it the same.

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  84. muggins (3,816 comments) says:

    No way it was 95%.

    Actually it was 96.7%. And there was an 83% turnout.
    So that tells me that by far the majority of people living in Crimea wanted Crimea to return to Russia.
    The problem now is what happens about the majority of those people who live in the eastern Ukraine who do not want to join the EU. Latest reports say that they are being hassled by right wing vigilantes. The Ukrainian government must take charge, because if they don’t then Putin may move in to the eastern Ukraine to protect the Russians that are living there.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.580174

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  85. SJM (84 comments) says:

    http://www.eureferendum.com/ For an interesting perspective on this and the EU’s role and general incompetence.

    My own view is this: incompetent authoritarian bureaucracy superstate wannabe, meets post soviet thugocracy with a dose of old fashioned US lack of perspective. Nothing will come of it in the long run because too many players on this have nukes

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  86. BlairM (2,365 comments) says:

    It is not Putin who should be stopped. We should be working with him to restore democracy in Ukraine.

    As for Crimea, who can blame them for wanting out of an unstable nation where they are in an ethnic minority to a stable one where they are part of the majority ethnic group? Big deal.

    Those who bring up the Tatars (bless!) need to bear in mind that, if we were going to be consistent about this, we should be taking Eastern Prussia off Poland and giving it back to Germany. If we were being even more consistent, we should repatriate the “ethnic Ukrainians” to Poland, since they are the product of Polish expansion eastwards. Come to think of it, let’s leave the Tatars in Siberia, since they are remnants of the Golden Horde!

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  87. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,754 comments) says:

    No doubt about it, Putin is setting the tempo on this. Crimea is now Russian, last technicalities on Friday, i.e. today.

    Next steps are all speculation. Consolidate Crimea, kick out remaining Ukrainian troops, secure military assets etc. Putin has one of his phone in press conferences in early April so no large scale military action in Ukraine until after that. Russia timetable then likely to be determined by whether Ukrainian Elections stay set for May 25 or whether is gets delayed until December or later. Obama sure could do with this cooling in Ukraine until after congressional and senate elections on 4 November. Russia likes a December vote too, nice and wintery. Either way, its real hard to hold elections in all of Ukraine when Russian tanks are rolling all over Eastern and Southern Ukraine, maybe even regions north of Kiev. Point is if Ukraine is to be partitioned it is Russia and Russia alone that draws the line, much like UK in Ireland, and I’m sure it will be a generous line in Russia’s favour. Then you’ve got a land locked Western Ukraine full of fascist sympathisers. Can’t have a failed state on your doorstep with a hot bed of terrorists going unchecked, so in goes Russia to deliver some “Freedom and Democracy”. Any refugees flowing into Poland and Germany would destabilise the EU.

    For real final fantasy football, once Russia has got all that locked, it could take all the Baltic states in one go. That would expose the lie of the EU and NATO that they can protect or care about these small states. The objective here is to undermine/destroy these two institutions. America retreats into glorious isolationism, Fortress America.

    “May you live in interesting times”.

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  88. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    Alright last comment on this thread. I will have to admit to stealing from another comments page

    Interesting comments. When US invades someone people talk about how it’s wrong that US invades other countries. When Russia invades someone people talk about how it’s wrong that US invades other countries.

    From the Economist – good article
    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21599346-post-soviet-world-order-was-far-perfect-vladimir-putins-idea-replacing-it

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  89. Crusader (323 comments) says:

    EAD (238 comments) says:
    March 21st, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Russia has acted calmly and reasonably in protecting her legitimate interests in the Crimea, historically part of Russia with a majority Russian population and home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

    Wikipedia says:

    Since c. 700 BC, the peninsula has changed hands several times, with all or part having been controlled by Cimmerians, Bulgars, Greeks, Scythians, Romans, Goths, Huns, Khazars, Kievan Rus’ (the historical precursor to the modern states of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia[16]), the Byzantine Empire, Venice, Genoa, Kipchaks, the Golden Horde, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, Germany, Ukraine, and now, perhaps, the Russian Federation.

    “Historically part of Russia”. Ha! Depends on how far back in history you go. You could just as easily say “historically part of Greece”.

    So. You can set up a military base somewhere and thus it is part of your “legitimate interest” to invade that country? Guantanamo Base then gives the US a legitimate interest to invade Cuba, right?

    I am not saying Ukraine is in the right, but I am saying the above are specious arguments.

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  90. Johnboy (17,047 comments) says:

    The best way for Obama to stop Putin would be for him to get Stephen Spielberg to offer him the lead role in a movie about the life and loves of Yul Brynner! :)

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  91. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,754 comments) says:

    Spare a thought for the model makers at Grand Model Russia. Russia just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

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  92. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    THIS IS ALL BULL SH*T JUST lIKE SYRIA

    WHERE DOES THE MONEY TRAIL LEAD

    WHO HAS DUAL PASSPORTS SAME OLD BULL SH*T IN EUROPE

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  93. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    HE STOPPED THE ECONOMIC RAPE OF RUSSIA

    THAT IS WHY LIKE ANYONE ELSE WHO CALLED THEIR BLUFF

    “NEEDS TO BE STOPPED”

    I would not pick a fight with these people

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  94. stephieboy (3,414 comments) says:

    A fascinating aspect of all this is the adulation and hero worship of Vladimir Putin gets from elements from both the far left and right, including conspiracy theorists.This amounts to a recapitulation of the similar kind of worship bestowed on “Uncle ” Joe Stalin in the 1930s and subsequently.Policeman type leaders exercise a strong pull on people who live uncomfortably with what some one I recall saying ” the open market of competing ideas” we enjoy here and elsewhere in the West.Authoritarian solutions appear more comfortable and secure with someone doing your thinking for you
    I think long term Fred Kaplan hints at the best way to deal with Putin and the Kremlin and that is opening up the Ukrainian economy to the same kind of impetus that the Polish economy experienced post 1991.An economy that has seen it’s GDP skyrocket contrasted with the more lame performance of the Ukraine that appears to want to cling, rather like Putin’s Russia , to the old ways.Flooding the Ukraine with money is a real potent tool.

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  95. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Putin just needs to K I SS A R SE to Israel
    and Amewica
    and all will be fine

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  96. ChardonnayGuy (1,217 comments) says:

    There has been some comment that former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ‘democratically elected’ and therefore ‘illegitimately overthrown.’ Bear in mind that Yanukovych also repeatedly engaged in corrupt financial practices, electoral fraud and violent repression, harassment and intimidation of his opponents, including businesswoman, anti-corruption campaigner and former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, who was found ‘guilty’ of questionable charges. He has also falsified academic qualifications and military rank, slashed benefits to survivors of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown and contamination scandal and lived in obscene wealth while 35% of his fellow Ukrainians lived below the poverty line. What’s not to dislike?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yanukovych

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  97. stephieboy (3,414 comments) says:

    I note how EAD appears to sneer at the idea of Western money flow into the Ukraine as though conjured out of thin air.The money will flow in only when the Ukraine creates suitable conditions for that to happen such as judicious economic liberal isation and deregulation.
    It has it’s Western neighbour , Poland as a good role model.

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  98. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    To understand the situation follow the money flow

    into and out into and out

    past present and future who stands to profit from this

    there will lie the answer and there will be all the LIES

    LIES UPON LIES UPON LIES UPON LIES UPON LIES

    that they pretend are truths

    LIES FIRST WAR SECOND

    FOR THE SCUMMY PROFIT MONGERS

    REMOVE THIS DICTATOR REPLACE WITH THIS ONE

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