Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Madness of President Putin

Juliette Bates
[In italiano. Grazie, Massimiliano!]
[日本語訳。大谷正幸、ありがとうございます。]

[Many thanks to Max who helped put this together.]

Of all the various interpretations Western leaders and commentators have offered for why the president of the Russian Federation has responded the way he has to the events in Ukraine over the course of February and March of 2014—in refusing to acquiesce to the installation of a neo-fascist regime in Kiev, and in upholding the right of Crimea to self-determination—the most striking and illuminating interpretation is that he has gone mad. Striking and illuminating, that is, something in the West itself.

In times past, the international landscape reflected a multipolar order, a multiplicity of competing ideologies, alternative schemes of social and economic organization. Back then the actions of another country could be understood in terms of its alternative ideology. Even extreme figures—Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot—calling them crazy was an example of hyperbole, an intensified way of describing the brazenness with which they pursued their rationally set political goals. But when Chancellor Angela Merkel asks whether Putin is living “in another world,” echoing a theme in the narrative presented by Western media, the question seems to imply something quite literal.

We question someone's sanity when we cannot explain their behavior or logic based on a common understanding of consensual reality. They become utterly unpredictable to us, capable of carrying on a normal conversation one moment and lunging at our throats the next. Their actions appear rash and disordered, as if they inhabit a world parallel to but completely different from the one we do. Putin is portrayed as a fiend, and the West acts baffled and scared. The feigned shock with which the West looks on at the developments in Crimea could be seen as a tactic designed to isolate and intimidate Vladimir Putin. The fact that this tactic is not only not working but actually backfiring changes feigned shock into real shock: Western meds aren't working any more—on itself or anyone else.

The West—that is, the United States and the European Union—have played the role of chief psychiatrist in the world insane asylum ever since the USSR fell apart. Prior to 1990 the world was neatly carved up into two competing ideologies locked in a nuclear standoff. But then Mikhail Gorbachev capitulated. He was a champion of “common human values” and wanted to resolve the superpower conflict peacefully, by combining the best of both systems (all the humanistic victories of Soviet socialism plus all the seductive, consumerist prosperity of American capitalism).

But in effect Gorbachev capitulated; the USSR was dismembered and, over the course of the 1990s, Russia itself came close to being destroyed and dismembered. Although in the West, where he is still a popular figure, Gorbachev is credited with orchestrating a peaceful dissolution of the USSR, the chaotic aftermath of the collapse of the USSR was an extremely traumatic event, with massive loss of life. When Putin calls the collapse of the USSR “the largest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” he echoes the feelings of many Russians—who, by the way, like to call Gorbachev “Mishka mécheny” (“Mickey the marked”—marked by the devil, that is.)

During the post-collapse period Russia could offer no competing ideology. In fact, it had no ideology at all, except for an implant of Western liberalism which, given a lack of a viable legal framework or traditions of private property and civil society, quickly turned into a particularly brutal brand of gangsterism. But then Putin came along and, using his experience in the KGB and connections with other post-Soviet “power ministeries,” he crafted a new order, which first decimated and either supplanted or absorbed the gangsters, and then imposed what Putin has termed “the dictatorship of the law.” This is the first important piece of the new Russian ideology: law matters and nobody can be above it—not even the United States.

Now, compare the concept of the “dictatorship of the law,” domestic as well as international, as it is promulgated by Putin, to the sort of law which now prevails in the United States. In the US, there are now two categories of persons. There are those who are above the law: the US government and its agencies, including NSA, FBI, DOD, etc.; Wall Street financiers and shadowy government contractors who are never prosecuted for their crimes; the über-rich who are politically connected and can prevail legally against anyone simply by throwing money at lawyers.

And then there are those who are below the law: everyone else. These are some of the most sheepish people in the world, living in constant fear of getting sued and stripped of their savings—or arrested, intimidated into accepting a plea bargain, and locked up. They can now be detained indefinitely without a charge. They can be kidnapped from anywhere in the world, transported to a “black site” and tortured. They can be put on trial without being informed of the charge and convicted based on evidence that is kept secret from them. Their communities can be placed under martial law without cause. Individually, they can be shot on sight with no provocation of suspicion of wrongdoing. Abroad, when wedding parties and funerals are taken out by misguided drone strikes, that's a war crime—unless Washington is behind it, in which case it is just “collateral damage.”

Thanks to the relentless NSA surveillance, we now have no privacy and can keep no secrets. For example, German Chancellor Merkel is definitely “below the law.” When, thanks to Edward Snowden, she discovered that the NSA was listening in on her cell phone conversations, she was outraged and complained bitterly. The NSA stopped listening in on her phone and... started listening in on the phones of everyone she talks to! Now, isn't that cute? Notice, however, how Frau Merkel has stopped complaining. Unlike Putin, she isn't “mad”: she is a willing participant in a consensual reality in which what Washington says is the law, and what she says is just noise, for the benefit of maintaining the illusion of German sovereignty. For her benefit, let's ask her in her native German: “Frau Merkel, glauben Sie wirklich dass die amerikanischen Politiker Übermenschen und die Deutschen und Russen und Ukrainer Untertanen sind?”

Putin's second innovation is what he calls “sovereign democracy.” It is a system of representative democracy that is completely impervious to foreign political manipultion. Well, not completely impervious: just as it's good to have a low-level inflammation somehwere once in a while to keep the immune system humming along, it's considered healthy to have Moscow's and St. Petersburg's hipsters—many of whom, in their youthful folly, still worship the West—to go and get themselves roughed up by the riot police periodically. The worship appears mutual, and watching Wetern media worship a bunch of nobodys whose idea of public art is going into supermarkets and stuffing frozen chickens in their vaginas (“Pussy Riot,” that is) provides much-needed comic relief. But the firewall of Russian conservatism remains impervious to Western advances. (As Prof. Cohen recently pointed out, prior to Americans' gay rights agitation, Russian gays used to be called “faggots”; now they are being called “American faggots,” and gay rights in Russia have taken a giant leap back.)

Again, let's compare it to the state of affairs that now prevails in the US, where President Obama announced during this year's state of the union address that, since Congress won't cooperate with him, he plans to rule by decree (“executive order,” in American bureaucratese). In response, Congress is now drafting legislation that aims to compel the Obama administration to enforce acts of Congress. Apparently, they misplaced all their copies of the US constitution, which already describes this very process in considerable detail. Their studied appearance of endless legislative gridlock appears to be a veil designed to obscure the real work of distributing misappropriated funds among their campaign donors—funds that now run into trillions of dollars a year. Add to this the fact that half of US Congress has pledged allegiance to Israel. In Russian eyes, the US is neither sovereign nor a democracy; it is the festering corpse of a democracy being fed on by the world's fattest vultures.

In contemporary Russian understanding, Ukraine is not sovereign either (it is open to blatant foreign manipulation) and therefore its government is illegitimate. The December 1991 referendum which gave Ukraine its independence was conducted in violation of the constutition that was in effect at that time, and Ukrainian independence is therefore illegitimate as well. Since the recent armed overthrow of Ukraine's government was likewise contrary to the Ukrainian constitution, Ukraine no longer has a constitution at all. The Crimean referendum, on the other hand, is a legitimate expression of the will of the people in absence of any legitimate central authority, and therefore provides a solid legal basis for moving forward. The fact that the US government, and others following its lead, have declared the Crimean referendum illegal is neither here nor there: they do not have the power to invent laws on Russia's behalf, and they are walled off from Russia's internal politics.


* * *

One could mark the ascension of the US to the role world psychiatrist from around the end of the cold war. The Berlin Wall came down, and Western Capitalism, Democracy and Liberalism appeared to have won. The unified Western view of the way the world works, of what moves society forward, of what is the best and most productive form of economic, social, and political organization had prevailed over the entire planet. Francis Fukuyama published his inadvertently hilarious treatise on “The End of History.” In this context, in denying the Russian Federation the courtesy of allowing it to have a coherent alternative view, the US is attempting to claw back the illusion of its unquestioned supremacy, its absolute hegemony, its role as chief moralizer and arbiter of what counts as normal and abnormal in thought and behavior. Because either the world must have gone mad, or Putin must have. Prior diagnosis appears to have been faulty: “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country,” said George W. Bush of President Putin at the Slovenia Summit in 2001. The patient expertly deceived the psychiatrist, making him believe that he is sane. And now the patient is running amok, and the West is desperately trying to drag him back into the asylum.

Some sympathy for the wardens of this insane asylum is also due. The developments in Ukraine and Crimea are especially troubling for the West because they violate the West's linear conception of history. On this account, the advanced first world Western nations are ahead of the pack, and trying, simply out of their great compassion, to encourage stragglers like Ukraine along the path toward EU and NATO membership, monetary union and a slow-moving, controlled national bankruptcy in the hands of the IMF. The fall of the Soviet Union was a key psychological breakthrough in this story they tell themselves. They thrive on this story, for it defines them and gives them their sense of meaning and purpose. Anything that undermines its basic premises and foundations is deeply disturbing. However, many examples of unmitigated failure in the 21st century have been hard to ignore and have made this narrative sound increasingly shaky. With highlights like 9/11, the fiasco in Afghanistan, the ongoing Iraqi civil war, the global financial meltdown of 2008, intractable unemployment and economic stagnation plaguing the West in these first 15 years of the 21st century, and then the serial fiascos in Libya, Syria, Egypt and now Ukraine, and it becomes easy to see the special significance that this particular confrontation with Vladimir Putin has for the fragile Western psyche.

The West's ascendant trip through linear history appears to be over. The paradox underneath this confrontation is that a situation with such low stakes—Crimea and the political leanings of a minor failed state—has taken on such vast proportions, and this suggests a deeper significance. The political turmoil that has taken root in the fertile soil dividing West and East, in Ukraine, which literally translates as the “borderland,” functions as a powerful symbol of the declining hegemony of the West. This confrontation continues to cast shadows of historical proportions because the authority of the world psychiatrist and world policeman is being openly challenged. The brief illusion of the triumph of the West is cracking. We have not entered into some post-historic phase, some fundamentally new future. The inmates are breaking free, and it looks as if the psychiatrist was the crazy one all along.

Consider the asymmetry. What is Ukraine to the West but an impoverished Eastern European political pawn on the geopolitical chessboard, one that has to be prevented from joining up with Russia in line with the overall trend? But to Russia Ukraine is a historic part of itself, the place of the earliest Russian capital of Kievan Rus (from whence it was moved, eventually, to Moscow, then to St. Petersburg, then to Moscow again). It is a region with which Russia has eleven centuries of joint linguistic, cultural and political history. Half of Ukraine consists of Russian lands capriciously adjoined to it by Lenin and Khrushchev. I grew up thinking Kharkov was Russian (because it is) and was at one point amazed to discover that I would now need a visa to go there—because it got stuck on the wrong side of the border and renamed Kharkiv. (In case you are wondering, to convert to Ukrainian, you take Russian and replace ‘y’, ‘o’ and ‘e’ with ‘i’, ‘i’ with ‘y’, and ‘g’ with ‘h’. To convert back—you ask a Russian.) As of last December, the Russians in Kharkov and other Russian regions of Ukraine have been stuck on the wrong side of the border, as subjects of an unstable, dysfunctional and remarkably corrupt governent, for 22 years. It is little wonder that they are now waving Russian flags with wild abandon.

Even the muddle-headed John Kerry was recently heard to concede that Russia has “legitimate interests” in Ukraine. In challenging Russia over Ukraine the West isn't just crossing some imaginary “red line” that Obama is so fond of proclaiming again and again. In installing a neo-fascist, rabidly anti-Russian regime in Kiev, it has crossed the double-yellow, guaranteeing a head-on collision. Question is, which side will survive that collision: the Russian tank column, or John Kerry's limo? The West's opening gambit is to deny visas and freeze accounts of certain Russian officials and businessmen, who either don't have bank accounts in the West or have already pulled the money out last Friday (to the tune of a couple hundred billion dollars) and aren't planning to travel to the US.

Russia promised to respond “symmetrically.” In its arsenal is: popping the huge financial bubble and causing a resumption of the financial collapse of 2008 by any number of means, from requiring gold instead of fiat currency as payment for oil and gas, to dumping US dollar reserves (in concert with China), to putting the EU on a fast track to economic collapse by giving the natural gas valve a slight clockwise twist, to leaving US and NATO troops in Afghanistan (who are about to start evacuating) stranded and without resupply by declaring force majeure on the cooperative arrangement currently in effect, where much of their resupply route is allowed to pass through Russian territory. That's if Russia chose to act decisively. But Russia could also choose to do little or nothing, and then just the financial contagion from Ukraine's forthcoming bond default and financial jitters over Ukrainian chaos disrupting natural gas deliveries to Europe could be enough to topple the West's teetering financial house of cards.

So what remains of Western global hegemony and of the West's right to play the world's psychiatrist? Make of it what you will, but some lessons seem quite clear. First, it now appears that, from Russia's point of view, having good relations with Washington is quite optional, but that Ukraine is quite a bit more important. All Russia really needs from Washington is that Washington stop its meddling in world affairs. America is dispensable. Washington, on the other hand, needs Russian cooperation if it wants to pull its troops out of Afghanistan in one piece, or if it wants to keep visiting the International Space Station, and even if it just wants to save face after its endless blunders in places like Syria and Iran.

Second, the EU isn't being asked to choose a new master, but slavish obedience to Washington's dictates has led to mischief and may leave it shivering in the dark come next winter through no fault of Moscow's, so the EU should start acting in accordance with its obvious self-interest rather than against it.

38 comments:

Stanislav Datskovskiy said...

Here's an American fellow who actually gets it.

Brian said...


In light of likely near future developments, Vladimir Putin is now wise to secure the 'borderland' to protect the 'heartland'. Throughout the west there is a sublimated rage against social and economic conditions which find occasional and diverse expression. Russophobia is the latest, most powerful expression of this atavism to date, and this should be no surprise to anyone paying attention. Russia is unfortunately populated by people who have no corresponding culturally protected groups in the west. No westerner has been raised to speak only kindly of all things Russian. As such Russia and its expressions face the full force of the contempt of the Western elite and rabble alike.

Psychiatric insight is useful to bring to bear on this crisis because it suggests those fears which give rise to projection and anger will only multiply themselves as the power relations which are there origin devolve and degenerate into ever greater coarseness and brutality. This outcome seems inevitable as western macro bankruptcy looms. Here, I think, I need not convince anyone of the likelihood of western economic collapse. But here it is useful to consider how that collapse may give rise to a fascistic, lunatic lunge at the Russian heartland.


Neo said...

Lets hope Europe stop following the devil and stop causing misery for the rest of the world. If not they will reap what they sow eventually.

Jim Kemeny said...

This is brilliant. I am going to try to copy and paste this into my new word press blog devoted to EU: the ramshackle state. The rivalry between blogspot.com and Word Press make this impossible to do as a normal re-blog. I will email you when it is up.

ed boyle said...

From a thread my wife described to me (Ukraine subforum of a Russian forum)she got background on the young people 20-30 years old at Maidan.

First of all Ukraine is no language in which textbooks or language books or literature are written.After the fall of the Soviet Union the education system was changed and it was not taught in Russian anymore and history became a nationalistic topic which was simply written according to local lore (Bandera as hero,etc.) Since language textbooks were not available in Ukrainish no one learned English, French, etc. and essentially education and the level of knowledge went down the drain. If all foreign literature (Ovid, Homer, Dickens,etc.) were in Russain translations and the locals spoke only broken Russian then they had no access to literature at all as no such literature ever existed in Ukrainish. These young people are unemployable in Europe and even in the Ukraine. So they are due to corruption and bad economic policies permanently unemployed and besides that, completely ignorant of culture and history due to above facts. This led to the obvious "nazification" and radicalization of the unemployed youth who were instrumentalized for the power purposes of whoever you choose to name (Nuland, Yatsenjuk, Svoboda, etc.)

On Maidan the nice old ladies who cooked for them and the middle class (over 40 who still learned to read and write properly and learned normal history and lieterature) are all gone but they are still there, armies of ignorant, unemployed young men relieving themselves in latrines without doors on the main square and "shaking down" nice bakeries there and passers-by(who continue with normal life having to get through the labyrinth of the ramschakled huts on Maidan).

This is sort of a corollary rule to your collapse stages in slow motion. i.e. If collapse takes long enough the next generation will become like wild animals, barbarized and go about like a mob from hordes of Ghengis Khan, the huns or similar. This is what neglect looks like. In the remainder of the ex-Soviet Union I suppose tzhat their languages have translatability, literature, etc. in translation or that in some cases in Central Asia the society is really going back to a relatively primitive state. That this could happen in Europe in our century only confirms your collapse theory. If the thread she read is overblown and misinformed please tell me.

Andrew not the Saint said...

Whilst it's quite a stretch to call Putin's Russia a "dictatorship of law" (reading about systema is quite revealing) your article very accurately represents the hysterically desperate and hypocritical view of the Western establishment of Russia.

Perhaps only a good dose of totalitarianism (as in the USSR) would instil enough skepticism towards mass-media propaganda into the populous of the Western democracies.

Keep it up, Dmitry.

Liam Jackson said...

Will Russia pull the pin on US/EU/IMF funny money game or leave it to inevitable eventual implosion? If i was Putin i'd "if its falling, push it", as would leave more resources for still-affluent nations to consume. Isn't that how cannibal capitalism is played?

ps. it is truly bracing how biased the media in my country (Australia) is. There are no pro-Russian or even objective POV's in mainstream media here, there is some trenchant opposition buried in comment threads but the overwhelming mass of media content is 'pro-[US-EU]Ukraine'.

latheChuck said...

There's so much logic supporting the view that Russia had to protect the Russian-speaking people of Crimea. However, why was it that Crimean broadcast media ceased carrying news from Kiev just as the mysterious pro-Russian forces appeared? Wouldn't the free flow of information (even a diversity of lying propaganda) enhance the legitimacy of the electoral process?

Jon said...

I noticed that news outlets like NPR are having difficulty keeping the political reality in the Ukraine properly spinning. In a story yesterday they reported that the Ukrainian military was being ‘restrained’ in its responses to the ‘thugs’ in Crimea. Then, in the same spin cycle, they said that the forces in Kiev that overthrew the corrupt regime of Yanukovych were busily recruiting civilians for their newly formed national guard. 20,000 in one sentence and 80,000 in another. No one asked the obvious question: Why not just use the Ukrainian military? Isn’t that what it’s there for? I wonder how restrained the military will be against a mob of national thugs?

They must also have a police force. Do you have any sense of where they stand?

Jon.

DaShui said...

Don't forget we outsourced our space program to Russia.

Jena Samuels said...

It strikes me that you have begun to compare the US American reality to the Russian ideal. This is disingenuous and illogical. Although your presentation of the US reality is closely in accord what I also believe to be true, this doesn't seem to me to be the best way to carry out the comparison between the two.

forrest said...

I have no doubt that in Russia as in the US, the 'rule of Law' will turn out to mean: "If you want it, we'd really like to give it to you but the Law won't let us. If we want it, we'll make the Law give it to us."

William Hunter Duncan said...

And then there are those who are below the law: everyone else. These are some of the most sheepish people in the world, living in constant fear of getting sued and stripped of their savings—or arrested, intimidated into accepting a plea bargain, and locked up. They can now be detained indefinitely without a charge. They can be kidnapped from anywhere in the world, transported to a “black site” and tortured. They can be put on trial without being informed of the charge and convicted based on evidence that is kept secret from them. Their communities can be placed under martial law without cause. Individually, they can be shot on sight with no provocation of suspicion of wrongdoing. Abroad, when wedding parties and funerals are taken out by misguided drone strikes, that's a war crime—unless Washington is behind it, in which case it is just “collateral damage.”


You forgot to add, we can be killed, without the gov ever admitting that they did, or why.

WHD

Reverse Developer said...

...Fukuyama...I always hated that line about waking up from history. It always struck me as undiluted propaganda. We could not get enough of it.

I am almost numb to the idiotic and myopic stance of the US over this crisis which we have ourselves created and will never find the intellectual honesty to admit.

The only thing worse is the injustice of our dismisal of the Russian perspective. You are so right about the mental state of the global psychologist who cannot see the obvious: that Russian history is Russian history, some of it pleasing to remember, some not: but it is Russia's history nonetheless. To forget it in its entirety or dismiss it as an inconveneint counterpoint to 'western' modes of business is to doom oneself to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Russia has learned from collapse. The West has yet to, but will soon learn those same lessons. But first we will have to put down that bottle and wake up from our own history.

stihlhead1 said...

Excellent analysis Dimitry. Rational and reasoned thinking. I wonder if we in the West are trying to commit collective suicide with this insane adventure. Should as Brian mentioned anyone consider a "thrust" to the heartland of the Bear cave, one might consider the fate of the armies of the last two rather short gentlemen of note who attempted such. While one was Corsican and the other Austrian both armies left a trail of feces,blood and corpses all over the exit routes of
Russia and failed in their' haste to leave to clean them up. Tick Tock.

Shawn Sincoski said...

I can only imagine how futile it must feel in the US trying to ask questions about the MSM version of events. I would advise not to stress out about it too much. Things will play out at their own pace. Try to get a good seat for the show...

St. Roy said...

Brilliant Dmitry! Your understanding of world affairs and style of writing are remarkable.

Khani said...

I have been out loud laughing at the tenor of this article for a good 90 seconds, and yes holy shit it's so true.

America has indeed become a dumbcuntistan, for all intents and purposes. Hilarious.

Mark Sebela said...

Anyone paying attention knows that a big economic crash is going to happen sooner or later. If it was to happen now, what a perfect opportunity for Obama, the fed and the rest of the crooks to deflect blame. "It wasn't us it was them damn Russians" With the main stream press pushing that story most of the sheeple will buy it.

yvesT said...

Thanks for the analysis Dimitry.
What is quite amazing is also the level of propaganda reached in the media.
Even more in France maybe (I'm French) with a few dissenting voices, however the comments being much more diverse.
Especially the Rhetoric (which even Hillary Clinton has used) "Putin the new hitler, if we do nothing it will be a new Munich, "Poland is next" is coming up in more or less direct forms quite often. Or "Putin is a USSR Empire nostalgic"

On this what is your view regarding potential "expensionist" plan from Putin.
For me it sounds ridiculous (especially in the sense : for sure Russia has no interest in subsidizing a bunch of countries with cheap oil and gas), but maybe the case for Baltic countries for instance ?
And there was this demonstration last week end of "pro invasion", people in red outfits with cccp 2.0 flags or something plus demonstrating in military style formations. Who are these people ? Helped by the government ? (for sure the type of images that western media are quick to pick up).

Overall it is quite amazing to what point Europan leaders follow Washington voice up to the point of totally forgetting about European interests (economic ones especially).
I guess Merkel (or Germans in general) could be the ones reverting that a bit.

Quite amazing to consider the "hyper Atlaticism shift" compared to for instance what happened regarding the construction of the transsiberian gas pipeline beginning 80ies :
"The efforts by the US pressure to prevent the construction of the pipeline, and its export embargo of supplies for the pipeline (1980–1984) constituted one of the most severe transatlantic crises of the Cold War."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urengoy%E2%80%93Pomary%E2%80%93Uzhgorod_pipeline

Kutamun said...

Full on mate , i agree with you , the west is financially and morally bankrupt . I am a descendant of first fleet convicts to Australia , and Irish fleeing the potato famine .. Our own prime minister once described us as " a pimple on the arse of the world ". These days we are a remote resource province of crumbling american empire , ringed by Gulags and daily force fed extreme neo con propaganda by our wholly corporate controlled media . Big Bad Vlad is publicly enemy number one down under at the moment , and he should be scared when he realises we Aussies once tried to invade Turkey ( and failed ) , though we go up there every year and get drunk on rum , annoy all the locals and carry on like it was an old footy match we once took part in and remember fondly. What the Turks think of all these drunken Aussies singing " god save the queen " on their beach every year is anyones guess .. I am sure there would be a big brouhaha if the young japanese flocked down every year to raise the rising sun flag and party on sydneys bondi beach ... But what the heck ? We are the good guys , we are best mates with " the world police ".
I think though that we all should remember that while the american dollar was once backed by gold , then oil , these days it is backed lots of guns and other nasty toys , and there are a lot of crazy wyatt earps over there , so i cant see them just riding off quietly into the night . Fortunately Vlad knows all this , and is a lot saner than anyone in America , so i hope he continues to proceed cautiously... For all our sakes . I am sure if he gives them enough rope they will hang themselves ..
Cheers Mate

Samantha said...

Interesting article at BBC: Ukraine officer 'killed in attack on Crimea base'
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26637296

"An eyewitness told the BBC that armed men arrived in two unmarked vehicles, storming the base in Simferopol and firing automatic weapons."

"Crimean police later said both Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces had been fired on from a single location and that one Ukrainian was killed and one injured, and one pro-Russian was killed and one injured."

It seems US tax dollars are at work AGAIN in Crimea...

ed boyle said...

My comments are supported by the events of the day. A 17 yeqar old from Lvov in Western Ukraine has been trained and sent as a sniper to provoke a war between military of both sides. Apparently the brainwashing starts very young and he was likely trained abroad by foreigners:

Furhter research results in the title UNA-UNSO in research by Engdahl

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-secretive-neo-nazi-military-organization-involved-in-euromaidan-snyper-shootings/5371611

"Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the crack-para-military UNA-UNSO members have been behind every revolt against Russian influence. The one connecting thread in their violent campaigns is always anti-Russia. The organization, according to veteran US intelligence sources, is part of a secret NATO “GLADIO” organization, and not a Ukraine nationalist group as portrayed in western media. [6]"

According to these sources, UNA-UNSO have been involved (confirmed officially) in the Lithuanian events in the Winter of 1991, the Soviet Coup d’etat in Summer 1991, the war for the Pridnister Republic 1992, the anti-Moscow Abkhazia War 1993, the Chechen War, the US-organized Kosovo Campaign Against the Serbs, and the August 8 2008 war in Georgia. According to these reports, UNA-UNSO para-military have been involved in every NATO dirty war in the post-cold war period, always fighting on behalf of NATO. “These people are the dangerous mercenaries used all over the world to fight NATO’s dirty war, and to frame Russia because this group pretends to be Russian special forces. THESE ARE THE BAD GUYS, forget about the window dressing nationalists, these are the men behind the sniper rifles,” these sources insist. [7]

If true that UNA-UNSO is not “Ukrainian” opposition, but rather a highly secret NATO force using Ukraine as base, it would suggest that the EU peace compromise with the moderates was likely sabotaged by the one major player excluded from the Kiev 21 February diplomatic talks—Victoria Nuland’s State Department.[8] Both Nuland and right-wing Republican US Senator John McCain have had contact with the leader of the Ukrainian opposition Svoboda Party, whose leader is openly anti-semitic and defends the deeds of a World War II Ukrainian SS-Galicia Division head.[9] The party was registered in 1995, initially calling itself the “Social National Party of Ukraine” and using a swastika style logo. Svoboda is the electoral front for neo-nazi organizations in Ukraine such as UNA-UNSO.[10]"

ed boyle said...

latest news:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article182802.html#nh1

"There was another phone call today between Secretary of State Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. The call came after a strategy meeting on Ukraine in the White House. During the call Kerry agreed to Russian demands for a federalization of the Ukraine in which the federal states will have a strong autonomy against a neutralized central government. Putin had offered this “off-ramp” from the escalation and Obama has taken it.

...

It describes the process of getting to a new Ukrainian constitution and sets some parameters for it. The Russian language will be again official language next to the Ukrainian, the regions will have high autonomy, there will be no interferences in church affairs and the Ukraine will stay politically and militarily neutral. Any autonomy decision by the Crimea would be accepted. This would all be guaranteed by a “Support Group for Ukraine” consisting of the US, EU and Russia and would be cemented in an UN Security Council resolution.

It seems that Kerry and Obama have largely accepted these parameters. They are now, of course, selling this solution as their own which is, as the “non-paper” proves, not the reality."

Lizzy said...

Brilliant. Good work. The press here (UK) is more-or-less totally behind the US. But there are some voices, like Liam Halligan in the Telegraph and Jon Snow, Channel 4. I would say a majority of my friends and family are dismayed by the EU and US pronouncements. We think it is stupid and our of a past era.

rufus said...

Interesting...I posted a link to this essay on a supposedly "liberal" blog last nite, one that of course is spouting the same "Putin is crazy and must be stopped" meme, and the comment was removed and I was banned.

There is the corporate-sanctioned story and thou shall not deviate from it!

Nathan Donaldson said...

In chess terms: If the US now takes Syria, Russia takes Eastern Ukraine. The beginning of Cold War II, the one that quickly ends in Western bankruptcy. Will the US continue to play through these moves. Of course it will! I use to view Israel as just a parasite, but now I realize it's a dangerous parasite, the kind that makes it's host go crazy.

Massimiliano Rupalti said...

thanks Dmitry for this enlightening piece. Here in Italian:

http://ugobardi.blogspot.it/2014/03/la-follia-del-presidente-putin.html

A. Dundee said...

A rational, objective, authentic assessment of the West's irrational, non-objective, inauthentic, inane hubris that is so much absurdity when measured against reality that it can be perceived by a balanced and whole mind as nothing but an intentionally designed descent into chaos.

Avi said...

Yeah go ahead and blame Israel for Obama's cretinism:(

Tatu Portin said...

Me and my mother Hilkka Rajala openly support Vladimir Putin in his efforts to bring peace, law and order into Ukraine, and why not into other neighbouring countries as well. Finland has independency, because Emperor Alexander I of Russia gave autonomy for Finland. Finland is said to be the window of Russia to the West. I have dear Russian friends too, whom I know personally. I hate western decadency too, as does my girlfriend too. Time has passed from west, let it collapse like ancient Rome.

Mike Doherty said...

Thank you Mr Orlov for your amazing insight and analysis. I have just been introduced to your blog after watching your interview on 'USA Watchdog'.

I am from the UK and no longer avail myself of the MSM. I shall pass your blogsite on.

The US House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers (R-MI) summed the Ukraine crisis up perfectly on Fox News Sunday by saying “Putin is playing chess, and I think we’re playing marbles."

Please keep up the good work.

BugCommunity said...

I'd like to note that Frau Merkel - born in East Germany - speaks Russian, and Putin speaks German, also from his time as a KGB officer in Germany. I assume this means they are able to communicate fluently.

AFAIK, Merkel never said Putin was living “in another world”. Die Welt, the German newspaper, reported that "The chancellery was not pleased with the reporting on the conversation. They claim that what the chancellor said was that Putin has a different perception on Crimea, which is why she is pushing for a fact finding mission on the matter."

It seems Merkel said of Putin "he has a different preception on Crimea". Next day, you could read that she said he had "an alternate view of reality". A day later, it morphed into "he's in another world".

The whole episode says more about the way the Western press works than about Putin. Or Merkel, for that matter.

Buíça said...

Excellent analysis, congratulations.
However, we shouldn't underestimate the power of the world's reserve currency. Russia can probably afford breaking off from the dollar rule but Europe, dependent on the US for defence and flooded with dollar-investments, can not afford to do the same.
Europe, the wealthiest and biggest energy consumer on earth is evidently the "prize" on this new conflict. For more than a century now the axis of US external policy has been securing captive sources of energy and captive markets for it. With the emergence of an alternative and thirsty buyer for energy (China), the world's superpower has had to isolate Iran and create all the turmoil in the middle east so that these sources don't shift their allegiance to a new buyer.
In Syria and Ukraine we have another chapter, where the US looks to prevent Russia from continuing to grow in wealth and independence that the European client provides. On one side they need Syria to build gas and oil pipelines from the arabic peninsula, on the other they seek to disrupt Russia's supply routes in Ukraine and the black sea making it an unreliable supplier of energy to european markets.
As usual, Europe, with no army and split between 28 decision centers, has most to lose. Merkel needs to play this extremely carefully.
Money, power, energy: in the long run you are only as independent as you can control your power/energy sources.

Zoia Montenegro said...

It's just brilliant. As Russian myself, who got through all the dramatic changes in my country since collapse of USSR, which deeply effected me personally, I support Mr Putin with all my heart. I fear even to imagine what would be with Russia if Putin wouldn't appear on political scene. He called disintegration of USSR geo-political tragedy and it really is. It affected us, Russians ( no matter what the origin we are) personally, it affected Russia as a country and the World as well. So, I hope this Mr Orlov's article will help the World community to understand the great place Vladimir Putin has taken in our lives. Thank you.

Tamara Lefleur Smith said...

Thank you for a well written article. At times I tried not to laugh at the double sided humour. I am Russian, born in Australia. Proud of my heritage, my parents coming to Australia in late 40s and mid 50s.

It is so heartbreaking to see all the bad press about Russia in the Western media. They have no concept, or understanding of what it is all about.

The backgrounds of the groups who now are in power in Ukraine are suddenly ignored by western media, why?

Here in Australia, the government is following the US like a bunch of sheep, not questioning, just following.

It's refreshing to see Australians not supporting the US or EU version of events in the comments.

You should read some of the stuff in Australian papers...

I must give you an example... please don't delete it...

http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/demand-for-a-public-apology-from-timothy-lynch-for-calling-russians-barbarians-and-invaders-of-germany-in-the-newspaper-the-age#

Thank you for writing the truth, with some humour to make this whole issue at least somewhat less horrible.

Goldmund said...

Great essay Dmitri. I would like to learn more about the role of peak oil in all of this. It's all about fossil fuels, right? The impression you give is that Russia controls a lot of it and can turn off the spigot to the West anytime, so they hold all the power that really matters. But Russia occupies a large chunk of planet earth and they are certainly not immune from the effects of climate change and pollution from radiation and toxic chemicals, but I haven't heard much about how they are dealing with or preparing for this looming catastrophe. I may be wrong, but they seem to be as much in denial about it as everyone else. Any thoughts?

Joseph Turnage said...

"But Russia could also choose to do little or nothing"...

That would be so Zen!