Category Archives: Russia

Critical view of House of Lords report on SOA between EU and Russia over Ukraine

European Committee of House of Lords issued new report

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldselect/ldeucom/115/115.pdf

titled “The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine”

 

At first glance report seem to be exhaustive and despite varied mix of experts invited or interviewed by HL committee it has many inherent flaws which render it’s useless and impractical in formulating EU and UK policy towards Russia overall and Russian involvement in Ukraine in particular.

 

Wrong content:

 

Omissions and commissions in HL report

 

1 House of Lords rightfully noted broken Western promises not to enlarge NATO and presented facts indicating imperial nature of EU project when it failed to recognize both trading blocks led by Russia: Commonwealth of Independent States (under which Ukraine enjoys wide range of privileges) and Eurasian Union which is going to replace CIS.

 

Imagine Western reaction if Russia would poach European member-states inviting them to join Eurasian Union and would say to Brussels: “It’s none of your business”.

 

However HL report don’t go in details of Ukraine privileges and obligations as member of CIS – it’s major omission and thus Russian trading interests in Ukraine not covered sufficiently.

 

2 House of Lords report totally omit Nazi nature of Ukraine regime installed by the West in coup, numerous war crimes committed by Kiev regime forces in Donbas as well as human rights violations from mass murders (as in Odessa) to systematic torture in Kiev regime Gestapo’s secret jails around the country.

 

No word on widespread totalitarian censorship in media and persecution of political dissidents by new regime.

 

Without open discussions and honest assessments about nature of Kiev regime and its despicable actions full-fledged dialogue between Russia and the West won’t happen, the sides in new Cold War are bound to have limited interactions on ceasefires and unilaterally imposed sanctions and counter-sanctions. There will be no dialogue between Western societies and Russian society as well.

 

House of Lords also wrongly assume in passing (in remarks of biased so-called experts) benevolent view Russians have of the West in general and European Union in particular.

 

EU maybe seeing itself as community of democratic, well-governed, corrupt-less and peace-loving states but in Russian point of view such claim not corroborated by hard facts which show long history of disastrous wars and invasions in different parts of the world from Mali and Libya in Africa to Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq in Asia as well as giant corruption and plutocracy which prosper and often institutionalized in EU member states.

 

Hard facts also show new EU member states like Bulgaria essentially lost their sovereignty, all important decisions taken in Brussels and Washington, the country host US military base (while never hosted Russian military base in past) and US envoys behave in overbearing manner of Hitler’s ambassadors to Sofia.

 

3 War in Donbas, its origins as rebellion against Kiev tyranny, executed by Kiev regime genocide of Donbas people and destruction of the region infrastructure, as well as implication for Crimea validating claim that Crimeans faced imminent threat from ultranationalist and illegal government in Kiev and Ukrainian neoNazi groups patronized by new regime, totally omitted from HL report.

 

Wrong experts:

 

Liliya Shevtsova bound her fate to Ukraine regime regularly posting in all-Ukrainian newspaper Den (The Day) ridiculous articles comparing ussia to Nazi Germany and Putin to Hitler. She was wrong in so many assessments that it’s difficult to list them all here.

 

Sergey Guriev disguises himself as economist but worked as investment banker who fled Russia for greener pastures. He holds grudge against Russia and tries to talk down Russian economy at every opportunity using manipulation tricks usual for Western press.

 

Mikhail Kasyanov is one of the leaders of discredited pro-Western marginal opposition in Russia, regarded as Western stooge. Has corrupt reputation since early 1990s and was nicknamed Misha 2% (his usual rate of bribe from contracts value).

 

Vladimir Kara-Murza has image in Russia of dishonest journalist since his work on oligarch Gusinsky controlled NTV when he was part of defamation campaigns against Gusinsky’s rivals. Later he re-emerged on various pro-Western media outlets but could not distinguish himself even on field on rabid anti-Putinism.

 

 

My verdict:

 

Without discussing what happened and happening in Ukraine since Western coup and disastrous war in Donbas House of Lords report is at best useless and impractical piece of paper.

 

 

Score in Cold War 2.0 on eve of Minsk 2.0

The best war is the one which didn’t start said Sun-Tzu. A war is last argument of rulers when compromise in bitter dispute not possible and destruction of lives and properties can bring about another situation when compromise becomes possible or one of the sides of war had disappeared in the process (was defeated, annihilated, genocided etc).

My focus is on big picture, Cold War 2.0 between the West led by US against Russia in Ukraine. Big stages in this undeclared war are well known:

1 Euromaidan stage where the West supported and instigated overthrow of president Yanukovich. It ended successfully for the West in coup on Feb 22 2014. 1:0 West leads score.

2 Kiev junta immediately tried to assert authority but failed in mainly populated by ethnic Russians Crimea where local government asked local militia led by Aksyonov to defend from pro-Kiev elements, on March 1 peninsula was effectively annexed by Russian and pro-Russian forces. On March 15 overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted in favor of independence from Ukraine & to join Russian Federation as its subject. Wild celebrations erupt across country. Score became 1:1.

3 In April unrest is growing in other pro-Russian regions of Donbas where many destabilizing elements from Russia arrive. They find receptive population angry with illegal Kiev government stuffed by Western stooges. Talks in Geneva ended inconclusively. Russian political class discusses possibility of direct intervention in Ukraine to quickly overthrow Kiev junta & install sort of interim regime which can restore balance in Ukraine between pro-Russian & pro-Western regions. The West of course will declare the step illegal like Soviet Union help to its puppet government in Afghanistan in 1979 but many lives could be saved.

4 United States emissaries urge Kiev junta for tough action against so far peaceful pro-Russian separatists who organized campaign for federalization and decentralization of Ukraine. On May 2 Kiev junta organized one of the most disgusting and macabre mass murders in modern history – pro-Kiev Nazi thugs killed, slashed, chopped, beat to death and burned upto 100 pro-federalization supporters in Odessa. US and Western governments and press openly lying about Odessa Massacre blaming victims they burn themselves. Putin keeps silence for 3 long days apparently was so shocked by US-sponsored action.  Score 2:1 West leads.

5 Such heinous crime radicalized situation in Donbas where overwhelming majority vote in favor of independence in local referendums. Kiev junta response was vicious, launching military operation against rebels. First victims of civil war appear. In the end of May Kiev junta organized sham election, by simple mathematical trick (by removing 6 mln Donbas voters from list) elect oligarch Poroshenko as new president in 1st round (in fact he gathered less than 50% of votes). Russia is forced to recognize Poroshenko as well as refrain from authorizing Donbas referendums. Score 3:1 West leads.

6 Poroshenko’s reign of terror in Donbas started with June 2 air raid on Lugansk downtown killing many civilians. Raid blamed by Kiev propaganda on exploded air-conditioner in building later to rebels using RPGs despite the war crime was accidentally recorded on mobile cameras. Hastily organized local Donbas militia not match for well equipped invading Kiev forces and suffer heavy losses. Western media and governments continue to lie relentlessly, West leads score 4:1.

7 Russia by intrigues tries to remove Russian elements from separatist leadership and in the end Moscow succeeds, Strelkov and Borodai resigned and went back to Russia. In Lugansk initial leader Bolotov replaced by his aide Plotnitsky. New leaders of Donetsk belong to Oplot, pro-Russian group from Kharkov, its leader Zakharchenko becomes PM. In exchange for replacing leaders on locals Moscow, it is alleged by Kiev and the West, had provided military help to Donbas rebels in form of better trained volunteers and some armory and guns. Russian government still denies its involvement while Donbas rebels say weapons they got from Ukraine army bases. Presence of volunteers from Russia is not denied by Moscow and Donetsk. Mismanaged Ukrainian forces trying to secure border with Russia had suffered heavy defeats in several cauldrons (pockets). Kiev had to go for Minsk ceasefire 1.0 on Sept 15, obviously for regrouping and rearming. West still leads the score but lost this round 4:2.

8 In autumn while many volunteers from Russia went back local Donbas rebels after Minsk agreement gaining relative break in war start intensive training. Local elections held in November, participation still strong. Kiev also held election of parliament Rada; rearming (with Western help) and regrouping as well as both sides continue artillery duels along the frontline. Kiev’s losses in armymen not known due to secrecy and lies but civilian victims of Kiev shelling cities test patience of rebels. As Kiev reneges on its Minsk promises all understand ceasefire is temporary and fighting can resume at any moment. The West (still united but without new allies) imposed new round of anti-Russian sanctions but result not yet seen. However anemic economic recovery of Eurozone & oil fracking boom led to oversupply of 1mln barrel of oil a day on world markets and oil prices had crashed which led to devaluation of ruble by 100% from 33 to 66 per $1. Obama takes credit for that as usual. The score increases to 5:2.

9 In the middle of January Putin sent letter to Poroshenko, got no reply but on January 18 Kiev forces launched aborted storm of old terminal of Donetsk airport breaking ceasefire. In resumed fighting Donbas rebels using lent from Lugansk rebels heavy artillery managed to destroy airport tower and stormed new terminal of airport which was controlled by Kiev cyborgs. Big victory apparent. In early February rebels managed to trap big Ukraine army group in Debaltsevo, another huge military victory. It became clear Sept-Jan ceasefire was used by Donbas rebels better than by Kiev. Alarmed by Kiev defeats the West fractures, Germany and France broke ranks with US and embark on peace mission to Kiev and Moscow essentially agreeing on Putin’s terms. This stage should end today February 11 by signing Minsk 2.0 agreement. Score in US-Russia war became 5:3.

Golden ruble

Full blown Russian currency crisis was entirely predictable. Russian companies & banks must pay back $30 bln to Western banks in this month but crisis still caught Kremlin off the guard. Ruble is in free fall, desperate midnight hikes of key interest rate by Central Bank chief Nabiullina didn’t help.

So what to do & who’s responsible – two eternal questions hotly debated in Russia.

In my view Putin must understand RUSSIA IN the state of undeclared WAR with Ukraine and the West so his government (stuffed by Liberals of old Washington Consensus school) piece-meal approach will escalate financial crisis which will spill over into real sector and jeopardize his regime.

Whenever I listen to economists debating necessary measures they skirt over stand-off with the West by citing “geopolitical risks”. But nobody tell what will happen if the West or crazy Kiev junta will declare real war on Russia? What will Putin do?

I think Kremlin must sack Nabiullina and Ulyukaev (and Medvedev if necessary) & appoint Glazyev’s team into economic ministries & Central Bank. Some Glazyev’s ideas were quite radical, but he sensed coming geopolitical risks long before the current crisis which Nabiullina, Ulyukaev prove to be incapable of dealing with.

But changing personalities won’t calm markets – ONLY PEGGING RUBLE TO GOLD WILL HELP to bring about much needed macroeconomic stability, tame inflation & restore economic growth.

I know gold price is manipulated by US, but unlike oil gold cannot cost cheaper than certain level otherwise Indians will consume all gold of the world. Besides size of US Fed golden reserves many questioned. I don’t believe in a moment US Fed will dump its gold reserves to make damage to Russian currency. If that will be the case Russia, India and China should buy all American gold on the market.

Pegging currency to gold has its disadvantages, first of all regarding emission of money, but advantages of gold pegging in present circumstances seem to be prevailing.

Anyway Russian ruble since 1990s unofficially pegged exchange rate of ruble to another commodity – oil so I see no big moral problems switching to golden ruble, if Nabiullina think pegging to oil is “free floating” while to gold is not, let her to prove first how is that oil different from gold as commodity?

Parallels between 1971 India-Pakistan war & present Russia-Ukraine conflict

Stephen Cohen (of Brookings Institution, not to be confused with Russia specialist Stephen Cohen) in “Idea of Pakistan” writes of moral & martial superiority lying behind Jinna’s idea of providing home & protection for Muslims of Indian subcontinent after departure of British colonizers. Martial contest between predominantly Hindu India & largely Muslim Pakistan immediately ensued over disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir even when last British troops not yet departed from the country. 1st Indo-Pak war was followed by more bloody Partition which considered as largest ever historical migration of people.

In 21st century it became clear who won historic contest between Gandhi-Nehru vision of secular & tolerant India & martial, morally superior Pakistan – while the former is member of prestigious BRICS group, hoping for permanent seat in UNSC, universally regarded as emerging world power, the latter is balancing on brink of failed state, plagued by daily terror acts perpetrated by Islamist groups Islamabad long nurtered as soft power tool against Soviets in Afghanistan and India in Kashmir. Pakistan’s martial superiority was heavily compromised by loss of 1971 war against India & while moral bankruptcy evident in denying undeniable, i.e. its support to various terror outfits.

In many ways sad India & Pakistan rivalry mirrors now in Russia & Ukraine conflict. Many Indians & most Pakistanis speak one language called Hindi in India & Urdu in Pakistan. They have common history since Ancient Indus civilization, many people adopted & were converted to Islam, numerous families live on both sides of the border. Difference with Ukraine/Russia divide of course is religion – most Ukrainians and Russians are Orthodox Christians however after 80 years of atheistic Soviet rule influence of religion on politics & society became minimal.

“Idea of Ukraine” was expressed by its former president Kuchma in negative terms: “Ukraine Is Not Russia” & stems not only from Western Ukrainian rabid nationalism & sense of linguistic victimhood (in Soviet times their variety of Slavic language was frowned upon & discouraged) but also from jealousy to its rich in territory and natural resources “elder brother”, desire to live like in Europe, shame from chronic and rampant corruption at all levels, incompetence & greed of politicians & oligarchs etc.

Ukrainians yet to deploy its “soft power” terror groups against Russia to complete historical parallels but they distinguished themselves in committing mass murders of pro-Russian activists & civilians in Donbas & spreading copious amount of lies covering up their war crimes. Same can be said of Pakistanis who perpetrated genocide in East Bengal & still in denial over their use of terrorists. India under Indira Gandhi in 1971 intervened in Pakistan’s civil war & ensured Bangladesh independence from Islamabad. Russia officially yet to intervene directly in Ukraine civil war however her support for rebels obvious both in volunteers and humanitarian aid to Donbas.

Common for 1971 & 2014 cases is unwavering support United States had given to Pakistan & Ukraine genocidal policies by arms & diplomatic campaign. For Nixon administration Indira Gandhi became persona non-grata, “that bitch”, for Obama Putin is devil incarnate. Lies & aggressive posturing of Republican & Democrat US administrations also similar though differ in size cause India then & Russia now still in different leagues. US in 1971 cancelled vital humanitarian aid to India, in 2014 they try to strangle Russia economically.

But result will be the same, utter failure, I am sure.