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Boris Nemtsov.Putin’s Soviet Russia. © shoutout2day.com
At first glance, and from the point of view of a sane person, the war between Russia and Ukraine is some sort of a nightmare, a madness that only brings grief, conflicts and problems to all.
Half a year ago this scenario seemed unreal. It seems that it would take an enemy of both Russia and Ukraine to make enemies out of two peoples with centuries of common history.
However, current events indicate that the most nightmarish, the most bloody scenario of fratricidal war is already developing. This is not our war, this is not your war, this is not the war of 20-year old paratroopers sent out there. This is Vladimir Putin’s war.
Why does he need it? Well, he has openly answered this question himself. “We need to start negotiations about politically organizing a society and statehood in southeastern Ukraine.”
He made this statement only now, but the sending of saboteurs-separatists, weapons, and a persistent desire of Putin to force Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to sit at the negotiation table with pro-Putin militants, many of whom are Russian citizens – all of this betrayed his intentions long before the public confession.
The words of Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, which followed those of Putin, that Putin was misunderstood about the statehood of the east of Ukraine, should not be taken seriously. He talks nonsense all the time. Things like “Putin is married to Russia.” So, once again, Putin himself said: “We need to start negotiations about a political organization of the society and statehood in south-east of Ukraine.” End of quote.
Until lately the goal of Ukraine’s dissection has not been set publicly, but instead replaced with the idea of so-called federalization. Kremlin’s hypocrisy lies in its attempt to impose on Ukraine and its people something that actual Russian citizens are deprived of because Russia itself has not had any sort of federal state for a long time, since 2004.
Feeble attempts to advocate for the interests of the regions – primarily for the financial ones – are suppressed in a cruel way.
So, Putin is trying to dissect Ukraine and create in the east of the country a puppet state, Novorossiya, that is full economically and politically controlled by the Kremlin.
It’s crucial for his clan to control metallurgy in the east of Ukraine, as well as its military-industrial complex. Moreover, southeastern Ukraine is rich in shale gas which would create real competition for the business of Putin’s Gazprom.
A disastrous tourism season in Crimea, with a sharp decline in the number of tourists, unheard of price hikes for goods and services, a shortage of drinking water, is pushing Putin’s regime towards the annexation of southeastern Ukraine to create a ground corridor to the peninsula.
To achieve these goals, Putin brought in his troops, including paratroopers and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s men. This is why he supplies weapons and heavy artillery to the east, and this is why he doomed Russia to isolation and sanctions.
These are the paranoid goals for which Russians and Ukrainians are dying while Russia itself is sinking into lies, violence, obscurantism and imperial hysteria.
It’s easy to brush it off by saying that he is insane. Many people occasionally think so, including this author. But there is also another explanation.
Through his bloody actions though he his fomenting a fratricidal war; one can see his main goal – preservation of personal power and money at any cost. Before the war his popularity rating was crawling down slowly but surely.
Despite censorship, little by little the society started to understand that those in power are greedy and amoral people whose main goal is personal enrichment.
The Party of Thieves (Editor’s note: This is a common derogatory reference to Yedinaya Rossia, the ruling party of Russia) was losing its position and needed a large-scale shakeup, which would reverse the trend and restore popularity and trust.
Ukraine became an example of an anti-criminal revolution, which overthrew a thieving president. Oh so you dared to get out onto the street and throw off a president? Ukraine needs to be punished for it to make sure that no Russian would gets these thoughts.
Moreover, Ukraine chose the European way, which implies the rule of law, democracy and change of power. Ukraine’s success on this way is a direct threat to Putin’s power because he chose the opposite course – a lifetime in power, filled with arbitrariness and corruption.
Now, to make sure he does not end up behind bars for violating the constitution of the Russian Federation because sending troops to a foreign state without the approval of the Federation Council of Russia, as well as the violation of Russia’s international obligations on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, Putin does not leave himself any maneuvers except to stay in power until his death.
So his behavior looks like madness, but in fact it’s a cold strategy for life-long despotism.
Often supporters of the idea of Russian World (Editor’s note: This idea implies the existence of a trans-national community united by its love of Russia, its culture and language) explain Putin’s aggression in Ukraine by saying that post-Soviet republics, including Ukraine, is the zone of vital interests for Russia.
Instead of showing the world an example of rule of law, security, development and high quality of life, implanted into the minds of people is the concept of raw force and threats. However, he achieves the opposite result.
Ukraine is already heading for NATO, even though before the war it had a non-aligned status. The actual North Atlantic Treaty has grown stronger, the bond between America and Europe has become more durable than before. Moreover, Putin’s aggression consolidated the Ukrainian people, and the fight for independence and territorial integrity became the national idea.
In other words, none of Putin’s goals have been achieved. The opposite is happening.
(Boris Nemtsov is a top opposition figure in Russia, and leader of Solidarnost, a liberal political force).
Kremlin Invasion Exposed: Russian human rights advocate criticizes Putin for illegal incursion #RussiainvadedUkraine
Russia has invaded Ukraine. That is the message from Ella Polyakova, a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisory council on human rights.
Polyakova has broken ranks with the Russia’s increasingly untenable policy of denying it has invaded Ukraine and suggested it was not ethical of the Kremlin to continue hiding the truth.
Is this the face of a mad man or the face of a fool?
Vladimir Putin has demonstrated to the world that sanctions will not stopped him rebuilding his ‘glorious’ Soviet Union, today it is the invasion of Ukraine, tomorrow Poland, Romania and possibly even Germany, after all who is going to step up to the plate to stop him?
The world needs to stop him now before it is too late, because if they don’t we can all say goodbye to democracy and freedom, not since Hitler’s Germany has a country invaded another to increase it’s own territory.
Russia, Like Nazi Germany have made increasingly aggressive territorial demands, first Crimea and now eastern and south eastern Ukraine, Hitler attacked the Jews, gays and others deemed undesirable were persecuted or murdered, Putin attacks the Tatars and gays (LGBT) and others deemed undesirable are persecuted and probably murdered or made to ‘disappear’.
Are we simply going to sit back and let history repeat itself, because we are all afraid of, dare I say it… the ‘nuclear’ war!
Action needs to be taken and it needs to be taken NOW!!
By Paul Roderick Gregory.Trucks of Russian humanitarian convoy are parked in a field outside the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky in Rostov region, some 30 km from the Russian-Ukrainian border, Russia, on August 16, 2014. The Ukrainian military had announced that checks had begun on the near 300-truck convoy but later said only that 59 border and customs officials had arrived at a Russian border post to prepare to carry out the inspections. AFP PHOTO / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV
What was supposed to be a PR bonanza is ending up as another black eye for Vladimir Putin, the heralded chess master of world politics.
Did he really expect the world community to force Ukraine to allow in Russia’s gift of humanitarian assistance, no questions asked? Did he really think that Ukraine would allow his convoy to proceed into a war zone as cameras recorded the celebratory reception by starving and suffering civilians? Did Putin really not understand that national leaders look askance at attempts to cross national borders without permission? That is the International Politics 101 lecture that Putin failed to attend.
Ukraine crisis: Russian aid trucks ‘almost empty‘ – BBC News
An official government website, Russia Behind the News, heralded the impending delivery to beleaguered Donbassians of “some 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian supplies” in 280 KamAz trucks, including “400 tonnes of cereal, 100 tonnes of sugar, 62 tonnes of baby food, 54 tonnes of medical equipment and medication, 12,000 sleeping bags, and 69 portable power generators.” What good news, but how were these supplies to get across the border, much less into an active war zone?
As would be expected, negotiations among Russia, Ukraine, and the International Committee of the Red Cross failed on August 14, after international leaders called in protest. Putin could not afford a direct confrontation so he blinked. The white-painted KamAz-truck convoy ended up parked near the Ukrainian border awaiting inspection, as some hundred curious reporters swarmed the scene, taking pictures as they urged drivers to display the contents of the trucks.
To the shock of the reporters, trucks contained a few bags of flour, a large bundle of bottled water, and other miscellaneous items – far from the cornucopia promised by Russian propaganda. In his video report, a BBC reporter reacted to what he had seen: “What strikes me most about these lorries is that they are almost empty.” When asked about another truck that remained unopened, the BBC reporter was told its manifest stated it contained eight tons of buckwheat flour – two tons in excess of the KAMaz’s maximum load. So we have near empty trucks alongside those carrying more than their allowable weight.
The “almost empty” narrative (see also reporter Courtney Weaver’s photos) has turned Putin’s humanitarian gesture into a running joke. One writer has dubbed the convoy the “Trojan Mules.” A social media commentator quips that the trucks are half empty so that they can pick up Polish vegetables and apples on the way back. Another asks why Russia would send 100 trucks that are two percent full instead of five that are 100 percent full? According to my calculation, that would have saved Russia 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
The “almost empty” convoy has conspiracy theorists looking for a rational explanation. One making the rounds is that Russia needs a large number of trucks to extract their mercenary forces from Ukraine, spelling the end or lessening of the guerilla war sponsored by Russia, at least for the time being. A second story is that the 280 transport vehicles would give pro-Russian forces a logistical boost. Sources with extensive military experience, however, tell me that such trucks would not prove of much value on the Donbass war front.
I’ll go with the simplest explanation: Putin wanted to make a big PR splash for his August 14 speech in Crimea – a speech so lackluster that the full transcript has not been published on Putin’s website. (Kremlinologists: figure that one out). He planned to present himself to Crimea and the world as the humanitarian, peace-loving Putin. The world listened, heard his usual pleas for peace, and world stock markets fell. They have heard this story too many times. Even more humiliating is that Ukrainian aid has already arrived with more to follow. To make matters worse, reporters, whiling away their time on the unguarded border, are reporting armored personnel carriers loaded with Russian troops (with Russian insignia no less) whizzing unhindered across the border. Russia’s protests that reporters should not “believe their lying eyes” seem to be falling on empty ears.
What Putin hoped to be a huge publicity triumph is turning into a PR disaster, second only to the downing of MH17. He might go down in history as “empty-truck Putin,” or “Ebenezer Putin.” Next time he should think things through before he embarks on another misadventure.
(Paul Roderick Gregory covers domestic and world economics from a free-market perspective)
Paul Roderick Gregory - Forbes.
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has described as ‘disgusting’ pictures of Ukraine rebels digging through the possessions of people killed in disaster.
In a short news conference, Rutte said he had just had a ‘very intense’ phone call with Russian president Vladimir Putin. ‘I told him “time is running out for you to show the world that you have good intentions, that you will take responsibility”,’ Rutte said.
Putin now ‘has to show that he will do what is expected of him and will exert his influence,’ the Dutch prime minister said.
‘It is 35 degrees there. The bodies need to be recovered now. I want to see results, unhindered access and the repatriation of the victims.’
The phone conversation with Putin was ‘very personal’, the Dutch prime minister said.
‘I think the entire Dutch population knows people who directly or indirectly know someone who was on board. There were 80 people under the age of 18, of whom 23 were under the age of 12 and three were babies. It is too terrible for words.’
Images of rebels holding up children’s toys were ‘too disgusting for words’, Rutte said. Such action is also hindering the investigation into the crash, he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans met Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in Kiev and told him the Netherlands was ‘angry, furious’ at the news that bodies were being dragged around the crash site, Reuters said.
‘Once we have the proof, we will not stop before the people are brought to justice. Not just the people who pulled the trigger but also those who made it possible. I think the international community needs to step up its efforts in this respect,’ Reuters quoted Timmermans as saying.
According to Dutch broadcaster Nos, Poroschenko in turn told Timmermans it is unacceptable that international experts are being denied access to the disaster zone.
‘We will not tolerate interference with the work of the commission and that those representatives of other countries do not have the possibility of conducting an objective investigation,’ Poroshenko is quoted as saying.
However, the separatists deny interfering, Nos television reports. It quotes ‘one of their commanders’ as saying they have promised the OSCE that they will not touch bodies or the remains of the plane.
As well as Dutch, Malaysian and Ukrainian researchers have arrived in the region to begin investigating the crash. Two German forensic pathologists are also on their way to Ukraine, as is a six strong-British team, Nos television said.
Malaysia Airlines released the full passenger list on Saturday. The Dutch death toll is now put at 193, out of 298 people on board the plane.