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Thursday, February 20, 2014

The geopolitics of the Ukrainian conflict: back to basics

Looking at the amazing footage coming out of not only Kiev, but also from many other cities in the Ukraine, one can get the idea that what is taking place is absolute total chaos and that nobody controls it.  This is a very mistaken impression and I think that this is a good time to look at who the actors of this conflict are and what they really want.  Only then will we be able to make sense of what is going on, who is pulling the strings behind the curtain, and what could happen next.  So let us look at the various actors one by one.

The dissatisfied Ukrainian people

There can be absolutely no doubt that a large segment of the Ukrainian population is deeply unhappy with the regime in power, Yanukovich himself, and what has been going on in the Ukraine for many years.  As I have written many times before, the Ukraine is essentially in the hands of various oligarchs, just like Russia in the 1990s, but only worse.  The vast majority the Ukrainian politicians are for sale to the highest bidder, this is true for the members of Parliament, the Presidential Administration, the regional governors, the government and, of course, of Yanukovich himself.  Collectively, these oligarchs also own the media, the courts, the police, banks and everything else.  As a direct result of that, the Ukrainian economy has been going down the tubes for years and currently is pretty much in ruins.

It should therefore surprise nobody that most Ukrainians are unhappy and what they want is prosperity, safety, the rule of law, business opportunities, the means for personal, social, professional and spiritual development.  Basically, they want what every human being wants: decent living condition.  Some of them see the EU as the best hope of achieving this goal, others see a participation in an economic union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as a much better option.  The exact ratio really does not matter for a simple and mostly overlooked reason: the people of the Ukraine don't matter at all in this conflict, they are just pawns used by all sides.

The main Ukrainian politicians:

Well, in theory, Yanukovich, Timoshenko, Klitchko and Iatseniuk all want different things, but in reality they all have exactly the same agenda: to please their puppet-masters while making a career in politics.  The case of Tiagnibok might be a little different.  He has some very real chances of becoming a really powerful figure in the western Ukraine.  He is smart enough to realize that neither the USA nor the EU really want him around, but that he commands a much more powerful force (both politically and in terms of violent power) than any other Ukrainian politician.  Regardless, the leaders of the opposition or the pro-regime politicians are all puppets in the hands of much more powerful forces and if Tiagnibok is an exception to this rule, then he does not matter much either since his true ambitions are really local, limited to the western Ukraine.

Having rapidly looked at the locals, let us now turn to the folks that do matter:

The Ukrainian oligarchs:

Most of them believe that as long as the Ukraine maintains an anti-Russian stance the EU will let them do whatever the hell they want inside the Ukraine.  They are correct.  For them, signing an otherwise meaningless agreement with the EU is basically accepting the following deal: they become the faithful servants of their EU overlords in exchange for what the EU overlords will let them continue to pillage the Ukraine in pretty much any way they want.

There is a smaller group of oligarchs who still stands to lose more than win if the Russian-Ukrainian relations sour and if Russia introduces barriers to trade with the Ukraine (which Russia would have to do if the Ukraine signs an free trade agreement with the EU).  These oligarchs believe that more money can be made from Russia than form the EU and they are the folks who convinced Yanukovich to make his infamous "zag" from the EU towards Russia.  Thus, there is a split inside the Ukrainian oligarchy whose representatives can be found on both sides of the current struggle.

The EU:

The EU is in a deep, systemic, economic, social and political crisis and it is absolutely desperate for new opportunities to rescue itself from its slow-motion collapse.  For the EU, the Ukraine is first and foremost a market to sells is goods and services.  The Ukraine is also a way to make the EU look bigger, more powerful, more relevant.  Some believe that the Ukraine can also provide cheap labor for the EU, but I don't believe that this is a major consideration for the following reasons: the EU already has way too many immigrants, and the there has already been a steady stream of Ukrainians (and Balts) leaving their country for a better life in the West.  Thus, what the EU really wants is a way to benefit from the Ukraine but without suffering too many negative consequences from any agreement.  Hence the 1500 pages of the proposed agreement with the EU.

The USA:

The goals of the USA in the Ukraine are completely different from the goals of the EU, hence the very real tensions between their diplomats so well expressed by the "fuck the EU!" of Madam Nuland.  Furthermore, and unlike the bankrupt EU, the US has spent over 5'000'000'000 dollars to achieve its goals in the Ukraine.  But so what are these goals really?

This is were it gets *really* interesting.

First, we have to go back to the crucial statement made by Hillary Clinton in early December of 2012:
“There is a move to re-Sovietise the region,” (...) “It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,”   (...) “But let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”
Now, it is absolutely irrelevant to argue about whether Hillary was right or wrong in her interpretation of what the Eurasian Union is supposed to become, what matters is that she, and her political masters, believe, and they really believe is that Putin wants to re-create the Soviet Union.  No matter how stupid this notion is, we have to always keep in mind that this is what the likes of Hillary sincerely believe.

Next, we need to recall another crucial statement, made this time by Zbigniew Brzezinski who wrote:

Without Ukraine Russia ceases to be empire, while with Ukraine - bought off first and subdued afterwards, it automatically turns into empire…According to him, the new world order under the hegemony of the United States is created against Russia and on the fragments of Russia. Ukraine is the Western outpost to prevent the recreation of the Soviet Union. 
Again, it does not matter at all whether evil Zbig is right or wrong.  What matters is that Zbig and Hillary jointly provide us with the key to the current US policy in the Ukraine: to prevent Russia from becoming a superpower.  For them, and unlike the Europeans, its not about "getting the Ukraine", its about "not letting the Russians get the Ukraine".  And this is absolutely crucial: from the US point of view, chaos, mayhem and even a full-scale civil war in the Ukraine is much, much, preferable to any, and I mean any, form of economic or political union between Russia and the Ukraine.  For the Americans, this is a zero-sum game: the bigger the loss for Russia, the bigger the win for the AngloZionist Empire.

Russia:

Here we have to completely switch our point of view and realize the following, no matter how counter-intuitive this might seem to be, regardless of the extreme closeness between Russian and Ukrainian languages and cultures, regardless of a long common history, regardless of the fact that both Russians and Ukrainians jointly defeated Nazi Germany, regardless of the fact that the Ukraine is a big neighbor of Russia and regardless of the fact that the two countries have close economic ties, Russia does not need the Ukraine.  Hillary and Zbig are simply plain wrong.  Furthermore, Russia has absolutely no intention of re-creating the Soviet Union or, even less so, becoming an Empire.  This is all absolute nonsense, stupid propaganda to feed to the western masses, Cold War cliches which are absolutely inapplicable to the current realities.  Furthermore, Russia is already a superpower, quite capable of challenging the EU and the USA together (as the example of the war in Syria has so dramatically illustrated).  In fact, Russia has had its most spectacular growth precisely at a time when the Ukraine was occupied by Poland (14th-17th century):

Growth of Russia by years
Why would modern Russia need the Ukraine?  The Ukrainian economy is in ruins, the country is plagued by immense social and political tensions, and there are no natural resources in the Ukraine which Russia would want.  As for the "being a superpower", the Ukraine's military is a farce, and the Russian military would have little need to the so-called "strategic depth" offered by the Ukraine: this is 19-20th century military logic, modern wars are though throughout the depth of the enemy's territory, with long-range strike weapons and Russia is quite capable of closing the Ukrainian airspace without any form of economic or political union with it.

No, what Russia needs first and foremost has stability and prosperity in the Ukraine.  Not only does a non trivial-part of the Russian economy have ties with the Ukraine, but a total collapse of such a big neighbor is bound to affect the Russian economy too (which, by the way, is pretty close to getting into a recession for the first time in a long while).  Furthermore, millions of Russians live in the Ukraine and millions of Ukrainians live in Russia.  Most Russian families have ties with the Ukraine.  So the last thing Russia wants is a civil war in which it would almost inevitably be drawn in.

Even in Crimea all Russia really needs is a status quo: peace, prosperity, a good tourism infrastructure to host Russian tourists, and stable basing right for the Black Sea Fleet.  For that Russia does not need to occupy or annex Crimea.  However, should the Crimean Peninsula be attacked by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the Black Sea Fleet will intervene to protect the local population with which it has many family ties.   It is important to remember that the Black Sea Fleet is infinitely better trained and equipped that the Ukrainian military and that it includes a very powerful Naval Infantry force (one Brigade and one Battalion, the latter specialized in counter-terrorism operations).  It is one thing to beat up and burn riot cops and quite another to deal with battle hardened (Chechnia, Georgia) and highly trained elite forces armed to the teeth with the latest and best military equipment.

As for the big scheme of things, Russia sees its future in the North and the East, not at all in its southwest.  The Arctic, Siberia, the Far East, China and the Pacific, these are the direction towards which Russian strategists are looking for the future of Russia, not the dying and decaying EU or the ruined and unstable lands of the Ukraine!

So what is likely to happen next?

I think that the EU is most unlikely to achieve its objectives in the Ukraine for a very simple reason: the Ukrainian nationalists and the so-called "opposition" (i.e. the armed insurgency) are all bought and paid for by the US.  The EU bureaucrats can continue visiting the Ukraine and make loud statements, they really don't matter.  So its really the US vs Russia and here I have to say that the US goals is far easier to achieve that the Russian one: all the USA needs chaos, something easy to achieve and relatively cheap to finance, while Russia needs stability and prosperity and that, at the very least, means to provide is cardiac resuscitation to the basically ruined Ukrainian economy and to jump-start some kind of much needed reforms.  The latter probably cannot be done without breaking the backs of the Ukrainian oligarchs.  Does Russia have the means to achieve this?  I very much doubt it.  Not with its current signs of upcoming economic problems and not with a spineless and corrupt clown like Yanukovich in power.  So then what?

Well, if rescuing the Ukraine is not an option, then protecting Russia from the inevitable chaos and mayhem is the only option left.  That, and making darn sure that Crimea is safe.  Russia could, for instance, provide direct assistance to the eastern Ukraine, especially to region like Kharkov which are governed by competent and determined people.  Beyond that, the only option left for Russia is to hunker down and wait for either a viable force to take power in Kiev or for the Ukraine to break-up in pieces.

So what about the Ukrainian people?

I think that where I stand on this issue is clear from the above.  The EU needs them as slaves, the US needs them as pawns, and the only party which needs them prosperous is Russia.  That is simply a fact of geo-strategy.  If the Ukrainians are too stupid and too blinded by their rabid nationalism to understand that, then let them pay the price for their folly.  If they are smart enough to realize it, then let them find the courage to act on it and make it possible for Russia to help them.  If not, then at the very least I would advise them to stop hallucinating about some kind of invasion of "Moskal Spetsnaz forces" to invade and occupy the "independent Ukraine".  Moscow has better things to do and is already busy elsewhere.

The Saker

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

You may find this discussion interesting:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/178462/stephen-cohen-kiev-we-cant-ignore-fascist-minority

Anonymous said...

The Israeli/zionist involvement in the Ukraine coup is finally being exposed to westerners (eastern media has been covering this sporadically and the Israeli media, as usual, cant resist bragging, but most westerners don't read these). We all know about Soros' role in the Eastern Europe "color revolutions", so finding out that the ziofascists are deeply involved at all levels should be no surprise.

Ukraine Protests: Israeli Ex-Officer 'Leads Militant Group'

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ukraine-protests-israeli-ex-officer-leads-militant-group-1436865

"A former Israeli army officer is playing a leading role in the anti-government protests in Ukraine, PressTV has reported.

According to reports by PressTV, which was set up by the Iranian regime, the unnamed Israeli was commanding a group of 20 Ukrainian militants while four other Israelis, who had also previously served in the army, were said to have taken part in opposition rallies in Ukraine's capital of Kiev.

They were born in Ukraine but migrated to Israel and joined its armed forces before returning to the Europea for the demonstrations, the report continued.

Ukrainian media claimed that an Israeli tycoon provided financial support to the opposition in Ukraine and added that Israel's Mossad intelligence agency was one of the instigators of the unrest in the country.

Despite calls by Jewish leaders to remain neutral, young Jews have been on the frontline of protests against Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, the Jerusalem Post wrote in December.

Alexandra Oleynikova, a young Jewish activist involved in organising Limmud conferences, told the Post that while some Jews stayed away out of fear, other young Ukrainian Jews who work for international organisations such as JDC, Hillel and Limmud, were "really active" in offering support as well as "organising the barricades".

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA): "A number of young Jews are involved in the protests, which have drawn together a diverse coalition of liberal youth and opposition party leaders, including members of the ultranationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has freely trafficked anti-Semitic stereotypes".

вот так

Anonymous said...

The previous article mentioned Limmud, a zionist indoctrination entity used to reinforce the zio-Judeo-supremacist dogma among Jews.

http://limmud.org/home/about/

What they call "volunteers" are also called sayanim. These are the sorts of organisations zionists use at "the grassroots" level to spread their influence among Jewish people worldwide. For the wider populace they want to indoctrinate, they use orgs like this one:

http://www.everydayrebellion.net/the-project/ Examples of their indoctrination videos here: http://vimeo.com/everydayrebellion

"What does the Occupy movement in New York have in common with the Spanish Indignados protests or the Arab Spring? Is there a connection between the struggle of the Iranian democracy movement and the nonviolent uprising in Syria and what is the link between the Ukrainian topless activists of Femen and an Islamic culture like Egypt? And to top it off, what do Serbia and Turkey have to do with all this?"

They use a grassroots, warm, fuzzy, friendly, deceptively inclusive approach to indoctrinate people to aid and support their wars, cultural supremacism and fascist ideology. I post this to show the sort of tactics these people operate at the grassroots level that makes their influence so prevalent and their new "color revolutions" so appealing to people.

вот так

Aleks said...

The EU is too big to fail, like the banks. At whatever cost to the citizens, it will be kept going.

As for the US easy option of chaos and keeping the Ukraine destabilized, this is only a short term scenario, vis the first Orange revolution where the victorious leaders failed to do anything for the Ukraine despite themselves (Yulia ignored her own government to pay extortionate Russian gas prices) and lived on platitudes from the US and EU.

Stability is in their interest, just like Russia (reports that Merkel called Putin to talks) but the basic fact is, who will pay?

Certainly not the US. Certainly not the EU. Eurobonds bought by Russia will only go so far. If the economy collapses, many, many people will be going West, not East.

Who is this a real problem for? Indeed.

Aleks said...

The EU is too big to fail, like the banks. At whatever cost to the citizens, it will be kept going.

As for the US easy option of chaos and keeping the Ukraine destabilized, this is only a short term scenario, vis the first Orange revolution where the victorious leaders failed to do anything for the Ukraine despite themselves (Yulia ignored her own government to pay extortionate Russian gas prices) and lived on platitudes from the US and EU.

Stability is in their interest, just like Russia (reports that Merkel called Putin to talks) but the basic fact is, who will pay?

Certainly not the US. Certainly not the EU. Eurobonds bought by Russia will only go so far. If the economy collapses, many, many people will be going West, not East.

Who is this a real problem for?

Indeed.

Anonymous said...

Balaban,

I could not have said better, but you know that I think along the same lines.
But I still believe that a not negligible factor is the pipe-dream of a Jewish "state" in the region (at least a situation in which to have the unfettered upperhand. The US was always sympathetic to the idea. Take a look back at the history of Jewish attempts to implement it. Have a look at what you can find about "Judeopolonia".
The informations provided by Vot Tak seem to give weight to these view.
WizOz

Alexander Mercouris said...

Dear Saker,

I just want to say that this an utterly outstanding article on the Ukraine and its politics. I also think that it understands and explains the Russian position better than any other single article I have seen.

I would say that I believe that the break up of the Ukraine and its eventual partition is only a matter of time. However I don't know how long that will be. I also think you are less harsh towards Yanukovitch than he deserves but this is incidental to the overall excellence of your article.

Anonymous said...

Marvellous analysis. This is (part of) the reason I don't take notice any more of newspapers or TV.

May I suggest, one interest Russia has in Ukraine is: dirt. Huge areas of high-quality agricultural resources. This will be very important one day, perhaps soon.

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Alexander:I also think you are less harsh towards Yanukovitch than he deserves

I suppose you meant to write that I am too harsh towards Yanukovich, or do you really loathe him more than I do? ;-)
Thanks for your very kind words, I immensely appreciate them.

@Anonymous:May I suggest, one interest Russia has in Ukraine is: dirt. Huge areas of high-quality agricultural resources

This is only partially true. The famous black-earth or Chernozem also exists in Russia (see this map: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f1/Chernozem_distribution.JPG). Even more importantly, east-central Russia and Siberia have huge agricultural potentials. So while I am not denying that there is plenty of good agricultural land in the Ukraine, I believe that Russian can do well without them.

Cheers,

The Saker

Anonymous said...

Russia has no interest at all about a Ukraine, Russia has the interest to stop finaly the NWO for the all world and nothing else. After when Putin has discovered that the East and West /actually all world / is run by the same thugs - see many links on you-tube he has decided to take a stand nothing else. Russia is enormously rich, not just with the soil, oil,gas, gold, minerals and so on that they don't need anything and by the new /supressed technologies - www.keshefoundation.org / they will eliminate the domination of these existing thugs to bring the peace for the all world.

Sokenekos said...

Hi Saker,

I think you are forgetting about the gas pipelines and their big importance to Russia, at least in the immediate future. When the zionazis put their paws on those taps & start blackmailing Russia, it’s not going to be good at all!

To make matters worse, the zionazi empire will most likely succeed in sabotaging the South Stream in Serbia through their trilateral commission agent, Zorana Mihailovich, the current & future energy minister of the so-called Serbian government. She is a rabid anti-Russian & a student of a zionazi agent in our country, Mirolyub Labus, who destroyed our state finances beyond repair. And the South Stream was purposely created to bypass Ukraine!

Another major factor in this geopolitical game is China, perhaps as equally important to be undermined by the ziocracies as Russia. Remember that there was some kind of a big agricultural deal not long ago between China & Ukraine. Similar reason(s) for the ongoing mess in Africa & South America.

In the long run, though, I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis. It even pushes Russia & China closer together, thereby, helping the both at the expense of the failing cesspool’s like the EU & maybe Ukraine--if it survives, that is. But that’s beyond possible at this point, it seems.

The only thing I pray for is that the regions of Ukraine, which want to go with Russia, are given the support by the Russian government to do so regardless of the reaction of anybody. It’s high time for the Russians to dust off Danilevsky & some of his doctrines. Give them Russian citizenship for the start - which should have been done long ago.

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Sokenekos: I think you are forgetting about the gas pipelines and their big importance to Russia, at least in the immediate future. When the zionazis put their paws on those taps & start blackmailing Russia, it’s not going to be good at all!

Well, the EU will always, given the option, choose to get its gas elsewhere. Their problem, is that they don't have any other good option. Still, I totally agree with you that South Stream is definitely at risk in Serbia, but keep in mind that when a Russian national interest becomes truly threatened, Russia can bring *a lot* of power to bear on the issue. And I don't mean violent means, there is also money, influence, corruption, public image, etc. etc. etc. And South Stream is not only a Kremlin issue. Does Mrs Mihailovich really want to fuck with Gazprom? I would urge her to think it over. Many times over. And then think also of all the other countries who have a stake in this. Finally, the Kremlin is not dumb, there is always North Stream. These are all things Mrs Mihailovich should carefully consider.

In the mid to long term, Russia has China as a fantastic energy client, along with several other Asian countries. What I am saying is that, just like with the Black Earth and agriculture issue: I am not denying that Russia has an interest in the pipeline across the Ukraine, I am only saying that Russia does not "need" the Ukraine as the US politicians seem to think.

Cheers,

The Saker

Anonymous said...

I whole heartily agree with everything you expose in your posts.
I am a Croatian, Atheist, socialist whose family fought with the partisans against the Nazis.
My sincere belief is that Russian is currently humanity's hope and last stand for a more just world.
I hope with all my heart that Russia prevails against the Anglo-Zionist world order.
I was born in Australia, live in Canada, but if there is war I stand for Russia and would eagerly fight from within the Anglo=Zionist forces!

Wikispooks said...

Thanks for another seminal article. FYI, I've posted it on Wikispooks

Jay said...

while the article is fine, note that the country is Ukraine, not "the Ukraine." Sort of like saying "the France."

Anonymous said...

I agree. However Russia will not be able to tolerate a Ukraine which is a member of NATO. If that is about to happen Russia may have no choice but to intervene.

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Jay: while the article is fine

I am so glad that you approve!

note that the country is Ukraine, not "the Ukraine."

Only if you are ignorant of history and language and prone to parrot whatever the nationalist propaganda wants you to parrot.

Sort of like saying "the France."

Wrong. It's like saying "The Netherlands" because the definite article indicates that we are dealing not just with some name, but with a noun, in this case "borderland". "Krai" means edge, border, and U-kraina or O-kraina means "near the edge", "by the border" or, to use a US expression, "on the frontier". Before the 1917 Revolution there used to be several "Okrainas" including, for example, the "Siberian Okraina" or "Siberian frontier". The order to drop the "the" was given by Ukrainian nationalist, the US State Department and the corporate media after 1991 in order to erase the historical fact that this so-called country was called "frontier" or "borderland" because these would beg the question of "borderland of WHAT?" and "WHOSE frontier"? The answer is obvious: Russia. So the propaganda masters who carefully frame the debate, and the doubleplusgoodthinking hyper-politically-correct drones like you began to parrot "Ukraine" "Ukraine" "Ukraine" without realizing what they were saying.
I would note that Uncle Sam likes to do that with more than just the Ukraine. Now it has become politically correct to say "CIA says that..." or "EPA believes that" and drop the "the" again, as if the various members of the US alphabet soup were not just bureaucracies, but some kind of living beings. Totally Orwellian, if you ask me.

Anyways, next time before lecturing others, get your facts straight :-)

Cheers,

The Saker (here you can keep the "the")

Ted Andromidas said...

The one most important and horrifying point tha all the comments seem to miss is this: Obama's USA and the Europeans, most emphatically the Brits, are starting a civil war on the Russian border, while deploying ABM systems against Russia. Russia, not Ukraine, is the target, and the Russians know it. The last time we put strategic missiles near the borders of Russia(That time under the direction of two of the worst pigs in US history, the Dulles brothers) we wound up on the brink of nuclear war. At that time we had a sane president...now we don't. People should stop trying to be "sophisticated analysts". What do you think the Russian response to a fascist coup on their borders will be? Especially if that government, like Romania, are putting strategic weapons on their border.

Anonymous said...

The last message from the Ukraine secret operation union is, that US is spending 20 million of $US a day in gun support and pay the insurgents to make this operation succesful!!!!!
This is happening through the ambasies operation

Anonymous said...

Regarding to the last information from the Ukraine inteligence servises / traslated by the inteligence officer from the central East European contry /is that, the Ukraine government led by Yanukovich was very badly infiltrated and the result is, as it is.Ukraine nation has NO CLUE ABOUT THIS
It was also confirmed, that during the "Yulia" era many Ukraians just simply didapeared / same script what was used for exaple in Chile,Argentina and so on /
This fight is not about a Ukraine it is the fight against Putin who openly stand up against the tyrany of the NWO
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=putin+against+the+NWO&sm=3

Anonymous said...

Amazing piece, great analysis.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

If anyone wonders where the "Saker" comes from, consider the following sentence in his propaganda argument:

"Russia has had its most spectacular growth precisely at a time when the Ukraine was occupied by Poland (14th-17th century)"

Poland "occupied" Ukraine, while Russia merely enjoyed "spectacular growth" of its territory.

onething said...

I'm confused. What has ruined the Ukrainian economy? You said corruption...I have heard the opinion that it was very high gas prices that Russia imposed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Saker,
Relax and reflect and then back to work! It what keeps us young and strong.

I believe that the Qatari pipeline that was to pass through Syria was to the the EU’s ace in the hole in dealing with Russia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qatar-Turkey_pipeline

With the brilliant Russian diplomatic move that denied control of Syria by the EU/US, the EU’s grand plan to replace Russia as Europe’s gas supplier is in disarray. If the Ukraine plan was an integral of that overall strategy then the EU proceeded with the Ukraine operation absent the critical new supply from Qatar. Perhaps they felt that they can muddle through this snafu or they rationalized that it was still worth the effort for other reasons. Or perhaps they fell for the BS regarding Polish frack gas. In any event it was a strategic failure.

With the Ukraine in the hands of the EU Russia would be free of blackmail attempts. Russia then must be paid without excuse - no more deferred payments and no more loans.

The importance of the defeat of the EU/US in Syria can not be overstated.

The breakup of Ukraine is still the most likely and probably the best outcome. Regardless of what happens in Ukraine,the EU has already lost.

On a related topic, I was bothered by the relative passivity of Russia to the assault on Ukraine. The explanation given above suggests why Russia is not overly concerned about the purported EU “success” in Ukraine. Rather, this “success” is simply indicative of a plan in disarray as key elements (most notably the lack of an alternate gas supply) are not in place.

Russia’s main focus is likely more of a humanitarian nature – how to handle the possible breakup of Ukraine with minimal distress to its population as well as to secure access to the Black Sea. If the EU tries to thwart Russia here, that is where the fireworks may start.

My two cents any way,
Thanks

Anonymous said...

According to Professor Timothy Snyder in this lecture:http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/videoAndAudio/channels/publicLecturesAndEvents/player.aspx?id=2193

He states that sources (he won't name) have told him that China recently tried to buy 9% of all arable soil in Ukraine, but implies corruption hindered the deal. China want the Ukraine to join the EU so that the rule of law can be resumed, making buying the land a possibility for them.

Sally Boss said...

Where this gentleman is coming from is best illustrated by the following quote from his article:

Russia has had its most spectacular growth precisely at a time when the Ukraine was occupied by Poland (14th-17th century).

IUn other words, Poland :occupies" whereas Russia merely "spectacularly grows." This is called objectivity Russian style.

Sally Boss said...

Where this gentleman is coming from is best illustrated by the following quote from his article:

Russia has had its most spectacular growth precisely at a time when the Ukraine was occupied by Poland (14th-17th century).

IUn other words, Poland :occupies" whereas Russia merely "spectacularly grows."

Anonymous said...

Where this gentleman is coming from is best illustrated by the following quote from his article:

Russia has had its most spectacular growth precisely at a time when the Ukraine was occupied by Poland (14th-17th century).

IUn other words, Poland :occupies" whereas Russia merely "spectacularly grows."

Sally Boss said...

Where this gentleman comes from is best explained by the following quote from his article:

Russia has had its most spectacular growth precisely at a time when the Ukraine was occupied by Poland (14th-17th century).

In other words, Poland :occupies" whereas Russia "spectacularly grows."

Anonymous said...

Dear Saker,

Re: note that the country is Ukraine, not "the Ukraine."

Just curious, but as a former student of Russian, how does "The Ukraine" translate in Russian as Russian has no articles?

Thanks

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous2239:If anyone wonders where the "Saker" comes from
@Sally Boss: Where this gentleman comes from

Ok, you made your point guys, no need to mail-bomb this thread. We get it. Besides, I assure you that most readers of this blog already know where I come from: the country which eventually liberated the Ukraine from the Papist occupation and its local Jewish "tax collectors" and which took over the lands of Siberia without destroying in single nation living there. I come from the country which the West has tried to invade and conquer many times (always in the name of civilization and progress) and which defeated every single one of these invasions from the Battle on Ice, to Poltava, to Borodino to Stalingrad, to Grozny and to Tskhinval. Yes, Poland did occupy Orthodox Ukraine and viciously persecuted its Orthodox People and even declared its worst maniac (Josaphat Kuntsevich) a "saint" for the atrocities he committed. But even better - I come from a country which remembers this history, much to the regret of our "western partners and friends" :-P

Yes, this is were I come from. Guilty has charged, LOL!

Very sincerely,

The Saker

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous:Just curious, but as a former student of Russian, how does "The Ukraine" translate in Russian as Russian has no articles?

Simple. Any Russian speaker understands that the word Украина derives from the word край which is a noun. English uses a definitive article to indicate a noun (the bill) as opposed to a name (Bill).

HTH, cheers,

The Saker

Anonymous said...


Re: "Simple. Any Russian speaker understands that the word Украина derives from the word край which is a noun. English uses a definitive article to indicate a noun (the bill) as opposed to a name (Bill)."

Got it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Saker,

Sorry, forgot to thank you for the great analysis as well!

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous: Got it. Thanks! I am sure that you can find a better, more articulate, explanation online. I know the language, but I never bothered to study grammar so my explanations are many confusing. I found these:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_of_Ukraine#.22Ukraine.22_versus_.22The_Ukraine.22
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18233844
http://www.businessinsider.com/why-ukraine-isnt-the-ukraine-and-why-that-matters-now-2013-12

All three take the politically correct position that the "the" should be dropped, but thereby all three also confess that this is a POLITICAL decision made by the AngloZionist Empire rulers and their nationalist stooges in the Ukraine. Being Russian myself, I don't see myself bound by the political correctness of the moment or by the decrees of the corporate media. When in third article we read As Andrew Gregorovich noted in a 1994 edition of FORUM Ukrainian Review, however, Ukraine has been a state since 1917, with clearly defined political borders. It is not a geographical region I *know* that this is political bullshit and quite the opposite in fact: the Ukraine is a region, the "borderlands" and that term was applied in pre-1917 Russia to the Ukraine and other borderlands. Some nationalists say that it comes from край but they cannot logically explain the "у" in front of it which indicates a view from after, not from the center. If you study Russian I can add that there is another linguistic fight going on, i.e. should you say "в Украине" or "на Украине" which, again, points out at the fact the the origin of the word is a geographical location. So, since most Ukie nationalists are aware of these "problems" (from their point of view), they (and their western sponsors) have embarked on a "linguistic correction campaign" which would have made Orwell proud to correct past "mistakes" and re-write history. I say let them do whatever they want, but let us keep our own brain, judgment and knowledge of history.

Kind regards,

The Saker

Anonymous said...

Re: "I am sure that you can find a better, more articulate, explanation online. I know the language, but I never bothered to study grammar so my explanations are many confusing. I found these:"

Thanks for the links: I’ll check them out.

Not to beat the subject to death, but I assumed and accepted “The Ukraine” as a reference to the Russian word meaning border (sorry, I no longer have a Russian keyboard). However, I’ve always called Ukraine, Ukraine.

Looks like it’s time to brush up on my Russian skills (or lack thereof) and history.

Many Thanks!

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous: I assumed and accepted “The Ukraine” as a reference to the Russian word meaning border

Well, in modern Russian "border" would be граница which literally points to a line on the map. Край is not a demarcation line, its a region, an area, which is why I personally like to translate is as "frontier". And у-крайна then becomes "by the frontier" or "at the frontier", which imho is the best rendering of the real meaning and its nuances in Russian.

Not to beat the subject to death LOL! Then it me doing it now. I love languages and I love the challenge of translation. The crucial issue is that ANY translation is ALWAYS an interpretation, not only in this case, and the correct rendering of the meaning, the nuance, and "flavor" of each word or expression is, to me, an infinitely fascinating topic. So if somebody is "guilty" of beating this subject to death, it's me :-)

Take care and kind regards,

The Saker

known said...

Dear Saker,

I enjoyed your analysis and will return to your blog for more. I agree with your views on agricultural land value. long term value of arable land equals the value of taiga. I also think that Russia made a right decision to reinforce in artic area assuming artic ice will continue to melt and eventually open the northern passage , cut in half the current traderoutes and move spacial means of production and distributionto the north.

I do not necessarilly agree that US involvment in Ukraine is pointless. Its an attempt to throw some puzzle at putin, to discourage his interfering with american interests in MENA. EU is emploding, danger on EU Borders could push germans to pursue more liberal monetary policy that would stimulate employment and growth in europe, thus weakening EURO, something US has been pushing them to do since 2008.

It is sad to see ukrainia's appetite for destruction, unable to shake off foreign interference and craft policies to protect their own interests, maybe even default or restructure debts and start all over like russians did in 90s. Nationalism and hate blinds one's view.

Russia and US are natural allies rather than foes, it is sometimes difficult to believe that all these counterproductive bumps on the way to draft a common global agenda are real. maybe it is really about f-ing europe and splitting ukraine in exchange for syria after all..

Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack - S Tzu

known said...

Dear Saker,

I enjoyed your analysis and will return to your blog for more. I agree with your views on agricultural land value. long term value of arable land equals the value of taiga. I also think that Russia made a right decision to reinforce in artic area assuming artic ice will continue to melt and eventually open the northern passage , cut in half the current traderoutes and move spacial means of production and distributionto the north.

I do not necessarilly agree that US involvment in Ukraine is pointless. Its an attempt to throw some puzzle at putin, to discourage his interfering with american interests in MENA. EU is emploding, danger on EU Borders could push germans to pursue more liberal monetary policy that would stimulate employment and growth in europe, thus weakening EURO, something US has been pushing them to do since 2008.

It is sad to see ukrainia's appetite for destruction, unable to shake off foreign interference and craft policies to protect their own interests, maybe even default or restructure debts and start all over like russians did in 90s. Nationalism and hate blinds one's view.

Russia and US are natural allies rather than foes, it is sometimes difficult to believe that all these counterproductive bumps on the way to draft a common global agenda are real. maybe it is really about f-ing europe and splitting ukraine in exchange for syria after all..

Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack - S Tzu

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr (Mrs)Saker,

Your article is a reflection (or re-print)of the propaganda-mass-media ideas which were torpedoed by the Russian press when the Ukrainian conflict was launched.
Since then, Russia-friend, that desires prosperity to Ukraine,as per your opinion, cut off the Ukrainian import, gambled with the tranche, interfered the politics, and performed the typical and cynical behavior of 'the big brother'.
Friends do not do that. That leads to recollection of the 'friendly' moments towards Chechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Georgia...If not the Olympics, the tanks could have been expected on Kiev's streets.
You cannot change the history; thus the mentioned nations do not intend to trust 'the big brother'.

EU, US, Russia, they all want to grab a piece of pie. But Russia wants more: back of the 'big brother' position (with the same money as the other parties...)On the top, Ukraine is one of the poorest countries in Europe with the wealthiest oligarchs. Corruption was successfully implemented from the soviet regime.

That did not happen to other bordering countries like Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, etc. Polish economy currently is one of the strongest.

Let people choose their own history, leave them alone. Western Ukraine wants to EU? -Fine. Crimea wants back to Russia? -Fine. The country wants to separate?-Fine. It's their right to select to live in PEACE and build their own prosperity. Time of soviet regimes are over.

In regards to your historical observations: Ahh, please learn the elementary description on the Ukrainian nation from Wiki(no time to go into a deep explanation):
"By the middle of the 14th century, present Ukrainian territories were under the rule of three external powers: the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Kingdom of Poland, during the 15th century these lands came under the rule of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth (since 1569), and Crimean Khanate.[5] In 1653 the greater portion of the population rebelled against dominantly Polish Catholic rule and in January 1654 an assembly of the people (rada) voted at Pereyaslav to turn to Moscow, effectively joining the southeastern portion of the Polish-Lithuanian empire east of the Dnieper River to Russia. After the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) and conquest of Crimean Khanate, Ukraine was divided between Russia and Austria, thus the largest part of Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire, with the rest under Austrian (known as Austro-Hungarian since 1849) control."
Good luck, Mr (Mrs)Sacker


павел походенко said...

Мужики,давайте откажемся от банковской системы с ее кредитным процентом.Давайте жить по Святому Писанию.Еще в Ветхом Завете народу божьему было запрещено давать друг другу кредит под проценты.Есть естественная денежная система Сильвио Гезеля есть опыт внедрения этой системы во многих странах мира.
Это-ли не средство примирения?

Anonymous said...

So much Russian propaganda in this blog post. Such a prosperous modern nation while the rest of the world are pawns. Welcome to Russian thought processes.

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff about "The Ukraine" vs "Ukraine." I am 59 years old, so I grew up saying, reading, and writing, "The Ukraine," which is the term I still use. I didn't know that dropping the definite article (in English) was a political decision. I thought it was simply ignorance. Ditto for "The Congo." And others. ANyway, I'll definitely keep using "The Ukraine" now that I know *why* I am right. Many thanks for your brilliant exposition on the situation--the confusing situation--in the Ukraine. Best wishes & kindest regards from Georgia (in the American South, that is).

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous: glad that I could clarify that topic. This issue is part of a bigger one of politically correct geography naming which make Peking into Beijing and Bombay into Mumbay. It's all politics and nothing else. And love the Germans for sticking to old names like not saying Kaliningrad - they call it Konigsberg, or while the Anglos now say "Lviv" (Ukie style), the Germans still use the good old Lemberg and screw the politicos! Love that!

But the funniest thing is names: first, when the West thought that Lukashenko was a good guy, they called him LukashenkA (Belarussian style), but when he became a bad boy, he became LukashenkO (Ukie style). Although why not Lukashov (Russki style)? LOL!

And in the Ukraine, all for the former commies who used to be Alexander are now Oleksander and all the Nikolais are now Mikulas and the Olegs are Oleh. It's pathetic - a total triumph of form over substance.

What a crazy time we live in :-(

Cheers,

The Saker

Monica Perez said...

Saker,

Two question:

1) In another article you wrote that the west would not give up eastern ukraine without a fight because that's where all the economic benefits come from, and in this article you point out that the east has no natural resources that would significantly benefit Russia...what are the resources of the east that the west would want? Is it that the east is more industrialized and has money from exports that it could use to buy European goods?

If you have already explained this, forgive me, and if you could, please direct me to the article.

2) A month or two ago there was plenty of talk that Russia was violating Ukraine's NATO treaty or something to that effect. I never understood that and now that NATO is gearing up for conflict I am wondering if you have addressed the issue of the relationships among the Ukraine, NATO and Russia as it pertains to the current crisis.

I'm sure you don't have time to address specific questions like this, but I thought it was worth a shot!

Thank you for all you do. Your knowledge, honesty and effort is greatly appreciated by those who want to get to the truth.

-Monica Perez
Thank

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Monica: Dear Monica, I will reply to your questions, but my replies will have to be short, as I am terribly pressed for time, ok?

1) The East much richer, thanks to its heavy industry - military, rail, tubes, heavy machinery, etc. But they produce no consumer goods that I am aware of. The East also has coal and good land. The West does not need that, the goal is to *deny* it to Russia.

2) There is no treaty between the NATO and the Ukraine other than the PfP and other such small symbolic stuff.

HTH, kind regards,

The Saker

Monica Perez said...

Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

This article is filled with ignorance and propaganda for a fully corrupted country that think it can invade other countries for "protecting ethnics russians outside of russia" while they never have been in danger and claim then that they didnt invade it.

Also, The Ukraine* (L'Ukraine) ;)
Thx.

MoSarwar said...

You may find the following analysis pertinent to the discussion:

http://www.thegeopolblog.com/ukraine-pivotal-country-for-eu-us-russia/