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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Russia might very soon do something rather counter-intuitive: nothing at all

All the signs are that the freaks in Kiev have decided to put down the demonstrations in Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk by force.  YouTube is full of amateur footage showing all sorts of militarized units, APCs and even artillery pieces being moved towards these cities.  Local people have tried to stop them, but without success.  It appears that the attacking force will include loyal cops from other cities, regular military units, private contractors hired by the oligarchs, riot police, "anti-terrorist" units of the SBU and volunteers from the Right Sector.

Facing them are crowds of largely unarmed or minimally armed civilians.  In Lugansk some of these civilians have looted the SBU armory and have assault rifles (AKM-74s).  The crowds are relatively large, but not huge, most of the local activists have taken up positions inside key government buildings which they occupy and while there are some barricades around these buildings, they do not appear to be properly defended, at least not in a military sense.

This all reminds me of Moscow in 1993 and it scares me.  Badly.

For those of you who do not remember, let me remind you of what happened then.

In 1993 the Russian Parliament building was defended pretty much in the same way as the buildings in eastern Kiev are: all sorts of supporters outside the building, but the core defenders inside.  Once the shooting began, the crowd of sympathizers outside rapidly dispersed.  Shortly after the building itself was assaulted an offer was made to those willing surrender to let them out safely.  Some accepted.  Others stayed.  The assault of the building resumed and the bloodbath which took place inside was hidden from the public.  As for those who surrendered, they were hunted down while leaving the area, beat up and often murdered.  Finally, the winning side engaged in a massive hunt for Parliament-sympathizers who were hunted down, arrested, beat up and even killed for a least a week.  Something very similar might happen in the next few days in eastern Ukraine.

Cops will be used to clear the vicinity of the buildings.  Then APCs will be brought in and after some gunfire exchange, the attacking force will be given the option to come out and surrender.  Some will accept, others will refuse.  Those who will surrender will be handed over to the SBU and Right Sector thugs to be tortured, beat up and jailed. Then a full scale assault, supported by 30mm gunfire with incendiaries will take place.  As soon as the lower floors will be cleared of resisting people, the private security contractors and Right Sector thugs will move in to kill the remaining people.  Finally, the official regime media will announce that 10 or 15 "terrorist" have been killed, and that law and order has been restored.  This version will be fully endorsed by the western corporate media while western politicians will say that they "understand" that the "government" had to act, they will blame Russia for instigating the violence, and they will urge the freaks in Kiev "legitimate Ukrainian government" to use "dialog with all parties" and "show restraint".  They might even do what the USA did with Israel and praise the regime for its "restraint".  Away from the public eye a massive campaign of arrests will result in most pro-Russian activists sent to jail on chargers of terrorism, armed rebellion, sedition and sabotage of the Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence.  They will face 15+ years in jail (though the rump-Parliament in Kiev wants to pass a law making this a mandatory life sentence crime).

This worked in 1993 and this will work in 2014.

Many will then wonder if Russia will step in and send in troops.  And a few days later, even more will wonder why Russia has not already intervened.

This is what I will attempt to explain (assuming events go as I predicted above).

The first thing to understand is that this scenario, while horrible and disgusting, does not meet the criteria of "mass violence" at least as seen from the Kremlin.  Even if, say 100 or 200 people die, this is not much in comparison to the full population in the Ukraine.  Furthermore, Putin will have to weigh the number of people murdered in such a crackdown against the likely number of casualties should the Russian military intervene.

Today Putin said something very interesting during a public meeting with members of his Popular Front.  He said that before intervening in Crimea Russian special services had covertly organized an opinion poll to gauge the popular opinion in Crimea and that they had concluded that roughly 80% of the people wanted Crimea to become part of Russia (this is a very smart use of special services, by the way!).  He added that once the referendum was announced and the campaign began, these figures rose to almost 97%, but that initially, at that time, 80% was the secret Russian estimate.

We can be pretty darn sure that the Russian special services are also actively conducting such covert opinion polls today.  What we don't know is what their surveys shows.  What I will say though is this: while I am confident that "many" people in the east want to join Russia, I am not at all sure that they are the majority.  Also, I strongly suspect a sizable minority who would be vehemently opposed to such a solution.  Furthermore, I am quite confident that there is a minority, however small, how is actually very much in favor of the new regime in Kiev.  Yes, sure, most people in the East are sick and tired of the Nazi freak show in Kiev, but "most" is not at all the same as "all" or even a "strong majority".  The bottom line is this:

The Donbass is not Crimea.

In Crimea it was pretty clear cut.  The picture is much more complex in the eastern Ukraine.

The geography is also dramatically different.  Crimea is a peninsula joined to the rest of Ukraine by a rather narrow stretch of land.  It was rather obvious for the Russian forces to see where to stop.  But where should they stop in the eastern Ukraine?

This is not a military problem.  In military terms, the Russian military could take over all of the Ukraine.  This is political problem: to which area do you limit your intervention?  Only in Lugansk? Or also in Donetsk and Kharkov?  What about Nikolaev?  There are lots of anti-regime people there.  Ditto for Odessa. Then comes the "plat de resistance" - Dnepropetrоvsk, with over one million people inside, many opposed to Russia.  Shall the Russian military also take that major urban center?  At what cost in human lives?

Take a look at this very detailed map of the Ukraine (it is a big file, you will have to click on it to zoom in for a better resolution):

please click on map to see details
[In fact, this file is so big (about 10MB) that those who are interested might want to download this (very good) map from here]

Do you see any natural border at which the Russians should stop?

I see only one: the Dniepr river.  And if that is where the Russians stop, it means taking over all of the eastern Ukraine, including Dnepropetrivsk and Kharkov (with 1,5 million people, though probably a higher pro-Russian percentage than Dnepropestrovsk).  Even Poltava is in the eastern Ukraine.  So we are talking about a major military operation, even if the Ukie military won't be able to meaningfully oppose it.  Lots of people will die, that is certain.  So is it worth it?

Another option would be to go for a series of limited strikes with attack helicopters and some special forces.  Much easier, but not risk free, and that kind of half-measure rarely works without a follow-up with boots on the ground.

There are certainly more military options, but my point is simple: they will have have very real risks and major costs.  Russia should learn from the many mistakes the USA made and truly only intervene when there is a clear objective achievable in the short term and then an equally clear exit strategy.  Russia does not need an Iraq on its doorstep.

There is a much better option: bite the bullet over the murder of Russian and pro-Russian civilians and slowly but surely strangle the regime in Kiev economically.

The Russians have already announced that Kiev owes them $16'000'000'000 (that is sixteen billion, with a 'b'!) and that they are now considering restricting all energy exports to the Ukraine to only pre-paid sales.  Furthermore, should events get ugly in the East, Russia will completely pull out of the local industry essentially killing it completely.  And that is in the part of the country which feeds and finances all the rest.  Russia will also close its borders to Ukrainian imports and begin suing Ukrainian owned companies in arbitration courts.  There is absolutely nothing the West can do to prevent that, and that kind of economic warfare will bring down the regime in Kiev in a matter of months, if not weeks.  So considering that - is it really wise to act immediately and use military force?

I don't think so.  Not unless things really go very, very badly.  Then Putin will have no choice.

The Ukraine is like a nice, juicy apple which had the misfortune to be invaded by a ugly, nasty worm.  This worm is, of course, the rabid neo-Nazis crazies who have taken power in Kiev.  They are the ones destroying the unitary Ukrainian state by their actions and even by their presence and as long as they are in power, this apple will continue to rot and it will eventually simply fall down to the ground.  And no amount of "gardening" by the West will save that apple because the only thing which could save it would be to kill and yank out that worm, but since it was put there by the West in the first place, that is something the West will not consent to.  Never.

And if I may use the same analogy, it is far better for Russia to let that apple drop to the ground by itself and only then see what kind of tree its seeds will give birth to (an apple can rot but still deliver viable seeds).  Right now the Ukraine is chock-full of problems Russia really does not need: a basically destroyed state, no real police, massive criminality, political extremism, religious extremism, a quasi-dead industry, a dysfunctional legal system (even worse than the Russian one, which is bad enough), poverty, unemployment, an ancient and decrepit infrastructure, a so-called Parliament filled with freaks, morons and thugs, and probably a big chunk of the population thoroughly brainwashed, not only in the West, who hates and fears Russia and who would prefer a NATO invasion to a Russian one.

Does Russia really need or want this?

Russia cannot simply waltz in, break it all, and leave.  As they say in the USA, you break it - you own it.  Right now its the West who broke it, so let's see what all these self-enamored and pompous clowns who hold the reins of power in the US and EU will do about it.

Somewhere, and painful as this might be, this morally obscene, historically absurd and pragmatically crazy experiment of an "Independent and anti-Russian Ukraine" needs to run its course and collapse on its own.  And no matter what scenario actually plays out, this process will not happen without violence and innocent victims.  So the only option for Putin is to try to minimize their amount as best can be.  A military intervention is most likely not the best option, unless of course things really get ugly at which point Putin will have no other option left.

To summarize it:

Can Russia intervene?  Yes.
Can the West do anything about it?  No.
Can the Ukrainians stop them? No.
Is Russia willing to go to war with the USA and NATO over this? Yes.
Can NATO win a war against Russia in the Ukraine? No.
Is Putin bluffing?  No.
Is Russia trying to subvert the regime in Kiev? No.
Is Russia using its power to instigate the rebellion in the eastern Ukraine? No.
Why not?  Because Russia has a much better option: to wait and let the attempt to build a Banderastan in the Ukraine collapse by itself.
Will Russia do anything then?  Yes, it will choke down the Ukraine economically as long as the freaks are in power in Kiev.
What would trigger a Russian military intervention in the eastern Ukraine?  Enough violence to outrage the public opinion on Russia, at which point Putin will have to order a military intervention.
Will Russia intervene in case of a "not massive" (I cannot bring myself to write "limited") but bloody crackdown in the eastern Ukraine?  No.
What will Russia do in that case?  Let the inevitable blowback from this violence result in more rebellion in the eastern Ukraine and offer indirect support (safe haven, medicine, equipment, money, etc.) from western Russia and Crimea.  Of course, Russia will continue to denounce the illegitimate neo-Nazi regime in Kiev, blame the West for what it has done and for its shameful support of the Banderites and appeal to the world public opinion directly.

That's how I see the situation developing, I might be wrong of course.

My guess is that the next 48 hours will be extremely violent and there is even a non-negligible possibility that the nationalist freaks will fail in their attempt to restore their rule over the east: a combination of very desperate resistance by locals and an unwillingness of enough security forces to kill civilians just might do the trick.  Alas, my experience in Moscow in 1993 (I was there during the full crisis) tells me that you can always find enough people to butcher their fellow-citizens, as long as they get to hide from the cameras.  There is nothing more easy then to hide a mass murder inside a burning building - and they know that.

[Did you know that the regime in Kiev has already cut off and hidden the bullets-ridden trees in central Kiev to avoid anybody investigating from where the sniper-fire had come?]

For most of the world, and for all western politicians, "if it ain't on TV it simply never happened".  I don't expect much will get on western TV channels about the upcoming crackdown anytime soon.

And if by mistake, it will - they can always blame Putin and Russia for it.

I will try my best to keep you informed.

The Saker

PS: since we can expect the crackdown to begin by a news blackout, please send me any information about what is happening in the eastern Ukraine or, even better, post it in the comments section of the blog.  Thank you

PPS: I just saw this.  Now, I am no imagery analyst, but even I can tell you that these photos show, well, how shall I put it more delicately, absolutely *nothing*.  Least of all a combined arms army of 40'000 soldiers about to launch an invasion.  This is beyond ridiculous...


Anonymous said...

Crimea Annexes Russia


Anonymous said...

I think Putin is one tough mf. I don't think he will hesitate to go to war if he thinks he's being truly messed with.

I think war is more likely than you do.

Afterthought said...

Putin has read too much Sun Tzu and practiced too much judo to fall for this trap.

In 1916 Dublin, the British defeated Padraig Pearse's Easter Rising.

In 1922 the Irish started Home Rule.

In 1949 Ireland became an independent state.

The people of the East can wait a few months and years for independence, but it will come.

Saker: you underestimate the costs both military and economic that the West can impose on Russia if they mistime this.

Integrating Crimea, and getting off the petro-dollar while wooing the non-aligned are more than enough to tackle right now.

Old Ez said...

This video linked below shows a "US Citizen" in what purports to be a Spetsnaz uniform being manhandled by some unidentified men.

Chema Martinez said...

Before an open war, Russia can take covert actions sending special forces with no identification. They can defend eastern ukrainian, train them and create a land where Kiev has no control.

Pour la Syrie said...

Hello Saker, it seems the anti kiev feelings have reinforced, as Ukraine is disintegrating, so let's wait the next poll by polite poeple, i'm sure within a month it will be higher, may be not as in Crimea, but enough. Also may be the donbass movement comes too early.

Олег Потапов said...

God bless you for saying the truth

Олег Потапов said...

God bless you for saying the truth...

I can help you with translating any materials from Russian to English. Write to me if needed

Anonymous said...

The clearest indication there will be war is the US stock market.

It works like this. When war breaks out there will be flight to safety: US ten year bonds. As low as the interest rate is on these bonds it will go a lot lower and billions and billions of dollars can be made when this happens. No risk, and if you leverage your bet, an astronomical reward.

So sell stocks and buy the 10 year bond. If you're a plutocrat.

Of course, what would inside information consist of in this scenario? Well, it would consist of knowing that the "West" will do whatever it takes to provoke Putin to invade.

Soraya S Ulrich said...

An excellent piece. Regrettably, I agree with your prediction of more violence. As to the poll you referenced, I think differently. Even in early February 2014, polls show that over 25% of Eastern Ukrainians believed they should be one with Russia. I have not doubt that number has increased dramatically with all that has happened in Ukraine, the looting of Kiev, the abolition of languages, etc.
It would be fascinating to ask why was that poll in early February conducted in the first place (by Kyiv international inst of sociology).

jo6pac said...

I'm not a fan of ZH but sometimes they have some interesting stuff.


@Олег Потапов: thanks a lot for your kind words!

Could you translate this fantastic video: ?

Or, even better, make a version subtitled in English?

Maybe with the help of friends?

Email me at or if you think that you could do that, and I will try to find somebody who might be able to subtitle it (though that is not certain at all). Можешь запросто писать по-русски :-)

If not - this is a long video - that's okay. It's just that I like this guy's common sense explanation of what really happened in the Ukraine. Plus he is funny.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your offer, God bless,

Балобан aka The Saker

Anonymous said...

To do "nothing" is to leave to much to chance.

Putin has to, will probably armed, supply and train them. Turn it into a proxy war. Volunteer trainers and donations of food and fuel, delivery of so called black market munitions, rpg should be able to take on those tanks. And when needed, private mercenaries, "ex Spetznaz" types.

Why do you think he would not make a play from the NATO playbook?

Anonymous said...

Afterthought said...

"In 1949 Ireland became an independent state."

Ireland is an American colony right now. Probably has been since 1949.

вот так

Anonymous said...

Crazy Ivan says...

The Saker, the movie has English German captions:

To turn on English/German subtitles click the "Captions" button below the video.


Anonymous said...

Dear The Saker,

I think they have had enough - if the EU/US want Ukraine then they need to start funding it......



Joe Perez said...

given that the Junta has moved artillery up, I think it's going to be a blood-bath.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...10 April, 2014 13:46

"Crimea Annexes Russia


The author of that, Kagarlitsky, is a long time western NGO operative. He was in USSR helping bring it down and probably cheered at the news of Yeltsin's butchery of Moscow. Beyond that, he is a very long winded void with the untalent of being able to write miles of words, but not really say anything of substance. He leaves the reader with the vague sense they read something humanistic and progressive, but all he has done is subtly reinforce the ziofascist-fascist propaganda for whatever the subject he is writing about.

вот так

Anonymous said...


"[Did you know that the regime in Kiev has already cut off and hidden the bullets-ridden trees in central Kiev to avoid anybody investigating from where the sniper-fire had come?]"

No I didn't know that. It doesn't surprise me, it's how zionazis and their quisling operate everywhere to cover up their war crimes.

I hope this evidence is being documented and is not being allowed to fall through the cracks.

вот так


@Crazy Ivan: the movie has English German captions:


This is too nice to be true. I am posting it ASAP.

Thanks for the pointer!


The Saker

karlof1 said...

[Did you know that the regime in Kiev has already cut off and hidden the bullets-ridden trees in central Kiev to avoid anybody investigating from where the sniper-fire had come?]

Saker, This was also done in Dallas, Texas soon after the JFK assassination to the big oak tree fronting the book depository building where Oswald supposedly had his sniper lair, although it was merely trimmed--adjusting the facts to fit the story.

Since they are Nazis and directed by the planet's #1 Terrorists, I expect the worst for the Eastern Ukrainians as the Terrorist's propaganda will lay all blame on Russia just as it has 100% so far. And defending a few governmental administrative buildings while losing the whole of the surrounding city is no victory. Eastern Ukrainians need to prepare for war, not street skirmishes, and by not doing so invite total defeat, as you note.

I see Ukraine as but one front of a multi-front (in the eyes of the Terrorists) pre-emptive war since the gauntlet's been thrown down by the SCO--ridding the planet of the dollar as the global settlement currency and negating the rest of the Terrorist's financial system through the creation of its own--sealed--system. This was to be expected as it's been made clear the Terrorists will stop at nothing to ensure their continued control over as much of the planet as possible.

Anonymous said...


"Could you translate this fantastic video: ?

Or, even better, make a version subtitled in English?"

? That video has English subtitles.

вот так

Anonymous said...

have a look at some nice live cameras in Donetsk, odessa and other eastern cities

family_man said...

If Putin never had any intention of intervening militarily, he should have specifically warned those East Ukranian activists to abandon their quest. They're depending on him to rescue them. Instead it will be a bloodbath, and Putin is partly to blame.

Anonymous said...

VINEYARDSAKER (@ 10 APRIL, 2014 14:54):

I clicked through to that video just now and the English captioning is functioning.

Anonymous said...

The video posted by Old Ez and at Mark Sleboda's Twitter feed is in the opinion of one Russian TV journalist I reached out to '100% fake'. That may be putting it too strongly since it appears to have been filmed in a culvert at night with no external identifying landmarks or streets. So figure 90% chance it's fake because if an American really had been captured you'd think Washington wouldn't hesitate to make hay out of it even if they ran the risk of having RT and many people point out that they had lied through their teeth about their being no American Greystone contractor boots on the ground in E. Ukraine.

If it is fake I'll give the 'actors' who produced it cred for using a Slavic actor to fairly reproduce an American accent (unless they found a Canadian or U.S. expat in E. Ukraine or Russia to film this which I doubt).

Anonymous said...

Crazy Ivan says...

The Saker, when I wrote recently that you contradict yourself (sometimes) I didn't put myself on the opposite site to your analyses.

But you seem to write too emotionally in recent posts.

This time you presented dire situation for unarmed people to whom Ukraine nationalists moved all sorts of thugs armed to the teeth.

You, we, journalists, experts, etc have been sayinf for the last weeks that Mr Putin gained enormously politically both domestically and internationally. And they were able to prove it, including yourself.

How you can think now that such capital (advantage), I know, attached simultaneously with enormous burden of responsibility for Russia and world peace, he would sacrifice for not wanting to help Russian citizens?

Can you imagine how many dogs would be hang *) on Mr Putin if he left Russians to die from hands of fascists?

*) close to "national treason"

Russia is forced to act by US, no time to argue about that.

But there is no alternative to foreign mercenaries shooting to Russians!

There is no alternative to Russians being slaughtered by "right sector" or Svoboda Party's private army of National Guard's thugs!

And read the petty analysis of mine as a cool analysis apart from the emotional language underlined by the exclamation marks.

Anonymous said...

Dear The Saker,

I agree - Russia is going down the economic route:

and tourism:

plus the gas post earlier......



Macon Richardson said...

See Russia Today on the "Russian military buildup."

It seems these photos are from Russian military drills in 2013

Anonymous said...

1. Why would Putin want to own the problem?
2. If Russia did 'invade/liberate' then the Catholic-Orthodox line would be a likely boundary.
3. The larger picture is about the US/EU using a failed state opportunity to step back from globalization and introduce trade wars via sanctions etc (i.e. to cover for an emerging Depression).
4. Russian forces on the border are just as likely there to keep the chaos out of Russia.

Arius said...

Recently a US congressman was on TV news shows saying that Putin plans on invading Georgia and Armenia to gain a land bridge to Iran. This of course is beyond the ridiculous as Armenia is a Russian ally. This is what passes for news and thinking in the West.

Nora said...

вот так 14:56. Yup. Ireland had ten good years, maybe; now they're right back where they started, though perhaps a bit less priest-ridden.

Penny said...

love the gardening analogies..

as I was reading through your post

"Somewhere, and painful as this might be, this morally obscene, historically absurd and pragmatically crazy experiment of an "Independent and anti-Russian Ukraine" needs to run its course and collapse on its own"

I heard this guy talking today and he said- sometimes you gotta go through something (experience it) to realize you didn't have to go through it

That is Ukraine- It didn't have to be this way. But, it is

Did you notice the US is blaming Russia for the boston bombing

Unbelievable stuff

Makes me think of that crazy cartoon they had that song "blame canada"

can't recall the name of it?
South Park?

good read Saker
and you are welcome!

Anonymous said...

Crazy Ivan, Putin is already between the rock and hard place; Damned if he does not intervene and damned if he does. Should he follow American example of "destroying the village in order to save it"? Because military intervention would equal just that - more deaths; People will die anyway, the question is - how many of them have to die unnecessarily? Mostly for their lack of organization and preparedness and the lack of clear vision from the majority's point of view. This is not Crimea, as the Saker pointed it out. This was a suicidal move without much consideration for all involved. The plea to Putin was heartbreaking, yes, but should have been supported by more than 50% of local citizens and it was hardly the case. NO real statesman will risk world war and millions of lives for such a faint rebellion, unless it was planned as a provocation, like in WWII. He is not a psychopath, like those in Kiev and the West, he has to consider everything and choose the lesser evil.

Anonymous said...

Quote: If Putin never had any intention of intervening militarily, he should have specifically warned those East Ukranian activists to abandon their quest. They're depending on him to rescue them. Instead it will be a bloodbath, and Putin is partly to blame.

That's what has puzzled me, too. Usually he direct and clear in his intentions. So why not this time? Some surprises coming up? Maybe a last minute resignation of the activists? To make a fool out of the assembled "law-and-order-guys" with all their weapons?

Mulga Mumblebrain said...

I'd expect a bloodbath. The Yankee elite love killing the weak, the genocidal and eugenicist streak, yellow in tooth and claw, extends right down their spineless backs. The Ukrainian Nazis want to emulate their forefathers, and the psychopaths of the private death-squads won't have had such fun since Iraq. Everywhere the US meddles death-squads appear. Murder is a sacrament in the psychotic religion of the US-Zionist elite, as the Yesha Council of Rabbis and Torah Sages observed in 2006 as Lebanon was being bombed to rubble. In fact these worthies declared that under Judaic law, in time of war (and the Zionazi elites are always at war with the rest of humanity)killing civilians is not just permissible (International Law to the contrary was dismissed contemptuously as 'Christian Morality' an insult in those circles)but a 'mitzvah' or good deed. They need only declare that Putin, the Russians and anyone else on his side is 'Amalek' or 'The Haman of our Age' and the bloodshed will become sacred and genocidal. And just wait for the Western MSM hyenas to slobber their approval. I would hope that someone is recommending discretion as the better part of valour, and the anti-fascists will save themselves. Murder is the Real Evil Empire's preference and strength.

brian said...

I like the title , but Kagarlitskyd tske on the Russian govts and ESP Putin is as if he has something better in the wings. The attack on Putin is ESP risible , given Russia's present regeneration had a lot to thank him for .

Mulga Mumblebrain said...

Arius, US Congressmen have only two purposes these days, and intelligence, morality and spiritual understanding do not come into it. To take the cheques from their Zionazi and Kochtopus paymasters, and to cheer loudly, throw themselves to their knees, rend their clothes in ecstasy and prostrate themselves full-length as Netan-yahoo or any other Zionazi Fuhrer surveys his property while addressing the Congress. The Congress of the B-Grade.

Mulga Mumblebrain said...

Arius, US Congressmen have only two purposes these days, and intelligence, morality and spiritual understanding do not come into it. To take the cheques from their Zionazi and Kochtopus paymasters, and to cheer loudly, throw themselves to their knees, rend their clothes in ecstasy and prostrate themselves full-length as Netan-yahoo or any other Zionazi Fuhrer surveys his property while addressing the Congress. The Congress of the B-Grade.

Anonymous said...

"As for those who surrendered, they were hunted down while leaving the area, beat up and often murdered"

I remember reading in Pity the Nation how the Israelis asked the Syrians to leave from Lebanon and promised a viable safe passage. Once the Syrian armour was on it the Israelis bombed them.

Then I read of the conflict around Bint Jbeil and how when the Israelis left one way open for Hizballah members to flee, the opposite happened and more rushed in to fight.

For doing what they have done these people are brave and honourable. It will be a tragedy to watch them suffer and die. In Iraq Sistani had asked most 'Zairean' to flood into the Imam Ali mosque and get the Sadarist safely out. It would be amazing if something similar was possible here.

I feel it is not my place to say this, as i lack that courage I see in them, but my only hope is that once their minds are made up, instead of surrendering they put up one hell of a fight.


Anonymous said...

Saker, your quote "las, my experience in Moscow in 1993 (I was there during the full crisis) tells me that you can always find enough people to butcher their fellow-citizens,"
yes I vividly rmmebr how the british scumbags-politiicans and britihs journalists- along with maericvans had infiltrated inside kremlin and were advising the russians as to how to proceed with yeltsin clampdow.
english are th emost vile evil nation in the world which russia msut annhilate if it ever wants to live in poeace.

Anonymous said...

Crazy Ivan says...

@ Anon 10 April, 2014 18:31
We all know that.

@ Anon 10 April, 2014 18:36
"...he should have specifically warned those East Ukranian..."

I think the warning were sent but to the West through many channels.

On the other hand, modern warfare uses heavily... cell phones. ;-) *)

I wouldn't be baffled to know someday Russian command was in close contact with Ukrainian counterparts only to tell them what would happen to them if they dared to shot one bullet against unarmed Russians in Eastern Ukraine.


Anonymous said...

Crazy Ivan says... addendum

I found English version of the cartoon at last:

Anonymous said...

I think Saker's assessment is spot on. Strategy is what one must consider, not knee-jerk, American-television-based fiction, like John Wayne's, "Pilgrims, mount up. Let's ride!," nonsense. No one bleeds in John Wayne movies, and only the bad guys drop like flies.

You've got to consider that the Russian military, security forces, and other government services are working overtime inside and outside Ukraine. Just think of the electronic surveillance we heard from the two leaked phone calls. That has to be just a tiny micro-fraction of the intelligence Moscow is getting and analyzing. There are likely generals in a war room (this is an undeclared war at this point), pushing pieces around a gigantic map, or more likely, a gigantic telescreen.

Why would Russia need to use the military option when so many much more bloodless and effective options are available.

Today, I heard this howler on Red Ice Radio in an interview with former (just fired) C2C Sat. 12:00 - 4:00 am host John B. Wells.

Somewhere in hour one, he tells us that NASA buys their rockets used to launch satellites from......Yes, Russia!!! Now I know that there is a private company that has launched at least one, but this "contracting out" of American jobs has put the "homeland" in straits that greed and lust for profits ignored. And the Russian's just docked with the ISS today with an unmanned load. (I'd like to know WHAT the hell they are doing in that thing?) Think of what a phone call from Moscow to Washington would consist of if the lone occupants of the ISS were only Americans and a crisis escalated here on earth.

So, canceling rocket sales; ditching the dollar for export transactions; pulling the plug on Ukraine manufacturing; closing the border to imports for, first, Ukraine, then selected Western European countries, minus Germany; and, as the late Premier of Alberta, Canada said to Prime Minster Pierre Trudeau over the control of Alberta's new found petroleum find, "Let the bastards freeze in the dark!" The possibilities are endless.

Ivanov said...

I hope you’re right, Saker. The person that commented (re insider stock-market trading): ‘ ... Well, it would consist of knowing that the "West" will do whatever it takes to provoke Putin to invade.’ ... may have hit the nail on the head.

Since at least the disastrous G8 meeting last summer, with the infamous photo of Obama scowling while Putin ignored him, the drumbeat of provocations against Putin and Russia has grown louder and louder. Back in 2006, Foreign Affairs ran an article about how Russia was vulnerable to a nuclear strike ( Nothing material has changed since, in particular the Bulova SLBM hasn’t tested well enough for use on the new Borei subs, leaving Russia vulnerable. One likely possibility is that the provocations are intended to fan war hysteria, justifying the threat of an attack, assuming Russian would back down as in 1962, in effect throw in the towel. The provocations started with the “Putin slouching” deprecation (what leader would insult his primary opponent like that, even considering the source ?), if not before, continued with the trapping of Snowden in Russia, through Syria, then Sochi, becoming more and more flagrant since the coup in the Ukraine.

[As an aside, the local rag here last summer asked for pictures of Putin slouching. I sent one of Putin riding the bear, captioned: “Slouching forward ?” It wasn’t published.]

Just as in 1914, Russia is some years away from being strong enough to face down the West (the Soviets were, in their era). In addition to the Bulova, the Ground Forces are grossly under-manned because of draft dodging, and grossly under-trained because of the 12-month draft. The MO says contract soldiers will go from 230 K this year to 500 K by 2020, fixing the problem eventually, but not yet. Russia needs to bide it’s time, stay out of conflicts unless attacked directly (a Right-Sector-ruled Crimea would have been on the Black Sea Fleet), while it regains its strength.

mutantsushi said...

I would differ with your characterization of two binary options: Kiev junta Ukraine or Russian annexation. A third path (ugh!) of an independent Novo Rossiya is plausible, and indeed attractive to Russia in it's own right (rather than having to 100% integrate the region to Russian standards immediately as in Crimea). ...As well as being more acceptable to a broader swathe of citizens there: They retain their "honor" and independence from Russia, there is less sense of assault on Ukrainian identity, it is basically a fracturing of Ukrainian state not annexation by Russia, etc. Everybody in favor of acceding to Russia would ultimately back such a result over the alternative of submitting to the junta in Kiev.

Russia's federalization position has been clearly stated from the beginning, and has even been accepted from the beginning by Western realists, although usually of the retired sort. Even the US indicated assent to de facto federalization not too long ago (although mostly ignored by Western MSM), so what is the problem really? Obviously, both sides would want to negotiate to achieve the best "version" of federalization from their perspective, but all that is par for course.

I haven't seen mentioned that federalization was in fact NATO's exact solution for Bosnia, insisting on a bloody war killing 100,000 people before imposing basically the same solution negotiated before the war (but rejected by muslim nationalists at last minute w/ US backing). ...Bosnia being another case of overlapping/conflicting visions of national identity. I'm curious why Russia doesn't highlight that in their diplomacy/PR, saying "do you really want another avoidable pointless Bosnian war because you reject the solution clear at the outset?", but Russian diplomatic PR seems to have trouble anyways, IMHO.

I would ask about the meaning of the latest Western theatrics, e.g. the PACE expulsion in all but name, as well as amped up threat of more sanctions... Despite that Russia hasn't really done anything since Crimea, which was de facto accepted by the West at this point, with no further sanctions plan

Is this just political circus for the masses, masking negotiations over the details of federalism? Or did something change amongst the West to now reject federalism? It's really hard to say given Western perfidity and refusal to deal with basic facts like the actual legal procedures for impeachment of president and subsidiary issues of constitutional court (and all coup govt. actions), EU's own abandonment of the agreement and previous refusal of 3-way talks, etc... Ironically preferring to portray Russia as unwilling to use dialog and diplomacy. But in the end, I can't see how it isn't at least in Europe's interests to come to a viable solution, so I think we are seeing mostly hyperbole from the West.

I agree with the general drift of your thought though, in that the trajectory of this may take longer than people think. "Doing nothing" may not be a long-term plan of Russia, but simply a short term one to better cultivate the scenario for "doing something", after the coup regime faces reality with IMF austerity, gas costs, and economic implosion exacerbating internal divisions and conflict within the Maidan backers. I don't think Russian intervention in SE Ukraine should be ruled out, either in small scale operations supporting locals or wholesale invasion of SE Ukraine, although I agree that Russia has a longer game to play if need be, and so is not necessarily waiting for one small incident to start a large scale operation. Russia also has the option of using "limited" operations like no-fly zones (Western favorite), although that specific tactic may or may not be relevant here.

mutantsushi said...

I don't think any of this analysis lessens the impetus for the people of Ukraine, Novo Rossiya specifically, to stand up to the junta. It took many months for the Maidan to achieve it's end, and although they seem more organized than anti-maidan at this point, that can change.

I don't see how success for Novo Rossiya is not all but assured in some form or another: What West and Central Ukraine do is their own business, but the attempt to impose their will on all of Ukraine will end up as the Bay of Pigs. Even a rump West-Central Ukrainian state will likely collapse on itself and need to come to arrangement with Russia. The West even acknowledges this, recognizing that Ukraine faces becoming a failed state.

What level of violence happens now cannot be foreseen: The fascists and NATO lackeys will follow their own trajectory, but that does not change the ultimate outcome that they will not triumph in imposing their will on Novo Rossiya. Now is not the moment to doubt for people of Novo Rossiya, Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Krivy Rog, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizia, Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk. Prepare for at least as long a struggle as the Maidan needed to over-throw Yanukovych, but do not doubt, because their cause is strongest.

Anonymous said...

@They need only declare that Putin, the Russians and anyone else on his side is 'Amalek' or 'The Haman of our Age'

Good on you, mate!

You read this:
Piotr Bein’s blog = blog Piotra Beina 06/03/2014:

"Purim 2014: Putin this year’s Haman"

'It is Purim season, 2014 and Putin is this year’s Haman. Israel and Netanyahu are in full court press to see Putin–who is standing in the way of the New World Order–destroyed, even if it means war with the United States'


Anonymous said...


Another one for you:


Among Ukraine’s Jews, the Bigger Worry Is Putin, Not Pogroms


Anonymous said...

Re 1916:

Ireland lost her independence in 1958, when she joined the IMF.

oscar said...

Dear Saker: I have problems to understand the symbiotic relation between Nuland, Tymoshenko, Yats and the nazi oriented right wings in Kiev. Do you have some explanation/s? Kind regards. Oscar

Anonymous said...

How about Putin instigating instability and tension in places like EU members Poland, Czech republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia etc., and all at the same time? These nations rely on gas from Russia, and Latvia has a sizeable Russian population too? Set the cat amongst the pigeons as it were.

Anonymous said...

I have chronicled information and videos related to the sniper shootings at the following address, including footage of the BBC being shot at by the same sniper and additional information in regards to the doctor who is on record as saying the snipers were on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Hey freak, look like your non invading, not aggressive Russian army is already started the war, or in Sloviansk those well armed and trained guys are the famous "local concerned citizens" too? Like in Crimea?
About RU war in UKR, you can not take the whole east and south, you may be able to control soem limited territories, like Luhansk and Doneck, but moving up to the Dniester, its a dream...
NATO and most importantly CIA will do what they did in Afghanistan, train and supply those volunteers who are happy to kill Russians, and have no illusion, seeing the effectiveness of Russian army in Chechnya and in Georgia the NATO and CIA trained/armed groups will kill a lot of Russian kid. When the body bags with conscripted kids in it start to arrive back to the Russian families Putin will loose the war...
I am really sorry for those Russian people/soldiers who will be the victim of Putins game, they would deserve a better, freer life.

sapien said...

To summarize it:

Please stop trying to scare people with the big bad Russia.
Plrase stop telling us what Putin is thinking and what he will or might do. Nobody knows that BUT Putin.

Just because Russia can interfere doesn't mean they want to it will. You put that on top to scare people with the big bad Russia. FUD.
No, Russia is NOT ready to go to war over Ukraine. FUD again.
Putin is just pissed off he got badly played. He knows one wrong step will result in serious sanctions that WILL hurt Russia. He wanted Crimea for the military base; the rest of Ukraine can (and will) go to hell as far as he is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Putin cannot not allow NATO and missiles to be stationed in Ukraine. So he will act like he did in Georgia.
He saw how Kennedy reacted when Khrushchev tried to install missiles on Cuba... the thread of a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Putin will do the same to the US, as he knows NATO is the US proxy.

Anonymous said...

Well informed,insightful analysis as ever . Thank you Saker.

Here in Ireland we are drowning in US/UK lies and propaganda.

Russia is patient. I admire their restraint and wisdom- the US is provoking war......and they have annexed the despicable, traitorous
European Union.

Anonymous said...

A lesson for all. Make friends with powerful neighbours.

brian said...

Sad case of envy : while your own state , whatever it is but cleArly an imperial drone , is ground under the American jackboot

brian said...

Sapien ? Or non sapien? Your knowledge of Putin or russia today is woeful or in keeping with a drone if the empire

Anonymous said...

Hey Saker, Your analysis seems just about perfect. I'm glad to see that you are putting out some really good and sensible work out there that merits closse attention. Do nothing seems to be the best way forward except that Russian needs to remain engaged with the 'west' and dialogue and attend meetings and make small agreements and point out such and such and while all the while make sure the 'West' owes the problem. What percent of the the Ukrainians will howl once they understand the true meaning of 'freedom' and 'democracy'. Thanks a M.

Anonymous said...

Great article. Really clears up a lot of things. My Long-range sensors indicate this Ukraine chapter will end in Germany where the freaks will ultimately surrender. Merci pour tout.