“Russian politician proposes new divisions of Ukraine” Reuters

"In a letter sent to the governments of Poland, Romania and Hungary, Vladimir Zhirinovsky also suggested those countries hold referendums on incorporating the regions into their territory. Zhirinovsky, whose nationalist Liberal Democratic party largely backs President Vladimir Putin in the Russian parliament, sent the letter as Russia annexed the Crimea region of southern Ukraine last week. He is deputy speaker at the Duma and his party holds a minority in the parliament. But his ideas and language resonate with a large part of the Russian population and the Kremlin's increasingly pro-nationalist rhetoric. His letter, seen by Reuters, suggested Poland, Hungary and Romania, who are now in the European Union, might wish to take back regions which he said were in the past their territories."  Reuters


So, basically, this political ally of the Russian president has invited Poland, Hungary and Romania to exercise supposed irredentist claims against the Ukrainian state created by the Soviet Union as a result of soviet victory in world War 2. 

The borders of the territories in eastern Europe have ben moving around for many centuries.  In many cases the present borders are of recent invention.  The notion that they are somehow engraved on stone tablets in some distant Olympian vault never to change again is laughable to anyone who knows any history at all. 

It will be interesting to see if this idea is attractive to the Polish, Hungarian and Romanian peoples as opposed to their governments.   pl 


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57 Responses to “Russian politician proposes new divisions of Ukraine” Reuters

  1. ALL:
    I would argue that any so-called Nation-State that cannot defend its borders and/or airspace does not qualify as a Nation-State for the following reason!
    Assuming wars and international relations are not things and concepts of the past today with many threats from sub-state actors to innocents [what I label terrorism] [and I don’t exclude threats to innocents from nation-states both within and outside their borders and airspace but that is for later post and comments] and with the nuclear world now about to be discussed again at the Third Conference on this issue, the concept of what is a Nation-State deserves the most critical thinking in a modern world ruled largely by autocrats and oligarchs.
    By by Ukraine. I know you miss free flowing steppes and horses but that world long gone. Wilsonian Self-Determination gone with the rise of Globalism IMO!

  2. WP says:

    A map of where they speak Russian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Idioma_ruso.PNG
    It looks like this is a fact that will be important over the coming months.

  3. Will says:

    The Germans have always, even in World War I, coveted the rich black earth of Western Ukraine. Will it eventually come to that?

  4. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well that is fine and well but let us take it to its logical end:
    Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and parts of France must be ceded to Germany.
    Poland will disappear again.
    And so will Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, and a few others.
    Greece will be incorporated back into Turkey; I should imagine?
    And there would be a North American Union from the Arctic Circle to the Colombian border.
    In Central Asia there would be a single state: Uzbekistan which would include southern Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kirghizstan, and possibly Tajikistan.
    Afghanistan and Iraq will disappear also and so would Yemen, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar.
    Lebanon and Jordan will be gone as well, incorporated into the new Sham Republic.

  5. kao_hsien_chih says:

    The idea will never fly because of where it came from, even if these countries want their piece of Ukraine, as Zhirinovsky is considered an over the top extremist. More important, there are rather few Poles or Hungarians left in Ukraine now, because of post 1945 “population transfers.” Irredentism tends to be fueled by such peoples fearing persecution, rather than “historical memories” and there just isn’t enough fuel. And finally, the fears of a handful of Poles left in Ukraine (the only group worth mentioning now and there aren’t that many of them) probably aren’t worth it for the Polish state if they cost the goodwill of the US…although, admittedly, Poles seizing Teschen from the Czech alongside the Nazis was completely overlooked in 1939…..

  6. Robert C. says:

    If the US endorsed German reunification, how can we be critical of this?

  7. 505thPIR says:

    It will be attractive to their own Zhirinovsky’s. Will be most interesting to hear the cries of “Hypocrits” from the Russian side if they are dumb enough to seriously entertain taking this bait.

  8. Anon1 says:

    Let me know when Poland gets its 1939 borders back and the Germans recover East Prussia.
    Zhirinovsky is being Putin’s useful idiot, since Putin can’t get away making such ridiculous claims. This is just theater of the absurd for the moment.

  9. WP! Very interesting graphics! Can you find one for German as of 2000?

  10. William Herschel says:

    One thing is clear, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Just as a first hypothesis, I would say that Ukraine is crawling with Russian Special Forces in plain clothes.

  11. WP says:

    Col. Lang wrote on the day before Putin’s speech that we would soon know what Putin was up to. Now we know and there is no way the genie can be put back into the bottle. A new cold war type stasis is in the making or the end is nigh.
    Prognostication is risky. Notwithstanding the high likelihood of failing to see something obvious, here is how I see the future for the next few years or so. Bets anybody?
    My prediction is that by June 30 or soon thereafter, the eastern border of Ukraine will be 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop line. No serious battle will have been fought by the Russians in securing their positions. I fear to predict what will be happening on the centennial of the guns of August 1914. Stupidity and incompetence too often shape history. As you said in one of your blog entries, “We shall see.”
    Here is the foundation for my prediction:
    My thought is that Putin must act very quickly along the lines suggested by Vladimir Zhirinovsky or he will be humiliated at his home. If he waits, the countervailing forces of the West will figure out how to match his plays. If he stops in the vicinity of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop line, he can claim at home that he has won and has restored “Soviet” honor.
    Like in 1914, it is not to strong who start terrible wars, it is the weak. It is the weakness of the strong that they have a weak ability to respond to the acts of the weak without causing a disaster. The strong are often run by fools.
    It is all a shame that Putin, in his domestic weakness, had to resort to the evil genie of external aggression to prop up his power. Though the talking heads will talk about economics and national interests, this gambit is not really about economics or trade, it is about the exercise of the will of a nation personified by its leader. Now that Putin has tasted the apple, he cannot quit until he has consummated his lust, lest he be deemed by his backers or himself as impuissant. As Russian history has shown so many times, taking Ukraine is now a matter of personal survival to Putin. If he fails, he will die or be killed. I believe he will act decisively–he has no other choice.
    My fear is that the Gift (German for poison) of the Neocons keeps on giving and their hubris and failures of judgment will create Armageddon. The U.S. is often a strong power run by fools. I do not think the West will mount a military response and I do not think nuclear weapons will be used. Hopefully, there are some heads who can prevent disaster.
    From my perspective, the matter of Russian ethnic honor is of prime importance to analyzing the current state of affairs in Russia. One should not discount the extent to which honor controls events. Matters of honor have caused many historical miscalculations. Our own Civil War would never have been fought without the predominance of issues of the Honor of the South. Objective minds, then easily predicted that the North had massively more industrial might, money, and population than did the Southern states and that the Confederacy had little chance to defeat the Union. Had issues of honor not been at stake, Brig. Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard would never have fired that first shot at Ft. Sumter on that morning in April, 1861. The guns of August 1914 were presaged by the honor-and-glory-seeking visions of Wilhelm II creating a huge war machine in competition with his British and Russian cousins. The rise of Hitler and the resulting war initially arose partly from the roots of the German myth of Dolchstosslegande. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stabbed-in-the-back_myth Too often, history has shown us that the acts of nations are fundamentally the personal acts of the potentates.
    Now, Putin is the legend maker who is creating the linguistic code to support the reclamation of the Soviet Honor. Humanity has not changed. Putin is now a prisoner of his own social myth making.
    Right now the West simply has no intellectual remedy for the Soviet resurrection myth. It has insufficient will to oppose it. Sanctions will not stop the mythical idea. Honor trumps economics. Economic sanctions are not a barrier. In mythical terms, resistance from outside opposition only steels the resolve of the true believers and justifies bolder action.
    The West will do nothing against Russia militarily if Putin stops at Zhirinovsky’s line–for now. The West’s immediate ability to impose direct opposing force on the ground in Ukraine is too weak and the economic consequences in the West too large. While mythic causation is ascendant in Russia, economics still is ascendant in the West.
    In his speech last week, Putin commented that the Neo-con’s actions in Ukraine were, “unprofessional.” In his mind, I think that Putin may think that what he is about to do in the Ukraine is the “Professional” response to the unprofessional actions of the West.
    Instead of being professionally sensitive to the possible red lines of Soviet sentimentality, the Neo-cons galloped off to exercise their irrational dreams of making all of the world a democratic realm subservient to Western Powers. The Neo-con’s action were a fundamental breach of the tacit understanding of the post-Soviet order agreed to between Washington and Gorbachev in the 1990s to reserve some middle-ground, semi-neutral territory between Russia and NATO-EU. Now, even Gorbachev supports Putin’s expansion into the Crimea and the Ukraine. The mythical power of the dream of Soviet resurrection is immense and is not to be ignored.
    Vladimir Zhirinovsky proposal may be a rational response to the Neo-con’s unprofessionalism. Putin may be justified in having a professional belief that leaving western Ukraine to flounder at the expense of the West while annexing the eastern part will function as that new neutral ground which will be allowed by the West without significant cost to Russia.
    In the short term, the West has too much investment in Russia, too much need Russian raw materials, and is too dependent on Russian energy to resist to powerfully. The U.S. is also too vulnerable due to its necessity to have access to Afghanistan from the North.
    Putin must know that if he delays, he will not succeed. The Ukrainian anti-Russian government is already rounding up the resistance and suppressing pro-Russian activities. In short, at the present when Western resolve and power is weak, Russia must act very quickly to foment a “demand” for unification with Russia by the Russian speaking Ukrainian provinces. My prediction is that this fomentation is now going forward at full throttle. Putin will get and accept the demand. Fundamentally, the game is over except for the actual Anschluss.
    In the longer term, if Putin does not act quickly to annex the Russian speaking eastern Ukraine, the West will continue on its destabilizing Neo-con phantasies and develop effective countermoves to prevent the fulfillment of the resurrection myth. If he does act quickly, the West will do little other than continue its impotent sanctions.
    Times have forever changed. From the moment the first steps to annex Crimea were taken, a new reality was created that will define much of the next few decades. The dream of bringing Russian into the West was just a glint of now crushed hope. Like a cheating husband who promises he will never to cheat again, the West will never trust Putin again. The states of the Eastern Front on WWII have too strong a memory of living under the Soviet shadow to see Russia as anything but a mortal threat as long as Putin rules.
    Putin’s actions will have profound military and economic consequences. A new arms race has started. Russia will be economically isolated and stagnated from the globalized world for a long time. China and the U.S. will be strengthened from the lessened economic competition from Russia. Ultimately, the peoples of the Russian Federation will be the biggest losers.
    NATO will bolster the defenses in the Baltic States, Romania, and Hungary all of whom have absolutely no desire to re-enter the Russian sphere. One gets a clear impression from reading the German press (the only other language I can read) and the reader’s comments to those articles that those states are freaking out, afraid. They are weak and cannot defend themselves from Russian aggression. They are not certain of the NATO guarantees.
    The eastern EU is already supplicating for defense support. Economically, the EU will develop energy independence from Russia and western investment and commerce Russia will slowly wither. The U.S. position will strengthen because it should now be able to demand more Euro payments in tribute to subsidize its defense services and to purchase its defense materiel. The U.S. should not step up to defending the EU for free!
    Are my bloviations accurate? I do not know. As Col. Lang has said, “We shall see?

  12. Mr. Cummings,
    Mr. Cummings,
    The end of the nationstate is not going to be caused by indefensible borders.
    It’s going to be caused by trans-national corporations, like Exxon. Exxon’s CEO recently said “nations come and go, but Exxon will always remain”.
    And let’s face it, what nation currently has the capability to tell Exxon what to do or how to do it.
    Our government is very much under the control of these transnational corporations. Our politicians and our government lobbied very hard for NAFTA. NAFTA hasn’t benefited a single American. Only international corporations have benefited from NAFTA. The same will hold true for the proposed Pacific trade union.
    Politicians talk a lot about how drilling in America and building pipelines that leak across America will help ensure American energy independence. Bull hockey. Petroleum is sold on a national market. Oil drilled in the United States or Canada is not held in reserve for the US. We could pump every drop of oil out of American territory and there is no force available to keep that oil in America. When a country cannot defend its national resources, then it is no longer a nationstate.
    If another country had attempted to steal American natural resources we would consider that an act of war.
    But it is hard, if not impossible to go to war with an international conglomerate. Especially since, through political contributions, they now own our government.

  13. Fred says:

    All they need now is the recipe for Victoria Nuland cookies. Why again do we need to defend a country we never needed to defend for 238 years? What the hell has Ukraine (or Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia or even Georgia (Republic of) even done for the US?

  14. MRW says:

    Cynical moi: What’s the money angle in all this? Who wants to produce natural gas to grab the EU market currently pipelined through Ukraine? Does anyone know who those players are? That’s the pea under my mattress.

  15. Thanks BABAK! Perhaps a map with your possibilities? Don’t laugh but the board game RISK goes through updates!

  16. WP,
    Can you produce a single shred of textual evidence — or indeed any other kind of evidence — in support of this analysis?

  17. Babak Makkinejad says:

    As long as the trans-national corporations do not have their own armies, what you predict will not come to pass.

  18. William Herschel,
    Did you read the BBC report you quote:
    An extract:
    “We will avenge ourselves on [Interior Minister] Arsen Avakov for the death of our brother. The shooting of Sashko Bily is a contract killing ordered by the minister,” said Roman Koval of the Right Sector in Rivne region, quoted by the Ukrayinska Pravda website.”

  19. crf says:

    Putin could buy Crimea from the Ukrainians. (And also buy constitution changes allowing Ukraine’s east greater autonomy.) There are probably countries willing to financially back him if he proposed that kind of transaction. Something like that may happen after the Ukrainian elections.

  20. kao_hsien_chih,
    What Zhirinovsky says has rather less relation to what Putin is likely to do than what McCain says has to what Obama is likely to do.
    As to what Putin is likely to do, as ‘b’ noted on ‘Moon of Alabama’ earlier this month, the evidence suggests the Russians think their least worst option is regionalisation.
    (See http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/03/ukraine-us-pulls-back-agrees-to-russian-demands.html )
    Whether the Western powers would agree to the kind of regionalization the Russians have in mind is, of course, a moot point. Moreover, if Ukraine disintegrates into chaos anything could happen.
    But so far at least no evidence whatsoever has been produced for the common assumption that Putin is hell-bent on following up the annexation of Crimea with the annexation of other parts of Ukraine which belonged to the Russian Empire.

  21. Fred says:

    Allot of what you say is true, however it is the lack of backbone of politicians like Mr. Obama, who completely failed to hold BP accountable after the disaster with their oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. All he had to do was tell the SEC to freeze their stock sales, the TSA to put all their executives on the no fly list and the FBI to arrest a few VPs. Hell, all he had to do was make a speech on a Friday at 5 saying that’s what he’s doing come Monday. They’d have coughed up allot more than one quarter’s profit to get out of that.

  22. Norbert M Salamon says:

    The revenge killing already started in Ukraine. It will increase in speed, most are scared of the criminal element in the so called government and its supporters. Whether we call it accidental suicide [newest claim] or outright assassinations [for the dead can not give evidence] does not count, as neither does it count if it is carried out by Russian Special ops, or from the other side.
    The money the gas and the oil is not there to replace even part of Russia’s exports to EU/NATO [sans US]. Nor is there the time. [recall that the big western oil companies did not find much oil, notwithstanding extreme amounts spend in the last few years and most are loosing their shirts in Bakken].
    Whatever foolish politicians and bankster say, Ukraine is going down the tube economically. Mr. Putin only has to wait a few months, and Greece will appear as Heaven to most Ukrainians.
    Then comes the usual result of US interference in foreign lands: failed states Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, Yemen, Libya with Syria on the doorstep. ‘
    While this is going on Mr. Putin is building another oil and another gas pipeline to China, where trade is in Rubles and Yuan.

  23. Thomas says:

    An interesting view, though the only place I see a Soviet Resurrection myth is in the MSM.
    Vladimir Putin does not want to incorporate Ukraine into Russia, but wants a stable, practical government that can fulfill its responsibilities. Crimea is a different story due to its history, its strategic value as HQ for the Black Sea Fleet and majority Russian population. The Russian troops currently massed on the border of Ukraine are to provide a warning to the Bandera Brigades about overstepping the lines and for psychological pressure on Kiev and the West (the collective freakout must be providing them with a treasure trove of intel through signal intercepts etc.).
    In today’s episode of Neo Madness, the Ukrainian Defense Minster was dismissed and replaced, while Acting President Turchynov announced that he would withdraw Ukrainian troops from Crimea. Which is good because a Right Sector leader was shot down by police for alleged “Mob Links”, so as this western civil war (don’t think the armed Right Sector is going to let this pass since they were the muscle behind the coup) gets underway, Kiev will need the leadership and forces to hold on to power. This why Russia won’t get involved unless seriously provoked, they will let the current government collapse of its own contradictions.
    As for bets, will Prime Minster Yatsenyuk last as long as Alexander Kerensky before he dives into a car, heads to an airport, and flees to his safety perch at the Brookings Institute? Because of the cruel vicious and nasty temperament of the Right Sector, I am leaning towards the under.

  24. Thomas says:

    A hedge fund run by Nate Rothschild is heavily invested there and he has connections with the politicos of the UK through his ties to the Bullingdon Club.
    Bailing Ukraine out in exchange for a 100 year factoring agreement on grain harvests is another avenue to explore as food security has become an issue in the business world.

  25. Thomas says:

    The reason Crimea was in the Ukraine to begin with is due to Kruschev’s mistress getting him drunk and applying the charms.
    Letting the Ukrainians solve their own problems without outside interference would have prevented this crisis. But the 21sy century Jacobins aren’t enjoying life if they are not make other people’s lives miserable.

  26. Thomas says:

    Also liked this quote;
    “However, some commentators say Russia has deliberately whipped up such fears, and that the influence of Right Sector in Ukrainian politics is exaggerated.”
    “Some Commentators” who could these unnamed people be?

  27. While I am sympathetic to your views I believe the forces of international finance trump the corporations.
    To some extent PL is correct that I am sympathetic to economic determinism!

  28. Will! IMO German bankers own the Ukraine!

  29. MRW says:

    Really? Thanks, Thomas. Know what that hedge fund name is? You know, when Khodorkovsky was caught trying to sell Yukos Oil to Exxon via Cheney in 2003, he passed his shares off to Baron or Lord Jacob Rothschild in London for safe-keeping before he went to jail. Nate is Jacob’s son. Now Khodorkovsky is in Berlin hailing the Ukrainian freedom fighters of Kiev and urging the breakup and subsequent joining of Ukraine to the EU. As I’ve mentioned on this board before, I’m sure there are western interests dying to get their mitts on the Dnieper-Donets Basin in eastern Ukraine. That field was brought in using Russia’s abiotic oil theory, which does not assume that oil is a fossil fuel.

  30. Thomas says:

    Wiki calls it Vallares for mineral deposit investments. The Beaver earlier posted an article link on Nate which had another name for his personal hedge fund which mentioned his Ukrainian investments and Bullingdon membership.
    It doesn’t surprise me about Khodorkovsky.
    It appears the current situation is revenge of Russian Looters from the West of the 90s. I saw on Bloomberg a while back were William Cohen was saying Russia should accept what is happening and allow our economic expertise back in to fix their unsustainable economy. I guess we are in the Oligarch Wars with a new form of entertainment soon to come, Rollerball.

  31. MRW says:


  32. nick b says:

    Really? Thanks, Thomas. Know what that hedge fund name is?
    JNR (UK) Ltd. Though I’m not sure it is technically a hedge fund. Previously there was Atticus Capital, but that was dissolved in 2009, I believe.
    Gas is the real prize in Dneiper-Donets.

  33. different clue says:

    Trade creeps are to trade what peace creeps were to peace.

  34. Norbert M Salamon says:

    thanks for the link – somehow the map missed the 150 year sojourn od the Ottoman Empire in Budapest, up to and including the outskirts of Wien {Vienna] which was repelled by the help of Polish king’s intervention.

  35. WP says:

    The resurrection myth is what Putin’s recent speech is all about.
    Kerensky failed because he could not invent “the” myth for the time. Lenin did. Kerensky also failed because he was less ruthless than the Bolsheviks; he did not murder Lenin.
    Yatsenyuk will not last long either. Putin’s myth resonates with too many Ukrainians who think fondly of the security and status of the former Soviet society.
    Ukraine is poor and broke and Russian pensions are larger than Ukrainian ones. http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/wirtschaftspolitik/putins-wiedervereinigung-anschluss-der-krim-wird-fuer-russland-richtig-teuer-12859482.html

  36. Fred says:

    It is all a shame that Obama, in his domestic weakness, had to resort to the evil genie of external democracy building to prop up his power. Though the talking heads will talk about economics and national interests, this gambit is not really about economics or trade; it is about the exercise of the will of a nation personified by its leader. Now that Obama has tasted the apple, (Remember Egypt, Syria, Libya) he cannot quit until he has consummated his lust, lest he be deemed by his backers or himself as impuissant. As American history has shown so many times, Democratizing Ukraine is now a matter of personal survival to Obama. My thought is that Obama must act very quickly along the lines suggested by McCain, Nuland, Powers, Rice et.al or he will be humiliated at his home. We see the betrayals already:
    From this perspective, the matter of American Exceptionalism is of prime importance to analyzing the current state of affairs in the United States. One should not discount the extent to which the ideology of American Exceptionalism controls events. Matters of ideology have caused many historical miscalculations. Our own Civil War would never have been fought without the predominance of the ideology of American Exceptionalism in the North. Objective minds back then easily predicted that the North had massively more industrial might, money, and population than did the Southern states and that the Confederacy had little chance to defeat the Union. Even elections will not stop the mythical idea.
    My fellow Americans are you listening? Senator Harry Reid (see link above) says other members of the United States Senate are traitors aiding the South, I mean Putin. The election’s over, you lost, now obey the President’s party. Oh, the States in the Confederacy were members of the Union in 1860? That election mattered? Opps, sorry, got sidetracked there. Where was I? Yes, defending Democracy – in Ukraine, where elections matter (not valid in Crimea, or under the pre-February 2014 Ukrainian constitution. See American Exceptionalism, Yankee version, 1861-1865). Now back to the weakness: In mythical terms, resistance from internal opposition only steels the resolve of the true believers and justifies bolder action. (See American Exceptionalism, Yankee version 1865-1877 i.e Reconstruction)
    Right now the East simply has no intellectual remedy for the American Exceptionalism myth. It has insufficient will to oppose it. (Just various units of the navy, army, a variety of Spetnatz and 500 ICBMs) Ideology trumps honor. Honor has no place in the affairs of men. The United States Government’s actions were a fundamental adherence to the American Exceptionalism Myth. No tacit understanding of the post-Soviet order agreed to between Washington and Gorbachev in the 1990s to reserve some middle-ground, semi-neutral territory between Russia and NATO-EU was going to stand in the way of what Must Be.
    Now, Obama is the legend maker who is creating the linguistic code to support the spread of Democracy. Humanity has not changed. Obama is now a prisoner of his own social myth making. We are seeing change we can believe in, and principled allies we must defend:
    Now, rally to the flag and do what Obama says. Who needs rational thought and a view to actual national interests when we have a mythical ideology of our own exceptionalism?
    Stupidity and incompetence often shape history. That is a fact we can all agree on. So is the destructive power of 500 ICBMs armed with nuclear weapons.

  37. WP! Sir John Keegan in his book ON WAR identified honor as a key fundamental for onset of warfare.
    Thanks for this insightful comment!
    Will Germany and/or China be a factor in your opinion as to how this plays out or is it a bipolar cold war again[hopefully not hot]?

  38. ALL:
    Self-destruction seems to be a feature of Ukrainian politicians of all flavors IMO!
    Is Putin patient in personality or practice?

  39. MRW says:

    Thanks Thomas and nick B,
    Now I gotta’ find out if Victoria Nuland has any shares in either one of whose funds. There must be some place where State Dept officials have to declare that.
    How much cheaper would it be to pick up the resources in the Dneiper-Donets Basin as collateral for a loan from private banks that Ukraine subsequently can’t repay. A lot cheaper than outright purchase at market price, or the agita of having to share profits with a government.

  40. The federal case against BP is still pending!

  41. WP says:

    You clearly got my analysis. The competing myths are in play. It is all emotion now. That is why I fear to predict what this August will be like. All of this is why I agree with Col. Lang that we are looking down the end of a gun. Both sides are blind to the other.
    Pray! We need some skilled myth-maker who can capture a vision of the 1000+ rocketing ICBMs for our common salvation before they are loosed.

  42. Charles I says:

    I missed it too, the damn thing is so small and so fast! An eye opener though, no matter what you miss. Being of Lithuanian descent, and childish, naturally I was impressed by the utmost extent of Lithuania.

  43. WP says:

    Tripartite. Greater Russia is exercising strong will to resurrect; the US and Europe, especially including Germany, in their hubris, erroneously see Russia as a bi-pole easily pressured to comply with Western myths; and China sits smiling like the Cheshire cat, invisible for now except for the smile.
    There is no longer stasis. The world is at a critical tipping point. All are now at great risk from fools.
    Every new newscast leaves me with less hope.

  44. WP,
    I have dealt with your reading of Putin’s speech in a response to your comment on the following thread.
    One further point made by Dr Patrick Armstrong, to add to the remarks I quoted there. The speech is, quite unambiguously, defensive. As he puts it:
    ‘If I were to pick two sentences to sum it up, they would be these: “Our western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right.” The second: “Are we ready to consistently defend our national interests, or will we forever give in, retreat to who knows where?”’
    On second thoughts, I would recommend the cross-posted version of Dr Armstrong’s comments on the ‘Da Russophile’ website, as there is an interesting exchange between him and an intelligent supporter of the Maidan protestors, on the question of whether the revolutionary ‘genie’ can be put back in the bottle in Ukraine.
    (http://darussophile.com/2014/03/russian-federation-sitrep-20-march-2014/ )
    A key point is that what is driving Russian policy at this point is not dreams of bringing all ethnic Russians back into a Greater Russian ‘Reich’. It is a combination of fears about the results of failing to draw a line at this point.
    Among these, in addition to the fear of an all-out to impose Ukrainian language and culture – such as it is – on Russophones, they will end up with a NATO naval base at Sevastopol, and the NED convinced that if it could bring off ‘regime change’ in Kiev it can follow its success up by playing the same trick in Moscow.
    On this issue, I would refer you back to an exchange between Fareed Zakaria and Henry Kissinger back in February:
    ‘ZAKARIA: You know Putin well. You’ve met him more than any American. Do you think he is watching what is happening in Ukraine and thinking, the West and the United States is doing this essentially as a way of surrounding Russia?
    ‘KISSINGER: I think he thinks that this is a dress rehearsal for what we would like to do in Moscow.’
    (See http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1402/02/fzgps.01.html )
    This is a rather important issue with which Putin deals in the speech, following the remarks Dr Armstrong quotes posing the alternatives of defending Russia’s interests or indefinite retreat:
    ‘Some Western politicians are already threatening us with not just sanctions but also the prospect of increasingly serious problems on the domestic front. I would like to know what it is they have in mind exactly: action by a fifth column, this disparate bunch of “national traitors” or are they hoping to put us in a worsening social and economic situation so as to provoke public discontent? We consider such statements irresponsible and clearly aggressive in tone, and we will respond to them accordingly. At the same time, we will never seek confrontation with our partners, whether in the East or the West, but on the contrary, will do everything we can to build civilised and good-neighbourly relations as one is supposed to in the modern world.’
    Again, I really would recommend that you look closely at what Putin actually said in the speech, the full text of which is available at http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/6889.

  45. kao_hsien_chih says:

    And while Khodorovsky is calling for destruction of his own country in effect (after a career seemingly dedicated to that goal), he is (or, will soon be) hailed in the West as the hero of Russian democracy and the natural choice of the Russian people had it not been for electoral manipulations by Putin…. Oh, the irony.

  46. WP says:

    I have read and reread the speech many times now as well as many comments to it on other websites. See my comment on the more current thread.
    BTW, the “This is the Emergency Alert System” message just beeped in my radio. At least in the midst of all of this we are aurally reminded of duck and cover drills from our youth. I do not cherish the feeling of that memory. Do not people ever learn?

  47. The Twisted Genius says:

    Charles I and Norbert Salamon,
    Here’s another video of changing borders that starts in 486 A.D. It’s easier to follow in full screen mode. And yes, Charles I, I have to admit to feeling a visceral pride in seeing the Grand Duchy of Lithuania extend from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Childish perhaps, but the feeling can’t be denied.

  48. Thomas says:

    As David points out above, Putin’s speech is about looking after Russia’s interests.
    “Are we ready to consistently defend our national interests, or will we forever give in, retreat to who knows where?”
    This is realpolitik. The system of international relations has been broken thanks to this crisis (the US bombing Syria would have caused this break at that time),so one has to be practicable to survive and that is what Russia is doing. Their intelligence services read the western newspapers and works from the think tanks, and know what policy theories are being presented to political leaders. It is even open to us as these same people bloviate on TV about surrounding Russia. Putin would have accepted an EU Ukraine (without NATO) if the government implemented the transitional agreement that was diplomatically negotiated. Once it was broken (violently) and the US says accept this fait accompli, Russia could no longer retreat.
    Yes, Ukraine is poor and broke. Unfortunately they have been sold a pie in the sky dream of prosperity and it came from snake oil specialists.
    In December, I was optimistic that the worse was over as diplomacy seemed to bring rational sanity in regards to the flash points of Iran and Syria. Today I join with you and Col Lang, it appears bleak with vain leaders, delirious courtiers,and sycophantic cheerleaders. In a positive vein, the professionals behind the scenes could be making progress in de-escalation. The silence from the military establishment should be seen in this light.

  49. Thomas says:

    Yes to both.

  50. Thomas says:

    I composed and posted this first before reading your post on the above thread about your definition of Myth.
    Yes I agree with you that Putin has a Russian myth to give a basis for rebuilding a society devastated by the failed Communist and 90s Western economic experiments. That leaders are talking past each other is a grave danger.

  51. MRW says:

    Great post, David, as have been many of your observations about this issue, imho.

  52. Charles Dekle says:

    Thank you. I love timelines like this.

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