Zelenskiy Changing Defense Ministers

Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar MP who has been tapped by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy as the country’s next defence minister. Photograph: Anadolu Agency

KYIV, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday he had decided to replace his defence minister, setting the stage for the biggest shake-up of Ukraine’s defence establishment since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelenskiy said he would dismiss Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov and would ask parliament this week to replace him with Rustem Umerov, head of the country’s main privatisation fund. Reznikov, defence minister since November 2021, has helped secure billions of dollars of Western military aid to help the war effort, but has been dogged by graft allegations surrounding his ministry that he has described as smears.

The decision comes amid a crackdown on corruption in Ukraine that Zelenskiy has been keen to emphasize. Kyiv has applied to join the European Union and the public has become highly sensitive to corruption as the war rages with no end in sight. “I’ve decided to replace the Minister of Defence of Ukraine. Oleksii Reznikov has been through more than 550 days of full-scale war,” Zelenskiy said. “I believe the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society as a whole.” Zelenskiy said he expected parliament to approve Umerov’s appointment, adding that Umerov “does not need any additional introduction.” Zelenskiy has to submit Umerov’s candidacy to parliament for review.

A 41-year-old ex-lawmaker and Crimean Tatar, Umerov has headed Ukraine’s State Property Fund since September 2022 and played a role in sensitive wartime negotiations on, for instance, the Black Sea grain deal. He has been praised in Ukraine for his track record at the State Property Fund, which oversees the privatisation of state assets and had been embroiled in corruption scandals before he took charge.


During the war, Reznikov’s defence ministry lobbied the West to overcome various taboos on supplying powerful military kit to Ukraine, including everything from German-made main battle tanks to HIMARS multiple-launch rockets. Kyiv now looks poised to receive U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets soon. Western military aid has played a crucial role in the war, as Ukraine first forced back Russian troops around the capital Kyiv before launching counteroffensives in the northeast and south. Its troops are now fighting through heavily-mined areas and Russian defensive lines to try to recapture territory in the southeast and east.

An English-speaker, Reznikov is seen as having built up a strong rapport with allied defence ministers and military officials. One member of parliament has tipped him as Ukraine’s possible new ambassador to London.

His apparent exit appears to bring an end to months of domestic media pressure that began in January when Reznikov’s ministry was accused of buying food at inflated prices. Though he was not personally involved in the food contract, some Ukrainian commentators said he should take political responsibility for what happened. Last month, a Ukrainian media outlet accused his ministry of corruption during the procurement of winter coats for the army. Reznikov denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly said he was being targeted by a smear campaign.


Comment: Changing defense ministers in the midst of an existential war and a counteroffensive which, although progressing, is certainly not living up to the West’s expectations, will no doubt be spun as panic by the Kremlin crowd. I do think this move is a realization by Zelenskiy that this war will most likely last at least into next year. His biggest fear is that the West will grow weary and stop providing military aid. The stories of corruption within the Ukrainian MOD will be used as arguments against continued military support. Zelenskiy had to do something. Reznikov is likely not part of this corruption, but he didn’t stop it either. He had to go. As a sign that he was not personally part of the corruption, it appears that he will become the next ambassador to England.

Umerov is a good choice to follow Reznikov. As head of the State Property Fund for the last year, he succeeded in rooting out a lot of the deep corruption in that program. Hopefully he’ll do the same in the MOD. As a Crimean Tatar he also accentuates Ukraine’s goal to liberate Crimea from Russian occupation. 



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70 Responses to Zelenskiy Changing Defense Ministers

  1. Jovan P says:

    Reznikov doesn’t look like a Crimean Tatar to me.

    PS TTG, did you see that Lithuania beat USA in the (still group phase of the) Basketball WC in Manila?

    • TTG says:

      Jovan P,

      Umarov is the Crimean Tatar, not Reznikov.

      I heard about the Lithuanian basketball victory yesterday. I’m not surprised. Basketball has been big in Lithuania since long before their independence. Look up the story of the 1992 basketball team and the Grateful Dead. They took the bronze medal defeating the Russians wearing their tie-dyed Gerry Garcia uniforms.

      • F&L says:

        Exciting footage w commentary. Do I like seeing Team USA get stomped? No comment. Where’s billionaire Lebron James … Too busy philosophizing about how persecuted he is?

        Lithuania Not Only Beat Team USA But Trolled Them Too (3 min)
        Lithuania went on a crazy shooting spree in the first half and shocked Team USA, handing them the first World Cup 2023 loss. It was only Lithuania’s third win over Team USA since the small Baltic country gained independence in 1990.

        Unlikely hero Vaidas Kariniauskas, who plays for the small town of Mazeikiai in the Lithuanian League, led them in scoring with 15 points and 4 rebounds. Anthony Edwards was the game’s leading scorer with 35 points (14/25 FG, 5/12 3PT).

      • Billy Roche says:

        I’m leaving for a L/D picnic at a friends house. He is Lithuanian. He was a good BB player in college. He is tall, so is his wife. They all are. But they can’t cook. Thank god I am bringing the kielbasy and kapusta.

  2. F&L says:

    On topic enough.

    From the looks of it this guy really knows his stuff and presents his topics with rapid sparkle and absolutely no BS or sneering undercurrents of propaganda. One of our guys by the sound of his voice. For a layman such as myself, very appreciated especially the Air Defense video – so much detail that I didn’t know. He goes so fast I can’t remember if he mentioned that Ukraine has Soviet AD too. Summary: For the kids who enrolled late.

    The Reason Russian Air Defense Can’t Stop Ukrainian Drones. 8 min

    Why Russia is Struggling With Gaining Ground (10 min)

    • jld says:

      rapid sparkle and absolutely no BS

      You made me waste 8 minutes for naught.
      rapid sparkle yes but mostly NOT related to the announced subject matter:
      “The Reason Russian Air Defense Can’t Stop Ukrainian Drones”
      Which is barely covered in about 1 minute while a NordVPN commercial lasts 2 minutes and the rest is just general historical summary of air defenses Soviet v/s US.

      • F&L says:

        “You can’t please all the people all the time.”

        — Sign on a 24 hour Whore house open for business 7 days a week after the passing of legislation forbidding pandering to children and convicted pedophiles unless they were friends of Jeffrey Epstein, members of Congress or had obtained a pass from Ronan Farrow.

  3. F&L says:

    I do think this move is a realization by Zelenskiy that this war will most likely last at least into next year.⬅️
    Yes, but it’s a more revealing tell imo. It points toward Crimea being a primary focus going forward – this man is a Crimean Tartar by ethnic heritage.

    It’s saying “were going for all the marbles, and here’s our new defense minister in case you’re hard of hearing who also btw, by his mere presence buttresses President Erdogan’s claims that by rights Crimea is Turkish because long long ago it was and he claims Tartars as part of his ‘wider Turkish world.’ It might even aim to loosen the Russian Federation’s cohesion by stirring sympathy within their large wealthy Tartar Republic.”

    Turkey is a real big player (Black Sea .. Bosphorus) and there’s been a tug of war between Russia and NATO for whose orbit it’s in. So far Erdogan has straddled, it remains to be seen how much longer since the North to South transportation networks are beginning to be used which bypass Turkey.

    • Fred says:


      Turkey is on Turkey’s side. “…networks are beginning to be used which bypass Turkey”

      Turkey needs NATO a lot less than the reverse. What have NATO countries, other than the US, ever done for Turkey? I won’t menition that NordStream1&2 bypass Turkey as does traffic through Suez.

      • F&L says:


        Point taken. In gratitude and due to my boyhood aspiration to learn from the great benefactors of humankind such as Louis Pasteur and of course Joe Biden (“I’m a man you can trust!”) and my belief that laughter can be a tonic, nay, a cure, I leave you with this from the YouTube channel Great White Underbelly. Hypertension sufferers be warned – overly vigorous laughter for an extended period of time can be injurious to your ..

        Mafia Bookmaker Interview – Chris Columbo.
        Soft White Underbelly interview and portrait of Chris Colombo, the son of Joseph Colombo – Boss of the Colombo crime family – and mafia bookie in Putnam County, New York.

        • Mark Logan says:


          You brought to mind, somehow, John Prine. An American treasure lost to COVID (in combination with multiple health issues). One of the greats.


          On topic, I read Umerov is a Muslim. Probably means he doesn’t drink, which probably means he has been an outsider within the slavic society of Ukraine, which is probably a good thing vis a vis the corruption rackets.

          • F&L says:

            Didn’t know of him. Sounds good.

            From a Ru Telegram post by Nesmiyan, translated. I assume you know of Roman Abramovich. If this is accurate it sounds not so bad.

            The new minister Umerov is a personal friend of Abramovich, his partner in a number of projects. He also has long-standing and good ties with the Turkish establishment. Apparently, the appointment of Umerov is a preliminary preparation for Istanbul-2, and this time the contracting parties will take into account the factor of unexpected moves on the part of those who disrupted the first Istanbul agreements in March-April 2022. They will try to prevent a second Butch.

  4. Fred says:

    How many employees will the new defense secretary have to fire? Will they get prosecuted and will our president go after the money they stole? I’m curious as to what, decades after the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine has left to privatize and what price investors think such assets of a nation at war are worth. Equally surprising that there is no corruption in the privatization efforts.

    • TTG says:


      There have been quite a few firings and arrests in Ukraine even in the midst of the war. I’m sure there will be more.

      There was plenty of corruption in the privatization efforts. That’s how most of the oligarchs got where they were in Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere. Umarov reportedly cleaned it up a lot in the year he was in charge.

      • Fred says:


        I’ve heard and read of a lot of people getting arrested for being ‘pro-Russian” and far fewer for corruption. It’s decades past the end of the communist era, what do they have to privatize. And if they are going to do that why aren’t we getting the assests in exchange for all the monetary aid? Maybe Blinken & Co. can call someone who knows “The Art of the Deal”.

        • TTG says:


          They just arrested Ihor Kolomoisky for fraud and money laundering this week. Earlier this year they arrested the head of the Supreme Court and the Interior Minister for bribery and corruption. All the heads of the regional recruitment offices and a good number of other government officials were dismissed and may face arrest for corruption.

          Ukraine still has some 1,600 state owned enterprises making up 10% of the economy. Russia’s state owned enterprises make up 30% of the economy. Why would we get those assets?

          • Fred says:


            You mean those assets have a current – and future – value of zero and thus if obtained by the USA in exchanged for the $100,000,000 we went into debt to ‘give’ them it couldn’t actually pay off that debt at some future date. Do you really believe that? You might want to look at what the Greeks had to give the German’s in order to restructure their debt not too many years ago. Those assets were and are not worth zero.

          • TTG says:


            I’m sure those assets have plenty of value, but we’re not Germany. Trump may have wanted to stay in Syria and Iraq because he felt entitled to their oil, but that’s not how this administration rolls. We’re not shaking down Ukraine in exchange for aid.

          • Fred says:


            Trump is irrelevant to the discussion. In the last 18 months the USA gave $100 billion to Ukraine in exchange for, apparently, nothing, other than what gets recycled into the US economy and, of course, campaign donations. Or bribes.

          • TTG says:


            It’s foreign aid to assist Ukraine in repelling a Russian invasion. It’s much like our aid to Europe to resist German invasion in WWII. It’s not a quid pro quo action or a “I would like you to do us a favor, though” kind of situation. Yes it costs us, but the payoff is a free and independent Ukraine.

          • LeaNder says:

            You might want to look at what the Greeks had to give the German’s in order to restructure their debt not too many years ago.

            Would you please elaborate, Fred? What did the Greek have to give the Germans? And what precise Germans?

          • LeaNder says:

            I’m sure those assets have plenty of value, but we’re not Germany.

            Indeed! But since you seem to know about this issue too. You can tell me too, if Fred again decides to opt out.

          • TTG says:


            I think Fred’s referring to any concessions Merkel required of Greece years ago when massive aid/loans were provided to Greece to keep their economy from collapsing. I’m not sure what the concessions entailed.

          • JamesT says:


            If that was not how this administration rolled then this administration would have pulled its troops out of Syria and given the oil back to its rightful owners.

            The difference between Trump and Biden – is that Trump steals other nation’s oil and tells the truth about it, while Biden steals other nation’s oil and lies about it.

          • F&L says:

            TTG & Fred,

            Doesn’t the $100 Zillion go more or less directly, a good fraction of it, into various “Military Industrial” corporations (the MIC of legend)? Including, for example gun powder and it’s precursors and other explosives & chemicals which in America for a very long time were mostly made in … Joe Biden’s home state of Dupont, I mean Delaware? Lavoisier’s old friend. He lost his head, Dupont didn’t. Joe Biden is a man you can trust.

          • Fred says:


            If you prefer “ECB” or Europe or other bondholders of Greek debt, then feel free. If you don’t understand Germany’s influence there in I find it shocking. You might want to actually look into which Greek assets when where and why to understand. The Italians don’t want to make the same deal.

          • Fred says:


            I don’t recall our government paying all the operating expenses of allied nations during lend lease. I’m looking forward to our declaration of war to save our, what treaty of alliance do we have with Ukraine again?

          • TTG says:


            We lost several hundred thousand American lives defending our European allies, including countries which with we had no treaties of alliance. We gave over $30 billion to Britain in 1940s dollars, the equivalent of more than $450 billion today.

          • LeaNder says:

            Ok, that’s not even close to what he wrote, or insinuated in the end. … had to give the German’s … Those assets were and are not worth zero.

            Slightly closer:

            referring to any concessions Merkel required of Greece years ago when massive aid/loans were provided to Greece

            Except that Merkel wasn’t the only member of the infamous ‘Troica’ , who by the way was led by the expertise of a less frequently mentioned member in this context: the IMF. The highly experienced player in the field that Merkel and the other members of the infamous Troica relied on.


            Tuesday, June 14, 2016
            IMF Departure – Solution to Greece’s Debt Sustainability?
            Two very interesting articles were published within the span of a few days recently.

            In “IMF go home!”, Daniel Gros sheds light on Greece’s interest cost and maturities profile. As I have argued on many occasions in this blog, from those two standpoints, the IMF is part of the problem and not part of the solution: the interest cost of IMF funding is almost 300 basis points higher than that of the Eurosystem funding (3,9% versus 1%); and the maturity profile of 5-7 years on IMF funding compares with up to 50 years on Eurosystem funding.

            The IMF has super senior status to begin with. By insisting on major debt relief on the part of the Eurosystem, the IMF is essentially improving the quality of its super senior loans to Greece. When the IMF makes debt sustainability analyses justifying major debt relief, that obviously constitutes a conflict of interest.

            The other interesting article was published by Yiannis Stournaras, the Governor of the Bank of Greece (“Greece needs a new deal with its European partners”). In it, Stournaras outlines the kind of debt relief which would be sufficient for Greece to get back on track. And here is the surprise: Stournaras argues that an extension of loan maturities by 20 years and repayment of capitalized deferred interest also over a period of 20 years, combined with a 2% primary surplus requirement, would do the trick..

          • LeaNder says:

            . If you don’t understand Germany’s influence there in I find it shocking.

            Fred, I am sure one of these days you’ll return to the upper section as ‘junior editor’ and report about the deeper source of your resentment. We stole from Greece or her citizen. … Got her collaterals on the cheap? Quickly?

            But we stole a lot more from the US? Didn’t we? You surely have access to what Germany owes the US over the decades, and I am sure that your national hero only could hint at our high as the sky debts to the US. Multiple trillions by now?

            Assets (collaterals?) in Greece only we were given those immediately vs all the other Europeans who co-financed the bailout? … And even before the respective time has expired? How did we manage this? Amazing power we have. All the others e.g. Finland are simply taking orders?


            ECB’s collateral framework:

  5. Billy Roche says:

    Reznikov as MOD for Ukraine reminds Ukrainian Tatars that they too are part of Ukraine’s multi-ethnic society. Russia has never been kind to them (horrible actually) and Zelinskyy is reminding them that Crimea is part of Ukraine and you have only Russian misery in your past.

  6. leith says:

    “…buying food at inflated prices.” and ” corruption during the procurement of winter coats”. Nothing like that has ever happened here, right? SNARK; look up Fat Leonard, Darleen Druyun and hundreds of others who were involved in Pentagon bribery and corruption. Outright criminals like that stole chump change and were just the tip of the iceberg. The bigger scandal in the US DoD acquisition process is the vast waste and overcharging of hundreds of billions of dollars by the MIC.

    • English Outsider says:

      Leith – we have a similar problem in the UK. But our politics is more secretive so it doesn’t get the spotlight shone on it so much, Here’s one man getting out, if not a spotlight, at least a powerful torch:-

      ” … I’m talking about lobbying – and we all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisors for hire, helping big business find the right way to get its way.

      “In this party, we believe in competition, not cronyism. We believe in market economics, not crony capitalism. So we must be the party that sorts all this out.”

      “…We don’t know who is meeting whom. We don’t know whether any favours are being exchanged. We don’t know which outside interests are wielding unhealthy influence. This isn’t a minor issue with minor consequences. Commercial interests – not to mention government contracts – worth hundreds of billions of pounds are potentially at stake.”

      “I believe that secret corporate lobbying, like the expenses scandal, goes to the heart of why people are so fed up with politics. It arouses people’s worst fears and suspicions about how our political system works, with money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest.

      “We can’t go on like this. I believe it’s time we shone the light of transparency on lobbying in our country and forced our politics to come clean about who is buying power and influence.

      “Politics should belong to people, not big business or big unions, and we need to sort this out. So if we win the election, we will take a lead on this issue by making sure that ex-ministers are not allowed to use their contacts and knowledge – gained while being paid by the public to serve the public – for their own private gain.”

      Something like the message Trump was getting across way back. I remember an election speech in Phoenix Arizona in which he cheerfully admitted that to get his permits he was accustomed to bribing both sets of politicians. But the English politician spilling the beans in that extract italicised above wasn’t exactly an English mini-Trump. He was a future English PM. Source given here:-

      David Cameron, 8th Feb 2010, speech cited in “A Quiet Word: Lobbying, Crony Capitalism and Broken Politics in Britain”, Cave & Rowell, Bodley Head, 2014.

      That feeling that the politicians were in politics to serve themselves rather than us was I believe a factor in the Brexit vote as well as in the Trump/Sanders movements that looked so hopeful a while back.

      I don’t think I’m misrepresenting Macgregor when identifying one of the drivers of the current war as the being the financial benefits accruing to politicians, officials and business resulting from that war. The merry go round of political contributions in one direction and contracts in the other – “money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest,” as Cameron described it – being given a hefty shove by the fact that in the States the cost of electioneering is now so great that it’s difficult to get elected without big money from big business behind you.

      The whole encapsulated by an ironic comment in some American financial blog a while back, that Mrs Pelosi was retiring to devote herself to trading full time. Though from what one picks up trading, in various forms, is the chief business of those elected to Congress anyway.

      We in Europe are of course superior to all this heaving corruption in the States.
      We are good people. We cover it up better, the Ukrainian speculations of a Verhofstadt or the sleaze and nepotism of a Scholz more decently concealed from public gaze. And our virtuous English Civil Servants wouldn’t know a revolving door from a hole in the ground. So we happy Europeans will go down gracefully, resolutely believing that ours is the “Garden in the Jungle” to the last.

      • Billy Roche says:

        You feel truth tingling in your bones. Sadly, many (most) still don’t. The influence of political advertisement, posing as news/analysis from the socialist media, obscures what is clear. Powerful, corrupt people, and political parties of the swamp, hate Trump b/c he exposes their filth. He is the man w/t light. Their excrement surrounds us but everyone holds their nose and looks the other way. Indelicately he does not. He is often brash and annoying, but I never asked him to be my best friend. And why should he worry about being delicate of phrase when dealing w/pigs feeding at the trough? Politically what defines him? Sometimes conservative, sometimes liberal, he is a populist; anathema to the creatures who regal in the noxious stink of the swamp. The socialist, GOPe, leftist unions, corporations, and their allies at the DOIJ, FIB, and C.Domestic I.A. combine to eliminate the man with the light. Too bad otherwise intelligent people don’t feel the truth. Fooled by the “mainstream” press, they think they are soooo smart.

  7. Billy Roche says:

    Fred in addition to the enormous amount of money we gave Britain we also gave billions to Germany b/t ’45 and 2000. This to prevent the Russian commies from taking over West Germany and threatening the rest. Should we have just let the Germans hang out there on their own? IMHO Britain, Germany, France, and in fact all west Europe ought to thank American men and dollars for their freedom today. They ought to be less stingy in helping the Ukrainians. This is their turn to pay back. But alas, western Europeans are creeps.

    • Fred says:


      Remember when you were on active duty and you were guarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine? I didn’t do that when I was on active duty either. The USSR collapsed, the cold war ended; NATO kept expanding to satisfy just what American national interest? Is there any nation state on earth, besides the USA, that our government does not need to defend with unlimited and unaccountable gifts?

      • TTG says:


        We never guarded the territorial integrity of the DDR, Poland or the Baltics, either. During WWII we supported the Kremlin with massive military aid. After the war, we stopped supporting them and began our long rivalry. Things changed and the Cold War ensued. The Soviet Union eventually collapsed, but the old soviet apparatchiki began filtering back into the Kremlin within months of that collapse. They’ve been regrouping and consolidating their hold since then. They are now firmly back in control. NATO expansion was far more in the national interests of the new member states rather than the US or other older members. Ukraine sought NATO membership since shortly after regaining independence. Belarus joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1992 and the Partnership for Peace Program in 1995. That cooperation was suspended by NATO in 2021. Even Russia joined the Partnership for Peace Program in 1997, but NATO suspended all cooperation with the Kremlin in 2014.

      • Billy Roche says:

        Fred; are you saying we s/h let West Germany (and the rest of west Europe) fall to the communists?

  8. walrus says:

    TTG, you may want to check your facts. The U.S aid to Britain in both WWI and II were loans that Britain finally paid off in 2006. Furthermore Military equipment purchases came with restrictive clauses (and still do) for example British military Dc3 aircraft couldn’t be converted to civilian use after the war and most equipment to this day cannot be sold to a third party without US permission.

    As for “the Kremlin crowd” what do you mean? There are some of us who reckon that this deliberate aggressive policy towards Russia and China is only going to end one way and not in our favor. Being a realist does not mean we like the probable outcome.

    Some of the US intelligentsia are waking up to the realisation that sanctions do the reverse of what is intended. They have yet to realise what is coming economically – a ruined Europe, an isolationist america beset by domestic problems while the non aligned world become eager clients of russia and china thanks to SCO, BRICS and OBOR. We have no counters to these.

    • Billy Roche says:

      I’ve heard all this b/f. So better red than dead, or better a Russian Empire than a Free Europe?

      • Razor says:

        You’re simply delusional. The cold War was supposed to have ended over 30 years ago. But the corrupt scum you recognise in the swamp couldn’t let it go, and together with your neocon masters, worked hard to bring it back for their personal gain and that of a certain entity in the Eastern med.
        We’ve had a free Europe a long time now. And the Soviet Union is long gone. We had an opportunity to accept the hand of friendship offered by Russia. Instead the West was only interested in plunder. After all, as Bush’s turd polisher said; “we’re an Empire now” . Well all of the evil emanating from the Empire is now coming home to roost, as Russia moves to defend itself and marshal its power, as it did after the Nazi invasion, and the Napoleon’s invasion. Hitler said “kick the door down and the whole rotten edifice will fall down”. Boy, did he get it wrong! And it’s looking like the West will have a similar end to his regime. And rightly so!

    • leith says:

      Walrus –

      Your source is wrong about Lend-Lease. The Anglo-American Loan Agreement that was paid off in 2006 was NOT part of lend-lease. It was a loan agreed to on 15 July 1946 long after both VE Day and VJ Day. The loan had very advantageous terms at a fixed rate 2% annual interest to be repaid over a 50 year period. By the way, a big chunk of that loan (a quarter to a third) was in food and other consumer items received in the UK after Congress had cut off lend-lease and those items were discounted down to 10 cents on the dollar.

      As far as I know the UK’s WW1 debt was never fully repaid.

  9. walrus says:

    Billy, where does it say that the world is a binary system? What do you think the majority of the worlds population are going to do to an American Administration that plays the “you are with us or against us ” game?

    That’s right; they are going to sit on the fence and play you off against the other side. That will be a re-run of the old non aligned movement game from the cold war. Turkey and India are already doing it. They aren’t ignorant savages despite what you might believe

    We got away with this after WWII because Europe was in ruins and had no say; Russia had lost 20 million dead and was trying to run a communist economy; China was just coming out of a civil war between communists and nationalists and had no economy at all and the rest of the world was a collection of almost subsistence economies.

    These days not so much. To put that another way; you are asking people to choose between a conservative family and christian based society and a society arguing about the rights of transsexuals to use female bathrooms? The answer might surprise you.

    • Fred says:


      the previous goverment of Niger, if the reports on Telegram are to be believed, was selling uranium to the French for less than $1/kg when the market prices was upwards of $150/kg. Other reports are that Saudi Arabia is extending thier voluntary oil production curtailment through the end of the year. The former is going to hurt the French and the later everyone in Europe.

      I agree with you observation about the non-aligned movement. The power and influence, often detrimental, of the IMF/WB are going to be significantly curtailed in years to come.

  10. walrus says:

    And finally, we had no choice about entering WWII, it was forced on us. This time around we started it ourselves. There have been any number of “off ramps” presented to us, the Russians even offered to join NATO ferchrissake, yet we studiously kept on promoting conflict. In my book that was a bad idea because the outcome is uncertain.

    • Mark Logan says:


      I too can clearly see several paths in which wiser policy and skilled diplomacy might have averted this, but on the other hand Putin acted rashly. The strident anti-Russian Poroshenko had been replaced with Zelensky, who ran on a platform of normalizing relations with Russia even with much of Donbas and Crimea occupied. The economic deal that triggered the 2014 actions by Russia included a lot of painful debt-servicing and the Russian deal crushed by a mob in Maidan Square did not, so Putin could’ve played the long game.

      Russia still had a lot of friends in Ukraine in 2022. A condition not to be seen, now, for at least several generations to come. The mistakes by the West did not justify the ending of Ukraine as a nation, so placing all the blame on the West is not something I can subscribe to.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Walrus news flash: Ukraine, a sovereign independent state and member of the UN was invaded on February 23 of 2022 by Russia. Russia continues to murder Ukrainian citizens, destroy apt houses and infrastructure, and assault Ukrainian soldiers. The Russian leader denies the existence of a Ukrainian people and says the region called Ukraine is merely a Russian administrative district. That same leader, a Mr. Putin, has cautioned the govt of Finland and Sweden to watch what they say. Some see this as threatening. Moldova has timidly asked Putin to remove Russian troops from their soil. He has declined.
      So far, many Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have been killed by Russian forces. Ukraine never entered an inch of Russian soil but some observers say the Ukrainians made Russia invade and kill them.

      • Razor says:

        Newsflash!!! This war didn’t start in 2022. If you’re only willing to see what you want to see, you’ll never understand the world around you. As my late Dad used to quote; ” there are none so blind as those who will not see”.

        The US has been interfering in Ukr since it got independence from Moscow. It staged a coup against the democratically elected leader in 2014, and supported the Nazi dependant regime that emerged therefrom. It has been pushing for Nato acceptance of Ukraine and placed Aegis Ashore facilities in Romania and Poland. Nato; an entity that lost its raison d’etre on the collapse if the Warsaw Pact/Soviet Union. But which instead, despite Bakers assurances of not an inch beyond the Oder, proceeded to larch onto Russia’s front lawn. And now they’ll pay the price. The Greeks had it right. Hubris preceding nemesis. Pride before the fall.

        • TTG says:


          You’re right. This war started in 2014 with Russia’s seizure of Crimea and armed interference in the Donbas. We didn’t stage the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014, although we did aid and abet. That was started in late 2013 and carried out by Ukrainians when Yanukovych defied the decision of the Verkhovna Rada and the long held wish of the Ukrainian majority to accept a long sought EU aid package and arranged a secret deal with Putin.

          All those Eastern European countries are not Russia’s front lawn. They are sovereign and independent countries who sought NATO membership of their own accord. They did so because they feared and mistrusted the Kremlin’s intentions. The Aegis Ashore installations do pose a concern to the Kremlin. It is similar to the concern of Eastern Europe of Russian missiles stationed in western Russia. Both sides will have to live with those concerns.

        • Billy Roche says:

          There is no one so blind as those who refuse to see; indeed. Pls see this. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland, Slovakia, Czechs, Hungry, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and even little Georgia are not “Russia’s front lawn”. They are all free and independent sovereign states and are no longer part of the 1914 Russian Empire. They aren’t Russian, don’t want to be Russian, and voluntary sought admission to NATO to protect them from Russia. Their vision, hopes, and trials for sovereignty precede Baker’s pronouncement. Speaking about choosing to see, doesn’t it interest you to ask why all those sovereign states chose NATO and not Russia as their guarantor of sovereignty.

      • walrus says:

        Billy, thank you. Now another news flash: Iraq and Afghanistan were sovereign independent states and members of the U.N. . That made no difference to us did it?

        • TTG says:


          We attacked Afghanistan because al Qaeda was there. It was pure retaliation and vengeance. Our mistake was staying and turning it into a war against the Taliban. The first time in Iraq was because Iraq invaded another sovereign independent state. We wisely stopped short of invading Iraq proper. We should have left Saudi Arabia and Qatar when that was over. The second invasion was pure neocon overreach for trumped up reasons. Our second invasion of Iraq was similar to Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine, pure Kremlin neocon overreach for trumped up reasons.

          • Razor says:

            Is not , the Maidan coup preceded the takeover of Crimea. Remember Vickie Nudelman handing out cookies, F×××××× the EU, choosing who’s who in the new Govt, and mirabile dictu, thus it was. And to hell with the lawfully elected President, and those elected him. I recall then coming to Kiev to make their feelings known, and their buses heading back to Crimea being stopped and the passengers being savagely attacked by the neo-nazis. I recall the coup Gov attacking the Donbass because they did not aquiese to the overthrow of the President they elected.

            Furthermore, the so called EU deal basically required Ukraine to scrap its industry, which the EU didn’t require, and open its market to the EU. The Russian offer was much more beneficial to Ukr.
            The people of both Crimea and Dombass expressed their democratic will for independence, which is more than can be said for Serbia/Kosovan, which was broken off in defiance of International Law.

            Finally, you say that Nato is not on Russias lawn. If Russia or China undermined the Gov of Mex or Canada and had their military infrastructure on the border, what do you think the US would do?

            The truth is the West, led by the US, lit the fuse on a civil war in Ukraine and then fanned the flames and continues to pour gasoline on the inferno. Aside from Ukr. getting consumed by the flames, the EU and Nato are themselves in the process of burning to a crisp. Stupid is as stupid does.

          • Billy Roche says:

            Razor; you conveniently forgot to mention the 100 + years of war, and oppression suffered by Ukrainians who want to be FREE men. Their fight for independence began in 1900, not 2014! THEY want to choose their economic and political condition. So what Russia will “allow” or “offer” is not the issue. A sovereign Ukraine is the issue. What is a corollary to Ukrainian sovereignty is Russian Empire. Russia can’t be an imperial state if Ukraine is a sovereign state.
            Russophiles just can’t accept free Ukraine.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Walrus I can’t do more then second TTG’s comment. Bush the “unready’s” invasion of Iraq and his quick departure was right. Bush “the stupids” invasion of Iraq was wrong and the dope compounded the error by staying. Our invasion of Afghanistan was right but Bush got into nation building; wrong and dumb. I have held this position for years and commented so on this site from SST to Turcopolier. So no more news flashes and we’ll call it a drawer?

          • Razor says:

            Billy Roche, you just ignore the facts, spouting back to 1900 for God’s sake. Ukraine got its independence with Russias blessing in 1991, getting on for a century later.

            They allowed themselves to be seduced and manipulated by US, Nato and EU for their nefarious purposes ( velvet revolution ) and were sucked dry by their own oligarchic parasites.

            They allowed their coup Gov to attack their fellow citizens in the East, precipitating a civil war. How’s that for blowing up your own sovereignty?

          • Billy Roche says:

            Razor, u r right; how dare I remember Ukraine’s request to the Austrians and Russians for autonomy in 1900. I was daft to bring up Ukraine’s armed fight against Russian Bolsheviks from 1917-22 and I never should have contemplated the Holodomore wherein 6MM Ukrainian kulaks were killed by their Russian “masters”. Ukrainians who donned Nazi uniforms to fight the Russians for independence from ’42-45, and the Ukrainian partizans who continued to resist Russia throughout the ’50’s were but vapors through time. And with the dissolution of their totalitarian empire, the Russians blessedly agreed to “give” Ukrainians independence. I don’t recall “Stones, Lits, and Lats” also getting Russian permission and blessing for their independence. Did I miss that too! What compassion. It is you who ignore history. Ukrainian freedom and sovereignty is not for Russians to give; it’s not theirs. Sorry the history boors you but it is worth knowing that Ukrainians, like other European nations before, have come to grips w/their history and nationhood. Yet I understand Russian angst. Russia cannot be an Empire if Ukraine is a sovereign state. But I am afraid that ship has sailed. You need not despair. Perhaps Russia can pick on Moldova or they can always beat up Finland – again.

  11. Razor says:

    As usual you just spew your partisan bile and ignore the substance of what I said; i.e. – Ukr has had full sovereignty since 1991. The divisions within that country, fanned by the West, erupted into civil war, especially through the Nazi militias after the regular army declined to attack citizens, the same nazis you idolise as freedom fighter’s from the 50’s. The same Nazi who outdid the German Nazis in the 40’s, the Galitzian Division.

    The same ones who slaughtered Poles and Jews at Volhynia and Babi Yar.


    The same ones who have been firing artillery on the citizens of Donetsk since 2014, killing an estimated 14,000 of them up to 2022 according to non-partisan sources.
    You see, Ukraine achieved its sovereignty in 1991, so what happened from 1900 up until then, was superceded and therefore not relevant to today’s situation.

    I don’t expect to change your mind. It’s clear you are driven by partial emotional and historical bias against the “Red Commies”, curiously a large number of whom were Ukrainians. I suspect that’s to do with your generational perspective. the facts however, speak for thrmselves.

    • TTG says:


      Those 14,000 estimated dead up till 2022 include over 11,000 combatants killed (Ukrainian, DNR, LNR and Russian) and 3,000 civilians on both sides. The vast majority killed were in 2014 and 2015. Casualties from 2016 to February 2022 were fairly few and on both sides. For example, 25 were killed in all of 2021 on both sides of the LOC. The DNR/LNR forces also continued to fire artillery and mortars on Ukrainian citizens. Mines also took their toll on both sides of the LOC.

  12. walrus says:

    Yes Billy; Now do you grant the same rights of self determination to the inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk?

    If the answer to that is in the negative, let’s apply the golden rule; Suppose some time later this century the Spanish speakers are a majority in America and President Jose, backed by say 40 out of the fifty states decides to prohibit the. teaching of English, publication and use of English and decides to discriminate against non spanish speaking “wasps” primarily located in the North East States – vermont, massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, etc. Now what would you say if they objected and decided to go their own way? I know it’s far fetched, but what would you say?

    • Billy Roche says:

      My resolution to the conflict, stated on Turcopolier in the spring of ’22 was to cut Crimea N/S in two (its worked in Cyprus) and for Ukraine to give up the Donbass. End of story, no Russian invasion, murder of innocent Ukrainians, and destruction of their country. As to language your ideas aren’t new. Russians “discouraged” Ukrainian speakers from 1950 onward. The English discouraged Gaelic during the 19th century. Balts were not allowed their language by the Russians who not only “moved into” their tty but into their gov’ts. Basques consider it a small victory to be able to use their own language in N.W. Spain b/c the Spanish govt forbade it for many years. BTW, was your use of the perjorative, “wasps”, necessary. Does it help to speak ill of desendants of the original colonists? Or did you just get a kick out of calling a group of people a bad name. I am white, anglo-saxon, and was raised Protestant but I’m agnostic now. “Wasps” are often considered to have been wealthy. I was born lower than dirt poor. Can I please still be a wasp? You haven’t spent much time in N.E. recently. Spanish is commonly used in neighborhoods there today. You better know some to buy a wedge in a Deli. I’ve p/u a wee bit here in metro NYC. Language has always been a “moving target”. My immigrant grandparents d/n speak English when they arrived. But they made sure my parents learned English. They had to for school. Not today. NYS schools teach in English, but have ESL classes too. That’s English as a second language. It costs NYS a lot of money. H.S. exams are available in Spanish, textbooks are too. Spanish illegal alien and legal immigrant children placed in mainstream classes have no idea what teacher is teaching until they receive the lesson again in their ESL class. Your suggestion on language is already taking place. A’Dios.

  13. English Outsider says:

    Walrus – as I believe you’re saying, the position in the Donbass is now cut and dried. They want out.

    The position is maybe a little analogous to that of Scotland in the UK. It’s all a bit uncertain up there and there are some who don’t want to be in the UK and others who do. Don’t know how that’ll play out.

    But if we’d sent thugs up there to beat the Scots nationalists up, and had the BBC putting out broadcasts about how the Scots were scum and ought to be got rid of, and one or two other endeavours of that nature, you wouldn’t see the Scots for dust. They’d get out if they could and stay out.

    That’s the reality in the Donbass. Never mind old history and old quarrels. After what our host graphically described not long back the Donbass was lost to the Ukraine and will remain so. Would you put up with this?

    “The Maidan Revolution occurred under conditions of anarchy and continued corruption. Under the cover of that anarchy, the right wing elements, the neo-nazis, white supremacists, anti-semitics and ultra nationalists gained ascendancy. They formed the right wing militias that threatened the lives of those in the east.

    “The rebels had no choice but to fight for their lives. And they did. And it got ugly. “

    End of story. After all that they want safety. So too, possibly, in other parts of the old Party of Regions area. So too in Abkhazia and Ossetia – I see they’ve put in requests to be incorporated. Maybe Transnistria the same. Never mind the Russkiy Mir stuff. Some are keen on that, many have other loyalties, very many were not that bothered either way. But they’re all bothered about being left alone to get on with their lives free from being roughed up or discriminated against, and if they can get it incorporation in the nearest safe haven is what they’ll go for.

    Could have been different. The Donbass was never homogenous and still isn’t. Remember that sad tale from Bakhmut?. The split family. The daughter leaving with her boyfriend for Kiev territory, the sons staying with the father and hoping the Russians would turn up soon. I saw many instances of those split loyalties. My own view? That they’d all have been quite happy to stay Ukrainian if only they’d been left alone. They weren’t. The last chance of that was Minsk 2. Even that failed.

    There’s now no question that that failure was primarily down to Scholz and his predecessors, which is why I keep banging on about the about the “European dimension” to this entirely unnecessary conflict. But fail it did and what we are now seeing is the inevitable result of that failure. The Donbass will no longer belong to a Ukraine that hated so many of its inhabitants so much.


    Those casualty figures from the pre-SMO civil war. A leaked BND report put them at 50,000 years ago. Probably nearer the mark that the UN figures one used to see quoted so often. But most of us in England, if we ever knew about it, have forgotten all that now. Big mistake. The peoples of the Donbass haven’t and won’t.

    • TTG says:


      I stand by my description of events surrounding the Maidan Revolution, But that anarchy and even the level of corruption in Ukraine has subsided dramatically since then. Kyiv of 2023 is not the Kyiv of 2014. Meanwhile, what began as the dream of an independent Donbas descended into even worse corruption and became a 1930s Stalinist nightmare without the technological advances. What’s now left of the Donbas may never again become an integral part of Ukraine, but it will also never become the Novorossiya that it once dreamed of becoming.

      Those casualty figures have been generally agreed upon by many sources including Ukraine, the DNR and the LNR. Total casualties, including all wounded, was surely much higher.

      • English Outsider says:

        Yes. With respect to you, TTG, and the other American analysts, I do believe that American commentators, whatever position they adopt, do not take into account the economically devastating effects of the Association Agreement.

        It was against that background that the initial chaos in the Donbass played out. Warlords, smugglers, Chechens both sides, idealists of all sorts – few realistic – the Hurrah Patriots, oligarchs; and the ineffable Strelkov strutting his stuff and hoping to lever Russian support into “On to Kiev”. The economic damage caused by that agreement fed through the lot.

        Kolomoisky, for example, could scarcely have built up his Right Sector groups so much, had there not been a pool of unemployed young men with nothing else much to do. The emigration would not been so extensive had there been jobs available at home.

        But I do believe that underneath all that there were masses of ordinary people just hoping the whole mess would go away and leave them alone. That’s why I still believe that Minsk 2 was the correct solution.

        Brings it back to that European dimension. Again. We now know the Europeans never intended Minsk 2 to work. That sabotage of an international treaty for which they were the guarantors, persisted in by Scholz and Macron, has now reduced the Europeans to disregarded bit players. We shall all in Europe be paying for that dismal failure a while yet.

        Difficult subject for Europeans to discuss. We either believe the EU is, literally, the “Garden in the Jungle” and can do no wrong. Or we think it’s a pestilential nuisance and hope it’ll just go away. Me in the second category. But with opinion that polarised, sober analysis of what Scholz and Macron and their predecessors did is scarcely likely to be seen and isn’t.

        On the casualty figures in that BND leak, the main interest is in why the leak occurred at all. I think there was a split at the top in Germany on Ukraine policy. From what various German Generals have come up with it’s still there. Most forcefully expressed by General Vad:-

        “Military experts [and those] who know what is going on among the secret services, what it looks like on the ground and what war really means – are largely excluded from the [German public] debate. They do not fit in with the formation of media opinion.

        “We are largely experiencing a coordination of the media, the likes of which I have never experienced before in the Federal Republic.”

        So when it comes to the war they’re not really dutiful sheep, the Germans, unthinkingly following the dictates of the Führer of the day. Looking around the English scene at present, that’s maybe a role we tend more to aspire to.

        • leith says:

          EO –

          It is plain to all that Minsk II it was doomed under the gun barrels of Putin’s Army. During that time Russia maintained “command-and-control links” over the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics. And Russia was “pouring heavy weapons” into the Donbas. Deputy head of the OSCE mission in Ukraine Alexander Hug, a Swiss citizen, said that the OSCE had observed “armed people with Russian insignia” fighting in Donbas from the beginning of the conflict, that they had talked to prisoners who said they were Russian soldiers.

          Putin was the saboteur of the Minsk Agreements, not Merkel nor Scholz, and neither was Hollande nor Macron.

          • Billy Roche says:

            But lieth, what about the NAZIs? The SMO only intended to remove them from the Donbass and never intended to threaten (end) Ukrainian sovereignty. Or did it?

          • leith says:

            Bill –

            The NAZIs are wearing Russian uniform nowadays.

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