Russian federation Sitrep 20 March 2014

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 20 March 2014

PUTIN SPEECH. After the referendum (by the way, perfectly normal numbers for this sort of thing see Falklands Islands, Kosovo and others) the process of re-joining Russia has begun – Putin’s speech here. One of his points was the illegality of Khrushchev’s transfer in 1954 “What matters now is that this decision was made in clear violation of the constitutional norms that were in place even then. The decision was made behind the scenes. Naturally, in a totalitarian state nobody bothered to ask the citizens of Crimea and Sevastopol.” He quoted the UN International Court ruling of July 22, 2010. 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?” But it should be read: again, read what he says, not what people tell you he says.

UKRAINE FUTURE. Putin said he has no intention of absorbing other parts of Ukraine but this must be considered conditional. The warning is here: “But it should be above all in Ukraine’s own interest to ensure that these people’s [ie Russophones] rights and interests are fully protected. This is the guarantee of Ukraine’s state stability and territorial integrity.”  If it gets bad, he will. Yatsenyuk has said he will disarm the extremists. Let’s hope that he does but I think he’s the von Papen of this revolution and I doubt he’ll be around in six months.

LIFE IN UKRAINE. Now that the Crimea issue has been resolved, maybe our intrepid reporters can find the time to turn their attention to investigating fake voting in the Rada, vigilantes “lustrating” doctors, press people being beaten up (congratulations to Huff Post for carrying this one), neo-nazi thugs parading through towns, ditto beating up passers by, ditto beating up cops, ditto smashing up buildings, the “heroes” shaking down a gas station, people in the east turning back Ukrainian armed forces, big pro-Russia demos. Then again, maybe not.  But they won’t have to go far or stay in uncomfortable hotels: this stuff is all over the Net and just has to be looked for.

UTTER FAILURE. Whatever the EU and Washington thought they were doing in Ukraine, it has been an utter failure. And there is more failure to come. Ukraine is broke, thousands and thousands of people in the south and east want out, some very nasty people hold the power in Kiev. The West’s absurd “sanctions” (parodied here) have been mocked by the whole Duma requesting to be put on the list. Is Ukraine more united? more democratic? richer? Is NATO stronger? more attractive? How about the EU? Does it look like a good bet for the future? Are Washington-EU relations stronger? Is Russia weaker? divided? poorer? Putin less popular? Do the people of Western countries think their leaders are smarter, more competent, more electable than they did a month ago? Do people believe their media outlets? (read the comments, for example, here). And they just keep digging their hole deeper. Just think, if Nuland, Ashton and the rest had kept their meddling hands out, Crimea would still be part of Ukraine and the tensions inherent in the Ukraine concept would not have burst open. But the concept has been broken and it will likely get nastier before it’s over. Biden may think that Russia is “naked and alone” but note Putin’s thanks to India and China. The world has changed;  a lot of people are glad to see the “West” humbled.

SEA OF OKHOTSK. The relevant UN commission has agreed that a 52,000 sq kms section of the Sea is part of Russia’s continental shelf giving it exclusive rights to what may be a lot of resources.

HMMM. There is a report that more than $100B worth of US treasury bills were shifted out of New York.

JIHADISM. The Caucasus Emirate has announced, without details, the death of its leader Doku Umarov. It doesn’t say when so it may be that Kadyrov was correct when he said earlier this year that he had been killed. He was around for a long time – I see my first reference to him was in a Sitrep in June 2006 when he became President of the Chechen Republic/Ichkeria. As the obituary says, soon after he “raised the banner of monotheism and proclaimed the Caucasus Emirate.”

SYRIAN CW. The OPCW announces that more than 45%  of the Syrian CW stockpile has been removed with 2 more shipments loaded at Latakia in the last week.

 

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/ http://us-russia.org/)

Hyperlinks ought to work immediately but, if not, right-click, copy link location, put it in your browser.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Russia has the 2nd highest rate of people seeking asylum in the world in 2013.

    “Crimeans may very well wish to be a part of the Russian Federation, but plenty of Russian citizens want out of it.

    The number of asylum seekers hailing from Russia quadrupled during 2013, reaching a record 39,800 individuals, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). More people from Russia sought international protection last year than those from Afghanistan (38,700) and Iraq (38,200). Only Syria — a country wracked by a brutal, years-old civil war — produced more asylum seekers than Russia in 2013.”

    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/03/20/it_pays_to_leave_russia

  2. Who were these people? Do you know?

  3. Aslangeo says:

    Having red the blog post above I wonder how many of these people are genuine refugees or bogus asylum seekers who are really economic migrants. Western countries have a strict visa regime for Russians and other FSU people so getting to settle in the west for better economic opportunities is not easy. Straight people have pretended to be gay to fool migration authorities, and the story about Chechen welfare scroungers in Germany is a bit similar to the stories we get here in Britain about some of the East Europeans.

    One another note there have been problems with British Visa centres in Russia with several of them closing (widely reported in Russian media and also BBC russian, but not in western media). Is Britain implementing a form of sanctions aimed at ordinary people?

    • Emigration from Russia hit an all-time RF low last year after having been in steady decline since 1999, so yeah – there is definitely something odd about the aforementioned numbers.

  4. I don’t have time to comment in detail now but will say something about the meeting between the young activists and the hospital administrator which Mr. Armstrong describes as “vigilantes lustrating doctors”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAcIFK74zYc

    Without knowing details about her case particularly, it is well known that the medical system in Ukraine (and Russia) is quite corrupt, particularly on the level of administration, where graft is commonplace, and funds meant for patients (in the case on the video, a children’s hospital) often are spent on nice apartments etc. It’s a pervasive problem, in Russia and even more in Ukraine which is more corrupt than Russia. On an earlier blog Anatoly showed stats indicating that in Russia and Ukraine medicine is trhe seocnd most corrupt aspect of society (second to the police). And of course, the corruption is worse the higher up one goes. This woman in the expensive-looking fur coat (doctors’ salaries are typically quite low) was, in addition to director of the hospital, also the political boss of the Party of Regions. Indeed, under the old regime she was involved in the legal harassment of an engineering professor who dared campaign for Tymoshenko’s party:

    http://mokin.com.ua/public_work/publicism/b11/bs/5838.html#.Uyw2G_ldWSo

    This is hardly a sympathetic character. It is telling, that she is presented as a poor victim of the evil nationalist vigilantes.

    • If what you say is true, is that the way to deal with the problem?

      • This is what I know (I’m repeating myself a little here):

        1. She is not some poor doctor, she is head of the hospital’s administration.
        2. Medicine in Ukraine is the second most corrupt field in the country (after law enforcement). It is much more corrupt in Ukraine than it is in Russia. The higher up one goes within the system, the worse the corruption. A doctor making a pitiful salary might take small bribe, but an administrator might siphon off medicine meant for patients and sell it off, might help oneself to a % of money meant for renovations or equipment purchases, might collect % of bribes given to doctors, etc. etc. Typically when the corrupt government makes a show of battling corruption it snags some of the physicians but the administrators escape relatively unscathed.
        3. The ruling Party of Regions was even more corrupt than previous governments.
        4. She was not only head of the hospital’s administration, but also local head of the corrupt ruling Party of Regions Party. The fur coat she’s wearing in the video doesn’t look cheap. It would be interesting to know what car she drives.

        I don’t know her specific case, if she herself was corrupt. I’m not an investigator in her home town. But given the facts that I do know, above, it is reasonable to assume that she has some notoriety in her area and that the local activists are going after her for that reason. This is a much more reasonable and likely situation than “some poor doctor being persecuted by thugs and fascists in lawless Ukraine.”.

        Ideally she would be formally investigated for corruption and removed from her position if found guilty of engaging in corrupt practices. But one can understand locals trying to throw her out of her job earlier than that.

    • BTW Mr And. Plu., or “AP” as you prefer to be called here, I have read a lot of your comments here and there, and there is much to consider in them, things to think about, things to force serious reflection. You are to be taken seriously — and, for me, that’s high praise (if you care what I think). And I have thought.
      But you have a huge and fatal flaw. You believe that the inceptors, and their intents, direct a revolution. You are, unfortunately, wrong.
      May I suggest that you read up on the French Revolution (or, for that matter, any revolution started by honest people who wanted something better) and see how they ended. Maybe you have, in which case you should know what I am about to say.
      The Jacobins, and the Bolsheviks, were a pretty small percentage of the people who begun it in June 1789 or February 1917. But they had the determination — the willingness to kill, which is the determining factor– and they prevailed. 1789 led, pretty directly, to Napoleon and, as he once casually said, his indifference to the lives of a million Frenchmen. Lenin, killer that he was, was just the warm-up act for Ioseb Besarionis dze (as I like to call him, to piss off Georgians).

      So, many/most/all people who showed up on the Maidan at the beginning may have wanted this or that commendable and desirable end, but it will all wind up going somewhere else. Simply because, at the end, a baseball bat or a pistol has more power than a dream.

      And that you do not seem to realise. But it’s a movie the world has seen many times before. And that, my friend, is where you get it wrong.

      • For time the being it looks as if Yuliya Timoshenko is emerging as the biggest beneficiary.

      • Thank you for the praise.

        I am aware of the horrible events of the French Revolution and of the Russian Revolution. Fortunately there is a key differences between these and Ukraine’s current situation. In both the French and Russian cases, the Jacobins and Bolsheviks rather quickly got to the business of killing their enemies and terrorizing the population into submission. By the thousands and tens of thousands. It’s been about a month since Yanukovich has fallen from power, and after the “revolution-time” violence in which a few dozen riot police and a couple traffic cops were killed, all we have are uncorroborated reports of a couple prosecutors of the old regime hanged in Lviv, young activists harassing and threatening to fire people such as the hospital administrator/former ruling party regional head, a prosecutor grabbed by the tie and bullied, the state TV head slapped on the head, etc. So the frightful comparison to 1789 and 1917, as useful as it is for the “pro-Russian side,” isn’t very realistic. It is more like 1989 than like either of those. A “Romania lite” (almost 1,000 people were killed after Ceaușescu’s fall) perhaps, with a dose of lawlessness but not even a whiff of mass killing. These people want to join the West, not start a bloody world-revolution.

        • 1789 was relatively peaceful to begin with. When in 1790 Edmund Burke warned what the French Revolution might lead to he was ridiculed by wishful thinking liberals. By 1793 he was vindicated.

  5. George Bordakov says:

    I would add that “due process” is undoubtedly one of the most important Western values that Ukrainian revolution is supposed to strive for. And this video shows a mockery of due process and a prime example of “revolutionary justice” style summary judgement.

  6. Joseph Roberto says:

    Hopefully Da Russophile could also write something about the utterly farcical “fall” of the Ukrainian military in Crimea. The Ukrainians had authorization from Kiev to use weapons, but relinquished control over hundreds of military establishments and dozens of ships without firing a shot. Majority of the sailors and soldiers and at least half of the cadets in the naval academy decided to switch to Russia. There were only two dead — one each from the Russian and Ukrainian sides — and the man who fired the fatal shots is apparently a Galician teener.

    More than anything this “fall” illustrates the essential fragility of Ukraine and the strength of the bonds between the people of both Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainians were faced by superior force but they could have chosen to inflict heavy casualties. But they didn’t. The speed with which majority of the Ukrainian naval and army personnel switched sides should also give pause to all observers.

  7. GGas Princess rant

    http://rt.com/news/tymoshenko-calls-destroy-russia-917/

    Gas princess rant – priceless
    oddly enough Ukrainian nationalists speaking in Russian

  8. donnyess says:

    I’d be more worried about the typical redneck NATO commandos doing what comes naturally to them.

    http://www.infowars.com/oklahoma-cop-shoots-kills-family-dog-says-it-was-awesome/

  9. Umarov killed by food poisoning by FSB agent and Ukrainian Ultranationalist killed by Ukrainian special forces.

    http://retwa.com/home.cfm?articleDate=21Mar2014

    http://retwa.com/home.cfm?articleId=16234

  10. Anyone who desires to see Russia’s final self-destruction should be overjoyed at the breathtakingly stupid decision to seize Crimea. The addition of another region heavily dependent on Moscow’s subsidies and the clear message that ethnicity is more important than citizenship spell doom for the scotch-taped together Russian Federation with its growing regional debts, regional separatism, and soaring Russian nationalism.

    • Though I fear it was an act of hubris, I don’t think the annexation of Crimea will bring the destruction of Russia anytime soon. It most likely won’t have much worse consequences than the Russia-sponsored independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

  11. donnyess says:

    The question for this week is not whether SE Ukraine gets invaded or not…but whether or not it will be basketballs…or fireballs…in redneck town.

  12. mutantsushi says:

    As opposed to the Bolshevik/Soviet-created scotch tape entity of Ukraine, glomming on Crimea and Novo Rossiya etc, with actually frightening economics and growing Ukrainian nationalism, regional separatism, etc… Yeah.

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