Impressions of the Saint-Petersburg International Economic Forum

I am currently in St. Petersburg where I have attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Before saying anything further I wish to thank Peter Lavelle of RT TV for very kindly and very generously arranging my invitation to the Forum.

At the Forum I attended three roundtables:

(1) On the InfoWars brilliantly hosted and moderated by Peter Lavelle. I was a participant in this roundtable an edited version of which RT will broadcast and which will be shown in full on RT’s YouTube channel. Since I participated in this roundtable I feel it would be inappropriate for me to say more about it now save (1) that I am very grateful to Peter Lavelle for inviting me (2) that the discussion was outstanding and I would strongly urge everyone to see it either on RT or on YouTube and (3) that I was lucky enough to be befriended by other members of the panel including Pepe Escobar, John Laughland and Ben Aris who I have long known from their writings but whom I never expected to meet. I intend to save any further comments about this roundtable until others have had a chance to see it on RT and YouTube.

(2) On investment strategies in Russia on the part of sovereign wealth funds. The roundtable was hosted and moderated by Alexei Kudrin. Ding Xuedong, Chairman and Chief Executive of China Investment Corporation participated.

(3) On incentives to stimulate domestic Russian capital flows into the Russian economy. Elvira Nabiullina the Governor of the Central Bank was a participant.

I also attended the Forum’s plenary with Putin himself where he gave a lengthy speech, which was followed by an interview that was broadcast on television.

Here are my initial observations of the Forum (save for the roundtable with Peter Lavelle):

On China and Russia

This overshadowed the entire Forum. The Chinese were present in force with the Chinese Vice President and the Chairman of China Investment Corporation (China’s sovereign wealth fund) both present.

I know of no case where two countries have reached bilateral economic agreements on such a scale and of such scope. The Chinese Vice President described it as a “general strategic partnership”. As I have explained elsewhere, China and Russia will not enter into a formal alliance since that is in the interests of neither. De facto allies is however what they are. In reality the level of economic, foreign policy and security cooperation (and coordination) between them is far greater scale than was the case in the 1950s when they were formally allies but in reality in a very uneasy relationship with each other.

This is a major geopolitical shift. Others have noticed and the Forum was buzzing about it. An Indian businessman at the plenary spoke of his anxiety that India should not to be left out. Putin confirmed that he will be meeting Modi shortly.

As to what has brought China and Russia together, the short answer is naked mutual self-interest. Despite ritual pieties about the importance of free trade Ding Xuedong made it abundantly clear that China’s trade policies remain fully mercantilist with China planning massive investments in Russia’s natural resources and extractive industries (including metals) to meet its own needs with refining and processing however happening in Russia. Personally I find this straightforwardly self-interested approach reassuring. I distrust interstate relationships that purport to be based on ideology or sentiment. In my opinion those underpinned my mutual self-interest are always more healthy and tend to be more equal and long lasting.

Ukraine

Putin’s comments have once again been grossly over analysed. In reality he said nothing new or that he has not said before.

Contrary to what some say Putin has never demanded that the Presidential election on Sunday should be postponed. Nor has he ever said that he would not recognise the outcome. On the contrary as a practical man he has always made it clear that he will deal with whoever comes (almost certainly Poroshenko). Similarly as a realistic and practical man he has accepted the reality of Yanukovitch’s fall even though as he pointedly reminded everyone according to the Ukrainian constitution Yanukovitch is still the Ukraine’s legitimate President.

The mistake people always make is that they confuse Putin’s acceptance of the reality of the Ukraine’s Presidential election with the entirely separate question of its legitimacy. As Putin pointed out since Yanukovitch remains according to the Ukraine’s constitution the Ukraine’s legitimate President the election that is taking place in the Ukraine on Sunday is illegitimate under the terms of the Ukraine’s constitution.

The reality as Putin knows is that as with the Donbas referendum the question of whether the Ukraine’s Presidential election is legitimate or not will be decided not in Moscow or by other outsiders but in the Ukraine itself.

The overemphasis on Putin’s attitude to the election (which derives from a wholly mistaken idea that he has sought to prevent it) has detracted from Putin’s other comments about the Ukraine.

1. Putin made it utterly clear that he considers the crisis in the Ukraine to be entirely the fault of western policy and in particular of the aggressive expansion of the western sphere of influence in a way that pays no regard to Russia’s legitimate economic and security interests or to the feelings of a large section of the Ukraine’s people in the south eastern Ukraine, first and foremost in the Donbas;

2. That the objective of Russian policy ever since the outset of this crisis is talks between the Ukrainian parties to achieve substantive constitutional change;

3. That for these talks to succeed Kiev must bring the “anti-terrorist operation” to an end.

Sanctions

Putin made a comment I personally found especially interesting on a point I had actually discussed the previous day immediately after Peter Lavelle’s roundtable with John Laughland.

Briefly, I am far from sure of the legality of the sanctions the EU has imposed. Unlike the sanctions on Iran, the sanctions the EU has imposed on certain Russian individuals and companies have not been authorised by the UN Security Council. I am not at all clear on what legal basis or authority the EU has imposed them.

I was very interested to see Putin make the same point and urge the private individuals and companies the EU has sanctioned to challenge the sanctions in court.

In the autumn the European Court of Justice ruled illegal the sanctions the EU had imposed on various Iranian individuals and companies that had no discernable link to Iran’s nuclear programme. Putin pointedly said that none of the individual Russian businessmen and companies the EU has sanctioned had any role in formulating Russian policy towards the Ukraine or the Crimea. On the face of it they would therefore appear to have the same argument in their favour that the sanctioned Iranian business people and companies did. In the case of Kiselev, the head of Rossia Sevodnia, he arguably also has a claim that the sanctions imposed on him are an unwarranted restriction on his right as a journalist to express himself freely pursuant to Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

There is also the question of the entire legal basis upon which the EU is purporting to impose sanctions. In contrast to all other sanctions regimes in which the EU has engaged (including those against Iran) the sanctions against Russia and against Russian individuals and companies have not been authorised by the UN Security Council. Whilst I accept (though I do not know) that the EU may have power under the treaties to order member states to deny visas to given individuals I am wholly unaware of any power the EU possesses to order asset freezes as against individuals or companies who are not subject to sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and who have not been found guilty of any criminal offence. An asset freeze is in effect a form of confiscation of property and thus a type of punishment so on the face of it the asset freezes the EU has imposed on Russian individuals and companies who are not the subject of sanctions ordered by the Security Council and who have not been found guilty of any criminal offence in any court of law look like a violation of the fundamental legal principle that there can be no punishment without law.

When I discussed the question the previous day with John Laughland he told me that he has obtained a written opinion from a prominent French jurist who advises that the EU’s sanctions are indeed illegal. He has generously offered to send it to me. There may be confidentiality issues involved however which may limit my ability to discuss it in a public forum such as this.

I should say that sanctions imposed by the US are an entirely different matter. I have little doubt of their legality unless they violate WTO rules, which they may do but about which I know little.

The economy

Both Kudrin and Nabiullina made clear that the key to Russia’s future economic development is unlocking domestic investment. I have discussed this at length in many places.

First to Kudrin. He has made various criticisms of Putin and of the policies of the Russian government in the recent past and he often comes across as a committed, even fanatical, free market fundamentalist. At this Forum however he came across instead as a fully committed and onside team player. The roundtable he chaired was all about using long term investment from sovereign wealth funds (including and above all Russia’s) to develop strategic sectors of the Russian economy (especially infrastructure) where immediate short term profits are not to be made.

Nabiullina once again explained the central bank’s anti-inflation strategy, which I have discussed previously before. Once again she made clear that reducing inflation is in the central bank’s view the key to unlocking domestic investment. A few further points:

1. Nabiullina confirmed that the central bank’s medium to long term inflation target is 4%. She actually made it clear that the central bank would act to raise inflation if it fell below this level. According to her 4% inflation is pitched at the right level to make long term lending attractive whilst allowing space for the economy to breathe.

2. Inflation fell steadily throughout 2013. Since the start of the year there has however been another inflation spurt, which has obliged the central bank to tighten monetary policy even more. The reason for this was the decline in the exchange rate caused initially by the US Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening and later by the Ukrainian crisis.

Though Nabiullina picked her words very carefully I gained the distinct impression that the central bank in the end decided to use the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening and the Ukrainian crisis as an excuse to let the rouble fall. Given that inflation in Russia has been consistently higher than in the countries Russia trades with it would not be possible to maintain the level of the rouble without a loss of competitiveness. The central bank appears to have decided to accept a shot term hit in its anti-inflation policy as a price worth paying for a rouble correction that would make the economy more competitive whilst strengthening the budget and the trade balance. Nabiullina seemed confident that any ground lost on the inflation front would be made up quickly over the balance of the year. She predicted an eventual yearly inflation rate of no more than 6% this year with 5% next year. She also explained the high capital outflow in the first quarter as being caused by the fall in the rouble’s value (rather than vice versa) and said that with the stabilisation in the rouble’s value in April capital outflow had fallen drastically that month to just $4.2 billion.

3. Nabiullina and Alexander Afanasiev, the head of the Moscow Exchange also gave a detailed account of various technical steps being taken to clean up the Russian financial services industry to make it more effective and capable of discharging its role to provide the economy with investment. Both were under no illusions of the complexities involved but both seemed to have a clear idea of what they wanted and needed to do.

I was impressed by Nabiullina. She is physically small and intense but she is very clear and authoritative and has all the facts at her fingertips. When two bankers (both American educated as they proudly told us) challenged her that regulation was bad and unnecessary and that the only role for government was to subordinate everything to the market she had no difficulty swatting them away like flies.

Putin

This was the first occasion I have been in the same room as Putin and seen him in action and he made an astonishing impression.

Putin is not a natural orator and doesn’t pretend to be. I struggled to remain focused through his long introductory speech. When he finishes with a peroration it falls flat. When interviewed however it is an entirely different matter. Television simply does not do justice the confidence and humour he brings. At a time when western leaders have never been more filled with self-importance they must find his intelligence and mockery infuriating. If Putin is like that in private he must be fun to work with, which doubtless explains the intense loyalty of his team.

One example of his sheer virtuosity will have to suffice. For me the single funniest moment amongst many came in the part of the interview that dealt with Edward Snowden. Putin first mocked the Americans for scaring off all the countries in the whole world from enabling Snowden to travel to them. He ridiculed the Americans for forcing down aeroplanes with Presidents on board. He cynically (but rightly) pointed out that if the Americans had no behaved in this way and Snowden had been allowed to travel to these countries the Americans could have caught him and he would now be in an American jail. Putin then said that this meant that Snowden was forced to claim asylum in Russia. He then bragged that, “Russia never hands over a human rights activist”. After this provoked a roar of applause he finished by pretended to correct himself by saying that it is Snowden himself who claims he is a human rights activist.

The audience (made up of businesspeople who are not Putin’s natural constituency) loved it. So did the Chinese Vice President. He burst into a smile as he said in his concluding remarks that what Putin had said would be favourably noticed in China.

Comments

  1. Great report Alexander. I think that there’s less to.the gas deal than meets the eye. Will the Chinese now be allowed to own Russian oil and gas assets directly. In practice they have been routinely blocked by administrative measures. The same applies to other resource assets. The gas deal was done in dollars.

    • Dear Philip,

      Thanks!

      I can answer your question. Ding Xuedong confirmed that the Chinese will be allowed to own oil and gas assets directly as well as in other minerals extracting sectors such as copper and steel and this was confirmed at the plenary. However he went out of his way to reassure that all such projects would be subject to the same Russian legislation as governs Russian enterprises.

  2. Unrelated to this post, but some good maps about the Ukraine election:

    Voter turnout by district:

    http://pollotenchegg.livejournal.com/191799.html

    Tiahnybok got 1.3% and Yarosh .9%.

    There was a rumor on Ukrainian media that on Russian TV it was claimed that Yarosh own the election; any truth to this claim about Russian TV?

  3. Dimitar says:

    The Heavenly Hundred died in vain since their hopes of seeing an oligarch-free Ukraine was just smoke and mirrors. Poroshenko will be selling Ukraine out to the highest bidder, whether they be western or Russian. I’m sure many others know this deep inside since oligarchs are never driven by altruism, never.

    The voter turnout map makes clear that this ‘rallying behind the Ukrainian flag as a result of Crimea’ was nonsense too. Voter turnout, or lack of, is evident in southern and eastern Ukraine (Odessa really took a fall). I suppose not turning up to an election is probably the safest way of displaying dissatisfaction without fear of being abducted in the night and sent to Kiev. It was also good to see the Rusyns and Hungarians in Zakarpattia displaying the same apathy too. When nationalism is enforced whereby one ethnic group is given the status of ruler, this is exactly what happens.

    • “The voter turnout map makes clear that this ‘rallying behind the Ukrainian flag as a result of Crimea’ was nonsense too. Voter turnout, or lack of, is evident in southern and eastern Ukraine (Odessa really took a fall).

      Overall voter turnout in Ukraine was 60.29%. In the last American presidential election it was 57.5%. In the last Russian presidential election it was 65.25%. Average EU parliamentary elections it was 68%, with particularly low figures for eastern Europe (only 41.8% voter turnout in Romania’s election in 2012).

      There were huge regional differences. But turnout in Dnipropetrovsk was, depending on the district, between 45% and 50%, or between 50% and 55% (mostly the former). In Mykolaiv on the Black Sea coast it was between 45% and 50%. In Odessa it was between 40% and 45% across most districts. So the worst oblasts with respect to voter turnout was comparable to Romania.

      Zakarpattia did not display “the same apathy.” The most heavily populated districts in that oblast, including the capital, had turnout between 60% and 65%. This was a huge drop from the Galician ones right on the other side of the Carpathians (turnout over 80%), but was still substantial. Only the sparsely populated, isolated district had turnout below 40%.

      The overall turnout figures suggest that under different circumstances, if there were a viable candidate whom the more pro-Russian electorate would support, he would pick up a lot of nonvoters. But he would still lose easily, especially now that he can no longer count on Crimean votes.

      “I suppose not turning up to an election is probably the safest way of displaying dissatisfaction without fear of being abducted in the night and sent to Kiev.

      So according to you the 5% of voters who chose Tyhypko and the 3% of voters who chose Dobkin were abducted and sent to Kiev? Can you please provide evidence of anyone getting abducted and sent to Kiev due to the way they voted?

      • More detailed info about Ukrainian elections from this website:

        http://statistika.in.ua/prez2014/yavka

        Odessa city showed voter turnout of 48%, of whom 59.5% voted for various “Orange” candidates and only 17.4% for blue candidates.

        Voter turnout in 2010 had been about 63%, so a lot of people didn’t vote. Assuming those missing 15% would all have voted for Blue candidates, it still would have been an Orange victory in the city of Odessa (although a very narrow one) , in terms of the national election. This represents a significant anti-Russian swing in that city.

        As for the other big cities in southern or eastern Ukraine:

        Dnipropetrovsk city had voter turnout of 55.6%, of whom 71.1% voted for Orange candidates and 19.1% for Blue candidates. This city has become fairly secure Orange territory, politically.

        Kharkiv city has voter turnout of 48.7%, of whom 55.9% voted for “Orange” candidates and 37.2% for “Blue” ones. It probably would have been a narrow Blue win if voter participation for the Blue side had been higher. Still, given the narrowness of this victory compared the 2010 results, – an “Orange” swing in this city.

        Mykolayiv, the capital of its oblast on the Black Sea shore between Crimea and Odessa. Turnout 49.4%, of whom 62.9% chose “Orange” candidates and 26.2% chose “Blue” ones. This area seems to be going the way of Dnipropetrovsk.

        “Blue” won in a few of Kharkiv oblast’s rayons. There was no voting in much of the Donbas, but they most likely would have won there. Still, given the pro-Orange swing we see in Odessa, and the loss of Crimea with its solid “Blue” electorate, even if voter participation in the south and east had been at 2010 levels and those people had voted for some sort of “Blue” candidate, it looks like it would have been a certain “Orange” victory this election, although it would have gone into the second round.

        For comparison, Kiev had a turnout of 64.4% with 91.6% going to Orange candidates and only 5% to “Blue” ones.

        So much for the dream of “New Russia” occupying half of Ukraine.

      • Dimitar says:

        AP,

        Where was this person going to be taken? Disneyland?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvGGI3SBbBc

        Abductions in the former Ukraine are a very big problem. Since Euromaidan was all about good governance and freedom, you’ll happily turn a blind eye to it. Comparing Romania to southern and eastern Ukraine is quite a stretch (even by your PR levels). You are implying that the elections held in Ukraine were democratic whereas in reality candidate after candidate were forced to step down, thus disenfranchising millions.

        The fact that you haven’t addressed the point about the Heavenly Hundred means you may have accepted the farce that they died for.

        Glory to the former Ukraine! Glory to oligarchy and austerity!

  4. Morgoth says:

    Alexander

    Was there any discussion relating to the low rates of economic growth <3% that Russia has been experiencing for one and a half years now and what measures are being undertaken to address it and the causes behind the slow rate of growth. I note that Putin mentioned this issue as one of the most serious that Russia is currently facing.

  5. It’s business as usual in Ukraine which continues to suffer oligarch inflicted damage. The Donetsk rebels are in even deeper economic trouble than Kiev. The escalation to violence started with a Russian blockade against their products (plus pigs and sugar). Severstal and Mechel are still in trouble. They will not agree to easy access to Russian markets for Donbass products. Their dream of Novorossysk is proven a delusion. A map of ethnicity by village would have told them that. (There is a really good interactive map of Ukraine that shows just how concentrated the Great Russian population is in a few urban centres – not Odessa or Maripoul by the way – but I have lost the link). For the sake of its xenophobes (the oligarchs and the church), Russia has taken huge collateral damge. The sanctions are the least of it. Russia needs foreign investment to upgrade its capital stock to the best modern standard. There is full employment; manufacturing is already at full capacity; the Rouble is falling; Without large investment in productivity increases, Russia is going to suffer from severe inflation for a decade or more. Russia’s actions in Ukraine have not been an encouragement to foreign investors, least of all the Chinese who have lost $18Bn of projects mostly due to the Crimean annexation. $3 Bn of that was spent cash. Russia has built a big trap for itself. Russia needs access to imports foreign markets to keep the economy competitive technically and economically. Manufacturiing is profitable and can pay for this but will anyone come to sell? The financial sanctions matters. Ultimately, only two things can be done with forereign earnings; spend it on imports or invest it abroad. The imports might, as in Dubai, leave you with infrastructure, or as in the UK, tax cuts. Sanctions have removed the Russian opportunity to build up overseas investments, a source of technology transfer.

    Meanwhile, Poroshenko and the US might recognize the Anschluss with Crimea but the price will be high.

    • 1) “Meanwhile, Poroshenko and the US might recognize the Anschluss with Crimea but the price will be high.”

      America has already ‘recognized’ this. It tried to do something about this, but has failed. The America of the 1980’s is over. It is too weak to do anything serious against Russia.

      Also there is a big difference between Ancschluss and the Crimean referendum. National self determination is a human right.

      2) “The Donetsk rebels are in even deeper economic trouble than Kiev.”

      They’re fighting for their own well-being. The East has nothing to gain and everything to lose from an association agreement with Europe. They have to fight, or their economic well-being is seriously threatened.

      3) “Severstal and Mechel are still in trouble”

      Severstal has been turning a profit since 2009. Mechel is the worst performing steel company in Russia, but still ran a profit in Q3, Q4 in 2013. The drop in steel prices internationally has hurt everyone in the industry, but the Russian steel industry weathered it better than the American or European steel industries have. In fact, Severstal and Evraz were offered to buy ArcelorMittal a few years ago, but refused because it was an uncompetitive business. If Russia cuts gas exports to Europe, the European steel industry (which is already coughing blood) will die.

      4) “Their dream of Novorossysk is proven a delusion.”

      Whose dream was this again? I do not recall any prominent Russian politician seriously promoting this. In fact, I heard the opposite. Plus, Donetsk and Lugansk are still in turmoil, I wouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch.

      5) “Russia needs foreign investment to upgrade its capital stock to the best modern standard.”

      Estonia has 80% of its GDP in FDI. What good does that do them? They lost a third of their population in the last 20 years. Their economy contracted in Q1 2014. Unemployment is 8.3%. I would not consider this a success.

      Russia had a lot of foreign investment before 2009, but that did not help improve productivity much, and in fact, exacerbated the financial crisis for Russia. What Russia needs is domestic investment.

      Also, foreign investment in Russia is increasing a lot:
      http://en.itar-tass.com/economy/733655
      http://en.itar-tass.com/economy/733889

      6) “The Rouble is falling”

      Yeah, and now Russia is going to run a budget surplus this year, industry expanded faster in Q1 2014 then it did in ALL of 2013 and industrial exports are on the rise (manufactured exports to Europe increase 20% in 2013, they will probably increase even more this year with a depreciated Ruble).

      7) “least of all the Chinese who have lost $18Bn of projects mostly due to the Crimean annexation”

      you meant this one that was resumed?:
      http://en.itar-tass.com/economy/733889

      8) “Russia needs access to imports foreign markets to keep the economy competitive technically and economically.”

      It does not. The creation of Israel’s own high tech sector was motivated by Western sanctions.

      9) “Sanctions have removed the Russian opportunity to build up overseas investments, a source of technology transfer.”

      There are no meaningful sanctions in place. This crisis will be like the Georgian one in 2008. This will continue as they did right after this crisis will conclude.

      This crisis is an important turning point though:

      1) The US is being more and more irrelevant. The Western media fights against Russia as hard as it can, but nothing changes. Korea, Japan, China, India, Iran etc. are increasing their ties to Russia. America would gain immensely from a new Cold War, but the opportunity for that has passed.

      2) America is trying to remain relevant in Europe and Asia by sending more soldiers there. The US is being overburdened by this. It will be eventually bled dry. America is losing to Russia and China in terms of economic relevance, and it is trying to compensate for that by sending soldiers. The increase of troops in Europe and Asia is nothing more than America trying to consolidate its declining colonial empire.

      3) America is hastening the demise of the dollar as a reserve currency. It is proving to the world that it is not a reliable economic partner.

      4) Russia did not lose its footing in Europe, and investments will continue as normal once the crisis is over. This crisis has encouraged Russia to diversify its trading partners, and to improve its domestic financial and manufacturing industries to replace imports. This has been a good learning occasion for Russia: America is a violent, xenophobic and irrational empire. It has no concept of rules and wants to revert the world to barbarism where international law is irrelevant.

      5) The Eurasian union will unite the peoples of the former USSR. Russia will improve its place in the world while America continues its slide into irrelevance.

      • “Also there is a big difference between Ancschluss and the Crimean referendum. National self determination is a human right.”. The Nazi’s held a plebiscite after the Anschluss. 99.7% of the votes were for unification. There is no more reason to doubt this result than those in Crimea or, indeed the Donbass. Jews and Social Democrat party members were forbidden to vote. That still left about 90% of the population qualified to vote. Quite decent by modern Ukrainian standards.

  6. So, no evidence of anyone kidnapped due to the way they voted. Is it your pattern to simply lie? But, thank you for the demonstration that you are the one of us engaging in PR.

    Dobkin and Tyhypko ran. No one forced Symonenko, the Communist, or Tsarev not to run. The latter two probably decided it was better PR to refuse to run than to run and get an embarrassing 5% of the vote.

    “The fact that you haven’t addressed the point about the Heavenly Hundred means you may have accepted the farce that they died for. ”

    No, it’s simply too early to tell, whether the former (?) poacher will make a good game warden, so I make no predictions about that either way and didn’t comment on it. Unlike you, I do not engage in wishful fairy-tales. So we’ll see.

    • wanderer3768 says:

      “The latter two probably decided they would be killed if they did.”

      There. Fixed that for you.

      You’re welcome.

      • ““The latter two probably decided they would be killed if they did.”

        There. Fixed that for you.

        Please name any important pro-Russian politician who has been killed in Ukraine. So far, I only recall the pro-Tymoshenko guy in Donetsk, Rybak, who was found tortured and murdered. A case of projection by the pro-Russians in Ukraine?

    • Dimitar says:

      So AP, could you tell us why turnout was low? Was it because everything is all fine and dandy in Ukraine as it is in Romania? Poroshenko is a political prosititute, he has switched from party to party. Do you expect he gives a crap about anything? A former Party of Regions member funds Euromaidan – that is the Ukrainian joke of the century.

      You are also telling me that the communists refused to run because they’d get an embarassingly low vote? What kind of donkey thinking is that? And I’m called the liar! LOL.

      Also, your skills at prevaricating aren’t as good as you think they are. Kidnapping is not something one would expect in a European country. Political views and voting are something which correlate, whether your selective thinking likes it or not. I have no doubt in my mind the person in the video was going to be kidnapped for his political views – God knows how many have been taken without a crowd to intervene. When you have Kiev sending in tanks to stop people in eastern Ukraine from holding political views, there is something seriously wrong with the state of the country. May I remind you that if the idiot Yanukovich decided to play the same cards on Lviv (by attacking the city with APCs), you would have screamed genocide like the PR spin doctor you are.

      Shall I tell you what a fairytale is? Ukrainians assume their country will improve as a result of all of this! After driving away one idiot oligarch, they usher in a new one. With Ukrainian gold sitting on some American shelf, the only way the west can make up for this misadventure is (very) cheap Ukrainian exports in the form of labour. Even then, this looks to be increasingly unlikely as the EU begins to focus on further internal problems.

      Glory to the liars, the ones who plunder Ukraine, and the ones who will continue to plunder it!

      Ta ta

      • ” the only way the west can make up for this misadventure is (very) cheap Ukrainian exports in the form of labour”. Not even really that considering how the Chinese have been mistreated during all of this.

        To be fair to Poroshenko, he is a self made businessman rather than a thief. This is not a good profile for a politician. Businessmen focus hard on a definable target, typically profit during the owner’s time horizon and manage teams that understand this goal. Politicians have to deal with conflicting interests and contradictory goals (short term fixes versus long term cures). This requires an ability to obscure and confuse while still making enough visible progress in some people’s eyes to gain election. I’d be far more hopeful about Ukraine if there was a lawyer or a journalist or a priest or an historian in charge. Russia had oil, gas and the FSB to rescue it from the oligarchs. It still has big economic problems disguised by imports paid for by oil (e.g. oligarch monopolies from pigs to steel, refurbished but not new industrial plant). The only hope that Ukraine has for reform without the huge social dislocation of default (grannies freezing to death) is the IMF.

      • “So AP, could you tell us why turnout was low?

        I have stated that turnout was low in the south and east due to there not being a popular viable “Blue” candidate. And I demonstrated that, had there been one, Poroshenko would have won anyways; he simply would have won with a smaller margin.

        ” And I’m called the liar!

        Well Dimitar, let’s review your claims here:

        “I suppose not turning up to an election is probably the safest way of displaying dissatisfaction without fear of being abducted in the night and sent to Kiev.”

        Yet you provided no evidence of people voting against an Orange candidate being abducted and sent anywhere, for their vote. So, you lied.

        ” It was also good to see the Rusyns and Hungarians in Zakarpattia displaying the same apathy too.”

        Yet it was proven that Zakarpattiya voted much more than did the south and East. They did not demonstrate the same apathy. So, you lied again.

        ” candidate after candidate were forced to step down”

        No, they chose to boycott the election. Another lie by you, Dimitar.

        http://business.highbeam.com/407705/article-1G1-366569276/tsaryov-withdraws-presidential-bid-calls-boycott-presidential

        Tsaryov: “I have decided to withdraw my candidacy because I see that status as a candidate is inefficient under such conditions.”

        He chose to step down.

        Same with the Communist Party leader.

        ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

        Given that a large % of your claims are, indeed, demonstrably lies, it is not an insult but rather an accurate description, to call you a liar, Dimitar.

        • Dimitar says:

          “Yet you provided no evidence of people voting against an Orange candidate being abducted and sent anywhere, for their vote. So, you lied.”

          You have yet to comment on the video of the person in the middle of a kidnap attempt in broad daylight. Dissatisfaction is shown in plenty of ways – including voter apathy. But Ukraine is a special case as shown in that video. Would I be safe if I decided to walk down the streets of Kharkov and tell people I’d vote for the Party of Regions? This is a hypothetical situation.

          ” It was also good to see the Rusyns and Hungarians in Zakarpattia displaying the same apathy too.”

          It still stands that Transcarpathia (for a western Ukrainian region) voted on similar levels to the east and south rather than with the Galician neighbours. You are implying that Galicia and Zakarpattia are voting the same – so that’s a lie.

          “No, they chose to boycott the election. Another lie by you, Dimitar.”

          Choice is a very subjective term, something you clearly are exploiting. Would they have stood down if there was no National Guard or populist sentiment? I doubt it. The fact that the Communist party was threatened because someone voiced concerns about miltiary actions in the east is quite telling in itself.

          “Given that a large % of your claims are, indeed, demonstrably lies”

          After your picturesque rationalistion of events in Odessa, I’d expect venom from your mouth. Keep trying and keep dreaming. Calling me a liar is a compliment compared to an apologist for mass murderers like yourself. As I’ve said before, your blaming of the victims and the Kyiv Post narrative you provided is both disgusting and inhuman. I do not lie and I am certainly not in the position of manic denial that you are in.

          While I’m on the topic of Odessa… There are reports of vigilante justice ocurring in the city. How far has the country fallen that people now have to rely on youtube videos to find the criminals that perpetrated murder?

          • Dimitar says:

            This is the truly icing on Ukraine’s rubber-stamped election cake.

          • “You have yet to comment on the video of the person in the middle of a kidnap attempt in broad daylight.

            Since the comment was irrelevant with respect to your lie about people being kidnapped if they voted for the “wrong” candidate there was no need to comment.

            “” It was also good to see the Rusyns and Hungarians in Zakarpattia displaying the same apathy too.”

            It still stands that Transcarpathia (for a western Ukrainian region) voted on similar levels to the east and south rather than with the Galician neighbours.

            No, Transcarpathia did not vote on similar levels to south and east Ukraine. It was similar to some central Ukrainan areas.

            “You are implying that Galicia and Zakarpattia are voting the same – so that’s a lie.

            I quite explicitly stated :

            “Zakarpattia did not display “the same apathy.” The most heavily populated districts in that oblast, including the capital, had turnout between 60% and 65%. This was a huge drop from the Galician ones right on the other side of the Carpathians (turnout over 80%),

            Obviously I never implied that Zakarpattia and Galicia voted the same way,as proven by the above quote.

            So just now you lied about what I implied. You just can’t stop lying, can you Dimitar?

            “Choice is a very subjective term

            Ah yes, when you are caught lying about “choice” then it becomes a subjective term for you.

            “After your picturesque rationalistion of events in Odessa, I’d expect venom from your mouth.

            Only venom comes from you…that and lies. As I said, I’m not insulting you when I call you a liar, I am simply describing you. The facts are here for everyone to see. These facts are important to consider whenever you make claims of any kind, about anything. You can’t even resist lying about verifiable facts (such as what I wrote about Galicia and Transcarpathia) that are on this very page.

            ” I do not lie

            Another lie, as demonstrated in this post.

            • Dimitar says:

              AP,

              Your tactic is to manipulate words and then claim others to be in the wrong. Twisting my words into something they aren’t doesn’t make me a liar – it makes you a good manipulator. You have plenty of experience in this and I will give you credit there. Anyone can read my previous comments and they’ll see how you’ve spun it.

              For those who want to see the good works of AP – take a look here:

              http://darussophile.com/2014/05/massacre-in-odessa/

              AP says:

              “We cannot even be certain of what happened in the building. Molotov cocktails were thrown by both sides. If a Molotov cocktail thrown by the pro-Maidan crowd started the blaze, it was more like an accident (manslaughter, in American legal understanding) rather than murder.”

              ^See the spin here? Accident rather than murder – these words are expected from Madeleine ‘propaganda tarantula’ Albright. If we cannot be certain about events, how does one come to the conclusion that it was an accident? Clearly a paradox, or shall we call it a lie? AP knows the answer and is fooling no one.

              AP says:

              “There was one from the Russian side claiming that they were trying to finish them off with bats, but it didn’t show that in the video: it just showed horrific scenes of people jumping to their deaths and Ukrainians standing around with bats – nobody hitting anyone”

              http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8fc_1399223115

              ^Yes the guy with the baseball bat was singing Kumbaya. No murder here, just an ‘accident’, right? All the Euromaidan heroes were running to the aid of those who had the choice of burning to death or dying from a fall, right?

              AP says:

              “I’ve read bizarre Russian conspiracy theories claiming that the Trade Union building was used for mass executions (over 160 dead! look at the photo of the pregnant woman strangled to death!) by the Maidan supporters and that the fire was set in order to cover it these executions. The truth is less relevant than whether or not parts of Ukraine really believe such nonsense. “

              ^http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-19/ukraine-investigator-sees-chloroform-behind-odessa-deaths.html

              I wonder why chloroform was found in the building? Notice the words “the truth is less than relevant”. An active attempt at brushing off or presenting disinformation. AP is no different from the MSM which have managed to rationalise or ignore the events in Odessa in order to have a clean black-and-white story to tell. You are no different from the Guardian journalist who said that no one will ever know the “truth” about what really happened.

              And this one is disgusting…

              AP says:

              “At any rate, this tragedy seems to have an accident caused by reckless violence, ultimately caused by anti-government thugs attacking and killing people in a pro-Kiev march. ”

              Notice how the anti-government people are called “thugs” while no such label is attached to the football hooligans and Right Sector guys who did the killings? Orwellian speech at its finest.

              Now, since AP is good at accusations, I would like to return the favour. Judging from the Odessa comments, either AP is a rabid nationalist blinded by ideologistic trappings or is part of the oligarch funded Euromaidan PR campaign. Perhaps AP is both, although I strongly suspect the latter category. Nevertheless, one should be wary of any rubbish this troll spouts.

              To think anyone would have respect for such shameless arachnid tactics in the Odessa thread. The Ministry of Truth would be proud – oh wait, I forgot AP is one small, but important cog in this institution!

              • “Your tactic is to manipulate words and then claim others to be in the wrong. Twisting my words into something they aren’t

                Another lie. No twists. I provided your quotes fully. You wrote: ““You are implying that Galicia and Zakarpattia are voting the same – so that’s a lie.” I wrote ““Zakarpattia did not display “the same apathy.” The most heavily populated districts in that oblast, including the capital, had turnout between 60% and 65%. This was a huge drop from the Galician ones right on the other side of the Carpathians (turnout over 80%), ”

                So you lie about me twisting or manipulating words. Anyone can read this. You lied that I implied that Galicia and Zakarpattia voted the same – I had actually stated that there was a huge difference.

                :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

                As for the Odessa tragedy – as I stated, it looks to be manslaughter rather than murder. Most likely (but we don’t know for sure, and may never know because it doesn’t look like the government wants to prosecute the pro-Kiev protesters who threw the cocktails into the building) a Molotov cocktail thrown by a pro-Kiev protester caught fire in the building, causing the tragic deaths of over 40 people. The lack of widespread outrage in Odessa in response to this tragedy suggests that this is what happened. If the people inside were deliberately murdered there would probably be much more outrage and demonstrations. People in Odessa are not stupid – they know what happens in their own city and react accordingly.

                ““The truth is less than relevant” referred to the nonsense stories about 160 people dead, pregnant woman killed (this was debunked as a hoax). If a lot of people believe such nonsense, Ukraine would have problems, even though such nonsense is false. Fortunately it seems like not many do.

                “Now, since AP is good at accusations

                I do not make accusations, I provide statements and prove their accuracy. I do not accuse you of being a liar, Dimitar, I prove it. Over and over again. Or rather, you prove it by your own words and I just post the proof. When I make observations I back them up with data from surveys, polls, election results. I post only in good faith. I’ve been posting here for years, and have always had a cordial relationship with our host, who unlike you is quite knowledgeable and completely honest.

                “either AP is a rabid nationalist blinded by ideologistic trappings or is part of the oligarch funded Euromaidan PR campaign

                Two lies in one phrase. Is this a record for you, Dimitar? I am neither a nationalist of any kind, nor funded by any PR organization. I’m simply someone interested in Ukraine who likes discussing the object of my interests. But by all means, keep on lying, cause that what you do best, Dimitar.

                • Dimitar says:

                  AP,

                  According to the Ministry of Truth…

                  I do not make accusations, I provide statements and prove their accuracy

                  Statements like the “accident” in Odessa. The finest manure in Galicia.

                  The lack of widespread outrage in Odessa in response to this tragedy suggests that this is what happened

                  The lack of widespread outrage may have to do with the fact that those who speak out will be branded as pro-Russian “terrorists”. A clear cut way of getting rid of any political discussion. http://ukraineinvestigation.com/sbu-arrested-separatists-odessa/

                  Now if Kiev had nothing to hide, why is it so reluctant to investigate Odessa? Maybe everyone is bouncing on rainbows like AP is? Are you seriously constipated with your own bullshit? You keep blaming the victims. If there was a hypothetical situation where the reverse happened, your tune would be different.

                  I’ve been posting here for years

                  So, am I supposed to feel sympathy? It only took Odessa for you to show your true colours. Your armour must’ve chinked if you had to bring this up.

                  I’m also glad to know that the barrier of the internet separates a lunatic like yourself from civilised posters (I’m aware you’ll be more than happy to see me in that trade union building). Again, your comments on the Odessa thread are more than enough for people to see what kind of menace you are happy to defend. And calling it a “tragedy” is pathetic crocodile tears on your part.

                  Don’t forget to wash your mouth along with your conscience.

                  • Poor Dimitar has been exposed as a liar and reduced to spouting empty insults. I guess, since your numerous lies get exposed so quickly, what else can you do?

                    Dimitar, your words: “manure”, “constipated with your own bullshit”, “lunatic.” You even accused me of being happy about your potential death. So we see exactly who is full of venom here. I suspect that when you lie about me, you are actually telling the truth about yourself. Which, given the nature of your lies about me, is kinda scary.

                    If your posts continue to degenerate into just vulgar name-calling I’ll excuse myself from further interaction with you, though I’ll reserve the right to continue to point out your lies.

                    “The lack of widespread outrage in Odessa in response to this tragedy suggests that this is what happened

                    The lack of widespread outrage may have to do with the fact that those who speak out will be branded as pro-Russian “terrorists”. A clear cut way of getting rid of any political discussion. http://ukraineinvestigation.com/sbu-arrested-separatists-odessa/

                    So according to you the people of Odessa are so terrified of the Kiev government, and/or the Kiev government is so powerful, that after Odessans are mass murdered they are too scared to respond?

                    Is this like your lie that people who voted for the “wrong” candidates get arrested? BTW I am still waiting for you to provide evidence of this lying claim of yours.

                    “Now if Kiev had nothing to hide, why is it so reluctant to investigate Odessa?

                    Kiev not investigating doesn’t necessarily mean that hundreds of people were trapped in the building and mass murdered in a planned killing operation. Refusing to investigate manslaughter and neglecting to punish those guilty of it, doesn’t mean that murder took place.

                    “Again, your comments on the Odessa thread are more than enough for people to see what kind of menace you are happy to defend”

                    Again, a lie. I did not defend the actions outside the trade union buildings. I described the fire as likely manslaughter, which is a crime, and I described the deaths as a tragedy. Refusing to support your silly conspiracy theories about the tragedy does not mean “defending” it.

                    Lies and personal attacks seem to be the substance of your posts, Dimitar. Are you proud of yourself?

                    • American Kulak says:

                      The easiest way to blow away EuroMaidanPR or soft pedaling ‘it was just a tragic mob brawl between pro-Russians and pro-Maidan that got out of hand’ lamestream media arguments…

                      …and the EuroMaidanPR/Prof. Timothy Snyder arrogant dismissals of the Russian/RT charge that Odessa was a deliberate atrocity with the complicity of the Kiev authorities as “conspiracy theory”, is to ask a few simple questions:

                      Where are the arrests for the massacre?

                      Where are the indictments? (Even for ‘manslaughter’)?

                      Who’s been jailed awaiting trial in Odessa? It’s not like there’s a lack of video evidence or everyone who threw Molotov cocktails into the building wore masks.

                      Why did EuroMaidanPR and its propaganda allies online squawk so much about the ‘red armband wearing pro-Russians’ who ‘shot at’ pro-Kiev demonstrators with ‘impunity as police stood by’ only to shut up about them after a few days? You don’t think they were told to shut up about those guys because in reality anyone can wear a St. George’s ribbon but the red armbands were to identify Pravy Sektor provocateurs (including a few on the roof to each other)? Ask yourself another simple question: why did the guys with red armbands supposedly shooting on the mob below from the roof of the Trade Unions Building fail to wound or even kill anybody? Maybe they were shooting BLANKS?

                      To my knowledge the only people who have been arrested are a handful of ‘pro-Russians’ accused of attacking the football ultras pro-Ukraine unity march.

                      That’s right, there have been ZERO arrests for murder or attempted murder of anyone accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail into the Trade Unions building. Zero.

                • “As for the Odessa tragedy – as I stated, it looks to be manslaughter rather than murder.”

                  The Molotov cocktails were thrown in order to harm. The guys beating a survivor on that video meant harm. I remember people talking in Twitter about multiple such finishings-off. I also remember them talking about pro-Maidan thugs shooting at people standing at the windows. In the list of victims that I linked to elsewhere on this page many are said to have died from gunshot wounds. If there wasn’t an animalistic pro-Maidan crowd standing in front of the building, would more people have fled the flames? I wasn’t there, but I think it’s natural to ask that question.

                  “The lack of widespread outrage in Odessa in response to this tragedy suggests that this is what happened. If the people inside were deliberately murdered there would probably be much more outrage and demonstrations. ”

                  You probably live in a Ukropropaganda bubble in which Muzychko killed himself and most of Strelkov’s men are Russian citizens paid by Putin. In the real world there has been a sea of outrage in Odessa. Torrents of it. People have gathered in front of the Trade Union building to mourn and accuse. I’ve seen pics of such gatherings in Twitter and at other places.

                  “pregnant woman killed (this was debunked as a hoax).”

                  Do you have a cite? We’ve already seen you dismiss the finishing-off-with-bats claim. It turned out to have been true.

                  “When I make observations I back them up with data from surveys, polls, election results. ”

                  You use numbers tendentiously, weaselly. As per Pew, only 4% of Crimeans did not want their referendum recognized by Kiev after all was said and done. That’s extremely different from the predictions, estimates and claims that you’ve made here about popular sentiment in the Crimea over a long period of time.

                  “I post only in good faith.”

                  You more or less blindly defend your own. As do most poeple.

                  “and have always had a cordial relationship with our host”

                  I used to have a positive attitude to you, and our host probably still does, but there is a freaking war going on and you blindly defend a side that I think is mostly in the wrong. It’s an alliance of thieves, globalsits, warmongers and hooligans. Which side has threatened an oligarch with nationalization? Not the pro-Maidan side. At this point ALL the oligarchs are on the pro-Kiev side. You want to be left alone? Then leave the Donbass alone. I think it’s become clear by now that it wants to leave. Can you even imagine Putin banning someone’s language? Why is the Ukraine so shockingly looted-out? It wasn’t poorer than Russia or Belarus in 1991. And you’re maintaing the course, sticking with the thieves. To most people blood ties are more important than prosperity or good governance or truth or other nations’ sufferings. Well, then be honest about it. I don’t think you are. You pretend to be above it all.

                  • “The guys beating a survivor on that video meant harm.”

                    OK, guy. Not guys.

                    • Dimitar says:

                      AP,

                      Lies and personal attacks seem to be the substance of your posts, Dimitar. Are you proud of yourself?

                      I’ve seen you dismiss people (who have had good points) by calling them trolls and your lies have been laid out on the washing line. I’ve also seen you whinge to the owner of this site (an honourable person unlike yourself) when people have called you out on this website.

                      Again, a lie. I did not defend the actions outside the trade union buildings.

                      Your use of the words “thugs” to describe Odessa’s anti government protesters tells me enough about what you truly think inside. You pounced on a poster on the Odessa thread for calling your dearest mob “animals” but have no problems dehumanising the ones who actually were burned alive.

                      Your habit of deflecting guilt on the victim is worrying, but I know it is intentional. I would ask you to sort out your moral priorities, but that is highly unlikely. I will call you out for what you are – a propaganda spinning apologist for the perpetrators of mass murder. As Glossy summarised, you really do think you are “above everything”, a God complex if I’ve ever seen one.

                    • “Your use of the words “thugs” to describe Odessa’s anti government protesters tells me enough about what you truly think inside.

                      Here is what I wrote: “At any rate, this tragedy seems to have an accident caused by reckless violence, ultimately caused by anti-government thugs attacking and killing people in a pro-Kiev march.”

                      Dimitar: I used the word “thugs” to describe people who shot the pro-Kiev protesters. It is interesting that you have a problem with my calling such people “thugs.” I guess according to you shooting and killing protesters who had not been violent prior to the shooting and the killing is not thug-like behavior?

                      “Your habit of deflecting guilt on the victim is worrying

                      Another lie. But what else is new?

                      “I’ve also seen you whinge to the owner of this site (an honourable person unlike yourself) when people have called you out on this website.

                      Another lie. I have no problem with people disputing what I say; I enjoy a debate and this is one reason why I’m here. My problem is not with people disputing me (as glossy or Alex frequently do) but with abusive vulgar name-calling.

                  • ““As for the Odessa tragedy – as I stated, it looks to be manslaughter rather than murder.”

                    The Molotov cocktails were thrown in order to harm. The guys beating a survivor on that video meant harm.

                    You should google the term manslaughter, there is a wikipedia article about it. I have no doubt that the Molotov cocktail throwers meant to cause harm. This is why it was manslaughter, a crime.

                    ““The lack of widespread outrage in Odessa in response to this tragedy suggests that this is what happened. If the people inside were deliberately murdered there would probably be much more outrage and demonstrations. ”

                    You probably live in a Ukropropaganda bubble in which Muzychko killed himself and most of Strelkov’s men are Russian citizens paid by Putin. In the real world there has been a sea of outrage in Odessa. Torrents of it. People have gathered in front of the Trade Union building to mourn and accuse. I’ve seen pics of such gatherings in Twitter and at other places.

                    No mass outrage in Odessa. 1,000-2,000 people demonstrated at the jail where the survivors were, and a few thousand at the Trade Union building. This is pitiful, in a city of 1 million people. Contrast this with the real mass outrage in Kiev in response to the police beating in November, when 100,000-200,000 took to the streets. What torrent of outrage in Odessa?

                    Later, a few hundred pro-Ukrainian protesters came to the Trade Union building, and placed flowers there.

                    ““pregnant woman killed (this was debunked as a hoax).”

                    Do you have a cite? We’ve already seen you dismiss the finishing-off-with-bats claim. It turned out to have been true.

                    http://observers.france24.com/content/20140513-strangled-woman-odessa-photo-ukraine

                    ““When I make observations I back them up with data from surveys, polls, election results. ”

                    You use numbers tendentiously, weaselly.

                    Please back up this accusation with evidence. I do not, for example, accuse Dimitar of lying without showing his lies.

                    As per Pew, only 4% of Crimeans did not want their referendum recognized by Kiev after all was said and done. That’s extremely different from the predictions, estimates and claims that you’ve made here about popular sentiment in the Crimea over a long period of time.

                    Two comments:

                    1. This could simply mean that Crimeans – even many of those who opposed Crimea becoming part of Russia – want peace most of all and prefer the status quo to further conflict. The same poll showed that only 54% of Crimeans believed that Ukraine should allow regions to secede. It would have been nice if there had been a direct question: would you prefer Crimea to be in Ukraine or in Russia.

                    2. You latch onto the one poll that suggests more pro-Russian support and dismiss all the previous ones. This is not a very objective approach.

                    “I used to have a positive attitude to you, and our host probably still does, but there is a freaking war going on and you blindly defend a side that I think is mostly in the wrong.

                    I blindly defend no one. Could you please post an example of me blindly defending someone?

                    • “No mass outrage in Odessa. 1,000-2,000 people demonstrated at the jail where the survivors were, and a few thousand at the Trade Union building. This is pitiful, in a city of 1 million people. Contrast this with the real mass outrage in Kiev in response to the police beating in November, when 100,000-200,000 took to the streets. What torrent of outrage in Odessa?”

                      You’re comparing a campaign organized by experienced professionals who’ve done many color revolutions before, a campaign supported by foreign and domestic billionaires and by the richest government on Earth – advertising, catering, logistics, bussing in out-of-towners, media support, the whole works – a campaign fought against a government extremely averse to violence, with spontaneous, unpaid-for demonstrations against a government that has used tanks, artillery and military aircraft against civilians. It takes guts to come out against the junta and the thugs allied with it.

                    • http://observers.france24.com/content/20140513-strangled-woman-odessa-photo-ukraine

                      The article does not dispute that the photo was taken in the Trade Union building. The only thing that’s disputed is that the woman was pregnant. The person who took the photo said that the victim appeared too old to have been in that state. Having read the article and seen the photo I’m still under the impression that the woman was killed in cold blood by pro-Maidan animals.

                      AP, about the word “hoax”. Someone who saw you use it and was too lazy to follow your link could have come away with the impression that the photo might not have even been taken in Odessa, that it could have been taken by anti-junta propagandists off the Internet. Nope. That’s not what the article claims.

                      Looking at the picture as I do now, with the face blurred out, it’s natural to assume that the victim was pregnant. Without the picture-taker’s explanation attached that’s indeed that I would have assumed. This is probably how the pregnant part of the story started.

                      In other words it’s easy to imagine how people seeing that picture on the Internet might assume that the victim was pregnant. Yet you used the word hoax, which implies deliberate fraud. What proof do you have that any fraud has occurred? You brought up the word “hoax”, so I think you should back it up. You haven’t yet.

                    • Glossy:

                      People demonstrated in Kiev were there because they wanted to be. It was not a Western plot. Organization is irrelevant: if people didn’t want to come out, they wouldn’t have come out. Moreover whatever support was provided by the West, Yanukovich had the police and government resources, and his own thugs. I personally know an anti-Yanukovich protester who was beaten badly (resulting in lengthy hospitalization) by pro-government thugs. Protesting against Yanukovich was not some sort of happy cakewalk as you make it out to be. Hindsight is 20/20, as the expression goes, but I remember during the protests the anti-protesters talking about how the protesters would inevitably be crushed, they would lose, etc. etc.

                      You claimed there was a “torrent of outrage” in Odessa. Yet the facts tell us that in a city of a million people, the “torrent of outrage” resulted in only a few thousand protesting, and these protests lasted only a couple of days. Odessa has been quiet since. In the election. turnout had been only 15% lower than usual, and the Orange parties won 60.5% to 28.8%. That is, they would have won even if those missing 15% of voters had all voted anti-Orange. So, the “torrent of outrage” resulted in the parties allegedly linked to this “massacre” winning the election in Odessa. This is not how a population reacts if it is outraged, provoked, if its people have truly been massacred in an evil plot, etc. However, such a sequence of events does not contradict this having been a tragic example of manslaughter.

                      BTW, Russian director Mikhalkov agrees with me about a total lack of “torrent of outrage”:

                      Start at 7:19:

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPhB2nCGM14

                      “Yet you used the word hoax, which implies deliberate fraud.

                      From the link:

                      “We cannot exclude the possibility of asphyxiation. However, the body’s position does not correspond with what you would expect would happen when someone suddenly loses consciousness. You would expect to find them on the ground. This position, with her bottom on the desk, makes me think that someone placed her there. ” The absence of any trace of the fire in the room also makes asphyxiation seem unlikely, though of course we cannot completely rule out the emission of toxic gases, since we don’t know when the window was opened.”

                      Someone placed her in a position that made it look as if she were pregnant. Various anti-Kiev bloggers and news organizations such as RT then, rather than corroborating the facts, just repeated that the false idea that a pregnant woman was murdered. It was a lie told to magnify the crimes of the pro-Kiev protesters. A quote form counterpunch: “Some of the victims–like a young woman who was eight months pregnant ” From disclose.tv: “Pregnant woman strangled to death by pro-Kiev thugs in Odessa. ” Liveleak: “A pregnant woman is killed in Odessa union building.” RT reported this “pregnant woman” also.

                    • OK, you’ve failed to come up with anything approaching a proof of fraud. A more honest person than you would have already withdrawn the word hoax. The woman might well be lying there because that’s where the pro-Maidan animals strangled her. The position does not look inconsistent with strangulation. A strangler would need something to press against. That would be the table.

                      When the coroner mentioned in the article expressed doubts about asphyxiation, he was obviously talking about asphyxiation from smoke inhalation. He only saw the picture. Not the body. He did not examine the victim’s neck. In the case of asphyxiation through strangulation the body would be found wherever the stranglers left it.

                      You failed to come up with any support for your implication that the victim was placed in that position by the photographer and not by her murderers. I can already see an argument against such an implication: the photographer herself said on May 7th that the woman was too old to have been pregnant. If the photographer faked the appearance of pregnancy, then why did she herself deny the likelihood of that pregnancy?

                      According to the article the picture was first published on May 3rd, apparently without any comment from the photographer. It was reposted on May 7th with a comment that the woman was unlikely to have been pregnant. The media reports of this which talk about pregnancy and which were published from May 3rd through May 7th cannot be honestly accused of dishonesty. This is because on the picture the woman does looks pregnant. Any media outlets (could you find any?) that talked about pregnancy after May 7th can be accused of either not doing their homework or of dishonesty. You are being accused of dishonesty by me right now because you used the word hoax, were asked for proof, failed to provide anything remotely approaching proof and then failed to withdraw the word hoax.

                    • There is a video of people displaying the Ukrainian flag from a window of that building. So we know that there were pro-Maidan people (or animals; depends on which of them did what in there) inside. So yes, she could well have been strangled by pro-Maidan forces. Some portion of the deaths due to gunfire could also be the responsibility of the pro-Maidan individuals inside.

                    • Glossy:

                      No comment on Mikhalkov and debunking your mistaken claim of “torrent of outrage” in Odessa?

                      “OK, you’ve failed to come up with anything approaching a proof of fraud. A more honest person than you would have already withdrawn the word hoax. The woman might well be lying there because that’s where the pro-Maidan animals strangled her. The position does not look inconsistent with strangulation. A strangler would need something to press against. That would be the table.

                      The woman wasn’t pregnant, claims were made that she was. The woman was placed there. Is strangulation listed as a cause of death for any of the victims?

                      Here’s another article that mentions this hoax, among others:

                      http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2014/05/11/inside-putins-campaign-of-social-media-trolling-and-faked-ukrainian-crimes/2/

                      This photo circulated unquestioned, until the KyivPost (See: Moscow journalist says there was no pregnant woman in Odessa Trade Unions Building) reported its debunking by a media reviewer from Moscow, Elena Rybkovtseva. In her investigation, Rybkovtseva began with the question of why there was still no information about the deceased pregnant woman, no mourning relatives, no distraught father-to-be, and no one in the receiving hospital remembering a pregnant victim. When Rybkovsteva showed the receiving doctor the photo, “he immediately said it was clearly an elderly woman who was photographed, for some reason, here in such a pose, likely in order to create the needed effect.” The physician called higher medical authorities, who confirmed there was no pregnant woman among the dead.

                      “You failed to come up with any support for your implication that the victim was placed in that position by the photographer and not by her murderers. I can already see an argument against such an implication: the photographer herself said on May 7th that the woman was too old to have been pregnant. If the photographer faked the appearance of pregnancy, then why did she herself deny the likelihood of that pregnancy?

                      She denied it 4 days later only after her story had been debunked by the media. On May 6th an article appeared in an Odessa newspaper debunking that:

                      http://kp.ua/politics/451446-v-odesskykh-morhakh-rodstvennykam-ne-uspevauit-vydavat-tela-pohybshykh

                      Also, the photographer was a relative of a victim, she may have been anti-Kiev also and may have colluded with whoever posed the dead woman. Furthermore, she came to the scene a day after the fire, so there would have been time for someone else to stage it. We don’t know details, we only know that the person was placed there, and that the person wasn’t pregnant.

                      “The media reports of this which talk about pregnancy and which were published from May 3rd through May 7th cannot be honestly accused of dishonesty. This is because on the picture the woman does looks pregnant.

                      She also looks old. And media should not report things based on random photos on someone’s facebook account without corroborating details. It seemed like a very convenient sloppiness for anti-Kiev media outlets such as RT.

                      Any media outlets (could you find any?) that talked about pregnancy after May 7th can be accused of either not doing their homework or of dishonesty.

                      They can be accused of this earlier – May 6th an Odessa paper already debunked it, but someone could have called even earlier than that to confirm. But the pregnant woman hoax was repeated on May 8th by counterpunch, May 14th on lewrockwell.com, and May 19th by globalresearch.ca.

                      So let’s summarize: a picture of a woman who was not pregnant, placed on a table in a way that made it look as if she were pregnant, was posted on the facebook accunt of a relative of a (most likely, anti-Kiev) trade union victim. Without any corroboration a lot of anti-Kiev media wrote that a pregnant woman was strangled in the building. These claims continued even after the pregnant woman story was debunked. And you complain that I called this a hoax, and even accuse me of dishonesty for calling it one? Shame on you.

                    • “we only know that the person was placed there”

                      By whom? By her stranglers or by the anti-Maidan side? You haven’t proven by whom. Yet you said this was a “proven hoax”. Nothing in that picture contradicts the theory that she was left by her stranglers in that pose. Hoax implies deliberate deceit. You haven’t proven that.

                    • The headline says it all: “Inside Putin’s Campaign Of Social Media Trolling And Faked Ukrainian Crimes”.

                      AP, things in the Ukraine will not turn for the better until Forbes and other Western publications start publishing headlines in that general tone about Ukrainian authorities. You can think of it like this: when Western media starts writing about Ukraine’s leaders the way it writes about Putin and Lukashenko, Ukraine will be on its way to matching Russia’s and Belarus’s per capita GDP and popular satisfaction with government. If they’re writing about you the way they used to write about Yeltsin’s Russia, you’re doing something wrong. If they’re writing about you the way they’re writing about Putin’s Russia or modern China (which is now experiencing the greatest economic boom in the history of the world), you’re doing something right.

                    • “No comment on Mikhalkov and debunking your mistaken claim of “torrent of outrage” in Odessa?”

                      He and the person who wrote the message that he read out were shaming Odessites into action. Strelkov has done the same in his appeal for more volunteers. You’ve got to do that in any political or military fight. When you’re talking to your own you have to say that the sky is falling because no one cares. You say that in order to shame more people into caring. And when you’re talking to the outside world and to the opposition you have to assume the opposite tone – “we’re doing great, you’re gonna lose.” It’s basic human nature and the nature of politics.

                      This conflict has grabbed my attention, so I read a lot about it, including from the Ukrainian side of things. And yes, people there sometimes write things of that general sort. No one cares, units are surrendering, everyone is just looking on as more and more ground is lost, the few patriots have no support from top brass, etc. This is done to shame the ranks into action.

                    • If I remember correctly, Demosthenes’ Philippics, some of the earliest classics of Western oratory, have passages of this sort. Paraphrasing, you’re not worthy of your glorious ancestors, you are standing by as Philip of Macedon is trampling on all that they fought for, how can you call yourself men, you’re worse than women and so forth. And Philip must have been saying the same things to his audience. This genre recurs because there’s a need for it.

                    • American Kulak says:

                      AP is using the EuroMaidanPR and fed troll tactic of seizing upon items Russian media get wrong and then argue from that therefore the pro-Kiev rioters were innocent or there was no criminal conspiracy to murder pro-federalization supporters in Odessa in as gruesome and terrifying a way as possible. But the simple questions I posed above about NO ONE BEING ARRESTED for murder or attempted murder of people inside the Trade Unions building exposes the EuroMaidanPR fraud. They simply don’t care about justice or the rule of law, their pretensions to the contrary, because those who burned the people inside to death are ‘heroes of Ukraine’.

                      The police supervisor who stood by and allowed the massacre to happen and whose face was visible in numerous photos with the red arm band wearing provocateurs fled for his life to Russia and claims Privat Bank oligarch and governor (and known for making recorded death threats) kingpin Ihor Valeriyovych Kolomoyskyi and Arseny Avakov were the masterminds. A leaked phone call which is admittedly hearsay between pro-Ukrainians upset over the incident getting out of hand (it was just supposed to be a street brawl with a few people sent to the hospital in order to install a new governor and purge the police force of federalization sympathizers) instead turned into an atrocity that enraged people across Southeast Ukraine, including Donbass miners. (Unless of course AP wants to insist the ‘Odessa we will not forgive’ miners, hundreds of them protesting in recent days, were all paid by Moscow).

                      Where is the willingness to take on or disarm Pravy Sektor? On the contrary despite its poor electoral showing being cited by Amb. McFaul and others as proof that Right Sector is a ‘boogeyman’ of Kremlin propaganda the reality is Pravy Sektor doesn’t need to win at the polls, it’s already extremely well-funded as several oligarchs private army and enrolled into the ‘official’ security forces of Ukraine (the so-called National or Nazi Guard which was created because the regular Ukrainian Army was either too demoralized, too poorly trained or unwilling to fight the rebels in the Southeast). Imagine David Duke and his supporters being recruited by the U.S. government into the Louisiana National Guard or ad hoc Louisiana militias sent to put down a rebellion of Texans, and you get the idea.

                      Last but not least, the claim that Odessans themselves know who is responsible and would take matters into their own hands is only partially true. This implies that everyone who is angered at the lawlessness and criminal complicity of the new Ukrainian authorities has the means to resist.

                      Having to act in vigilante fashion (as supposedly happened with the slaying of the provocateur fat man shooting into the building whose face and identity were quickly discerned by bloggers) to get justice is hardly the mark of a successful or civilized European country. More like a third world hellhole that post-Soviet Ukraine has been reduced to in parts.

                      And the Odessa massacre did accomplish it’s mission — all pro-federalization supporters have gone underground. Has there been a single St. George’s ribbon wearing protest since? I think even AP knows the answer to that one. Even the Economist’s Kiev apologist Tim Judah acknowledged that the brutality of Odessa stopped that city’s slide towards ‘separatism’. So the ends justified the means, he does not say but implies no doubt in the minds of his boss Ed Lucas and much of the Economist’s readership.

                    • Here’s a video where we hear a female voice cry “pomogite!” (help!):

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvnLsshOJ18#t=142

                      The woman shooting the video comments on it, saying that a female voice is hysterically screaming for help, shouting “help!” About a minute after the screams stop the Ukrainian flag appears from a window of what looks to me like the 4th (also the top) floor. I didn’t know until now that the flag appeared so close in time to the screams.

                      In her posting of May 7th Alena, the woman who took the picture, said that she found the dead woman on the 4th floor, but that the flag was waved from the 5th.

                      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=816103421751451&set=pb.100000554028711.-2207520000.1401516655.&type=3&theater

                      Is Alena wrong about where the flag appeared or am I wrong in counting the floors in the video? The front part of the building has 5 floors.

                      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=816036591758134&set=pb.100000554028711.-2207520000.1401516655.&type=3&theater

                      But maybe the wing from which the female screams were heard and from which the Ukrainian flag was waved at almost the same time has 4 floors? That’s what I’m thinking right now.

                      It seems to me that, contrary to what Alena wrote, the flag was waved from the 4th floor. And Alena has written that she found the unfortunate woman on the 4th floor. And the flag was waved about a minute after the screams stopped.

                      It’s all circumstantial evidence of course. By the way, AP, how do you think that woman died? Are you going to give us the Muzychko version, that she killed herself? Smoke inhalation? How does the screaming come into that? It might have been someone else screaming of course, but in general is it normal for people to scream while they’re suffocating in smoke? I know it’s normal for people to scream while they’re being chased around a room by thugs.

                      I think the flag-waivers come under suspicion in all this. If the Ukraine wasn’t an utterly lawless failed state at this point, then based on that video prosecutors would have definitely wanted to ask the flag-wavers a few questions.

                      After seeing the face unblurred and at the original resolution on Alena’s May 7th Facebook post I would say that the woman did look elderly. I didn’t see that picture in Alena’s May 3rd posts, but maybe I’m not looking in the right way. If she posted it at the same resolution on May 3rd as on May 7th, and without blurring, then it was wrong for the media to assert that the woman was pregnant. When I said that it was natural to assume pregnancy, I was basing that on the blurred-face, lower resolution photo from the France24 site.

                      “was posted on the facebook accunt of a relative of a (most likely, anti-Kiev) trade union victim.”

                      Where did you get this? In her May 7th post Alena talks about her as one would about a total stranger. I read somewhere, I forget where, that the woman worked in that building and had nothing to do with politics, that she was not one of the anti-Maidan people who fled to it.

                    • I’ve thought about it some more. It’s a serious issue. Have I seen anything approaching proof that the body was moved in such a way as to suggest pregnancy? No. The position isn’t inconsistent with strangulation. If there were at least 6 anti-Maidan shooting victims, then there could have been a strangulation victim too. It wasn’t just a fire. And that list that I saw lists no cause of death for some of the victims. A strangulation case could have been among those no-cause-listed cases.

                      It was definitely wrong for the media to assert that she was pregnant after May 7th. If the May 3rd picture was without blurring and at the same resolution as the May 7th picture, which is likely, then it was always wrong for the media to assert that she was pregnant.

                      Summary: I see no proof that the picture itself was a hoax or that Alena ever said anything about it that isn’t true. Some publications’ interpretation of the picture was likely dishonest.

                    • I looked at the video again. At 2:00 someone shouts “it’s not a woman, it’s a separatist.” At 0:30 we hear “da vyrubi yeyo”, which can be interpreted as an advice to whack her already. That’s WHILE the screams are being heard. It might not have been the same woman screaming of course, but obviously some in the crowd wanted a woman who was shouting hysterically for help to be killed because, you see, “she’s not a woman, she’s a separatist.” So the will was there to do something like that on the pro-Maidan side. The question is simply did they succeed at it?

                      At 1:17 the woman shooting the video says that she’s hearing suggestions that the people in the building should be left to burn alive there, in other words that they shouldn’t be rescued. She seems to be referring to a phrase said by a man at 1:15. I can’t clearly hear the phrase itself.

                      AP, did you use the word accident in referring to the entire thing? Sometimes I think that what I’ve said to you was too harsh and sometimes I think it wasn’t harsh enough. There was an expressed desire on the side for which you make excuses to let everyone there burn alive, there was outrage at the fact that any rescues were occurring. And of course not enough rescues occurred. Accident!

                      And now I clearly see that the flag was waved from the 4th floor. Yes, that portion of the building, unlike the facade, only has 4 floors. And Alena said that she shot the picture of that woman on the 4th floor. And the flag-waving and the female hysterical screams came within a minute or so from each other. And there were some in the crowd outside who reacted to the screams by expressing the desire to whack the screamer already.

                      It’s all circumstantial of course. None of it is proof, even taken altogether. It’s closer to proof than the arguments behind the idea that the body must have been moved by the photographer, but we wouldn’t want to be like you here, AP, would we? So I wouldn’t say that the screams, the flag, the floor number, the expression of intent from the crowd from which the flag wavers originated just a few minutes prior together constitute proof. They don’t. If the Ukrainian authorities wanted to investigate, these things would just have been material to go by, starting points.

                    • Another point:

                      We see on that “help!” video that the fourth floor of the little four-story wing of the building isn’t burned up much. We know that the video was taken late because it shows a fire ladder. The firemen didn’t arrive until late in the fire and massacre. And yet at that late point that side still wasn’t blackened with soot. That’s the side where the flag-wavers appeared and where the female “help!” screams came from. And of course there are no signs of fire, no soot in the room where the famous photo of the woman was taken. And Alena said it was taken in the right wing of the building. That four-story portion could be called a wing.

                      As I said, there is no proof that the flag-wavers did it, just an accumulation of little circumstantial clues that are consistent with that theory and an absence of anything that would contradict it.

                    • Glossy:

                      I agree with you that Mikhalkov’s speech was made in order to rile the anti-Kiev people in Odessa to action. But he was right in his facts: that there was no mass outrage in the city, as you claimed there had been. It was precisely because there was no mass outrage, that he gave that speech. So this is another case in which you have been mistaken.

                    • Glossy: I watched the video with sound. There is no way of knowing from which floor the woman screamed for help. The commentator stated this also. So, we do not know if the woman allegedly (according to Alena) found on the 4th floor was the one screaming.

                      Also, recall that the conspiracy theory was that this was planned mass murder and the the Ukrainian nationalists tried to cover up their murder by pretending that the victims died in the fire. Now, if they didn’t want it to be known that they murdered and instead wanted this crime to be covered by as fire-related, why would they advertise their presence by waving their flag at the supposed murder site?

                      Generally, we cannot be certain of what happened and I doubt the authorities will investigate properly: not because they are part of the mass murder conspiracy but because they seem to want to shield those guilty of manslaughter. But planned mass murder seems to be the least likely of the possibilities.

              • http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8fc_1399223115

                Dimitar, thank you for finding that video. It’s macabre stuff, but the truth is important. On that video we see someone falling from a window as another person is being severely beaten by a bat.

                AP, you’re so fond of using casuistry against others. Turn around is fair play. You’ve said: “There was one from the Russian side claiming that they were trying to finish them off with bats, but it didn’t show that in the video”. Instead you should have said “it didn’t show that in the video that I’ve seen.” When others express themselves imprecisely you call them liars. Then don’t express yourself imprecisely! There is a video. Dimitar has found it. How many videos did you look at before deciding to opine on the finishing-off-with-bats claim? Do you know why I strongly suspected that there would be such a video? Because I was reading my Twitter feed when the whole thing happened. And people who were watching live streams were describing in Twitter what they were seeing as it was happening. And they said that people were being finished off with bats.

                “At any rate, this tragedy seems to have an accident caused by reckless violence, ultimately caused by anti-government thugs attacking and killing people in a pro-Kiev march. “

                I agree with Dimitar that this is a disgusting statement. From what I understand, the people who ran into the Trade Union building had been camping out on Kulikovo Field immediately before that. The pro-Maidan thugs again attacked non-combatants. It’s their MO.

                • ““There was one from the Russian side claiming that they were trying to finish them off with bats, but it didn’t show that in the video”. Instead you should have said “it didn’t show that in the video that I’ve seen.” Instead you should have said “it didn’t show that in the video that I’ve seen.”

                  This was my full quote: “Ukrainians claim some of the Maidan supporters were trying to save and catch the pro-Russians jumping out of the building. Russians claim they were trying to kill them. I haven’t seen video corroborating the Ukrainian claim. There was one from the Russian side claiming that they were trying to finish them off with bats, but it didn’t show that in the video: it just showed horrific scenes of people jumping to their deaths and Ukrainians standing around with bats – nobody hitting anyone.”

                  So I was referring to the one video I saw; this seems to be implied clearly in my text (the word “the” is critical). You understood that too.

                  BTW in this video it looks like someone brought scaffolding in order to save the people inside (beginning of video):

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjrYV8p_jRY

                  “When others express themselves imprecisely you call them liars.

                  No, I call them liars when they lie. For example, when I state there is a huge difference between voter turnout in Galicia and Transcarpathia and they claim I stated that there was no difference. When they claim that people who vote for the “Wrong” candidate might get abducted as a result of their vote when this is not the case. Etc. etc.

                  ““At any rate, this tragedy seems to have an accident caused by reckless violence, ultimately caused by anti-government thugs attacking and killing people in a pro-Kiev march. “

                  I agree with Dimitar that this is a disgusting statement. From what I understand, the people who ran into the Trade Union building had been camping out on Kulikovo Field immediately before that. The pro-Maidan thugs again attacked non-combatants. It’s their MO.

                  Which doesn’t change contradict the statement , that it was an accident caused by reckless violence, ultimately provoked by the anti-government thugs that drew blood first by shooting and killing people in a pro-Kiev march. Any word about this MO?

                • Dimitar says:

                  Glossy,

                  http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8fc_1399223115

                  Dimitar, thank you for finding that video. It’s macabre stuff, but the truth is important. On that video we see someone falling from a window as another person is being severely beaten by a bat.

                  I watched the live feed and my heart sank when I saw this happen. Truth be told, having someone dismiss my own eyesight is something that I won’t stand for.

                  How many videos did you look at before deciding to opine on the finishing-off-with-bats claim?

                  There is a misinformation war going on and AP is an integral part of that. The fact that AP believes the crowd was so altruistic that they would never hurt the “Russian thugs” is part of the delusion that is being sold to us. For someone who has enough “evidence” to brush the Odessa massacre as “manslaughter”, AP would have been well aware of the video involving the bats. In effect, AP wasn’t jumping to conclusions – the poster was doing something more sinister, brushing away an inconvenient truth.

                  • “The fact that AP believes the crowd was so altruistic that they would never hurt the “Russian thugs” is part of the delusion that is being sold to us.

                    Another lie. I described the events as “manslaughter.”

                    The only one engaging inn misinformation is you. Although pure lies is going even further than misinformation.

        • “And I demonstrated that, had there been one, Poroshenko would have won anyways; he simply would have won with a smaller margin.”

          Politics is compromise. If you can shut up or otherwise exclude a segment of the political spectrum from the process then, then you don’t have to take their desires into account when you compromise. The debate shifts. A precedent has been set. Pro-SE candidates have been beaten up and threatened with murder. They have been prevented from campaigning in places (e.g. Dnepropetrovsk, Tsaryov’s home town) where they would have gotten votes. If this was done once, this could be done again in future elections. This will make the people in power more likely to ignore the segments of the electorate that would have voted for Tsaryov and Simonenko.

          “Tsaryov: “I have decided to withdraw my candidacy because I see that status as a candidate is inefficient under such conditions.””

          He’s not a whiner, which is one of the things that have made him attractive to voters. It’s unmanly to whine and to show fear. But yes, of course his life was in serious danger. By dropping out he decreased his kids’ chances of growing up orphans.

          • “By dropping out he decreased his kids’ chances of growing up orphans.”

            I want to be precise. By not campaigning in places like his and Kolomoyski’s Dnepropetrovsk, where he would have gotten votes, he decreased his kids’ chances of growing up orphans. And if you’re illegally prevented from campaigning in most of your base (remember, death threats are illegal, even in today’s Ukraine), why help legitimize the people who are violently subverting the rules in their favor? If you sat down to some poker and you noticed your opponent cheating, would you continue playing? Well, death threats and getting beaten up are cheating in democracies.

            • Do you know if anybody sent death threats to other candidates? But so far the only politician actually kidnapped and murdered was the pro-Tymoshenko one in Donetsk. So, from this perspective, the Donetsk People’s Republic is worse than Kiev. Yet for some reason you criticize the latter. A double standard?

              Tsaryov was beaten up in Kiev, not in Dnipropetrovsk. I suspect Yarosh would have been beaten up in Donetsk. Yet Yarosh didn’t withdraw his candidacy. You described reasons for Tsaryov to refuse to participate – fear for his safety. Maybe this was really why. This is what he stated. Or maybe he knew he would lose and preferred to try to make the election seem illegitimate, another stated goal. At any rate, the choice was his. When Dimitar claimed that these candidates were “forced to step down” he lied.

              • So you accept that Tsaryov may have stepped down for fear of his safety. If that’s true then Dimitar isn’t lying. And if a pro Kiev politician had stood down after threats to his safety would you simply dismiss it by saying “the choice was his?” I doubt it.

                • He may have been forced not to campaign in Kiev or other cities, but he chose to remove his name from the ballot. And yes, if a pro Kiev politician had chosen to refuse to run I would treat this the same way.

              • Dimitar says:

                You described reasons for Tsaryov to refuse to participate – fear for his safety. Maybe this was really why. This is what he stated.

                Contradicted in the same post by…

                When Dimitar claimed that these candidates were “forced to step down” he lied.

                Nice one AP! I was waiting for something like this.

                So refusing to participate due to fear for one’s safety cannot be deemed as being “forced” to step down? I trust you don’t have a magic-hat statistic for the number of people who agree with your fairytale assertion. To think you are now opposing the basic principles of common sense to paint me a “liar” is desperate.

                Thanks for the chuckle :)

                • So in your world being afraid of showing up publicly in areas where one is unpopular and may get beaten up means that someone has no choice when removing himself from the ballot?

                  Here are Tsaryov’s own words:

                  ““ I have decided to withdraw my candidacy because I see that status as a candidate is inefficient under such conditions.”

                  Here is Dimitar’s lie:

                  ” candidate after candidate were forced to step down”

    • “No one forced Symonenko, the Communist, or Tsarev not to run. ”

      LOL! Both were beaten up on camera. Tsaryov was threatened with murder. AP, you’re a liar. How could Tsaryov have campaigned outside the SE? He’d have been lynched by the Nazi yokels for whom you make endless excuses. The violence and threats of murder forced him out of the national arena and into the Donbass.

      • And I’m sure that if Yarosh openly showed his face in Donetsk he would also have been beaten up. Yet, he ran and got .9% of the vote (btw, so much for the claim that Ukraine has gone Nazi. Unless voting for a half-Jewish guy, making him president, makes one a Nazi). Campaigning in Lviv or Kiev probably wouldn’t have gotten him many votes, would it have.

        Tsaryov himself stated that he chose to step down:

        http://business.highbeam.com/407705/article-1G1-366569276/tsaryov-withdraws-presidential-bid-calls-boycott-presidential

        Tsaryov: “I have decided to withdraw my candidacy because I see that status as a candidate is inefficient under such conditions.”

        I .

        Does the truth bother you Glossy?

        BTW, the only politician kidnapped and murdered was Rybak, who belonged to Tymoshenko’s party, and who was murdered in Donbas. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the rest of Ukraine operates like the separatists.

        • There’s a map somewhere in the Wikipedia that shows that Svoboda got 35% to 40% in the latest Rada elections in Galicia. I quoted the Wikipedia below about Bandera. 63% of Galicia feels very positive or mostly positive about him. There’s definitely a Banderite/Jewish oligarch/neocon alliance. I hate this fact, but it’s undeniable. There’s also a necon/Al Qaeda alliance in Syria and elsewhere. These are pretty cynical people.

          There is no doubt in my mind that most of the violence against civilians has been perpetrated by the pro-Kiev side, though some no doubt has been perpetrated by the anti-Kiev side. Odessa, all the civilians in Slavyansk shelled from Karachun, the latest stuff in Donetsk.

          • “There’s a map somewhere in the Wikipedia that shows that Svoboda got 35% to 40% in the latest Rada elections in Galicia.

            It was acxtually 31.22% to 38.01%. And under Yanukovich. Yanukovich is gone. Svoboda’s support is half of what it had been. Tiahnybok got 1.3% of the vote nationwide, and his party is polling at under 5% in parliamentary polls. A lot of people voted for Svoboda not out of ideological affiliation but as a protest vote against Yanukovich because Svoboda was viewed as the most hardcore enemy of Yanukovich. No more Yanukovoch, no more need to vote for Svoboda.

            “I quoted the Wikipedia below about Bandera. 63% of Galicia feels very positive or mostly positive about him.

            Sure, and nearly 50% of Russians feel positively or mostly positively about Stalin, who was worse than Bandera:

            Neither 63% western Ukrainians are Banderists, nor nearly 50% of Russians are Stalinists. In both cases it is support for an image or myth: Bandera the resister to occupation, Stalin the leader who crushed Germany.

        • “And I’m sure that if Yarosh openly showed his face in Donetsk he would also have been beaten up.”

          Yarosh leads a paramilitary group that has killed lots of people. He is a commander of combatants. As is Strelkov, for example. Tsaryov is not a combatant or a leader of combatants. He’s a businessman and a politician. The difference between combatants and non-combatants is very important in civilized societies.

          By the way, even the Yarosh/Strelkov comparison is problematic. Strelkov’s men are far more often found fighting other combatants (armed men in uniform) than are Yarosh’s men.

        • Being a combatant trumps being a politician morally, militarily and legally. Someone who is both a baker and a murder is primarily a murder in the eyes of the law. Similarly, someone who is both a baker and a combatant and someone who is both a politician and a combatant are primarily combatants in the eyes of other combatants.

        • Tymoshenko is neither a combatant nor a commander of such and she has visited Donetsk during this crisis. She was not beaten up.

        • “Campaigning in Lviv or Kiev probably wouldn’t have gotten him many votes, would it have.”

          He was beaten up in Odessa where he WOULD have gotten some votes. He was threatened with murder in his home town of Dnepropetrovsk, where he would have gotten a lot of votes. His house was burned down there. So yes, he was prevented by violence and intimidation from campaigning in areas where he would have gotten votes.

          • AFAIK,a nd I may be wrong, he was beaten in Mykolayiv not Odessa. If so, you are mistaken (and I do not accuse you of lying because this is clearly a mistake).

        • “BTW, the only politician kidnapped and murdered was Rybak, who belonged to Tymoshenko’s party, and who was murdered in Donbas. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the rest of Ukraine operates like the separatists.”

          Here’s a list of the people who died in Odessa on May 2nd:

          http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BA%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%8F_%D0%B2_%D0%9E%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B5_(2014)#.D0.A1.D0.BF.D0.B8.D1.81.D0.BE.D0.BA_.D0.B6.D0.B5.D1.80.D1.82.D0.B2

          One of them was a local deputy.

          “Маркин Вячеслав Владимирович, 1969 г.р., 44 года, депутат Одесского облсовета — умер в больнице.”

          He wasn’t kidnapped, but he’s just as dead.

          • Unless you believe the conspiracy theory that the Trade Union fire was a planned mass-killing operation, dying in that building after it had been set on fire during mob violence (in which the mob probably didn’t know the exact identities of the people inside) is hardly the same as kidnapping, torturing and murdering someone. This is false equivalance, sorry.

            • “Unless you believe the conspiracy theory that the Trade Union fire was a planned mass-killing operation”

              That’s certainly possible.

              “dying in that building after it had been set on fire during mob violence”

              You keep emphasizing the fire part and you’ve used the word manslaughter. And a fire did occur. But on the Wiki page I linked to seven people are listed as having died from gunshot wounds. One of them is identified as having been pro-Maidan. Many, including Mr. Markin, the local councilor, have no cause of death listed at all. So there might have been more gunshot victims than seven. We know that some pro-Maidan individuals were inside because there is a video of them displaying a Ukrainian flag though a window. And the anti-junta side in Odessa has claimed that there actually more than 100 victims.

              Where did the list on that page come from? Odessa authorities? There could have been pressure from Kiev to undercount the bodies. So far the anti-Maidan side’s claims that I’ve seen on this have had a better record than your claims, AP. You dismissed the finishing-off-with-bats claim, but there’s a video. You called the pregnant woman pic a hoax. She wasn’t pregnant, but neither was it a hoax. It seems that it’s a real pic from the Trade Union building and that she was murdered. Your track record on this is already poor. You’re an example of the problem we’re dealing with here. The pro-Maidan’s side’s claims are suspect. It wouldn’t shock me if there were indeed more than a hundred victims. It wouldn’t shock me if there was some sort of a plan.

              • “You keep emphasizing the fire part and you’ve used the word manslaughter. And a fire did occur. But on the Wiki page I linked to seven people are listed as having died from gunshot wounds.

                The English wiki page states 3 died form gunshot wounds.

                The Russian wiki page states Markin died in the hospital. Cause of death from the source of the Russian wikipedia page:

                http://www.topnews.ru/news_id_67642.html

                was falling. He apparently jumped out a window.

                “We know that some pro-Maidan individuals were inside because there is a video of them displaying a Ukrainian flag though a window.

                How do we know those were pro-Maidan activists and not pro-Russian ones hoping that waving the flag will make the enraged violent crowds go away? Have the flag wavers been actually identified? You like to jump to conclusions that support your claims.

                “So far the anti-Maidan side’s claims that I’ve seen on this have had a better record than your claims, AP. You dismissed the finishing-off-with-bats claim, but there’s a video. You called the pregnant woman pic a hoax. She wasn’t pregnant, but neither was it a hoax.

                I was wrong about the bats, because several videos I had seen with people holding bats did not show them beating people, and given the terrible track record of the anti-Kiev side (see: the rest of this paragraph) my assumption was reasonable. Otherwise my claims have been correct. I was right when I stated that the outrageous claim that the pro-Kiev politician defended Hitler on May 9th speech to veterans (a widely reported lie) was a hoax. I was correct that the pregnant woman murdered story was a hoax (she wasn’t pregnant, and she was placed there by someone, in a way that made her look pregnant). I was correct that there was no mass outrage in Odessa. I correct Dimitar’s numerous lies such as about Zakarpattyia voting like southern Ukraine. Remember Glossy when you erroneously claimed that pro-Kiev thugs had murdered anti-Kiev people and dumped them in a river in Donbas? That was the pro-Kiev politician Rybak who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered, and dumped into the river. So I was correct there, also. So in summary, my claims have a much better record than do yours or other anti-Maidan people.

                • “How do we know those were pro-Maidan activists and not pro-Russian ones hoping that waving the flag will make the enraged violent crowds go away?”

                  We don’t know it, but Occam’s razor suggests it.

                  I was right when I stated that the outrageous claim that the pro-Kiev politician defended Hitler on May 9th speech to veterans (a widely reported lie) was a hoax.

                  You’re right, he did not defend Hitler.

                  she wasn’t pregnant, and she was placed there by someone, in a way that made her look pregnant

                  Talk about jumping to conclusions to support claims. Occam’s razor suggests that she was placed in that position by her murderers. In other words that’s a less convoluted story. The fact that the photographer herself discounted the possibility of pregnancy also makes it less likely that she, the photographer, staged the picture to suggest pregnancy. And you weren’t even talking about likelihoods. You said it was a proven hoax.

                  “Remember Glossy when you erroneously claimed that pro-Kiev thugs had murdered anti-Kiev people and dumped them in a river in Donbas?”

                  It seems that I was misled by a false report on that issue.

                  • ““How do we know those were pro-Maidan activists and not pro-Russian ones hoping that waving the flag will make the enraged violent crowds go away?”

                    We don’t know it, but Occam’s razor suggests it.

                    No,. it suggests the opposite. It is more likely that the trade union had Ukrainian flags in it, and that people inside desperate to end the assault would wave it out the window to make the violent pro-Ukrainian crowds end their assault, than it is that somehow pro-Kiev thugs had broken through the lines and entered the building, waved their Ukrainian flags to prove they were inside, and then murdered people inside the building and tried to cover up their murder with the fire (but – why would they cover up their murder if they just advertised their presence to world by waving their flags?).

                    You forgot to mention your false claim about mass “torrent of outrage” on Odessa following the trade union fire.

                    Also, if you recall, I predicted based on polls and surveys that Dnipropetrovsk had become safely pro-Kiev and that Odessa is a divided with a slight edge for pro-Kiev. It turns out that the election results corroborated my claim. So, my record is better than that of the anti-Maidan people here, such as you (whom I assume is honest and writing in good faith, and merely mistaken and driven by personal prejudices) or the liar Dimitar.

              • American Kulak says:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4dJRnI-X8Q
                From an American narrator — not a Russian or RT — at the YouTube channel ‘StormCloudsGathering’

                This video blows AP’s arguments out of the water. So do the simple questions I asked above about why ZERO arrests have been made on charges of attempted murder, rioting or any other charges against easily identifiable, unmasked Trade Unions building attackers that would be filed in a civilized European country with the rule of law.

                AP: ‘conspiracy theory’ that Odessa was a premeditated massacre LOL

                Watch this video. Pay close attention to the policeman consulting or appearing to instruct the ‘pro-Russians’ with red armbands who were obviously provocateurs posing as pro-federalists but were either Right Sector or some other band of paid thugs.

                I’m done here. AP you and EuroMaidanPR are either delusional to the point of denying all evidence pointing to criminal conspiracy and fake ‘pro-Russian’ provocateurs ‘shooting’ (blanks!) at pro-Kiev demonstrators, or think the federalists got what they deserved so all lies are justifiable.

                • “This video blows AP’s arguments out of the water. So do the simple questions I asked above about why ZERO arrests have been made on charges of attempted murder, rioting or any other charges against easily identifiable, unmasked Trade Unions building attackers that would be filed in a civilized European country with the rule of law.

                  Because the prosecutors are on the side of the people who engaged in that criminal violence.

                  “Watch this video. Pay close attention to the policeman consulting or appearing to instruct the ‘pro-Russians’ with red armbands who were obviously provocateurs posing as pro-federalists but were either Right Sector or some other band of paid thugs.

                  I don’t think that anyone doubts that those Yanukovich-era police were colluding with the anti-Kiev thugs who shot into the pro-Kiev crowd, killing a couple of the pro-Kiev protesters. It was the same thing in Donetsk – pro-Kiev protesters violently attacked by anti-Kiev ones who have police support, and then chased away; the difference was that in Odessa the pro-Kiev protesters were larger in number and successfully fought back.

                  • From what I understand, after the street clashes the pro-Maidan people attacked the tent city of anti-Maidan people on Kulikovo field. I don’t think the people of that tent city were involved in the earlier street clashes. I think they were attacked out of the blue. Their tents were burned. They fled into a neighboring large building, which the pro-Maidan crowd put on fire and you know the rest.

                    • I suspect you may be right; some of the anti-Kiev attackers could have fled to Kulikovo but these seem to have been two groups. The attack wouldn’t exactly have been out of the blue, as both groups (the ones who shot the pro-Kiev protesters earlier, and the ones at Kulikovo field) were on the same “side.” I suppose an analogy with earlier events in Kiev might be the people on Hrushevsky street with the people on Maidan itself.

        • He belonged to the Party of Regions.

          http://dumskaya.net/wiki/Vyacheslav-Markin/

        • Gubarev was once elected to political office:

          “В 2006—2007 годах — депутат Куйбышевского районного совета, руководитель фракции Блок Наталии Витренко «Народная оппозиция» в совете”.

          So there have been kidnapped anti-Kiev politicians and murdered anti-Kiev politicians. But not, as far as I know, any kidnapped, tortured and murdered ones. AP’s argument is based on a technicality since the principal facts here are that the Odessa deputy is just as dead as Mr. Rybak and that the pro-Kiev side HAS murdered and kidnapped people, some of whom were politicians.

          • Since AP is into casuistry, let me try to be a little more clear. The pro-Kiev side has kidnapped at least one politician. That’s Gubarev. It has killed at least one politician. That’s Mr. Markin. To my knowledge it has not done both of those things to one and the same politician yet.

            • Arresting a neo-Nazi who supports separatism, and the death of a guy caught in a fire caused by a Molotov cocktail thrown during a violent brawl, are not comparable to kidnapping, torturing and murdering a politician.

              • A countrywide wave of arrests of people who have belonged to organizations that have been described as neo-Nazi would be an enormous blow to the pro-Kiev side in this war and an enormous boon for Novorossiya. Guys like Gubarev for all of the Right Sector, Svoboda, etc. guys – that’s a trade that anyone in Novorossiya would make in a heartbeat. Probably including Gubarev himself. He wants victory too. By draining the other side of much of its numerical strength and of almost all of its enthusiasm such an event would practically assure the ultimate victory of Novorossiya across all of the territory it claims, from Lugansk to Odessa.

                • Which doesn’t change the fact that you compared the arrest of neo-Nazi Gubarev by the government, to the kidnap, torture and murder of Tymoshenko party city council member Rybak.

          • Arresting the neo-Nazi Gubarev:

            http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/nazi-donetsk.jpg

            Is hardly the same thing as kidnapping, torturing and murdering the city council member from Tymoshenko’s party, Rybak.

    • “The latter two probably decided it was better PR to refuse to run than to run and get an embarrassing 5% of the vote.”

      You yourself directed our attention to the Crimeans who abstained from voting in the March referendum. I think you were the only person here who brought them up then. Abstaining was important to you then. Now you dismiss it as PR. According to the Pew survey only 4% of Crimeans did not want Kiev to recognize their referendum. That figure would include all opponents of reunification with Russia – those who voted no and those who abstained. So in fact it’s the abstainers whom you wanted to talk about who form “an embarrasing”ly small portion of the public. It looks to be far less than 5%, actually. The abstainers whom you mock now would have gotten a much larger share than that. Tsaryov became a folk hero to many during this crisis. Tigipko didn’t.

      • The anti-union forces in Crimea knew they would lose (the Crimean referendum was faked but the pro-union side would have won anyways) so for the sake of PR they boycotted. Yes, there are parallels between pro-Ukrainians in Crimea and pro-Russians in Ukraine..

  7. Dimitar says:

    Phillip Owen,

    Your assessment of Poroshenko is pretty accurate. It looks like Euromaidan came out with the worst possible outcome for the country. An oligarch “peoples’ president” with the credentials of a chameleon, a disintegrating country, steep depopulation (by Ukrainian standards, this really takes the cake), the eventual death of an already dwindling industry, a civil war which will favour Ukraine’s enemies and the eventual loss of the Soviet-inherited territory. Ahh well, at least people will now be able to live their European dreams every single day…when in deep slumber.

    On another note, it is good to see soldiers being wary of the conflict – even with the ‘legitimacy’ of Poroshenko. Nevertheless, they’ll be branded “traitors” by a certain PR agent on here. I hope the National Guard does not murder them like they did with the Mariupol policemen and the other soldiers who refused to engage in an orgy of killing.

  8. Why do wars start? Greed. And fear. And both these emotions are concerned with power and money. That’s all. And they work away, until some accident – or some contrivance, although people are seldom clever enough to be able to contrive exactly – sets them off into war. Then the justifications – liberty, patriotism, compassion, indignation, religion even – come into play. But they aren’t reasons. Money and power ,they’re what count.

    It’s not that liberty, patriotism, compassion etc don’t matter. Of course they matter. Nothing matters more.

    But money and power are what count.

    • And Ukrainian steel pipes, sugar/chocolate, porf, railway wheels and tanks all threatened important Russian interests. Hence last year’s customs blockade, hence the Maidan (a struggle between Ukrainian oligarcjs in which Pinchuk/Poroshenko’s victory was stolen by Kolomeisky’s thugs.). The Antimonopoly Minister once said Russian produced goods were 25% more expensive than EU equivalents. A good reason to promote xenophobia and keep Russia at a distance from the EU.

  9. I’m among those who think that Putin should intervene in continental Ukraine. It would drastically cut down on the violence. So many lives would have been saved if he did it earlier. The Galician/Nazi/sadistic yokel element (these categories are not identical, but there is obviously a lot of overlap between them) will not fight an army. They’re cowards. They showed that in WWII and they again showed that during this civil war. They’re drawn to massacres, not battles. In Novorossiya Russian troops would probably encounter little more resistance than they did in the Crimea. And they wouldn’t need to to go further. In general, outside of those deeply screwed-up mountains the Ukraine is a normal country.

    From the Wikipedia: “In Galicia (provinces of Lviv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk) 37% had a “very positive” opinion of Bandera, 26% a “mostly positive” opinion, 20% were neutral, “mostly negative”, 6% very negative, and 6% unsure.”

    This is unique. Very positive + mostly positive = 63%. Imagine the French being polled about Petain or Italians about Mussolini. It’s just a special case, and not just politically. And let me say that the neocons and the oligarchs are as much to blame for this war as the Nazi element, if not more. These two groups couldn’t have done this without each other.

    No one will want to fight a real army. The Nazi/Kolomoyski alliance wants massacres. The rest of the Ukraine wants peace. And an intervention is the shortest way to get there right now.

    How likely is it? Putin is unpredictable. No one saw the Crimean incident coming. The wording of the referendum was changed two times. I’m assuming that this tracked his personal changes of mind. Remember that time weeks ago when troops started moving, but were then called off and an exercise was declared? He might have been hesitating then. He might come to hesitate again in the future. And then do it. Or not.

    • Dimitar says:

      Glossy,

      I personally believe intervention in Ukraine will only happen after there is a significant body count from Kiev deaths. As of now, if Russia does intervene, they’ll be seen as agressors, not humanitarians. But as you’ve said yourself, Putin is unpredictable and so are events. I also fear that Ukraine may be a trap for Russia, a way to bleed the country dry like Afghanistan did. Intervention may lead to a partition of Ukraine, and would make the rump Ukraine western-leaning and hyper-friendly to Nato. This isn’t exactly something Russia wants since a united Ukraine will not be easy to absorb into the western fold.

      How likely is it?

      While it seems military intervention isn’t on the cards yet, there is one potentially large push factor – the electorate. The Russian population seems uneasy about the current Ukrainian crisis. People are already mocking the President for his inaction (even on a comedy show) and if calls grow loud enough, Putin may have no choice but to send in the troops if he wants to get re-elected. Another wildcard is actually Donetsk and Lugansk themselves. For the reason mentioned in the first paragraph, Russia is doing everything it can to keep them within Ukraine. The question is, do they really want to go back to the arms of a country with attitudes like, “scum should be given promises, guarantees, and any concessions…And hung…They should be hung later”? If the answer is “no”, I expect a protracted civil war as the morale of the resistance is much higher than the invaders from Kiev.

      No one will want to fight a real army. The Nazi/Kolomoyski alliance wants massacres. The rest of the Ukraine wants peace.

      This is true. The massacres are probably carried out in order to provoke an emotional response from the Russian population and elite (Odessa, in particular). There is a clear division between the army and the National Guard. If these divisions widen, Russia’s best bet is on a military coup. I’m sure it won’t be difficult to bribe a few disgruntled generals to turn on these bloodthirsty lunatics.

  10. Growing up in Moscow did I ever hear Russians badmouthing Ukrainians? Nope. There was no malice in the salo jokes and Ukrainians weren’t even in the top 10 joked-about groups. But there was a certain amount of hatred in Far Western Ukraine even then, and it grew enormously after independence. And they did all they could to export that hatred to Kiev and beyond.

    The asymmetry of hatred was enormous for decades. And there’s still some of it remaining, though of course the war has decreased it. The asymmetry, not the hatred of course. Most conflicts produce a “who started it” argument. I remember a time when practically all of the hatred in that relationship was on one side. This memory – not something I read anywhere, but something I learned through real-life interactions going back decades – has influenced my understanding of who started it.

    • Philip Owen says:

      I disagree about malice in jokes. I’m Welsh. I am at the receiving end of English jokes told without malice. They are always meant to patronize and devalue the joked about party. The English had no malice to the Irish. There has been an asymmetry of hatred in that relationship since the Springtime of Nations when lots of small nations rewrote their histories. There is absolutely no debate in Russia about why they are resented in large parts of their former empire. It’s all someone else’s fault. As usual, noble Russia is wronged by the whole world. I would find being characterized as an ineffective yokel much concerned with fertility somewhat annoying.

      • I think that the difference in national characters between the English and the Irish is larger than that between Russians and Ukrainians. Also, a certain portion of the Irish have distinctly Irish faces. You absolutely cannot tell Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians from each other by facial features. But yes, the asymmetry of hatred with the smaller nation hating more and claiming the role of historical victim – that’s similar to the Ru-Ua relationship and to the Ru-Pl relationship too. And the Ukrainian victim complex was born (among the intelligentsia) after the French Revolution, when little nationalisms became fashionable everywhere. The Polish-Russian hatred goes back a lot further than that.

        The subtext of Soviet-era Russian jokes about Ukrainians was that they’re ineffective yokels who are a little too practical and too selfish. Russians pride themselves on being altruistic and impulsive, the opposite of calculating. When Russians are in a mood to generalize, they see everyone to the west of them, starting with Ukrainians in a mild form, as too calculating. Of course I’m a Jew and we’re seen as super-calculating.

        I think that generally there’s useful information in ethnic stereotypes and jokes. Reality had a role in forming them.

        One of the Russian responses to seeing the magnitude of the Ukrainian hatred for them can be boiled down to “who told you that you aren’t Russians?” And the answer, partially, is “enemies of Russia”. I think there’s some truth in that. And that’s a big difference from anything you see in the British Isles. The English never thought of the Irish or the Welsh as parts of them. Imagine if two hundred years ago the French and other continental powers started a campaign of trying to convince English northerners that they’re a different people from English southerners and that this campaign involved picking the corner of the north of England with the most incomprehensible-to-southerners dialect and declaring that dialect the true, authentic language of the entire north. And that a victim complex was developed alongside that. And that now little kids in Yorkshire cannot spend a day without being told in school about the centuries-long oppression that their people have suffered at the hands of inhumanly evil Londers (I’m trying to translate “Moskali”).

        • The image of somewhat-selfish Ukrainian rustics can seem cruel until one learns that on the other side there is a far more vigorous effort to paint Russians as partly-Mongol savages, true heirs of Genghis Khan, who are naturally predisposed to slavery.

        • “Imagine if two hundred years ago the French and other continental powers started a campaign of trying to convince English northerners that they’re a different people from English southerners and that this campaign involved picking the corner of the north of England with the most incomprehensible-to-southerners dialect and declaring that dialect the true, authentic language of the entire north. And that a victim complex was developed alongside that. And that now little kids in Yorkshire cannot spend a day without being told in school about the centuries-long oppression that their people have suffered at the hands of inhumanly evil Londers (I’m trying to translate “Moskali”).

          This analogy, while clever, is based on the erroneous (Russian) myth that Ukrainians were originally and always one people, that Kieven Rus was some sort of proto-East Slavic state, etc. and that thus Ukrainians and Russians diverged recently – the implication being, due to foreign meddling. The reality is that both Ukrainian and Russian nationalist mythmakers falsely claim Rus to be theirs and that Ukrainians as an ethnos developed within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russians as an ethnos developed under the loose Tatar rule and then independently. The other stuff – like national ideas in general – is just 19th century Romanticism.

          “You absolutely cannot tell Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians from each other by facial features.

          While there is certainly overlap , there are general differences. Rusians tend to be more blonde, Ukrainians tend to be darker. This probably reflects the fact that genetically Russians are something like 15% Finnic (this % rises the further north you go) and Ukrainians have significant Balkan ancestry.

      • If someone wanted to build up a northern English hatred for southerners, they’d certainly find some raw material for it. There was something called the Harrying of the North in the 11th century. The gradual leveling of local dialects and accents caused by radio and TV could have been interpreted in a sinister light.

  11. “Growing up in Moscow did I ever hear Russians badmouthing Ukrainians? Nope. There was no malice in the salo jokes and Ukrainians weren’t even in the top 10 joked-about groups.

    Why should this surprise you? Western Ukrainian armies didn’t impose their rule on Moscow, 100.000s of Russians weren’t deported by a Lviv government, etc. Why should Russians be angry at Ukrainians?

    But there was a certain amount of hatred in Far Western Ukraine even then, and it grew enormously after independence.

    No, anti-Russian hatred in western Ukraine declined after independence. According to Pew, over 60% of people in Ukraine’s far west have positive views of Russians.

    • Minor correction (I looked up the Pew poll): exactly 60%, not over 60%, of people in far west Ukraine have positive views of Russians.

    • First, lots of Russians spent time in Gulags under Stalin. Second, lots of Far West Ukrainians fought against the Soviet Union (and against most Ukrainians) in WWII. And I’m sure that some were imprisoned for that. I’m sure that the Ukraine in general, and even Far West Ukraine in particular, benefited from Soviet victory in the war. Hitler wanted the Ukraine as part of his Lebensraum. Locals were to be replaced with German settlers. It’s pretty simple. Those people backed the wrong side (from the point of view of their own good) and they lost. Yes, I know that there was an on and off relationship between them and the Germans, but they ended the war on the German side.

      There was an enormous rise in living standards all over the USSR from 1945 to 1990. It’s not just life itself that was preserved, prosperity was found as well. And then it was gradually lost after 1990.

      Recently West Ukrainians again backed the wrong side from the perspective of their own good. Oligarchs aren’t going to pay you to fight oligarchy, thievery and corruption. The US State Dept isn’t going to pay you to fight those things either. If they’re paying you, it’s because they want to loot you even more. And there’s not much left to loot.

      • “First, lots of Russians spent time in Gulags under Stalin.

        Yes, but the difference was that the Ukrainians were sent oi gulags by the Rusisans. Thus, the hatred towardsd Russians. Western Ukrainians never did anything bad to people in Moscow, so why would the latter have negative feelings towards them?

        “Second, lots of Far West Ukrainians fought against the Soviet Union (and against most Ukrainians) in WWII. And I’m sure that some were imprisoned for that.

        Soviet repression preceded World War II; the victims can’t be blamed for siding with the Nazis:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_annexation_of_ethnic_Ukrainian_territories_(1939)#Soviet_policies_in_the_annexed_territories

        Hundreds of credit unions and cooperatives that had served the Ukrainian people between the wars were shut down. All local Ukrainian political parties were abolished, and between 20,000 to 30,000 Ukrainian activists, fled to German-occupied territory; most of those who did not escape were arrested. For example, Dr. Dmytro Levitsky, former head of the moderate Ukrainian political party Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance (UNDO) that had dominated Ukrainian political life between the world wars, and chief of the Ukrainian delegation in the pre-war Polish parliament, was arrested alongside many of his colleagues, deported to Moscow, and never heard from again.[15] The elimination of the individuals, organizations and parties that represented moderate or liberal political tendencies left the extremist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which operated in the underground, as the only political party with a significant organizational presence left in western Ukraine.[1][2]

        In April 1940 the Soviet authorities in the annexed territories began to extend their repressive measures towards the general Ukrainian population. This coincided with the removal of Soviet troops of ethnic Ukrainian origin, who had become too friendly with local Ukrainians, and their replacement by soldiers from Central Asia.[16] The Soviet authorities began arresting and deporting anyone suspected of disloyalty to the Soviet regime. In villages, people were denounced by their neighbors, some of whom were Communist sympathizers while others were opportunists. Deportations became indiscriminate, and people and their families were deported for “crimes” such as having relatives or visiting abroad, or visiting friends while the friends were arrested. Because many of those making denunciations were perceived to be Jews, anti-Jewish sentiments among the Ukrainian population increased.[2][14] Ultimately, between 1939 and the beginning of World War II approximately 500,000 Ukrainians would be deported to Siberia and central Asia.[14]

        “There was an enormous rise in living standards all over the USSR from 1945 to 1990.

        Historically Galicia had been wealthier than Russia.

        Pre-Soviet Lviv was wealthier than Soviet cities – when my grandfather moved to that city from the USSR after the Soviet takeover he saw it as a wonderland. Poland’s per capita GDP in 1938 was $2182. The USSR would not achieve this until 1975 (I realize that this issue is more complex because the Russian and Ukrainian parts of the USSR were wealthier than average, but still – the idea that the Soviets brought relative prosperity to western Ukraine is a myth). Moscow rule was a disaster for western Ukraine, materially. This was of course true in pre-Soviet times also. From the 19th century:

        In 1890 the per capita product, in 2010 dollars, for Galicia was $1,947. In contrast, the per capita product in Austria was $3,005 and in Bohemia was $2,513. Galicia was not as poor as eastern Hungary, whose per capita product was $1,824 and Croatia-Slavonia, whose per capita product in 2010 dollars was $1897. Galica’s per capita product was almost identical to that of Transylvania, which was $1,956 in 2010 dollars. Galicia’s annual growth rate from 1870 to 1910 was 1.21 percent, slightly lower than the imperial average of 1.5%. [26] In comparison to other countries, Galicia’s 1890 per capita product of $1,947 in 2010 dollars was three times lower than that of the United Kingdom ($6,228) and lower than that of every country in northwestern Europe. However, it was higher than that of Portugal ($1,789), Bulgaria ($1,670), Greece ($1,550), Russia ($1,550), and Serbia ($1,295). [27]

        For fun, I calculated what Galicia’s nominal (not PPP) per capita income would have been in 2012, if its average economic growth rate had remained 1.21 percent (what it was under Austria, from 1870 to 1910). In 2012 it would have been $8,300 per year, more than double current Ukraine’s rate of $3,867 and higher than Romania ($7,943), Bulgaria ($6,986), Belarus ($6,685), Serbia ($5,190) – though lower than Russia’s $14,007.

  12. Dimitar says:

    A slightly pessimistic article on Sino-Russian cooperation. It is interesting to note that it peddles the Chinese demographic takeover scenario.

    http://www.interpretermag.com/putins-shift-on-ukraine-result-of-his-visit-to-beijing-kazan-editor-says/

  13. donnyess says:

    Better for Russia to sell-out to the Chinese before the Yukos and Orange criminals (now free) get another chance to (re)steal everything…Nato is making it’s move…Russia is now in a full blown sanctions war…Gazprom is starting to look flaky.

    Putin apparently decided that hosting an olympic games was more important than developing a security policy based on development and protection of key strategic industry. Putins insistance on maintaining the hard-core Russian ethnocentric mentality hasn’t helped either…Putin and Gazprom now live in “interesting times”…I wish them well.

  14. American Kulak says:

    AP’s English is too good and he monitors too many US websites for him to be a regular Ukrainian. I think he’s paid and probably affiliated with either EuroMaidanPR or StopFake.

    Well sorry EuroMaidanPR or StopFake you haven’t managed to take down or block this video exposing Odessa as a pre-planned massacre carried out by Pravy Sektor with football ultras which accomplished its ‘mission’ of terrorizing pro-federalization activists into not demonstrating in Odessa:

  15. “AP’s English is too good and he monitors too many US websites for him to be a regular Ukrainian. I think he’s paid and probably affiliated with either EuroMaidanPR or StopFake.

    When you can’t deal with facts, go for the personal attacks. I’ve been writing here for years, long before Euromaidan:

    http://darussophile.com/2012/10/quick-impressions-on-ukraine-elections-2012/

    Have I been paid all this time? And I haven’t even heard of stopfake.

    Your video (sorry, I’m at my office and the computer here has no sound) has an interesting ending. Apparently the organization that created it also believes there was a conspiracy involving the Arizona mass shooting and another one involving Obamacare.

    • Dimitar says:

      AP,

      Another lie. I described the events as “manslaughter.”

      Odessa clearly wasn’t manslaughter, my propagandist friend. So keep up with the lies!

      Have I been paid all this time?

      Yes.

      Just because you have been posting here for a gazillion years, it doesn’t mean you aren’t being paid. You’ve revealed yourself to be an inflated joke after Odessa and I’m glad others have spotted this. “Democratisation” must be a very difficult job, but you are doing a good job with the share of Victoria Nuland’s 5 billion cookie dollars – bravo! Also, don’t whine about alleged personal attacks when you have done so previously with other posters at a moment’s notice!

      sorry, I’m at my office and the computer here has no sound

      You’ve still got your keyboard to spout BS propaganda with. So this isn’t a lost cause on your part.

      • So liar Dimitar, I guess you’re afraid to even try disputing facts of any kind (I catch you in your lies to easily) and have reduced yourself to nothing but personal attacks. Pointing this out is not whining, by the way.

        • Dimitar says:

          AP,

          I’m trying not to be a repeating parrot like yourself. I don’t need to keep pointing out that you are an apologist for mass murder (it is evident in your comments). Trying to goad someone into an argument for the sake of arguing is child tactic. This is not a pissing contest, but quite clearly you are trying to make something out of it.

          Personal attacks? Earlier, you were the one who bitched to the owner of this blog because you didn’t like what the person was saying (very brave of you). You’ve also been happy to rip people apart when they didn’t agree to your rainbow Euromaidan narrative. Again, we are here in circles.

          Catching in my lies too easily?

          Like when you said nobody was batted to death in Odessa? Disgusting liar! Calling Odessa “manslaughter”? Let’s not even go there.

          When you wake up from your dream, and you see Ukraine in ruins, you will only have yourself and your Euromaidan ilk to blame. Screaming “nah nah nah” and ignoring the problem won’t solve anything and will make the wake-up call all the more painful. Your denial is part of the problem, not the solution. 45 people were burned alive, with several more missing, and yet the so-called government turns a blind eye. This is not the mark of a functioning country. It is the mark of a dictatorship.

          Athe end of this all, I’m not the one who will have looted the country and I’m not the one sending APCs to kill pensioners in Donetsk. Keep defending these monsters and condemning the victims, and when the gauntlet falls, you will be a bigger fool than you are right now.

          • So, more empty phrases and whining from you. Here is an example of one of your many lies; I’m reposting it here because the original is already rathe rfar up the comment section:

            My words::

            “Zakarpattia did not display “the same apathy.” The most heavily populated districts in that oblast, including the capital, had turnout between 60% and 65%. This was a huge drop from the Galician ones right on the other side of the Carpathians (turnout over 80%),

            Liar Dimitar:

            “You are implying that Galicia and Zakarpattia are voting the same – so that’s a lie.

            Dimitar lies about what I said and accuses me of dishonesty; two lies at once.

            ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

            “Earlier, you were the one who bitched to the owner of this blog because you didn’t like what the person was saying

            You seem fixating on my compliant about someone using vulgar insulting language.

            “Like when you said nobody was batted to death in Odessa?

            Another lie of yours. My words:

            “We cannot even be certain of what happened in the building. Molotov cocktails were thrown by both sides. If a Molotov cocktail thrown by the pro-Maidan crowd started the blaze, it was more like an accident (manslaughter, in American legal understanding) rather than murder. Ukrainians claim some of the Maidan supporters were trying to save and catch the pro-Russians jumping out of the building. Russians claim they were trying to kill them. I haven’t seen video corroborating the Ukrainian claim. There was one from the Russian side claiming that they were trying to finish them off with bats, but it didn’t show that in the video: it just showed horrific scenes of people jumping to their deaths and Ukrainians standing around with bats – nobody hitting anyone.”

            The video I saw, when I wrote that, did not show that. Now I have seen a video that did show that. I stated we couldn’t be certain of what happened.

            When you try to make a claim about facts, you lie over and over again, Dimitar. No wonder you prefer to resort to empty insults.

    • AP,

      You should look at StopFake. It reviews Great Russian separatist propaganda channels, YouTube etc. for veracity. Most of the fails, to be fair, come from #SaveDonbassPeople on Twitter but even RTR and Russia 1, who should do better put fake stuff up. On RT it is expected.

      One of my Russian friends keeps posting a great flow of this atrocity propaganda on Facebook and VK. Without checking against StopFake, I can tell that the starving tiger was not in Kiev zoo (it was an ill tiger in Surabaya) or that the trees were bare of leaves in the picture of a helicopter firing at an unseen target. Turned out to be South Ossetia. (Google Goggles). Neither of these made it to StopFake. There are just so many. Or a dead 8 year old boy in a car had Middle Eastern features. Didn’t work for me. This turned up on StopFake. It was indeed Syria. There are tragedies and this is an unacceptable conflict but ordinary Russians (and presumable Ukrainians – I don’t track them) are being offered a hugely exaggerated view of the conflict and disruption.

      Oh, that WW2 antiaircraft gun did not bring down a helicopter. There was a SAM around; fired by a trained professional.

      However, on Odessa, I vote for murder. My reading is that there were two local demonstrations by Great Russians and Ukrainians that were relatively non violent. Some hooligans with a purpose (some reports say Transdniestrians; why they should be Kolomeisky’s goons is too paranoid for words) turned up and attacked the Ukrainians. After a pause, an army of football fans turned up and attacked the Great Russians with evil and deliberate effects. Great Russians are a minority in Odessa. The police choose self preservation.

      The ambulance scene confuses me. The Soviet Union used to justify attacking German ambulance convoys on the grounds that the Germans were almost certainly using them for deception. Here we have an ambulance containing the (apparently uninjured) principal thug and the police chief. Was he escorting his injured prisoner from the scene? It all seems too relaxed. And were those young women really making Molotov cocktails or were they acting? That was all too relaxed too. Young women do not generally participate in football fan fights. Maybe Slavs are different?

      • Owen,

        Thanks for the StopFake recommendation!

        I generally agree with your description of events in Odessa, but not with the label.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manslaughter#Voluntary_manslaughter

        “Voluntary manslaughter occurs either when the defendant kills with malice aforethought (intention to kill or cause serious harm), but there are mitigating circumstances that reduce culpability, or when the defendant kills only with an intent to cause serious bodily harm. Voluntary manslaughter in some jurisdictions is a lesser included offense of murder. The traditional mitigating factor was provocation; however, others have been added in various jurisdictions.”

        So, for example, someone killing someone in a bar fight is guilty of manslaughter, as often is someone who, for example, walks in on his wife with another man and in a rage shoots the guy. An example of manslaughter:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Latasha_Harlins

        :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

        The conspiracy theory is that the whole event was a staged plot to kill people, which would indeed be murder. It rather looks to have been an example of mass violence, provoked by the anti-Kiev side when they attacked the pro-Kiev protesters, that got out of hand. Some of the enraged pro-Kiev people clearly wanted to kill and did kill; others did not and helped save some of the people inside. But the whole thing does look like a massive brawl or riot gone horrible wrong, with Molotov cocktails and guns – the fire was manslaughter.

        • Philip Owen says:

          I don’t like suggesting Agent Provocatures are being used. It is usely the agressors muddying the waters. However, somebody shot the people on the Maidan. The only person who might have gained was Kolomeisky. I am somewhat open to evidence to suggest his connection. Would he have done it again in Odessa? What would be the motive? One motive would be to break up the momentuum for Novorossiya. However, anyone Ukranian would know that few localities actually contained large majorities of Great Russians. (Lugansk being the leading case), Novorossia was never going anywhere. Also, too much was unpredictable. A small group of Novorussian seperatists attack a large group of Parlialmentary supporters in order to draw them to the peaceful demonstrators? Deliberate planned killings would be stupid as it would create martyrs for the other side. I suspect K has the ruthlessness but not the stupidity. Although I suppose that I would be nervous about losing Ukraine’s best port whatever the analysis. Perhaps it was some local effort. Great Russians are only about a third of Odessa’s population. They probably didn’t have huge support. Easy targets?

          • Maybe the anti-Kiev activists believed their own propaganda that Odessa was ripe for separatism and that with police support the pro-Kiev protesters could be shot and intimidated into silence? The beginning of the Odessa protest (pro-Kiev marchers are violently attacked by anti-Kiev ones, the latter with police support) was much like what had happened earlier in Donetsk, and in Donetsk this was indeed the result. I suspect the anti-Kiev organizers miscalculated.

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