Ukraine and the current situation

Gez said:

Well, it wasn't a secret ballot vote (you could see what boxes were ticked on the ballots in the urns) and there were Russian militiamen in each voting bureau.

This is a good starting point for making things legitimate.

Also, the national media in Crimea had been taken over by militiamen too, and only Russian-speaking journalists were allowed to keep broadcasting. So the propaganda machine worked full steam ahead.

There actually were attempts at pro-Ukraine demonstrations in Crimea, but they got repressed by Russian militiamen. (Mostly Cossacks.) Sure, it wasn't the Russian military...

Finally, both possible results of the referendum were pretty much the same. It was a choice between joining Russia directly, or joining Russia as a satellite nation.

Now we'll get an exciting period of political purge where the small minority that was against joining Russia gets disappeared.

A-yup, it's Russia being Russia once again. And no one should be surprised. :/

I've been following some Finnish journalists in Crimea and they keep tweeting about being threatened with guns by the militia and "leather jacket men." One guy had his local car driver manhandled for daring to work with the western pigs. Surely they wouldn't need to do any of that if things were kosher in Crimea, no? :P

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The important part is that, thanks to the jackbooted thugs posted everywhere and the constant displays of extreme Russian patriotism, fascism has been avoided in Crimea.


Everyone who is moving to Canada rejoices at this righteous victory over the decadent West!

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Gez said:

Well, it wasn't a secret ballot vote (you could see what boxes were ticked on the ballots in the urns) and there were Russian militiamen in each voting bureau.


No western observers (admitted that they were allowed) complained when in the 50s-60s, the Greek Communist Party was forced to use red paper for its ballots (heh), which were visible even through the ballot envelopes, and of course the ballot official took notice of who dropped what color of ballot. Needless to say, those so "written up" didn't have a jolly good time afterwards.

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Gez said:

Finally, both possible results of the referendum were pretty much the same. It was a choice between joining Russia directly, or joining Russia as a satellite nation.

Choice 1: Are you in favour of the reunification of Crimea with Russia as a part of the Russian Federation?
Choice 2: Are you in favour of restoring the 1992 Constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?

Gez said:

Also, the national media in Crimea had been taken over by militiamen too, and only Russian-speaking journalists were allowed to keep broadcasting. So the propaganda machine worked full steam ahead.

Ukraine authorities block Russian TV

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In any case, Ukraine is one of those countries who might never find true self-determination and independence, but will have to tie itself to some "winner's charriot".

Of course, this doesn't mean that doing so will be equally advantageous for everyone living there, and to be fair the EU and USA, despite all the hate-mongering against Russia, hasn't offered a "competitive joining package" to Ukraine. Offering them a loan with sweat & blood terms, when Putin promises "triple salaries", doesn't quite cut it, sorry. Of course, the West might decide to turn Ukraine into a sort of new "Western Germany" (a "shopping window" for the East, meant to encourage defections) by artificially inflating salaries, cancelling debt, massively investing etc., but so far it's Putin who has the upper hand even in this strategy, by promising higher salaries.

That's why I believe that division is still the best option: let those who truly believe in the West embark on this new exciting (?) adventure, and let those who prefer Mama Bear's (Russia's) embrace to fall into its lap. If any of the two is truly better than the other, you'll start seeing defections, sooner or later.

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Maes said:

so far it's Putin who has the upper hand even in this strategy, by promising higher salaries.


Europe would never promise higher salaries, because higher salaries are the antichrist. The economics policies of the EU are that employees have to be competitive with Chinese/Bangladeshi/etc. employees, which can only be done by reducing labor costs (read: wages), while keeping the € artificially high in order to keep capital owners happy. Whenever one dares to speak about lowering the € exchange rate to make exports competitive, it is immediately silenced by saying it would decrease buying power for people because imports would become more expensive -- admitting that in pretty much all domains, Europe is unable to provide for itself so it needs to import everything. This serves the interests of the 1% while being detrimental to everybody else.

In short, the policies of the ECB are designed to asphyxiate European production by ensuring local production remains more expensive than imports. This leads to massive unemployment rates as industries outsource or go bankrupt, and this results in a huge downward pressure on wages and pensions, which stagnate or decrease.

Russia promising a pay rise while Europe only promises endless austerity measures is perfect. I'm pretty sure Russia could win all of the EU (except UK and Germany) with more referendums like this.

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Gez said:

Russia promising a pay rise while Europe only promises endless austerity measures is perfect. I'm pretty sure Russia could win all of the EU (except UK and Germany) with more referendums like this.


OTOH, if the EU can't even promise salary raises (or an equivalent per capita GDP growth through other interventions) to match Russian salaries and per-capita GDP, of all possibilities, then something is seriously wrong (with the EU) :-p

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Depends on how you compare money. If you use official exchange rates, sure, but if you compare buying power for basic food like vegetables (like the Big Mac index, but with, say, one kg of potatoes instead) then I wouldn't be surprised if we're at parity with Russia already.

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dew said:

You meant to say you were moving back to glorious Russia to be with her, right? All your dreams came true, so why stay in the belly of the corrupt beast? Mr. Putin can take care of you now.


...Because the best and most effective way to defeat a beast is from within! Haven't you ever seen the first Men In Black movie? :p

Besides, I know plenty non-Russian Canadians and non-Russian Americans who hate their political leaders. So I see no reason to feel any shame or humiliation.

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You should look Harper. That scumbag is just like Putin. Perhaps from now on I'll call him Harputin. (Well, he's like a squishy Putin who doesn't practice judo or hunt bears...)

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Gez said:

Everyone who is moving to Canada rejoices at this righteous victory over the decadent West!

Some white people Ukrainians would be nice for a change.

Aliotroph? said:

You should look Harper. That scumbag is just like Putin. Perhaps from now on I'll call him Harputin. (Well, he's like a squishy Putin who doesn't practice judo or hunt bears...)

There is nobody I actually want to vote for this coming election and it pisses me off.

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When that happens I vote for something fun like the marijuana party. Would be fun to find some garbage riding to occupy and get a Marxist-Leninist MP in. That would make the Americans lose their shit. :D

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I'm intrigued by the US (and other) imposed sanctions. I'm a little mystified as to exactly what these are supposed to achieve (other than reinvigorating US/Russian tension - perhaps we need Russia to be the bad guy again for the sake of James Bond movies). I mean, seriously, I know they must have some ulterior motive behind them. I know that the US and UK etc don't really give a shit about Ukraine and Crimea. So what do we hope to gain?

Also, while we are at it, I think we should impose similar sanctions on other countries currently annexing parts of other countries. China, Israel etc. If we are genuinely serious about these things, then we should be serious about all of them. It should be the first thing mentioned whenever our concerned officials meet with theirs - each time and every time. No? Just going to select the ones that suit our agenda as usual? OK, carry on.

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Enjay said:

It should be the first thing mentioned whenever our concerned officials meet with theirs - each time and every time. No?


Well, Russia made sure from day #1 to mention the infamous Kosovo case of one-sided (and widely recognized by the West) independence declaration, and cases like Northern Cyprus, Israel etc.

But, of course, the POV of the USA is that Kosovo does not establish a precedent, and entirely by accident, the countries responsible for those other annexations just happened to be good allies with the USA and/or their sovereignity and stability was considered strategically important for the USA. As for those that do not....

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dew said:
It's Russia that's losing money faster over this dispute, they would find themselves destabilized much faster, not to mention they're still greatly indebted to the US and that crazy Putin's aide who indicated Russia might stop paying their debts was quickly silenced. When it comes to economic starvation, the rich West still holds the trumph cards. Well, at least when it doesn't concern China, then the West should better tread lightly (as it is).

Even sanctions against lesser countries, like Iran, are already disruptive and annoying well beyond the intended target. Aside from any effects on the currently shaky Western economies, sanctions also punish anyone else doing business with the sanctioned country. Russia may suffer the bigger effects of any sanctions, but for them its a lesser evil compared to an anti-Russian EU-aligned Ukraine from where the US could operate to weaken and corrode Russia itself. A lesser evil that has bad effects for everyone, rather than other effects which would affect Russia as a sovereign power more exclusively, especially in the long run. Russia played it conservatively and took proactive but rather minimal steps to secure its borders and ties to the Mediterranean and Middle East: It took the area that had already been Russian, full of people of Russian descent and where the key Russian naval base resides.

The aftermath of this may have some adverse effects on Russia, but it will also probably strengthen its central government (and Putin) and perhaps some aspects where Russians feel they're now worse off than in Soviet times.

Enjay said:
I know that the US and UK etc don't really give a shit about Ukraine and Crimea. So what do we hope to gain?

In the US, interventionist hawks have every intention to use this to debilitate Russia and break into its political system and hamper any influence it has abroad. The EU is preoccupied by the explosive combo of US meddling and Russian defensive policy and has a mishmash of civil and economic concerns based on its schizophrenic mix of democratic traditions, post-war guilt and neoliberal economics.

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Now THIS is True Liberal, European Democracy (TM) Heil Merkel!



Pretty much, right-wing thugs broke into a TV studio in Kiev and forced the director of the Ukrainian State TV to "sign his resignation letter" because he broadcast a newspiece about the annexation of Crimea. And those guys have the full support of the EU and the USA, mind you.

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Maes said:

Pretty much, right-wing thugs broke into a TV studio in Kiev and forced the director of the Ukrainian State TV to "sign his resignation letter" because he broadcast a newsbiece about the annexation of Crimean. And those guys have the full support of the EU and the USA, mind you.

Don't spread Putinesque misinformation and exaggeration, Svoboda is only "acceptable with difficulties" for the West, because the Right Sector makes them look tame in comparison. The incident actually got heavily panned throughout Ukraine. The member of parliament (from Svoboda) who participated in this is set to resign and and face criminal investigation.

I haven't heard from you when Russians stormed Ukrainian military bases in Crimea, even killing a soldier. How's that not escalating the conflict? And ffs, the Crimean self-proclaimed militia have captured Ukraine's Chief of Navy! Even Putin had to intervene to iron out that giant fuckup and release him.

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The problem here, is that both sides have lost the "moral upper hand", if any of them had it, that is. You could say that nobody (including me) expected better of Putin, but the ante was set way, way up high for the supposedly "good" side supported by the EU, especially considering how the handled the equivalent of the "Right Sector" in Greece.

Double standards, you say? Maybe, but throughtout all of the Cold War, the West claimed to have the "moral upper hand" when it came to disputes with Russia/the USSR. The West represented liberalism, democracy, opposition to authoritarianism etc. But apparently here they are supporting a side who's not quite the white dove they'd like to present.

So the proverbial ball is in the EU's and the new Ukraine's government field, right now, and the burder of proof of their "moral superiority" also lies entirely on them. If they want legitimacy, they need to obtain results in way, way more delicate ways than Putin's.

As for the death at the base, I was sincerely hoping that Putin would manage to pull the entire op completely bloodlessly (and it certainly was looking that way, until that moment). But don't forget that you had many, many more civilian deaths at the Euromaidan riots, whose causes wiil probably never be cleared up.

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dew said:
I haven't heard from you when Russians stormed Ukrainian military bases in Crimea, even killing a soldier. How's that not escalating the conflict?

They're Russian military bases if you ask the current authorities in Crimea and Russians. You actually think US and EU diplomats don't know the annexation of Crimea was going to imply removing the Ukrainian loyals from the bases?

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Apparently, some thought that being a soldier in the Ukrainian army was all about wooing the ladies in muddy, depressed villages with your newfound machismo and studly style, working during the day and clubbing during the night ;-)

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Barack O-bonehead needs to stop being naïvely childish and accept the fact that sanctions won't ever stop us from doing the right things. We are immune to such things and he's just going to embarrass himself for life.

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Nice troll but so far the sanctions extend to only top leaders in Russia's government. No need to be a bleeding heart for your patriarchy.

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188DarkRevived said:

Barack O-bonehead needs to stop being naïvely childish and accept the fact that sanctions won't ever stop us from doing the right things. We are immune to such things and he's just going to embarrass himself for life.

Our exalted Nubian Prince(so cool, so brilliant, so what) has to face the fact that in the eyes of the world he has been forced to drop trou and let the 'Russian Bear' bugger him without even the courtesy of a reach-around.

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TheCupboard said:

Nice troll but so far the sanctions extend to only top leaders in Russia's government. No need to be a bleeding heart for your patriarchy.

Don't check your privilege, 188DarkRevived, don't do it.

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machoman127 said:

Our exalted Nubian Prince(so cool, so brilliant, so what) has to face the fact that in the eyes of the world he has been forced to drop trou and let the 'Russian Bear' bugger him without even the courtesy of a reach-around.

Doesn't seem that way from my position and I should count as "the world" more than Russian homers across the pond. USA has nothing to lose in this scrap (that's EU's job) and Russia has nothing to hurt them with. It's quite logical for Obama to just circle around with light jabs without really committing and actually risking escalation. Russian MPs may laugh about the symbolic (yet quite insulting) slap-on-the-wrist sanctions, but keep in mind the UK is Obama's closest ally. If London was to follow suit and freeze Russian assets, the oligarchs would make Putin do all sorts of humiliating backtracks.

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dew said:
It's quite logical for Obama to just circle around with light jabs without really committing and actually risking escalation.

The US escalated it in the first place by meddling so thoroughly in Ukraine (the fuck the EU clip probably hints it best), throwing it off a more diplomatic and tempered direction that would have benefited the EU and probably Russia as well. If Obama tones it down its mainly in terms of the machoman127s in US politics. The way things are going, this creates a rift between the EU and Russia, forcing Russia to rely more on ties in the East and the EU more on the US. While you get grabbed in the ass by the US you get spammed by your media about what a boogeyman Putin is.

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Does anybody here truly believe that Putin acted without taking into account the (expectable) sanctions-reactions of the USA and the EE? The only true surprise at this point would be actually escalating the crisis with a direct Western/NATO military intervention. This is going the way of Kosovo or Cyprus but, for once, the "winner" won't be a NATO-backed actor.

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Maes said:

Does anybody here truly believe that Putin acted without taking into account the (expectable) sanctions-reactions of the USA and the EE?


Calling those sanctions is quite a hyperbole.

"On the one hand, I extend Russia's territory and secure our naval presence in the Black Sea. On the other hand, cousin Fodor will not be able to go back to his London penthouse for a while. Mmh... I guess Fodor will have to content himself with his 75 dachas for his next vacations."

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