Friday, February 27, 2015

Why did Yanukovych flee Updated..

In my previous blog I noted that by early February 2014 a decision had been made in the Kremlin to dismember parts of Ukraine, even if Yanukovych had put down the Euromaidan and remained in power.

This was revealed in a recently leaked policy note or document which caused a stir in many newspapers and elsewhere several days ago.

Some independent Russian commentators have suggested such a document could have been produced by any one of several important Russian think tanks who were all gradually coming to the same conclusion - make a grab for Ukrainian sovereign territory.

Other commentators e.g from have their own opinions too:

I think this suggestion is the most likely:

"[Yanukovych]..might have decided to flee right at that time because the Russian representative [at a last minute meeting of western and Russian intermediaries] failed to put his signature next to the European ones. He may have interpreted Russia’s failure to sign the agreement as a signal that Russia didn’t believe the agreement would work out (which is exactly how Lukin and other Russian diplomats later explained their failure to sign the agreement). He thought that Russia no longer supported him in the Kyiv standoff, that Moscow had sold him out and now had its own plans unrelated to extending his presidential powers.
Having lost his only external ally, Yanukovych caved in and fled."

According to a "Guardian" piece from September 2013 "The Kremlin...warned Ukraine that if the country goes ahead with a planned [Association] agreement on free trade with the EU, it faces inevitable financial catastrophe and possibly the collapse of the state."

One of Putin's closest aides, Sergey Glazyev, said at the time, "Ukrainian authorities make a huge mistake if they think that the Russian reaction will become neutral in a few years from now. This will not happen."

 "...if Ukraine signed the agreement, Russia would consider the bilateral treaty that delineates the countries' borders to be void."

Yanukovych was under constant, massive pressure at that time from the Russian authorities not to sign the Association Agreement deal with the EU, and declined to do so late November 2013.

During the Euromaidan which followed he must have felt he was doing all he possibly could to appease Putin. ..

But when he heard in early February that Putin was planning to ditch him and move into Ukraine, this was the last straw...He decided his time was up; he had to flee.

Update - Just read about the terrible assassination of Boris Nemtsov...a most charismatic man and true friend of Ukraine. What dreadful news.

Say a prayer for him.

We should never forget there are many fine Russians too....

Now maybe even more people across the globe will come to their senses and realise the direction in which Putin is leading his country.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Is the leaked 'Novaya Gazeta' Kremlin policy note genuine?

The Polish PISM site provides excellent, sober analysis [in English] of the sensational leaked Kremlin policy note recently published in 'Novaya Gazeta', and elsewhere. 

They claim "...the note provides a rather daring (if cynical) plan for stoking fake secession in Ukraine for the sake of subsequent takeover of the Eastern and Southern regions by Russia. This would be all started at the time when Yanukovych was formally still the president of Ukraine." [my highlight]

"After the Sochi Olympics Bohoslovska suggested there will be an attempt by Russia to 'nibble off' portions of Ukraine, particularly Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts, and maybe Crimea. Kharkiv would be a big problem because although the local strongmen, Mayor Gennady Kernes and Regional State Administration head Mykhaylo Dobkin would be co-operative if such a turn of events were to occur, the local population, in particular, young students could react unpredictably.  This scenario is being organised by Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov.."

1hr 33/34 min and onward into this video

[Surkov, is one of Putin's closest and most trusted aides. He was recently accused of organising the Euromaidan killings... Bohoslovska is from Kharkiv]

Bohoslovska was commenting on an incredibly eerily prescient interview with Andrey Illarionov, a former economic adviser to Putin, on in which he also predicted the course of events that took place after Yanukovych's flight..

The conclusion must be that most of Ukraine's upper political echelons, which included Bohoslovska, must have been very well aware that  invasion by Russia was very probable, and that they were aware of this at least three weeks before Yanukovych's absolutely unpredicted and unexpected flight from office . 

Bohoslovska's  predictions of what she called a 'war between Russia and Ukraine' are markedly similar to the ideas expressed in the policy note, so confirming the leaked policy note is most likely genuine - thus debunking Russia’s claims that the uprisings in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine were a response to a "coup d’etat" organised by "US sponsored fascist/Banderite puppets" in order to topple a legitimately elected president.

p.s. All of this may explain why Yanukovych decided to abandon his office...He must have realised 'the game was up' and that Putin would not be his saviour. Yanukovych started making plans for evacuation soon after these interviews took place, the policy note written and Russia's aggressive actions toward Ukraine approved.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The 'spetsoperatsiya' of Putin's life

If you have a spare half hour do listen to this Brookings Institute podcast:  [If nothing else then from about 41 minutes onward in particular.]

"Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (and abroad)

With recent events in Ukraine and beyond, many policymakers and foreign policy analysts are asking what motivates Russian President Vladimir Putin. What shapes his policy decisions and how he views the outside world?   Most importantly, officials in Washington and European capitals are left asking what Putin wants and how far is he willing to go. The great lesson of the outbreak of World War I in 1914 was the danger of misreading the statements, actions, and intentions of the adversary. Today, Vladimir Putin has become the greatest challenge to European security and the global world order in decades. Russia’s 8,000 nuclear weapons underscore the huge risks of not understanding who Putin is and what his aspirations are for himself and the people of Russia.

On February 18, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings hosted a discussion with Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy, authors of the new and expanded edition of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin. The authors explored Putin’s motivations and methods and dispelled potentially dangerous misconceptions about Putin."

Putin is a KGB operator through and through. He knows all about planning an operation. He has plans of action, but included in them are also alternative contingency plans to deal with problems is things do not work out quite as expected; he is therefore very difficult to predict.

Since coming to power he has created a unique system fusing intelligence with politics and the military and security branches of power. In the current Russian/Ukrainian hybrid war this system has come into its own.

This hybrid war is the operation of Putin's life...and he is relishing in it...loving it....

Also from about 1 hour 00 minutes onward into the podcast ..a brilliant, brutal description of how Putin views the rest of the western world and the relationship between the greater and lesser countries of the western world - whether they are truly sovereign or not. If you understand this, Putin [and Russians] become easier to read..

Western politicians and media continue to conveniently delude themselves. The Ukrainian crisis is not just about some disgruntled separatists in a far corner of the country. It is a 'spetsoperatsiya' inspired by, organised, funded and controlled by Putin an a handful of his colleagues. It is replete with 'maskirovka', lies, false trails, misleading its core is the absolute need not to reveal its true aims. However, it is most reasonable to assume these are entirely destructive - to destabilise Ukraine, trash its institutions and turn it into a failed state.. Having encouraged Ukraine to join the western club, western nations now have an absolute obligation to prevent Putin accomplish his aims..

p.s. If you like listening to podcasts...then check out this... in which the brilliant Peter Pomarantsev explains why he may be Ukrainian too..

Monday, February 16, 2015

Time for SWIFT attack

"At present, they [corrupt Russian elites] control their accounts in Western banks anonymously through a chain of front firms, which are impossible to trace. But their operations are completely dependent on SWIFT for operation. All of current money-laundering and anonymization schemes are dependent on SWIFT. Other such operations simply do not exist at present, and new ones can not be developed in a month. Nor in six months, either. And it is not clear that they would be possible at all.
When disconnected from SWIFT, the [corrupt elite] will either have to give up control over their anonymous assets or assume a high risk of losing their anonymity." [Source]
A 'SWIFT attack' would be an an ideal highly targetted weapon with which to attack Putin and his cronies..

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

British Foreign Secretary speaks openly of 'Russian agression'

Here is a portion:
"In recent weeks Russia has aggravated the effects of its initial incursion by stepping up the military support it provides to its proxies. It has transferred hundred of heavy weapons, including rocket launchers, heavy artillery, tanks and armoured vehicles, and it maintains hundreds of regular soldiers, including Special Forces, in Ukraine, as well as command and control elements, air defence systems, UAVs, and electronic warfare systems. The Russian Army is also the source of ex-regulars, who resign their posts to fight in Donbas as “volunteers”. The recent escalation in fighting would not be possible without the military support and strategic direction that Russia provides.
In these circumstances it is vital that all those countries who have a stake in the rules-based international system remain clear and united against Russian aggression..."
.."we share a clear understanding that while there is no military solution to this conflict, we could not allow the Ukrainian armed forces to collapse..."  Sounds like a coded warning this..
But also a carrot: "...we will only agree to a relaxation of the pressure when we see clear evidence of changed Russian behaviour and a systematic compliance with Russia’s obligations under the original Minsk agreement."

Monday, February 09, 2015

Huge explosion in Donetsk tonight

A huge explosion ripped through Donetsk tonight. Videos of the blast here

It was probably an ammuntion dump blowing up.

Bur locals joke that it was freshly delivered Russian humanitarian 'tushonka' [dodgy canned stewed meat popular in Ukraine and Russia..] that had exploded...

There are some claims an ammo dump was hit by Ukrainian artillery...and a significant number of heavy weaponry also destroyed. Destruction is probably so great that a major attack on Ukrainian-held territory could be halted or at least seriously delayed.

p.s If you watch Russian television newsreels and analysis you would certainly receive the impression that chances of any ceasefire soon are very slim. The vilification and anti-Ukrainian and anti-West invective is off the scale..Moscow is gripped by madness worthy of Pyongyang....the nation is being prepared for the worst..

Tonight's 'earthquake' in Donetsk is perhaps the first bit of luck Ukies have had for quite a while.