Thursday, March 26, 2015

Three interesting videos

Three short videos from a recent prestigious Oxford University Debating Society debate: "Is Putin building an empire?" The presentations naturally focus on the Russian-Ukrainian war..

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Will Ukraine's contribution to WW2 victory over Fascism be recognised?

At the start of the year your blogger suggested "Western leaders should attend victory day parade in Kyiv, not Moscow"   and explained why this should happen.

Thankfully the chances that this will occur are increasing daily.

LA Times runs an important op-ed piece today co-authored by former US ambassadors to Ukraine entitled: "Kiev, not Moscow, should be the choice for marking V-E Day"

Ukraine's contribution to WW2 victory over Fascism may now be properly recognised.

p.s. President Putin met his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambayev on Monday in his first public meeting  since March 5. Putin had gone AWOL for 11 days with no explanation.

At their meeting before the assembled press, Putin appeared rather sheepish, made just a few insignificant comments.. no attempt to provide an explanation for his absence or to provide reassurance to his people that the levers of power are firmly in his grasp.

The contrast with Putin's portrayal of strong-leader directing operations in the two and a half hour propaganda film on seizure of Crimea broadcast over the weekend was most marked.

All rather odd..

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Merkel leads again

On January 6 this year I wrote : "Western leaders should attend victory day parade in Kyiv, not Moscow" .

My post had been prompted by the news that Downing Street had not commented at that time whether or not the British prime minister was planning to attend this year's 70th anniversary celebrations of allied victory over Nazi Germany in Moscow in May.

Today it was reported: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not attend an official ceremony in Moscow on May 9 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II due to tensions of the Ukraine crisis..."

In my blog I explained the reasons why Merkel as well as other European leaders should go to Kyiv rather than Moscow on that day...Proportionately more Ukrainians fought and died in World War 2 that Russians..Ukraine's enormous contribution to the defeat of Hitler's Third Reich, albeit as part of the Soviet effort,  should be finally properly recognised. [How much longer will so-called Ukraine experts continue to mislead with the claim that the Oranges...the're from the west of the country...Ukrainian nationalists...fought with the Nazis..."monolingual, culturally autonomous from other Slavic nations.." ]

I sincerely hope that president Poroshenko and Foreign Minister Klimkin, are doing their utmost to make this happen...and western leaders will be as principled as Frau Merkel..Who wants to shake hands with "a common criminal dressed up as a head of state".. that brazenly hands out state awards to one of his hired killers..? Who wants to shake hands with a liar who denied Russian forces had invaded Crimea, then a year later, out of pure vanity, cannot resist bragging they did...

Monday, March 09, 2015

Vanity gets the better of Putin

Putin could not resist...personal vanity got the better of him; he had to make sure everyone knows it was he, Putin the Magnificent, who won back Crimea for Russia - its citizens will now "bend the knee each time his tale is told" [for how long?]

"President Vladimir Putin has revealed the moment he says he gave the secret order for Russia's annexation of Crimea and described how Russian troops were ready to fight to rescue Ukraine's deposed, pro-Moscow president.

In a trailer shown Sunday for an upcoming documentary on state-run Rossiya-1 television called "Homeward bound", Putin openly discusses Moscow's controversial grabbing of Crimea a year ago.

Putin recounts an all-night meeting with security services chiefs to discuss how to extricate deposed president Viktor Yanukovych, who had fled a pro-Western street revolt in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

"We ended at about seven in the morning," Putin says. "When we were parting, I said to my colleagues: we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia."

'Put' na Rodinu' video clip, with Putin here

This would support the case that Putin and a small coterie made a snap decision to do the dirty deed. Putin's admission also casts serious doubt on the Crimean pseudo-referendum. Voters were given no 'status quo ante' option at all - Putin had decided on their behalf to return the peninsula back to Russia.

Putin is saying: "Stick international law up your a*** I don't care", to world leaders who were shocked and dismayed by his actions in Crimea..

p.s Check out this 20 minute video interview with Fiona Hill, Director of the Centre on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, discussing her book, 'Mr Putin: Operative in the Kremlin'. Brilliant analysis..Because Putin and just a tiny band of loyal trustees make all of the critical decisions in Russia, it makes prediction of their next moves very difficult, she says.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Step closer to west arming Ukraine

Dr Jonathan Eyal from the British Royal United Service Institute, in a well-reasoned recent piece of analysis, forecasts:

"..sooner rather than later, the US and its allies will start supplying weapons to the Ukrainian military. This will not be because anyone believes that Ukraine can defeat Russia; instead, there is the belief that, if the costs of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine start to rise, Moscow may be deterred from attempting to do the same elsewhere.....the aim will be to embroil Russia in a prolonged confrontation which it cannot sustain, and from which it cannot easily extricate itself."

The US Congress has now officially urged President Obama "to quickly approve additional efforts to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereign territory, including through the transfer of lethal, defensive weapons systems to the Ukrainian military." 

Importantly, the Congressmen proposed: "We should not wait until Russian troops and their separatist proxies take Mariupol or Kharkiv before we act to bolster the Ukrainian government’s ability to deter and defend against further aggression."

Dr Eyal, in the conclusion to his article, predicts: "What we are likely to see is the advent of two proxy wars in Europe: one played out in Ukraine largely at the West’s initiation, and one played out with both NATO and the EU, largely at Russia’s instigation. In the long term, the Russians are likely to lose both confrontations, as they have lost all previous ones, and for the same reason: they cannot match military with economic power. In the short term, however, the proxy confrontations will condemn Europe to years of serious tensions."