Russia’s lies about Ukraine

Today’s New York Times has a longish piece (“Russia is quick to bend the truth about Ukraine“) about how Moscow is doing its best to destabilize the eastern Ukraine, while at the same time pretending that it has nothing to do with the situation and urging the international community to bring peace. The object, as far as I can see, is to allow Russia to take over the region under the pretext of stabilizing it. That’s not rocket science.

It reminds me a bit of the beginning of World War II, when in late August of 1939 the Germans killed a few Poles and left their bodies on the border as evidence of Polish aggression, and then used that “evidence” as a pretext to invade Poland. It was the same kind of lies that Moscow is promulgating now. But read the Times piece; here’s a snippet:

The Facebook post on Tuesday morning by Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia was bleak and full of dread.

“Blood has been spilled in Ukraine again,” wrote Mr. Medvedev, once favored in the West for playing good cop to the hard-boiled president, Vladimir V. Putin. “The threat of civil war looms.”

He pleaded with Ukrainians to decide their own future “without usurpers, nationalists and bandits, without tanks or armored vehicles — and without secret visits by the C.I.A. director.”

And so began another day of bluster and hyperbole, of the misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies about the political crisis in Ukraine that have emanated from the highest echelons of the Kremlin and reverberated on state-controlled Russian television, hour after hour, day after day, week after week.

It is an extraordinary propaganda campaign that political analysts say reflects a new brazenness on the part of Russian officials. And in recent days, it has largely succeeded — at least for Russia’s domestic audience — in painting a picture of chaos and danger in eastern Ukraine, although it was pro-Russian forces themselves who created it by seizing public buildings and setting up roadblocks.

In essence, Moscow’s state-controlled news media outlets are loudly and incessantly calling on Ukraine and the international community to calm a situation that Ukraine, the United States and the European Union say the Kremlin is doing its best to destabilize.

Even the United Nations weighed in. In a report released Tuesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said that threats to ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, cited repeatedly by Russian officials and in the Russian news media as a potential rationale for Russian military action, were exaggerated and that some participants in the protests in the region came from Russia.

. . . “It’s all lies,” said Lilia Shevtsova, an expert on Russian politics at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The Russia leadership doesn’t care about how it’s being perceived in the outside world, in the world of communication, in the world where we have plurality of information and where information can be confirmed and checked. This is a radical change in attitude toward the West.”

Ms. Shevtsova added: “We can’t trust anything. Even with the Soviet propaganda, when they were talking with the Soviet people, there were some rules. Now, there are no rules at all. You can invent anything.”

I gather some of our readers are sympathetic to the Russia’s drive to expand its borders, fuellng Putin’s megalomania for an old-timey, Soviet-style agglomaration of states.  Putin is an extremely dangerous man, the international community is timorous (who wants a war?), but at least we must start by admitting that this situation was created, engineered, and manipulated by a group of Russian warmongers who will stop at nothing to take over another sovereign nation. There’s a lesson to be learned from Crimea.

132 Comments

  1. Shaun Hervey
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this. People need be reminded.

  2. gbjames
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Sub

  3. gbjames
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    “Soviet Union’s drive”?

    Don’t you mean “Russia’s”?

    • Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Yes, of course. Fixed, thanks.

      • microraptor
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        It seemed sadly appropriate, honestly.

  4. Dominic
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Those who supported Putin in an earlier post might like to remind themselves, regardless of whether Russia has justified grievances, or that Putin has been a good thing economically for Russia (it would have been hard to be worse than what came before), that Putin has gone out of his way to get the support of god –

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/how-vladimir-putin-helped-resurrect-the-russian-orthodox-church/article16361650/

    That is without even mentioning the crushing of the free press

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/17/crimea-crisis-russia-propaganda-media

    • madscientist
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      More evidence that god/the bible/the church is the last refuge of scoundrels.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        More evidence that god/the bible/the church is the first refuge of scoundrels.

        Fixed that typo for you.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Well, he has gone out of his way to get the churches on his side for whatever reason he has. His mother was very religious but when questioned on his beliefs, Putin won’t say, probably because he wants the support of these churches.

      • gbjames
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        He wears a very nice cross.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Yes that his mom gave him when she was dying and asked him to get it blessed. He also goes to church sometimes but still won’t admit his beliefs when asked directly.

          • gbjames
            Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            He’s such a nice sentimental man.

  5. Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Uhh… Typo! It’s “peace” not “piece”.

    • Filippo
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      It may be that Belarus, the Baltic states, Poland, Czech Republic, etc. should invite NATO to station (an artillery “piece” or two (thousand) within their borders in an effort to prompt some restraint from further East and keep the “peace.”

      • pacopicopiedra
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        If you think Belarus is inviting NATO to do anything, you are very confused. But I see what you did there.

        • Filippo
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          “If you think Belarus is inviting NATO to do anything, you are very confused.”

          Well I’m not, and I’m not.

          I wouldn’t likely mention such an invitation to NATO, except that others here have remarked words-to-the-effect on how the U.S. reneged on a “gentlemen’s agreement” (with Shevardnadze and/or Gorbachev) that the U.S. would not aggressively seek to extend its influence into former Soviet-bloc countries, in exchange for Russia pulling back its forces, if I correctly understand. (Since it wasn’t in writing, the U.S. denied any such commitment, if I correctly recall what I’ve read and everything I’ve read is true.)

          To the extent that the Russians may now be reacting to that reneging, had the U.S. not so reneged, it’s possible that Russia would not now be much asserting itself.

          • Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            Polish PM talked to Lukashenko today. It seems that Lukashenko’s attitude towards Russian moves in Ukraine is cautious but negative.

          • Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

            Belarus is basically a client state of Russia and its dictator (Lukashenko) relies on Russia for stability. Belarus is not going to do anything to piss off Putin. Lukashenko has far more to fear from NATO than from Russia. That’s all I meant.

  6. Jolo
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    When I caught the stories of “Those aren’t our well armed militia” statements from Russia, I immediately thought of 1939 and Poland as well.

    PS
    If you get a chance, Pussy Riot was on Real Time with Bill Mahrer last week. They had a short interview with him.

  7. Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    One-sided.

    One would think that the sensible way to resolve any such dispute is a plebiscite, but most Western countries are against it. Democracy is OK, as long as the people make the right decision, otherwise they are not allowed to.

    I have no sympathy for Putin, but your characterization of a complex issue is too black and white.

    • Kevin
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      The situation in Ukraine is patently complex and impossible to define discretely as A or B without sacrificing contingencies that might lead to C or D or E or …

      The at best the situation is fluid and dangerous. At worst, a not so good war.

    • Daoud
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      It is complex, but a “plebiscite” can be naive. I mean, Kim Jong-un recently won a “plebiscite” (in his home district I believe) with 100% of the vote. A plebiscite like the one which occurred with the speed, armed intimidation, and lack of oversight as the recent one in Crimea wouldn’t be the cartoon one in North Korea, but would still be highly suspect. Compare with the upcoming one for Scotland.

      Would Putin and Russia allow a free and honest plebiscite for independence in Chechnya? Dagestan?

      p.s. I am not American, so please don’t offer Iraq as rebuttal.

      • Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Sure it can be fake, but that is no reason to discourage a real one. What is the alternative? Why doesn’t the UN say, not just here but anywhere there is a dispute, that there will be a plebiscite with international election observers etc.

        • JBlilie
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          Putin is highly unlikely to allow a real plebiscite.

          The flip sidec of that question is this: Ethnic groups exist in conceentrations inside nations throughout the world. Do all secede based on Plebiscite?

          When can they and when not?
          Slovakia, South Sudan, Bosnia (and Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia), East Timor, Northern Ireland (and the Republic of) and the Basque country, spring to mind. AND just 20 years ago: Ukraine, Bjelarus, “The Baltic States”, etc.

          Good ways and bad ways …

          • Posted April 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            Why should not every group of people decide which country they want to belong to? Anything else is imperialism, pure and simple.

            • gbjames
              Posted April 16, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

              Please explain how you define “every group”.

              Can my wife and I be one?

              • Adam M.
                Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

                All good points. Ideally government would be by consent, and I don’t see why that should be any less true for two people than two hundred thousand. I would like to see a plebiscite for eastern Ukraine, perhaps in a year’s time to give people a chance to calm down and reflect on whether they actually want to be ruled by Putin.

                But despite lip service to consent, in reality government is imposed by force. So you can only really expect independence to be allowed when the powers that be decide to allow it, or when they’re threatened by a greater power.

              • Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

                Sure, why not?

                In practice, one might say that once every 5 years a plebiscite could be held in a region which is geographically, historically, culturally etc well defined with the question to which country do the people want to belong.

                How can one support democracy and not be in favour of this?

                Anything else is imperialism, pure and simple.

                Why should the Kurds, the Basques, whoever not have their own country if they want to?

                Note that none of the criticisms of plebiscites are valid unless they are applied to democracy in general. In some places, democracy is a farce, is not a true democracy, voters are put under pressure etc. But does this lead one to say that one should forget democracy and bow down to dictators?

                Some people say, if a plebiscite is allowed in the Ukraine, then the Basque country will be next, or Kurdistan. Why not? Politicians talk about “territorial integrity” but this essentially means just whatever came out of the last war which redefined borders.

              • gbjames
                Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

                “…a region which is geographically, historically, culturally etc well defined…”

                And there is where your ideal world collapses. Sadly the real world doesn’t cleve neatly along such boundaries. The “well defined” boundaries are simply not well defined.

              • Adam M.
                Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

                I would like to see that as well. But who would be allowed to vote? The whole country, or just the region where the minority is the majority?

                For instance, I’d like to see Kashmir independent of India. If you just ask the Kashmiris, they’d say yes. If you ask all of India, they’d say no.

                Surely it’s more democratic to ask everyone in the country? But that’s just going to preserve the status quo. I’m not sure “democracy” is the best argument, since democracy is all about majority rule…

              • Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

                Of course the people in the region vote, not in the whole country!

              • gbjames
                Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

                “people in the region vote”

                But, of course, the definition of “the region” remains undefined. The idea is nice in the abstract but doesn’t work well in the real world.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:41 am | Permalink

                (This thread is at the limit where you can’t post replies properly threaded.)
                Below you say

                “…a region which is geographically, historically, culturally etc well defined…”

                And there is where your ideal world collapses. Sadly the real world doesn’t cleve neatly along such boundaries. The “well defined” boundaries are simply not well defined.

                There are such natural boundaries. They’re called “skin”, but there are also people’s immune systems.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

              Living in a country where we’ve had way too many of such referendums, I can tell you that doing so destabilizes the country’s economy badly as other countries become disinterested in trading or investing in a place that appears unstable. The better solution is to prevent such disgruntled citizens to begin with (which is more easily said than done). Enshrining certain protections of minority groups in a constitution is a good start (language rights go a long way as people tend to separate from one another along these lines as often as ethnic ones).

        • Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          It’s not surprising that the western world is skeptical of any referendums proposed in Ukraine. The most recent referendum in Crimea hardly followed international guidelines — it was a total sham — too rushed, there were no debates allowed from opposing sides, international observers were blocked at every turn. In short, it amounted to a sneak attack by Putin and his cadre.

          Once a KGB man, always a KGB man. Don’t expect this leopard to lose his spots.

    • JBlilie
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Faked plebicites are easy to engineer. That was part of Hitler’s playbook as well. That’s what happened in Crimea just a couple of weeks ago.

  8. Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    It’s a complex and unique (with all the leftover Russian citizens in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union) situation, that’s for sure. I’m from Europe, and a lot of people here obviously don’t fully agree with everything Russia is doing at the moment. But many people here feel a certain degree of sympathy for the Russian cause, which is in part fueled by the hypocrisy of ‘the West’ itself.

    In many ways the West treated Russia and it’s people like sh*t after it fell apart. Recent examples are the expansions of NATO (contrary to what was agreed upon), overt participation in earlier revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, the anti-missile shield, the Magnitsky Act and more. I suggest you read this article in the Washington Post for more examples: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/who-is-the-bully-the-united-states-has-treated-russia-like-a-loser-since-the-cold-war/2014/03/14/b0868882-aa06-11e3-8599-ce7295b6851c_story.html

    And since WOII is mentioned in this post, let me remind you of a more recent history: 2003, the Iraq War. Russia is getting lectured by the US for it’s annexation of Crimea (which, believe it or not, a large part of Crimea wants), and to be honest it kind of pisses me (and many others in Europe) off how the US even dares to do so after having started a full blown (and illegal) war against a sovereign country itself. Hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq, for what we now know was the price we had to pay for, basically, US oil and weapon interests.

    You guys (assuming most of you are from the US) allowed that to happen, and people in Europe and elsewhere have not forgotten this. I know; the fact that the US did it, does not mean that therefore Russia has a right to now do the same thing. But it’s the hypocrisy and the treatment of Russia(ns) since the end of the Cold War that is making many people in Europe sympathize with Russia to a certain/large extent.

    If you want to make comparisons with World War II, think about how Germany was humiliated after World War I, and how that humiliation bit all of us in the bum a couple of decades later.

    • Dennis Keane
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      I don’t remember the US annexing Iraq?

      • W.Benson
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        The US just annexed its oil. The US doesn’t annex brown people.

        • madscientist
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          Except for Puerto Rico. And Guam. And the Marianas Islands. And Hawaii. Historically, the Philippines (now independent) and most of the western states. Some people still like to pretend there are no brown folks in all those places.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            I guess that depends on your definition of “annex”. There is usually the implication that it’s a weaker group that gets folded into the stronger group and often a connotation of force. You could see Puerto Rico and Guam as not directly annexed as they were more the spoils of battle of places previously annexed or occupied by Spain as both were ceded to the US after the Spanish-American war.

            Hawaii was definitely annexed however.

            • Filippo
              Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

              “Hawaii was definitely annexed however.”

              At the behest of U.S. commercial interests/private corporate tyrannies.

          • Isaac
            Posted April 17, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

            Just a small correction:

            The Western states weren’t ‘annexed’ so much as actually stolen form the Mexicans in the 1840’s, fueled largely, of all things, by an expansionist (and religious) vision called Manifest Destiny.

            • gbjames
              Posted April 17, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

              Assuming by “stolen” you mean taken by war.

              • Isaac
                Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

                Yes, of course: forcibly wrested from them by violent means.

              • Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

                Armed robbery on a vast scale…

        • Dom
          Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

          “The US just annexed its oil.” Sorry, no, the US buys Iraq oil on the market at a price set by supply and demand. The contracts that Iraq has signed with oil companies, including US companies, have served the Iraqis much better than was done in the pre-Sadam days.

          • W.Benson
            Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

            I think it is clear that the Iraq war was waged to get regime change and permit industry access to Iraq oil, without sanctions. Exactly who gained what, I suspect you may know better than I. It should also be clear that this, oil industry access to drilling, was the message contained in my admittedly glib remark. The war in Iraq cost taxpayers approximately 2 trillion dollars and resulted in somewhat more than 3400 deaths among the ‘invaders’, distributed across troops, contractors, journalists and academics. This is about 10% greater than the number of immediate deaths in the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
            Although I have nothing against the Iraqis being benefited by increased oil revenues, I personally feel gypped and betrayed by ‘representatives’ who, had they any humanity at all, could have found a better way.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      As far as WWI –> WWII, of course it did, exactly as Herbert Hoover (who was Food Administrator during the war, and one of Wilson’s delegates at Versailles) predicted. But I think if you’ll look into that, the reparations were pushed by the European side, and particularly afterward it was French intransigence against softening/extending the payment terms in the late ’20s/early ’30s that pushed things over the brink and also helped trigger a European banking crisis that contributed significantly to the Depression.

    • Adam M.
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      It’s true that the US didn’t annex Iraq (although they take over the government for some years), but the hypocrisy is still laughable. John Kerry even had the audacity to say this, regarding Ukraine: “You just don’t, in the 21st Century, behave in 19th-Century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped up pretext.”

      It just boggles my mind that he could say that with a straight face…

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        I think this is honestly because when politicians say such things, they say them for the people but they don’t really mean them. I’ve said it before – governments don’t act for what’s best for another country’s citizens, they act for what’s best for them. If governments really did care for citizens, the western governments would be in Africa right now helping stabilize the many countries there.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      I maintain that the West did a lot of things that helped us get to the point we are with the Ukraine. I’ve tried pointing this out as I think the West still has an opportunity for diplomacy though their mis-steps may be intractable. However, I recognize that when I argue such points, I’m seen as both condescending and a Russian apologist so I don’t want to continue that line of reasoning. People believe what they want to believe and going forward Ukraine will struggle and I think some of that struggle could have been prevented by the West.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:49 am | Permalink

      and unique (with all the leftover Russian citizens in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union) situation

      It’s certainly complex (my wife being a Ukrainian Russian, and having just returned from the border region), but it’s hardly unique. There are very substantial minorities of ethnic Russians in many (most) of the Baltic States and many of the ‘Stans. There are a lot of very worried people watching.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:49 am | Permalink

        Oh, I forgot Belarus.

    • Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  9. Heath
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Given that I live in the US–which in recent years has waged war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, etc, backed coups in Haiti and Honduras, and is actively supporting groups attempting to overthrow the government of Venezuela–I don’t see that whether or not parts of Ukraine end up as part of Russia is an appropriate focus for my concern.

    • Stephen Pilotte
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Agree

      • Charles Freeman
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Please . . .Head in sand . . . Appropriate position for you.

        • Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          Well, this is almost verging on a personal insult, so if you take issue with the commenter, please discuss the issue, not the commenter.

          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            But… surely the issue Heath raised was “I, Heath, am a sophisticated observer but an abject coward”? Maybe irony was intended, but it’s not clear.

  10. Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I don’t see my comment, I don’t understand why.

    • Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      If you read the rules, you’ll see that I have to approve all first-time commenters, of which you are one. Your comment has been approved but please don’t be so impatient.

      • Posted April 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I know they have to be approved, but when I posted it, it gave an error. That’s why I posted the second one, to see if I got the same error again. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

        • Adam M.
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          In general, if you get an error message, please include the error message in any report about it. :-) It’s very hard to say what really happened otherwise.

  11. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Here is a worthwhile web site for more information on what is and or is not going on in the Ukraine.

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11740

    The Real News is no apologist for Putin.

    Regards,

    John J. Fitzgerald

  12. Ionescu
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    And here’s the second Islam going against the civil(ised) World. Call them Russians, Soviets, whatever. A loose group using Christian Orthodoxy to push their agenda of Total Control. Xenophobia, slave labor, mysticism, they have it all.

  13. karlvonmox
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    How are the pro-Russian demonstrators taking to the streets in eastern Ukraine different from the Svoboda backed demonstrators taking to the streets in Kiev last month and overthrowing a legitimately elected government? One could problably make the case that the real neo=fascists right now are sitting in Kiev.

    Indeed, as commentor “Heath” pointed out, living in the U.S. under a government that has invaded and/or interfered in the internal affairs of other sovereign states and continues to do so means what is happening in Ukraine is not really worth being concerned about.

    • JBlilie
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Many felt the same way about Hitler. Putin’s playbook is amazingly congruent with Hitler’s 1936-39. (I just finished re-reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and the parallels are more than remarkable.)

    • JBlilie
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      There are lots of ethnic Russians in: Kazakhstan, Turkenistan, Georgia, Bjelorus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, etc. Why stop with Ukraine?

      • JBlilie
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Turkmenistan …

        • godsbelow
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          Putin takes seriously the idea of an Eurasian Union (under Russian leadership, naturally) comprising several old Soviet republics: http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/11/17/idINIndia-60590820111117
          Kazakhstan and Belarus are already in; Ukraine appears to be next.

          But the Baltic states are in NATO and the EU already, so they’re safe. Putin’s willing to risk souring relations with the West over Ukraine because Ukraine is important to Russians historically – and because it’s not formally involved with the NATO or the EU. I doubt Putin considers Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania worth the same amount of trouble, and screwing with them would mean considerably more trouble than Ukraine has.

          • microraptor
            Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

            I’m sure that Ukraine’s importance in the world oil market doesn’t have anything to do with Russia’s interest.

            BTW, does anyone else have a problem remember to avoid calling it “the Ukraine?

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:59 am | Permalink

              I’m sure that Ukraine’s importance in the world oil market doesn’t have anything to do with Russia’s interest.

              I’m just wondering if this is going to affect my schedule of work next year. On the assumption that we can get the rig under the Bosporus Bridge.

      • Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        I still don’t see any sign that Russia’s government would ever want to directly annex majority Ukrainian areas. It hasn’t, after all, annexed South Ossetia, whose inhabitants really do want it to be part of Russia. If anything, Russia’s government wants greater autonomy for the Eastern Ukrainian provinces and a difficult time for the post-coup Ukrainian government.

      • johndhynes
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Lots of ethnic Russians, in the US, too. Will they want Russian Hill back, next?

        • Filippo
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          How many Russians are in Alaska (“Seward’s Folly”)? They used to own it. (Well, the Native Alaskans were there first; but they’re another group of “brown people,” eh? [sarcasm, for the record]) Maybe there’s a flaw in the sales contract.

  14. codemonkeysteve
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I bet the Ukrainians are building weapons of mass destruction. Someone really should invade and impose peace and democracy, eh, tovarishch? *nudge nudge, wink wink*

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:04 am | Permalink

      I bet the Ukrainians are building weapons of mass destruction.

      Or not building them fast enough.

  15. Adam M.
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s good to be informed about what’s going on, but I don’t see anyone changing Russia’s mind about whatever it is they’re planning. The fact is that Europe depends on Russian energy, and militarily Russia is no pushover.

    Obama ordered a destroyer to be sent to the region as some kind of military warning, but it’s obviously an empty threat, and surely Russia knows it.

    Just as the world can complain in thousands of journalistic articles about the USA’s military exploits but will not oppose them in anything more than words, the world will not do anything to oppose Russia over Ukraine.

    I’m not sure that Russian leadership wants all of Ukraine. Its military commanders have been known to act on their own initiative. Or it could simply be a strategy to appear to be interested in the whole Ukraine so that later annexing only half of it seems like a “reasonable compromise” by comparison. Time will tell…

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      I wonder (and I’m often wrong about these things) if Canada, buddying up with the US, will offer to supply oil to Europe to starve Russia out. Honestly, this is a brutal thing for Canada to do if so. We’ll be the next Africa – a country with a lot of resources that everyone wants a part of. The US has already told us that they don’t recognize Canadian sovereignty of the arctic.

      • Filippo
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        What do the U.S. omniscients say are Canada’s northern borders?

        Push come to shove, does the U.S. hold that the precious Monroe Doctrine allows the U.S. to invade Canada, as it has invaded more southerly climes in the past?

        • johndhynes
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          The US has invaded Canada, before.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            It would be more accurate to say that the US invaded the British colony before Canada was a country. I point this out to Canadians who think they burned the White House and won the War of 1812; that was the British. Canada didn’t exist until 1867 and it was touch and go for confederation happening at all.

            • johndhynes
              Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

              I did not say that Canada was an independent country at the time, so my statement was accurate. Its political status at the time is irrelevant.

              I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. Like most Americans, I was baffled the first time a Canadian mentioned how heroic Canada defeated America following an unprovoked aggression.
              Canadians and Americans obviously get taught different histories. Rather like Ukrainians and Russians, I imagine.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

                My point is there was no Canada. There was Britain fighting to maintain its territories from the rebels.

          • Filippo
            Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            Well, there you go. The Past is the best predictor of the Future. It appears our northern neighbors would be well-advised to subscribe to an appropriate Precautionary Principle vis-à-vis Madeleine Albright’s “Indispensable Nation.”

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          It’s bizarre. You hope that the normal politicians will have the louder voices but I’ve been amused to hear some Republicans claim that they “have to keep Canadians on their side of the border” and one gets the strong opinion that they think Canada is a developing country full of violent, desperate people. Some Canadian comedians have parodied this; the Jiminiy Glick character once asking “do you Canadians just go to the border and dream and hope?”.

          • johndhynes
            Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            “My point is there was no Canada.”

            That’s just not true. There certainly was a Canada; it was just not independent, any more than Crimea was.

            I am not sure what “rebels” you are referring to, since this was decades after the Revolution. Unless you mean Canadian resisters to British rule, but I don’t think that was significant.

            Of course, there was also an American invasion in 1775, but that was before there was technically a US.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

              There was upper canada, lower canada and French as well as English colonies. There was no place federated as a country just various European colonies.

              Also I was speaking about 1812. The American rebels were wanting to annex more British territories but nothing much changed other than a lot if dead people. There are a bunch if Americans buried in my hometown and a monument set up to mark the common grave.

              • johndhynes
                Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

                What difference does it make whether it was “federated as a country” or not? The US still invaded it.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

                Um because there was no “it”. It is like saying Cromwell bought a new car back in 1535.

              • pacopicopiedra
                Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

                Sorry John, I have give the win to Diana…after all no one talks about Italy fighting Tunisia in the Punic Wars.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:08 am | Permalink

        I wonder (and I’m often wrong about these things) if Canada, buddying up with the US, will offer to supply oil to Europe to starve Russia out.

        The energy problem isn’t oil. It’s gas. (Says he, still waiting for the gas to be switched back on so I can have a shower. But that’s just a leak, not an actual gas shortage.)

  16. Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Right on Jerry! Putin and his Russians are clearly a dangerous aggressive threat: otherwise why would they have moved their country so close to our bases?

    • Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Very funny and a very good point in one short comment, nice :)

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Didn’t they sell you a large chunk of your country? Or was that the French.
      Makes a change from stealing it at gun point, with the backup of germ warfare.

  17. madscientist
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh great, Putin is channeling Dubbyah and Rumsfeld all at once. Who knows what Putin wants. Linking Kaliningrad to the rest of Russia? Pushing borders so that the ballistic missile shield doesn’t get too close to prized launch sites? Getting a better deal on the lease of land for the gas lines to Europe? Since he took over Crimea I thought well, Odessa was another large naval port and a favorite resort in the Good Old Days but it’s such a vital port to the Ukraine that an invasion of Odessa would likely start a war. Now it looks like Putin really does want Odessa after all.

  18. Robert Seidel
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    > It reminds me a bit of the beginning of World War II, when in late August of 1939 the Germans killed a few Poles and left their bodies on the border as evidence of Polish aggression, and then used that “evidence” as a pretext to invade Poland.

    That probably refers to the “Gleiwitz” incident, where SS forces faked a polish attack against a german radio station? :

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

    The ironic thing here is that this analogy fits better to last days at Maidan place: There is evidence now (e.g., witnesses and ballistic reconstruction) of people being shot from the hotel serving as the protesters headquarters. For anyone speaking German:

    http://www.wdr.de/tv/monitor//sendungen/2014/0410/maidan.php5

    This is NOT denying there were also snipers from the gouvernment. But part of the shooting seem to have been a false flag operation, just like Gleiwitz.

    On a side note: Even if he invades, I pretty much doubt Putin will start gassing or mass shooting Ukrainians. Maybe it’s just my German sensitivity (you don’t take the name of Hitler in vain here) but those Nazi and WW II comparisons feel a bit hyperbolic – even though it compares not the regimes but methods, I know.

    For my part, it reminds me much more of the Prague Spring, where the Warsaw Pact also claimed to have been called for help.

  19. stevenjohnson
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    For all the chatter about dead Nazi Hitler and world conquest, some living neofascists are part of the Kiev government, and others are in the streets. I’m afraid I don’t put much stock in easy rhetoric against dead ones. I believe the true issue is the whether western-style democrats will openly ally themselves with neofascists.

    The return of fascism to state power is not yet complete, but that is why is so wrong to cover for them by insisting on Putin’s guilt. And it would certainly take far more than a NYT article. Are we really supposed to believe the NYT not only never lies, but is never mistaken?

    • Filippo
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      “Are we really supposed to believe the NYT not only never lies, but is never mistaken?”

      Surely we’re not. Over the last several years I perceive NY Times reporters to be more and more opinionating than reporting. Is it part of the apparent effort to engage and entertain the reader? Spare me!

      This “seems” this way to the reporter, and that “seems” that way to the reporter. More and more “might be”‘s and “could be”‘s. Reporters make declarative statements that something is “odd” or “unusual” or “unexpected” or “surprising,” as if the reporter were a judge taking “judicial notice” of something so pervasively self-evident.

      The reporter states that some highly-placed administration official is “signaling,” which is the reporter’s INTERPRETATION of what the official said. (Did the official say to the reporter, “For the record, I am now ‘signaling'”? Far be it for the official to plainly state what he means.) I find myself saying out loud, “Just how do you KNOW that?” It would be alright were they QUOTING someone else.

      I have to remember that they are at the mercy of editors, so maybe some of the blame is rightly placed with the latter.

  20. Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    “I gather some of our readers are sympathetic to the Soviet Union‘s drive to expand its borders…”

    There has been no Soviet Union since 1991, some 23 years ago.

    Perhaps you might like to read this article in order to get a more balanced perspective:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/11/ukraine-lies-and-realities/

    • Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      An excerpt:

      “In Crimea, people voted, overwhelmingly, to return to Russia”, explained a young man, a student, Alexei. “But the West calls it unconstitutional and undemocratic. In Ukraine itself, the democratically elected government has been overthrown and policies that nobody really wants are being pushed down our throats. And… this is called democracy!”

      • johndhynes
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        I agree, there is a bit of hypocrisy. But one wrong does not justify another. The Crimean vote was not exactly proper. The proper way should be re-establishment of rule of law, free and fair democratic elections for the whole country, then a negotiated resolution to disagreements between all parties following these principles. Then if Crimeans chose to secede and/or join Russia, it would be hard to see this as illegitimate. And for allowing their self-determination, Ukraine might be compensated in some way, and everybody could get along peaceably.

    • gbjames
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you might consider the existence of typos, especially when they’ve already been corrected.

      • Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        At the time I posted, it was still “the Soviet Union’s”, which hardly qualifies as a typo. Now it is “to the Russia’s”. There should not be an article before Russia…

        • gbjames
          Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          Actually, Jerry’s correction was posted about 10:09AM (Central Time). Your comment is timestamped many hours later at 4:00PM CT.

          I’m guessing you read the original in an emailed version and replied to that without checking the current copy.

          • Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            My comment was posted much earlier than that but was “awaiting moderation” which occurred hours later.

  21. W.Benson
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Herszenhorn’s NY Times article begins saying Medvedev ‘pleaded with Ukrainians to decide their own future “without usurpers, nationalists and bandits, without tanks or armored vehicles — and without secret visits by the C.I.A. director. And so began,” sneers Herszenhorn, “another day of bluster and hyperbole, of the misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies about the political crisis in Ukraine.”
    CNN reports that the armored vehicles were real, and some were captured by (or abandoned to) squads in east Ukraine today.
    The Kiev government continues an interim junta dominated by nationalists who wear flowery traditional Ukraine shirts, profess a brand of Catholicism tied to the Vatican, and have a history of Hitler collaborationism and Russophobia from the time of Stalin. I would say Kiev is run by illegetimate usurpers and nationalists, and will until fair elections are held in May.
    The current Kiev leaders have had or still have warrants out for their arrest for corruption. I think the Estonian foreign minister lamented that none have honorable pasts. Former president Yulia Tymoshenko (multi-millionaire leader of the Fatherland party) was freed from jail when parliament repealed the law she was jailed for breaking. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, a banker-politician by trade and Armenian by birth, escaped judgment for the embezzlement of public land by acquiring parliamentary immunity. There was an Interpol warrant out for his arrest. Avakov commands the “anti-terrorist” hunt against citizens, militias, and turncoat local officials (their nature varies according to city) occupying public buildings. And it goes on and on; but all the big cats (no offense intended to true felines) are too rich to go to jail. I think Medvedev’s term “bandits” hits the nail on the head; remember that the original popular uprising in Kiev in November was against government banditry, not whether the EU or Russia should be favored in commercial agreements. For those keeping score, Herszenhorn is now 0 for 3.
    The Daily Beast reports 15 April (the same day as the NY Times article) “Over the weekend, CIA Director John Brennan met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema to discuss the formation of new, more secure channels for sharing U.S. intelligence with the country now fighting pro-Russian secessionists in its eastern cities, according to U.S. and Western officials briefed on the meeting.” If the report is correct, the CIA is offering to spy on Russia and Ukrainian citizens and pass on intelligence to permit a victory for billionaire usurper bandits in Kiev.
    My take is that Medvedev has in his statement, without “bluster” or “hyperbole” or “misinformation” or “exaggerations” or invented “conspiracy theories”, and with a truthful yet brief statement, accurately described the shenanigans of what I fear is a dangerously dishonest US government, for whom Herszenhorn (on the basis of his first words of this essay) is an unspeakably biased (dishonest?) propagandist.

    Woody Benson writes from a shack someplace in a distant jungle.

  22. godsbelow
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Fred Kaplan, a colleague of Christopher Hitchens at Slate, has a series of articles that are the most illuminating analyses of the Ukrainian situation I’ve come across.

    He argues that Putin’s aim is ultimately to ensure that Ukraine remains within Russia’s sphere of influence. Putin will be keeping Crimea, and might indeed annex some eastern and southern regions of the country after an intervention – as well as having a sizeable Russian population, these regions are apparently important centres of industry, so annexing them would increase Ukraine’s economic dependence on Russia.

    But Putin probably doesn’t want to have to occupy the whole country. Kaplan argues that it will be enough for him to undermine Ukraine’s sense of autonomy, to make sure that it doesn’t make any overtures to the EU or NATO any time soon.

    Check out this and other articles:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2014/03/vladimir_putin_s_ukraine_invasion_how_to_stop_the_russian_president_through.html

  23. Heath
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Investigative reporter Robert Parry was unimpressed (to put it mildly) with the Times piece, for reasons he outlines here:

    http://consortiumnews.com/2014/04/16/ukraine-through-the-us-looking-glass/

    • W.Benson
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      Good article (i.e., confirms what I perceive — see #21 above — as the situation).
      Near the end Parry touches on a very sobering point, especially for someone who has been taught since a child that ‘freedom of the press’ is tantamount to ‘reliable information’. Says Parry, “But there is something utterly Orwellian in the current coverage of the Ukraine crisis, including accusing others of “propaganda” when their accounts – though surely not perfect – are much more honest and more accurate than what the U.S. press corps has been producing.”

      Jerry, the hypothesis that seems to gain force is that the “Free World” does not have a “Free Press”. It is NY Times journalistic banditry and not the Russians who lie. Cui bono?

  24. johndhynes
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    The difference is, it was already called Canada back then, even though it was not independent and distinct. The fact that there are two Koreas does not mean that Korea does not exist. The same was once true of Germany and Vietnam. What do you think Canadians would say?

    See also

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

    http://theweek.com/article/index/231328/americas-invasion-of-canada-a-brief-history

    http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/canadaweb/factfile/Unique-facts-Canada5.htm

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Um, no it wasn’t called Canada back then. That’s what you are asserting but it is a false assertion. Ironically, I started this conversation talking about how I caution Canadians who claim 1812 was a Canadian victory; it wasn’t, it was a British one. It wasn’t Canadians who burned the White House, it was British soldiers protecting their territories abroad.

      Canada did not have name or exist as a nation until 1867. In 1812 the area now occupied by modern Canada was a group of British colonies named: Upper Canada (a very small southern part of today’s province of Ontario), Rupert’s Land (most of the rest of modern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan & Nunavut) Lower Canada (the eastern border of Quebec and former French colonies lost to Britain), The Northwestern territory (the western part of modern Canada including NWT & Yukon of today) and finally the maritimes which didn’t change from then to now: Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland.

      Nothing was called Canada other than it made up the part of a name for the colonies of upper and lower Canada.

      The link you shared is sloppy in its language – if you’d like to know what a Canadian would say – I’m saying it. I’m Canadian. The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), a publicly funded news institution (like the BBC) is less sloppy. In this information, it uses phrases, “would one day become Canada” and introduces the conflict this way:

      On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Britain. The Americans imagined they would march into British North America and claim the land known as Upper Canada, take control of the northwestern fur trade and “liberate the local landowners from the British”….

      I’m wondering, do you think the Italian government laid siege to Masada in 73BC? Do you think Germany and France fought the Romans in guerilla attacks on Rome?

      • Reg
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Not to be overly picky, but in the interests of avoiding sloppy language, you might want to take a do-over on the names of the 3 provinces that make up the Maritimes.

        I know you are are aware the Newfoundland remained a separate territory until after WWII, so it was just a slip of the fingers I’m sure.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

          Yes, but it still existed as Newfoundland at the period I’m mentioning as a British colony. I am aware it didn’t join confederation until the 1940’s but in 1812, it was a British colony like the other places I mentioned and it was still called “Newfoundland”, just as Nova Scotia was called “Nova Scotia”. The one thing I forgot was New Brunswick but it was part of Nova Scotia for a time so in 1812 it may not have had that name.

      • Filippo
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Is “Canada” a Native (North) American word? Does it have a meaning?

        I’m in the U.S. I tell students that, as a matter of self-respect, they should know who their country neighbors are. “It’s Canada, not JARada.” :)

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          From what I know it means “village” or “huts” in Iroquois. I was taught (and who knows if it’s true) that some missionary said, “where are we” and some Iroquois said, Kanata & I guess they took it to mean the whole place. This site explains it.

          BTW as a kid, I had a racist (and religious) elementary school teacher who taught us history. He thought he’d read us the account of the torture of Brébeuf who was a missionary tortured and killed by the natives. He told it to show what savages the natives were. Looking back, that stuff was not something you should read young kids and his intentions had the opposite affect on me as I kept thinking “good, I’m glad they tortured him because he forced his stupid Christianity on them and tried to destroy their culture. How about a little Iroquois ritualized torture?”.

  25. Kevin
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    I seem to remember that UK and USA under Blair and Bush made preemptive war against Iraq based on false(manufactured?) evidence and without a UN mandate. That might not have looked too good to Putin (If they can do it, why can’t I?). At least Ukraine/Russia have borders, some common ethnicity and a common history and possible shared economic interests.
    I’m not seeking to justify Putin, just asking who is on the moral highground.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      I am!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      just asking who is on the moral highground.

      We’re talking about politics and politicians. The question might better be formulated as asking who is deepest in the fetid quagmire of political morality.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      There is no moral high ground when it comes to nations and politics, it is all a show to the electorate.

  26. Hempenstein
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    And wasting no time to try to repeat history. Is it a provocation, or real? Stay tuned, I guess.

    • Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Donetsk Jewish community calls alleged registration letter a smear

      Excerpt:

      The Jewish community of Donetsk said the letters were a hoax and done to smear the Pro-Russian militias.

      http://www.theblogmocracy.com/2014/04/17/donetsk-jewish-community-calls-alleged-registration-letter-a-smear/

    • W.Benson
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      The following is taken from a CNN news report posted at Charleston-SC’s “Live 5 News” (http://www.live5news.com/story/25278644/anti-semitic-fliers-handed-out-in-ukraine). If Charleston reported it, it must be true!
      The leader of Donetsk’s anti-Kiev protests “says the whole thing is a fake. He says it’s not his handwriting nor is it the title he even uses for himself on the paper. He calls it a clear provocation designed to sow hatred between the pro-Russian protesters and Jews in the community.
      “The chief rabbi agrees that it is designed to provoke hatred, too. And says it really isn’t a big deal.
      “People on the ground in Donetsk are trying to put a lid on it quickly. A lot of noise has been made about it by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. officials.”
      When they say “people on the ground,” I assume they mean the Kiev cabal and their allies.
      What an idiot liar this makes Kerry. What an idiot mischief-maker Victoria Nuland has been. What an idiot idea sending CIA Director John “waterboard” Brenner to Kiev. What an idiot Obama is for not keeping the band idiots locked up in the rose garden. What a gleeful propaganda opportunity my idiot State Department has served up to Moscow.

  27. Filippo
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    A video showing a 1000-year time-lapse of changes of European countries’ borders up to the very-near present.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      The formation of the nation states is interesting and you realize that Italy is such a new country as is Germany. That time in history when nations form is a very interesting time and one that has a strong impact on modern politics.

  28. Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    it’s interesting that you are scared of the alleged plans of Putin to conquer Europe (or indeed the world?) and compare him to Hitler, and yet there is no word of concern about such far-right groups like Svoboda and Pravy Sektor that played a crucial role in the recent revolution in Ukraine. You don’t need to even speculate here, they are openly nationalist (and openly antisemitic). Svoboda had up to almost 40% support in previous elections in Ukraine in some parts of western Ukraine, including Lviv, in case you think it’s a minor force. BTW far right parties have strong support in some EU countries themselves – France, Hungary and notorious Golden Dawn in Greece with 30% support. So, if you’re truly worried about Nazis, start with Western Ukraine, Greece and France perhaps. If you’re worried about military invasion of foreign countries in recent history, I’d probably pick US over Russia.


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