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Ukraine

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TiLT
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Re: Ukraine

Post by TiLT » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:21 pm

In non-talky news, a collection of NATO countries (Norway included, apparently) is establishing a sizable rapid strike force that will be deployed very soon to one of the neighboring countries to this conflict (sorry, I don't remember which one. It's been a few days since I read about this). This isn't a regular strike force, but a small army with tanks and similar equipment. Details are sketchy and not everything had been decided when I read about it. Canada wanted to participate, but hadn't formally joined, if I remember correctly.

So at least someone is beginning to show some muscles to Putin. Of course, NATO can't just waltz into Ukraine for any reason, as neither Ukraine nor Russia is a member and NATO is a defensive organization, but it should at least make other countries in the region feel safer. NATO's hands are tied right now, but Putin knows that if he somehow ends up attacking a NATO force, the gloves will come off and diplomacy can turn into outright war, including against America.
Insert witty comment here.

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El Guapo
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Re: Ukraine

Post by El Guapo » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:41 pm

Apparently Putin said in discussions with the EU that Russia could take Kiev within two weeks if it wanted to. The only way I could see a real Russia - NATO showdown is if it looks like Russian forces might try to overrun all of the Ukraine. I wonder if that looks like a real possibility whether NATO would deploy forces in / around Kiev and basically dare Russia to shoot at them.

Short of that I assume that NATO wouldn't do anything (beyond member state economic sanctions) to stop Russia from effectively carving off the Russian areas.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by TiLT » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:27 am

El Guapo wrote:I wonder if that looks like a real possibility whether NATO would deploy forces in / around Kiev and basically dare Russia to shoot at them.
I very much doubt it. NATO doesn't have the mandate to move into Ukraine, even if invited. This latest move is more about showing Russia that there are consequences, and to give hope to neighboring countries who fear that they may eventually end up in the same situation in which Ukraine is right now.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by AWS260 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:47 pm

Next up: Estonia?
The Estonian-Russia border at Luhamaa does not look like a new Checkpoint Charlie. Set among the wooded plains that mark Nato and the European Union's eastern-most territory, the crossing is more likely to be the site of long lines of idling lorries than machine-gun nests and prisoner exchanges.

But that era of post-cold war calm may have come to an end on Friday morning, when, according to several Estonian accounts, smoke grenades detonated at an Estonian customs post, and all radio and telephone signals were jammed as armed Russian men suddenly materialised and dragged away a local official.

***

Kadri Liik, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said: "My first guess was that this was to do with cross-border smuggling which happened to be sponsored by the Russian security services, which wouldn't be that unusual. The lines are pretty blended. It could be that Kohver got in the way of a business deal, but if it is business, it's clearly a business with Moscow connections."

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Re: Ukraine

Post by paulbaxter » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:50 pm

Did anyone happen to catch Poroshenko's remarks to congress yesterday? All I've gotten was a one sentence summary from NPR.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:55 pm

C-SPAN video with closed captioning record.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Rip » Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:17 pm

Sounds like Putin is throwing an after election party.
Amid rising tensions and fresh violence, Ukrainian authorities on Friday accused Russia of sending dozens of its military vehicles into its territory -- though the Kremlin have knocked down such reports as unfounded and "provocative."
At a briefing Friday, Ukrainian defense spokesman Andriy Lysenko said that 32 tanks, 16 D-30 howitzers and 30 KamAZ heavy trucks crossed past a border checkpoint and headed toward the volatile Luhansk region on Thursday.
Another Ukrainian official, Dmytro Tymchuk, alleged the "armored column" consisted of "a battalion tactical group of the Russian Armed Forces," also according to Ukrinform state news agency.
A NATO military officer said Friday that the alliance -- which doesn't include Ukraine but does include several of its neighbors -- is looking into these reports and knows of an increase in Russian troops and equipment on its eastern border.
"If this crossing into Ukraine is confirmed, it would be further evidence of Russia's aggression and direct involvement in destabilizing Ukraine," the officer said.
http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/07/world/eur ... ?hpt=hp_t2

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Re: Ukraine

Post by GreenGoo » Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:34 pm

Just read an article on my phone that has the Ukraine claiming 200ish rebels are now dead. Didn't get a chance at the details, so I'm not sure if Russian forces were engaged as well, or if it was russian equipped ukrainians or what.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Moliere » Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:19 pm

Don't mind us. Just passing through...
In a show of military muscle amid tensions with the West, Russia will send long-range strategic bombers on regular patrol missions across the globe, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a top official said Wednesday.

The announcement by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu came as NATO's chief accused Russia of sending fresh troops and tanks into eastern Ukraine.

"Over the last few days, we have seen multiple reports of large convoys moving into Eastern Ukraine," said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. "We assess that this significant military buildup includes Russian artillery, tanks, air defense systems and troops. His statement called the situation a "severe threat to the cease-fire."

Moscow denied the allegation as unfounded, but Shoigu also said the dispute with the West over Ukraine would require Russia to beef up its forces in the Crimea, the Black Sea Peninsula that Russia annexed in March.

Shoigu said Russian long-range bombers will conduct flights along Russian borders and over the Arctic Ocean. He said, "In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico."
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Defiant » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:53 pm

Russia's economy is doing badly, in part, because of Russia's actions.
In an ideal world, Putin would see that his economy is crumbling (the weakening currency and surging interest rates make for a deadly combination of economic contraction and rampant inflation) and take steps that would convince Europe and the US to ease the sanctions. That would probably be enough to stem the panic, and also have a real economic benefit. But to do that, he'd have to dramatically pull back his activity in Ukraine, and frankly that's extremely unlikely to happen. Putin's adventures in Ukraine are very popular in Russia, and that's the one thing he has going for him.
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/20 ... e-collapse

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Rip » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:56 pm

Defiant wrote:Russia's economy is doing badly, in part, because of Russia's actions.
In an ideal world, Putin would see that his economy is crumbling (the weakening currency and surging interest rates make for a deadly combination of economic contraction and rampant inflation) and take steps that would convince Europe and the US to ease the sanctions. That would probably be enough to stem the panic, and also have a real economic benefit. But to do that, he'd have to dramatically pull back his activity in Ukraine, and frankly that's extremely unlikely to happen. Putin's adventures in Ukraine are very popular in Russia, and that's the one thing he has going for him.
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/20 ... e-collapse
But mostly because we got lucky and oil prices have tanked. Perfect storm.

I am considering it our xmas present.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by $iljanus » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:09 pm

So Putin held one of his long press conferences which are always entertaining. Some tidbits from the Washington Post...
“Rates of growth may be slowing down, but the economy will still grow and our economy will overcome the current situation,” Putin said at the televised news conference. “I believe about two years is the worst-case scenario. After that, I believe growth is imminent.”
(left unspoken) After two years if things don't improve I'm coming for all of you...
He said the West wanted the Russian bear to "just eat honey instead of hunting animals," and continued with the metaphor: "They are trying to chain the bear. And when they manage to chain the bear, they will take out his fangs and claws."
Weak Western vegans...
A Reuters reporter started asking a question: "How high are the risks of a coup d’etat in Russia? You blame things on external forces, but off the record, people even in your entourage, they blame you."

"Give me their names," Putin interjected, with a grin.
Found that rather funny, less so if I were part of the entourage that was disloyal.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by GreenGoo » Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:25 am

The diet of Brown bears is about 90% vegetable matter. The other 10% includes carrion, grubs/bugs, crabs, clams, rats and squirrels, moths and yes, beehives. They will eat anything, but mostly they eat plants. They "hunt" almost nothing. Well, except for small rodents I guess. And road kill.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by $iljanus » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:30 pm

GreenGoo wrote:The diet of Brown bears is about 90% vegetable matter. The other 10% includes carrion, grubs/bugs, crabs, clams, rats and squirrels, moths and yes, beehives. They will eat anything, but mostly they eat plants. They "hunt" almost nothing. Well, except for small rodents I guess. And road kill.
Yeah, you go tell Putin that. Enjoy your accidental polonium poisoning!

:wink:
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Re: Ukraine

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:39 pm

$iljanus wrote:
GreenGoo wrote:The diet of Brown bears is about 90% vegetable matter. The other 10% includes carrion, grubs/bugs, crabs, clams, rats and squirrels, moths and yes, beehives. They will eat anything, but mostly they eat plants. They "hunt" almost nothing. Well, except for small rodents I guess. And road kill.
Yeah, you go tell Putin that. Enjoy your accidental polonium poisoning!

:wink:
I'll just send him a link to the wiki page, anonymously. ;)

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:58 pm

A shift to the West
Ukraine's president signed a bill Monday dropping his nation's nonaligned status but signaled that he will hold a referendum before seeking NATO membership.

Using a news conference to sign the legislation, which parliament had adopted last week, Petro Poroshenko vowed to reform Ukraine's economy and military forces to meet European Union and NATO standards.

But he also said he will leave it up to Ukrainian citizens to decide in a popular vote whether to join NATO or not.
...
While public support for joining the alliance has swelled after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March and a pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine, prospects for NATO membership in the near term appear dim.

With its long-underfunded military suffering from the war with the separatists and the country's economy in peril, Ukraine has much to overcome to achieve the stability that the alliance seeks in its members.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Pyperkub » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:58 pm

Oliver Stone appears to buy Yanukovic's bridge without looking at the deed:
“Details to follow in the documentary, but it seems clear that the so-called ‘shooters’ who killed 14 police men, wounded some 85, and killed 45 protesting civilians, were outside third party agitators,” he said. “Many witnesses, including Yanukovych and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions – with CIA fingerprints on it.”
I'm sorry Mr. Stone, but Yanukovych and police officials aren't exactly the most reliable sources in a corrupt government.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by El Guapo » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:07 pm

At this point Oliver Stone is so wedded to the CIA / US spec ops as a universal villain that he would believe just about any US adversary, no matter how awful they may be.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:04 pm

Oh, Putin
Vladimir Putin has admitted for the first time that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the referendum on self-determination.

Crimea was formally absorbed into Russia on 18 March, to international condemnation, after unidentified gunmen took over the peninsula.

Mr Putin said on TV he had ordered work on "returning Crimea" to begin at an all-night meeting on 22 February.
I can't imagine how having soldiers seize the government buildings at the end of February had any impact on the referendum almost three weeks later.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Max Peck » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:25 am

Ukraine crews battle blaze after 'huge' explosion outside Kiev
BBC.com wrote:Emergency crews are battling a fire outside the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, following a huge blast at a fuel depot. The blaze broke out on Monday evening, and one worker at the plant died. The explosion on Tuesday morning left several firefighters reportedly injured or missing. Three firefighters were unaccounted for and another six were taken to hospital, officials said, as the fire spread to at least 16 tanks, most of them storing petrol. The fire at the depot, next to Hlevakha airbase and near the village of Vasylkiv, sent a huge pall of smoke over the surrounding area.
For some reason, I am incapable of not suspecting that this is an act of sabotage.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by El Guapo » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:36 am

Indeed. Though it could well be an accident as well, insofar as I imagine that safety protocols at depots in Kiev during wartime are not super rigorous or well funded.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by paulbaxter » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:39 am

El Guapo wrote: not super rigorous or well funded.
That pretty much describes everything in the country in my experience. I love those folks, but functional government is not a strength there.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Max Peck » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:00 pm

Ukraine rebels have powerful new Russian-made rockets - OSCE
Enlarge Image
International monitors say they have found a new type of Russian-made rocket system in rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) spotted the powerful TOS-1 Buratino multiple rocket launcher in Luhansk. It came as the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France were due to discuss the withdrawal of more heavy weapons from the front line.

Moscow denies sending troops and heavy weapons to the pro-Russian separatists. However, the Kremlin admits that Russian "volunteers" are fighting alongside the rebels.
TOS-1 Buratino multiple rocket system
  • 24 rockets fired from mobile T-72 tank chassis
  • Target area can be up to 40sq km (15.4 sq miles) if all 24 are fired
  • 220mm warheads are incendiary (flame-thrower) or thermobaric (using oxygen at target area to strengthen blast)
  • Range is from 2.7km (1.7 miles) to 3.5km (2.2 miles), depending on variant
  • Crew targets rockets with laser and ballistic guidance instruments
  • Soviet forces used Buratino in Afghanistan war in 1980s
  • Also used by Russian troops in Chechnya
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:06 pm

24 rockets landing in a box ~4 miles per side. Nice precision weapon they got there.

Wiki
The TOS-1 is intended to engage military personnel, equipment, and buildings, including fortified constructions.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by stessier » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:10 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:24 rockets landing in a box ~4 miles per side. Nice precision weapon they got there.
Fired from a whole 2.2 miles away.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:12 pm

Better hope there's not a stiff headwind when you fire the thing.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by stessier » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:24 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:Better hope there's not a stiff headwind when you fire the thing.
It's crazy - to help me visualize it, I took a standard 3x3 Post-It note. Then I took another one and folded it in half length wise, then in half width wise. The outer edge of the little Post-It (when butted up against the large Post-It) is the maximum fire distance. The large Post-It is the target area. And I use "target" loosely.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Max Peck » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:30 pm

stessier wrote:
Isgrimnur wrote:24 rockets landing in a box ~4 miles per side. Nice precision weapon they got there.
Fired from a whole 2.2 miles away.
They say "up to" 40 sq km. :) Another source describes a full salvo as covering a 200mx400m area.

I think the BBC has blended specs for the TOS-1 (30-barrel) and TOS-1A (24-barrel) variants. The OSCE report just mentions a TOS-1:
On 26 September the SMM observed at least 36 tanks (type unknown) at the training area in “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk). A day earlier the SMM spotted at the same training area one heavy multiple launch thermobaric rocket system (TOS-1 Buratino, 220mm).
From what I can scrounge up, the TOS-1 has 30 barrels and a max range of 3.5km, while the TOS-1A has 24 barrels and fires different rockets with a max range of 6km.

On days like this, I miss having an all-access pass to the Jane's reference library. Speaking of Jane's, it appears that they reported the possible presence of TOS-1 MRLS in East Ukraine as far back as Jan 2015.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Max Peck » Wed May 25, 2016 12:56 pm

Russia's Putin pardons Ukrainian pilot, sends her home in prisoner swap
Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko arrived home to scenes of jubilation on Wednesday after her release by Russia in a prisoner swap and she promptly offered to fight again for Kiev in its conflict with pro-Russian separatists. Savchenko's handover, in return for two Russian prisoners - had been demanded by the West and was cast as a humanitarian gesture by Russian President Vladimir Putin a few weeks before the European Union decides whether to extend sanctions against Russia imposed over its support of the rebels.

Savchenko, 35, barefoot - it was unclear why - and wearing a T-shirt depicting the Ukrainian coat of arms, emerged from the terminal at Kiev's Boryspil airport to cries of "hero" from a crowd of supporters, among them her sister and mother. "Huge thanks for fighting for me. I thank everyone who wished me well. Thanks to you I survived. To those who wished me ill, I survived despite you!" she shouted. "I can't revive the dead, but I am always ready to lay down my life on the battlefield for Ukraine. And I will do everything possible for every person in captivity to be freed." She was captured in 2014 while fighting with Ukrainian forces against pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. She was handed over to Russia and found guilty of complicity in the deaths of two Russian journalists who were killed by artillery fire while reporting on the conflict.

As Savchenko touched down in Kiev, Russian television showed footage of Putin meeting relatives of the two Russian journalists to explain his decision to pardon her. "I want to... express the hope that such decisions, which are dictated first of all by humanitarian considerations, will lead to a reduction in the confrontation in the conflict zone and will help avoid such losses, which are terrible and which nobody needs," Putin said. State television also showed the two Russians handed over by Kiev, Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, descending the steps of an aircraft after it touched down at Moscow's Vnukovo airport.
Some interesting BBC commentary:
Nadiya Savchenko is back on Ukrainian soil, and the first indications are that she will be the same outspoken firebrand that she was during Russian captivity. Undoubtedly, the Kremlin will remain one of her main targets. But it will be interesting to watch which Ukrainian politicians will become the focus of her ire. Her politics apparently lean towards the nationalist camp - though how far they extend in this direction remains to be seen. While in prison she was elected as a parliamentary deputy from Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland party. Both Savchenko and Ms Tymoshenko are strong-willed personalities - and conflicts between them might erupt. But the biggest question is how she and President Petro Poroshenko will get along. Savchenko voiced her support for the Minsk peace agreements, and Mr Poroshenko looked pleased as he stood beside her. But she also said that "peace is only possible through war". If she decides to turn against the president, the anti-Poroshenko camp will be strengthened by what at the moment is Ukraine's most powerful political voice.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Max Peck » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:12 am

Kiev car bomb kills top Belarusian journalist Sheremet
A car bomb explosion has killed a leading Belarusian journalist and Kremlin critic, Pavel Sheremet, in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. He hosted a morning news show on Radio Vesti and reported for Ukrayinska Pravda, a popular news website. The bomb went off as Sheremet, 44, was driving a car belonging to his partner, the website's owner Olena Prytula. Sheremet had lived in Kiev for five years, after quitting Russian TV because of alleged Kremlin pressure. The Russian authorities accuse Ukrainian media of distorting news from eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are defying Kiev's forces. Ukraine's Interior Ministry spokesman, Artem Shevchenko, called the car bombing "a brazen murder... aimed at destabilising the situation" in Ukraine.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Carpet_pissr » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:11 am

[quote="Max Peck"]
On days like this, I miss having an all-access pass to the Jane's reference /quote]
Ask your question. The answer may or may not appear.

Insert ninja emoji here (wow, Tapatalk, no ninja option?! Lame!)

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:15 am

:ninja:
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Max Peck » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:21 am

Carpet_pissr wrote:
Max Peck wrote: On days like this, I miss having an all-access pass to the Jane's reference library.
Ask your question. The answer may or may not appear.
At the time, I was looking for a more authoritative resource to distinguish between the TOS-1 and TOS-1A systems.

OTOH, I have no idea why I linked to that site rather than Jane's -- it must have been a copy/paste malfunction. :ninja:
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
-- The Doctor

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Rip » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:30 pm

Holman wrote:
Defiant wrote:(this is going back a bit but...)
Holman wrote:What would a foreign policy genius like George W. Bush or Mitt Romney do in this situation?
While I'm no fan of his, I'd point out that in the debates Romney did recognize Russia as a geopolitical threat, whereas Obama dismissed the idea.
Well, Romney called Russia our "greatest threat." Even with everything going on in Ukraine right now, that's just not so.
My how the narrative can change in a heartbeat.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by gbasden » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:40 pm

Rip wrote:
My how the narrative can change in a heartbeat.

:ninja:
It's funny how the geopolitics have changed since then as well.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Rip » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:45 pm

Perhaps but very predictable.
Several years of testing boundaries -- and pushing further when meeting no resistance other than words -- have taught Russia that it can be confident of little meaningful response from the current U.S. administration; and so, Russian behavior becomes more and more outrageous. A continuing lack of challenge can only mean that this process will continue, and Russia will become ever bolder and more ambitious in what it seeks to achieve.

Russia's latest demands for rolling back U.S. and NATO defensive preparations to how they were in 2010 would seem laughable, if it were not for Moscow's recent solid track record in manipulating the West to its advantage.
The refusal of the current U.S. administration to recognize the problem, extending to attempts to suppress congressional reporting on Russian hostile actions, is an abdication of responsibility for mitigating the long-term consequences of failing to deal with Russia.
The next administration will be left to pick up the pieces and do whatever possible to bring the Russia relationship back under control. If it fails to do so swiftly, the consequences are likely to be severe.
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/07/opini ... eir-giles/

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Alefroth
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Alefroth » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:26 pm

Rip wrote:
Holman wrote:
Defiant wrote:(this is going back a bit but...)
Holman wrote:What would a foreign policy genius like George W. Bush or Mitt Romney do in this situation?
While I'm no fan of his, I'd point out that in the debates Romney did recognize Russia as a geopolitical threat, whereas Obama dismissed the idea.
Well, Romney called Russia our "greatest threat." Even with everything going on in Ukraine right now, that's just not so.
My how the narrative can change in a heartbeat.

:ninja:
Boy can it.
Rip wrote:Anyone with half a brain knows conservatives have for some time pushed for a more confrontational stance against Russia and her close allies.
:ninja:

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Rip » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:42 pm

Alefroth wrote:
Rip wrote:
Holman wrote:
Defiant wrote:(this is going back a bit but...)
Holman wrote:What would a foreign policy genius like George W. Bush or Mitt Romney do in this situation?
While I'm no fan of his, I'd point out that in the debates Romney did recognize Russia as a geopolitical threat, whereas Obama dismissed the idea.
Well, Romney called Russia our "greatest threat." Even with everything going on in Ukraine right now, that's just not so.
My how the narrative can change in a heartbeat.

:ninja:
Boy can it.
Rip wrote:Anyone with half a brain knows conservatives have for some time pushed for a more confrontational stance against Russia and her close allies.
:ninja:
Which I am still for unless Russia stops acting aggressive. That doesn't mean I have challenge the legitimacy of Trump or buy into the narrative that he is Putin's lapdog. I am quite happy to judge his actions and the results of them on their own merit once he actually takes or fails to take actions.

On the bright side I highly doubt he can fail any worse than Obama on that front.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Alefroth » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:47 pm

And then some things never change. You don't have to think Trump is Putin's lapdog to realize that a Russian propaganda campaign targeting the U.S. with the intent to influence a presidential election is a very bad thing.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Rip » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:50 pm

Alefroth wrote:And then some things never change. You don't have to think Trump is Putin's lapdog to realize that a Russian propaganda campaign targeting the U.S. with the intent to influence a presidential election is a very bad thing.
Of course not, nor is it a new thing. Just like us using propaganda campaigns to influence the same in Russia, Israel, and numerous other countries. As noted in the Intel report this is hardly a new occurrence. It has been going on for decades.

http://exiledonline.com/feature-story-u ... ropaganda/
In fact, if a recent report by George Washington University scholar Janine Wedel is to be believed, the U.S. government in Russia has done even worse than that: it has energetically pursued a policy of circumventing Russian parliamentary processes to bring about the rise of a small group of politicians who have ushered in a corrupt new oligarchical government, one that has stripped the ordinary Russian of what little political and economic power he had before 1991.

The thrust of Wedel’s report, entitled “Clique-Run Organizations and U.S. Economic Aid: An Institutional Analysis,” is that the United States government’s Russian aid policy has been limited to supporting Anatoly Chubais and his “St. Petersburg mafia”- a team of reformers which includes Maxim Boyko and consists mainly of people Chubais knew during his university days in Leningrad.

The report argues that in giving financial support for Chubais’ reform programs, most notably the voucher program and privatization, the U.S. has actually intended to finance not reform, but the advancement of Chubais’ personal political career.

Wedel’s report, which first reached Russian readers when it was mentioned in an article in “Obshaya Gazeta” in March, argues that foreign aid allowed the St. Petersburg “mafia” to seize political power by distributing aid as communist leaders had once distributed goods and materials:
“By serving as the chief recipients and hence distributors of foreign aid, the new political leaders would consolidate their positions, just as the communists had done. More than mere assistance, aid became a political resource for certain Russian reformers.”

Claiming that exclusively supporting one group of reformers was more effective than supporting many, aid directors steadfastly refused to investigate the possibility of searching out reformers other than Chubais, choosing instead to put all of their eggs in what would turn out to be one tremendously flawed basket.

“We have a limited amount of money,” explained aid coordinator William Taylor. “You can go in as a sprinkler and spread out over a lawn, or go in as a fire hose.”

The “fire hose” mentality helped Chubais attain the political power to blast U.S.-sponsored reforms into reality without having to face parliament or other voter-accountable structures. The chief method of circumventing the Russian popular will was the establishment of pseudo-governmental “private” organizations that received foreign aid and implemented “pro-western” reforms. These organizations were a huge source of income for American academic consultants, a large number of whom came from Harvard University and worked for the Harvard Institute for International Development, which over time became Chubais’s closest ally in the U.S. aid program.

These pseudo-governmental bodies, like the Russian Privatization Center (RPC), its offshoot Local Privatization Centers (LPC), and the Institute for a Law-Based Economy (which drafts legislation and decrees for the Russian government) were created by presidential decree-secured by the peculiarly-positioned Chubais-meaning that they never had to be approved by parliament and were never subject to ministerial control.

These think-tanks, all of which were run or heavily influenced by Chubais, were well-funded. The RPC alone received $41 million from USAID alone. The result was that Chubais, while receiving his political mandate to enact reforms from Boris Yeltsin, was given a political machine that was funded not by Yeltsin but by Western, and largely American, aid. While other Russian politicians had to struggle to build their power base at home, Chubais had a golden fish in Washington that made sure he was tens of millions of dollars ahead of his nearest political rival.

Did USAID help propel Chubais into top positions in government? Wedel quoted AID official Thomas Dine as saying: “As an observer, I would say yes.” The U.S. believed that its faith in Chubais had been vindicated after 1994, when as Deputy Prime Minister he pushed through Russia’s mass-privatization program. Widely cited by USAID officials as an example of U.S. foreign aid success, the program was said to have made 40 million Russians property owners. In fact, ordinary Russians saw little or no benefit from privatization. For instance, the “voucher” program, the brainchild of the State Property Committee (GKI) which Chubais headed at the time, was underwritten by $58 million in U.S. Aid money; while it may have redistributed ownership of factories, it did nothing to prevent the halting of production in those factories all over the country. Workers were in most cases left with worthless pieces of paper in return for their investment.

Privatization was, however, a success for a certain section of Russian society-the small clique of bankers and businessmen which by 1997 even conservative slow-on-the-draw Western publications like Newsweek were openly calling an oligarchy. The most notorious example of property redistribution to this group was the “Loans-for-Shares” program enacted in late 1995.

Under this program, which was created by the same RPC-advised State Property Committee that handled the voucher and mass privatization programs, shares for state enterprises were auctioned off to private banks (who would then place them in trust) in exchange for cash loans made to the government. In theory, it was a short-term method of raising money for the state budget; in reality, it was a means of redistributing huge chunks of state property into the hands of a tiny group of investors at virtually no cost.

The state mineral magnate Norilsk Nickel, for instance, fell into the hands of Uneximbank for a bid of just $171 million, or $100,000 above the auction starting price. The company, which controls 35% of the world’s nickel reserves, is worth a great deal more: it is said to clear more than a billion dollars every year in exports.

The most startling thing about the deal, though, was that Uneximbank was assigned by the GKI to regulate the auction. The bank was therefore given license to exclude a much higher bid for Norilsk by Bank Rossissky Kredit on the grounds that it had “insufficient financial guarantees.” Bank Menatep, given license to regulate the tender for the oil firm Yukos (a tender it later won), excluded a Bank Rossissky Kredit bid on the grounds that its representatives were 24 minutes late for the auction.

Worse still, the State Accounting Chamber later found that Uneximbank, Menatep and other loans-for-shares winners had used government funds to purchase the auctioned shares. How? Well, as “authorized” banks, Uneximbank and company were holding government funds designated for other purposes-like the payment of state worker salaries. Menatep, for instance, bought its controlling stake in Yukos during the same period that Academy of Sciences workers-whose salary funds were held by Menatep-stopped receiving their pay.

The loans-for-shares program paved the way for a fundamental political change in Russia. It placed direct control over Russia’s industries in the hands of a small banking oligarchy closely tied to the government. Ordinary Russians, the people we Westerners were supposed to be enriching through our financing of the voucher program, lost out as their salaries were used to effect the mass theft of state property.

Was the U.S. government opposed to the program? You’d never know it by our USAID spending record. Even if U.S.-created pseudo-governmental bodies like the RPC did not directly create the loans-for-shares mechanism-and it would be difficult to argue, given their proximity to the GKI, that they did not have a strong advisory role-they were at least indirectly responsible for the great train robbery through its propulsion of Chubais to the mantle of the “czar of economic reform,” a title USAID itself used to describe him during the loans-for-shares period.
Why didn’t the United States protest once Chubais became, at the very least, a serious public relations problem? Chiefly, because the very nature of the U.S. foreign aid program dictates an unwillingness among AID officials to recommend cutbacks in aid money-which, after all, pay their salaries. In fact, the collusive relationship between the United States and Chubais mirrors the one that existed between Chubais’ government and Russia’s loans-for-shares-winning authorized banks. Indirectly, AID officials receive kickbacks from the AID money, since a large part of America’s foreign aid in fact goes towards the salaries of highly-paid, per diem-dependent Western consultants. An admission that their policies were wrong from the start would derail the gravy train.

Furthermore, the people the United States entrusts to enact its policies often had a demonstrated lack of the moral instinct that would be needed to recognize that Chubais is not the kind of partner America should be seeking. For instance, the United States paid the infamous private public relations firm Burson-Marstellar, to handle Chubais’ privatization p.r. campaign.
Is it possible that the United States actually gave one person the license to spend hundreds of millions of dollars just because he speaks good English? Absolutely, observers say.

“America probably looks at Russia as such a tangled, dark, mysterious mess that they’re relieved to find someone who looks and sounds like their own,” said analyst Andrei Piontkowsky. “Chubais speaks English and he carries a laptop computer, although God knows what he uses it for. But that’s enough for the U.S. to place their trust in him.”

Wedel quoted a spokesman for Alexander Lebed as saying that the United States identified reformers on the basis of whether or not they had “camera appeal” and are”west-oriented and young.”

Piontkowsky added that it is typical of the United States to make its foreign policy decisions based on the appearance or personality of one figure. “Before Chubais, there was Gorbachev in the late 1980s,” he said. “America was so wrapped up with Gorbachev that it couldn’t pay any attention to Yeltsin. Now they’re fixated on Chubais.”

When will the fixation end? Well, the U.S. didn’t give up on Gorbachev until he was out; the same holds for the Shah, Batista, Mobutu, and a host of other shady strongmen. If Chubais continues with his policies, he too may soon have a revolution on his hands. But unlike the one which ousted Gorbachev, the next one won’t be pro-Western, and ex-pats living here won’t get off so easily. And when that happens, we can thank USAID, its Harvard cronies, and profiteers like Burson-Marstellar for the trouble.
Last edited by Rip on Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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