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Russia’s restraint over Ukraine thus far has been remarkable

24 February 2014

24 February 2014

Perhaps it’s premature to say this now that the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has sounded off about Russian citizens in Ukraine being in danger, but it strikes me that Russia has behaved in the current crisis with a certain commendable restraint.

Judging from most pundits in most British papers, there is no redeeming element to the Putin regime – soup to nuts, gay rights to corruption – and if it hasn’t actually sent the tanks in, well, it probably wants to.

Yet, reading the statement from its foreign ministry that ‘a forced change of power is underway’, it’s hard to say that it’s not strictly correct. Mr Medvedev wasn’t actually being untruthful in saying that: ‘the legitimacy of a whole number of organs of power that function [in Kiev] raises great doubts. Some of our foreign, Western partners think otherwise. This is some kind of aberration of perception when people call legitimate what is essentially the result of armed mutiny. We do not understand what is going on there. There is a real threat to our interests and to the lives of our citizens.’

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From the Russian perspective that’s a reasonable point of view. Viktor Yanukovych isn’t our kind of president and seems undeniably to have authorised the security services to use snipers against civilians, but when it comes to a description of what happened in Kiev in the last few days, armed mutiny is not an unreasonable way of putting it – though it must be said, there were more arms with the government than the opposition. Mr Yanukovytch was indeed a legitimately elected president; the opposition which is now running the show with the support of the EU is not, and won’t have the chance to be until elections take place in May. For parliament to issue a warrant for the ex-president’s arrest is not, in the circumstances, a conciliatory move, though it is a natural one.

Russia does indeed have a legitimate interest in the region because of the numbers of Ukrainians who identify with it rather than the EU and, for good measure, speak Russian as a first language. We may think they’re on the wrong side of history or just plain wrong, but it’s a bit rash to try to project sentiment in Kiev onto the rest of the country – in the Crimea (and it’s wonderful how resonant of history the placenames are – Mr Yanukovytch is said to be roosting in Balaklava) they take a different view, and if they don’t identify with the protesters in Kiev as enthusiastically as we might like them to, well, that’s their call.

It seems very probable that the EU will be the winner in this fight, and if there isn’t to be partition – never a good option – Russia will lose control over an important strategic area. Yet so far, the Putin government has behaved, as I say, with remarkable restraint other than the use of strong language on Russian speaking media outlets in the east. In the old days, they’d have sent the tanks in about a week ago. Is it possible, with all due caution, for us to say so, even though this runs counter to the pundit orthodoxy on the subject of Putin’s Russia?

Incidentally, although I naturally applaud the EU supporting Ukraine, and indeed Ukraine embracing the EU if it wants to, we should perhaps take on board the implications. If the country does indeed join the EEA and ultimately the Union, its 45 million citizens will have the right to live and work freely throughout the EU. Including here. Just saying. But at least, unlike Turkey, Ukraine is actually European.


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Show comments
  • Clifford Carlson

    Russia was having trouble
    What a sad, sad story
    Needed a new leader to restore
    Its former glory
    Where, oh, where was he?
    Where could that man be?
    We looked around and then we found
    The man for you and me
    Where, oh, where was he?
    Where could that man be?
    We looked around and then we found
    The man for you and me!
    ————-
    And now it’s…
    Springtime for Putin and Russia!
    Rossiya is happy and gay!
    We’re marching to a faster pace
    Look out, here comes the master race!
    Springtime for Putin and Russia
    The steppe’s a fine land once more!
    Springtime for Putin and Russia
    Watch out, Europe
    We’re going on tour!

  • Dan H

    Troops are amassing, they will annex Crimea and then push into the Ukraine as soon as Crimean civilians are targeted by “pro EU fascists” as they see it.

    How do I know, because I’ve just been told that by associates in Russia. Basically NATO can go f?!k itself.

    They will do the following…

    1. Establish immediate no fly zone within Ukraine
    2. Carve out a humanitarian corridor (Crimea)
    3. Defensive buffer pushing further West into Ukraine

    They see this is as NATO seeking to drag Ukraine under its control. Putin is going to fight this one with the military and he’s not stopping at Ukraine either.

  • Roy

    Do you think he will act when you are looking?

  • Grey Wolf

    Wicked and insidious progressive-moral forces from the West are using gay rights as the latest battering ram to break open the remaining barriers to their globalist ambitions. See how the liberal-progressives and the more deceptive progressives who go under the descriptor ‘neo-con’ have joined hands on this issue and are ranged against traditionalism.

    • justejudexultionis

      Nothing so insidious as a bourgeois reactionary dissembler such as yourself.

  • Chris Kimberley

    Putin’s bare-chested-in-the-wilderness photos at least hint that he has an ego to match the size of his country.
    Hes also been busy with the olympics but now Im sure that his attention will be fully focused on Ukraine, Its too late to send the tanks into Kiev now.
    His puppet Yanukovich has been exposed as just another oligarch on the take, weve seen his faux disneyland pics.
    Many Ukranians see Poland and they are envious, they see a country in a similar position to theirs after the fall of the USSR, that has moved closer to Europe and seen its economy and wellbeing improve. The Ukranian experience has seen the opposite still in hock to Moscow via the gas, no investment in infrastructure and a few oligarchs making an awful lot of money (the ukranian cabinet has millionaires that make our MPs look like paupers despite UK being much richer than Ukraine). They want an end to day to day corruption and hope.
    Against all this we have ex-KGB Putin who has ruthlessly oppressed his opponents at home and abroad, he cant openly invade but hes got history with Pollonium and Dioxins- just ask Victor Yushenko.

  • littlegreyrabbit

    How stupid is the remark that the government has more weapons than the opposition? Of course the government has more weapons. The UK government had more weapons than the Iraq war protestors or the London riots. That is the nature of governments.

    However, there is every reason to believe that the opposition used snipers to kill police an d provoke return fire. I understand the UK has sent police or spooks over to Kiev to try and demonstrate the complete opposite. Typical of British hate mongering

    • rtj1211

      They sent the BBC over. That’s the same thing.

  • Frank

    It seems very odd to comment that Russia has behaved with remarkable restraint. Perhaps Russia is aware that a large number of troops in Ukraine would resist her tanks? Perhaps Russia is aware that some of her own troops might not be entirely happy to invade Ukraine? Perhaps Russia is aware that taking action might spark an up-rising in Russia? Russia’s hesitation strikes me as potentially indicating many things, but arguably not willing restraint!

  • Danny K Cabrera

    well Russia, could easily be saying, meh let them have Ukraine, they still need the gas so the pipeline wont go anywhere, and if they get ukraine into the EU well thats another broke country for them to salvage.. but they dont have any money so yeah ukranians will be really dissapointed when they see how the EU in reality is Germany trying to save everyone going bankrupt.

    • Pip

      The EU is little more than the Germans 4th attempt to control Europe Politically and for this reason alone it is doomed to fail in a big way.

      • rtj1211

        Actually, the new Italian Puppet has just ordered the Italian senate to abolish themselves. It wouldn’t do to have any resistance to the EU puppet dictator, would it??

      • justejudexultionis

        You mean just like the UK is controlled by American corporate interests?

        • Pip

          Not for much longer

  • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

    “It seems very probable that the EU will be the winner in this fight…”

    You think? I said that here weeks ago.

    Now read these two revealing quotes from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and former Soviet minister of foreign affairs Eduard Shevardnadze, and what they have in mind for you in the near future:

    “Editor’s Note: The phrases ‘From the Atlantic to the Urals’, ‘From the Atlantic to Vladivostok’ and ‘From Vancouver to Vladivostok’ are interchangeable in the strategists’ lexicon. In the course of his Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, delivered in Oslo in June 1992, Gorbachev said: ‘Our [sic] vision of the European space from the Atlantic to the Urals is not that of a closed system. Since it includes the Soviet Union [sic], which reaches to the shores of the Pacific, it goes beyond nominal geographical boundaries’. Note that Gorbachev, who had been out of office for six months, referred to the Soviet Union, not Russia. In an interview on Moscow Television on 19 November 1991, Eduard Shevardnadze continued speaking as though he was still Soviet Foreign Minister: ‘I think that the idea of a Common European Home, the building of a united Europe, and I would like to underline today, of great Europe, the building of Great Europe, great, united Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, from the Atlantic to Vladivostok, including all our territory, most probably a European-Asian space, this project is inevitable. I am sure that we will come to building a united military space as well. To say more precisely: we will build a united Europe, whose security will be based on the principles of collective security. Precisely, collective security’. These statements by key implementers of the strategy reflect the central strategic objective of asserting ‘irreversible’ Russian/Soviet hegemony over Eurasia, thus establishing the primary geographical component of the intended World Government.” — ‘The Perestroika Deception’, by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn…

    http://www.spiritoftruth.org/The_Perestroika_Deception.pdf

    and here…

    http://www.russkiymir.ru/russkiymir/en/publications/interview/interview0004.html

    When Ukraine pulls out of the EU (along with several other nations), that’s when the EU will collapse, allowing for the new union with Russia, accomplishing two goals for Communist strategists, (1) the further isolation of the United States; and (2) the folding of NATO.

    • John McCain

      It might be possible, but Ukraine is quite a poor backward country, it will never become a top-state in EU, it will never be as powerful as Germany. And if somehow Ukraine leaves EU, that won’t do any trick to the mightness of European Union.

      Another issue – why do you think Europe after EU collapse should make new Union with Russia? They could rebuild their EU in the form of some “European Economical Alliance”, “Euro trade union” or something… And Europe is so fascist in many things, they consider Russians subhumans, they won’t join the Russian drunks.

      How do you think?

      • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

        “It might be possible, but Ukraine is quite a poor backward country, it will never become a top-stae in EU…”

        I’m not telling you it “might” happen, I’m telling you it WILL happen. Keep in mind my comment is an integrated hole, so don’t dissect it.

        “Another issue – why do you think Europe after EU collapse should make new Union with Russia?”

        Because the political parties of the West were co-opted decades ago by Moscow & Allies, which is why the West (1) refused to VERIFY the collapse of the USSR; and (2) send military teams into the USSR to (a) de-Communize the various levels of civilian government; and (b) transition the Communist Party member officered Soviet Armed Forces to a non-Communist Party officered military armed force, within each of the fifteen newly “independent” nations that constituted the USSR.

        • John McCain

          “You must remember the following: The fact that the West refused to VERIFY the “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) proves that the political establishments of the West were already co-opted by Moscow & Allies, otherwise, of course, the West would have verified the “collapse” of the USSR, since the survival of the West depends on the critical verification program.”

          Please, tell me some more about verification. So if verification had been carried out by the West, we would know what? That USSR never collapsed and we would be at war with West vs USSR? Please, explain

          • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

            “So if verification had been carried out by the West, we would know what?”

            Whether the collapse of the USSR was legitimate or a strategic ruse, as KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn said it would be in 1962, months after his defection in November 1961.

            “That USSR never collapsed and we would be at war with West vs USSR?”

            If the West had verified the collapse of the USSR, that would be proof that the collapse of the USSR was legitimate, and proof the political establishments of the West weren’t co-opted in preventing such a verification program. Naturally, then, their would have been no war.

            Now, take a look at these pictures out of Russia…

            Google: ‘Photos: Antonov An-12BK-PPS Aircraft Pictures | Airliners net’

            http://www.airliners.net/photo/Russia—Air/Antonov-An-12BK-PPS/1584360/L/

            and

            Google: ‘Photo ID: ‘Su-47 Berkut Share this photo on forums Linked Thumbnail: BBCode’

            http://www.defencetalk.com/pictures/su-47-berkut-russia/p6041-su-47-berkut.html

            Then for Russian Naval vessels (take a look at what’s still appended to the bows)…

            Google (enlarge picture): ‘Putin announces permanent Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean, as it arms Assad regime in Damascus and bolsters alliance with Iran and Lebanon’

            http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/9225/

            Those pictures were taken in 2009, 2004 and 2013, respectively, not before the “collapse” of the USSR. As you can see, the distinct Soviet era nationality emblem of the Communist Party…the distinct-designed Red Star… is still present. That political symbol of the Soviet government would have been immediately removed in early 1992 if the “collapse” of the USSR were genuine. As the legal emblem of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the distinctive Red Star nationality emblem can only be present if Communists are still in power in Russia and the other 14 republics that made up the USSR.

            Now, the distinct Soviet roundel (a roundel is the nationality emblem on military aircraft that identifies the nation the aircraft belongs to) is a five-pointed Red Star with a white border area and an outer thin red line, as the link immediately below shows…

            Google: ‘URSS-Russian aviation red star’

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:URSS-Russian_aviation_red_star.svg

            Now, take a look at the Soviet nationality roundel on a Russian military aircraft in 2009:

            Google: ‘Russia – Air Force More: Sukhoi Su-25SM 2009 Stanislav Bazhenov 9 of’

            http://www.airliners.net/photo/Russia—Air/Sukhoi-Su-25SM/1606418/L/

            Take a look at what’s still on Aeroflot aircraft…

            Google (open the first picture): ‘airplane pictures Aeroflot Airbus A319 VP-BDN’

            http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.airplane-pictures.net/images/uploaded-images/2013-8/31/316500.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.airplane-pictures.net/photo/316500/vp-bdn-aeroflot-airbus-a319/&h=853&w=1200&sz=342&tbnid=LpEalOG0f8GrcM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=142&zoom=1&usg=__G489DWC7zsP5bnmGg5-Pi0QB8xs=&docid=xUpoGn9FHxnMDM&sa=X&ei=evRRUtGuJNGs4APLsoDICg&ved=0CC4Q9QEwAA

            Note the Soviet emblem of the hammer & sickle stenciled on the Aeroflot aircraft’s fuselage!

            Now, for the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…

            Google: ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’

            http://www.redstar.ru/

            “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian (no kidding!) for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin’s head, the man who removed the independent Russian nation from the map, supplanting it within the new nation called the USSR (the USSR being the nation that was to one day include all the nations of the Earth, incorporation taking place either by violent revolution or deception)! Those Soviet emblems and Lenin’s head can’t still be next to the masthead of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s newspaper due to their association with the Soviet Union and its ideals of world revolution.

          • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

            “Please, tell me some more about verification. So if verification had been carried out by the West, we would know what? That USSR never collapsed and we would be at war with West vs USSR? Please, explain”

            Whether the collapse of the USSR was legitimate or a strategic ruse, as KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn said it would be in 1962, months after his defection in November 1961.

            If the West had verified the collapse of the USSR, that would be proof that the collapse of the USSR was legitimate, and proof the political establishments of the West weren’t co-opted in preventing such a verification program. Naturally, then, there would have been no war.

            Now, take a look at these pictures out of Russia…

            http://www.airliners.net/photo/Russia—Air/Antonov-An-12BK-PPS/1584360/L/

            and

            http://www.defencetalk.com/pictures/su-47-berkut-russia/p6041-su-47-berkut.html

            Then for Russian Naval vessels (take a look at what’s still appended to the bows)…

            http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/9225/

            Those pictures were taken in 2009, 2004 and 2013, respectively, not before the “collapse” of the USSR. As you can see, the distinct Soviet era nationality emblem of the Communist Party…the distinct-designed Red Star… is still present. That political symbol of the Soviet government would have been immediately removed in early 1992 if the “collapse” of the USSR were genuine. As the legal emblem of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the distinctive Red Star nationality emblem can only be present if Communists are still in power in Russia and the other 14 republics that made up the USSR.

            Now, the distinct Soviet roundel (a roundel is the nationality emblem on military aircraft that identifies the nation the aircraft belongs to) is a five-pointed Red Star with a white border area and an outer thin red line, as the link immediately below shows…

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:URSS-Russian_aviation_red_star.svg

            Now, take a look at the Soviet nationality roundel on a Russian military aircraft in 2009:

            http://www.airliners.net/photo/Russia—Air/Sukhoi-Su-25SM/1606418/L/

            Take a look at what’s still on Aeroflot aircraft…

            http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.airplane-pictures.net/images/uploaded-images/2013-8/31/316500.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.airplane-pictures.net/photo/316500/vp-bdn-aeroflot-airbus-a319/&h=853&w=1200&sz=342&tbnid=LpEalOG0f8GrcM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=142&zoom=1&usg=__G489DWC7zsP5bnmGg5-Pi0QB8xs=&docid=xUpoGn9FHxnMDM&sa=X&ei=evRRUtGuJNGs4APLsoDICg&ved=0CC4Q9QEwAA

            Note the Soviet emblem of the hammer & sickle stenciled on the Aeroflot aircraft’s fuselage!

            Now, for the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…

            http://www.redstar.ru/

            “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian (no kidding!) for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin’s head, the man who removed the independent Russian nation from the map, supplanting it within the new nation called the USSR (the USSR being the nation that was to one day include all the nations of the Earth, incorporation taking place either by violent revolution or deception)! Those Soviet emblems and Lenin’s head can’t still be next to the masthead of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s newspaper due to their association with the Soviet Union and its ideals of world revolution.

  • D Whiggery

    I love how the EU is desperately jumping on the occasion to justify its own existence. They’ve even announced the new presidential elections in Ukraine on the same date as the forthcoming EU elections. Subtle as a brick and not at all manipulative.

    In case you missed it the message they want to get across is as follows:

    “Look everyone they’re willing to fight to join us, why therefore do you want to leave us?”.

    Now go out there and vote for Europe!!

    • rtj1211

      When the EU goes up in smoke it will make 1789 seem like a walk in the park.

  • DDownie

    I guess Ms McDonagh hadn’t noticed that the Winter Olympics were in progress. Not the time to go invading another sovereign nation. Also interested to understand more about why she thinks Russia has shown ‘restraint’. That a percentage of the population speak Russian doesn’t give Russia any rights over what happens in Ukraine. Just as the fact that the majority of the population of the Republic of Ireland speak English doesn’t give England any rights over what happens in the Republic.
    As for the comment on potential immigration from Ukraine I don’t have any doubt that by the time the Ukraine joins the EU (if the Ukraine wants to join the EU of course) that the rules will have changed.
    Of course I have to keep pinching myself not to forget that Ms McDonagh I believe is herself… an immigrant? Just saying.

  • Mynydd

    Mr Putin should say to Mr Cameron/Osborne/Hague if you so loved the Ukraine then bring your cheque book and pay Russia the $2bn the Ukraine owe us for gas. Please note if not paid in seven days the gas pipeline will be shutdown

  • Paul Owen

    Is it possible, do we think, that they have been exercising restraint thus far because of a certain event in Sochi that ended yesterday? The countdown now begins – possibly to WWIII

  • CraigStrachan

    Yes, imagine how apeshit the US would go if, say, Cuba was drawn into a Russian sphere of influence. Oh, wait…

    • zanzamander

      US believes it owns the world. Look around, where ever you see misery, war and rampant Islamism, you’ll see the evil hand of Uncle Sam pulling the strings.

      It was announced today that US military spend will be lowest ever it has ever been and the reason is that it has resorted to subversion, bribing, blackmailing and other nefarious techniques to wage wars, overthrow governments and sponsoring despots and tyrants.

      Smarting from its defeat in Syria where it could not get Islamist grab power, US created this coup in Ukraine as a payback to Putin and it chose the timing of the Winter Olympics well knowing that it will get the biggest bangs for its bucks.

      • La Fold

        So how much tinfoil do you get through in a month or do you just vaseline the windows up?

      • Pip

        Partly right but you missed the point that the EU is behind the Ukrainian Coup, aided by the US. This isn’t going to end well for all concerned, the unelected lefty EU incompetents such as Baroness Ashton for example, might well live to regret interfering in the Crimea, she deserves to be jailed.

  • Daniel Maris

    Remember the Sochi Winter Olympics? They could hardly have tanks rolling over the border while they were on. Give them time.

    • rtj1211

      You would perhaps be wise to do basic arithmetic on how many times the US-led ‘alliances’ have ‘sent our boys in’ vs how many times the Russians have done likewise since 1945.

      I think you would be hard pressed to suggest that the Russians were quick to the trigger and that we were driven by Quakerly peacemaking.

      • Daniel Maris

        Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and Georgia. Not exactly sitting on their hands.

        • zanzamander

          That was USSR. You’re still living in the past and like US, still fighting the Cold War, since the end of which, US has been the only country that has continually invaded other countries and has a hand in nearly every coup going, including this one.

          • La Fold

            Cobblers!

  • Jez

    The lady in the wheel chair, her party and the boxer are now default interim rulers.

    Also there is a token right winger in the mix (this is on the BBC news website)

    Equates = allegedly corrupt to the core remnants of the post Orange Revolution Ukraine, a seemingly EU puppet Party with the boxer and negligible representation compared to the blood sacrifice by the Nationalists…….. then there’s the Russians and their people ‘cut off’.

    It seems a bit of a powderkeg.

    • rtj1211

      The elimination of the Russian language is the next stage. Bugger the fact that the majority speak it as a first language…..

      So much for EU democracy.

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