Obama may decide to supply arms to Ukraine without senate approval

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US President Barack Obama speaks during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 24, 2014. Obama denounced Russian ‘aggression’ in Europe.

 

The United States President Barack Obama can decide to supply arms to Ukraine for self-defense without the approval of the Senate, said Jim Inhofe, a deputy head of the Senate Committee on Armed Forces.

Two days after Ukraine’s Oct. 26 parliamentary election Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s party People’s Front is nearly tied with the Petro Poroshenko Bloc with the parties receiving  22.17 percent and 21.81 percent respectively with 99 percent of the vote counted.

Both parties campaigned on the accomplishments of the post-Maidan government and the vote is seen as an affirmation of the current political status quo. The parties are expected to enter into coalition together but question remain about which party will take the lead role in the coalition and what other parties will be included.

Yatsenyuk said he expected to stay on as prime minister heading the pro-Western coalition and that his party should lead talks to form a coalition.

Coalition talks are traditionally led by the largest party in parliament but despite receiving the largest percentage of the party list vote People’s Front will not be the largest party in parliament.

The Ukrainian ballot is split between votes for parties and votes for candidates in single member districts. The Petro Poroshenko Bloc is expected to only receive 63 seats from the party list vote but will pick up another 69 seats in single member districts for a total of 132 seats.

Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front will receive 65 seats from the party list but will only pick up another 18 seats from single member districts, making it the second largest party in parliament with 83 seats.

Poroshenko’s party did not commit to Yatsenyuk being prime minister on Oct. 29 with Deputy Prime Minister and number 4 on the list Volodymyr Hroysman telling journalists that it didn’t matter who would be prime minister and the issue had yet to be discussed.

Experts believe Volodymyr Hroysman is Poroshenko’s own top choice for the prime minister’s chair.

“Yatsenyuk clearly wants to remain prime minister, while Poroshenko seems eager to get his own man, Hroysman in the seat as the new prime minster,” said analyst at Standard Bank in London Timothy Ash.

People’s Front and Poroshenko Bloc have also both released their own competing coalition agreements. The People’s Front’s agreement is five pages where Poroshenko Bloc’s is 48. Both focus on European integration and giving more power to local and regional government.

The parties are also committed to creating a wide coalition including other pro-Western parties that Yatsenyuk said should be called the “European Ukraine coalition.” The parties differ on who exactly should be included in the coalition.

Yatsenyuk emphasized that he considered the Petro Poroshenko Bloc to be a “strategic partner,” but that wants at least three other parties in the coalition including Batkivshchyna, Samopomich and the Radical Party.

Hroysman said they are ready for negotiations and said the collation must include Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front Party, Samopomich and Batkivshchyna as “key partners.” He said  Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party joining the coalition would remain “a possibility.”

“Poroshenko Bloc’s people think they will have enough power to form a coalition even without Oleh Liashko Radical Party,” said Vitaliy Bala, a head of the Situations Modeling Agency adding that the Poroshenko Bloc is eager to keep ministerial positions from going to other parties.

Other parties are concerned by these conflicts that seem to have little to do with political ideology and more with influence and risks creating a broad coalition in name only.

Samopomich was the other surprise winner of the election receiving 33 seats and 10.99 percent of the vote after being predicted to barely make it past the 5 percent threshold required to enter parliament. They released a statement on Oct. 29 emphasizing that all coalition members should be involved in drafting the coalition agreement.

What’s happening in Novorussia? – The Saker tells us

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

By the Vineyard of the Saker

Something fantastically interesting has happened in Novorussia: two senior Novorussian commanders, Igor Bezler and Alexei Mozgovoi have attempted to communicate with those Ukrainians who are on the other side. Though I am not sure about the exact dates of the events (all I have is the dates of the posting on YouTube), this apparently began when Igor Bezler agreed to be interviewed by three TV crews at the same time: a Russian one, a Novorussian one, and a Ukrainian one. 
The big news here was, of course, that a Ukrainian journalist was given access to the city of Gorlovka, currently surrounded by Ukrainian forces, and that she got to speak with the local people, including combatants and then that she was given access to Bezler himself.  
Since all the journalists were more or less openly accusing each other of “filtering the truth” all parties agreed that the full recording, unedited, would be made available on YouTube.  Now please keep in mind that in Banderastan, Russian journalists are blacklisted, Russian TV stations banned, and that the people in the junta controlled Ukraine are told that the other side are terrorists and Russian soldiers.  Oh, and the Ukrainian media is the most disgusting, sold out, subservient, propagandistic you can imagine.  And then suddenly, at least one Ukrainian TV crew agrees to show the face of one of the most feared Novorussian commanders and he get’s to speak his mind. But the next event was even more amazing.  Alexei Mozgovoi agreed to a videoconference with not only Ukrainian journalists, but with actual field commanders of the Ukrainian military.  To see Mozgovoi and the Ukrainians speak directly to each other was absolutely amazing.  And here I have to apologize.  I will not ask our translators to translate and subtitle the full thing.  First, there were not one, but two such videoconferences.  Then, we are talking about three long videos, see for yourself:Bezler interview: Published on Oct 21, 2014
http://youtu.be/uVN2wkuL88w (length: 2 hours 17 min)

First videoconference of Mozgovoi: Published on Oct 22, 2014

Second videoconference of Mozgovoi – Published Oct 28, 2014 – (length:1 hour 51 mins)

Third videoconference length:1 hour 51 mins

I do hope that somebody somewhere will translate it all, but this is way too big a load for me to ask any of our volunteers.

Also, these are very complex videos.  There are discussions, some short moments of yelling and interrupting, there is cross-talk and there are even two songs.  This is complex, very emotional stuff, very hard to convey in a translated text.  Besides, who will have the time to sit through it all?

No, what I propose is to share with you the elements which struck me so much.

But first I need to clarify an important point: while the original idea apparently had been to have combatants talking to combatants, the Ukrainian side only had a few commanders and a few activists.  The Novorussian side was composed of actual soldiers.  Apparently, the Ukrainian side did not feel comfortable putting their foot-soldiers on the spot.

First and foremost, it was amazing to see how much both sides fully agreed upon.  Both sides agreed that this war was useless and only benefited the enemies of the Ukraine.  Both sides expressed contempt, disgust and even hatred for the politicians in power and the oligarchs who rule over Banderastan today.   Both sides also agree that Yanukovich was a scumbag and that the Maidan protests were absolutely legitimate but that the original protests had been hijacked by enemies of the Ukraine.  Both sides also agreed that this war had to be stopped.  Now, please keep in mind that Ukrainian Nazis were, of course, not invited.  These were mainly regular Ukrainian military speaking to Novorussian military and Ukrainian activists speaking to Mozgovoi.   There were also some real disagreements.

The Ukrainian position was this (paraphrase – not real quote): “the Maidan was legitimate and correct but you – the Novorussians – took up arms and you thereby created a crisis which the illegitimate junta used and which prevented us from defending our political goals.  We don’t want our country to further break up and what you are doing is exactly that.  Also, we know that the Russian “Polite Armed Men in Green” are fighting on your side and many of you are not representing true Ukrainian interests, but Russian interests.  Stop fighting and join the political process to clean our country from the crazies“.

To which Mozgovoi replied (paraphrase – not real quote): “we did not choose to fight, you came to our land and you are killing our people.  If you really want to clean Kiev from the Nazi scum, then don’t stand between us and Kiev and let us pass – we will take care of them no problem.  You are taking orders from Nazis and oligarchs and you are doing nothing to stop them from killing our people.  If we were to lay down our arms, we would all be massacred.

One interesting thing was that when the Ukrainians accused the Novorussians of doing Russia’s bidding, Mozgovoi replied that the Ukrainians were pawns of the CIA and, amazingly, the Ukrainians pretty much agreed that the CIA was running the show.  As for Mozgovoi, he did not deny that Russia was helping.

Both sides were expressing frustration that they could not unite their forces and jointly get rid of the oligarchs and Nazis.

During the Bezler interview, there was one amazing moment was when the Ukrainian crew asked Bezler if he spoke Ukrainian, to which he replied that ‘yes’.  Unconvinced, the Ukrainian crew asked him if he could recite a poem by the famous poet Taras Shevchenko.  Then, to everybody’s surprise, Bezler recited the poem “to the Poles” in which Sevchenko describes how happy the Cossaks were,

Until in the name of Christ
The
ксьондзи (Latin Priests) came and set afire
To our quiet paradise. And spilled 

A huge sea of tears and blood,
And killed and crucified orphans 

In the Name of Christ
The heads of Cossacks then dropped
Like trampled grass,
The Ukraine cried, and moaned!
And the head after head
Fell to the ground. As if enraged,
A priest furious tongue
Screamed: «Te Deum! Hallelujah! .. “
And this is how my Polish friend and brother!
Evil priests and rich men
Separated us from each other
When we could have lived together happy


[nb: this is my own translation, I could not find this poem in English anywhere; as any Russian, I mostly understand Ukrainian, but I can easily misunderstand a word or expression so, caveat emptor, and don’t take this translation to the bank!  The Saker]


It was quite amazing to see how well Bezler spoke Ukrainian and how he used this opportunity to remind his Ukrainian counterparts how already in the past they were used and manipulated by Russia and Orthodoxy -hating westerners, and he did so using verses of their own national hero!

In another rather surreal moment, a Novorussian solider took out a guitar and sang a song about the war.  The Ukrainians were clearly moved, although they were also disturbed by the fact that the song repeatedly said that these were “Russians fighting Russians”.  This issue came up several again later in the conversation.  From the Novorussian point of view, the Ukrainians were also part of the “Russian cultural realm” (as opposed to state or nationality) albeit with a different accent and a different history.  The Ukrainians insisted that they were a different nationality, albeit one with strong ties to the “Russian cultural realm”.

During both the Bezler and Mozgovoi interviews the issue of prisoners was raised.  Both sides reported that their men were mistreated and even tortured while in captivity.  Interestingly, during the Bezler interview there were two Ukrainian officials present, one human right activist and another who was representing the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense for the topic of POWs.  They both readily admitted that Bezler treated the Ukrainian prisoners not as prisoners at all, but as guests: they were free to walk around, they ate and slept with Bezler’s men, they were treated with kindness and hospitality. In once instance he even fed them red caviar!  But the very same Bezler openly admitted that “we take no prisoners from the Nazi death squads” confirming  what I have said many times: the Russian kindness and generosity towards Ukrainian POWs only extends to regular army units – captured death squad members are immediately executed.


There are hundred of small moments and exchanges which I wish I could convey to you, but that would take too much space and time.  What I will say is that it was quite amazing to see enemies talking to each other in a very friendly manner.  I was also amazed at how readily the Ukrainians agreed that the Ukraine must rid herself from the Nazis and the oligarchs.  In various occasions people on both sides said “let’s do that together!”.  Others were more dubious.  Frankly, I am extremely impressed by the courage and decency of many of the Ukrainians in these interviews who, while standing their ground on the issue of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine, quite openly said how much they hated the Nazis and the oligarchs.  I sure hope that God will protect these men for their courage.


Both Bezler and Mozgovoi looked very, very good.  The latter especially surprised me by explicitly stating that his goal was regime change in Kiev and not just the separation of Novorussia which he clearly sees as a only temporary solution and as a necessary self-defense measure.  Clearly, both Bezler and Mozgovoi are first and foremost anti-Nazis and both of them see that there is not “Novorussian solution”.  Mozgovoi explicitly stated that he think that both sides could live together if the Ukrainians got rid of their Nazis and oligarchs.


While I have always said that the only possible stable solution of the crisis is a de-nazification of the Ukraine and a conversion of the current Banderastan into a “mentally sane” Ukraine, I am not naive and I also see that this might take a decade or more.  However, seeing how Mozgovoi and his Ukrainian counterparts agreed on the need to de-nazify and de-oligarchise (is that English?) I see that there is hope because the bottom line is this: both sides have much more in common than what separates them!


Again, these were regular Ukrainians, not crazed Nazi death-squad members, I understand that.  And the two sides do disagree on fundamental issues.  I see that too.  But I also see that there is a basis, a minimum in common, to negotiate.  This does not have to be a war of extermination.


The Ukraine as we knew her is dead.  Now we have Crimea and Novorussia which are gone forever, and a rump-Ukraine I call “Banderastan” which is occupied by the US CIA, Ukie Nazis and oligarchs.  My hope is that the just as the Ukrainian civil war turned into a war for the self-determination and liberation of Novorussia, so will the war for self-determination and liberation of Novorussia turn into a war for the liberation of Banderastan from its US/Nazi/oligarchic occupiers.  If that happens and if a new Ukraine eventually emerges, then I have no doubt that the people of the Ukraine will agree that each region should have the right of self-determination ranging from cultural right to full separation.  Only then will we really find out which regions want to stay and which ones want to leave forever.


In the meantime, I am very positively impressed by the Novorussian field commanders.  Bezler and Mozgovoi of course, but also Givi, Motorola, Zakharchenko, Kononov  and the others are all strong figures capable of both fighting and talking.  Strelkov, alas, is still more or less in political no man’s land and I am very concerned about his proximity with the blogger el-Murid who is clearly a “gateway” to the “hurray-patriots” and “Putin bashers” which are being used by the Empire to try to discredit Putin. Still, the political infighting amongst Novorussian leaders continues and there is still no clear leader.  Hopefully, the upcoming elections will help to solve this issue.

Kiev Withdraws From Delineation Agreement With East Ukraine: DPR

Deputy Prime Minister of Donetsk People’s Republic Andrei Purgin

Deputy Prime Minister of Donetsk People’s Republic Andrei Purgin

 

Poroshenko faces hurdles despite big Ukraine vote win

 

DONETSK, October 29 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev has withdrawn from the delineation agreement it signed with Donetsk authorities without any explanation, the deputy prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said Wednesday.

“A delineation was agreed between the opposing forces, but Kiev recalled the signature of its representative, Gen. Dumanskiy, from the document without giving any reason,” Andrei Purgin told reporters.

The delineation is a key condition laid down in the ceasefire agreement between Kiev and the independence supporters. It should serve as a preparatory stage for the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from both sides that will contribute to stabilizing the relations between them.

In September, the ceasefire agreement in southeastern Ukraine was reached during the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine. It was agreed that a 30-kilometer (19-mile) buffer zone separating Kiev forces and independence supporters of the  Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) would be created.

DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko stated on October 11 that the delineation agreement between the independence supporters and Kiev had been signed. The official said the delineation would reflect the line of contact between the two opposing sides as of September 19.

20 Oct. 2014 – RIANOVOSTI

Monday’s heavy shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk undermines the negotiation process of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Kiev, DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko said.

“No more talks about ceasefire, of course we are not going to sit [at the negotiating table] with Kiev,” he said.

There have been regular reports of the shelling of Donetsk ever since the Ukrainian forces and independence supporters of the eastern regions struck a ceasefire deal on September 5 in Minsk. The opposing sides have been trading blame for violating the ceasefire though the monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the truce was generally holding.

The military confrontation in the east of Ukraine started in mid-April when the Kiev authorities sent troops to suppress the independence supporters in the eastern regions of the country.

On October 19, DPR Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin said the self-proclaimed people’s republic would never become part of a united Ukraine.

Shelling Kills Four Civilians, Injures Nine in Donetsk: City Council

Ukrainian soldiers load a Grad missile in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers load a Grad missile in eastern Ukraine.

Four civilians lost their lives and nine sustained injuries on Saturday as a result of shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, local authorities said Sunday.

“As a result of military action on October 18 in Donetsk, four civilians were killed and nine sustained shrapnel injuries of varying severity,” the Donetsk city council said in a statement.

“Starting 13:40 (10:30 GMT) on October 18 and until 3:00 (00:00 GMT) on October 19 shelling was carried out in the city.”

The areas most affected by the fighting were the Petrovsky, Kirov, Kuibyshev and Kievsky districts, where several houses were destroyed. Fighting continued on Saturday morning, according to the city council.

Meanwhile, deputy commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) militia Eduard Basurin told RIA Novosti that fighting continues near the Donetsk airport, the village of Nikishino and the city of Dokuchaievsk.

“The shelling is very intense. Five militiamen have been killed, 30 sustained injuries,” Basurin said.

In mid-April, Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Some 3,700 people have been killed and over 9,000 have sustained injuries since the beginning of the armed conflict, according to the latest UN estimates.

On September 5, the sides agreed to a ceasefire at a meeting in Minsk of the trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. On September 19, the Contact Group met again to agree on more details regarding the implementation of the ceasefire. However, both sides have subsequently accused each other of violating the truce.

Poroshenko Red Eye Faces of Evil

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko

27 October 2014

Poroshenko faces hurdles despite big Ukraine vote win

 

The 49-year-old chocolate billionaire said that the drubbing handed to pro-Russian parties demonstrated “strong and irreversible backing to Ukraine’s path to Europe.”

But the near-euphoria in Poroshenko’s circles seemed to overlook the strong preference by Russian oil- and gas-dependent EU nations not to upset Moscow any further.

Some European capitals have even implied that direct membership talks with Kiev were premature — a view that folds into the Kremlin’s broader vision of Ukraine as part of its historic domain.

Then there is Poroshenko’s near-impotence on the ground. The Ukrainian president has been able to do little but express outrage at plans by the well-armed and confident pro-independence fighters to stage their own leadership polls next Sunday.

“Poroshenko and his government will have a difficult time resolving the task of moving into Europe,” said Yuriy Romanenko of Kiev’s Stratagema political research group.

“The war will also go on for a long time. The standoff there could continue for several years,” the Ukrainian analyst said.

Germany’s Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz said Poroshenko’s new government would have to start by “negotiating potentially unpopular compromises with the separatists” that gave them a substantial enough reason to lay down their guns.

Schulz said the poor performance by radical Ukrainian nationalists worked in Poroshenko’s favour.

But he also pointed to Russia’s ambiguous stance and the fear of it fomenting a “frozen conflict” in the vital industrial east that keeps Ukraine impoverished and destabilised for the foreseeable future.

“Moscow has said it will accept (the parliamentary) election results — but also election results in the separatist areas of Donetsk and Lugansk on 2 November,” the German economist cautioned.

The Capital Economic consultancy in London added that the Russian-speaking pro-independence leaders were not going to take kindly to the parliamentary election’s support for the shift toward Europe sought principally by their bitter rivals in the Ukrainian-speaking west.

“The election of pro-Western politicians is unlikely to appease rebels in the east of the country,” Capital Economic said.

Poroshenko may have as difficult a time convincing EU leaders. Many took turns on Monday to promise to work with his new team.

But top officials in Kiev have grumbled in private that they have so far failed to turn their words into action that keeps Kiev out of Moscow’s reach.

Ukraine this year signed an historic pact on closer relations with the EU. It was the abrupt rejection of that pact by the then Russian-backed president last year that led to his ouster and sparked the current crisis.

But western European governments — with economies stuck in or near recession — are already concerned about the political impact of workers from the poorer east moving freely into their shrinking job markets.

Ukraine further has developed a track record of failing to honour commitments to shackle a corruption problem that has made barren state budgets dependent on foreign lending and left governments here unable to plan long-term.

Poroshenko has promised to wean the public off Soviet-era subsidies and encourage competition between private firms that could introduce Ukraine to Western standards and ready it for EU membership.

Capital Economic said with a note of optimism that “with a parliamentary majority in place, Ukraine’s reformers will have the green light to continue tackling issues such as reducing energy subsidies and moving toward inflation-targeting monetary policy.”

But other analysts said Ukrainian governments and parliaments have disappointed foreign investors for too long for them to be trusted.

“Whether or not Ukraine manages to break away from the historically poor track record in delivering in economic policies and wider reforms still remains an open question,”  Moscow’s VTB Capital investment bank said.

Will NATO annex Ukraine?

Anti-government protesters carry an injured man on a stretcher in Independence Square in Kiev February 20, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

Anti-government protesters carry an injured man on a stretcher in Independence Square in Kiev February 20, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

 

By Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

Will NATO annex Ukraine?

Anyone who believes Washington is deeply enamored of ‘democracy’ in Ukraine must hit eBay, where Saddam Hussein’s WMDs have been found, and are on sale to the highest bidder.

Or pay attention to the non-denial denials of the Obama administration, which swears on a daily basis there’s no ‘proxy war’ or Cold War redux in Ukraine.

In a nutshell; Washington’s bipartisan Ukraine policy has always been anti-Moscow. That implies regime change whenever necessary.

As the European Union (EU), geopolitically, is nothing but an annex to NATO, what matters is NATO extending its borders to the Ukraine. Or at least Western Ukraine – which would be a valuable consolation prize.

This is a purely military-centric game – the logic of the whole mechanism ultimately decided in Washington, not in Brussels. It’s about NATO expansion, not ‘democracy’. When neo-con State Department functionary Victoria Nuland had her 15 seconds of fame recently, what she actually meant was “We’re NATO, F**k the EU.” No wonder there will be an urgent NATO Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, centered on Ukraine.

No one will ever read that in US corporate media – or in academia for that matter. Harvard Professor Francis Boyle talking to Voice of Russia, or Princeton’s Stephen Cohen in a recent article for the Nation, are glaring exceptions.

Every informed analyst knows the mastermind of this ‘policy’, since the 1970s, is Zbigniew ‘The Grand Chessboard’ Brzezinski. Dr. Zbig was US President Barack Obama’s mentor at Columbia and is the Talleyrand of the Obama administration’s foreign policy machine.

He may have softened up a notch recently, arguing that although the US must remain the supreme power across Eurasia, Russia and Turkey must be seduced by the West. Yet his historic Russophobia was never diluted.

‘Saint’ Yulia is back

As we’re now on the road (again) of regime change in Ukraine, that seems not such a lousy deal for only $5 billion – the amount volunteered by neo-con Nuland herself. Compare it to other lavish Bush-Obama continuum foreign adventures, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Syria. Yet expect major bumps ahead.

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko addresses anti-government protesters gathered at Independence Square in Kiev February 22, 2014 (Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko addresses anti-government protesters gathered at Independence Square in Kiev February 22, 2014 (Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)

Most arguably progressive, as well as some rabidly right wing, Google generation denizens in Western Ukraine and in Kiev seem to entertain the notion that the country, under regime change, will be accepted as an EU member, they will get an EU passport, and will find a good job in Europe, just as Polish plumbers and Romanian restaurant managers did.

Well, not really. If only they could board an EasyJet and see with their own eyes what’s going on, job market-wise, in southern Europe or in London for that matter, now terrified of a horde of Eastern Europeans seizing English jobs.

As for the ultra-nationalists and frankly neo-fascists – totally anti-EU – the only thing they care about is to get rid of the Russian Bear’s embrace. And then what?

In the West’s ardor for ‘democracy’ it’s so easy to forget that Western Ukrainian fascists were aligned with Hitler against the USSR. It’s their descendants that have been in the forefront of the hardcore violence last week. And Right Sector still insists they will continue to ‘protest’. In this sense they may not be Washington’s preferred puppets; they are just momentarily useful patsies.

As for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – now elevated in the West to the status of a blonde Mother Teresa – she has called the Maidan (Independence) Square protesters “liberators.” They may soon liberate themselves from her – after highly corrupt ‘Saint’ Yulia runs for president next May.

The Ukraine that works – in the east and south – is made up of historic Russian provinces, think Kharkov, the Black Sea, Crimea. The country’s GDP is roughly $157 billion. That’s one fifth of Turkey (which may become the new Pakistan). As it is, Ukraine holds no economic value whatsoever to the West (even less if it becomes the new Syria). The only ‘positive’ would be NATO’s warped strategic advance.

Anyone who believes a mired-in-crisis EU will buy Ukraine out of is economic mess could once again bid for Saddam’s WMDs on eBay.

Or imagine the US Congress handing out $15 billion for Ukraine to smooth out its foreign debt, not to mention reducing the price of imported gas – just like Moscow did last December.

Say hello to my Iskander

The multi-billion dollar question now is what Russian President Vladimir Putin will do. One must feel tempted to detect roars of laughter in the Kremlin corridors.

For starters, Putin will decide whether or not Moscow will buy $2 billion in Ukrainian eurobonds after there’s a new government in Kiev, as Gazeta.ru reported. Kiev will get absolutely nothing from Moscow until it’s clear the new regime will play ball, in the interests of holding the country together.

‘Saint’ Yulia, by the way, was originally thrown in jail because of a gas deal that was negotiated on Moscow’s high price terms. Back to hard facts: Ukraine cannot survive without Russian gas, and the Ukrainian industry cannot survive without the Russian market. One can mix all shades of Orange, Tangerine, Campari or Tequila Sunrise revolution, and throw in the requisite IMF ‘structural adjustment’ correction – these facts are not going to change. And forget about the EU ‘buying Ukrainian’.

The Western Orangeade gang – from masters to servants – may still bet on civil war, Syria-style. Anarchy looms – provoked by the neo-fascists. It’s up to Ukrainians to reject it. A sound solution would be a referendum. Get the people to choose a confederation, a partition (there will be blood) or keeping the status quo.

Here’s a very possible scenario. Eastern and southern Ukraine become part of Russia again; Moscow would arguably accept it.

Western Ukraine is plundered, disaster capitalism-style, by the Western corporate-financial mafia – while nobody gets a single EU passport. As for NATO, they get their bases, ‘annexing’ Ukraine, but also get myriads of hyper-accurate Russian Iskander missiles locked in their new abode. So much for Washington’s ‘strategic advance’.

Russia Increases Gold Reserves for 6th Month Running, IMF Says

 Maxim Shemetov / ReutersAn employee displays a gold bar at a gold refining workshop of the plant of Uralelektromed Joint Stock Company (JSC), the enterprise of Ural Mining and Metallurgical company (UMMC) in the town of Verkhnyaya Pyshma, outside Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Maxim Shemetov / ReutersAn employee displays a gold bar at a gold refining workshop of the plant of Uralelektromed Joint Stock Company (JSC), the enterprise of Ural Mining and Metallurgical company (UMMC) in the town of Verkhnyaya Pyshma, outside Yekaterinburg, Russia.

 

Reuters

Oct. 29 2014

 

NEW YORK — Russia increased its gold reserves for a sixth straight month in September, while Azerbaijan added to its holdings for a second month, according to International Monetary Fund data.

Russia, which has one of the world’s largest gold reserves, added 37 tons to its reserves last month, taking the total to 1,149 tons, while Azerbaijan raised its reserves by 4 tons, taking the total to 27 tonnes, according to the data released Tuesday.

Kazakhstan raised its gold holdings by 2.1 tons to 184 tons, while Turkey added 12 tons taking the total to 532 tons.

Significant buying and selling by central banks can influence gold prices, which earlier this month hit $1,183 per ounce, the lowest level since June last year, on a strong dollar and robust economic data.

Vast Majority of Russians Think Foreign Media Criticize Putin to Weaken Russia – The Moscow Times

The Moscow Times

Oct. 29 2014

By Allison Quinn

The overwhelming majority of Russians view negative foreign media coverage of President Vladimir Putin and of Russia in general as an attempt to destabilize the country, pollster VTsIOM revealed Wednesday.

The poll revealed that 87 percent of respondents see such ulterior motives in critical remarks released by foreign media outlets. A mere 4 percent of respondents said such criticism was intended to improve the country’s situation.

Of the 1,600 people polled, 82 percent said those who condemn Putin’s policies want to see the Russian government’s collapse.

Similarly, 87 percent of respondents said they considered such criticism of Putin to be baseless, while the same number said such comments were a result of the Russian president following policies independently of the rest of the international community.

The role of foreign media has been thrust into the spotlight in recent months amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis, a conflict that analysts say has relied more heavily on information warfare than previous conflicts.

Western media outlets have repeatedly accused their Russian counterparts of unethical, inaccurate reporting, and at times flat-out propaganda. Russia has hit back and accused foreign journalists of the same.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents to the VTsIOM poll agreed with the official line on foreign media, describing it as biased in reporting on the actions of the Russian government, while 20 percent said the reporting was objective.

At the same time, however, more Russians were found to rely on foreign media today than was the case five years ago, with 37 percent stating that they turn to foreign media now compared with 29 percent in 2009.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 25-26 in 132 cities and 45 regions of Russia. It had a margin of error no higher than 3.5 percent, the pollster said.

More Russians Favor Soviet Than Western Form of Democracy, Poll Shows

The Moscow Times

Oct. 29 2014

The majority of Russians believe their country needs a form of “democracy” that is substantially different from that practiced in the West, a recent poll shows.

Asked what form of democracy would suit Russia, if at all, only 13 percent of respondents said that a Western-style democracy could work for their country, and only 5 percent saw it as a necessity for Russia’s development, according to a survey by independent Levada Center pollster released Tuesday.

A more popular choice was the form of “democracy” practiced in the Soviet Union, which was favored as the best option for Russia by 16 percent of respondents.

Questioned specifically on whether Western-style democracies were an option for Russia, 45 percent of respondents said it would be “destructive” for the country, while another 39 percent found it an acceptable option but only in case of “substantial changes related to our country’s specifics,” the poll indicates.

The majority of respondents, 55 percent, said that the only form of democracy that could work for Russia was one that was “completely unique, corresponding to national traditions and Russia’s specifics,” according to the Levada Center report.

The notion of “osoby put,” or special path, has historically enjoyed much support in Russia. According to that concept, Russia has its own, unique path of development, distinct from Western or Eastern trajectories.

Asked to what extent they saw themselves as belonging to a Western civilization, a large majority of respondents, 43 percent, said they did not identify with the West at all. Only 14 percent said Western culture played a role in their lives.

The poll did not specify whether Russia’s “specific” democracy should include fair elections, free speech, independent courts or the freedom to assemble without permission from the authorities — all aspects that have come under stress under the nearly 15-year reign of President Vladimir Putin’s administration.

The poll was conducted on Sept. 25-29 among 1,630 people in 46 regions of Russia. The margin of error was no more than 3.4 percentage points.

 

 

Women at War in Ukrainian Conflict – Photo Gallery

Women at War in Ukrainian Conflict

Topic:Situation in the South-East of Ukraine

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(1) Female fighters have been active members of both warring sides since the outbreak of the conflict. Women participating in the eastern Ukrainian conflict represent all walks of life and have different reasons to take up arms.

Above: A Ukrainian servicewoman stands in Horlivka, September 18, 2014.

(2) As of 2013, almost 10,000 women have completed military service in Ukraine’s Armed Forces as contract soldiers, with more than 1,600 positioned as officers.

Above: A Ukrainian servicewoman Stella, 33, poses for a picture in the village of Schastya, near the eastern Ukrainian town of Luhansk, September 26, 2014.

(3) A lot of DPR and LPR female freedom fighters are now seeking to retaliate after losing relatives in the conflict.

Above: A woman fighting for the self-proclaimed DPR, poses with her weapon in Donetsk, September 10, 2014.

(4) Some women are medical attendants or cooks, but others fight shoulder to shoulder with men.

Above: Members of Rus batallion’s female division during shooting drills.

(5) After undergoing military training, they join units, even serving in artillery sections.

Above: A DPR female soldier at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Horlivka.

(6) The freedom fighters remark that female soldiers are disciplined and surprisingly brave, calling them “true women”.

Above: A woman fighting on the side of the self-proclaimed DPR, Donetsk, September 8, 2014.

(7) A lot of women were forced to remain with their elderly parents who could not evacuate because of poor health and old age. Consequently their daughters decided to take up arms.

Above: A woman fighting for the self-proclaimed DPR in the town of Nizhnaya Krynka, eastern Ukraine, September 23, 2014.

(8) Some admit they are more fearful of sitting at home and enduring shelling than fighting an enemy face to face.

Above: A woman fighting on the side of the self-proclaimed DPR in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, September 17, 2014.

(9) Women claim the freedom fighters treat them as equals.

Above: A woman fighting for the self-proclaimed LPR in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, September 14, 2014.

(10) Before the outbreak of the conflict Irina was a croupier and never imagined herself waging a war. Now, her life is at stake…

Above: Irina, nicknamed Gaika, former croupier, turned to the artillery specialist at the DPR Army, Makiivka, eastern Ukraine, October 6, 2014.

(11) “So many people including children and women died on our side. I want no more ceasefire.”

Above: Alla, nicknamed Ryzhaya (the Red-haired), a independence fighter, poses during an interview in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, October 5, 2014.

(12) War turns everyone into a soldier. It is not surprising to see yesterday’s housewife in a bulletproof vest and helmet, holding a semi-automatic gun.

Above: Ukrainian servicewoman Nadie, 36, stands at the military camp in the village of Luhanska (near the town of Luhansk), eastern Ukraine September 24, 2014.

(13) Anyway, women are women, and a handgun often neighbors a make-up set on their tables.

Above: Irina, a petrol station employee, is now a member of a reconnaissance team of freedom fighters in the town of Makiivka, eastern Ukraine, October 6, 2014.

(14) Warring women say that they lack respect toward men who dodge fighting.

Above: A female freedom fighter gets ready to take position near the International Airport during fighting with Ukrainian government forces in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, October 4, 2014.

THANKS TO RIANOVOSTI!