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    Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

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    flamming_python
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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  flamming_python on Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:01 pm

    TR1 wrote:Dagestan is no more a black hole than Moscow is, in terms of money dissapearing.

    Actually, probably far less.
    That's true but that's because Moscow is just filthy, filthy rich, and all the oligarchs money is there.
    In terms of everyday corruption Dagestan and the other Caucasus republics have no competition.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  sepheronx on Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:25 pm

    TR1 wrote:Dagestan is no more a black hole than Moscow is, in terms of money dissapearing.

    Actually, probably far less.
    Moscow, technically in financial terms, can support itself without government intervention, and that is because of the amount of wealthy in the city, as well as business entities. What the government is doing now, is just throwing more money at it to make it the next New York, which IMO, is dumb.

    Chechnya and Daegestan are forced economic development programs, in order to make the "masses" happy so that they do not revolt and try to turn it into a Chechnya War 3.0, and even with all its high development, the unemployment rate is significantly high, regardless of the amount of jobs being created. Although, for these regions, and the amount of farmers and farms, there is a huge push for development of agriculture in these areas, and that in the end, will make them wealthy.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  TR1 on Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:54 pm

    flamming_python wrote:
    TR1 wrote:Dagestan is no more a black hole than Moscow is, in terms of money dissapearing.

    Actually, probably far less.
    That's true but that's because Moscow is just filthy, filthy rich, and all the oligarchs money is there.
    In terms of everyday corruption Dagestan and the other Caucasus republics have no competition.
    IDK about that. I have seen little difference in practical corruption pretty much across Russia. It is bad in Dagestan though, no denying it. Though the new president is promising.

    And let me be clear, I love Moscow. My home city. Get fucked Petersburg.
    But the statement - the whole country pashet dlya moskvi, has much truth to it.

    High unemployment I would say is tied with gross government corruption as number 1 problem in Dagestan.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  sepheronx on Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:01 am

    TR1 wrote:
    flamming_python wrote:
    TR1 wrote:Dagestan is no more a black hole than Moscow is, in terms of money dissapearing.

    Actually, probably far less.
    That's true but that's because Moscow is just filthy, filthy rich, and all the oligarchs money is there.
    In terms of everyday corruption Dagestan and the other Caucasus republics have no competition.
    IDK about that. I have seen little difference in practical corruption pretty much across Russia. It is bad in Dagestan though, no denying it. Though the new president is promising.

    And let me be clear, I love Moscow. My home city. Get fucked Petersburg.
    But the statement - the whole country pashet dlya moskvi, has much truth to it.

    High unemployment I would say is tied with gross government corruption as number 1 problem in Dagestan.
    They are no longer called president for good reason. Head of the republic is new name.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  flamming_python on Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:15 am

    sepheronx wrote:
    TR1 wrote:Dagestan is no more a black hole than Moscow is, in terms of money dissapearing.

    Actually, probably far less.
    Moscow, technically in financial terms, can support itself without government intervention, and that is because of the amount of wealthy in the city, as well as business entities.  What the government is doing now, is just throwing more money at it to make it the next New York, which IMO, is dumb.

    Chechnya and Daegestan are forced economic development programs, in order to make the "masses" happy so that they do not revolt and try to turn it into a Chechnya War 3.0, and even with all its high development, the unemployment rate is significantly high, regardless of the amount of jobs being created.  Although, for these regions, and the amount of farmers and farms, there is a huge push for development of agriculture in these areas, and that in the end, will make them wealthy.
    If Dagestan wanted to revolt and seperate from Russia they would have tried it by now. 1999 when the Chechens invaded Dagestan ostensibly for inciting that very thing, and when the central government had no money to give to Dagestan nor any other region in Russia - was as good a time as any.
    Instead the Chechens got repulsed, routed & ejected in record time with a bootprint on their ass courtesy of Federal forces in the region and local pro-Russian militias which were quickly raised and armed by federal authorites and manned by local Dagestanis.

    I also doubt that these days the Chechens are in any mood for war or would be in any sort of hurry to restart hostilities again either; money or no money.

    Contrary to nationalist propaganda - Russia is not funding the North Caucasus because there's a danger of another war breaking out if it doesn't. Kadyrov wouldn't start one with Russia in a million years; the man's not a moron.
    Russia is funding it because it's Russian territory and thus it needs to be invested into and developed so that these regions will turn into contributors of taxes, educated human capital, etc... rather than remain as drains of resources with high corruption, banditry and youth turning to radical ideologies.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  flamming_python on Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:29 am

    TR1 wrote:
    flamming_python wrote:
    TR1 wrote:Dagestan is no more a black hole than Moscow is, in terms of money dissapearing.

    Actually, probably far less.
    That's true but that's because Moscow is just filthy, filthy rich, and all the oligarchs money is there.
    In terms of everyday corruption Dagestan and the other Caucasus republics have no competition.
    IDK about that. I have seen little difference in practical corruption pretty much across Russia. It is bad in Dagestan though, no denying it. Though the new president is promising.

    And let me be clear, I love Moscow. My home city. Get fucked Petersburg.
    But the statement - the whole country pashet dlya moskvi, has much truth to it.

    High unemployment I would say is tied with gross government corruption as number 1 problem in Dagestan.
    I remember talking with one Dagestani conscript when I was serving.
    He told me that back home he can only trust the Russian soldiers, that come from other parts of Russia; not the local MVD or anything like that - any one of them could be selling information to the terrorists.
    Goes to show the difference I think. There's bad. And then there's very bad. The North Caucasus is basically still in the 90s. The rest of Russia still has plenty of corruption all over the place (and there may be a few regions such as Tuva or whatever that won't be much better than the Caucasus), but mostly its more civilised nowadays - you don't have business people, journalists, politicians, officials or police being constantly assassinated by masked bandits, or shootouts in the street like you do in the North Caucasus. And most of this stuff isn't due to Islamic terror, but due to that very same corruption and lawlessness; it's about money.

    Still though I've talked to other people and they told me that a lot of the information or rather news reports about such bad things is exaggerated.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  TR1 on Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:39 am

    The problem is its a vicious circular cycle, when it comes to Dagestan-Russia relations. This is coming from one of my cousins: bandits, unemployed locals, whatever shoot local law enforcement, OMON from other parts of Russia sent in, or other federal services. They set up roablocks, frisk people, aim guns at people (takes one idiot to make a whole unit look bad), and you can imagine what local reaction is like. A BTR gets blown up, more federal troops come in.
    On and on....


    My parents are in Maxachkala right now btw, so that is some sign things are slowly inching towards normality. They had no desire to visit ten years ago, even though lots of our family lives there (other half is in Moscow). Dagestan is nature wise beautiful, warm sea as well. Ever since Democracy liberated everyone though the whole region has been in a shitty transition.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  sepheronx on Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:26 am

    TR1 wrote:The problem is its a vicious circular cycle, when it comes to Dagestan-Russia relations. This is coming from one of my cousins: bandits, unemployed locals, whatever shoot local law enforcement, OMON from other parts of Russia sent in, or other federal services. They set up roablocks, frisk people, aim guns at people (takes one idiot to make a whole unit look bad), and you can imagine what local reaction is like. A BTR gets blown up, more federal troops come in.
    On and on....


    My parents are in Maxachkala right now btw, so that is some sign things are slowly inching towards normality. They had no desire to visit ten years ago, even though lots of our family lives there (other half is in Moscow). Dagestan is nature wise beautiful, warm sea as well. Ever since Democracy liberated everyone though the whole region has been in a shitty transition.
    Well, it will take time. 20 years is still not that long time, and sometimes it takes a lot longer.

    Last I heard, Daegestan is getting tons of funding for development of agriculture technopark, as well as tourism industry for locals from other regions in Russia to vacation (since yes, I heard it is really beautiful). So give it time, and many more jobs will appear and possibly more funding for development of the civil sector.

    Hope it goes smoothly the development.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  George1 on Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:52 pm

    Moscow May Be Forced to Demand Early Repayment of $3Bln Debt by Kiev:Source

    The breach of the conditions of granting a bonded loan to Ukraine may prompt Moscow to demand a repayment of the $3 billion debt by Kiev in the near future, a government source suggests.

    MOSCOW, January 10 (Sputnik) — A whole range of parameters which are the conditions of granting a Russian bonded loan to Ukraine, are being violated, a source in the Russian government said Saturday.

    "The situation that is emerging in the economy and finances of Ukraine suggests that a number of parameters, which are the conditions of granting Ukraine a Russian bonded loan are violated," the source said.

    He also added that under these circumstances "it is likely that Russia will have to demand from Ukraine in the near future early repayment of the $3 billion debt."

    Ukraine has been struggling to find a way out of a monetary crisis that has left the country’s economy in difficulty. To help restore the economy, authorities in Kiev have sought financial assistance from international financial institutions.

    In spring, the IMF promised Ukraine a total of $17 billion in bailout loans, to be provided over the course of two years. So far, Ukraine has received two tranches, amounting to $4.55 billion.

    Financial assistance to Kiev is also provided by the World Bank, EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), European Investment Bank and a number of countries. Overall in 2014, Ukraine received financial assistance amounting to about $9 billion. The total national debt for 11 months of 2014 amounted to $69.3 billion.

    In December 2013, Russia made a decision to issue Ukraine a loan of $15 billion and bought Ukraine’s first Eurobonds in the amount of $3 billion.

    In November 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would not demand Kiev to make an early repayment of Eurobonds in a bid to help Ukraine restore its financial system.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  flamming_python on Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:17 pm

    George1 wrote:In November 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would not demand Kiev to make an early repayment of Eurobonds in a bid to help Ukraine restore its financial system.

    WTF?

    Pandering to the West?

    Demand that shit back right now!

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  George1 on Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:06 pm

    Russia to substitute for 700 weapon components of Ukrainian origin 2015 — Defense Minister

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  George1 on Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:00 am

    Poroshenko says Ukraine will need no Russian gas in 2 years

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  kvs on Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:38 am

    George1 wrote:Poroshenko says Ukraine will need no Russian gas in 2 years

    This the school yard level of political discourse in Ukraine. They think that reverse flow from Poland will be the equivalent of
    buying discounted gas from Russia. Until Poland gets LNG from Qatar and the USA, it will be using Russian natural gas. Poland
    will still be using Russian gas 4 years from now and later. There will not be enough LNG port capacity in the EU for a long while
    and most important, there is no supply of 163 billion cubic meters of LNG on the market which the EU can use to replace Russian
    supplies. Also, Gazprom has already denied Poland and others extra gas shipments to reverse flow to Ukraine.

    So Ukraine will have nothing in 2 years.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  sepheronx on Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:40 am

    kvs wrote:
    George1 wrote:Poroshenko says Ukraine will need no Russian gas in 2 years

    This the school yard level of political discourse in Ukraine.   They think that reverse flow from Poland will be the equivalent of
    buying discounted gas from Russia.   Until Poland gets LNG from Qatar and the USA, it will be using Russian natural gas.   Poland
    will still be using Russian gas 4 years from now and later.   There will not be enough LNG port capacity in the EU for a long while
    and most important, there is no supply of 163 billion cubic meters of LNG on the market which the EU can use to replace Russian
    supplies.  Also, Gazprom has already denied Poland and others extra gas shipments to reverse flow to Ukraine.

    So Ukraine will have nothing in 2 years.  

    Add to that, importing LNG is very expensive compared to the pipeline Russia has (NORD Stream). So if Ukrainians are happy spending more on gas, then all the power to them. Just isn't a smart move. Actually, as evident to their current economic policies, nothing they done has been smart.

    But, who cares. Like Gazprom said, Europe will have to get its gas from the gas hub between Greece and Turkey.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  KRATOS1133 on Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:40 am

    A very good summary of the ukrainian crisis, i highly recommend to read it
    Arrow http://periscope2.ru/2015/01/19/8298/#facebook

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  Kyo on Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:43 pm

    Kremlin says chance of Normandy format meeting over Ukraine dwindles

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  flamming_python on Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:00 pm

    Kyo wrote:Kremlin says chance of Normandy format meeting over Ukraine dwindles

    Good thumbsup russia

    Hollande & co. will be sweating in their suits for a while yet, over their delinquishing market positions in Russia.

    Of course they made the excuse that they are only looking for a compromise because a 'collapse of Russia' is not in their interests either. Well now that Russia is not compromising, they should have no more qualms.. so let's see if they have the power to achieve what they claim.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  GarryB on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:25 am

    Like Gazprom said, Europe will have to get its gas from the gas hub between Greece and Turkey.

    The shift from Russia in changing south stream to turkey stream will have interesting effects. If Greece leaves the EU then the pipeline from Russia to Turkey to the EU might need to go around Greece... so it would have to go through Bulgaria at the least...

    With Greece still in the EU having gas transit will add money every year to their coffers... which will at least help a little...

    Of course for the Ukraine it will be a problem because once the flow starts to turkey why would Russia continue pumping gas through the ukraine. The flow to ukraine will reverse so it will be receiving gas via an EU network but will be at the end of a receiving flow rather than mid flow collecting money for being upstream...


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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  George1 on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:54 am

    RZD refutes limitations for transportation of coal to Ukraine

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  Kyo on Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:16 pm

    Putin Calls Ukrainian Army 'NATO Legion'

    Ukrainian armed forces are in essence a 'NATO legion', which is not serving the country's national interests, Russian President Putin said.

    ST.PETERSBURG, January 26 (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the Ukrainian army has been used by NATO as a deterrent against Russia.
    "It, in essence, is not an army anymore but a foreign legion, a NATO-controlled foreign legion, which is not serving to protect Ukraine's national interests," Putin said at a meeting with university students in St. Petersburg.
    "They are pursuing other goals linked with attaining geopolitical goals of deterring Russia contrary to the interests of the Ukrainian people," Putin said.
    Commenting on the Ukraine crisis, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Monday that Washington had "more tools" to increase pressure on Moscow.
    "I think we have seen that the sanctions work to create real stress in the economy. We have more tools. I am not today going to enumerate what the tools are but we have more tools," he said during a press conference in Brussels.
    Kiev is refusing to search for peaceful solution in eastern Ukraine standoff and have used a brief ceasefire to regroup its forces, the Russian president said.
    "Unfortunately, the Kiev authorities refuse to chose a peaceful path [in the Ukrainian conflict] through the use of political means," Putin said.
    "They used a brief ceasefire only to regroup their forces, and started military operation again," the president said.
    Many in Ukraine have already realized that the country is caught in a civil war that had taken lives of thousands of people.
    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has introduced an "emergency situation" in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk heightening overall readiness across the nation.
    The fighting between government forces and independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine's Donbas region has intensified in recent weeks, driving up the civilian death toll. On January 13, the shelling of a bus in the Donetsk Region town of Volnovakha killed 13 civilians. Last week, at least eight Donetsk residents were killed by rocket fire while waiting at a transit stop for a trolleybus.
    Mariupol, a major southeastern Ukraine port city, came under fire on January 24, leaving 30 people dead and over 90 wounded, according to Ukrainian authorities. Kiev and pro-independence forces are blaming each other for the killings.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  flamming_python on Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:54 pm

    Kyo wrote:Putin Calls Ukrainian Army 'NATO Legion'

    Ukrainian armed forces are in essence a 'NATO legion', which is not serving the country's national interests, Russian President Putin said.

    ST.PETERSBURG, January 26 (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the Ukrainian army has been used by NATO as a deterrent against Russia.
    "It, in essence, is not an army anymore but a foreign legion, a NATO-controlled foreign legion, which is not serving to protect Ukraine's national interests," Putin said at a meeting with university students in St. Petersburg.
    "They are pursuing other goals linked with attaining geopolitical goals of deterring Russia contrary to the interests of the Ukrainian people," Putin said.
    Commenting on the Ukraine crisis, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Monday that Washington had "more tools" to increase pressure on Moscow.
    "I think we have seen that the sanctions work to create real stress in the economy. We have more tools. I am not today going to enumerate what the tools are but we have more tools," he said during a press conference in Brussels.
    Kiev is refusing to search for peaceful solution in eastern Ukraine standoff and have used a brief ceasefire to regroup its forces, the Russian president said.
    "Unfortunately, the Kiev authorities refuse to chose a peaceful path [in the Ukrainian conflict] through the use of political means," Putin said.
    "They used a brief ceasefire only to regroup their forces, and started military operation again," the president said.
    Many in Ukraine have already realized that the country is caught in a civil war that had taken lives of thousands of people.
    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has introduced an "emergency situation" in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk heightening overall readiness across the nation.
    The fighting between government forces and independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine's Donbas region has intensified in recent weeks, driving up the civilian death toll. On January 13, the shelling of a bus in the Donetsk Region town of Volnovakha killed 13 civilians. Last week, at least eight Donetsk residents were killed by rocket fire while waiting at a transit stop for a trolleybus.
    Mariupol, a major southeastern Ukraine port city, came under fire on January 24, leaving 30 people dead and over 90 wounded, according to Ukrainian authorities. Kiev and pro-independence forces are blaming each other for the killings.

    Not a coincidence that this statement was made on the backdrop of the new rebel offensive.

    I do hope though that Russia stays its hand somewhat, and does not get more involved than currently nor push an offensive past the Donbass region.
    Reason being is that it would not be the optimal path to fulfill its objectives.

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  Kyo on Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:14 pm

    Putin offers shelter to Ukrainian men

    January 26, 2015
    Russian RT
    Translated by Kristina Rus

    President Vladimir Putin believes that the period of visit of citizens of Ukraine, first of all, of military age, in Russia can be increased.

    "By the way, many people already avoid mobilization, try to move to Russia, to wait it out here for a while. And rightly so, because they are just being pushed there as cannon fodder, under the bullets," said Putin during communication with students at National Mineral Resources University "Alpine".

    However, the head of the state noted that the time of stay of the citizens of Ukraine on the territory of Russia is restricted by law, according to RIA Novosti.

    "In accordance with the new law, citizens of Ukraine can not stay on the territory of the Russian Federation for more than 30 days. They go back, and they are grabbed! And again, sent there, under the bullets. So we will probably change something here, " - said Putin. "In the framework of the law we can increase the length of stay of certain categories of persons, primarily of military age".

    Translators Note:

    This idea has been floated in the Russian media, and looks like Putin took notice. This is an excellent peaceful measure which can cool the Ukrainian war effort, and a step towards peace. Not to mention, it would save the lives of these young men. And although Ukraine may replace these men with American or NATO contractors, it is the right decision.

    Russians and Ukrainians are one people. Their ties go beyond business, a great number of residents of both countries are family. This has been a great resource for both Donbass refugees, Ukrainian men running from mobilization, and even residents of Central and Western Ukraine hit by the economic crisis. No matter how hard America might try, it will never succeed in splitting up Russia and Ukraine.



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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  Kyo on Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:03 pm

    Alexander Mercouris, for Russia Insider wrote:Signs That Russia Has Tired of Waiting for West to Restrain Kiev
    Signs that Russia believes hopes for a negotiated solution are dim
    Appears to have allowed the rebel to go on an offensive
    Is anticipating the possibility of yet more sanctions

    There have been many important days in the Ukrainian conflict but it is possible 23rd January 2015 may turn out to be a key day. Consider what happened:

    The Russian Security Council met. This is the Russian government’s key decision making body on questions of foreign, defence and security policy. As President and Commander in Chief, Putin chairs it.

    We do not have a full account of what was said. What we do know is that the situation in Ukraine was the topic under discussion.

    Putin's website has provided us with an extract from the address he made to open the meeting. It repays quoting this extract in full:

    “Good afternoon, colleagues.

    We are witnessing a dramatic deterioration of the situation in southeastern Ukraine, in Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. In this connection I would like to inform you again that a week ago, on Thursday, I sent a letter to the President of Ukraine, a written proposal to withdraw heavy weapons – artillery and multiple rocket launchers – to such a distance from which it would be impossible to fire at populated areas.

    I would like to inform you further that this proposal almost completely coincided with the requirements of the official Kiev. You know that there may be one disputed area along the line of separation between the parties to the conflict. So we suggested that weapons and heavy equipment should be withdrawn to the line that Kiev authorities themselves consider fair and corresponding to the agreements reached in Minsk on September 19, 2014.

    Unfortunately, we received no clear answer to our proposal; in fact, we also saw the reverse action, namely the Kiev government has given an official order to launch large-scale combat operations along almost the entire perimeter of contact between the opposing sides.

    The result: dozens of dead and wounded, and not only among servicemen on both sides, but, even more tragically, there has been loss of life among the civilian population, including children, the elderly and women. The artillery, multiple rocket launchers and aircraft are firing indiscriminately, directly at densely populated areas.

    All of this is happening to the accompaniment of propaganda slogans about the quest for peace and the search for those responsible. The responsibility is borne by those who issue such criminal orders. The people who do this should know that there is no other way to solve such conflicts but through peace negotiations and political means. We often hear, including from today’s official Kiev, that this is their preferred method of addressing issues, but the reality is quite different. I hope that common sense will eventually triumph.

    I would like to call for a moment of silence to honour the victims, including those who died at a bus stop in Donetsk.

    (Moment of silence.)”

    The western media has focused on that part of this address where Putin refers to the “criminal orders” that have led to the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilian areas by the Ukrainian military.

    Those are indeed important words. They are not however the most important words in this address.

    The most important words in the address are the ones where Putin refers to the political leaders in Kiev not as “the government of Ukraine” or “the Ukrainian government” or even “the Ukrainian side” but as “official Kiev” or “the Kiev authorities”.

    This is extraordinary language since it calls into question for the first time the degree to which the political leaders in Kiev represent Ukraine as a whole, as opposed to just Kiev.

    Putin does refer to Poroshenko as “the President of Ukraine”, something he has done since shortly after Poroshenko’s election.

    The Russians have always treated Poroshenko differently from other members of the Ukrainian government ever since Poroshenko was elected President. They have represented him as a moderate surrounded by extremists and on that basis they have tried to negotiate with him.

    Whether there is any truth to the idea of "Poroshenko the moderate" is another matter. Since Poroshenko is the President the Russians have however had no alternative but to persist with it if they are going to negotiate with the Ukrainian government at all.

    The fact that Putin still refers to Poroshenko as “the President of Ukraine” suggests the Russians have still not completely given up on this idea. However, the wording suggests that they may be coming close to doing so. Putin conspicuously does not refer to Poroshenko by name. His comments are factual and cold. This suggests a relationship on the point of collapse.

    As important as Putin’s words about the Ukrainian government are the words Putin uses to describe the two east Ukrainian rebel republics.

    For the first time Putin refers to them - without qualification - by the names they have given themselves: "the Donetsk People's Republic" and "the Lugansk People's Republic".

    This is the closest Putin has yet come to treating these republics as legitimate political entities. Taken together with his words he used to describe the Ukrainian government, it suggests that Putin in his own mind no longer thinks of the Ukrainian government as the legitimate authority in the Donbass.

    To those who will argue that this is to over interpret Putin’s words, I would point out that Putin is the President of Russia and a trained lawyer who chooses his words carefully and that these words were published on his website.

    Later on the same day, Putin has also had a telephone conversation with Lukashenko, the President of Belarus.

    Lukashenko is a key Russian ally and a key partner in the Ukrainian conflict. He has not always seen eye to eye with the Russians in relation to it.

    We do not know what Putin and Lukashenko said to each other but we do know that Ukraine was the subject of the discussion.

    It looks as if Putin, after meeting with his Security Council, spoke to Lukashenko to tell him what decisions had been taken there in order to keep Lukashenko both informed and on side.

    Russia’s other key ally, Nazarbayev the President of Kazakhstan, will surely also have been kept informed of what decisions the Russians have taken.

    Meanwhile, on the same day at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Shuvalov, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister in overall charge of the economy, warned the delegates there that Russia will not submit to sanctions and will not change its government because of them. One of Russia’s leading bankers, Kostin, who heads VTB Bank, also warned the delegates at Davos of any attempt to exclude Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank payment system.

    Shuvalov also made it clear in his comments in Davos that Russia is in continuous contact with China and that it is expecting both political and economic support from there. It is a certainty that the Russians are consulting with the Chinese before every decision they take and that the Chinese have been told of whatever was discussed and of what decisions were taken concerning Ukraine at the meeting of Russia’s Security Council.

    The Financial Times has a good summary of the comments Shuvalov and Kostin made in Davos. I attach it below.

    Meanwhile, rounding out Russian news relating to Ukraine in a packed day, the Russian Justice Ministry announced that a number of Ukrainian nationalist organisations, including Right Sector have been banned from operating on Russian territory. Some of us are surprised that they had not been banned already.

    Elsewhere, in Ukraine itself, the Donetsk rebel leader Zakharchenko announced that the Minsk Memorandum no longer applies, confirmed that the secession of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics from Ukraine is final and said that they are now committed to liberating all their territory from Ukraine.

    The Minsk Memorandum is not the same document as the Minsk Protocol, which was the original ceasefire agreement that was signed on 5th September 2014. It is the technical follow-up document that was signed on 19th September 2014.

    The Minsk Memorandum purported to set out the detailed terms of the ceasefire that had been agreed by the Minsk Protocol of 5th September 2014. It set out the ceasefire line and provided for the mutual withdrawal of heavy weapons by each side for a distance of 15 km from the ceasefire line.

    Neither the Minsk Protocol nor the Minsk Memorandum have ever been implemented. The constitutional talks required by the Minsk Protocol have never taken place. Ukraine has unilaterally cancelled the law of special status it granted the rebel regions of the Donbass in accordance with the Minsk Protocol and has failed to agree terms or recognise the elections that were held there in November. Neither side has withdrawn its troops to the ceasefire line and the withdrawal of heavy weapons has never happened.

    By saying the Minsk Memorandum no longer applies Zakharchenko is simply stating the obvious and has freed the rebels to pursue offensive operations, which it is currently what they are doing with reports of rebel advances on Mariupol and Debaltsevo.

    Now it may be that all these statements made on 23rd January 2015 amount to little. It could be that they were not coordinated and that Russian policy has not changed.

    However, on the face of it, they do suggest a hardening of the Russian position, suggesting that the Russians have for the moment simply given up hope of a negotiated solution to the war, which can only happen if there is concerted Western pressure on Kiev, of which there is no sign.

    If this is right, then the Russians have given the rebels the green light to pursue their offensive whilst Shuvalov’s and Kostin’s comments suggest they are preparing to batten down the hatches in anticipation of more Western sanctions to come.

    From the Financial Times

    One of Russia’s top bankers on Friday warned that excluding the country from the Swift banking payment system would be tantamount to “war”.

    The suggestion that Russia could be shut out of Swift triggered widespread alarm in Moscow’s financial community when it was floated by western politicians last summer. Russia’s banks rely heavily on the Belgium-based payments system for both domestic and international payments. However, the move was at the time considered too punitive a sanction, being described by one adviser as “the nuclear option”.

    Speaking at a panel in Davos on Friday Andrei Kostin, chief executive of VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank, said: “If there is no Swift, there is no banking . . . relationship, it means that the countries are on the verge of war, or they are definitely in a cold war.”

    “The next day, the Russian and American ambassadors would have to leave the capitals,” he added.

    Mr Kostin’s comments highlight how the west’s sanctions regime is creating a sense of anger and defiance among the Russian political and business elite.

    “The more you press Russia, I do not think the situation will change,” he said, pointing out that the country was moving to reduce its reliance on western payment systems such as Swift.

    “We have already created a domestic alternative to the Swift system . . . and we need to create alternatives internationally.”

    He drew attention to efforts under way between Russia and China to create a separate platform of their own, outside western control.

    Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s deputy prime minister, echoed this theme. “We are developing our eastern vector,” Mr Shuvalov declared, pointing out that although efforts to build links with China had been under way before the crisis, they had dramatically intensified since sanctions started, as Russia looked for alternatives to the west.

    Mr Shuvalov said that the so-called Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) were ready to help each other in a financial crisis too. “Large Chinese investors are coming to us,” he said.

    The “pivot to Asia” has become a key part of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy since the breakdown in relations with the west over Ukraine. While several flagship deals have been signed, such as the $400bn contract to supply Russian gas to China for 30 years last May, few Russian policy makers or businesspeople believe China can save the Russian economy from a painful recession.

    “The present situation looks like it is softer than [the 2008-09 financial crisis] but we are going into a long crisis situation and it may be protracted,” Mr Shuvalov said.

    But he added that foreign pressure would not succeed in changing the political leadership of the country.

    “We will survive any hardship in the country — eat less food, use less electricity,” he said.

    Alexei Kudrin, the respected former finance minister, predicted Russia could see capital outflows of $90bn this year after a record $151bn in 2014. “We should clearly understand the price we are paying for sanctions,” he said.

    Kyo
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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  Kyo on Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:18 pm

    Alexander Mercouris, for Russia Insider wrote: Putin Just Condemned Ukraine Forces as "NATO Foreign Legion" Fighting for Western Interests

    It's a further confirmation that Russia has despaired of a diplomatic solution and is no longer restraining East Ukraine rebels

    A few days ago I wrote a piece for RI tentatively suggesting on the basis of certain comments Putin made at the meeting of Russia’s Security Council on 23rd January 2015 that Russia’s policy towards Ukraine has hardened and that Russia is no longer trying to restrain the rebels whilst it looks for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

    Putin provided dramatic confirmation of this in certain comments he made to the students of the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg on 26th January 2015. These were those words as quoted on his website:

    Regrettably, the government in Kiev has refused to take the road of a peaceful settlement and does not want to resolve the problem through political means. First they used the law enforcement agencies, then the security services, and then the army. Later, when they ran up against resistance, they suspended military operations, but sadly, they only used the temporary peace to regroup and then start their operations again. They are pursuing these operations again now. Thousands of people have already been killed. This is certainly a real tragedy.

    We often speak of the ‘Ukrainian army’, but who is doing the fighting there in reality? Yes, in part it is official armed forces units, but a substantial part of those doing the fighting come from the so-called volunteer nationalist battalions. Essentially, this is not an army but is a foreign legion, in this particular case, a NATO foreign legion, which is not pursuing Ukraine’s national interests of course. They have completely different goals, related to achieving their geopolitical aim of containing Russia, and this is absolutely not in the Ukrainian people’s national interests.

    Once again Putin pointedly did not call the political leadership in Kiev “the Ukrainian government”. Instead he called it “the government in Kiev”, once again calling into question its right to speak for the whole of Ukraine.

    These comments however pale by comparison with Putin’s comments about the government’s military. He said that it is not a Ukrainian army (note that the editors of his website put the words “Ukrainian army” inside inverted commas) but “a NATO foreign legion, which is not pursuing Ukraine’s national interests” but “completely different goals, related to achieving their geopolitical aim of containing Russia”.

    These words quite explicitly deny that the Maidan authorities or their army represent Ukraine but say they are simply a catspaw of NATO. They also align Russia’s interests with those of the rebels of the Donbass since Putin calls the army the rebels are fighting a "NATO foreign legion" seeking "to contain Russia".

    Putin has never gone this far before. As I have said on other occasions, he is not merely Russia’s President but is also a trained lawyer who chooses his words carefully. There is no doubt these words were carefully chosen to make clear Russia's policy. That is why they were chosen for publication on Putin's website whilst other words Putin said to the students about other issues have not been been published.

    In light of these words, the conclusion is now inescapable: As I said in my previous article, Russia has for the time being at least given up hope of a diplomatic solution, having despaired of the western pressure on Kiev that is necessary to achieve it. Instead it has given the rebels the green light to pursue their offensive until its objectives are achieved.

    George1
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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

    Post  George1 on Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:24 am

    Russia Imposes Restrictions on Pig Import From Ukraine's Kiev Region

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    Re: Ukraine-Russia Relations and Future developments

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