The Battle for Ukraine - January, 2014

Vladimir Putin's dream of creating a Russian-led Eurasian Union is slowly but surely becoming a reality. The smoke in Kiev will eventually clear and Ukraine will set course with big brother.  Soon thereafter, it will be Georgia's turn. But events in Kiev are proving that the road to Eurasia will indeed be a rocky one. With the following commentary I would like to take a brief look at what has recently been happening in the Ukraine and in doing so also address some other topics that I believe are related.

People don't normally wake up one day and simply decide to take to the streets en masse just because their government has made a decision they don't like. For a mass political protest to take place, in a hotly contested nation nonetheless, you need three essential ingredients: A motivation, a well organized network of activists and of course high level individuals capable of pulling financial and/or political strings.

The motivation in Kiev is clearly there, I will briefly describe the deep rooted anti-Russian sentiments of many Ukrainian nationalists and liberals later in this commentary. The organizers in Kiev are there, a not so little army of Western funded and led NGOs, independent journalists, rights advocates, political activists, clergymen and government officials. And we also know that there are high level policymakers in various power centers around the world that would love to drive a permanent wedge between Ukraine and Russia purely for geostrategic reasons.

These are the three basic factors that are taking the sheeple to the streets in Kiev. These are the factors that can start a civil war or attempt a violent coup d'état if the movement's organizers, masterminds and financiers conclude that the reaction from Moscow will be weak or something that they can afford to risk. To put it in other words, if the ringleaders of these protests are made to fear a serious Russian reprisal, they may not be foolish enough incite large scale violence or seek a forceful overthrow of the government in Kiev.

Therefore, much is riding on how Moscow handles this situation.  

Kiev and Moscow need to be very careful with the way they are dealing with these protests. The best course for Ukrainian and Russian officials to take would be to do what they are doing now: Take a step back, resort to soft power and allow these protests to run their natural course, all the while keeping a tight control over the situation by closely monitoring the activities of the country's Western funded NGOs, political activists and journalists of news organizations.

Under no circumstances should there be a disproportionate use of violence against protesters. A violent overreaction by the authorities is what Western powers are actually hoping for. 

However, in addition to a well calculated and soft approach vis-à-vis Kiev, Russian officials need to begin posturing aggressively against Western interests elsewhere to divert attention.

Ultimately, the battle for Ukraine is a battle the West will lose. For the West, severing Ukraine from Russia is purely a geostrategic measure (a method of weakening Russian power inside Europe) that if push comes to shove, it can live without accomplishing it. For Moscow, keeping the Ukraine within its political and economic orbit is almost a matter of life and death for the Russian state. In other words, Moscow will resort to all measures to ensure Kiev remains within its orbit. Therefore, Ukraine's fate as part of a Russian-led political and economic pact has been predetermined. Everything else at this point is simply a matter of how to get there.

Ever since the Varangian Grand Prince Vladimir the Great of Kievan Rus was baptized into the Christian Orthodox faith upon his marriage to Byzantine Princess Anna Porphyrogenita (the sister of Basil II, the world famous Byzantine-Armenian Emperor also known as the "Bulgar-slayer") sometime around the year 988 AD, the territories of Kievan Rus (roughly the regions of modern day Ukraine, Belarus and European Russia) have been the cradle of Russian civilization.

For the past one thousand years, Russia has been Ukraine, Ukraine has been Russia. So, how is it that there has been so much anti-Russian sentiments in Ukraine as of late? 

Let's stop blaming Russians for Bolshevism 

At various times throughout its history western parts of the Ukraine have been occupied by Vatican-led European powers: Poland in particular. Because of its history situated on a border between western Europe and the Russian heartland, Ukraine has evolved into a deeply divided state with two relatively distinct nations living within one political body. Consequently, modern Ukraine is a nation that is roughly half west-leaning, comprised primarily of Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic and half east-leaning, comprised primarily of Russian Orthodox Slavs - if not by actual faith then by heritage. The western half of the country identify more with Poles, Moldovans and Slovaks than with Russians.

More significantly, it should also be mentioned that Ukraine is also a nation that has had terrible troubles under Bolshevik rule: Many millions dead during the "Holodomor" famines of the early 1930s has left a terrible imprint on the minds of many Ukrainians. There was also of course the harsh treatment of western Ukrainians by Joseph Stalin's Moscow during and in the aftermath of the Second World War due to their collaborations with Nazi Germany.

I believe the Bolshevik/Stalinian stain on Russian-Ukrainian relations is the psychology behind what has been happening in Kiev recently.

The vivid memory of the horrors of Bolshevism has spawned the anti-Russian hate many Ukrainians feel these days. This is the demographics, in union with Westernized liberals, we are seeing protesting on the streets. I personally think Ukraine's West-leaning population's EU drive is rooted more in their hate for Russians than in their love for the EU. Unfortunately, within the mindsets of the Ukrainian sheeple today (as well as sheeple around the world), no differentiation is made between the Bolshevik regime and ethnic Russians.

Long after their demise, Bolsheviks are still tarnishing Russia's image and straining its relations with its neighbors. 

And as a consequence of nearly one hundred years of the Anglo-American-Zionist establishment's anti-Russian propaganda, for hundreds of millions of people around the world: Bolshevism and communism = Russian. 

Therefore, for many Ukrainians, ethnic Russians (Orthodox Christian Slavs) are the enemy - never mind that Bolshevism was imported into Russia to destroy the Russian Empire, never mind that Russian Slavs suffered just as terribly under Bolshevik rule as Ukrainians.

Please revisit the following three blog commentaries about Bolshevism and Russia -
Stalin's Jews  and the Bolshevik Revolution (July, 2010):
Medvedev Condemns Stalin’s Russia, Russians may finally bury Lenin (May, 2011):
Once again, for it can't be stressed enough: Bolshevism was imported into Russian Empire to destroy it. Bolshevism was everything Russia was not. The horrors of Bolshevik reign during the 1920s and 1930s were unprecedented in the number of deaths it caused and the amount of wealth it stole. Bolsheviks remain by far the world's greatest criminals and murders. The only thing "Russian" about the Bolshevik movement in Russia was the language they spoke.

There is another very important historical nuance that escapes most people: If there was anything at all positive about the outcome of the Second World War, it was was seeing Bolshevism/Communism transform itself.

Allow me to explain what I mean. 

It was only due to the patriotic fervor brought upon by the Great Patriotic War (and to some extent, Stalin's wide scale political purges prior to the war) that the Soviet Union began taking on an ethnic Russian face. Simply put, the Second World War caused the 'Russification' of Communism. In my opinion, the positive aspects of Communism many of us are familiar with today come from this period of Russification. Therefore, it could be argued that Nazism did actually defeat Bolshevism by indirectly helping Russians rise in its ranks and eventually take over control in the Kremlin. 

Nevertheless, blaming "Russians" (Christian Slavs) for the unspeakable evils of Bolshevism is like blaming the hapless victim for the actions of the rabid criminal.

While the Russian nation is beginning to discuss this controversial topic publicly in recent years, it is very unfortunate that Russian officials have not made a direct, concerted effort in addressing the points I have raised here. I do not think that Russian officials yet understand that the stain of Bolshevism is still casting a very dark shadow over Russian state, and I do not think they appreciate the long term value of trying to finally distance themselves from Russia's Bolshevik past by revealing the truths behind Bolshevism.

Why is the Ukraine so important for the West?

Getting back to the battle for Ukraine: We also need to take into close consideration that Ukraine is a European country that physically shares a border with the European Union. Taking advantage of the aforementioned sociopolitical factors, Ukraine has been diligently worked on by a very wide array of Western led and funded operatives, political activists, rights advocates, independent journalists, feminist movements, gay movements, NGOs, etc, for two full decades.

Western powers are exploiting Kiev in their geostrategic drive to expand NATO into historically recognized Russian territories via their multinational theme-park known as the European Union.

Why is Ukraine so important?

Well, for anyone that has seen a map of the region where the country is located, it should be quite obvious. But, in any case, I''ll allow one of America's most influential foreign policymakers to tell us why:
"Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire. But if Russia becomes an empire, it cannot be a democracy at the same time. We might add that an imperial Russia will be forced to abandon economic reform in favor of central planning"
Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a 1993 Foreign Affairs article
You see, it's all about Russia. It's not about Ukraine's "democratic" future, it's about weakening Russia. As America's most infamous Polak candidly points out, Russia is enormously more powerful with the territory of Ukraine within its fold and considerably weakened without it. The Polak also goes on to suggest that the West is concerned about Moscow not following through at the time with its promised "economic reforms". Mind you that "economic reforms" is code name for turning one's economic and financial system under Anglo-American-Zionist control. And for much of the 1990s, the West had actually succeeded in subverting Russia's post-Soviet economy and financial institutions through forced reforms and Western backed Jewish-Russian oligarchs.

Simply put, Ukraine is a major geostrategic prize for the political West.

In other words, Western powers want to secure their Slavic buffer states (namely Poland and Ukraine) as a way of creating defensive depth against the Russian state, as well as a way of containing and/or weakening Moscow's geopolitical authority west of the Urals.

Western powers have historically recognized the Russian state as their number one geopolitical competitor on the global stage. With a resurgent Russia making a global comeback in recent years, there has therefore been an air of urgency in various power centers Western world. In a strong sense, this is a race against time for the Western establishment and this Western push into eastern Europe and Russia can be likened to a new "Operation Barbarossa", thus far without all the guns.

I can only hope that Moscow is getting ready a new Operation Bagration of its own.

Nevertheless, let's make no mistake about it, the situation in the Ukraine is very serious indeed. The country has been turned into a volatile powder keg. Although I'm glad that Kiev and Moscow have taken a step back in trying to defuse the situation, my main concern is that Western powers will continue fomenting large scale civil unrest within this deeply divided country. Needless to say, Western incitement, which is clearly what Western assets throughout Ukraine are doing, runs the risk of a bloody civil war, to which Moscow may respond to by militarily annexing the strategic Crimea (a contingency military operation which Moscow is ready to carry-out at a moment's notice).

Here we see Henry Kissinger, another one of the Anglo-American-Zionist global order's veteran policymakers sounding the alarm at the way the political West has been handling the crisis in the Ukraine -
Henry Kissinger on Fareed Zakaria interview!
It's important to point out that the likes of Kissinger (and Brzezinski) represent the Western world's old school approach in empire building: Cautious, systematic, strategic, covert, indirect and nuanced. Such men are fundamentally opposed to the Western world's post-Soviet "neocon" approach to international relations: Overt, arrogant, in your face, blatant, aggressive, loud, etc. Therefore, the old war criminal is sounding the alarm about the way Washington is currently pursuing the Western world's age-old policy of containing Russia. In other words, the empire's old guard, its political elite, is worried about a Russian backlash. As mentioned above, one of the Russian backlashes can be the annexation of the Crimea. I personally want to see the Crimea going back to Russia but Moscow will make such a move only as a last resort, that is if Ukraine is on the verge of a major split.

Now that we have briefly taken a look at why Ukraine is important for Russia and the  West, there is yet another question that needs to be answered: What is the West's problem with Russia? After all, the Soviet Union has been dead for well over twenty-years now. Why do Western policymakers continue conspiring against Russia?

What's Washington's problem with Moscow?

The United States of America and the Russian Empire had very good relations throughout much of the 19th century. The two powers in question complimented each other in the geopolitics of the time. Although American students are not thought this in their schools for obvious reasons, there were in fact times in the 19th century when Saint Petersburg and Washington were politically allied against British Empire. This close friendship between the US and Russia at the time was vividly reflected in the sale of Russian-Alaska to Americans. 

In my opinion, this genuine Russo-American friendship effectively came to an end when the British Empire and the United States began merging (or as some Brits say, London handed its empire to Washington) beginning in the late 19th century. Thereafter, one of the Anglo-American establishment's perennial targets has been the Russian state. In fact, for much of the 20th century, the following slogan has more-or-less been the geostrategic motto of the Anglo-American-Zionist policymakers:
Keep America in, Russia out, Germany down
In other words, for the Western political/financial establishment, the US has been used as a bulldog for keeping in check Eurasia's two most powerful nations. When one gives this geostrategic formula some serious thought, everything that has taken place in the political world during the last century or so will begin making much better sense. 

Nevertheless, by the 1950s and 1960s, when as noted above Communism had been thoroughly Russified, anti-Russian sentiments within political circles in the Western world had begun to grow to new heights. Then, the sudden disappearance of the Soviet Union some twenty years ago provided the West with a historic opportunity to become the world's premiere hyperpower. The political West quite suddenly came to the realization that it no long had a geopolitical rival in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa or South America.

This realization, that it is the top predator in a unipolar world, lies at the root causes of the wars we have witnessed in Iraq, Sudan, Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, as well as the campaign against Iran and NATO's expansion eastward during the past twenty years.

Here we see one of the most important cogs in the US war machine candidly talking about Washington's agenda in a post-Soviet world:

"We are going to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years. We are going to start with Iraq and then we are going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran... We learned that we can use our militaries in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets wont stop us... and we've got about five to ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes - Syria, Iran, Iraq - before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us"

Wesley Clark, in a speech given on
October 3, 2007

Since the Soviet collapse, the Anglo-American-Zionist order has been busy seeking to preserve its place on top of the global food-chain. They simply do not want any new kids on the block to compete with their hegemony. As General Clark stated, its been a Western rush to hegemonize the world - "before the next great superpower comes to challenge us".

Perhaps this is why humanity is gradually coming to recognition that the US is the biggest threat to world peace -
Comfortably bloated with a century of excess, and sitting on the top of the world for the past twenty years, the prevailing Western controlled system-of-things in the world can only be maintained if the financial and political elite of the Western world manages to maintain its current status as the alpha and the omega of global affairs. Any lesser role for this power-crazed and gluttonous Western elite will ultimately cause its collapse, and Western leaders fully recognize this ominous fact facing their existence.

Being that Russia and China pose the only long-term global threats for them, it is rather easy to see that their two main targets have been Moscow and Beijing. But because Beijing has been stuck in a symbiotic economic relationship with Washington (which may in fact explain why Washington has encouraged American businesses to open shop in China during the past forty years), the West has been placing most of its emphasis on undermining the Russian state instead. 

Sometime during the 1990s, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is believed to have stated that the natural wealth found in the vastness of the Russian Federation was too much for one country to posses. The implications of her words were quite obvious, especially for Russians -
Putin warns of outside forces that wish to split Russia and take over its natural resources (2007):
Putin's Russia has been a target for the West essentially because Moscow, a massive nuclear power, stubbornly maintains its political, economic and financial independence and it controls virtually unlimited supplies of natural resources. Moreover, Russia, a Eurasian power stretching from Europe to the Far-East, is also in an ideal position to control global commerce and impact the political affairs of Europe, Middle East and Asia. Simply put, Russia poses a long-term threat to Western global hegemony. 

To the dismay of Western officials, the Russian state today may be the only truly independent political entity on earth. All this explains why Western leaders were expecting Russia to "reform" its economy and why they have been diligently trying to import "Democracy" into the multiethnic country. For Western policymakers, Russia must be contained and/or isolated at all costs. And they have been diligently working on this agenda by funding subversive groups throughout Russia's very diverse society, as well as surrounding Russia with West-leaning buffer states and military installations. In other words, yes, Washington's missile defense shield is actually aimed against Russia -
U.S. missile defense in Europe 'real threat' to Russia (June, 2011):
While many in the world today are conditioned to believe that the West is on a noble campaign to curb international terrorism and bring "freedom and democracy" (and of course gay-rights) to the darkest corners of the world, senior officials in the Kremlin realize that the ultimate intention of the Western alliance is to contain Russia as a geostrategic measure to ensure that no regional power rises to compete with Western hegemony.
Moscow fully realizes that the "Great Game" to undermine its power is well underway. Moscow also realizes that the Russian state will remain the number one target of the Western alliance for the foreseeable future. But breaking apart Russia, which is in fact what strategic planners in the West would have liked to do, will be virtually impossible now that a post-1990s era Russia has gotten off its knees and its projecting its power well beyond its borders.

As we saw in Georgia in 2008 and more recently in Syria, the Russian state has valiantly taken its fight to the West by drawing red lines in places where Moscow considers areas of strategic interests. Moscow has definitely stepped into a world leadership role -
Russia Steps Into World Leadership Role (September, 2013 ):
It is encouraging to know that after suffering setback after setback, Moscow has managed to rebound in recent years and has been able to draw a red line in the south Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and now in the Ukraine. The Russian state is on the rise, and barring any unforeseen catastrophic events like a major meteor strike on Moscow, the Russian state will be one of the premiere powers of the world in the 21st century. 

But we can't be complacent because the Great Game is not yet over.

Western puppeteers continue to have the advantage, for they continue enjoying the faithful services of sheeple in various targeted nations across the world. The Western propaganda machine - multipronged, fine tuned and highly sophisticated with a century of experience behind it - is still the number one Social Engineering force in the world. Therefore, the material lure of the Western world and the popular hype associated with Western "values" will not be easy to fight let alone destroy.

Under the banners of "democracy", "freedom", "fight against corruption", "human rights", "nature protection" and "civil society", there are hordes of neo-Bolshevik armies invading and undermining targeted nations around the world today.

Democracy is not a panacea

Prosperity, political stability and Democracy are not interrelated: Never has been, never will be. Democracy may in fact be the worst form of government in existence today. It's actually disturbing how some well-meaning idiots these days talk about “Democracy” as if it’s a drug: Just take it and you’ll be fine, we are told. Well, come to think of it, it is a drug. But the problem is that it is a very toxic drug, one that has hallucinatory and at times deadly side effects.

The kind of Democracy being promoted by Western powers around the world in recent decades - with its system of beliefs known as Free Trade, Westernization or Globalism - are for the Western world today what religion used to be for European powers during the past one thousand years, and what Roman civilization and Hellenism was in the preceding centuries: A means of manipulation, control, subjugation, exploitation and when needed, destruction. In fact, knowing how destructive Democracy can be for developing nations is exactly why Western powers have been prescribing it to developing nations. Reminder: They do not want competition! 

Ask yourselves, what has Western Democracy brought to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria in recent years? The answer is, utter chaos and destruction! What has Western Democracy brought to Europe? The answer is economic instability, decadence, the lose of identity and the very decline of western and European civilization! And India, touted as the "largest Democracy" on earth, is a cesspool of corruption and despair. 

What about Democracy in Western nations?

The political West (those who do most of the Democracy drug peddling around the world, as well as conventional narcotics peddling but that's another story for another time) is actually very far from being an actual Democracy. Therefore, the West is not what it preaches to be. Western official know better than allowing their masses any say in politics. Western nations are ruled by an elite-based political/financial system where top level military leaders, government officials and financial executives make major decisions independent of their "voters" wishes. More on "Democracy" in the US - 
The two ring circus called the American presidential elections (January 2013):
Western nations, as well as every single prosperous nation in existence today, got to the height they are today through authoritarian rule. Western powers, in particular, also got to where they are today through institutionalized corruption, genocide, slavery, exploitation and global wars for power and plunder. How did the "people" live in the elite-based political systems in the US or Britain in the 19th century? There are quite a few literary works about the unspeakable plight of the masses in both countries at the time. The point I am trying to make is that it was only after their militaristic rise to the top of the world in the second half of the 20th century that the Western elite began giving a little back to the people to keep them complacent. It is only after their rise, however, that they could afford to play with limited forms of Democracy. But corruption has never left Western nations. In fact, Western powers, US and Britain in particular, are amongst the world's most corrupt regimes but the Social Engineered sheeple do not notice it because much of the corruption in question is  institutionalized.

In other words, in stark contrast with the rest of the world, corruption in the West is strictly reserved for their political and financial elite.

Despite their touting, "Democracy" or "freedom" has never had much to do with the Western world's rise to global power and prosperity. 

The US was an experiment that worked well primarily because of the following factors: Aggressive, libertarian minded, well organized and very resourceful European settlers (mostly of Germanic decent) found a land that was massive, naturally wealthy, protected by oceans and free for the taking. These settlers then managed to reach economic prosperity through an elite-based and Masonic system that carried out genocide, slavery, exploitation and wars for plunder and influence around the world.

The US was founded by a very intelligent group of people who saw themselves as part of an elitist system. The US today continues to be an elite-based political/financial system. The US has historically been a nation where the top one percent (historically made up of the nation's WASP caste) has thoroughly dominated the rest of the 99%. However, the American citizenry, the 99%, has been better managed in recent decades through the provision of bare-essentials (i.e. low paying jobs and government assistance), entertainment (i.e. proliferation of television programing, celebrity worship, cinema and sports) and mind control methods in the form of information control through the controlled mainstream news press and school curriculum.

Before the leadership of a developing countries are capable of allowing their citizenry to safely participate in the nation's political processes, political system in the country first needs to develop well established national institutions and only a tidy number of domestically funded political parties that are subservient to them. Before a government can allow its people a limited say in political matters, it also needs a well conditioned citizenry. 

Therefore, Democracy is not a panacea: It is a dangerous drug. A nation cannot risk playing with Democracy when the nation is culturally not ready and politically immature. A nation cannot risk playing with Democracy when it does not have a democratic tradition or lacks powerful national institutions. A nation cannot risk playing with Democracy when it is still developing. As mentioned above, powerful national institutions overseeing and sometimes directly guiding the so-called "democratic process" in a political system is exactly how the Western world is currently run.  Developing nations in the post-Soviet space are in no shape to risk playing with such a drug.

In their transitional phase, developing nations need authoritarian leaders and patient and patriotic populations. For example: Russia and China - one a multi-party top heavy government, the other a one party authoritarian government - have some of the fastest growing middle class and national GDP in the world. Until post-Soviet nations like Armenia or Ukraine mature as nation-states, such nations also need top heavy, authoritarian governments with patriotic men in power. In the meanwhile, may God help protect nations from Democracy and all it's street peddlers. 

Once more, in the Western world, the practice of Democracy is tightly controlled by its deeply entrenched elite. The so-called Democratic processes in places like the United States or United Kingdom will never be allowed to get outside their clearly defined parameters. We cannot make the mistake of associating Democracy with Western power or wealth.

The global menace

Very similar to what the Vatican had done for centuries with Catholicism, the Western alliance today is using a new form of global religion known as "Democracy" and/or "Globalism" to either make or break nations around the world. Similar to Christian emperors of the past, "democratic" emperors of today are deciding who lives and who dies. As in medieval times, false notions are being spread within human society in order to better manage it... or to simply exploit it.

Similar to what imperial powers did in the past with religion, the very notion of Democracy and human-rights today have been weaponized by Washington. 

As a matter of fact, everything today is becoming weaponized by Washington. Money is weaponized. Religion and religious cults are weaponized. Energy is weaponized. Food is weaponized. Atheism is weaponized. Scientific research is weaponized. Gay rights is weaponized. Feminism is weaponized. The news is weaponized. Entertainment is weaponized. Humanitarian aid is weaponized. The English language is weaponized. Globalism is weaponized. Fighting corruption is weaponized. Anything and everything that can in anyway be used against a targeted nation for a political and/or economic purpose is systematically becoming weaponized by Washington.

Which brings me to the now oft asked question: How has the political West become so powerful?

In the big picture, we the sheeple are at fault!

Simply put: If we desperately want to learn their language; if we want to sing their songs; if we want to dance to their music; if we want to watch their films; if we want to dress like them; if we want to eat like them; if we want to trade in their currency; if we seek to get our information from their sources; if we dream of living in their countries; if we dream of attending their universities; if we dream of working for their institutions; if we enthusiastically want to emulate their political system... then how can we ever think of them as the enemy?!

Here is a related blog commentary -
Thus, their hold over humanity is essentially a psychological one. Our willing, often subconscious submission to anything and everything Western today (Anglo-American in particular) is exactly how they are easily succeeding in invading and subverting targeted nations around the world.

For instance, when a Western official visits a developing nation and the natives there fall allover themselves to impress the visiting guest, the Western operation in that nation is already mostly a success. When the Whore of Babylon recently visited Yerevan, she did not need to speak a single word in Armenian, she did not feel the need to ask her friends in Baku to stop killing Armenian soldiers on the border, she did not feel the need to pay her respects at the genocide memorial, she did not feel the need to do or say anything positive or constructive about Armenia... She simply handed out medals to her many active mercenaries in the country. Despite her unholiness's overt and often blatant anti-Armenianism, Armenians bent-over-backwards to kiss her filthy behind -

This type of subservience to Western officials is essentially why the political West is so powerful today. And this is why the political West has become a serious global menace.

As I have reiterated in numerous previous occasions, the West has carefully crafted for itself unprecedented control over humanity as a result of the two world wars in the first half of the 20th century and as a result of the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. For the past seventy years, Western officials have been busy creating levers to monopolize the global economy and the distribution of global commodities; impose their financial system on the global community; impose their trade currency; impose their laws; and, more importantly, control what the global masses sees, reads and hears through music, films and propaganda outlets disguised as news organizations.

The unexpected dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s served to propel Western power and influence to heights never before seen in world history. Consequently, for the past twenty years the Western world has enjoyed an unprecedented financial, economic, cultural and psychological hold over humanity.

With the imposition of their English-language driven new religion known as Globalism the civilized world, European/Christian civilization in particular, is being systematically broken apart.

The imposition of Globalism upon humanity is destroying the traditional family unit; marginalizing patriotism; weakening ethnic and racial identity; undermining apostolic Christianity; and eroding the very foundations of the traditional nation-state.

Without God (i.e without religion and moral guidance); without country (i.e. without nationalism and/or ethnic/racial identity); and without family (i.e. without having an extended genetic support structure to which one belongs to) - man is nothing but a instinct driven animal easily manipulated by those controlling the global levers.

Thus, Globalization or Westernization is the tool with which the political West conditions and manages the global sheeple and attempts to lead them towards enslavement. A "global citizen", a very Bolshevik-like title today's world's so-called "progressive" sheeple take pride in being is nothing but a thoroughly enslaved animal at the mercy of the Globalist (i.e. Western) elite.

Ideal Illusions

Regardless of how beneficial or even necessary they may seem at first glance, any movement that has any form of Western-backing or is spearheaded by Western-led or inspired activists need to be categorically rejected by all of humanity.

For years, I have been sounding the alarm that imperial interests in Washington have co-opted and weaponized sociopolitical issues and are currently exploiting them towards self-serving political gains.

For years, I have been warning my audience that accepting help, in any form, from the political West comes with dangerous strings attached, conditions that developing nations such as Armenia or the Ukraine cannot meet. I ask you to refer to a book by James Peck regarding this very important topic for our era -
Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights
"Devastating and deeply disturbing, this book lays bare any lingering illusions that human rights concerns seriously influence U.S. policy."—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules

The United States has long been hailed as a powerful force for global human rights. Now, drawing on thousands of documents from the CIA, the National Security Council, the Pentagon, and development agencies, James Peck shows in blunt detail how Washington has shaped human rights into a potent ideological weapon for purposes having little to do with rights—and everything to do with furthering America's global reach. Using the words of Washington's leaders when they are speaking among themselves, Peck tracks the rise of human rights from its dismissal in the cold war years as "fuzzy minded" to its calculated adoption, after the Vietnam War, as a rationale for American foreign engagement. He considers such milestones as the fight for Soviet dissidents, Tiananmen Square, and today's war on terror, exposing in the process how the human rights movement has too often failed to challenge Washington's strategies. A gripping and elegant work of analysis, Ideal Illusions argues that the movement must break free from Washington if it is to develop a truly uncompromising critique of power in all its forms.
Yes, many of the world's Hollywood-struck sheeple these days are indeed suffering from ideal illusions. These sheeple are the cannon-fodder Washington exploits against developing nations that not in their pockets or under their boots. 

Now, to place the enlightening book featured above into a better, more complete perspective, juxtaposed its message with the following book titled "From Dictatorship to Democracy"

Unlike the previous book's author, this particular book was written by an American with a Western/Globalist political agenda. Unlike the previous book's intent, this work by Gene Sharp is essentially meant to be a step-by-step blueprint for revolution and its primary target (i.e. those it is trying to bait) are the large numbers of freaks and self-destructive peasantry in all developing nations around the world these days -
From Dictatorship to Democracy
From Dictatorship to Democracy was a pamphlet, printed and distributed by Dr Gene Sharp and based on his study, over a period of forty years, on non-violent methods of demonstration. Now in its fourth edition, it was originally handed out by the Albert Einstein Institution, and although never actively promoted, to date it has been translated into thirty-one languages. This astonishing book travelled as a photocopied pamphlet from Burma to Indonesia, Serbia and most recently Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, with dissent in China also reported. Surreptitiously handed out amongst youth uprisings the world over - how the 'how-to' guide came about and its role in the recent Arab uprisings is an extraordinary tale. Once read you'll find yourself urging others to read it and indeed want to gift it.
When Western financed civic organizations gather their diverse operatives to form networks and workshops and make global connections during their annual conventions, these are the types of publications they disseminate and this is the kind of inspiration at work behind their actions. 

We must for once recognize that virtually every single societal matter found around the world today - be it Islamic militancy or gay rights or planned parenthood or nature protection - is ultimately being financed, controlled and/or exploited by Western imperial interests. 

As the first book by James Peck courageously suggests: Sociopolitical movements of the world today must first break free of Western control if they are to be safely embraced by developing societies. 

Exploiting the underfed, underemployed and undereducated

The world revered "pop culture" produced by the special-interests backed Jewish saturated entertainment industry of the United States and Britain for the latter half of the past century is fundamentally based on three principals: materialism, sex and violence. 

Not surprisingly, these are the three basic elements that appeal to the lowest aspect of human nature. Look at any pro-West activist anywhere in the world today and you will see either a freak, an idiot or an animal.

Anglo-American pop culture appeals to the primordial/animalistic side of human nature. Moreover, because it naturally lacks intellect, spirituality, sophistication or cultural refinement, Western pop culture is rather easily disseminated within the masses via its globalized language, music, literature, fashion, motion pictures, television programing and radio talk shows.

Be it the violence and/or the debauchery we are constantly exposed to by Hollywood films, be it the American "gangsta rap" music youth around the world listens to today or the excessively bloody electronic simulation games that tens-of-millions of children play today - materialism, killing and sex is a major theme in Western pop culture. 

One of the secrets of Western style democracy is this: Western officials realize that by utilizing the powerful levers (i.e. political operatives, finance, trade, social media, news press, international organizations and pop culture) they have cultivated and refined for many decades, they can impose their cultural "values" and sociopolitical agendas throughout the world. 

Using such levers under their control, they have managed to harness the world's surplus of idiots, deviants and freaks and are currently manipulating them towards grand geostrategic pursuits. They know that dealing directly with a targeted nation's sheeple can be much more effective than dealing with the same nation's uncooperative leadership or its intelligentsia. Therefore, Western style democracy is also a clever method of by-passing a nation's leadership and dealing directly with the nation's self-destructive masses. 

Using powerful levers they can rally "freedom loving" peasantry around the world. And as we have been seeing for quite a few years now, post Soviet nations unfortunately have more than the normal share of politically ignorant peasantry for the West to manipulate and exploit.

As author Stephen Kinzer reveals in his latest book "The Brothers", the more free or open a society, the more vulnerable it is to Western manipulation and exploitation: 
"[The Dulles brothers] were able to succeed [at regime change] in Iran and Guatemala because those were democratic societies, they were open societies. They had free press; there were all kinds of independent organizations; there were professional groups; there were labor unions; there were student groups; there were religious organizations. When you have an open society, it's very easy for covert operatives to penetrate that society and corrupt it."
Stephen Kinzer in NPR Radio Interview:
We should all know by now that "open society", "freedom of press" and "democracy" are more-or-less code words for making nations vulnerable to a destructive invasion by Western interests. Therefore, let there be no doubt as to why Western powers (and government connected influential individuals and organizations in the Western world) have been spending tens-of-billions of dollars in trying to create "open societies" around the world. And let it surprise no one that nations afflicted by this Western infection are in steady economic and cultural decline today. As we have clearly seen in recent years, post Soviet nations have been targeted by these architects of social engineering. Under lofty banners of democracy, civil society, nature protection, human rights and free speech, Western operatives have been seeding targeted nations with seeds of its destruction for the past twenty years. 

When we put all the global unrest taking place in the world today under a microscope, we will find Washington and friends pulling the strings of most of them. With a full array of powerful levers at their disposal the political West manages the world's control board. The sheeple around the world may be rebelling and protesting for very legitimate reasons, but their sheppards are in one way or another carrying out orders of the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance -
Revolution Engineering: US know-how and 'colourful' technology:
CIA on Facebook and Twitter: Wayne Madsen on info warfare:

NGOs, an extension of US foreign policy:
Assange: Facebook, Google, Yahoo spying tools for US intelligence:
CFR Meeting: Zbigniew Brzezinski Speech (2010):
Washington on the War Path: CivilSociety as Battering-Ram:
Washingtonian officials have been for many years exploiting the underfed, underemployed and undereducated sheeple of the world, all the while totally disregarding the same right under their noses in the US.

What's clear is that we are truly living in very troubling times. This is one of the pivotal points in human history. How humanity will come out of this period is anyone's guess. Never before had the world's population been this large. Never before had food and energy production been this strained. Never before had so many regions of the world been simultaneously this explosive - militarily, politically and economically. Never before had a single political force held this much global power and influence. 

The following are remarkable comments made by Zbigniew Brzezinski:
The Global Political Awakening
For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive... The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination... The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening... That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing... The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches... The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well...
Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious "tertiary level" educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million "college" students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred...
[The] major world powers, new and old, also face a novel reality: while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.
Zbigniew Brzezinski - Former U.S. National Security Advisor; Member of Council on Foreign Relations; Co-Founder of the Trilateral Commission Member, Board of Trustees; Center for Strategic and International Studies  
There you have it, folks. Right from the source. But is anybody listening? A better question would be, does anybody care or understand? Looking at the undereducated, underfed and underemployed masses around the world, Brzezinski said -  
"[the sheeple's] physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred". 
This brings to mind Rohm Emanuel's well known adage: Never let a crisis go to waste. 

In other words, using your global levers, always be ready to either incite unrest when need be or simply exploit unrest that may spontaneously arise. This formula naturally applies to political unrest as well as economic unrest. And remember all this when watching unrest - political and/or economic - in places such as Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Venezuela...

It's also interesting to note here that Western officials like Brzezinski look at their "activists" around the world as coming from "often intellectually dubious tertiary level educational institutions of developing countries". In other words, the army of Ukrainian or Armenian "rights advocates", "political activists" and "independent journalists" that are enthusiastically serving Western powers for truth justice and the American way (as well as of course a few US Dollars via Western grants) and they are looked at by their Western puppet-masters as nothing more than cannon-fodder... or primitive natives. 

As long as we continue looking up to the Western world and adoringly adopt their cultural elements, we will continue remaining at their mercy. As I have pointed out earlier in this commentary, it is precisely our political ignorance and our personal preferences that has turned the political West into the monster that it is today.

Humanity will only cure itself of Globalism when evil vermin from Washington and London are barred from entering civilized nations around the world. Humanity will only cure itself when the global commodities exchange is taken away from Anglo-American-Jewish control. Humanity will only begin curing itself when financial levers are taken away from Western control. Humanity will only begin curing itself when the sheeple of this world strives to learn languages other than English. Humanity will only cure itself when Anglo-American "pop culture" finally gets recognized for what it actually is: primitive, animalistic, subversive and dangerous to the health and well being of human society.

Heralding the rise of conservative Russia

Political pundits in the Western world are increasingly coming to the realization that the Russia state is fast becoming a bastion of traditional conservatism and Christianity. And if we are to believe the words of a former high ranking US State Department official Paul Goble (the mastermind of the infamous "Goble" plan) Moscow may have even started financing such movements in Europe. It is interesting that all of a sudden, a significant portion of American society, tens-of-millions of Americans who call themselves Christian conservatives, are finding more in common with their Cold War enemy than with their own government -
Pat Buchanan: Putin’s Paleoconservative Moment:
Radio Liberty: Vladimir Ilyich Putin, Conservative Icon:
Paul Goble: Kremlin Expands and Exploits Its Ties with [conservaitve/traditionalist groups] in Europe:
Russia desperately needed a calling in recent times. I am glad it has recently come to be associated with one. I am even happier that the Russian state has come to be associated with upholding the values of Christianity, nationalism and conservatism - traditional values that have been in decline throughout the world during the Anglo-American-Zionist era.

A prerequisite for any aspiring global power is to espouse a sociopolitical ideology or formulate a galvanizing belief system.

Needless to say, the Soviet Union had such an ideology (perhaps too much of it) but it collapsed. With the disappearance of the Soviet Union, so too disappeared the time period's ideological and sociopolitical counterbalance to the Western world. As a consequence to the Soviet Union's sudden disappearance some twenty years ago, human society began getting assaulted by a Western ideological movement that in recent years has come to be known invariably as Westernization or Globalism.

While the proliferators of Globalization paint their Western belief system in the softest of colors and want us, the sheeple, to unquestionably accept it as an inevitable modern reality, we need to recognize it for what it really is. Westernization or Globalism is the promotion of: Afro-American pop culture, Anglo-American hero worship, fear of Jews, holocaust worship, English language, US Dollar, crony capitalism, corporatism, consumerism, individualism, materialism, atheism, third world immigration, democracy, ultra-liberalism, homosexuality, militant feminism, interracialism and multiculturalism.

Let's also recognize that Westernization/Globalism has four fundamental enemies: Conservatism, nationalism, the traditional family and Christianity. In other words, God, country, family and traditions.

Against this global menace, human society needed an ideological counterbalance. The Russian state has risen to the occasion in recent years, and not a moment too soon. 

Sometime during the 1990s, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is believed to have said that the natural wealth found in the vastness of the Russian Federation was too much for one country to posses. It is very obvious that the West would have loved to have indefinitely lived-off the carcass of the Soviet Union, and they managed to do just that during the 1990s when Yeltsin the drunk and the Jewish oligarchs were in power -
Corruption, crony capitalism, and Russia's near-demise (2007):
But President Vladimir Putin's rise to power in 2000 put an abrupt end to their plans. Within a few short years Russia was turned from what was in essence a failed state into a great world power once again.

The Bear's return to the global scene has been nothing less than astounding.

In a few short years, Moscow was able to: nationalized virtually all of Russia's national assets, including its vast natural wealth; chase out all of Russia's problematic Western/Israel backed oligarchs; begin shutting down many of the nation's meddling Western NGOs and propaganda outlets; reverse the nation's population shrinkage; create a growing and vibrant middle class; defeat the Western/Turkish/Saudi Arabian backed Islamic insurgency in northern Caucasus; monopolize the distribution of Central Asian gas and oil; secure Europe's and China's  energy needs; win the allegiance of Central Asian republics; evict US forces from former Soviet territory in Central Asia; develop unprecedentedly close relations with China; stop military aggression against Syria; support Iran's nuclear development program; stop Washington's missile defense shield deployment; stop NATO's advances in Eastern Europe; end Western, Turkish and Israeli military presence in Georgia; liberate Abkhazia and South Ossetia; place Russia-friendly leaders in Georgia; keep Turkey and Azerbaijan out of Armenia; end Ankara's pan-Turkic dreams in the Caucasus and Central Asia; place a Russia-friendly government in Ukraine; ensure Armenia's long term allegiance; and lure Armenia into the Customs Union. And just recently, Moscow has managed to put Kiev on the path to joining the Customs Union as well. 

The grossmeister in the Kremlin has played his chess pieces brilliantly well on the Eurasian chessboard and nations such as Armenia, Syria and Iran are reaping great benefits as a result.

The Russian Bear is back on the global stage as a major competitor to the political West and a champion of traditional ideals and Christianity. I dare any rational person to imagine the political plight of the world today had Russia not risen from its ashes. I dare any Armenian patriot to imagine where Armenia would have been today had Russia not had boots on the ground in Armenia.

With the fall of Byzantium in the spring of 1453 the Russian nation began playing a major political, cultural and spiritual role in human society. For centuries, the Russian Empire was widely recognized as the Third Rome. For centuries, the Russian Empire was a bastion of Christian civilization. For centuries, the Russian Empire was the scourge of Turks and Muslims throughout Eurasia. After a Godless interval and an ensuing spiritual decay that lasted some seventy years, Christian Russia is making a historic comeback, and it stands poised today to be the last front against Anglo-American imperialism, Globalism, Islamic extremism, Zionism and pan-Turkism.

January, 2014


Kiev Protests: Another CIA-Coordinated Color Revolution In Progress

Amassing a few hundred thousand people on the Capital square has become the weapon of choice for the CIA

Ukraine 2014: Orange Revolution 2.0

Who could argue that the moves and maneuvers taking place on the Ukraine geo-political chessboard are as surreal as they get? The events occurring in Kiev are so transparent as to motive and purpose that one wonders if the CIA has all but abandoned their cloak and dagger MO of the past … in favor of living color revolutions taking place in real time. CNN must be jumping for joy at the prospects of improving their ratings plummet. They get to advertise and propagandize yet another CIA-conceived, coordinated, and controlled-from-the-top COLOR Revolution.

Can the reader imagine high level representatives from other countries, showing up in the midst of the most tense political standoffs in Washington DC, offering every kind of support to those Americans protesting against the US Federal Government? That’s exactly what US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland is doing in the Ukraine at this very moment. Were any other nation to meddle in US internal affairs, they would become an immediate target of terrifying Yankee gunboat diplomacy. The individuals involved would be promptly placed on the TSA No-Fly List list for the rest of their incarnation. That is, of course, if they even made it out of the US alive.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me

What is particularly surprising about the current color revolution unfolding in the Ukraine is that this nation was the site of the very same CIA implementation plan back in 2004/2005.  The Orange Revolution, as it was known at the time, was a classic CIA-engineered plot to impose their political outcome on the Ukrainian people. And they succeeded with flying colors.   

That CIA-sponsored coup d’etat was so successful that it has since been used as a model for every other CIA-manufactured scheme that has toppled governments and reversed fair election outcomes the world over. In fact, the Ukraine is where the various social network utilities were used so effectively that the new MO has become known as the digital blitzkrieg. Never in human history have so many citizens been stampeded in the direction of overthrowing their government while being completely ignorant of the real forces manipulating the cattle prods.

Many commentators have wondered how the current protests have been so successful in light of their leaders previous experience with EU-US meddling in their domestic affairs. It was so obvious during the Orange Revolution 1.0 that the Western powers wanted to annul one election only to subsequently secure the victory of their chosen representative, Viktor Yushchenko. Can the Ukrainian people still be that unaware of the outright interference by foreign powers in their electoral process?  Or, this highly invasive foreign initiative to overturn the recent presidential decision to postpone the signing of the EU deal.

Ironically, if a few thousand angry protestors ever tried to congregate around the US Capitol building, they would be swiftly herded into fenced-in holding pens out of earshot of the closest Congressman. They would then be arrested, fingerprinted and ferried as far away from the scene of the crime as possible . . . never to fly again.

US-EU-NATO Juggernaut rolls into any town, any time it wants to

What is especially striking about the blatant intervention by the EU et al. in Kiev is their carelessness. The various ‘diplomats’ and leaders who are meddling seem not to care a whit about their extraordinarily aggressive and unrelenting intrusions. They just proceed to act with complete impunity. Then, the host nation — the Ukraine — permits them every opportunity to meddle without consequence. Every proxy is given an apparently free hand to execute their agenda unimpeded on behalf of the IMF & Company.

As a matter of fact, the Ukraine government response has been so dysfunctional and inappropriate that one wonders if the current Administration has been unwittingly co-opted by the same CIA subterfuge. It’s as though the President, Prime Minister and Parliament have been wired in such a way as to be perfectly reactive to the many strategically placed CIA cattle prods. Likewise, who has ever seen a body politic herded so easily as those who have shown up in the city square working for foreign interests which operate against their own national interests?!

The European Union has been nothing but a slow sinking Titanic

This is precisely why the protests have been so fast in the making and fierce in their effect. With the southern flank of the EU (PIIGS) in such disarray, and the main economic engines of Germany and France ready to blow a gasket, the EU leadership is downright desperate. The Ukraine represents their last hope to prevent the final submersion of the Eurozone ship.

The Ukrainian people don’t even know that they are being corralled onto a ship in order to save a Titanic that has already hit an iceberg. Why would any nation at this point join the European Union in view of its gross mismanagement, trampling of national sovereignty, and frightful financial condition?  The EU is clearly a quasi fascist/communist political construct designed to thoroughly disempower the citizenry of each participating nation.  In this way it can be used as a very large and monolithic political, military and economic bloc to carry out the wishes of those who ultimately oversee the Eurozone.

The EU has become such an economic drain on the rest of the world, especially the US Federal Reserve, that its current and future indebtedness and unfunded liabilities are simply untenable. Hence, the Ukraine is looked to as a temporary savior because of its many large and robust markets, well established industrial base and transportation links to Asia, as well as it vast natural resources and raw materials.

Coup d’état by way of consensus, especially within US, EU, NATO leadership

Now you know why Western leaders, near and far, have snapped into action at the failure of the Ukraine to sign the landmark deal at the EU Summit.  Also, why every CIA black op is being implemented and surrogate mobilized to reverse the President’s decision.  In reality, the very existence of the EU depends on Ukrainian wealth because of its critical need to feeds its predatory version of corrupt, crony, corporate capitalism*.

*The authors have no problem with genuine free market capitalism that respects the sovereignty of each and every nation; however, that is not the predominant form operating worldwide today.

What reigns supreme across the global landscape is the terror “ism” known as naked, predatory capitalism.  It utilizes faux democracy and bogus ‘rights’ and globalization (aka resource theft) as its main mantras.  The ability of its promoters to take down a nation using other tools like economic terrorism, currency manipulation, financial sabotage, and corporate espionage is now the most feared force on the planet among those victimized by such criminal conduct.

Truly, a slick and sophisticated form of New Age colonialism has been advanced with awesome speed and success throughout this New Millennium.   With the penetration of the internet into every national nook and cranny, revolutions and civil wars can now be twittered and facebooked from the CIA offices at Langley.  Even YouTube and Instagram have gotten into the ‘picture’.

As more of the world population becomes digitally connected, greater numbers of unsuspecting souls fall prey to every MSM fabrication that originates in the bowels of the CIA Directorate of Operations (now known as National Clandestine Service). The end result just may be a Color Revolution coming to a theatre near you … in a format, mind you, that is much more than the traditional living color!


Israel Shamir: Putin scores a new victory in the Ukraine

It is freezing cold in Kiev, legendary city of golden domes on the banks of Dnieper River – cradle of ancient Russian civilisation and the most charming of East European capitals. It is a comfortable and rather prosperous place, with hundreds of small and cosy restaurants, neat streets, sundry parks and that magnificent river. The girls are pretty and the men are sturdy. Kiev is more relaxed than Moscow, and easier on the wallet. Though statistics say the Ukraine is broke and its people should be as poor as Africans, in reality they aren't doing too badly, thanks to their fiscal imprudence. The government borrowed and spent freely, heavily subsidised housing and heating, and they brazenly avoided devaluation of the national currency and the austerity program prescribed by the IMF. This living on credit can go only so far: the Ukraine was doomed to default on its debts next month or sooner, and this is one of the reasons for the present commotion.

A tug-of-war between the East and the West for the future of Ukraine lasted over a month, and has ended for all practical purposes in a resounding victory for Vladimir Putin, adding to his previous successes in Syria and Iran. The trouble began when the administration of President Yanukovich went looking for credits to reschedule its loans and avoid default. There were no offers. They turned to the EC for help; the EC, chiefly Poland and Germany, seeing that the Ukrainian administration was desperate, prepared an association agreement of unusual severity.

The EC is quite hard on its new East European members, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria et al.: these countries had their industry and agriculture decimated, their young people working menial jobs in Western Europe, their population drop exceeded that of the WWII.

But the association agreement offered to the Ukraine was even worse. It would turn the Ukraine into an impoverished colony of the EC without giving it even the dubious advantages of membership (such as freedom of work and travel in the EC). In desperation, Yanukovich agreed to sign on the dotted line, in vain hopes of getting a large enough loan to avoid collapse. But the EC has no money to spare – it has to provide for Greece, Italy, Spain. Now Russia entered the picture. At the time, relations of the Ukraine and Russia were far from good. Russians had become snotty with their oil money, the Ukrainians blamed their troubles on Russians, but Russia was still the biggest market for Ukrainian products.

For Russia, the EC agreement meant trouble: currently the Ukraine sells its output in Russia with very little customs protection; the borders are porous; people move freely across the border, without even a passport. If the EC association agreement were signed, the EC products would flood Russia through the Ukrainian window of opportunity. So Putin spelled out the rules to Yanukovich: if you sign with the EC, Russian tariffs will rise. This would put some 400,000 Ukrainians out of work right away. Yanukovich balked and refused to sign the EC agreement at the last minute. (I predicted this in my report from Kiev full three weeks before it happened, when nobody believed it – a source of pride).

The EC, and the US standing behind it, were quite upset. Besides the loss of potential economic profit, they had another important reason: they wanted to keep Russia farther away from Europe, and they wanted to keep Russia weak. Russia is not the Soviet Union, but some of the Soviet disobedience to Western imperial designs still lingers in Moscow: be it in Syria, Egypt, Vietnam, Cuba, Angola, Venezuela or Zimbabwe, the Empire can’t have its way while the Russian bear is relatively strong. Russia without the Ukraine can’t be really powerful: it would be like the US with its Mid-western and Pacific states chopped away. The West does not want the Ukraine to prosper, or to become a stable and strong state either, so it cannot join Russia and make it stronger. A weak, poor and destabilised Ukraine in semi-colonial dependence to the West with some NATO bases is the best future for the country, as perceived by Washington or Brussels.

Angered by this last-moment-escape of Yanukovich, the West activated its supporters. For over a month, Kiev has been besieged by huge crowds bussed from all over the Ukraine, bearing a local strain of the Arab Spring in the far north. Less violent than Tahrir, their Maidan Square became a symbol of struggle for the European strategic future of the country. The Ukraine was turned into the latest battle ground between the US-led alliance and a rising Russia. Would it be a revanche for Obama’s Syria debacle, or another heavy strike at fading American hegemony?

The simple division into “pro-East” and “pro-West” has been complicated by the heterogeneity of the Ukraine. The loosely knit country of differing regions is quite similar in its makeup to the Yugoslavia of old. It is another post-Versailles hotchpotch of a country made up after the First World War of bits and pieces, and made independent after the Soviet collapse in 1991. Some parts of this “Ukraine” were incorporated by Russia 500 years ago, the Ukraine proper (a much smaller parcel of land, bearing this name) joined Russia 350 years ago, whilst the Western Ukraine (called the “Eastern Regions”) was acquired by Stalin in 1939, and the Crimea was incorporated in the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by Khrushchev in 1954.

The Ukraine is as Russian as the South-of-France is French and as Texas and California are American. Yes, some hundreds years ago, Provence was independent from Paris, - it had its own language and art; while Nice and Savoy became French rather recently. Yes, California and Texas joined the Union rather late too. Still, we understand that they are – by now – parts of those larger countries, ifs and buts notwithstanding. But if they were forced to secede, they would probably evolve a new historic narrative stressing the French ill treatment of the South in the Cathar Crusade, or dispossession of Spanish and Russian residents of California.

Accordingly, since the Ukraine’s independence, the authorities have been busy nation-building, enforcing a single official language and creating a new national myth for its 45 million inhabitants. The crowds milling about the Maidan were predominantly (though not exclusively) arrivals from Galicia, a mountainous county bordering with Poland and Hungary, 500 km (300 miles) away from Kiev, and natives of the capital refer to the Maidan gathering as a “Galician occupation”.

Like the fiery Bretons, the Galicians are fierce nationalists, bearers of a true Ukrainian spirit (whatever that means). Under Polish and Austrian rule for centuries, whilst the Jews were economically powerful, they are a strongly anti-Jewish and anti-Polish lot, and their modern identity centred around their support for Hitler during the WWII, accompanied by the ethnic cleansing of their Polish and Jewish neighbours. After the WWII, the remainder of pro-Hitler Galician SS fighters were adopted by US Intelligence, re-armed and turned into a guerrilla force against the Soviets. They added an anti-Russian line to their two ancient hatreds and kept fighting the “forest war” until 1956, and these ties between the Cold Warriors have survived the thaw.

After 1991, when the independent Ukraine was created, in the void of state-building traditions, the Galicians were lauded as 'true Ukrainians’, as they were the only Ukrainians who ever wanted independence. Their language was used as the basis of a new national state language, their traditions became enshrined on the state level. Memorials of Galician Nazi collaborators and mass murderers Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych peppered the land, often provoking the indignation of other Ukrainians. The Galicians played an important part in the 2004 Orange Revolution as well, when the results of presidential elections were declared void and the pro-Western candidate Mr Yuschenko got the upper hand in the re-run.

However, in 2004, many Kievans also supported Yuschenko, hoping for the Western alliance and a bright new future. Now, in 2013, the city's support for the Maidan was quite low, and the people of Kiev complained loudly about the mess created by the invading throngs: felled trees, burned benches, despoiled buildings and a lot of biological waste. Still, Kiev is home to many NGOs; city intellectuals receive generous help from the US and EC. The old comprador spirit is always strongest in the capitals.

For the East and Southeast of the Ukraine, the populous and heavily industrialised regions, the proposal of association with the EC is a no-go, with no ifs, ands or buts. They produce coal, steel, machinery, cars, missiles, tanks and aircraft. Western imports would erase Ukrainian industry right off the map, as the EC officials freely admit. Even the Poles, hardly a paragon of industrial development, had the audacity to say to the Ukraine: we’ll do the technical stuff, you'd better invest in agriculture. This is easier to say than to do: the EC has a lot of regulations that make Ukrainian products unfit for sale and consumption in Europe. Ukrainian experts estimated their expected losses for entering into association with the EC at anything from 20 to 150 billion euros.

For Galicians, the association would work fine. Their speaker at the Maidan called on the youth to ‘go where you can get money’ and do not give a damn for industry. They make their income in two ways: providing bed-and breakfast rooms for Western tourists and working in Poland and Germany as maids and menials. They hoped they would get visa-free access to Europe and make a decent income for themselves. Meanwhile, nobody offered them a visa-waiver arrangement. The Brits mull over leaving the EC, because of the Poles who flooded their country; the Ukrainians would be too much for London. Only the Americans, always generous at somebody’s else expense, demanded the EC drop its visa requirement for them.

While the Maidan was boiling, the West sent its emissaries, ministers and members of parliament to cheer the Maidan crowd, to call for President Yanukovich to resign and for a revolution to install pro-Western rule. Senator McCain went there and made a few firebrand speeches. The EC declared Yanukovich “illegitimate” because so many of his citizens demonstrated against him. But when millions of French citizens demonstrated against their president, when Occupy Wall Street was violently dispersed, nobody thought the government of France or the US president had lost legitimacy…

Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State, shared her biscuits with the demonstrators, and demanded from the oligarchs support for the “European cause” or their businesses would suffer. The Ukrainian oligarchs are very wealthy, and they prefer the Ukraine as it is, sitting on the fence between the East and the West. They are afraid that the Russian companies will strip their assets should the Ukraine join the Customs Union, and they know that they are not competitive enough to compete with the EC. Pushed now by Nuland, they were close to falling on the EC side.

Yanukovich was in big trouble. The default was rapidly approaching. He annoyed the pro-Western populace, and he irritated his own supporters, the people of the East and Southeast. The Ukraine had a real chance of collapsing into anarchy. A far-right nationalist party, Svoboda (Liberty), probably the nearest thing to the Nazi party to arise in Europe since 1945, made a bid for power. The EC politicians accused Russia of pressurising the Ukraine; Russian missiles suddenly emerged in the western-most tip of Russia, a few minutes flight from Berlin. The Russian armed forces discussed the US strategy of a “disarming first strike”. The tension was very high.

Edward Lucas, the Economist's international editor and author of The New Cold War, is a hawk of the Churchill and Reagan variety. For him, Russia is an enemy, whether ruled by Tsar, by Stalin or by Putin. He wrote: “It is no exaggeration to say that the [Ukraine] determines the long-term future of the entire former Soviet Union. If Ukraine adopts a Euro-Atlantic orientation, then the Putin regime and its satrapies are finished… But if Ukraine falls into Russia's grip, then the outlook is bleak and dangerous... Europe's own security will also be endangered. NATO is already struggling to protect the Baltic states and Poland from the integrated and increasingly impressive military forces of Russia and Belarus. Add Ukraine to that alliance, and a headache turns into a nightmare.”

In this cliff-hanging situation, Putin made his pre-emptive strike. At a meeting in the Kremlin, he agreed to buy fifteen billion euros worth of Ukrainian Eurobonds and cut the natural gas price by a third. This meant there would be no default; no massive unemployment; no happy hunting ground for the neo-Nazi thugs of Svoboda; no cheap and plentiful Ukrainian prostitutes and menials for the Germans and Poles; and Ukrainian homes will be warm this Christmas. Better yet, the presidents agreed to reforge their industrial cooperation. When Russia and Ukraine formed a single country, they built spaceships; apart, they can hardly launch a naval ship. Though unification isn’t on the map yet, it would make sense for both partners. This artificially divided country can be united, and it would do a lot of good for both of their populaces, and for all people seeking freedom from US hegemony.

There are a lot of difficulties ahead: Putin and Yanukovich are not friends, Ukrainian leaders are prone to renege, the US and the EC have a lot of resources. But meanwhile, it is a victory to celebrate this Christmastide. Such victories keep Iran safe from US bombardment, inspire the Japanese to demand removal of Okinawa base, encourage those seeking closure of Guantanamo jail, cheer up Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, frighten the NSA and CIA and allow French Catholics to march against Hollande’s child-trade laws.


What is the secret of Putin’s success? Edward Lucas said, in an interview to the pro-Western Ekho Moskvy radio: “Putin had a great year - Snowden, Syria, Ukraine. He checkmated Europe. He is a great player: he notices our weaknesses and turns them into his victories. He is good in diplomatic bluff, and in the game of Divide and Rule. He makes the Europeans think that the US is weak, and he convinced the US that Europeans are useless”.

I would offer an alternative explanation. The winds and hidden currents of history respond to those who feel their way. Putin is no less likely a roguish leader of global resistance than Princess Leia or Captain Solo were in Star Wars. Just the time for such a man is ripe.

Unlike Solo, he is not an adventurer. He is a prudent man. He does not try his luck, he waits, even procrastinates. He did not try to change regime in Tbilisi in 2008, when his troops were already on the outskirts of the city. He did not try his luck in Kiev, either. He has spent many hours in many meetings with Yanukovich whom he supposedly personally dislikes.

Like Captain Solo, Putin is a man who is ready to pay his way, full price, and such politicians are rare. “Do you know what is the proudest word you will ever hear from an Englishman's mouth?”, asked a James Joyce character, and answered: “His proudest boast is I paid my way.” Those were Englishmen of another era, long before the likes of Blair, et al. 

While McCain and Nuland, Merkel and Bildt speak of the European choice for the Ukraine, none of them is ready to pay for it. Only Russia is ready to pay her way, in the Joycean sense, whether in cash, as now, or in blood, as in WWII.

Putin is also a magnanimous man. He celebrated his Ukrainian victory and forthcoming Christmas by forgiving his personal and political enemies and setting them free: the Pussy Riot punks, Khodorkovsky the murderous oligarch, rioters… And his last press conference he carried out in Captain Solo self-deprecating mode, and this, for a man in his position, is a very good sign.

Israel Shamir reports from Moscow for Counter punch, comments on RT and pens a regular column in Russia's largest daily, KP. 

Protesters surround American embassy in Kiev, rally against US meddling

A huge crowd of demonstrators has surrounded the US embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, protesting against Washington’s meddling in the country’s internal affairs. The event was organized by Kievans for Clean City, a new pro-government activist group which has spoken out against the rioters and violence in downtown Kiev. Several thousand demonstrators are taking part, urging the US to “stop sponsoring” mass unrests, local media reported.
“The US is behind everything that is happening in Kiev’s downtown right now. The financing is coming from over there. This has to be stopped. That is what we came out here to say to the whole world: ‘US - stop! US - there needs to be peace in Ukraine,’” said Ivan Protsenko, one of the movement’s leaders.

Rioters on Grushevskogo Street continue to burn tires, with building No. 4 catching fire from the high flames, Unian news agency quoted the Ministry of Internal Affairs as saying. Police have been holding their line throughout the evening, attempting to extinguish fires with water cannons. After four days of protests, the center of the Ukrainian capital continues to resemble a warzone, with smoke, barricades, and debris all around. Wednesday's clashes between rioters and police intensified in the afternoon after riot police cleared Grushevskogo Street.

Footage from the Ukrainian capital showed hundreds of police officers using tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades against the protesters. The dispersal is the largest to take place since the latest outbreak of violence began four days ago. Some clashes involved policemen snatching individual rioters from the crowd and brutally beating them. Rioters threw firecrackers, Molotov cocktails, and stones at police. Despite some episodes of police brutality, security forces largely refrained from attacking rioters. Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk said he is grateful for the patience that police officers and the Berkut unit have shown while confronting rioters on Grushevskogo Street.
“I am grateful to the guys and Berkut, who are standing there now. I do not condone nor approve of the fact that they cleared out the students on November 30, although the right thing to do would be to criticize the person who gave out the order,” Kravchuk said in a Forbes opinion piece. “Now they are going through an incredible challenge: being beaten up, having stones and burning mixtures thrown at them, and they stand there and endure. Not a lot of countries have military who would tolerate such a treatment in a similar situation.”

The riots have reportedly left two people dead and at least 300 injured, according to local media. Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Wednesday that more than 70 people have been detained during the unrest. Ukraine's prime minister, Nikolay Azarov, said police were not given any additional instructions on the use of force against the protesters. Conversely, procedures now in place ensure minimal use of force against even the most violent rioters.
"Instructions given to law enforcement authorities were simple: avoid the use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and prevent violent seizure of government buildings and institutions,” Azarov said in a BBC interview.

The clashes erupted after a massive rally was held in Independence Square on Sunday, where protesters spoke out against new laws adopted by the Ukrainian government last week.

World Crunch: Ukraine, Putin's Thick Red Line

Putin is doing everything to not be remembered by history as the one who "lost" Ukraine. Mother Russia's imperial face is on the line

Under no circumstances, it should be clear, can Vladimir Putin let Ukraine slip outside the Russian sphere of influence. If Kiev chooses Brussels over Moscow, it would dim the glory of the “leader of the nations.” Russians see in Putin a ''sobiratiela ziem russkich'' (the one who gathers scattered lands of Russia), a title that the current president shares with such Russian personalities as Ivan I of Moscow, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Joseph Stalin.

Sobiratiel” is the highest title that history may honor a Russian leader with. And today, the lands to be gathered are the former republics of the Soviet Union. Even if Russians mock the independence of the three tiny Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) they have acknowledged that this ship has sailed west. Many Russians, recalling holidays spent in Soviet resorts in Lithuania or Latvia, admit that they never felt at home there.

The fate of the Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) is not an issue. Russians are persuaded that those poor countries governed by satraps with Communist origins, and threatened by the radical Islamists, will crave Russian protection anyway. In the end, a large portion of the income of Tajikistan’s population comes from money sent by their compatriots who clean the streets of Moscow or build the Olympics sports hall in Sochi.

Asians “will not escape from a submarine in the middle of the ocean,” as Russians like to say. But they may be mistaken since both China and the underestimated Turkey are very active in the region. But it is most of all the two Slavic brothers that give Russians their biggest headache. According to Fyodor Lukyanov, a specialist on international politics and the editor-in-chief of the magazine “Russia in Global Affairs,” the western borders of Ukraine and Belorussia are for both the Kremlin and ordinary Russians a thick red line not to be crossed by other foreign powers.

Carrots and sticks

Minsk or Kiev do feel like home: the Orthodox churches look “Russian” and the overall architecture recalls the mix of imperialism and Stalinism seen in Moscow. Many Russians, if not the majority, do not even consider Ukrainian a different language, but rather a sort of “broken Russian.”

In July, during the celebrations of the 1025th anniversary of Christianization of the historical Rus region, Putin and the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill recalled that Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians come from one “Dnieper font,” and should therefore stay one big family instead of trying their luck elsewhere.

Putin has invested much in Ukraine. In his political career, there was no bigger humiliation than the one during the Orange Revolution, in 2004. He came to Kiev to support Viktor Yanukovych during the presidential elections and congratulated him twice on the victory over Viktor Yushchenko. And yet the latter finally emerged as the winner. Back then it was not just about ambitions and cold calculations. Personal emotions were involved as well.

Now, Putin is busy doing everything to stop the Ukrainian accession to the European Union. (On Thursday, he got some welcome news as Ukraine's parliament rejected a bill that would have led to the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, which may scuttle a key trade deal with the EU.)

The Russian borders have closed for products imported from Ukraine. The pro-Russian lobbyist like local communists, Viktor Medvedchuk (the former Head of Presidential Administration of Leonid Kuchma) and industrialists doing business with Russia work full speed to do Moscow's bidding. Russian TV channels available in Ukraine spread the vision of the disaster which joining the EU would bring on Ukraine: loss of the eastern market, poverty, unemployment, the end of independence.

Just in the last few weeks alone, Putin has met Yanukovych three times. The last meeting was secretly held at “one of the airports near Moscow” last Saturday, a Putin spokesperson confirmed. Between the threats and temptations, the Russian president probably evoked an economic blockage or presenting his own candidate during the Ukrainian presidential elections in 2015. Cheap gas, loans and political support for Yanukovych would sweeten the eventual separation with the EU. There is no such price he would not pay for going down to history as a sobiratiel.  

Source: Ukraine, Putin's Thick Red Line - All News Is Global

The American Interest: Ukraine, Russia and Two Horses

Nearly twenty years ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski famously said, “Russia can be either an empire or a democracy, but it cannot be both. . . . Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” Uninterested in becoming a democracy, today’s Kremlin has not given up the hope of regaining a facsimile of its old empire, with Ukraine at its core. To be sure, the Kremlin today is pragmatic enough to understand that it can’t revive the corpse of the USSR (though Georgians may beg to differ), but it would like to create the Eurasian Union—a new version of “satellites along its periphery.”

Russia’s leaders sure have a strange way of pursuing this agenda, as illustrated by the most recent meeting in July between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine. Vladimir Putin kept his host, Viktor Yanukovych, waiting three hours—not due to any dramatic circumstances but out of sheer rudeness. Putin left Moscow late, but then, to add insult to injury, after arriving in Crimea he stopped first to meet with a bunch of bikers. Only after that did he make time for an official visit. Such appalling lack of diplomatic etiquette was a direct slap in Yanukovych’s face, an intentional gesture of both impudence and intimidation (albeit one Putin has made to other foreign leaders and CEOs). Big Russia was teaching Yanukovich and Ukraine a lesson—or so the Russian leaders thought!

This incident demonstrated not only the personal animosity between the two leaders but also the mutual suspicion and distrust that plagues the relationship between the two states. Russia’s leaders never hesitate to remind Ukraine who the big boy on the block is—a strange way, to say the least, to win over friends and allies. Indeed, one should not underestimate Moscow’s ability to alienate potential partners through its arrogant, aggressive approach to foreign policy, especially when its immediate neighbors are involved.

Of all the states in Eurasia, Ukraine is the most important test of the Kremlin’s neo-imperialistic longings and of Russia’s readiness (or not) to be a modern state. It is also is a test of the West’s interest in expanding its normative principles eastward, which can best be advanced if Ukraine itself demonstrates a desire for deeper integration based on a democratic path.

For Russia, Ukraine is important in Moscow’s desperate and ongoing search for a new identity. A significant part of the Russian elite and society at large resented having to recognize Ukrainian independence more than two decades ago; to many Russians, it was like losing a limb. Those feelings have not gone away, as many Russians look at Ukraine’s trials and tribulations and hope that Kiev will come limping back into Moscow’s fold, reuniting the “Slavic brothers” again. Even many Russian liberals stop being liberals when they think about Ukraine and the possible reconstitution of the “family.” There is no other country in the region that creates in Russia such a longing to embrace without first asking the object of its attention if it wishes the same. They are linked by history, family ties, language, and many Russians see Kiev as the birthplace of their statehood.

While today’s Kremlin does not demonstrate overt, military aggressiveness toward Ukraine, there is no doubt about Ukraine’s importance for the Kremlin agenda. As his own grip on power starts to erode, Putin seeks to compensate for that erosion by turning to the international arena. The Eurasian Union is not a new Putin hobby. Strengthening Russia’s role in the region is the Kremlin’s instrument for finding legitimacy and leverage. But the Eurasian Union isn’t a serious entity if only Kazakhstan and Belarus join Russia. It needs Ukraine as an anchor. As in 1991, when the Soviet Union could not survive without Kiev, today the new alliance can’t be formed without Ukraine. That is why the Kremlin will pressure, cajole and intimidate Kiev into “re-joining” its orbit. This goes beyond Ukrainian assets and the gas pipeline (in fact, after Nord Stream and the start of South Stream, Ukraine is less essential to Moscow for carrying gas to Europe). More important for the Kremlin is the search for new ways to energize the Russian political system, which can’t reproduce itself without global aspirations and satellite states. Indeed, the Kremlin understands that if Ukraine—especially a democratic Ukraine—moves toward the West it would be a crushing blow for the Kremlin’s authoritarianism and an invitation for Russians to do the same.

Ukraine has its own drama, with different leaderships (both the one in charge now and the one that was in charge during the Orange days and is now in the opposition) that have greatly disappointed the population. Ukraine’s leaders have been preoccupied with pursuing their own interests at the expense of the country.

Yanukovych came to power after Ukrainians tired of their Orange leaders. But instead of pursuing a truly Ukrainian path, Yanukovych sought to turn Ukraine into another, smaller Russia—not in the sense of wanting to be absorbed by Moscow, but in the sense of pursuing Putinism on a Ukrainian scale. This has meant keeping Ukraine in a gray area: controlled from the top, rife with corruption, but pretending to be a democracy and at the same time riding two horses on the international scene—one moving toward the West and another away from the West. To succeed at such a trick, Yanukovych needs to have a West that is truly interested in having Ukraine move toward Europe to counter the push-and-pull from Moscow. Instead, Europe’s interests have turned inward because of financial crisis and waning interest in integrating Ukraine, which is often viewed as a headache. So when Yanukovych started to clamp down on freedoms and his behavior began to resemble Putin’s, the West responded by delaying free trade and association agreements but also, for the most part, just looking the other way.

Putin can get away with his behavior because of Russia’s nuclear weapons, its permanent Security Council seat, its energy resources, and its overall size and importance. Yanukovych, however, doesn’t get away with similar behavior. He instead gets ostracized by the West—and left to the vicissitudes of Russia’s leadership.

On top of all this, Yanukovych has showed poor understanding of his Russian counterparts. The April 2010 Kharkiv deal signed with then-President Dmitri Medvedev—in which Ukraine granted Russia continued use of Sevastopol’s port for the Black Sea Fleet for another 25 years, until 2042—only whetted the Russian Bear’s insatiable appetite. Putin viewed this deal as evidence of weakness on Yanukovych’s part and wanted to extract more from his Ukrainian partner.

Yanukovych should take heed of Aleksander Lukashenko’s fate in Belarus. By turning to dictatorship, Lukashenko lost his ability to balance his country between Europe and Russia and immediately became the Kremlin’s hostage, in turn essentially giving up parts of Belarusian sovereignty and economic assets to Russia. Even if Putin loathes Lukashenko, the Kremlin has Belarus and Lukashenko exactly where it wants them: as the Kremlin’s satellites and dependents.

Yanukovych’s clampdown on democratic actors and institutions pushes him down the same road. Ukraine can be truly independent only if it is democratic, for only then will the West be interested in deeper relations—and be willing to help buttress Ukraine from Moscow’s acquisitive instincts. Yanukovych either fails to understand this or just doesn’t care. The policy of balancing is over, because neither Europe nor the Kremlin will allow Yanukovych to ride two horses.

In 2004, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians turned out in Maidan to insist on free elections and a brighter future. Close to eight years later, the population is tired and frustrated with political leaders of all stripes, but there is a stirring throughout Ukrainian civil society that suggests that tolerance for poor leadership is running out. For many Ukrainians, the answer to their country’s problems lies not in Moscow but within their own borders.

Moreover, Ukraine is for Europe and the West the key to the Eurasian space, not simply in geopolitical terms but for civilizational development. If a democratic Ukraine rises again, it will act as the most powerful stimulus for its neighbors’ democratic hopes. Creating favorable external conditions for Ukraine’s return to a democratic path by offering a concrete sense of belonging and, down the road, membership will also serve as a powerful test for Europe’s ability to present itself once again as a normative power.

This makes Ukraine’s parliamentary elections this October even more important. Yanukovych, following the Kremlin model, wants to determine their outcome ahead of time; such a plan would please Putin and the Kremlin, too. The West must stress the consequences of such an effort. If the Ukrainian elite wants to guarantee their country’s independence and control of its assets, they need to return to the democratic path, and the Rada elections are the place to start. If Yanukovych tries to rig the elections, he may end up as the governor of another province under the Kremlin’s thumb, for the West will become shut off to him and his country. Let’s hope Ukrainian society recognizes what’s at stake.


Russian arms boss warns Ukraine, EU over planned agreement

The deputy PM in charge of the weapons industry says Russia would remove all ‘sensitive’ production facilities from Ukraine if the association agreement with the EU is signed, and he doesn’t believe Ukraine can count on eventual EU entry anyway.

We will not be able to place certain sensitive technology [in Ukraine], we will have to completely localize them on Russian Federation territory. This means problems connected with the future cooperation in the aircraft and space industry and many more spheres,” Dmitry Rogozin told reporters.

The official said that the EU association agreement was just a way to tease Ukraine and Moldova as even if they signed it, the possibility of full EU membership for these nations remained extremely slim.

Most likely they will never become fully-fledged EU members, but they will take obligations to observe foreign norms and standards. We call upon the EU to stop teasing our partners so that they do not make thoughtless steps. Don’t dangle a carrot in front of their noses, as they do with a well-known domestic animal, with full understanding that it will keep marching forward without an ability to even lick this carrot,” Rogozin explained.

Deputy PM Rogozin is also Russia’s plenipotentiary for relations with the breakaway region of Transdniester and he warned Moldova that entering an agreement with the EU without heeding Transdniester’s opinion could bring dire results.

You should bear in mind that the lack of dialogue with Transdniester in the Republic of Moldova could lead to restarting of the conflict and then you would gain a territory with existing conflict,” the official said in press comments, addressing the EU leaders.

Apart from that Rogozin noted that the Eastern Partnership program, to be considered at the forthcoming EU summit in Vilnius, was dangerous for the European bloc as the new associations “meant that EU was collecting countries that were not simply experiencing an economic crisis, but were on a brink of default.” The deputy PM called upon the European politicians not to distance Russia from the project and analyze all of its possible negative consequences.

The third Eastern Partnership Summit will take place on November 28-29 in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. The conference is dedicated to strengthening trade ties between the European economic bloc and six states in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. All of these countries are Russia’s neighbors and close economic partners.

Russia, which is currently building its own economic bloc – the Customs Union – has repeatedly warned about the possible negative consequences of new EU ties for former Soviet republics and promised to launch protectionist measures if the association agreement is signed.


After Losing Iceland, Armenia, EU Just Lost Ukraine As Well

The EU has run a nice propaganda war which included giving US made GMO sandwiches to Ukrainian opposition and promises of major ‘profits’ once it entered the EU. But it was all for nothing as Ukraine signed a major contract in Moscow earlier today, dealing a significant blow to Washington who uses any sort of protest to put more rockets in Europe and Brussels who hoped to expand its territory with a nice little chunk called “Ukraine”.

After stringing along Russia, the EU and the Ukrainian people, President Viktor Yanukovich has inked an agreement worth $15 billion in securities and from January 1, can start buying Russian gas for $268 instead of $400 per 100 cubic meters. The Russian government will essentially buy $15 billion in Ukrainian debt by buying Ukrainian securities using money from Russia’s Welfare Fund, President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday at a meeting with Yanukovich in Moscow.

“For the purpose of supporting the Ukrainian budget the Russian government has made a decision to invest part of the National Welfare Fund, to the tune of $15 billion, in Ukrainian government securities,” Putin said. Russia will invest roughly 17 percent of its $88 billion National Welfare Fund, which, together with Russia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund is used as a sort of buffer for the country’s oil-dependent budget.

Ukraine and Russia need to learn lessons and avoid mistakes in future bilateral cooperation, Yanukovich said. “We have this need to draw lessons for the future and not to repeat such mistakes,” Yanukovich said at the conclusion of the bilateral talks held in Moscow on Tuesday.

Ukraine “is our fully-fledged strategic partner beyond any doubt,” Putin said at the meeting, where the two presidents signed 14 separate agreements on space, engineering, defense and trade. “We did not talk about Ukraine joining the Customs Union at all,” Putin said at the end of the nearly 4-hour long meetings, in an apparent effort to calm opposition protesters in Kiev awaiting news of the two presidents’ talks.

European officials will meet Thursday to discuss Ukrainian trade and a Russia-EU summit is scheduled for late January. EU enlargement chief Stefan Fuele tweeted on Monday that Ukraine’s back and forth trade negotiations have “no grounds in reality,” a signal that the door Western diplomats had insisted remained wide open, had actually, been firmly shut.

Yanukovich backed out of EU talks just before last month’s Vilnius conference, where Ukraine was expected to sign an Association Agreement that would have set it on a path toward eventual integration with the EU.

Wall Street Journal: How the West lost Ukraine

The scenes from the Ukrainian capital are extraordinary: Lenin's statue toppled, hundreds of thousands of flag-waving protesters, police raids on media outlets and opposition parties. But they are a sideshow to the big picture: the collapse of the European Union's efforts to integrate its ex-Soviet neighbors in the face of an audacious bid by Vladimir Putin's ex-KGB regime to restore the Russian empire.

The EU's expansion to the east was one of its greatest achievements. The countries that joined in 2004—the so-called EU-8 of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia—now represent some of the Continent's most striking success stories. Even grudging voices in "Old Europe" concede that the EU is stronger, not weaker, because of its new members.

But that triumph was based on some particular circumstances. The EU offered genuine membership. These countries truly wanted to reform, modernize and integrate with the West. Their governments and people alike realized that joining the EU was the only way to do it. They were willing to instigate and accept tough reforms. And nobody was able to stop them.

These advantages are absent in the countries of the "Eastern Partnership," the EU's misguided plan to forge closer ties with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. These six countries are ill-assorted. Oil-rich Azerbaijan wants strategic ties with the West but has scores of political prisoners and tightly controlled media. Belarus has a marginally less bad human-rights record but hews to the Kremlin line in its foreign policy. Armenia has little love for Russia but depends on it for survival against Azerbaijan. Georgia and Moldova are pro-Western but weak, small and vulnerable. And Ukraine is larger than all the others put together. 

They do have three things in common, none of them helpful. Their abilities to make deep reforms range from weak to nil. The EU does not want them as full members. And the Kremlin wants to keep them in its orbit.

The result has been an unfolding disaster. The Eastern Partnership has gotten nowhere in Belarus. Azerbaijan said it wanted easy visas to the EU, but its government showed no desire to make political reforms. Armenia tried to engage but was swatted back into line by Russia and in September rejected the EU agreement. Last month, on the eve of the EU's summit in Lithuania, Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych suddenly announced that he won't sign either. Russia was making him and his country an offer they could not refuse.

The details of that offer are still unfolding. It appears to involve an emergency loan for Ukraine's stricken economy, one without the tough conditions, such as higher gas prices, that would be required in any deal with Western lenders such as the International Monetary Fund. It will involve some cheap gas, probably supplied through a murky but well-connected intermediary company. Russia will deploy its huge media resources, especially its television channels, which are widely watched in Ukraine, against the demonstrators and in favor of the Yanukovych regime.

In return, Vladimir Putin will move Ukraine closer to the planned Eurasian Customs Union, the Russian president's pet project for extending Kremlin influence in the former empire.

Those were the carrots for Kiev rejecting closer EU ties, but there were sticks, too. Ukraine is vulnerable to Russian economic sanctions, some of which Moscow had already imposed. Mr. Yanukovych's personal safety is a factor too: He is terrified of being poisoned and travels with an entourage of food-tasters and flunkies that would not disgrace the Byzantine imperial court. In 2004, opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxin after challenging Kremlin influence in Ukraine. He lived—and became president—but was permanently disfigured.

The EU cannot match that. It does not do death threats or bribes. It helps countries improve their intellectual-property laws and food-safety procedures. It demands proper elections, courts and media regulation, all anathema to the likes of Mr. Yanukovych, who thrives on rigged elections, propaganda machines and phony justice.

The other benefits the EU offers are free trade, which brings a sharp competitive shock first and benefits later, and easier visas, which are of no interest to Mr. Yanukovych, who can travel wherever he wants. Having weighed up both sides' offers, the Ukrainian leader chose the one that promised power and money: the Kremlin's offer.

That decision left EU officials baffled. They do not understand people like Mr. Yanukovych and their feral approach to politics. Nor do they understand Russia. They missed the fundamental point about Russian foreign policy: To feel secure, Moscow needs a geopolitical hinterland of countries that are economically weak and politically pliable. The EU's Eastern Partnership could make Russia's borderlands economically strong and politically secure. Therefore the partnership must be destroyed.

The EU's failure to deal properly with Ukraine is a scandal. It is no exaggeration to say that the country determines the long-term future of the entire former Soviet Union. If Ukraine adopts a Euro-Atlantic orientation, then the Putin regime and its satrapies are finished. The political, economic and cultural success of a large, Orthodox, industrialized ex-Soviet country would be the clearest signal possible to Russians that their thieving, thuggish, lying rulers are not making the country great, but holding it back.

But if Ukraine falls into Russia's grip, then the outlook is bleak and dangerous. Not only will authoritarian crony capitalism have triumphed in the former Soviet Union, but Europe's own security will also be endangered. NATO is already struggling to protect the Baltic states and Poland from the integrated and increasingly impressive military forces of Russia and Belarus. Add Ukraine to that alliance, and a headache turns into a nightmare.

Western leaders have missed no chance to show the Kremlin that they are not to be taken seriously. The EU merely murmured when the Kremlin imposed trade sanctions on Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Lithuania. Its leaders have done little to make waverers in Ukraine think that Europe is to be counted on in a crisis. The belated diplomatic support that the Obama administration has given the EU in its eastern neighborhood is commendable. But it also highlights the shameful neglect of previous years.

The best way Europe or America can help Ukraine—and Georgia and Moldova—is to take a much tougher stance with Russia. The EU should freeze Russia's request for visa-free travel for holders of "official" passports. The U.S. and EU should also freeze Russia's application to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based good-governance club. The EU should intensify its scrutiny of Gazprom's OGZPY +1.18% behavior in the European gas market and pursue a pending antitrust "complaint" (in effect a prosecution) against the Russian state-owned giant with the greatest vigor possible.

It is time to show Mr. Putin that his hunting license in Russia's neighborhood is now canceled. Don't hold your breath.

Mr. Lucas is the author of "Deception: The Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today" (Walker, 2012) and "The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West" ( Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Ukraine Move Threatens European Nuclear, Gas Efforts

As Western efforts to bring Ukraine into the European fold are stalling, the country's pivot toward Russia looks to be undermining its own multiyear efforts to secure European nuclear-fuel and natural-gas supplies. Ukraine, which uses Swedish-made nuclear fuel in three of its 15 nuclear reactors, in short order needs to update its roughly $100 million, five-year fuel-supply contract with a unit of Westinghouse Electric Co., owned by Japan's Toshiba Corp., the company said.

Failure to extend the supply deal between the former Soviet state and the West would force Westinghouse to cease the manufacture of the fuel entirely, and Central and Eastern European countries using Russian-designed VVER reactors would definitively lose access to a fuel-supply alternative to Russia, a senior company official told The Wall Street Journal on the condition of anonymity.

Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych last month unexpectedly refused to sign a landmark association agreement with the European Union that would have removed significant trade barriers. Then earlier this week, he struck a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow that will temporarily slash the price Ukraine pays for natural gas by one third and will give Ukraine $15 billion in midterm financing, with Russia committing to buy Ukrainian bonds.

Following the deal, Mr. Yanukovych said the two countries need to develop a "strategic" relationship. In subsequent days, Ukrainian officials have gone silent on future nuclear-fuel supplies and on an imminent deal with the EU for natural-gas supplies from the West. Officials from Ukraine's government, energy ministry and nuclear power operator didn't respond to requests for comment.

Peter Attard Montalto, an analyst with Nomura in London, said there is more to this week's dealings than communicated officially, and it is likely Presidents Putin and Yanukovych made "very strong verbal or other agreements in the background about NATO, the customs union and other factors as well."

"People see this as a turning away from the West," Mr. Montalto said. "As usual when dealing with Russia, we should expect the unexpected."

While Ukraine's nuclear contract with Westinghouse lasts through 2015, the lead-time in processing the material is significant, and the Pennsylvania-based company said it needs to update its contract with Kiev quickly to maintain its Swedish production base. The company official said the two sides don't need to sign a deal in a matter of days, but it must be done "soon."

Anton Usov, senior adviser for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Kiev, said the nuclear fuel situation is "highly politicized" and isn't a topic for public comment. The government in Ukraine—embattled amid daily protests, with hundreds of thousands of people calling for its resignation and for fresh elections—intends to deepen cooperation with TVEL, Russia's nuclear fuel company, with the aim of creating a closed nuclear cycle in Ukraine based on Russian technologies, said Dmytro Naumenko, a senior research fellow at the Center for Economic Studies at the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting in Kiev

The two parties are building just such a plant, and its equipment, being made in Russia, is about 90% finished, Mr. Naumenko added.

"I am a bit skeptical about the contract prolongation" with Westinghouse, he said.

Ukraine is the West's last stand for nuclear fuel deliveries in the former Soviet bloc, after Westinghouse's fuel supplies for Czech reactors were substituted with Russian fuel in 2010. The European Commission had no comment on the situation, saying it doesn't involve itself in nuclear deals, which are sovereign, national issues, said Marlene Holzner, spokeswoman for European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger.

At the same time, the Slovak natural-gas pipeline operator EUstream, which last month was due to sign a memorandum of understanding with Ukraine's pipeline operator Ukrtransgaz on reversing gas flows to provide Ukraine an alternative gas supply, says it is now impossible to predict if and when a deal will be signed.

The EU has spent months brokering the Slovak pipeline accord, and Brussels had insisted for the past few weeks that the Ukrainian gas distributor would sign the deal imminently. However, officials from Ukrtransgaz failed to attend a signing ceremony in Bratislava a couple of weeks ago, according to several European officials, and the firm still hasn't signed the deal.

Mrs. Holzner said Ukrtransgaz could sign the deal "sometime after Christmas" and added that the EU hadn't been told the Ukrainian company planned to walk away from the deal. However one senior EU official said Wednesday that while it was "premature" to pronounce the deal dead, the agreement was now in serious doubt. Representatives of Ukrtransgaz didn't respond to requests for comment.

Most countries on the 28-nation bloc's eastern flank already get the bulk of their natural gas and crude oil from Russia, all the region's nuclear reactors were originally built according to Russian designs, and barring a Ukraine fuel deal, all nuclear fuel in future would only come from Russian entities.

Also in play is whether Ukraine will back out of its commitments to the EU's Energy Community, which could lead to a halt in the country's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in turn for its ability to export electricity to Hungary.

Cargill buys 5% of Ukrlandfarming for $200 mln

The world's largest raw materials trader, Cargill, has acquired a 5% stake in Ukrlandfarming, Ukraine's largest agricultural holding in terms of land bank, for $200 million, the Financial Times edition has written. "The acquisition of 5% of Ukrlandfarming intensifies Cargill's presence on the agricultural market, one of the most promising in the world," reads the report.

Given the amount of the transaction, the newspaper reads, the total cost of Ukrlandfarming's land bank, the eighth largest land bank in the world, was estimated at $4 billion. According to Financial Times, Cargill confirmed its five-percent stake in the holding, while noting that it has no intention to manage the business of the latter. 

According to the publication, it is expected that the deal will allow Ukrlandfarming to expand grain exports, in particular, to Asia. In the 2013/2014 marketing year (MY, July - June) the agroholding plans to export up to 700 million tonnes of corn to China. Within five years, according to holding owner Oleh Bakhmatiuk, the total export figure should reach 6 million tonnes per MY, one-third of which will account for the Asian market.

The edition noted that China more often refuses imports of GM maize from the United States in favor of organic products from Ukraine. First deliveries of corn from Ukraine to China were made late last year under the loan agreement of $3 billion. Ukrlandfarming confirmed the transaction was closed at the end of 2013.

Wall Street Journal: The Battle for Ukraine

Vladimir Putin wants to recreate a Russian sphere of influence

After the Soviet Union fell two decades ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote that "without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire." Those are still the stakes in the current struggle over Ukraine. 

Last week the government in Kiev took a step back into Russia's orbit when it abandoned plans to sign an "association" trade treaty this Friday with the European Union and announced its intentions to get closer to a Moscow-led trade bloc. The decision by President Viktor Yanukovych followed months of bullying by Moscow.

Russia's Vladimir Putin has slapped trade sanctions, cut energy supplies and threatened worse for Ukraine and other neighbors that seek closer relations with the West. Armenia caved this summer and joined the Russian customs union. Moldova and Georgia are moving ahead with their EU trade deals.

With a population of 46 million and located along NATO's eastern frontier, Ukraine is the biggest prize. Since retaking the Russian presidency last year, Mr. Putin has turned even more hostile to the West and sought to recreate a Russian sphere of influence over the "near abroad." The Obama Administration's "reset" in relations with Moscow failed to anticipate or stop this.

Ukrainian officials say the Russian sanctions cost them $15 billion in lost trade and could run up to half a trillion by signing the EU deal. "Ukraine government suddenly bows deeply to the Kremlin," tweeted the veteran Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in response to Thursday's reversal in Kiev. "Politics of brutal pressure evidently works."

Mr. Yanukovych contributed to this debacle. A thuggish pol from industrial eastern Ukraine, he tried to steal the 2004 presidential election, but a popular uprising stopped him. The Orange Revolution ensured free elections in 2010, which Mr. Yanukovych won, and he has since taken an authoritarian turn.

Desperate to stem his falling support before elections in 2015, Mr. Yanukovych seized on Russia's offer of trade relief and cheap gas. He has also jailed his chief rival, the Orange leader Yulia Tymoshenko, whom the EU insisted be released for medical treatment in Germany. His allies in parliament last month changed the law that could disqualify, on a technicality, the reigning WBC heavyweight champion and parliamentary opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko from running for president. The polls say the popular Mr. Klitschko would win if the election were held today.

A good deal with Moscow for Mr. Yanukovych is bad for Ukrainians who have made clear they want to get closer to the friendlier, richer West. Tens of thousands have protested in the Kiev streets in the past few days against Mr. Yanukovych's decision. The country's business elites also oppose joining the Russian customs union, and for now Mr. Yanukovych has resisted Moscow's pressure to start talks. The EU trade deal remains on the table, as the EU emphasized in a Monday statement that also condemned "the external pressure" from Moscow on Ukraine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the wrong step this weekend by proposing EU-Russian talks over the eastern neighbors, as if these countries haven't been sovereign states for 22 years. Germany is also blocking a proposal to offer Georgia a path to NATO membership, while Washington seems little more than a bystander. An independent Ukraine that leans West will lead to a more peaceful Europe and make it harder for Mr. Putin to rebuild a revanchist Russian empire. 


US NGO Uncovered in Ukraine Protests

CANVAS: The Belgrade US-Financed Training Group Behind the Carefully-Orchestrated Kiev Protests 

The recent protests in Ukraine have the stench of a foreign-orchestrated attempt to destabilize the government of Viktor Yanukovych after he walked away from signing an EU Association Agreement that would have driven a deep wedge between Russia and Ukraine. Glamor-star boxer-turned political guru, Vitaly Klitschko, has been meeting with the US State Department and is close to Angela Merkel’s CDU political machine in Germany. The EU association agreement with Ukraine is widely resisted by many EU member states with deep economic problems of their own. The two EU figures most pushing it—Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski—are both well known in the EU as close to Washington. The US is strongly pushing the Ukraine EU integration just as it had been behind the 2004 failed “Orange Revolution” to split Ukraine from Russia in a  bid to isolate and weaken Russia. Now Ukrainians have found evidence of direct involvement of the Belgrade US-financed training group, CANVAS behind the carefully-orchestrated Kiev protests.

A copy of the pamphlet that was given out to opposition protestors in Kiev has been obtained. It is a word-for-word and picture-for-picture translation of the pamphlet used by US-financed Canvas organizers in the 2011 Cairo Tahrir Square protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak and opened the door to the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood.[1] The photo below is a side-by-side comparison:

The photo left is from Tahrir Square; the right from Kiev and here below is the English original used by the Belgrade CANVAS NGO:

Canvas, formerly Otpor, received significant money from the US State Department in 2000 to stage the first successful Color Revolution against Slobodan Milosovic in then-Yugoslavia. Since then they have been transformed into a full-time “revolution consultancy” for the US, posing as a Serbian grass-root group backing “democracy.” [2] Who would ever think a Serbian-based NGO would be a front for US-backed regime change?

The Strange Ukraine “Opposition”

Direct sources in Kiev that I have contacted report that the anti-government protestors have been recruited with money from among university students and unemplyed to come by bus into the heart of  Kiev. The revealing aspect is the spectacular emergence of champion boxed Vitaly Klitschko as presumably the wise politician guiding Ukraine’s future. No doubt spending your career beating other boxers unconscious is a superb preparation for becoming a statesman, though I for one doubt it. It reminds of the choice of a low-grade Hollywood movie actor, Ronald Reagan as President. But more interesting about “opposition” spokesman Klitschko is who his friends are.

Klitschko is being backed by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. Nuland, former US Ambassador to NATO, is a neo-conservative married to leading neo-conservative hawk, Robert Kagan, and was herself a former adviser to Dick Cheney. [3]

Klitschko is also very friendly with German Chancellor Merkel. According to a recent Der Spiegel report, Merkel wants to support Klitschko in his bid to become Ukraine’s president in 2015. [4]

More evidence that a darker agenda lies behind the “democracy” opposition is the fact that the demands of the protestors went from demanding accession to the EU to demanding the immediate resignation of the Yanukovich government. Klitschko and the opposition used an unfortunate police crackdown on protesters to massively expand the protest from a few hundred to tens of thousands. On December 18, the government took the wind partly out of the Klitschko sails by signing a major economic agreement with Moscow in which Russia agreed to cut the price of Russian gas exported to Ukraine by a third, down to $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters from the current level of more than $400, and to buy $15 billion of Ukraine’s debt in eurobonds. That gives Ukraine breathing room to avoid a sovereign debt default and calmly negotiate over its future.


CANVAS: The Belgrade US-Financed Training Group Behind the Carefully-Orchestrated Kiev Protests
The recent protests in Ukraine have the stench of a foreign-orchestrated attempt to destabilize the government of Viktor Yanukovych after he walked away from signing an EU Association Agreement that would have driven a deep wedge between Russia and Ukraine. Glamor-star boxer-turned political guru, Vitaly Klitschko, has been meeting with the US State Department and is close to Angela Merkel’s CDU political machine in Germany. The EU association agreement with Ukraine is widely resisted by many EU member states with deep economic problems of their own. The two EU figures most pushing it—Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski—are both well known in the EU as close to Washington. The US is strongly pushing the Ukraine EU integration just as it had been behind the 2004 failed “Orange Revolution” to split Ukraine from Russia in a  bid to isolate and weaken Russia. Now Ukrainians have found evidence of direct involvement of the Belgrade US-financed training group, CANVAS behind the carefully-orchestrated Kiev protests.
A copy of the pamphlet that was given out to opposition protestors in Kiev has been obtained. It is a word-for-word and picture-for-picture translation of the pamphlet used by US-financed Canvas organizers in the 2011 Cairo Tahrir Square protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak and opened the door to the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood.[1] The photo below is a side-by-side comparison:
The photo left is from Tahrir Square; the right from Kiev and here below is the English original used by the Belgrade CANVAS NGO:
Canvas, formerly Otpor, received significant money from the US State Department in 2000 to stage the first successful Color Revolution against Slobodan Milosovic in then-Yugoslavia. Since then they have been transformed into a full-time “revolution consultancy” for the US, posing as a Serbian grass-root group backing “democracy.” [2] Who would ever think a Serbian-based NGO would be a front for US-backed regime change?
The Strange Ukraine “Opposition”
Direct sources in Kiev that I have contacted report that the anti-government protestors have been recruited with money from among university students and unemplyed to come by bus into the heart of  Kiev. The revealing aspect is the spectacular emergence of champion boxed Vitaly Klitschko as presumably the wise politician guiding Ukraine’s future. No doubt spending your career beating other boxers unconscious is a superb preparation for becoming a statesman, though I for one doubt it. It reminds of the choice of a low-grade Hollywood movie actor, Ronald Reagan as President. But more interesting about “opposition” spokesman Klitschko is who his friends are.
Klitschko is being backed by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. Nuland, former US Ambassador to NATO, is a neo-conservative married to leading neo-conservative hawk, Robert Kagan, and was herself a former adviser to Dick Cheney. [3]
Klitschko is also very friendly with German Chancellor Merkel. According to a recent Der Spiegel report, Merkel wants to support Klitschko in his bid to become Ukraine’s president in 2015. [4]
More evidence that a darker agenda lies behind the “democracy” opposition is the fact that the demands of the protestors went from demanding accession to the EU to demanding the immediate resignation of the Yanukovich government. Klitschko and the opposition used an unfortunate police crackdown on protesters to massively expand the protest from a few hundred to tens of thousands. On December 18, the government took the wind partly out of the Klitschko sails by signing a major economic agreement with Moscow in which Russia agreed to cut the price of Russian gas exported to Ukraine by a third, down to $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters from the current level of more than $400, and to buy $15 billion of Ukraine’s debt in eurobonds. That gives Ukraine breathing room to avoid a sovereign debt default and calmly negotiate over its future.
- See more at:

Russia Today: Rival rallies continue in Kiev as Western meddling increases

Tens of thousands of people from across Ukraine gathered in central Kiev for rival anti- and pro-government rallies on Sunday, continuing their demonstrations as US and EU officials increase their involvement in the political crisis. US Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy have joined the opposition rally by addressing the crowd from a stage, declaring how the protests are inspiring the world.
"People of Ukraine, this is your moment. This is about you, no one else. This is about the future you want for your country. This is about the future you deserve," McCain said. "We are here to support your just cause, the sovereign right of Ukraine to determine its own destiny freely and independently. And the destiny you seek lies in Europe,” he added. “The US is with you.” Murphy also urged protesters to continue the fight. “Ukraine's future stands with Europe, and the United States stands with Ukraine," he said.

Meanwhile, Polish MPs set up a tent on Independence Square on Sunday, UNIAN news reported. “I haven’t felt as free as I do here on the Maidan for a very long time,” MP Malgorzata Gosevska said, adding that Polish national dishes will be distributed to the protesters in the evening.

McCain and Murphy met with Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich on Sunday. During the talks, the president “emphasized the invariability of the European integration course of Ukraine and the faithfulness to national interests of the state,” according to a statement on the leader’s website.

Yanukovich assured that the government will do everything in its power to make certain that citizens’ rights for peaceful demonstrations are protected, and confirmed that there will be an investigation into the events of November 30 on Independence Square - the day security forces launched a crackdown on protesters. The two sides have agreed to continue negotiations.

McCain also met with imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s daughter and said he supported sanctions against specific officials in the Ukrainian government, Tymoshenko's Batkyvschina party said in a Sunday statement on its website.

"This morning the daughter of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, Yevgenia...held a meeting with US Senator John McCain," the statement reads. McCain talked about "the possibility of bringing in personal sanctions against senior officials in [President Viktor] Yanukovych's regime, including those implicated in the politically motivated persecution and jailing of Yulia Tymoshenko," it continues.

Around 20,000 pro-EU protesters once again gathered on Independence Square on Sunday, continuing the demonstrations which have now lasted more than three weeks. Later in the day, three columns of protesters moved out of Independence Square to hold demonstrations in front of the Ukrainian government buildings in Kiev. Opposition leaders sent a group to the Ukrainian Security Service headquarters and the Interior Ministry, claiming that those agencies were responsible for the violent crackdown on the Maidan rally on November 30.

The third group headed towards the Central Election Committee due to early parliament elections that were taking place in five of the country’s districts on Sunday. In nearby Mariinsky Park, a group of around 15,000 people came out to participate in anti-EU demonstrations and support President Yanukovich. 

Earlier on Sunday, it was announced that the European Union is freezing its work with the Ukrainian government on a controversial trade agreement. The country decided to postpone the deal last month, triggering massive protests. The EU believes that Ukraine’s position in the negotiations of the Association Agreement has “no grounds in reality,” EU enlargement chief Stefan Fuele tweeted.

The angry remarks came after Fuele’s meeting with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Arbuzov. Commenting on the news, the Ukrainian PM’s office said Kiev has a strong intention to continue negotiations with the EU. But Ukraine will only respond to official messages from the Europeans - not tweets - a spokesman for the Prime Minister added.

In the meantime, Yanukovich is scheduled to visit Moscow on December 17. The country’s Prime Minister, Nikolay Azarov, stated that no documents will be signed in relation to the country joining the Customs Union during the interstate commission meeting on December 17 in Moscow. He clarified that before anything is signed, it must be approved by the cabinet and “right now there are no documents that directly or indirectly have any relation to the Customs Union,” Azarov told Inter TV channel. 

Threat of sanctions

As the confrontation continues, European and American politicians and top officials are flocking to Ukraine to cheer on the opposition crowds and criticize the Yanukovich government for not acting on protesters’ demands.

During a meeting with opposition leaders - former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and far right nationalist Oleh Tyahnybog - McCain was asked for more than just moral support from the US - referring to the possible introduction of sanctions, UNIAN reported on Saturday. 

After the meeting, McCain said that he believes the resolution will be adopted swiftly and unanimously by Washington, Ukrainian Pravda quoted him as saying. Earlier this week, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland handed out snacks to protesters on Independence Square. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also met with both the Ukrainian government and the opposition, and visited Independence Square to see the protests firsthand.

 Russia, which has been blamed by both the Ukrainian opposition and Western statesmen for twisting Ukraine’s arm to stop its EU integration, is trying to distance itself from the conflict. It has, however, criticized the West on several occasions for what Moscow sees as blatant interference in Ukraine’s sovereign affairs. Unrest in Ukraine began on November 21 when Yanukovich refused to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. Legal expert and blogger Alexander Mercouris explained to RT that special attention given to Ukraine by Western politicians will only do harm.

"The reasons they are there is bluntly because these people want to detach Ukraine from Russia - as they see it. And they think that by supporting the protesters in Kiev, they might actually achieve that. The problem with the head strategy is that it’s simply not working. The bonds between Ukraine and Russia - economically, culturally, and ethnically - are simply too strong,” he said.

“For American politicians and for European politicians to go to Ukraine and to try to do that is actually very unwise and very dangerous. And is simply exacerbating and making worse the differences, the divisions, in Ukraine, which are already very great,” Mercouris added.


Death Follows McCain To The Ukraine As Armenia-Ultimatum to Screw Over Russia Fails Again

It has become obvious that what’s going on in Ukraine is an extension of the cold war as the U.S. and the EU try and peddle a modified version of the Armenia-ultimatum to their people. Sound complicated? It’s not really. What’s going on in Ukraine is an economic proxy war that has turned sour. The trade deal that the EU has offered the Ukraine is garbage. To find out how bad it is all we have to do is look at why Armenia ended up telling the EU to shove it when they tried to jam the same deal down their throats. In September 2013, Armenia called off an Armenia-EU Association Agreement after they found out that the trade deal was not really about easing trade restrictions with the EU but about screwing over Russia, and themselves by extension:

“The apparently smooth progress towards a final deal came to a shuddering halt in early September, when President Serzh Sargsyan met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and announced plans to join another economic bloc, the Moscow-led Customs Union. Membership of the grouping, which currently includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakstan, would require Armenia to adopt a different set of trade tariffs and agreements which EU officials say are not compatible with the Association Agreement. “Despite this, President Sargsyan says Customs Union membership would not conflict with the EU accord, which he argues could be uncoupled from the DCFTA. “‘Armenia is ready even now to sign an Association Agreement with the EU,’ Sargsyan said in a question-and-answer session after addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on October 2. ‘Sadly, our partners in the European Commission have said there is a clear contradiction between the Customs Union and the agreement on a free trade zone.… We have suggested that we could sign just the Association Agreement, which mainly covers political reforms.’…. “‘There has recently been a lot of talk about the civilisational choice facing members of the Eastern Partnership initiative. We have always stated that we don’t believe it’s right to view the issue in those terms.’”

What the EU wanted Armenia to do is equivalent to telling someone that they can come over and play at your house as long as they are willing to permanently tell the rest of their family to fuck off! Insanity! As someone who is aware of the history of its people and the region, knows the game at play, and those involved, I can honestly tell you that anyone that is arrogant enough to tell Armenians to screw over Russians for a dangling carrot is one dumb MOFO. After all, everyone knows that what the EU offers hasn’t really worked out too well for the citizens of some of its periphery members, such as those in Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, or Portugal.

The main thing we need to know about what’s going on in Ukraine is that it’s based on our indefinite growth based economy – the EU and the U.S. needing to grow to maintain their crony capitalistic system because if they don’t the bubbles will pop. This is what the Ukraine deal is about, a self-consuming economic model that must devour everything in its path to maintain power. As for John McCain, death, destruction, and corruption follow him everywhere, so if we’re wise, we wouldn’t allow this shill to make any more speeches on other people’s soil but instead arrest him for treason in the United States.
Of course Russia is interested to keep Ukraine close to Russia politically, economically but it does not use its pressure to be interpreted as an intervention in internal affairs of Ukraine. It is in the contrary. “We watched today what is going on from the Eastern Europe. Europe parliamentarians are coming to Kiev demonstrating and even camping. Polish parliamentarians are camping in Kiev in Maidan, main square of Kiev city. “And so yesterday Russian TV showed John McCain arrival to Kiev and he brought with him some luggage, diplomatic luggage, eight big bags: one of them only was set for … [his] diplomatic car and the seven other big bags were placed in Ukrainian cars and they said that it is money. Huge amount of money brought to spread, to support opposition. “I asked where is international law? How is it possible to intervene in such ugly way in the internal disturbed situation in Ukraine? “Money, money and all this was spread [among opposition] and made based on huge amounts… “So I think that not Russian intervention but European, American intervention, direct appearance in demonstrations, appearance among oppositions, take and flow, making some speeches, encouraging for revolution. “That I can say, I as a former diplomatic, my job, I cannot even imagine such kind of behaviors are suitable for current international law…”
Marine calls for John McCain to be arrested and tried for treason at town hall meeting:  

If you would like to know what’s really going on in the Ukraine than the following three videos will do a good job explaining it. In the first,James Corbett gives us a short rundown of what’s taking place (the segment of interest takes place between 1:30 to 5:20). In the second, Amy Goodman hosts an interview and debate between two guests: “Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University; and Anton Shekhovtsov, a Ukrainian citizen and University College London researcher who has just returned from observing the protests in Kiev.” And in the third, a chaotic debate on CrossTalk between three guests: John Laughland, Tony Halpin, and Dmitry Babich.

Who is Behind the Ukrainian Riots? – New World Next Week:
Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism?: 

Russian Conspiracy Theories about Maidan's First Blood

Since street protests over European integration first broke out in Kiev last November, the ideological battle lines dividing Russian Internet users haven’t changed much. Western-leaning liberals generally embrace the Ukrainian opposition, whereas conservatives and many of the self-proclaimed “geopolitical” thinkers fear “losing Ukraine” would deliver a strong blow to Russia’s national interests.

Regularly topping LiveJournal’s Russian-language traffic are two distinct kinds of reportage on Ukraine: first, there are the largely opposition-sympathetic photo blogs by photographers like Rustem Adagamov (and slightly more ambiguous work by Ilya Varlamov), and, second, there are the deeply anti-opposition posts by bloggers spreading conspiracy theories about terrorist plots and Western interventions designed to undermine the Ukrainian authorities.

Given the lack of eyewitnesses, the murder of Serhiy Nigoyan, Maidan’s first shooting fatality, has naturally attracted lots of speculation about who was responsible. Nigoyan died from bullet wounds on January 22, 2014, near Dynamo stadium on Grushevsky Street in Kiev, where skirmishes against police have been most intense. Nigoyan had been serving as an informal security guard for Maidan protestors. Twenty-years-old, handsome, and apparently quite friendly, Nigoyan had become a fixture of Kiev’s protest scenery, even starring in an unfinished film documentary. (A clip from his interview in this project is now available on YouTube, see below.)

Though police have not concluded their investigation, Nigoyan is thought to have died from sniper fire. The dominant narrative among protestors and Western journalists, it seems, is that Ukrainian Special Forces shot him dead [ru]. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, on the other hand, claims [ru] that its officers do not carry the type of ammunition that killed Nigoyan. Further thickening the plot, Ukrainian police say not a single eyewitness has come forward to deliver a statement explaining how Nigoyan died.

The day of the murder, after the popular Twitter account “EuroMaidan” posted a photo (later deleted) of unidentified snipers atop a building, Moscow-based blogger Denis Travin and others jumped [ru] at the opportunity to show that the photograph in the tweet was actually from Kyrgyzstan in April 2010.

Other Russian bloggers have been more willing to accept the role of snipers in Nigoyan’s murder, but some have also embraced extremely elaborate conspiracy theories about the gunmen’s identity. LiveJournal user ermalex76, for instance, argues in a blog post [ru] that the American military was behind the killing, citing the irregular ammo used, and the supposedly curious proximity of a (US-funded) Radio Liberty journalist to the site of the shooting. Blaming Gene Sharp, an American political scientist famous for his work on anti-government resistance movements, ermalex76 explains that “Sharp’s Plan” calls for the creation of “sacred martyrs,” in order to motivate protestors. (The blogger goes on to clarify that Yulia Timoshenko would make the perfect sacrifice, but her continued imprisonment makes it too difficult to kill her.)

Indeed, in an op-ed [ru] in the newspaper Izvestia, Russian opposition figure (and perennial gadfly of Russian liberals) Eduard Limonov also entertained the idea that someone was posing as police snipers, as a ploy to catalyze protest sentiment.

Other conspiracy theorists have turned their attention away from the killers and onto the victim, opening the door to character assassinations of Nigoyan. Following his death, it wasn’t long before bloggers discovered Nigoyan’s account [ru] on Russia’s largest social network, Vkontakte, where he posted methodically about Armenia. RuNet users did not fail to miss old photos of Nigoyan in army fatigues at a firing range. Presumably, this was during his mandatory military service in Ukraine (not Armenia, which Nigoyan never once visited), though another post raised suspicions [ru] of terrorist affiliations. On November 21, 2013, Nigoyan put up a picture celebrating ASALA, the redundantly titled “Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia,” a now extinct organization that spent the 1980s listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.

While no proof whatsoever has emerged linking Nigoyan to terrorism, it seems the rumor found a receptive audience even in Ukraine’s highest echelons of power. Sources close to the negotiations between the opposition and the government told [ru] journalist Tatiana Nikolaenko that President Yanukovich originally rebuffed accusations that the police were killing protesters. “Listen, guys, this was an Armenian terrorist,” the President allegedly said during talks, in the government’s defense.

Putin aide accuses US of funding Ukraine rebels
An advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington on Thursday of financing and arming Ukrainian militants as a senior US official arrived for crisis talks in Kiev. Putin's economic advisor Sergei Glazyev, often seen as the Kremlin's pointman on Ukraine, also suggested that Russia had legal grounds to intervene in the two-month-old crisis, describing the situation at attempted coup.

"According to our information, American sources spend $20 million a week on financing the opposition and rebels, including on weapons," he said in a wide-ranging interview with the Ukrainian edition of Russian broadsheet Kommersant published Thursday.

"We have information that the militants are briefed on the territory of the US embassy, that they are being armed. Of course it is unacceptable, this has to be looked into," he said. 

Glazyev also indicated that Russia had legal grounds to intervene in the crisis, referring to the so-called Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances dating back to 1994. 

"According to this document, Russia and the United States are guarantors of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and frankly speaking they are obliged to intervene when such conflicts arise."
The memorandum was signed after Ukraine demanded security guarantees in connection with its accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Kremlin advisor also accused the Ukrainian government as well as the opposition and Western powers of peddling lies and distorting reality.

"What is happening in Kiev is described well in Ukrainian legislation -- this is an attempted coup, an attempt to overthrow the authorities by force."

"The situation is schizophrenic because for some reason everyone is afraid of calling a spade a spade."

"The West calls terrorists and putschists 'activists' (and) tries to present them as peaceful demonstrators even though everyone sees how they attack police and hurl Molotov cocktails at them, prepare napalm, and arm themselves."
"The paradox of a schizophrenic state is that it is comfortable with the sides lying to each other and they do not want to reach agreement before catastrophe strikes."

"The powers that be fear for their billions. That's why they are trying to tough it out without losing anything, which only makes the disease worse."

The hawkish aide last year threatened Ukraine with economic retaliation if it signed a key partnership pact with the European Union. In November, President Viktor Yanukovych scrapped plans to sign the agreement, sparking the current crisis. Last week, Glazyev said Yanukovych would lose power if he did not "quash the rebellion."

The National Interest: Beneath the European-Russian Struggle for the Fate of Ukraine

Ukraine is fast becoming an ideological battlefield. On one side the Western European societal model—liberal representative democracy plus the market economy. On the other side the old-style czarist model—repression plus oligarchic economics merging into a form of autarchy. Behind the curtain a second conflict starts to grow in importance. Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, adopts and applies conventional, traditional strategic thinking in the von Clausewitz tradition that war is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means. The EU approach rejects Clausewitz by renouncing war, seeking political objectives by pursuing political options.

Without Ukraine, Russia will never stand a chance of becoming a great power again. Ukraine’s 45 million people, of which around 75 per cent are Ukrainian and around 18 per cent are Russian, would increase Russia’s population by a third. Its industrial capacity is considerable, as is the case for its agricultural potential. Vast reserves of shale gas/oil have led to agreements with Shell and Chevron, auguring self-sufficiency around 2020 and removing the leverage supply of gas and oil gives Russia. Chinese investment in agriculture has been forthcoming, reserving five per cent of the landmass for food production going to China.
These investments may not be welcome from a Russian point of view. Geographically, Russia’s southern border is exposed. A Ukraine outside its sphere of interest requires this southern vulnerability to be incorporated into Moscow’s planning at a moment when military presence in the Arctic is being given high priority. The Russian ‘nation,’ or maybe it is more correct to say the Russian identity, can be traced back to Kiev—not Moscow—rubbing salt into the wound over Ukraine and its people’s apparent unwillingness to link their future to Russia. It’s a kind of cultural break, or even worse, a snub.
Superficially, the EU offer of a partnership gave better access to markets and the prospect of modernizing Ukraine’s economy. This might ire the Kremlin, but does not explain the intense opposition. The reason behind that stance is that a successful expansion of EU’s societal model so different from the Russian one will leave Moscow isolated, making it increasingly difficult to stem the tide of growing opposition inside Russia. Preventing Ukraine from choosing this path is therefore the first line of defence of the Kremlin’s own political system.
The European Union may not fully have seen this. It entered into talks in 2009 with not only Ukraine, but Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova (from Russia’s perspective a maneuver to envelop it) in the mood of extending trade concessions and economic benefits. That it would also force these countries to change their societal model may not have been overlooked, but the interpretation or understanding of how Russia would react to such a change in its ‘near abroad’ was apparently not analysed; at least no proper diplomatic preparations for the inevitable showdown with Russia and confrontation with the Russian-backed rulers of Ukraine were initiated.
EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy have broken new ground in international relations by renouncing war and explicitly selecting political means to achieve political objectives. This proved tremendously successful in Central and Eastern Europe. Looking at Ukraine, it seems almost superfluous to highlight how attractive the Western European model is in the eyes of its people. They lived first under Soviet dictatorship and then suffered from a combination of incompetence, authoritarian rulers and kleptocracy robbing them of the country’s wealth. Some observers might label it arrogance, but the core of this is that the EU, despite flaws and shortcomings, has reached a degree of political maturity that people living at its periphery can only dream of—and they do—when comparing with their own situation.

Huffington Post: Ukraine's Fight Is Europe's Battle

By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

A new Berlin Wall through Kiev? "Sphere of Influence" and the Soviet Union by another name -- is that the objective of Vladimir Putin in reestablishing Russia's dominance over Ukraine but also several other former communist states two+ decades after the collapse of the Iron Curtain? An integrating Europe has been instrumental in dampening the prospects for conflict over the post WWII period between old adversaries, (most notably but not just France and Germany.) NATO has also been a catalyst for European unification even as some in old Europe (western Europe) had hesitated to incorporate states such as Poland, Lithuania, and Croatia into the relative economic prosperity and political stability of the European Union. 

The confrontation in Kiev is the focus. Less discussed, Putin's Kremlin has sought to block closer economic and political ties between the EU and several other states that it dominated during the Soviet Union. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus. Georgia, Moldova as well as Ukraine are part of the envisioned EU's "Eastern Partnership" initiative. The Kremlin perhaps sees this as a threat to its Soviet Union established "sphere of influence." However, this new round of establishing dominance in the post Berlin Wall Europe is not limited to the former states of the Soviet Union.

NATO as Foundation of Post-Conflict Stability Countering Nationalist/Religious Rhetoric:

Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro may be caught in the Kremlin's ever stickier web. Putin's Moscow is employing proxies within Bosnia & Herzegovina, (BiH), namely the nationalist Serb leadership in Republika Srpska, to block the country's NATO integration. This though is not merely a geopolitical consideration for BiH. After a genocidal conflict fueled by fear and presumably ethnic/religious delineations, NATO has been the only institution capable of providing both a sense of security and vision of the future, particularly for Bosniaks, Croats, and the "others" who were most targeted by the ultra-nationalists. (See Bosnia's Alamo -- Srebrenica?)

Russia's Long Unsatisfied Appetite along Adriatic & SE Europe:

While Moscow has not directly blocked EU aspirations for Serbia, Montenegro, as well as Republika Srpska, it has actively sought to deter NATO membership for these Orthodox Christian majority states/regions. (Bulgaria and Romania are two Orthodox Christian majority states that have already joined NATO post Iron Curtain collapse.) Insidious rhetoric directed at the Muslim population of the region as well as presumed grievances with respect to the broader Euro-Atlantic family have been exploited. Putin's Moscow has rapidly extended greater economic and political influence than existed during the then-Tito ruled Communist Yugoslavia.  Beyond rapidly interwoven business ventures, many foresee the Kremlin's efforts to establish an unprecedented military/naval presence along the Adriatic and Mediterranean. Russia has never had an actual presence, either during Imperial or Soviet period in the region.

Continuing to be susceptible to the appeal of ultra-nationalist politics, many within Serbia's political and military leadership have put into question their European future while emboldening nationalist aspirations still more than smoldering from the time of Slobodan Milosevic. The embers are even more evident among the leadership of Republika Srpska, (an ethnically cleansed and now Serb-dominated region within BiH.) Unfortunately, EU-NATO efforts have been more to appease rather than counter such ultra-nationalist leaderships. Undoubtedly the economic upheaval experienced within the EU family over the last few years have distracted from the longer-term vision when a more ambitious inclusion effort may have been more effective than stoking the winds of nationalism within and along the periphery.

The Soviet Union has Lost, Russia Can Still Win! 

It's fair to ask why should states like Ukraine and Bosnia & Herzegovina be linked to the EU, NATO and /or Washington more than Moscow. It is a choice of a more progressive road to an evolving partnership versus a regressive domination based on nationalist/ethnic appeals. Russia has as yet to undergo economic and political reforms. This also adversely affects progress in some former Communist block countries. As in Russia, crony capitalism and corruption stall the fruits of the revolution started with the collapse of the Iron Curtain, from Ukraine to Serbia. Further, while all big capitals are subject to narcissistic tendencies of "Big Powers," Moscow has yet to wean itself off old ambitions of imperial domination. EU and NATO institutions offer the opportunity current and evolutionary of a more democratic and inclusive Europe. While there was hope in the past that Moscow would join the evolution and come closer to Europe, the recent track record of the Putin regime is repression of criticism and opposition while feeding a diet nationalism as means to interminable absolute economic and political power. The demonstrations underway now in Ukraine and those who sympathize from Sarajevo to Belgrade are not so motivated by a desire to be under Brussels' or Washington's umbrella as they fear a regressive Moscow dominance. (Particularly for the Muslim populations of SE Europe, the Kremlin's active backing for a brutal and repressive Assad Regime in Syria is another negative indicator, along with the ever greater link between church and state in Moscow.)

Europe Without Borders or Walls?

The age for a new Europe without both the physical and psychological borders is still emerging. The divisions and imperial appetites that had sown centuries of wars in Europe were also the roots of conflicts and exploitation on other continents. (These proxy conflicts still continue -- see Syria and Africa).

It is in the interest of Europe but also the global community to retire the old definitions of belonging as "spheres of influence." The new world order cannot be a regurgitation of the old. A bottom up approach is the future and one accountable to citizens rather than rulers seeking to perpetuate an absolute hold on political and economic power.

Ukraine Divided Between East And West

The apparent political stalemate in Ukraine after the September 30 elections reflects the historic divisions of this big country on the borders between Russia to the east and Europe to the west. Both the outgoing prime minister, the Russophile Viktor Yanukovich, and Western-oriented Yulia Tymoshenko claim electoral victory in a country split down the middle between its eastern and western components. With 50 million inhabitants, Ukraine is the France of the East. Therefore, where Europe ends in the east is not just a rhetorical question: since 1991 Europe has steadily pushed its eastern borders right up to the frontiers of Russia. A weakened post-Soviet Russia was unable to stop that advance. Not only the ex-Soviet satellite countries in Eastern Europe, from Bulgaria to Poland, changed sides, but also parts of the USSR itself -- Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine -- turned toward Western Europe.

Western emotions about the new-old country of Ukraine are no less mixed than those of the Ukrainian people themselves, forever divided between East and West. They are a big people with a natural desire to decide their own fate, a fate that has led them down disastrous paths in their long history. The major problem has been their two souls. Their Eastern soul has traditionally held them close to their big brothers, the Great Russians; their Western soul led desperate and rabid nationalists even to collaboration with Nazi Germany against Soviet Russia. Ukraine’s Western soul aspires to become part of Europe; its Eastern soul prefers a privileged relationship with Russia.

In 2004, the “Orange Revolution” swept pro-Western reformists into power in Ukraine. A year later the Kremlin’s man, Viktor Yanukovich, won out in the country’s first free parliamentary elections and became prime minister. The elections were a fatal flop for the Western-looking part of Ukraine and a confirmation of the traditional division of the country.

Lying in a strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and Russia, the Ukraine actually has three souls. Three currents have marked contemporary independent Ukraine: the linguistic, historical, pro-Russian soul; the nostalgic, big nation, central planning, pro-Soviet soul; and a vaguely democratic, free market, pro-Western soul. For many Russians and many Ukrainians, the two peoples are nearly one and Ukrainians are often referred to as “Little Russians.”

Russia was alarmed about the rapid move westwards of big and powerful Ukraine. In the 1990s, Ukraine contributed troops to peacekeeping in Kosovo in the Balkans. More recently it sent troops to Iraq. The Ukrainian government announcement in May 2002 of its intention to seek membership in United Europe, NATO and WTO was the last straw for Moscow.

Ukraine: West or East

One used to speak of geographic Europe extending to the Ural Mountains in Russia, with part of Russia in Europe and part in Asia. However the border between today’s United Europe (EU) and Russia is more a geopolitical affair, a question of power and influence.

Western Ukraine has close historical ties with Europe, particularly with Poland. Both Orthodoxy and the Uniate faith (Greek Catholic) have many followers there. Ukrainian nationalist sentiment has always been strongest in the westernmost parts of the country, which became part of Ukraine only when the Soviet Union expanded after World War II.

It is a different story in Eastern Ukraine. The Ukraine was the center of the first Slavic state, Kievan Rus, the cradle of Russia. During the 10th and 11th centuries Kievan Russia was the largest state in Europe, until it disappeared during the Mongol invasions. The cultural and religious legacy of Kievan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism throughout subsequent centuries. A Ukrainian state was established during the mid-17th century that, despite Muscovite pressure, remained autonomous for over 100 years. During the latter part of the 18th century, Ukrainian ethnographic territory was assimilated by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine had a short-lived period of independence (1917-20), before it was re-conquered by Russia and absorbed into the Soviet Union, as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

A significant minority of the population of Ukraine are Russians or use Russian as their first language. Russian influence is particularly strong in the industrialized east of the country, where the Orthodox religion is predominant, as well as in Crimea, an autonomous republic on the Black Sea, which was long part of Russia.

After Russia, the Ukrainian Republic was the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union. Today Ukraine depends on imports of natural gas from Russia for its energy requirements. After independence in December 1991, the Ukrainian government initiated privatization, but widespread resistance within the government blocked reform efforts and led to some backtracking. By 1999, industrial output fell to less than 40 percent of the 1991 level. Ukraine's dependence on Russia for energy supplies and the lack of structural reform make its economy vulnerable.

Although Ukraine became independent after the dissolution of the USSR, democracy has remained elusive. Its ancient divisions have stalled efforts at the formation of a unified nation. In the final months of 2004, the massive pro-Western “Orange Revolution" overturned a presidential election rigged by pro-Russia exponents. The peaceful revolution brought about a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a coalition of pro-Western reformists. Yet, the run-off presidential vote of 52 percent for pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko and 44 percent for outgoing pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich again reflected the divisions in Ukraine between East and West.

Though the post-Communist era seemed truly closed, the change was illusory. The coalition government soon collapsed over disastrous economic policies, corruption and a dramatic gas war with Russia. The coalition dissolved also because the East and South of the nation prefer Russia and Ukraine’s past. Although the amount of trade with EU countries exceeds commerce with Russia, Russia remains Ukraine’s largest trading partner. Not only is Ukraine dependent on Russia for gas, it also forms an important link on the pipeline transit route for Russian gas exports to Europe.

Russia had retreated from Western Europe for 50 years. Now with its gas as a weapon, its retreat has ended. Since much of Europe’s economic future depends on Russia’s gas, European efforts at democratizing Russia have stopped. Only friendly relations count. Europe can no longer push hard for Ukrainian democracy.

Now, whoever emerges as the electoral victor, the tide in Ukraine has again turned eastwards. The impulse toward the West of the last 15 years has stopped. President Yushchenko said in an interview a few months ago that Ukraine’s choice is not between the West and Russia: Ukraine must have good relations with both. But were Russia to raise gas prices to Ukraine or cut supplies, the scene would change. In the contest between Russia on one hand and Europe-USA on the other, Moscow in a fair battle will always win.

But most certainly also pushy, abrasive, arrogant US foreign policy is a reason, too. For Russia, a Ukraine in the camp of the USA would be like Canada suddenly taking control of New England, or Mexico taking over Texas.

In reality, the European Union desires association with Ukraine. The European Parliament supports Ukraine's full membership in the WTO. The EU Parliament calls on neighboring states to "fully respect the democratic choice of the Ukrainian people and avoid any type of economic or other pressures with the goal of changing the new political and economic status of Ukraine. The European Parliament has also called upon any future coalition government in Kiev to consolidate Ukrainian commitment towards general European values, to advance democracy, human rights, civic society and the rule of law, continuation of market reforms and overcome political divisions in Ukraine. The European Parliament hopes to have an active relationship with Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) and promises aid and support to Ukraine.

This all rings friendly and cooperative to Western-oriented Ukrainians. To Russia and eastward-looking Ukrainians, it sounds threatening, with an underlying note of economic blackmail, as is the cutting of US and European support to the Palestinian government of Hamas unless it toes the line.

And Russia, in reaction, has lent full support to its candidate, Yanukovich, who hopes to head a government coalition. In case of exclusion, he threatens revolt by the eastern and southern parts of the Ukraine, while Russia can either cut off the gas supply or raise its price.

So again Ukraine, besides being divided internally between East and West, is also crushed between pressures from its eastern and western borders.

The question of where the West ends and Russia begins is not unimportant for the rest of the world. Russia is again a global actor. Alongside India and China, Russia has assumed a protagonist role. Much of the empire is gone but Russia’s aspirations remain. Today Russia is showing its muscles in a game of hazards and risks. Moscow has tried at negotiation with Iran on the nuclear issue and strengthened its ties with Tehran. It is mediating with Hamas in Palestine.

Russia itself is an issue of global importance. A weak Russia is a danger for world balance of power. A strong Russia worries Washington; less so Europe. A strong Russia to counter uncontrollable American unilateralism appeals to much of the world. For many, Cold War at low risk is better than hot war in Iraq. Or nuclear threats launched at Iran. The disappearance of the USSR paved the way for “preemptive war America,” its hands free to strike when and where it likes. America is never friendlier with Russia than when it is divided, poor, its economy in shambles, its empire dismantled. Washington cannot control China or India. Nor in the end can it contain Russia.


In related developments:

Russia is in Dire Need of Additional Military Bases

The United States has 500 military bases around the world, while Russia only has four plus two logistics points, editor in chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland Victor Murakhovski said in a live broadcast of Pravda.Ru. Even in this situation the United States strongly impedes recreation of Russian military bases, especially in Central Asia and in the Pacific Rim.
"Currently Russia has military bases in Tajikistan, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Armenia. There are logistics points in the port of Tartus in Syria and in the port of Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. Now a similar military facility in Belarus is being established. So far it is unclear what it will be called," said Viktor Murakhovski.

The expert said that in Soviet times the country had a military base in Cuba with deployed land, mechanized infantry and armored units, air defense, and electronic intelligence. There were bases in Somalia and Ethiopia, in the archipelago Dahlak, and in some other places." Victor Murakhovski believes that today's potential is about 50 percent of the potential of the USSR. According to him, today the Americans who have 500 military bases in different parts of the world are trying to prevent the restoration of Russian military influence and placement of Russian bases in Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region (APR). This is evidenced by the story of the Russian military base in Kant, Kyrgyzstan. "The Americans tend to control the main trade routes of the Pacific where their main trading partners and powerful military powers are China, Japan, and Korea. Russia did not have anything in this region. Only recently Kamran was recreated," Murakhovski said. He added that the Americans also decided to leave the nine bases in Afghanistan despite the impending withdrawal of ISAF coalition forces.

"30,000 ISAF troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan, but the bases will remain in the area under the pretext of creating training units for the new Afghan army. They will be fortresses that will control vast areas with fire," said Viktor Murakhovski.

The expert believes that widely criticized leadership of the former minister Anatoly Serdyukov did not affect the issue of creating new bases of the Russian Federation abroad. "I would not talk about Serdyukov so negatively. He acted in line with the course of the military reform developed by the Council of National Security and the Russian president before the 2008 events in the Caucasus. The events in South Ossetia forced a quick promotion of a military reform, a compact, professional army, always ready units, increased share of contractors, and humanization of military service. The Minister made certain mistakes in the field of military education, military healthcare, outsourcing (only in permanent locations), in the area of upgrading and establishing a normal dialogue with the industry, but these mistakes have been corrected," said the expert.

He believes that Anatoly Serdyukov has to be given credit for some things. "The military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia were deployed, and military base 201 was transferred entirely to the contract system. Anatoly Serdyukov has done some good things."

Victor Murakhovski explained that the cost of maintaining military bases is determined by bilateral agreements. "Russia bears most of the cost and undertakes the supply of arms and equipment, training of military personnel with respect to the host countries. As far as I know, we do not pay for maintenances of the bases like the Americans do, we barter."

The expert does not think that the military base in Armenia may be shut down. "There is a motorized infantry brigade there, battalion S-300, and air squadron. This base ensures the territorial integrity of Armenia."

The expert believes the position of the Russian base in Sevastopol to be unshakable and stipulated by an intergovernmental agreement. "Russia, in case of a conflict, will legitimately resist and will be supported by the population of the Crimea."

Victor Murakhovski noted that a high level of security in the country must be maintained, so the military budget should not be redistributed to social spending. Especially because for over 20 years sufficient funds were not allocated to the army, which has led to the fact that in the North Caucasus in the two Chechen campaigns instead of an army we had an unmanaged conglomerate of people in green uniforms.    

As for the modern army, the tests conducted in the summer showed that it was in satisfactory condition, but it should be in a good or, even better, great condition. "The army has to be re-equipped, and an increase in spending on rearmament must be planned. One third of the funds will be spent before 2015 and two-thirds after 2015. The emphasis is on upgrading of reconnaissance and communications, aerospace defense, aviation, precision weapons, impact weapons and strategic nuclear forces, Russia's "sacred cow." In the next year over 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles will be delivered to the troops," said Victor Murakhovski.

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles is becoming increasingly more important - no sanctions, no declaration of war. The Americans are flying over Iran to strike at Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries. Russian Federation will also pay more attention to this area.

The expert said that presence of Russian peacekeepers in Syria after Geneva-2 Conference was unlikely. "There were cases of attacks on Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, and everyone knows what it resulted in. Those who want to use peacekeeping forces for their own purposes really do not want the Russians present in Syria. Negotiators, especially from the West, will try to ensure that peacekeeping forces of the third countries are present, including India, Pakistan, and Japan," editor in chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland Victor Murakhovski concluded.


Rogozin: Russia will use nukes in case of a strike

Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has warned that Russia will use nuclear weapons if it comes under an attack, adding that this possibility serves as the main deterrent to potential provocateurs and aggressors. 

One can experiment as long as one wishes by deploying non-nuclear warheads on strategic missile carriers. But one should keep in mind that if there is an attack against us, we will certainly resort to using nuclear weapons in certain situations to defend our territory and state interests,” Rogozin, the defense industry chief said on Wednesday speaking at the State Duma, the lower house. He pointed out that this principle is enshrined in Russia’s military doctrine. Any aggressor or group of aggressors should be aware of that, he said.

We have never diminished the importance of nuclear weapons – the weapon of requital – as the great balancer of  chances,” Rogozin said.

Russia’s Fund of Perspective Researches (FPI) will develop a military response to the American Conventional Prompt Global Strike (PGS) strategy, Dmitry Rogozin told the State Duma. So far, the FPI has already looked at over a thousand proposed ideas and plans to work on 60 projects, eight of which are top priority, the politician said. He refused to disclose any details, but said that one of those projects is focused on preparing a response to the PGS, which is the “main strategy” that the Pentagon is nurturing. PGS would allow the United States to strike targets anywhere on the planet, with conventional weapons in as little as an hour.As Rogozin explained earlier, the strategy would give America an advantage over a nuclear state, thanks to their better technical capabilities with weaponry, including the speed, RIA Novosti cited.

Moscow confirms deployment of Iskander missiles on NATO borders

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed media reports on the deployment of short-range Iskander missiles in the country’s west, near its borders with the Baltic states and NATO members, saying that it does not violate international agreements.

German newspaper Bild wrote this weekend that Russia stationed several Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems - which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads - in its westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad, along the border with Baltic states. The paper said it obtained “secret satellite” images showing at least 10 Russian missiles close to the EU border, which were deployed over the past year.

Commenting on the matter, Moscow confirmed that it did station the missiles, which have been designated by NATO as SS-26 Stone, in the region.

Rocket and artillery units of the Western Military District are really armed with Iskander tactical missile systems,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, head of the Defense Ministry’s press service, told reporters on Monday.

The concrete areas of the deployment of Iskander missile battalions in the Western Military District do not contradict any international agreements or treaties,” he added, as quoted by Interfax.

Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said earlier that he was concerned over the reports of Russian missiles near his country’s border. He added that the former Soviet state had discussed with its neighbors and NATO partners “how to react and protect” themselves, because “any incidents were hypothetically possible,” Delfi news website reported on Monday.

Neighboring Latvia sees no threat to its security from the Iskanders being stationed in the Kaliningrad region, according to Defense Minister Artis Pabriks. “NATO guarantees to us rather high security level,” he said in an interview with LNT on Monday, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

Meanwhile, Poland says it is worried about the deployment of Russian missiles near its border and plans to hold consultations on the matter with alliance partners. Iskanders have been stationed in the region for over 18 months now, a senior official at Russia’s Defense Ministry told Izvestia daily.

 “Everything works as planned there. I don’t know why the Germans are raising a scare now,” the source noted.

Russia is not going to ease its defense on European borders, where the western military alliance keeps its strategic missile forces, said deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, Viktor Zavarzin.

NATO has American tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Who can it be aimed against if not Iran? Only against us,” he told the daily. The official pointed out that Russian missiles do not pose a threat to anyone. Rather, they are solely for defensive purposes. 

The deployment of Iskanders in Kaliningrad came in response to the development of the US missile defense system in Europe – which has long been a stumbling block in relations between Moscow and Washington.

Back in November 2011, when the US failed to agree to make the missile defense shield a joint project with Russia, then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced sweeping plans to address what Moscow considered to be a threat to national security. He said he would deploy strike systems in the west and south of the country, as well as station Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region in order to counter the risk posed by the European missile defense shield.

 Moscow has long been calling for legally-binding guarantees that the missile defense system will not be aimed against Russia, but the US has so far refused to deliver such a promise. For years, the necessity of building the missile defense shield in Europe was justified by the perceived threat from countries like Iran. However, as the controversy over Tehran’s nuclear program seems to be nearing an end, the US is not altering its intentions.

We realize clearly that the anti-missile defense system is only called defensive, while in fact it is a significant part of the strategic offensive potential,” President Vladimir Putin said in his address to the Federal Assembly last week. 


Russia Builds a New Navy to Dominate the Arctic Ocean

The mightiest force on the high seas, the United States Navy boasts a fleet 283 warships strong. In comparison, Russia's navy, once America's archrival, has only 208 warships -- but Russia is closing the gap, and quickly. Just last week, in an interview with RIA Novosti, deputy commander of the Russian Navy Rear Adm. Viktor Bursuk confirmed plans to add 40 new vessels to the Russian fleet this year alone -- taking the fleet to within just 35 ships of U.S. fleet strength. Surface warships will make up the bulk of the additions, but a Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine and a Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarine are both on order as well. An advanced search-and-rescue ship, the Igor Belousov, will further backstop Russia's submarine forces by extending the country's ability to assist submarines in distress. 

Building a nuclear navy
Nor is this the end of Russia's expansion plans. Bursuk told RIA that Russia is working quickly to upgrade the "mothballed" Kirov-class nuclear-powered missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov, and refurbishing three nuclear-powered attack submarines. Plans may even include the addition of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier -- Russia's first. Why the sudden spate of shipbuilding? President Vladimir Putin gave us a hint last year. In a statement delivered to the Russian Defense Ministry in December, Putin averred that one of Russia's "top defense priorities" going forward is to increase Russia's influence at the North Pole. And for good reason. 

The Cold War is over. Now we're talking global warming

Global warming has opened up 1 million square miles of new navigable waters in the Arctic Ocean. Already commercial shipping companies are beginning to exploit new routes. More crucially to Russia are the mineral resources made accessible by a shrinking ice cap. Already, 95% of Russia's probable natural gas reserves are located in the Arctic, with sizable deposits found in Russia's adjacent Barents and Kara Seas. 60% of the country's believed oil reserves are located in the Arctic as well. Local oil and gas giants Rosneft and Gazprom (NASDAQOTH: OGZPY  ) , therefore, have a vested interest in defending these deposits... and searching for new ones.

Earlier this month, Russia announced plans to up the tempo of air patrols in the Arctic "significantly," flying Tu-142 and Il-38 reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The country also intends to reopen upwards of a half dozen Arctic airfields and ports, shuttered since the days of the Cold War. According to reports, many of Russia's new warships may be tasked for Arctic duty to defend these interests. And if Russia actually does build itself a nuclear aircraft carrier, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, former Commander of the Russian Northern Fleet, thinks it should be sent to the Arctic to support the country's nuclear submarines.

America responds... sort of
America isn't standing entirely still in the face of this Arctic military buildup. Last week, word began filtering out about a new Navy report advocating a program to "harden" U.S. warships to enable them to operate in an Arctic environment -- at a cost of up to $8.4 billion. Talk of a project to build up to 10 new Arctic icebreakers, at a further cost of $7.8 billion, has also begun. If these projects get under way, it could mean billions of dollars of new revenues for America's three main military shipbuilders: Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) , General Dynamics (NYSE: GD  ) , and Huntington Ingalls (NYSE: HII  ) . But while America talks, Russia is forging ahead at flank speed -- and building a new Arctic Navy.

'No one will prevail over Russia militarily': Putin eyes $700bn to advance Army

Russia will not allow any nation to dominate it in military terms, the Russian president said. Some nations are developing new kinds of weapons, which may tip the global strategic balance, but Russia knows how to counter them.
“Let no one have illusions that he can achieve military superiority over Russia. We will never allow it,” Vladimir Putin said in a speech to the Federal Assembly, the joint session of the two chambers of the Russian parliament.

Of particular concern for Russia are the elements of the US-built national anti-ballistic missile system defense (AMD), which it plans to deploy in Europe. The project was for years justified by the perceived threat from countries like Iran. The controversy over Iran’s nuclear program may soon be settled, but the AMD goes on as planned, Putin pointed out.
“We realize clearly that the AMD system is only called defensive, while in fact it is a significant part of the strategic offensive potential,” he stressed.

Moscow’s objections to European AMD and Washington’s failure to guarantee that it would not be targeted against Russia, have long mired bilateral relations. But apart from the military aspect, the future system also serves America’s desire to stop Europe drifting away and bond it closer, Aleksey Pushkov, the chair of the Foreign Affairs committee in the Russian parliament, told RT.
“The NATO bond is becoming weaker and weaker. Very few European countries are fulfilling their financial obligations towards NATO,” he said, citing complaints by the alliance chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, during the latest Munich security conference. “The United States desperately needs Europe as its ally. And AMD is probably designed to supply such a bond,” Pushkov added. “But this cannot be explained this way. It looks like militarization – which it is. So you have to invent and say it’s about North Korea or Iran.”

Putin also added that Moscow monitors the development of new kinds of weapons by other nations, including small-yield tactical nuclear weapons, conventional precision strategic missiles and hypersonic precision weapons. The latter may give technological means for a so-called “decapitating strike” a massive surprise attack on a nation’s key infrastructure, including strategic missile silos, communication hubs or government buildings, which in theory would do enough damage to avoid a massive retaliation nuclear strike.
“If all those plans are realized, it may cause a very negative effect on regional and global stability. Other nation’s build-up of conventional precision strategic systems combined with the increase of the AMD capabilities may nullify all previous agreements on the limitation and reduction of strategic nuclear weapons and tip the strategic balance of power,” Putin said.

He was apparently alluding to the New START, the 2010 nuclear reduction treaty between Russia and the US, which was praised as one of major foreign policy victories during Barack Obama’s first term. The treaty was signed amid conflict over the European part of the AMD system. Instead of settling the issue, Moscow and Washington agreed to go with the deal and discuss the antimissile shield later. So far no compromise has been found.
“We realize all this and know what we need to do,” Putin warned.

The Russian military is putting a lot of resources into developing new nuclear strategic missiles as well as its launch systems, including nuclear-powered submarines and strategic bombers. It is also laying out plans to create an integrated space-based system for global real-time reconnaissance and targeting, which would improve Russia’s ability to use its nuclear arsenal, the Russian president said.
“Russia will respond to all the challenges, both political and technological. We have all the necessary potential,” was his assurance.

Putin’s comments were mirrored by similar statements from Deputy-PM Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the Russian military and defense industry. He too warned that Russia has the mean to defend itself from advanced and future weapons.
“Any aggressor has to realize that whatever he does in terms anti-ballistic missile defense or the attempts to reach hypersonic speeds to deliver precision weapons, to neutralize Russia’ nuclear potential, it would be nothing more than an illusion, and will stay that way. We are not going to sit idle,” he told journalists.

He added that unlike Soviet Union, Russia would not allow to be dragged into costly arms race and will maintain military parity through asymmetrical means. The military modernization program that the Russian government is currently implementing has allocated $700 billion to be spent by 2020.


Trans-Asian Corridor of Development: Russia’s super canal to unite Eurasia

The decision to create a Eurasian Union on the basis of the Customs Union launched by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia on January 1, 2010, might be one day regarded as one of the major geopolitical events of the XXI Century. The three former Soviet republics account together for almost one tenth of the world’s proven oil reserves, one fifth of the global wheat exports and one third of the world’s proven gas reserves, while the expected adhesions of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will turn the existing union into a truly Eurasian trade bloc.

Nevertheless, from a purely economic point of view, neither the Customs Union nor the planned Eurasian Union represent a real challenge for the United States and the other major economies. Together, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus produce just 4% of the global GDP, a figure that would only slightly change even in case of an eventual Ukrainian adhesion to the Union, currently discussed in Kiev. As a result, the process started by Minsk, Astana and Moscow may lead to the creation of a new pole able to successfully compete in the global economy only if post-Soviet integration will be in the framework of a greater Eurasian integration.

One of the means through which the Eurasian Union, to be established by 2015 by the members of the Customs Union, may achieve greater geo-economic significance is the creation of a network of infrastructures between Central Eurasia and the Southern periphery of the continent, that is between what geopolitics knows as Heartland and Rimland respectively. In this regards, the most geopolitically important achievement would undoubtedly be the construction of the Trans-Asian Corridor of Development, a Russian project for a super canal connecting the Kara Sea and the Persian Gulf that was presented in Tashkent during an international conference on innovative ideas in November 2008.

Envisaged by Damir Ryskulov, academician of the International Academy of Information and advisor to the Directorate of Analysis of the Moscow mayoralty, the Trans-Asian Corridor of Development is a major artery consisting of a canal, highway and railroad from Salekhard, on the Yamal Peninsula, to the Caspian Sea and on to the port of Bandar Abbas, on the Strait of Hormuz. If realized, this work would be the largest construction project in the history of mankind, as it would pass through Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran, leading to a dramatic improvement of the trade between Eastern Europe and Southern Asia.

According to Ryskulov, the Russian Urals region contains nearly one third of all surveyed reserves of mineral fuel and practically all Russian gas, but the freight traffic between Russia and the Asian countries follows some winding and therefore not particularly cheap routes. Hence the need of constructing a 6,600 kilometers super canal from the cold Kara Sea to the warm Arabian Sea, together with a highway from Salekhard to Kurgan, Arkalyk, Kzyl-Orda (with a branch off to Afghanistan via Kabul or Chakhabar and on to Pakistan), Dashoguz (with a branch leading to Sarakhs and on to the Persian Gulf via Iran) and Turkmenbashi, and a railroad from Salekhard to Dashoguz, passing through Kurgan, Arkalyk and Kzyl-Orda, with a branch off to Serakhs and another to Turkmenbashi.

The total cost for the realization of the project may amount to $100-150 billion, while the construction would take 15 years. Despite the almost complete lack of media attention to the project at the time when it was presented, the successes of post-Soviet integration and Russia’s increasing interest in the Middle East might soon lead to the Trans-Asian Corridor of Development taking centre stage. Only then, perhaps, the centuries-old ambitions of the Russian rulers to provide their country with an access to the warm seas will have a real chance to become a reality, and “Eurasia” will become synonym of a geo-economically integrated space stretching from the North Pole to the Indian Ocean.


Kremlin to Give Nearly $81M to Russian NGOs in 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allocating 2.7 billion rubles (nearly $81 million) in grants to NGOs in the country, the Kremlin announced Friday. The funds are being allocated from Russia's federal budget for 2014. The sum will be distributed among NGOs working in the social sphere and human rights advocacy.

It was revealed in February 2013 that the Russian authorities planned to change the rules for issuing grants to human rights organizations and other NGOs. The planned amendments include a new rule on publishing the list of all grant seekers, something that was not done before. 

It was reported that grant recipients would be obliged to provide a detailed report on their annual performance and the concrete results of their projects. NGOs that submit dishonest statements would be blacklisted and denied funding for a period of several years. A review of the rules for issuing grants was addressed after the Russian government decided to increase state allocations to NGOs in 2013.

The procedure for allocating the grants stipulates that a set number of NGOs are to establish special commissions to deal with organizations seeking funds. Two bid sessions are expected to be held this year: the first by July 1 and the second by November 3. It will then be determined who will be awarded with the grants.

In November 2012, a controversial law took effect obliging NGOS that receive foreign funding and whose work is connected to politics to register as "foreign agents." Once registered, these NGOs face heightened scrutiny. They are required to file regular disclosures with the government and to mark all materials disseminated through major channels as the product of a "foreign agent." The law, which was widely criticized by rights activists as carrying connotations of espionage, also requires NGOs to publish a biannual performance report and to carry out an annual financial audit.

The Russian Bear steps in as the American Empire Unravels in the Middle East

US power in the Middle East is in decline, and American allies in the region are beginning to think of new alternatives to Washington. 

The Cold War never ended for America’s leaders. There should be no illusions about it, the United States has strategically worked to contain and weaken both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. The American strategy in the Middle East and Washington’s hostilities against both the Iranians and the Syrians has been part and parcel of the American line of attack against Moscow and Beijing. In spite of Washington’s efforts, the lines that it had a part in carving in the sands of the volatile Middle East after 1945, tortured by consistent foreign meddling and the bitter rivalries of regional dynasties and powers, are shifting yet again. The winds are erasing the old lines, while regional and global events are drawing new ones to take their places. Pax Americana, the so-called American Peace, is dead. It was never much of a peace anyway. In context of the Middle East, the term itself signifies a period of US dominance that arose after the Second World War and reached its zenith in 1978. Then in 1979 came along the Iranian Revolution. A few decades later, the monumental blunders of the US government of George W. Bush Jr. cast the dye for the steady decline of American influence. 

Steady Decline of the US in the Middle East

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was so sure in 2006 that American domination in the broader Middle East would expand. She triumphantly declared amidst Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon that the map of the Middle East would forever change to the profit of the United States. It did not, and Israel lost the war too. US influence began eroding, while the influence of its rivals began increasing. Hamas would become democratically elected by the Palestinian people to represent them. Not only would Hamas gain control over the Gaza Strip, but it would retain its control over the territory after the US would conspire with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, the Palestinian warlord Mohammed Dahlan, and the impotent Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, to topple the Hamas government in Gaza. The economic blockade, political sabotage, a mini-civil war with Fatah, nor the series of wars launched by Israel have removed the Hamas-led government in Gaza. In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s influence would increase dramatically. The March 14 Alliance, the Hariri-led Lebanese entity sponsored by the US and its allies against Hezbollah, has proven to be impotent in its task of neutralizing Hezbollah and its political allies in Lebanon’s March 8 Alliance. Although politically-motivated reports keep touting that Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria has weakened it and hurt its popularity in Lebanon, in reality the situation is the opposite for the Lebanese group. An Israeli intelligence report authored by the Mossad has been forced to admit that Hezbollah has actually entered a golden age. All things considered, America’s plans to redraw the Middle East’s borders, intended to create smaller states that could easily be controlled by Washington as a means of maintaining its imperial order, is still nowhere to be found. Washington’s ‘New Middle East’ has not materialized. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the project’s flames are still burning in Iraq and Syria and it has made some sectarian inroads, which include the division of Sudan and the destabilization of North Africa. 

Unraveling Empire

The US has not neutralized its two main adversaries in the Middle East. The objective of regime change in Damascus has failed and Washington did not unleash the might of the Pentagon on Syria. An interim nuclear deal was reached in the Swiss city of Geneva between America and Iran. The decisions by the United States not to go to war with Syria or to finally strike a deal with the Iranians are not the reasons for the unraveling of American power. American power was already on the decline. Washington struck deals involving Syria and Iran as a means of trying to maintain its influence in the broader Middle East and to actually slow the speed of its decline. Instead, America’s allies and clients are fuming and feeling scared. As a result of the declining power of the United States, Washington’s allies and clients are slowly diversifying their relationships. From Tel Aviv and Riyadh, the regional allies of the US realize that America’s imperial umbrella over them has begun to erode. They are looking for alternatives to the US patronage. 

Russian Bear returns to Nile Delta? 

The United States declared that it was partially cutting its military aid to Egypt on October 9, 2013. The move was described as part of a new US ‘recalibration’ in the Middle East. It was criticized by the Egyptian military as a hindering step that would weaken the Egyptian military while it was fighting rogue elements, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula. American aid to the Egyptian military has ebbed. The task has covertly been outsourced to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf. All things considered, Washington can no longer afford to fund the Egyptian military. Cairo senses that America is in a state of decline too and has begun looking for alternatives to the US sponsorship. About one month after the US government partially suspended its military aid to Egypt, on November 11, 2013, a Russian missile cruise ship, the Varyag, made a port call to the Mediterranean docks of the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria. Days later, this port call was followed by a Russian Navy auxiliary vessel docking at the Egyptian port of Safaga. The second Russian ship was the Boris Butoma, a naval supply or replenishment ship. Russia has not made a port call to Egypt since 1992 and it has not had a significant military presence in Egypt since the Soviet era during the Cold War. The Russian port calls were matched on the diplomatic levels by the Kremlin on November 13, 2013. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu arrived with large delegations to Egypt in what Lavrov described as a “historic” event. The two cabinet ministers were sent to Cairo by the Kremlin as feelers to get a sense of the mood in Egypt.

There are questions being asked about the Egyptian side’s intentions. Are Egyptian officials reaching out to Russia as a bargaining chip against the US or are they reaching out as a genuine alternative to the US? In other words, is Cairo turning to Moscow as a means of bargaining with Washington or as a response to US control and pressure? After the Russian visit to Egypt, US Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Egypt to protect US influence. It looks like Cairo wants flexibility and leverage against the US as a means of loosening Washington’s grip so that the Egyptian regime is not dragged down with the American sinking imperial order. The fall of the Muslim Brotherhood and dissolution of the regional alliance against Syria has sent a negative message to all of America’s allies and clients. Everyone in the region, corrupt and just alike, is more aware than ever that the US will not protect them. Instead they have noticed that those that are aligned with Iran and Russia are the ones that remain standing.

Russian Resurgence in the Middle East

The Russian Federation was already the second largest provider of arms to Egypt before the US government decided to partially cut back US military aid to Cairo. Russia is merely taking advantage of the retreat of the US to build and expand on the already existing Egyptian-Russian trade relationship. Nor is Egypt the only place that Russian arms manufactures are edging into. Iraq signed an arms deal with Moscow in 2012, which made Russia the second largest provider of military hardware to Iraq after the United States. Russia’s friendly relations with Iran and the entire Resistance Bloc have given it a level of leverage with Israel. The large population of Russian emigrants and Russian-speakers in Israel has added to Russia’s leverage. The presence of a large Russian-speaking community in Israel is one of the reasons that Israeli politicians visit Russia and go on Russian channels during election seasons. Furthermore, Moscow has been a member of the inept Middle East Quartet, which is supposed to mediate between the Israelis and Palestinians since it was created in 2002. New inroads have been made across the Middle East since 2011 for Russia and Russian influence in the Levant has steadily become entrenched. The Russian Federation has reinvigorated its ties to Lebanon and initiated a strategic dialogue with Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The Syrians are critically thankful to Moscow for its support. Along with Iran, Russia has been a major influence in Damascus and helped Syria withstand regime change. The terrorist attack on the Russian Embassy in Damascus is a testimony to Russia’s important influence. To call the magnification of the Russian profile in the Middle East a re-entrance of some sort is inaccurate. The Middle East has always been on the doorsteps of the Russian Federation. What is taking place is a new surge in Russian influence as the US recedes.


Syrian Christians Turning to Russia for Protection

About 50,000 Syrian Christians want to apply for Russian citizenship. In a letter to the Russian Foreign Ministry, they said that they were not planning to flee Syria, but if threatened with physical elimination, they would pin their hopes on Russia as the guarantor of their survival. Analysts think that despite the difficulties their request may involve, it won’t go unheeded.

The letter reached Moscow through diplomatic channels. It says that the West-backed terrorists are prepared to go to any lengths to wipe Christians out of Syria. The authors of the letter have no intention of fleeing the “land on where Jesus walked” and promise to defend their “homeland, dignity and faith”. They see Russia as the guarantor of “peace and stability”. They are not asking for money or humanitarian aid, but just hope to obtain Russian citizenship. “We will be under the protection of Russia if we face the threat of being physically eliminated by terrorists,” the letter says.

Considering what’s going on in Syria, their wish to have Russian passports looks justified, Stanislav Tarasov, Director of the Middle East-Caucasus research center, told the Voice of Russia.

“For them, it’s a laissez-passer. No one knows what will happen to Syria. Some forecasts suggest that, with or without Assad, Syria may become a confederation, or it may split into three or four parts and cease being single state. That’s why the Syrian Christians are trying to secure Russia’s support,” he said.

About 50,000 Syrians put their signatures under the address – medics, engineers, lawyers and businessmen residing in the Kalamoun area near Damascus. The fact that so many people signed the letter throws weight behind it, but on the other hand it makes things more complicated for Russia, said Sergei Sergeichev, a senior fellow at the Institute for Middle East Studies in Moscow.

“Not that it puts us in an awkward situation, but it sort of diverts the Russian Foreign Ministry’s efforts as the ministry is obliged to react to that address", says Sergeichev. "We cannot say ‘no’ to those people. But if we say ‘yes’ and then something happens, then we will have to evacuate huge numbers of Russian citizens. And it doesn’t matter whether those are people solely with Russian citizenship or they have two passports – Russian and Syrian. If the president orders evacuation, they will have to be evacuated, which is a very complicated rescue operation.”

Syria is not the only country where Christians do not feel safe. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life research organization, Christians are persecuted and harassed in 130 countries. Today, Christians are the most persecuted religious community. Every hour, one Christian is killed in the world. They are killed because of their faith.

Exclusive: Russia steps up military aid to Syria!/image/2882751901.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_640/2882751901.jpg

In recent weeks Russia has stepped up supplies of military gear to Syria, including armored vehicles, drones and guided bombs, boosting President Bashar al-Assad just as rebel infighting has weakened the insurgency against him, sources with knowledge of the deliveries say.

Moscow, which is trying to raise its diplomatic and economic influence in the Middle East, has been a major provider of conventional weapons to Syria, giving Assad crucial support during the three-year civil war and blocking wider Western attempts to punish him with sanctions for the use of force against civilians.

The new Russian supplies come at a critically fluid stage of the conflict, with peace talks scheduled for next week in Switzerland, the factious opposition losing ground, and Western support for the rebellion growing increasingly wary of the role played by foreign militants. Syria has even said some countries formally opposed to Assad have begun discussing security cooperation with his government.

Several sources told Reuters that Assad's forces had since December received deliveries of weaponry and other military supplies, including unmanned spy drones known as UAVs, which have been arranged by Russia either directly or via proxies.

"Dozens of Antonov 124s (Russian transport planes) have been bringing in armored vehicles, surveillance equipment, radars, electronic warfare systems, spare parts for helicopters, and various weapons including guided bombs for planes," a Middle East security source said.

"Russian advisers and intelligence experts have been running observation UAVs around the clock to help Syrian forces track rebel positions, analyze their capabilities, and carry out precision artillery and air force strikes against them," said the source, who declined to be identified.

Vyacheslav Davidenko, spokesman for Russia's arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport, said they could not comment on arms deliveries to Syria. Russia has said it violates no international laws with its military supplies to Syria and does not sell Damascus offensive weapons. Syrian officials could not be reached for comment.

 The U.S. State Department said it had no independent confirmation that Russia had increased military supplies to Syria but said such actions would be concerning if true. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she discussed the Reuters report with Secretary of State John Kerry earlier on Friday.

"His view is that if these reports are true that would certainly raise great concerns about the role that Russia is playing in continuing to enable the Assad regime of brutalizing the Syrian people," said Psaki, adding: "We don't have independent confirmation of the reports."


A source within the international arms industry with knowledge of Middle Eastern weapons movements also confirmed a pick-up in supplies to Assad's forces, including UAVs.

"Equipment has been moving into Syria, and Russia is either bringing it in themselves or sourcing supplies from Black Sea areas like Bulgaria, Romania or Ukraine, where there is surplus stock floating around," the source said. "Suppliers in that region cannot afford to upset the Russians."

Arms trackers say Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine all have stockpiles of Russian-style light arms that were produced in the countries dating back to the Soviet era, when factories were set up with help from Moscow. A Bulgarian foreign ministry spokesman said Bulgaria's intergovernmental council, which oversees arms trades, had not issued any certificates for arms deals destined for Syria.

"We have data that shows that Bulgaria has not authorized any arms sales to Syria," he said.

Former foreign minister Solomon Passy said it was "very unlikely" that Bulgaria, as a NATO and EU member, would be involved in such shipments. A Ukraine foreign ministry spokesman said the former Soviet republic had already denied allegations of arms supplies and transfers last year, when it said Kiev had voluntarily and completely stopped military and technical cooperation with Syria since May 2011.

Romania's foreign ministry said its export control department had not registered or authorized any foreign trade operations involving military products, including light weapons, with Syria during 2013 or 2014. The arms industry source said: "Stuff is definitely coming into Syria, and Russia realizes they have to keep Assad in power if they want to keep a hold of what they have there, especially with oil and gas reserves up for grabs."

Russian oil and gas company Soyuzneftegas signed a $90 million deal with Syria's oil ministry in December for oil exploration and production in a 2,190 square kilometers (845 square miles) bloc of Mediterranean waters off the Syrian coast between Tartous and Banias. Syrian oil officials say they are confident their waters hold significant oil or gas reserves, pointing to substantial discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean off Israel and Cyprus and promising surveys carried out in the waters of Lebanon.

Moscow says its Middle East diplomacy is based on standing up for the principles of international law and upholding the role of the United Nations. The situation also offers Russia an opportunity to show it still has weight on the world stage and to win potentially lucrative contracts once the fighting is over in Syria and the dispute over Iran's nuclear program ends.

Russia is particularly keen to establish and keep a foothold in the Middle East through Syria and Iran because it lost out during the Arab Spring revolutions, particularly in Libya, where it had backed Muammar Gaddafi. Reuters last week revealed that Russia is negotiating with Iran an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that threatens to undermine sanctions that helped persuade Tehran to agree a preliminary deal to curb its nuclear program.


Tom Wallace, of U.S. based non-profit conflict research group C4ADS, said: "Assad absolutely needs to keep refreshing his supplies. People's mind most obviously goes to bullets, but they underestimate what an incredibly heavy logistical burden a modern mechanized military really is.

"Tank treads, helicopter blades, jet fuel, ball-bearings, gyroscopes - virtually every component of every piece of equipment can and will break down without maintenance and/or replacement."

James Bevan of Conflict Armament Research, who tracks weapons for governments and other organizations, said Syria's munitions use had been high for over two years.

"Further evidence of that is that they have been using barrel bombs dropped out of helicopters, which may suggest that they are running low on air-launched or air-delivered munitions," he said.

Britain has accused Syria's government of committing "yet another war crime" by spraying civilian areas with barrel bombs - oil drums or cylinders that are packed with explosives and metal fragments and dropped from aircraft.


A Syrian opposition source said some supplies had been delivered to Syria's Latakia airport around three weeks ago, with further equipment reaching through the country's major cargo ports in Tartous and Latakia. The source said the port of Tartous, which is also the location of Russia's naval base, had been sealed off for several hours over three to four weeks ago.

"During the time, non-authorized personnel were not allowed to enter, and it is a sure sign a delivery came through. This happens from time to time when supplies come in, usually at night."

The Middle East security source added: "Given the risk of rebel attack on arms depots and landing strips at Syrian air bases, Russia has also been shipping large amounts of small arms and munitions to Tartous and Latakia, allowing Assad's forces to keep fighting apace."

C4ADS's Wallace said past shipments of Russian military cargo had also come by both air and sea.

"Lighter, less sturdy equipment often is loaded onto a plane, whereas large and heavy shipments typically are loaded onto a ship of some kind," he said.

"Wheeled vehicles would need to be transported on a roll-on, roll-off ramped ship, but most smaller stuff could be containerized and loaded onto a standard cargo ship," said Wallace, who co-authored a recent report into arms transfers from Russia and Ukraine. (For a link:

(Additional reporting by Timothy Heritage and Thomas Grove in Moscow, Tsvetelia Tsolova in Sofia, Pavel Polityuk in Kiev, Radu Marinas in Bucharest, Dominic Evans in Beirut, and Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by Will Waterman and Gunna Dickson)

Armenian Defense Minister: China China Will Give Annual Military Aid to Armenia

China agreed to provide Armenia with 5 million yuan (US $830,000) in military aid per year, the Armenian Ministry of Defense said in a statement. A cooperation agreement was signed by Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan and Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Chang Wanquan Dec. 26 during the former’s official visit to Beijing. The discussed topics included military cooperation in training and technical assistance, the statement said. Ohanyan said relations with China are a priority for Armenia’s foreign policy, and Yerevan aims to enhance military cooperation with Beijing in various fields, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. During his visit, Ohanyan met with senior Chinese military officials, including Deputy Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Gen. Xu Qiliang. In addition, the Armenian minister visited a number of military units of the People’s Liberation Army and headquarters of Chinese defense companies, according to Armenia’s MoD. The latest agreement is part of China’s wider efforts to boost ties with Armenia. In 2012, Beijing agreed to provide Yerevan with 70 million yuan in grants under an economic and technical partnership agreement.


Russia/Armenia financial links solidified

A partnership between Russia and Armenia has been confirmed, after the National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s central securities depository, and the Central Depository of Armenia (CDA) signed a memorandum of co-operation aimed at further development and strengthening of mutually beneficial relations. The parties agreed to expand bilateral cooperation for the creation of an efficient and reliable system of record keeping for trans-border securities settlements.

According to the memorandum, the depositories intend to establish close business relations and to organise the exchange of information regarding securities received for servicing and changes in the documents regulating the record keeping systems’ operations. The parties also plan to exchange information regarding the technologies, standards and development plans they use and their participation in projects, working groups and other events of interest for both depositories.

Eddie Astanin, chairman of the executive board, NSD, commenting on the development, said: “Development of strategic partnerships with central securities depositories of the CIS countries is one of NSD's priorities as Russia’s central securities depository."

"Our joint work in the Association of Eurasian Central Securities Depositories contributes to it. We are sure that cooperation between Russia’s and Armenia’s central securities depositories will have a positive impact on the development of our countries’ financial markets. The signed memorandum will allow us to facilitate access to information about securities serviced by the Russian and Armenian CSDs. This will improve our markets’ transparency for investors in both our countries.”

In October 2011, the depositories signed an agreement on opening and maintaining the NSD’s nominee account with CDA. This allowed NSD clients to use safekeeping and record keeping services, as well as settlement services, on Armenian issuers’ securities.