- A deputy of the Ukrainian Rada who spoke on Russian TV from Moscow said that his contacts in the Crimea had informed him that the Ukrainian side had deployed unknown number of Grad BM-21M multiple-launch rocket systems (MRLS) just 2 way from the first Crimean checkpoints (these relatively old systems – they were built in the 1960s – have a 20 miles – 30km – range).
- Big demonstration in Kharkov were the crowd is demanding a referendum on the future autonomy of the region, the local election of a governor, keeping the money of local taxes in the region. Two Berkut officers were declared honorary citizens of the city.
- Bid demonstration in Donestk where the crowd is demanding a referendum on the future of the Donbass region and the freeing of the locally elected “popular governor”. Crimea is preparing for the referendum next week. All voting booth will have cameras and international observers have been invited. Those not included in electoral lists will have the right to vote just by presenting a local ID. A vote to be valid will need at least a 50% participation.
Now let’s turn to some corporate media propaganda debunking:
Blackwater and other mercenaries: to the extend that any of them have really made it to the Ukraine, their mission will be the protection of certain individuals and objects, but not attacking Russian-speakers in the Ukraine, much less so the Russian military in Crimea. Why? Because there are plenty of very competent instructors in the Ukraine insurgents for such missions, and do so at a fraction of the costs of hiring Blackwater & Co. Then, the political scandal of just one US mercenary caught fighting the Russians would be huge, not to mention the headache of getting him back. But the main reason is that there is plenty of expertise available locally, so the only real advantage of using US mercenaries is that they are not Ukrainians, but that is only an advantage in a very limited set of consequences.
US/EU sanctions against Russia: this morning I watch an interesting debate on Russian TV in which the various economists and politicians invited to discuss the possible effects on Russia of EU/US sanctions against Russia were all laughing about it and listing the *advantages* which Russia would gain from any western sanctions. These were their arguments:
1) While speculative capital could leave Russia, most US and EU companies are too heavily invested in Russia to go anywhere.
2) Western companies would probably be more hurt by sanctions than Russian ones.
3) The Kremlin could order additional retaliatory sanctions or even seize assets.
4) Paradoxically, sanctions might soften some of the most negative consequences of the Russian entry into the WTO.
5) As has been the case with Iran and South Africa, sanction might serve as a a stimulus to the growth of segments of the economy which have been neglected until now.
6) Any reduction of Russian gas/oil purchases by the EU and their replacement by US shale gas/oil obtained by fracking would inevitably trigger a rise in the cost of gas/oil which would only benefit Russia. Besides, Russia needs to use some of this gas to provide it to underdeveloped regions of Russia.
7) The seizure of bank accounts held by Russian politicians in the West would greatly contribute to the Kremlin’s campaign to fight corruption and have the Russian money sit aboard be repatriated back to Russia.
8) A ban on visas is a joke and the cancellation of talks with the EU about an visa-free regime between the EU and Russia has been stalled for so many years that it would make no difference.
9) Economic sanctions would also help to accomplish another long term strategic goal of the Kremlin: to dis-entangle Russia from the Western economies and turn its “economic face” to Asia.
10) Most Russian money is in off-shores anyway. So either this money is safe, and then the sanctions will not affect it, or it will be threatened by the sanctions, in which case this is help the Kremlin’s campaign of “de-offshorization”.
So, amazingly, all the economists and politicians were actually looking forward to the West’s sanctions even though most though that it was most unlikely that the West would impose any real sanctions as the western economies are all in deep debt and basically bankrupted by printing fiat money while Russia is awash with cash.
The position of China: for all the media speculation, China will always support Russia against the Ukraine for because Russia can offer China which it most needs: a) energy b) a stable border c) a reliable partner against the US. Russia also offers a huge market, fantastic weapons for relatively cheap prices, a collaboration against US-controlled insurgencies (Islamists, Uighurs, etc.). Finally, the Chinese now that it’s Maidan today, Tiananmen tomorrow (again!). So forget the speculation of the western media – that is wishful thinking – China will quietly by reliable support Russia.
I will be gone all of Sunday, but I will be back on Monday.
Take care and have a wonderful week-end everybody, many thanks and kind regards,
1) Are the rallies “Rassiya! Rassiya!” only, or are substantive arguments for secession being made?
2) Is their sufficient demand in Asia to absorb all of Russian raw material/energy supply if the West ceases to purchase it?
3. Is there any chance that the Jewish dominated New World Order would ever allow Russia into the world system on Russia’s terms? Or are they still too sore from the defeat of Bolshevism to ever forgive Russia?
If the West tries to goad Putin into a military response, say, by attacking Russian forces, he should not retaliate, rather use the episode to cement his people’s support for his campaign, and also to make sober western opinion.
I would say a nuclear detonation in the middle of Siberia would be a good way of chilling the neocons and neolibs in the West.
Besides China, it looks like India is leaning towards Russia.
India sides with Russia over Ukraine crisis http://intellihub.com/india-sides-russia-ukraine-crisis/
I have not seen anything about the Brazilian and South African guv stances on Ukraine, but I would hope that since strategically the ziofascist/western fascist attack on the Ukraine is also an attack on BRICS, these 2 would also lean towards the Russian position.
Just till Monday? Take the whole month off.
Why come back on Monday? Take the whole month off.
There is a stream of fresh videos from YouTube here:
Правда о событиях в Украине – видео (Truth about situation in Ukraine – Video)
There seems to be an escalation in the situation today; tanks moving around on both sides of the border. The junta (or their NATO handlers) seem to have finally gained control over the Ukrainian military.
Two passengers with stolen passports were apparently on that downed Malaysian plane:
I wonder if that means anything.
The news yesterday (Friday) was that the locally elected “popular governor” of Donetsk Paul Gubarev had been imprisoned and taken to Kiev. Evidently he never left that city and was today released by pro-Russian demonstr… err… citizens protecting constitutional order. Here he is speaking at a rally today.
зам Губарева выступает на митинге 8 марта.. ОСВОБОДИТЬ ПАВЛА НЕМЕДЛЕННО
Soviet and Russian flags flying, call for a referendum.
@Petri Krohn: that is not Gubarev speaking, but his deputy. Gubarev was arrested by a Ukie SWAT team, I saw the video myself. As far as I know he as not been released and, frankly, I don’t think that he will anytime soon.
Saker, I agree with your analysis, except for the sanctions part. Those who argue the direct consequences of the sanctions are a godsend should put down their beer goggles, and think again. Almost all that those sanctions do is something that Moscow could have done at any time they wanted. So if they are all positive for Russia, why hasn’t Moscow done so ALREADY?
This is as much non-sense as the statement by that Putin adviser (if he is indeed one) who said they could just “drop their 200 billion dollar worth of US treasuries on the market. done! hehe.” Well, the Kremlin reined in that guy. Same argument here: Why haven’t they done so if it’s all good and does not hurt them? And more specifically: If they “drop” treasuries, they get: “greenbacks”. And greenbacks are even more worthless than treasuries, as the “real interest rate” of them is more negative.
So this just regarding the short-term consequences. That whole discussion by the experts – which I haven’t watched but glimpsed from your list – is total non-sense. Except for that it will ALSO hurt especially Europe directly, because of the impact on trade and energy, just as the Iran sanctions did. Of course the US is fine with that. Their main mission in Eurasia is to keep it from uniting.
However, the mid and long-term consequences are in fact much more hurtful to all of the West! And that’s an argument I’m not hearing, probably because it takes a modicum of geopolitical awareness, which doesn’t seem to be available in abundance.
Here’s why: The West has had to rely on Russia and China to do their dirty businesses in the Middle East, Syria, but also Iran. Now Russia and China don’t like all that for the most part, but who would voice loud arguments against preventing Iran from going nuclear? It sounds so tree-hugging nice and a good thing so what’s in it for Russia and China to strongly object to that on principal grounds? Plus, Russia might consider Iran a rival as an important exporter of both oil and gas, so curbing their exports a bit would be to Russia’s benefit. This makes total Machiavellian sense. Keep Iran somewhat happy, so that it can help taunting the West, but it shouldn’t get too strong. Now Russia could however come to the conclusion that Iran might deserve to get some of their most hi-tech weaponry, potentially not sold outright, but leased in combination with Russian “military advisers”, so Iran can protect themselves from the Jewish lobby and their lackeys, but Russia doesn’t give away their secrets.
Also: Russia might finally come to the conclusion that Europe, for the time being, is politically hopeless. I mean, he has tried everything, from giving a moving speak in the German Bundestag in 2001 when his pal Gerhard Schroeder was still in charge, and many similar attempts at extending his good relation feelers. All in vain. Europe’s leaders still aren’t noticing they are bleeding from the asses while US “leaders” are laying back in their post-coital mood, smiling. And Russia could figure that China might be all that they tried to find in Europe – in vain. They need energy, they know how to produce stuff, and they have a huge market. There might be huge synergies… I have never heard of a “Russian pivot to China”, and I don’t know enough to really gauge its chances for success, but superficially, it looks like a possibility.
Also, a reason why China would support Russia re: Crimea is that China would like to get Taiwan heim ins Reich in a similar fashion, and the Crimean situation, so far, is the best possible way to do it. There has – and I repeat: so far – never been such a bloodless annexation of territory, since 1938, which has been discredited for lack of “shades of grey” in Western public discourse.
@Honk:So if they are all positive for Russia, why hasn’t Moscow done so ALREADY?
Good question. Mainly because Putin inherited not only Eltin’s policies, but also his bureaucracy. Russia is, alas, a very capitalist/liberal country, whose elites want to “play by the rule of civilized countries”. That is an illusion, of course. But the realization that trade barriers and tariffs would be good for Russia is making its way, I think. Don’t you think that an economy like the Russian one, which is still heavily dependent on gas exports, would benefit from sanctions?
Crisis in Ukraine: Seeking solutions. LIVE UPDATES http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_03_08/Crisis-in-Ukraine-Seeking-solutions-LIVE-UPDATES-0635/
I suspect the Ukraine military units on the move are going to be used to suppress anti-maidan demos in the east, rather than attack Crimea. There were also reports of several units around the Odessa region on the move. It’s expected many will turn out for demos on sunday. Reports about police refusals to break up demos in Kharkov indicate the insurgent regime may not be able to control the east without inserting their own storm troopers. The American “consultations” today with their quislings are probably connected to these new bandera nazi military moves. The Blackwater mercs reported on are probably just the tip of the iceberg of all the foreign spooks, special service types and mercs operating in the Ukraine under the cover of the insurgency.
An attack on Crimea would as foolhardy as the Georgian assault on South Ossetia, militarily, but I wouldn’t rule it out. With total zionazi control of the western MSM and the zionist Jewish “left” sickeningly also promoting the same propaganda, they could try pulling off another 5 Day War, not to win, but to try and further isolate Russia from the west politically and economically. The NWO strategy seems to be aimed at slowly chipping away, using every manner of proxy war making.
I also read a news reports that said Paul Gubarev is going to be held for 2 months. Obviously, the regime wants him out of the way while they crack down on the rising opposition in the east. Given the history of what happens to dissidents in other Israeli-American coup regimes, his life is in grave danger right now.
If US impose sanctions, perhaps Russia could dump the dólar pricing for her gas and oil, just like Iran and perhaps could even create with Iran international Exchange just for the pricing of oil in their own currencies.
> Don’t you think that an economy like the Russian one, which is still heavily dependent on gas exports, would benefit from sanctions?
Sanctions might drive up the price, compensating for lost “tonnage”. Actually even benefitting Russia, because not only do they get the “same” amount of money, but they had to part with less of their resources. Plus, it will economically hurt the rest of the world, as the economy is dependent on the price of energy to an insane level.
However, it’s also a question of balance. I think, for example, sanctions have not helped Iran economically. Unless they got enough gold from Turkey and the price of gold shoots up to 2000 $/oz… (Which otoh is not totally unrealistic)
That said, I wandered what Russia was trying to gain from entering the WTO, but Putin wanted it, and he’s no fool. And WTO comes with strings attached, and already some mild forms of what TPP and TiPP are trying to fortify: Jurisdiction of international courts of national policies.
So I’m not sure what Putin’s reasoning was. But I agree that protectionist measures, much-maligned for almost a century now, should be used to a much greater extent in order to allow nations to have an independent policy. Otherwise you are totally subject to the whims of international finance. And sanctions can be, in a sense, “involuntary protectionist measures”.
I’m definitely not saying sanctions will be all bad for Russia, and all good for the West – quite the contrary. But if they were 100% pro-Russia, why haven’t they been implemented already. That said, implementing them could have come at a “political cost”, so inasmuch that was the case, that cost is completely gone now. And Russia might go along implementing some of those “100% good for Russia” measures. Except, Russia IS also part of the world, and the world’s perceptions about Russia and Putin do matter, even if Germany ends up saying: Fuck, we need their energy, so not much we can do about. But Putin knows very well that political goodwill translates into economic opportunity, and he does not want to endanger that, I’m sure.
So short-term and long-term effects are different sides of the sanctions coin to keep in mind.
Another terrorist attack:
Ukraine turmoil LIVE UPDATES http://rt.com/news/kiev-clashes-rioters-police-571/
“Saturday, March 8 23:12 GMT: The anti-fascist march activists were shot minutes after their protest finished in Kharkov, Ukraine, LifeNews and Glagol reported. A bus with ten people inside stopped and began shooting at the activists. The men then came closer and reportedly began beating the activists. Three people were injured, one of whom sustained a gunshot wound in his back.”
That’s a good question. I guess one could ask if eating right and exercising is so great, why doesn’t everybody do it? The answer is that it takes a lot of effort. Potato chips while sitting on the couch is easy and kind of fun.
There is no doubt real sanctions would be painful for a lot of Russians as they have been for a lot of Iranians (there is no way the west will ever get that level of sanctions on Russia.) On the plus side, it forces a whole lot of industry and self development that otherwise wouldn’t happen…because it would require a whole lot of effort and its so much easier to just buy the stuff from the west.
I do agree that dumping US treasuries really wouldn’t make much difference to the US, though Russia should be trying its best to trade them for gold and silver anyway.
Isn’t the current situation a Rubicon? A large part of the diplomatic and business corps of Russia has been pro-Europe, and what do you show for it? If you admit that you will not have good relations with the EU, then you can stop with things like being nice to NATO instruments, such as NGOs, OCSE, and even spies in news organizations.
@Honk ‘I have never heard of a “Russian pivot to China”‘
Try this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisation
The size of the crowd at the pro-Russia demonstration in Kharkov on 8 March was about seven thousand people, according to Voice of Russia @ http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_09/7-000-people-march-for-autonomy-of-Ukraines-eastern-Kharkov-region-5746/ . The size was about three thousand according to the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN news agency), as reported @ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/08/ukraine-crisis-russian-troops-evict-ukrainina-border-guards-live-blog .
The population of Kharkov city is 1.5 million people. Therefore a demonstration turnout of 7,000 represents less than one half of one percent of the population. Therefore Vineyard Saker is wrong to say it was a “big demonstration in Kharkov”.
The turnout at the pro-Russia demonstration at Donetsk city yesterday was smaller than in Kharkov. So once again Vineyard Saker was wrong on his summary characterization of the turnout size in Donetsk too.
On the whole, the Russian-speaking population is silent, staying at home and NOT protesting (and that’s true in Crimea as well), and it is an error by Saker to convey the contrary. Notwithstanding this particular error by Saker, I send my thanks to Saker for this blog, and I intend to be returning for the good stuff it has. I believe Saker is very qualified to handle the Ukraine story.
Here’s another quibble from me about Saker’s handling. He said on Friday: “The Russian blogosphere is awash with various reports all corroborating what what pretty clear from day 1: the mysterious armed units which appeared overnight in Crimea are, indeed, Spetsnaz GRU. They seem to be supported by Air-Assault and Airborne units.” This was not pretty clear to me from day one, and it’s still not pretty clear to me today. Saker’s statement is effectively declaring Putin to be a liar (Putin said on 4 Mar 2014: “Those were local self-defence units.” http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/6763 ). Saker shouldn’t have made his statement without supporting it with evidence. If the Russian blogsphere is awash with evidence, that’s one thing, and if it’s awash with mere chatter that’s something completely different.
Western Tight Noose around Ukraine’s Economy Neck
“…Some conditions are already known: to raise the male retirement age by two years and make I three years more for women, to eliminate special pension benefits for scholars, state employees, heads of state enterprises, to limit pensions for those who continue to work having reached the retirement age and the military commissioned officers will retire at 60. The IMF wants the government to do away with child care, things like a baby bonus (a government payment to parents of a newborn baby), gratuitous lunches and free textbooks. Unemployment benefits will be paid out only after six months of uninterrupted work, sick-list benefit will go down to 70% of salary with the compensation counted only from the third day of sick absence. Minimum living wage hikes will be frozen. Municipal enterprises will have to pay 50% more for gas while the price will be increased twofold for private consumers. There will be a 40% rise of electricity costs while utilities payments will go up along with the gas hikes.
Ukraine is to do away with benefits and raise transport taxes by 50% increasing the petrol excise by 60 euros. The simplified taxation system for entrepreneurs will be curtailed, probably to make businessmen happy, while pensioners will be done a favor by having value-added taxes raised for pharmacies pushing up medicine prices by 20 %.
The IMF conditions are going to strike agriculture. Western creditors demand to rescind the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land, the value-added tax easing law for those who reside in rural areas and also subsidies for pork and chicken meat producers. Besides, the International Monetary Fund wants Ukraine to privatize all coal mines and completely abrogate state subsidies for them. Transport, as well as housing and communal services benefits are to be revoked…”
@parviziyi: thanks for the very good comments. I think that you are absolutely correct on the first one (the crowd size) and that I might be right on the second one (31st Spetsnaz Brigade from Toliatti in Crimea). I will address both in my next SITREP. Stay tuned and thanks for keeping me on my toes :-)