by Dmitry Orlov, posted with permission of the author
On Tuesday, 23 November, Russia’s most senior military general, Valery Gerasimov, had a “deconfliction” phone conference with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, in which the two discussed “pressing issues of international security.” Actual details of what they discussed are not available; what is available is Western media speculation, which in recent days has included false reports of Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border and supposedly getting ready to invade. What Western media has studiously ignored is an actual massing of Ukrainian troops on the borders of the Donbass region—the industrialized temporarily Ukrainian region that has been de facto independent since the Kiev putsch of 2014.
Following that putsch, and the refusal of the Donbass (along with Crimea) to recognize the new US State Department-installed Ukrainian government, the Ukrainians made attempt to recapture the Donbass by force. This attempt failed, and Kiev managed to avoid all-out defeat by signing the Minsk agreements of February 2015, but has clearly had no intention of ever fulfilling them. Instead, ever since then, Ukrainian forces have been shelling the no man’s land between Ukrainian-held territory (which is mostly open prairie) and Donbass (which is urbanized and thickly settled), killing small numbers of civilians and local militia members and causing considerable property damage. Although Western press has continuously reported on “Russian forces” in the Donbass, they are yet to present any evidence of it. And although Western press likes to describe the Donbass using the hackneyed epithet “war-torn” it is actually more prosperous and stable than the rest of the Ukraine, integrated into the Russian economy and essentially functioning as a Russian region.
Turning down Western media noise, a Russian military effort to capture the Donbass, never mind the rest of the Ukraine, is exceedingly unlikely. Russia already has everything it wants. Unlike Crimea which in its 2014 referendum produced a 97% vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83% voter turnout, in a similar referendum in the Donbass (held against Moscow’s wishes) only 27.5% of the 74.87% who turned out voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation. Based on this result, Moscow chose to soft-pedal the Donbass situation, providing humanitarian aid and diplomatic support, granting Russian citizenship to those who want it and gradually integrating the region socially and economically. In other Ukrainian regions, were similar referendums to be held there, the level of support for joining Russia would in all likelihood have been even lower, and now, seven years later, would be lower still. From this, a conclusion can be drawn: other than Crimea (which was part of an independent Ukraine for just 23 years), none of the Ukraine was or is a candidate for inclusion within the Russian Federation. The Russians living there will receive some amount of Russian support and are, of course, welcome to move to Russia, but that is really it.
Having ruled out that which is exceedingly unlikely, let us turn to that which is quite likely; and that is a provocation in the Donbass staged by the authorities in Kiev and by their State Department, Pentagon and CIA handlers, designed to deflect the blame from the truly disastrous economic situation that is unfolding there in the hopes of being able to maintain political control of the situation. In blundering into the Ukraine and converting it into a sort of anti-Russian bulwark, the US gained a brazenly corrupt and unruly dependency. Unable to stop its inexorable slide into failed-statedom and political and social disintegration, the US is faced with the prospect of another Afghanistan-style rout, with desperate left-behinds running after US transport planes hastily taking off from Kiev’s Borispol Airport, after which point even the mental laggards who run the European Union will be forced to admit that American security guarantees are an utter joke and will start getting ready to walk into the Kremlin on their knees to kiss the gem-encrusted felt slipper.
Given this unwelcome scenario, the US is quite eager to control the optics and to make it look like it is all Russia’s fault. Since merely jumping up and down and screaming “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” is no longer doing the trick, they are looking for something—anything!—that will make the Russians show up and put up even a tiny bit of a fight so that CNN and MSNBC can broadcast staged photos of a bloodied baby blanket and US Congress can then harrumph-harrumph about “Russian aggression” and impose sanctions on Russian baby blanket manufacturers. That “anything” is called a provocation, and what better place to stage it than the Donbass, which is an existing bleeding sore they’ve been picking away at for seven years now. Of course, they will do this in great trepidation of an escalation they would be unable to control, hence the hasty “deconfliction” conference with General Gerasimov: “Look, we go pew-pew, then you go pew-pew, then we declare hostilities over and toast each other with vodka and caviar; OK?”
Given that a provocation of some sort appears to be very likely, it is worth pondering what it would look like and what the outcome of it might be.
First, here is some background. The Ukraine (which is Russian for “borderland”) has always been less a country than a heterogeneous, endlessly disputed territory, tossed back and forth between Russia, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Germany and even, very briefly, Sweden. It mostly borders Russia (Crimea, Krasnodar, Rostov, Voronezh, Belgorod, Кursk and Bryansk regions). It also borders Belarus (short for “White Russia”) which is a whole lot like Russia. It has smaller borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and the unrecognized, Russian-defended Transnistria. It also borders Donetsk and Lugansk regions, collectively known as the Donbass, which is short for “Donetsk Coal Basin,” and which was formerly part of the Ukraine but de facto independent for the last 7 years and economically integrated with Russia.
Of these, the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova were quite recently part of the USSR while the rest were part of the Warsaw Pact allied with the USSR. For most of them, those were the good days; for reasons incomprehensible to rapacious Western imperialists, Russia lavished a great deal of attention and investment on its ethnically heterogeneous periphery, not only building a great deal of social and industrial infrastructure and enterprises there but also staffing it all with relocated Russians. This, most Russians now realize, was a poor choice. This lesson is continuously reinforced by observing just how poorly the former Soviet republics have performed since they gained their independence. The Ukraine is a case in point, losing as much as a third of its population (exact numbers are impossible to ascertain) and steadily degenerating from a prosperous, highly developed region to the poorest one in all of Europe.
The Ukraine aspires to NATO and EU membership, but this prospect appears exceedingly unlikely since it is much more of a liability than an asset: destitute, bankrupt, politically unstable and not in control of its own government or its own territory—a failed state, essentially. Plus, the EU and NATO are themselves perhaps not too long for this world, the EU having recently lost the United Kingdom and NATO having just fabulously failed in Afghanistan, and not really capable of accepting new members. Sensing their own weakness, and projecting onto Russia their own instincts to engulf and devour all that they can, they automatically assume that Russia will exploit this weakness and reconquer the Ukraine and perhaps some other parts of Eastern Europe as well. But this is all it is—a projection, because the contemporary Russian project is something else entirely. Russia does periodically move its troops around its own territory, thereby keeping the West in a constant state of nervous agitation bordering on outright panic, but from the Russian perspective that is just a pleasant side-effect of regularly scheduled training exercises. There was a recent hysterical outburst in Western press over Russian tanks massed on the Belorussian border, for instance. Russia is always “about to invade,” on Tuesdays especially, but somehow never gets around to it.
That is not because Russia lacks the means or the opportunity; but it does entirely lack the motive. Does it need more land? Certainly not! Does it need a restive, alienated population that will then demand to be fed, hospitalized as needed and kept safe and warm all the while resisting assimilation? Not at all! Does it need the reputational losses from unprovoked aggression? Again, no. Quite the opposite, Russia is most eager to draw the line somewhere—a notional Great Wall of Russia, with the stable, economically liberal and socially conservative Orthodox/Moslem/Buddhist Russian World on one side and an alien, increasingly bankrupt, culturally degenerate, sexually deviant and permanently hostile Europe on the other. This will give Russia the peace and stability it needs to continue developing. The problem is that, because of the messy way in which the USSR broke up, many Russians were left stranded on the wrong side of previously insignificant borders, and this Great Wall has to remain porous, allowing Russians to filter back in.
A point can be made that Russia’s romance with Western Europe was always destined to end in tears. Russia’s cooperative, egalitarian instincts have been developed and perfected over many centuries within the Eurasian context of a relatively small population controlling a vast but difficult land with almost infinite but rather diffuse resources. In this context, cooperation rather than competition are keys to survival. These instincts have been wasted on little Eastern European fiefdoms that have spent an eternity squabbling over their tiny plots of land. Their history has conditioned them to only understand and respect subservience and domination, causing them to see Russian largesse as a weakness to be exploited. When the USSR suddenly vanished, they swiftly switched allegiance, forgetting their Russian, learning English and eagerly welcoming American and Western European financial swindlers and thieves to come and pick them clean. And now that they’ve been picked clean and Americans are leaving, they would perhaps be happy for Russia to “reoccupy” them and resume feeding them (if it were not for their wounded pride), but Russia will have none of it.
Within this overall context, each Eastern European country has its own unique fate. Most of them—specifically, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova—are simply too small and inconsequential to matter and have been left to wither away slowly, being of little interest to the West or to Russia. Belarus stands out in that it quickly joined a union state with Russia, but this has not saved it from some fateful dalliances with the West which almost ended in disaster in the summer of 2020 when a foreign-instigated astroturf insurgency threatened to overthrow the elected government and install a Western stooge by the name of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, nicknamed the cutlet fairy. Since then, Minsk and Moscow turbocharged their integration process, producing the odd situation where the Belorussians feel free to poke their fingers in the eyes of Western leaders while hiding behind Russia’s broad back.
And then there is the Ukraine. It is the second-largest country in Europe by area—second only to Russia—and strategically located to be rather consequential. Ever since its independence, which it was awarded against the wishes of the majority of its population when the USSR was dissolved by a tiny group of conspirators, it has been ruled by a succession of swindlers and thieves who have continuously looted and robbed it until now it is a mere shadow of its former self, broken and destitute. This has made it an easy mark for Western geopolitical engineers who sought to fashion into a sort of anti-Russia, with the idea of preventing Russia from becoming an empire based on some flawed reasoning by the rabidly Russophobic Pole Zbigniew Brzeziński. Grand plans hatched by fools tend to misfire grandly, and this one is no exception. Instead of somehow containing Russia, it gave Russia everything it could ever want:
1. The fantastic level of Ukrainian political dysfunction that resulted from endless Western political meddling reduced the Ukraine from one of Russia’s major regional competitors to а major regional basket case and supplier of qualified Russian-speaking labor. The Ukraine once had strategically important industries that were essential for Russia’s military and civilian production, including large marine diesels, helicopter engines, rocket engines, aircraft building, shipbuilding and much else. All of these industries have now been relocated to Russia, often together with all of the blueprints and the technical expertise, and produce great value for both domestic consumption and export.
2. The 2014 putsch allowed Russia to return Crimea by undoing two mistakes—by Khrushchev, who gave it to the Ukraine in 1954, and by Gorbachev, who failed to get it back in 1991. It also allowed Russia to partially undo an older mistake—by Lenin, who gave the Donbass to the Ukraine in 1920. While the Donbass is strategically not too consequential, the return of Crimea provided numerous benefits. Coupled with the western enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic and new Russian hypersonic rockets, Crimea has allowed Russia to keep all of NATO’s European territory within its sphere of military dominance, providing an effective treatment for Europe’s congenital defect which causes it to periodically march on Moscow. Western sanctions imposed in response to Russian annexation of Crimea allowed Russia to claw back all of the disadvantages it incurred by joining the World Trade Organization, including bringing back agriculture and key manufacturing sectors, to find new, friendlier trading partners around the world, and to find ways to thrive within conditions of limited autarky. Crimea has also provided a very useful litmus test for political participation: automatically excluding anyone who would claim that Crimea is Ukrainian made it possible to effectively purge the ranks of all internal enemies and foreign agents. There are numerous other benefits as well, too many to mention.
3. The civil war in the Donbass, which is ongoing, gave Russia the opportunity to force through the Minsk agreements, whose implementation is mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015), and which require the Ukraine to federalize, granting a high level of autonomy to its regions. This, in the Ukrainian context, equates with the end of the Ukrainian unitary state. Beyond that point, the Ukraine becomes a set of disparate, disconnected, foreign-dominated fiefdoms, each with its own pathetic little oligarchy, with Kiev retained as a purely symbolic capital and an ancient Kievan Russia museum and tourist attraction. The government in Kiev has resisted the implementation of the Minsk agreements, realizing full well that this would spell its end, but this is merely a postponement. The civil war also simplified any future anti-Nazi mop-up operation and war crimes tribunal. Whereas before various Ukrainian nationalists and krypto-Nazis might have been difficult to identify, it has forced them to not only stand up and be counted but also to commit crimes for which there is no statue of limitations, making it easy to permanently take them out of circulation when the time comes to clean the place up.
This, then, is the background to the current situation, bringing us to the present, in which the US seems to be cooking up something in a big hurry. First, the US sends the message that Kiev must fulfill the terms of the Minsk agreements. Second, the US claims that Russia is massing troops on the Ukrainian border, getting ready to invade. The Ukrainian military denies this fact. The US repeats their claim and also sends some more weapons to the Ukraine. As the Ukrainian military is still unsure what’s going on, they are summoned and told exactly what to think. And so, there is going to be a provocation. But Russia is certainly not interested in any sort of attack or invasion, so what do you suppose is going to happen? A reasonable battle plan is for the Ukraine to attack first, to preempt the Russian invasion and to take up defensive positions within the Donbass territory. That’s a brilliant plan, if I say so myself!
The most the Ukrainian military can do is launch an attack on the Donbass. Attacking Crimea across the isthmus would be stupid and pathetic; attacking Crimea from the water would be stupid and absolutely hilarious to watch. And so Donbass it has to be, again. It won’t take long for the Russians to respond using unidentified long-range precision artillery and demolish the Ukrainians’ supply lines, trapping them in cauldrons where they will run out of ammunition, food and fuel and gradually bleed out. This is what transpired before, in 2015, leading Kiev to sign on to the Minsk agreements, because their other choice was to lose their entire army. Except now there will not be another set of Minsk agreements, no terms of surrender, no cease fires and no safe corridors for withdrawal. There will just be death. To the Russians, these people are terrorists, and terrorists get to meet God before the rest of us.
And that, perhaps, may be the entire point. The US wants to close out the entire sorry Ukrainian saga, cut its losses, pull an Afghanistan and leave in a hurry, because it has a long list of countries it has to pull out of before the fuel and the money run out, and it badly needs to pick up the pace. Okinawa is on that list; Guam; Puerto Rico; Alaska. California. Texas. The Ukraine has been refusing to even start fulfilling the Minsk agreements, which start with military deescalation along the line of contact. What seems to be the problem? Perhaps, as the US has finally figured out, it has to do with the fact that the Ukraine has a military; if it no longer had any military of any sort at all, there would be nothing to deescalate and the problem would not exist. And so that may be the clever plan for the Ukraine: suicide by Russia. As an added bonus, there will be Russia to blame because, no doubt at all, it will have all been Russia’s fault. Sanctions against Russian baby blanket manufacturers are being drafted as we speak. American TV viewers will watch it, and they will like it. They will think, “Bad Russkies! America strong!”
“But what about the Ukraine?” you might be tempted to ask. Well, the correct answer to that question seems to be, “Nobody cares.” Seriously, looking at recent Ukrainian history, that seems to be the only answer that makes sense. The Americans certainly never cared, the Russians once cared but care less and less with each passing day, and the Ukrainians themselves don’t care either and have been making that point by voting with their feet. The European Union and NATO may care a great deal about having a large failed state in the middle of Europe, and they should, because that is probably just the beginning, but a very good start.
Bravo Mr Orlov; a pleasure to read.
Do you think, though, that eventually Ukraine will have to be sorted out, and only Russia can do that? Putin kind of held out an olive branch with his historical essay a few months ago. A lot of water will first have to pass under a lot of bridges, however.
I doubt that the Ukraine has a future as an integrated entity of any sort. The Ukrainian brand is too badly tarnished. Most of it will remain in the Russian language zone once the current pathetic attempt at speaking Ukrainian is over. This would do wonders for the educational system and the intelligence level of the remaining Ukrainians would certainly go up some. The Donbass can probably be made fit to rejoin Russia faster than the rest; Kharkov, Mariupol and Odessa regions would be next. As for the rest… give it 40 years, under the best possible scenario, and even that seems optimistic. Keep in mind that Russia really doesn’t need the land. It could use some of the people, although with the educational system there going full-retard Ukrainian the supply of qualified Russian-Ukrainian labor is drying up. Knocking the US/the EU out of the Ukraine is a priority, but beyond that Russia has more important tasks to attend to.
You have stated the following:
“The US wants to close out the entire sorry Ukrainian saga, cut its losses, pull an Afghanistan and leave in a hurry, because it has a long list of countries it has to pull out of before the fuel and the money run out, and it badly needs to pick up the pace. Okinawa is on that list; Guam; Puerto Rico; Alaska. California. Texas”.
I must state that I am somewhat surprised. Yes, the US, as well as the EU, hate to watch the political, economic, financial and ethnic mess into which Ukraine has fallen, fearing they would have to pick up the financial bill, especially the EU. However, Ukraine is a tempting proxy fighter to be used against Russia, so that Russia could be accused of aggression. The US hopes to gain politically on the international front, while at the same time using the European elites to turn the EU more towards the US, especially when it comes to energy exports from the US.
You also mentioned that the US needs to pull out of Alaska, California and Texas. Yes, both California and Texas have secessionist movements, but I was not aware that Washington DC really wants to pull out of these federal units, as that would lead to the dissipation of the US.
However, i do agree with you that the US wants to close some of it’s military bases abroad. Outside America you will find 700 combat bases and 300 supply bases, which no doubt cost a huge sum of money to maintain. Some of them will indeed be closed. However, for the US to give up voluntarily some of it federal units is not easy to accept.
You are missing Israel from your analysis.
They were very influential in the coup d’état in 2014 with numerous of thier citizens active participants in the violence.
The Ukraine has always been their Plan B if they cannot hold onto Israel.
What is your take?
Thanks again for an interesting analysis.
A profoundly brilliant and concisely delivered with humor by Mr. Orlov. But, GO, are you proposing that the Ukraine will become Israel 2.0 if the first release fails which is appearing to be the case?
Side comment: The spooning between GCC countries and Israel is too little to late as Iran will be the uncontested regional power. Israel sees it coming and does need a Plan B.
What would Israel do with a profoundly broken and depopulated country? If there is new location for Israel, it will somehow be in the US in some form or another. Just speculation.
I think there’s more than one Plan B for the future of Israel’s jewish population. Since long, mostly anonymous planners and financiers have been investing in various parts of the world, probably for this purpose. Here’s one example…
Whatever happened to the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Russia’s far east? It’s certainly quite a bit larger than Israel as it exists today… and it wouldn’t be stolen land if they came to an agreement with the Russian government.
Interesting theory. Would Russia agree to hand over this land for a new Israel? Bringing Israel that much physically closer to Russia’s natural resources which the collective West and Zionists have been coveting for centuries? After all the Jewish population in the JAO is currently minuscule and Russia might not want to hand it over and then have to again relocate Russian citizens who might be unwelcome in the new Jewish state?
According to Wikipedia :
As of the 2010 Census, JAO’s population was 176,558 people, or 0.1% of the total population of Russia. By 2010 there were only 1,628 Jews remaining in the JAO (less than 1% of the population), according to data provided by the Russian Census Bureau, while ethnic Russians made up 92.7% of the JAO population. Judaism is practiced by only 0.2% of the population of the JAO.
If there is new location for Israel, it will somehow be in the US in some form or another.
New York City, Hollywood, and the Washington DC Swamp would be an excellent new homeland for Jews, given that they are already occupying these regions!
They can always return to their old home, Manhattan.
Crimea was what they wanted, certainly, and they lobbied and negotiated for many decades to get it. For a time it looked like Stalin might give it to them, but in the end he foiled their plans and shut down their schemes.
When Russia took back Crimea, as Sheikh Imran Hosein has nicely pointed out, Putin delivered to the Zionist movement the first serious defeat it had incurred in its more than 100 years.
I’m not persuaded that the rest of Ukraine holds any charm for them – it might, but I simply don’t know. The jewel was Crimea, and I don’t know if the crown has much value without it. The tribe would return to being eastern European bandits – I suppose that’s a life they could accept but I don’t know if it would feel like progress to them.
Funny how Israel tends to pop up in just about any discussion. Composition of lunar rocks? It’s the Jews, I tell you! (Just kidding.)
In a ducky-bunny-daisy world of happy imaginings, the Ukraine would fission peacefully, and Israel would in a timely manner relocate to the Odessa region, and that would be just grand. It is historically very Jewish (prosperous-Jewish, not like those miserable shtetls around Zhitomir or Gomel where the Hassidim come from), and the Russian Federation would probably give its blessing. It’s on the Black Sea and you can sail there from Israel, unlike the Jewish Autonomous Region, which is being kept as the only autonomy within the Russian Federation in case the Jews decide to come back, and which is quite beautiful but way over next to China.
As far as a Jewish Ukraine, that’s about as likely as a genetically engineered kosher pig.
The prospects for a Jewish oblast is low imo. The Jewish population in that part of Russia has largely diminished over the years.
Israel was heavily involved in the coup in 2014. Former Israeli soldiers (more than likely spies) were involved in leading the attacks on police in Kiev. Victoria Nuland (Nudelman) together with her husband Kagan, are both Israeli agents inside the US Government who have dedicated their entire lives to getting America to attack countries in the Middle East on behalf of Israel. Yatsenyuk, who she picked as the new prime minister to be installed after the coup in 2014, is also Jewish, as was the new president – Poroshenko (Valtsman). Yatsenyuk’s vice prime minister, Groisman, who became prime minister following his resignation, is also a Jew, as is the current president Zelensky. His main backer is a Jewish oligarch who is an Israeli citizen and currently lives in Israel. He is also the head of the biggest Jewish organistion in Europe.
Pretty amazing that all of the leading people involved in organising the coup and running the government since then have been Jews, many of whom have clear links to Israel, and yet people will still deny the obvious and claim that the “Euro-Americans” or “Ukro-Nazis” are running the show. The “Ukro-Nazis” are just useful idiots sent to do the dirty work for the Jews, much like ISIS in Syria. They let them do the fighting and dying while they continue running the show in Kiev. I’m sure they laugh at the stupidity of these “Nazis” behind closed doors. A Jewish university professor in the US recently wrote a paper bragging that Ukraine is now the only country apart from Israel to have both a Jewish president and a Jewish prime minister. Not bad for a group that is only 0.2% of Ukraine’s population. Of course she forgot to mention that the woman who organised the coup and installed the current regime is also Jewish, but it’s to be expected.
They don’t want to make Ukraine into Israel 2.0, they’re happy to just loot anything of value and use it as an anti-Russian entity to cause problems on Russia’s border, in order to punish Russia for blocking the overthrow of the Syrian Government they worked so hard to achieve in recent years. Israel controls America, and America controls the EU. That’s all you really need to understand.
Another wonderful article by Dmitry Orlov, and a sheer pleasure to read. The summaries and backgrounders were superb pieces of concise and clear writing.
And the speculations have a lot of plausibility to them. Suicide by Russia. Interesting.
What i fear of this its all the people that will be left to survive the pieces of the former Ukranian state, a real humanitarian catastrophe.
The humanitarian catastrophe has been happening for 30 years now: old people being abandoned, children growing up fatherless and without prospects, a country run by criminal gangs and foreign mercenaries… But people only happen to worry sporadically about such things, mostly when a country pops up in the news. One of the most fickle and unreliable forces that exist is something called “human interest.” It is the ultimate luxury.
First, my deepest compliments on a very fine essay. I shall re-read it many times with pleasure.
Then a possibly humorous observation >
“The humanitarian catastrophe has been happening for 30 years now: old people being abandoned, children growing up fatherless and without prospects, a country run by criminal gangs and foreign mercenaries…” seems to apply to a sobering degree to the US as well as Ukraine. Birds of a feather, I suppose…
Excellent recap of the situation – and likely a correct prediction: Ukraine goes down because, as Woody Allen once said, “Nothing works and nobody cares.” Everyone benefits if Russia destroys Ukraine. Russia will get some bad press and some more toothless sanctions from the West – but who cares? They get the actual benefits the author describes. The US and NATO will look toothless and lose more credibility – but who cares? They have China to deal with. The populations of every country not Ukraine won’t give a damn, like always.
I’ve said for years that Russia should wait for the moment to destroy Ukraine and gain itself some years of peace and quiet so it can deal with other matters without being distracted by a bunch of losers. March on Kiev,, destroy the neo-Nazi battalions, disarm and disband the Ukraine military completely, install a puppet regime, fully arm the Donbass militias – then go home. Don’t “occupy” the country. Just destroy everything that is a threat and go home. Let the losers sort things out over the next five or ten years.
The US and NATO aren’t going to do a damn thing militarily because their own war games showing them losing to Russia in any conventional war. And going nuclear with Russia’s current advanced nuclear arsenal – and likely backing from China – renders nuclear war a non-starter. And over a loser country like Ukraine? Not going to happen. Of course, there’s always the risk depending on how senile Biden actually is or how idiotic the EU bureaucrats are, as Martyanov says. But I think the risk is low, especially if Ukraine actually starts it and Russia is wise enough to let them.
My prediction – although predictions are worthless, as I mention in The Saker’s other thread – is that within the next year the Ukraine government will collapse or a war is started (or both, since it’s unlikely any new government will implement the Minsk agreements either). Of course, the situation could drag on for another five years, but that seems unlikely given that Ukraine will stop being an energy transit state this coming year.
Fire up the popcorn!
Let me briefly repeat myself. I believe you skipped over some key passages, so let me briefly repeat myself. Repeat myself, that is.
Russia does not need any more land. It could use some more people, provided they are well-behaved, well-educated and Russian-speaking. That, at this point, rules out much of the Ukrainian population. In any case, all the Ukrainians that want to, and qualify, are being welcomed in droves in Russia. Russia does *NOT* need the Ukraine as a dependent. Same goes for the rest of Eastern Europe, from Estonia all the way to Bulgaria. The notable exceptions are Belarus, the Donbass and Transnistria.
Your prediction that the Ukrainian gas pipeline will get shut down is a reasonable one. Observe that the Ukrainians have already started scrapping redundant parts of it and exporting the scrap metal even while it is still running.
Seriously Dmitry? This does not correspond to any scenario of previous war trends. To have a good bnucrupt neighbor who failed, who was left to the mafia and the American MIC. Ukrainians will probably free themselves when the time comes, and Russia will fix her economy and start producing wide-consumer goods as in the Soviet era. Be independent form international lobby. Not to depend on the energy sources ravenue that will be reduced in the event of war? What has Putin been talking about for years and still not happened? In addition to sponsoring banks that are not yours ?? You dont belive that a miracle will happen and nazis will eventually realize that they are the best Russians, and at the same time connect you with the much desired European love and Money?
Not resolving strategicaly important things is a pure purchase of time for the further survival of the 5th column and west dependent Russia. If Russia, with its hypersonic weapons and its advantages, can do nothing about Ukraine, tell me why Stalin did not drive the Nazis to the borders you give them today? How can the Russian leadership decide to sell so many Russians to their destiny? Who gives them that right? Russian soft power or what :))?
Dmitry Orlov: What are the current estimates of the number of Ukrainians that have crossed into Russia since the start of this disaster?
As reasonable a presentation of what might be, and what might occur.
I just don’t see the Khazarians in power in the US, who are the most criminal of the Dems and neocons, giving up on Kiev as the tool to destabilize and break Russia.
I observe them as calculating that Russia has to be separated from China and giving up Ukraine as a major problem for Moscow seems illogical.
The Russophobes are globalist elites who are busy destroying Constitutional America and undecided on how it can undercut China, all in order to maintain Feudal control of the world.
Pursuing Space weapons and hoping to challenge Russia in the Arctic depends on a full spectrum hybrid war against Russia. Ukraine is a huge front in that war. Furthermore, it is the easiest region to support logistically and it has the most experienced human assets (Russian experts) and officials, all of whom are life-long haters of Russia.
They might not want to keep pouring a few billions into the effort each year, but spread among the NATO vassals, it is annual dues for card-carrying Russophobes. And they get to send ammo for snipers and mortar users to hit civilian objects, kill some grannies and children each year.
Ukraine is also a strong means to justify sanctions of all sorts against Russians and their enterprises.
All-in-all, I don’t see the US trying to get rid of Ukraine. However, once Russia “invades” and is labeled an aggressor, costing it its UNSC veto, then the US might drop the suitcase with no handle and back away. Not a minute before Russia is in deep mud and shorn of its trade with EU, particularly Germany.
Noting will happen, as the ukies oligarchs have found a win/win game(only for them). They are not going to lose the easy money they get from money printers of the IMF/US/UK/CAN/UE etc..the only hope is on the mid or long term, as Medvedev said 2 years ago in an itw with Tass: ”sanctions are there till at least 2050”.It does not cost the US any money(fiat currency printed out of thin air), the big loser(even more than Russia by far)is the EU gang,hey already lost more than 150 billions in 7 years(counter sanctions, some old weapons, credits which will never be repaid..).But they are forced by the US otherwise they are coloured revolutionned(via nsa spying).It permit a 0.001% of thinktankers, politicians, eurocrats etc to have a superb cosy life with a fake ennemy(same for NATO).Risking a war would not only be a suicidal military act(they know that), but they will lose big bucks/euros, and P R.
The only unexpected event could be a counter maidan, a real one from the desperate population living in deep poverty in a few years, but ukies have no courage, they will prefer to leave the country(millions already did).In fact except a small brainwashed minority, they don’t care about their own country which is a fiction.
What seems to be missing here is the demographic crisis which is bleeding Ukraine and much else of Eastern Europe. Ukraine is the market leader in Eastern Europe’s population decline. In 1991 Ukraine’s population was approx 52 million, presently the population stands at 41.4 million. This is a demographic disaster. Ukraine ended 2020 with a population of 41,418,717 people, which represents a decrease of 314,062 people compared to 2019, and this shows no kind of reversing tendency. The bloodletting occurs every year with the fall in female fertility rate standing to 1.14. The replacement rate should be 2.1. Russia’s fertility rate is 1.50 still short of a stable figure. But then so is the rest of Europe. Western Europe has the advantage (if it is an advantage) of population growth by integrating East European population outflows into their economies and societies, but this causes all sorts of cultural and political problems. BTW the Baltics will soon be empty, plenty of prime property very cheap as holiday lets.
You probably don’t see the US trying to get rid of Alaska either :)
I can see CA and TX being ‘encouraged’ to leave the union but I don’t think that Alaska will be ‘allowed’ to leave because the US wants to be able to control the Bearing Strait to exercise some control of the shipping though the Northern Sea Route?
Why invade? Donbas and Co. showed quite well for themselves last go around. Wash, rinse, repeat. No need to get fancy, Russia has stand off weapons, with the ability to create a buffer zone of her choice.
I really think Russia has them by the short and curlys, have had since Russia sanctioned EU businesses…opps, didn’t see that one coming. Ever since then everything hegemon does has been countered.
The Goal of the old western Empire, formerly seated in London and later partially moves to Washington DC and NYC, always has been to prevent the European mainland(with Germany as the primary target) from developing close and friendly relation with the eastern part of the Eurasian continent. Because they know that a Eurasian geopolitical partnership would instantly form the most politically/economically influential and militarily powerful block on earth. A continuous landmass with a population of +5 billion (~70% of the world population). Which also has a land connection with the African continent, the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent.
The World Wars enabled the Atlantic empire to disrupt the relations between Eastern and Western Eurasia for the past century. After the USSR dissolved the default instrument to disrupt Western European and Eastern European/Asian relations
disappeared also. So an other situation had to be created to sever the Eurasian continent. Ideally the Atlantic superpower want to split Europe to prevent a powerful united greater Europe. The same goes for Asia, with China and India as the main targets to disrupt their relations. And Destabilization seems to still be their M.O.
Please stop spreading the malignant myth that Germany was somehow ready to become a partnyour of the Slavs. After killing 40 million Slavs in 30 years, there can never be any talk of reconciliation or partnership. People who advocate this position (including President Putin at an early stage of his presidency) are naive at the very least or incurable lovers of German rule at the worst.
Never loose hope. IMO most people want to just life a normal good life, regardless of the country. What happened in the past shouldn’t prevent good relations at a later stage. The only problem is that the people allow the wrong persons to get into power.
And in the eyes of the Atlantic superpower around 1850 Germany was on a steady trajectory to advance beyond the US/UK in terms of technological development and resulting economic strength. What better way is there to demonize an adversary and sever their relations with almost the entire world while at the same time justifying the annihilation of the target nation? Let them act in a self demonizing way. And the Nazis delivered.
So yeah, that worked and judging by your comment still has effect today.
Germany chose twice in 30 years to turn on the Serbs and Russians and has been doing so since the 8th Century. The world has been a much worse and dangerous place ever since Bismarck succumbed to the sweet music of “German” nationalism. If they were so worried about the Anglo-Saxons (and the French), they could have come to terms with Russia at any time especially given the latter’s fascination with German “Kultur” and military prowess (e.g. Putin). But no, as confirmed by many experts, Germany’s (and Austria-Hungary’s) primary goal was the conquest in the East and not the destruction of the British empire – which the Germans envied and wished to emulate.
It is very simple. Germany has been given chance after chance to shelve its genocidal plans and stop killing, raping and plundering (mainly) Slavic lands and peoples. This should come as a last warning. There will be no next time.
The “farmers and coal-miners” in Donbass can beat the crap out of a bunch of meth-heads from Kiev any day of the week. They’ve done it twice before and they can do it again.
Dmitry, that was a great deal of much needed background, done with your trademark wonderful dry humour!
The problem with some of the Saker’s readers, mostly those that live in the West (AND few from Eastern Europe) is that they read such awesome pieces of writing but then it is not retained. It’s almost like they cannot fully understand/assimilate/process this information and later we see the rather ignorant comments once again on related topics! I really don’t know how to get through. I have done four essays for Saker (which he kindly published last year), where I have stated much the same information and these were well read but I still see this ignorance in the comments, even from those who read the essays. Is it like reading “War and Peace” for them? They are reading it but not really taking it in. Sensory overload? What is it?
It’s not just the Saker’s readers, mind you. These blog comments are actually well moderated and generally reasonable (except for the “Jews-Jews-Jews!” nonsense, which stems from what appears to be an incurable psychiatric condition). Some people read just the article to tickle their own prejudices, and then, in an almost physiological reaction, unleash them in a vomitous torrent into the comments section. Oh, well…
What exactly are you saying, mate? Are you denying the immense financial power of Jews? And are you denying the fact of their near-global presence?
What other group of people come even close to wielding as much power as the Jews?
Are you unaware that 25% of all the billionaires in Russia are Jewish? Do you imagine that their power and influence is anything to sneeze at?
Katerina: please post the links for your articles published oh the Saker blog. Thanks
Katerina: Thank you! I hope to read some on Sunday.
Wow…what an eye opener that was. Will certainly revisit and share these thoughts of yours. Here in Europe we need more of this soft power projection to keep us right.
It’s called reading comprehension…even most of my professional IT coworkers drive me insane with their wonderful reading comprehension ability :)
Russia! Steady she goes, hopefully, as Dmitry commented, things will “fission peacefully” and we all just run out of popcorn.
Nice article indeed Mr. Orlov. Thank you.
There’s a huge reason for yesterday’s signing of an agreement between The Russian and Chinese Defence Ministries.
During WW2, some 2 million soldiers were brought by rail from the Soviet Far East to the Soviet Western Front to fight the Nazis. These troops were fresh, well dressed for winter, and exceptionally well-armed. They tipped the scales at Stalingrad and Kursk all the way to Berlin.
So what I’m saying is the signing of the memorandum of understanding/unity Between Shoigu and Feng
to me indicates that it’s not a far-off possibility that should war break out on Russia’s western border with Ukraine, one could very well see a joint very punishing attack by joint Russian Chinese troops and weapons smashing through right into possibly the heart of western Europe.
Once NATO and her hangers-on have been crushed, there would be a phased pull-out back to start-off positions.
Of course, NATO and her hangers-on will sue for peace and try to negotiate, but it would be too late.
Then Chinese and Russian attention will turn towards Taiwan. These conflicts will be strictly conventional, as Mutually Assured Destruction still applies. And this is the reason Russia and China are testing hypersonic weapons at a serious frantic rate.
It’s seriously time to act now, not later. It can be done, and it would most certainly change the total geopolitical course of the world for the next millennia.
The Quran ” They, the sowers of discord plan and plot, and Allah (swt) (God) is the best of planners”
Chinese infantry marching across Europe… What for?
I can see the purposes of joint Russian-Chinese posturing as a deterrent to prevent war. China’s two priorities are:
1. Gradually reduce the importance of US-China trade down to almost zero
2. Return Taiwan peacefully and without economic disruption
How is marching across Europe going to further these goals?
When you are on the defensive, the best thing you can hope for is a stalemate. Again, 300 km from Moscow, and Crimea, and the Donbas is still being shelled. For how long I ask.
This needs to stop.
And what I was meaning was in the event of war, or WW3. The Zionist Internationale led states are very serious about bringing both Russia and China down. Very serious.
You are correct! Geopolitically and more importantly, prophetically as well, as it is Elam (arab shia) and Media (Persians) who destroy end-time Great Babylon (Jeremiah 51;11 Isaiah 13:17; 21:2). But “arrows” (missiles?) for her destruction will also come from the North (Pole?) say Russia (Jeremiah 50:9). Also in Daniel 11:36-45 we read about the pincer movement from the king of the North, Putin? in tandem with the king of the South (China Sea) Xi? against the king (POTUS) that is entrenched in the Holy Land.
“a relatively small population controlling a vast but difficult land with almost infinite but rather diffuse resources. In this context, cooperation rather than competition are keys to survival. ”
Mutual Aid; seems that Dmitry Orlov has read his Kropotkin. A refreshing alternative to neo-Liberal social Darwinism:
“The Prince of Evolution: Peter Kropotkin’s Adventures in Science and Politics
In his new book, Lee Alan Dugatkin tells the tale of one of the world’s first modern international celebrities, whose writings shared the common thread of a scientific law of mutual aid, which guided the evolution of all life on Earth”.
Thank you thank you thank you for the wonderful link! It gives substance to what was just strong feelings.
Thanks… for some of us what you write is so totally obvious; for westerners, I guess, not so much.
The observations about Russia’s cooperative spirit and its support for the other socialist countries are very true – something, again, those in the west won’t be able to understand. Knowing Ukraina in its heyday, it is hard to give up completely on the country. You say, “no one cares;” but it is still a large space, with incredible soil. What will happen to it?
P.S. Glad a correction was made from Slovenia to Slovakia (re: borders). In fact, the Ukr. SS Republic absorbed the most eastern part of then Czechoslovakia (today’s Slovakia) after WWII – one of the final pieces that completed the construction of this artificial country.
The incredible soil is being fast eroded, due to the incredible greed of the Ukrainian junta and their acquiescence to logging activities in the Ukraine on a huge scale.
The tree lines and forests (heavily invested in during the Soviet era as well) protect the soil from wind erosion. Now that they’re being cut-down, the problem of soil degradation and dust storms are fast rearing their head. Even in the Crimea they experience now periodic dust storms from mainland Ukraine.
It was never clear to me why Ukraine signed up so willingly to the Minsk Agreements. But you have given a reason why. Thanks.
They signed Minsk-1 after the catastrophe in Illovaisk and Minsk-2 during the catastrophe in Debaltsevo. Feel free to match up the dates of the negotiations and signings with the developing facts on the ground at the time
Two points might be worth mentioning. I believe I am indebted to D. Orlov for an insight vended in an essay of his from several years ago. Sorry I can’t recall which one. But the gist of the thing was that in staging the Maiden the Atlanticists were hoping to cause a civil war among Russians and a wound that could be manipulated from a distance but that could not be healed. It would be like the West’s going away present to the Asian subcontinent. The division of the old British India empire into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan guaranteed that the subcontinent would forever be at war with itself and thus present the empire with interventionist prospects. Divide and Rule. The response of Putin to this new challenge was another instance of his martial arts training. Of the Ukraine, what was Russian, that is the Crimea, was taken back, or rather received back into the Federation while the Donbass republics were not. Russia preserved it’s unity and coherence by cutting it’s losses. That is to say they waved the Ukraine bye bye; best of luck! In this way Putin & Co. frustrated the underlying strategic plan of the West. Instead of a festering wound that would debilitate Russia, the empire itself was stuck with a civil war that even Nato was powerless to subdue or resolve. Thus, a festering wound for the empire itself. Not an asset but a liability. Minsk was the final nail in the Maiden policy. Since Minsk the Ukrainians and Nato leaders have done everything possible to move the goal posts from civil war within Ukraine to an international conflict featuring a revanchist aggressive Russia threatening freedom loving Ukraine. They howl and stamp their feet but the Kremlin will not budge an inch from their commitment to the Minsk treaty. Once again, the main point: the Western empire attempted to instigate division within the Slavs but were frustrated by Putin who quickly parried the thrust resulting in a division within the margins of the West itself. Since that time the spinmasters have been fairly besides themselves in frustration. They remain trapped in the Minsk cauldron and they don’t like it.
Point two. I’m also indebted to Kishore Mahbubani of Singapore who fielded a most trenchant insight in a little book of his he wrote about 20 years ago called: ‘Can Asians Think?’ The former Singapore Foreign Minister took note of the high minded tone of the Europeans who are always pointing to the EU as a shining model for all of God’s children to emulate. But Mahbubani shrewdly observed that if you go around the periphery of Europe you are likely to observe a lot of instability, fires here and there, small and large, plus large scale migration of peoples who can no longer live in their native countries because of economic and political instability. And the Financial and political authorities of Europe loom large in any coherent analysis of this ‘arc of instability’. By contrast, SE Asia, the ASEAN countries, with a billion people and vast ethnic and cultural diversity, was fairly quiet by comparison, plugging along reasonably well. Something to think about. In any case, the failed state status of Ukraine should not be abstracted out of context. It’s actually very true to type, and thus understood, is understood as nothing to do with Russia.
Lesson of systemic transition (socialism” -> “capitalism”) in Eastern Europe: the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend (probably not).
Fascinating indeed. Some points are correct above, but I can not remain silent on some revolting distortions of the past. Let me point to the part where the author depicts Russian colonialization, conquear of neighbouring countries – sheer imperialism – as a generous gift, motivated by benevolence, “those were the good days; for reasons incomprehensible to rapacious Western imperialists, Russia lavished a great deal of attention and investment on its ethnically heterogeneous periphery, not only building a great deal of social and industrial infrastructure and enterprises there but also staffing it all with relocated Russians…” – what an uttermoost hypocrisy – on par with that of the US.
No those were not, those were terrible times of Eastern Europe with Russian military coercion, living in a soft gulag, being decimated for being dissent or standing up against occupation. Also Soviet Russia set back development here, as compliance with Soviet ruling was primary, and that was against development period.
Peoples hate military occupation, exploitation – do not fool yourself, Soviet-Russia was no better then other pitty empires. We – peoples of Eastern Europe – have learnt indeed the hard way that those who wanted to oust our occupiers are not friends, just other bastards envy of the quarry.
Make no mistake, peoples of Eastern Europe and the whole world clearly see Russia (together with the rest of the world with exceptions UK, Israel) as the victim of US bullying. Russia has all right to protect herself, we all see who is the bad guy here – US and its satrapies. Even, we all welcome the rising power of Russia and China as countering the madman. Furthermore we see some essential changes in Russian policies – it looks that Kremlin too has learnt some lessons the hard way. But all our hopes in a peaceful coexistence seem to be vanishing when otherwise intelligent, highly esteemed representatives of the Russian cause – now Mr. Orlov, but he is not alone – fantasize about “Russia’s cooperative, egalitarian instincts have been developed and perfected over many centuries”. Oh man… Russia was loathed and feared for good by ALL it’s neighbours – sole exception is China which as an other empire does not fear and thinks about the next centuries of North Asia not about the next year like Washington.
Dear Russian Friends, we all support your just case, and hope that you can protect your interests against the powers of evil. You find partners here if you want, sharing your principal points of view – sole exception is Russian imperialism as I see. We are ready to nurture pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia – in an Viktor Orbán fashion – , but depicting Russia’s henious crimes against adjacent nations as some boon – is not simply discouraging, it is frightening; that Russian policy change is cosmetic, we are indeed between the hammer and the anvil of two evils.
The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend; vice versa – this statement is true regardless of your position in the sentence. So, progressing toward friendship is not possible by calling the rape and torture our nations a boon. If you really think that it was, than there is no help I am affraid.
You forgot to profusely thank the Russians for their great sacrifice in rescuing Eastern Europeans from genocide at the hands of the German Nazis and in rebuilding their economies after the war. Oh, and from preventing their destruction by American nuclear bombs later on, but that’s a small thing.
As far as “Dear Russian Friends”: dear Eastern European ingrates, you are on your own. So sorry your dalliance with the Americans and the Western Europeans didn’t work out (well, not really). If you want free gas, eat more cabbage and beans. Thank you, and good luck.
Off-topic again!. Please stay on topic. Any further will go to trash. Mod.
– Maybe Hungarians didn’t want to be “rescued” by Russians
– If Russians are so good why they didn’t leave Hungary after “rescuing” it
– Hungarians had never been threatened by genocide in WW2 as you imply
– If Russians really “rebuilt” Hungarian economy why is it not as good as the economies of Netherlands or Germany which were rebuilt by the US
– Russia didn’t prevent nuclear destruction of Hungary but jeopardized its existence because if Hungary wasn’t occupied by the Russians it would have never been threatened in the first place.
– All of above apply to all Eastern European countries formerly occupied by Russia.
– As far as beans, cabbage and gas are concerned, if those are any good than at least the Russian people would have been living rich and good life, unfortunately they are poor, and even more unfortunately they will continue to be poor. Russia, then or now, can’t be an example to anyone.
If you do some reading, you might learn that E. Europe had been parts of the Russian Empire and they were incorporated into the Soviet Union. The USSR had the right to govern them.
As for Hungary, I’d leave it to Dmitry to give an answer to your claims.
My reco.lection was that Hungary was a Nazi ally and Hungary invaded the USSR. In occupying Hungary and Germany the USSR was taking precautions against those who attacked them.
Surely, the important question at hand is what is the nature of the Russian Federation now? Imperialist or not?
Here is one assessment from 2014, which was aimed at the section of the Western left who were arguing then that Russia is imperialist.
1. Irrelevant, Hungary was a member of the Axis and as the losing party in a genocidal war it’s inevitable that its regime would be replaced and the terms dictated to it.
2. Realpolitik. The USSR took massive losses in WW2 and with the fast development of the Cold War, needed buffer states. The US never left Germany or Japan either just to point out.
3. No-one specifically mentioned Hungary. A number of East European states and peoples were threatened with genocide or colonization however.
4. Was the Hungarian economy ever at the level of the Netherlands or Germany before the Russians arrived either? Or after they left is it approaching that level now? Most of Eastern Europe has historically been a backwater long before any Soviets or socialism.
5. As I mentioned in 1 & 2, occupation of a losing party in a war is sort of a given. Nevertheless Hungary remained an independent state, had its own army and hey it was never subject to nuclear destruction during the war or after either. More than you can say for Japan.
6. Then why pick out Hungary in your thesis specifically?
7. Russians lived no better than Hungarians in the socialism era, in fact the living standards in Hungary were better than just about all of Russia. So they were both at a level playing field more or less in 1991 and since then have advanced by about as much as each other. The Soviet economy was not based on exploitation of its client states and dependencies. If it was then perhaps Russians would be living significantly better than Hungarians now, and you would be praising them just like other powers who ruthlessly exploited other territories like the same British, French, etc…?
Please take this discussion to the MFC – it is off-topic. Any further will go to trash. Mod.
jol mondod ocsem
you say okay
I agree with your criticisms of Orlov (while like you also agreeing with Orlov himself about the bigger picture), but what you have to understand is that for dedicated anti-commies like Orlov, Russian nationalism and Russian exceptionalism is a saving grace that enables the justification of the Russian Empire against the cruel usurpers who murdered it.
In other words Imperial Russia was a light upon the world and nurtured, protected all its various peoples – instead of being the backwards Empire which practiced conquest and nurtured anti-Semitic pogroms that it was in actuality. Which is not that much of a condemnation of it as of the era, before Orlov gets all upset; other European empires were scarcely better, and a number of them worse.
In regards to the Soviet era there are some things I would disagree with you on, although it’s certainly true that the Soviet approach of trying to spread socialism by imperialism and excessive centralization meant that it inevitable took on too many of the characteristics of Russian Tsardom to be comfortable with.
What. What am I reading?
When you’re part of the WTO you have to agree to reduced/ non existent/ tariffs for foreign goods…
When the EU introduced sanctions against Russia over Crimea, in 2014, Russia retaliated: eg there was a ban on agricultural produce from EU, and Russia was able to develop its own food self-sufficiency.
You can put finger-quotes around “annexation” if you like.
It is not nice to confuse Slovakia with Slovenia.
Slovakia is about the same size as Switzerland, but has fewer inhabitants.
Mountains are not as high as the Alps.
But the bears and wolves have not been exterminated.
They are both small and on my map of the Ukraine they were just labeled “Slov.” because they are too small for their full name. So I had to guess, and guessed wrong. Sorry.
I find it curious that there is almost always a missing feature, or detail, to what I would consider the best & most high quality commentary & analysis on the Ukraine issue – including much of Rostislav Ischenko’s excellent work, & mentioned very briefly here in Orlov’s excellent analysis – & that is Transnistria/Pridniestrovlie. Some may question the relevance. The relevance is the fact that Russia, even under Yeltsin, would not & has not given up on this territory & seems intent, the way I read the situation ever since the disaster of 1991, to eventually claim sovereignty over it. When one considers this, the Ukraine situation & the conflict there assume a somewhat different, more broader context, one of where the truly patriotic/nationalistic elements of Russia’s contemporary ruling establishment may well see as Russia’s eventual western most border, in the longer term future. Ukraine in this context becomes something a lot more than just a formerly Russian historic territory gone rogue, I have always felt that for Russia it is actually of optimal importance to reclaim the coastal area of the Black Sea – if for no other reason, then to secure Crimea completely & to re-establish a land based connection.
Empress Catherine II founded Odessa. It is Russian city.
From her also Nikolayev, Dnipro, Kherson, other.
Kharkiv is Russian city.
Doubt any survey as many careful from Oligarchs enforcers.
The land-based connection between Crimea and the Russian mainland is on the other side from Transnistria. And now that a bridge and new water supply systems have been built, a land bridge to Crimea has become entirely nonessential. A simple cost-benefit analysis showed that building a highway/railway bridge is more effective than conquering Mariupol region.
Orlov’s ability to write humorous articles in a second language is awesome. Please keep up the good work.
Ruthenia, which is that part of the Ukraine west of the Caucasus that used to be part of Czeckeslovakia, will not be happy to be left in a rump state with the galicians.
… Carpathia …
Good morning everyone, I’d very much like (as usual) to congratulate Mr. Raesky for his work here, being it selecting those outstanding articles and/ or writing down his pieces. Wish peace and health for him and his family and the fellows that help here moderating too naturally, and to say that I always read Mr. Orlov “ideas to blow your mind” and appreciate them very too much, and having said all that once again will go straight to the point: there’s a behemotic proportions scandal hiding right in the middle of this article, and it must be underscored: the very fact that the ukrainian army was duped by the US intel (military included) about this “russian amassing” near the borders. Becausa it is a very sorry thing to be informed that the once very professional and probably the only real good arm of the US government was their military, and now it seems they drowned in the full-blown mediocrity that average US politicians has been in the last 40 yeas (as far as I remember). Cheers from Vale do Ipiranga and thank you very much/ muito obrigado.
Karl Sanchez at his VK site moots R2P over the Donbass region with “Russia’s employment of its own version of R2P in Donbass as is announced by Putin’s decree I reported at MoA. I found the actual decree and have machine translated and pasted it as follows…” (https://vk.com/@580896205-big-news-russia-employs-its-own-r2p-in-donbass)
Seems reasonable to me.
It’s always a comfort to see a Civilizational State call down the Law prior to taking action. People forget that the Russian President is also a lawyer…
Quote: “When the USSR suddenly vanished, they swiftly switched allegiance, forgetting their Russian, learning English and eagerly welcoming American and Western European financial swindlers and thieves to come and pick them clean”.
It can also be said that it was actually other way around. There is plenty of information out there about unsuccessful Russian attempts to join NATO and EU just to be rejected again and again. It can also be argued that in order to achieve their goals the Russian “elites” were willing to betray their longstanding allies, dismantle Warsaw Pact, then USSR and finally, if needed, even Russia itself. Don’t we remember the destiny of Erich Honecker, or plotting with B. Clinton removal of S. Milosevic, or desertion of Cuba in a such an ugly way etc.? It is actually the Russian oligarchy that left everybody else behind, including the Russian people themselves, and the best example of it is the war in the Balkans where Russia joined the gang against its own “little brothers” and where ethnic cleansing on a great scale was justified by Russia to preserve supposed “territorial integrity” and “borders” of some former “republics” drawn by communists just like in the former USSR. So, shouldn’t it be: what is good for the goose is good for the gender? It is really interesting how Mr. Orlov and others are so oblivious to many unpleasant truths of the most recent Russian history. The only reason for that I can think of is that they do not want to criticize the current Russian leadership although, politically and ideologically, it (the current leadership) clearly stems from the previous one, therefore, objectively, seen from such a perspective, it cannot be the part of the historically lasting and socially-politically transforming solution to the Russian predicament because, in the past, it has obviously been the part of the problem.
Quote: “A point can be made that Russia’s romance with Western Europe was always destined to end in tears.”
This is another point where I would like to express my sheer bewilderment that, as it seems, everybody else, including the majority of Russians, clearly saw the writing on the wall, and the only people that didn’t see it were the Russian “leaders”. In the midst of social and cultural debasement, plunder, theft and decay the rapprochement with the West could have been perceived as a romance only by anti-national oligarchy not well instructed in matters of history. It is quite hard to rationalize and understand the term “romance” in the context of a self-inflicted historical tragedy of the entirety of Russian people, state and indeed civilization.
If by “Russian elites” you mean a small clique of traitors that surrounded Gorbachev and Yeltsin, then we are in agreement. And I suppose you have a problem with the term “romance” because you lack a sense of irony.
in a similar referendum in the Donbass (held against Moscow’s wishes) only 27.5% of the 74.87% who turned out voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation.
I was not aware of that fact. That explains why Moscow is not moving to re-integrate Donbass with the same effort as Belarus.
That said, I have a couple of questions :
1) How is it the remaining Donbass residents still believe they would be better off on their own, instead of rejoining as a province of Russia? Do they have a collective “Stockholm syndrome” with Ukrainian nazis?
2) Suppose the Ukraine-NATO alliance invades Donbass. Assuming money is not an issue (I am certain China could be convinced to invest a couple hundred billion RMB for reconstruction, either quietly or openly,) would it not be better for Russia to have a full land bridge with Crimea, in addition to a buffer zone to deploy S-500s?
I understand the referendum had only one question:
“Do you support the declaration of state independence?” (Yes or No)
These percentages must have been in an opinion poll (where several possible answers are featured) ?
In any case, it appears that in 2014, there wasn’t a clear-cut case for unification of Donbass with Russia as it existed with Crimea.
It would be interesting to re-visit this question again, after Minsk Agreement collapse, and after being bombed & attacked on a daily basis during several years…
1) The reason for that is that they are not quite Russian. To be Russian means to be willing to go wherever Motherland sends you. Russia is more an idea than any given chunk of land. The people of Donetsk and Lugansk, on the other hand, are house-proud and want to hold onto their turf. They also don’t get along well with other Ukrainian regions, such as Kharkov, Mariupol or Odessa, being rather parochial. Only now, 7 years later, are they talking about merging; what took them so long? These are all extremely un-Russian traits. To join Russia, they would have to give them up.
2) What does Donbass have to do with Crimea? Donbass is a strip of land along Russian border, Crimea is a peninsula in the Black Sea joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. I don’t see the validity of your question, or of your assumptions regarding China.
This is a genuine question. Russia prides itself on housing hundreds of groups and minorities that are to Russian culture what a Big Mac is to Chateauneuf du Pape. We are witnessing an explosion of violence from the “diverse” guests from the Caucasus who not only don’t give a toss for Russian laws but look at the Russian people with contempt (and Russian state too).
Having said all this – what makes the denizens of Donbass a target for such outright rejection or extraordinary criteria – they are good, brave, honest mainly socialist Russia and Slav-loving internationalists and anti-fascists. “Parochial” in the Ukrainan sense is a compliment – they are straight-talking and straight-shooting Orthodox socialists as opposed to the Jesuitical cutthroats of Aidar et al. In Givi, Motorola, Mozgovoi and many others they have gifted a (largely disinterested) Russian world a number of heroes and martyrs.
I think they deserve a lot of respect and this is sometimes missing from the discourse.
In my opinion, they are the best of Russian, may their brave souls find an eternal peace.
Special mention goes to Comrade Zakharchenko – true leader of Russkaya Vesna.
What does Donbass have to do with Crimea? Donbass is a strip of land along Russian border, Crimea is a peninsula in the Black Sea joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus.
My apologies, I did not pay close enough attention to the maps. I simply assumed the Donbass areas also included Zaporizhia and Kherson provinces.
I don’t see the validity of your question, or of your assumptions regarding China.
One of the main reasons often cited for refusing to re-integrate the eastern regions of Ukraine into Russia proper in the cost of reconstruction. Why did I mention China?
i) China is the only country with the resources (financial and technological) AND the political will to help rebuild eastern Ukraine.
ii) Removal of Ukrainian nazi government serves both Moscow’s, and Beijing’s interests (i.e. nazis hate yellow people, and there’s this: https://www.rt.com/business/541603-china-sues-ukraine-hague-court/ )
iii) As much as Putin says he is friends with Xi Jinping, Putin cannot simply give Xi Jinping the technologies for A-235, S-500, Kinzhal, etc. for free, without a solid tradeoff from Beijing. What if China were to offer Moscow a prosperous and friendly southwestern Ukrainian neighbour, in exchange for A-235 and other vital defensive technologies?
In this otherwise engaging essay, Orlov makes this assertion:
How is such a low number possible? The thrashing of the Ukrainian military by the ad hoc Donbass ‘farmers and miners’ citizens militia indicates that they had massive support of the Donbass peoples. While it’s not possible to show graphics in a comment, both the English and Russian wikipedia pages show the following:
Do you support the declaration of state independence of the Luhansk People’s Republic?
Location Luhansk Oblast
Reported voter turnout:
75% (Luhansk People’s Republic)
24% (Internal Affairs Ministry of Ukraine)
“Do you support the Act of State Self-rule of the Donetsk People’s Republic?”
Location Donetsk Oblast
Voting system Majority voting
Preliminary results announced by the Central Election Commission of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Invalid ballots 0.74%
Reported voter turnout:
74.87% (Donetsk People’s Republic)
32% (Internal Affairs Ministry of Ukraine)
Both Oblasts report turnout of about 75%, with Donetsk voting 89% and Lugansk voting 96%.
Many people have questioned the decision of the RF regarding the decision to stop at the current cease fire line. Certainly complex geopolitical calculations were in effect. But to say that there wasn’t enough support in the Donbass as the reason does not hold water, given the numbers of the vote and common sense.
An 18% minority doesn’t win a war against a ruthless relatively better equipped and outnumbering opponent.
Support for independence or autonomy is not the same as as support for unification with Russia.
Back in 2014, there were different opinions: some wanted autonomy within Ukraine (Minsk Agreement), some wanted independence and some wanted unification with Russia. Orlov refers to a poll that shows support for unification with Russia as being approx. 28%.
In 2014 what were exactly, duly translated in plain English, the terms of the referendum question(s) made to the Crimeans after maydan?
Could someone out there kindly inform me?
The questions are above in subhuti’s comment:
“Do you support the declaration of state independence of Lugansk People’s Republic?”
“Do you support the Act of State Self-rule of the Donetsk People’s Republic?”
(Apparently “self rule” was a bit ambiguous for a referendum bcs it could also refer to autonomy…)
And the referendum result I am interested in was the lack of support for joining the Russian Federation, so the numbers above are not relevant.
You are confused.
subhuti, are you really expecting us to take anything the Wikideceivia cesspit says? Especially on any matters the least bit politically controversial? Cite some credible sources, then you might be taken seriously.
This is an excellent paper, which makes great uplifting reading.
It does get too sanguine at times. Alaska, California, Texas, maybe in 50 years, but not in the foreseeable future. Could be deadpan humour.
About Russians being collectivist and collaborative in their character (which, actually, Tocqueville stated in the 19th century), I am not so sure. What about the abominable blot of serfdom on Russian history? Recently, I heard Sergei Mikheev argue that, on the whole, in spite of historical mistakes, the Russian Church had been more democratic than the Roman Church. Of course, it is a pretty easy comparison to win. But, nowadays, I see a lot of unneeded hierarchy and what St Paul called people-pleasing in Russian churches, from the delirious titles given to dignitaries (with “holiness” and whatnot in them) to priority given in queues to choir members. I do think this Church has lessons to learn from the Quakers. And, as for Russian solidarity, I don’t see a lot of that, either at home or beyond the borders. Maybe, here, lessons have to be learnt from the Jews. On the other hand, it is true that the current open onslaught from the Empire seems to be good for Russian patriotism and solidarity, even if Western propaganda makes surprising inroads among Russians.
Yes, Alaska. “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” [Matthew 12:25]
Quite seriously, I’d say Hawaii was stole and is liable come unstole. I like the Mathew quote! Lincoln also thought it worth repeating.
I recall reading a cold war document about Alaska in which the DoD or Rand or whoever spoke to the matter of Alaska. The expectation was that the Alaskans would willingly cooperate with USSR (this was maybe 1950) The bigbig Plan was to establish a secret army of “loyal forces” (read “white guys”). You can imagine how that would operate, if they didn’t simply surrender they’d have been “night riders” murdering and bombing. The important bit was that the US expected Alaska to switch sides.
Empires are said to have foundational moral contradictions, perhaps especially pirate empires, and these are supposed to be Fatal. I don’t doubt it.
//as for Russian solidarity, I don’t see a lot of that, either at home or beyond the borders.//
I wonder what your source is. Russia is famous for being more collectivist unlike the combined West. As fsr as I know, the state also encourages it.
Ukraine is a worthless country, I mean the West or Galicia, which is what it manifests in the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and the doctrine of Nazism. And from there came a source that would undermine Russia. Who needs a Western Ukraine like this, no one really needs huge funds to restore it, and no one will accept that, least of all Russia should, why invest huge funds so that the doctrine would bite you again – feed the snake milk to bite you even more poisonously . I think that Russia should accept Eastern Ukraine as part of the Federation, because Russia is the Federation, and Ukraine should be left with sandwiches of Victoria Nunland, and that monument of the Black Angel from the square in Kiev.
Galicia was historically the homeland not of Ukrainian culture, or music, or history, language or any of that. But of Ukrainian nationalism and Ukrainian Nazism – and only that.
You can’t generalize that region, its dementia and uselessness across the entirety of the Ukraine. However it is true that its mentality has poisoned the entirety of the Ukraine, with oligarch backing. Perhaps irrevocably
Great read as always, two things unmentioned are the possible emergence of some returning ‘Ukrainians’ fully trained and equipped by the RF, battle hardened in Syria and ready to extend the borders of Donbass, and whether those other oblasts along the black sea coast would look with favour on becoming a ‘new’ Eastern Ukraine federation?
Why not just stand back and let it happen? It takes a lot of energy and solidarity to hold a big, disparate country together, and the Ukraine has neither. Just letting its natural process of degeneration continue will eventually result in it breaking up. What to do with the various pieces will then become a valid question; it isn’t yet, though.
well Ze says has foiled a coup against him today….says he is sure army supports him and blames Poro and Turchinov for loss of Crimea and Donbass…… now why do I feel the new Rezinov guy could have a foot in certain things as it seems to me he kinda proving himself at the moment against Z….? Planning an escape route?
I once had a cage of rats, given to me by a friend who was leaving town for a while, and these rats, all male, would periodically attempt gay sex. I don’t know whether this is relevant, but that’s what came to mind as I was reading your comment.
The westernmost part of Ukraine is the Trans-Carpathian Oblast (region) bordering Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Galician Ukraine. They have spent the last 170+ years (since the “Ukrainian” propaganda movement under Austrian control started after the 1848 revolutions) denying any affinity with Ukrainian separatism, but instead declaring their membership in and loyalty to the great Russian nation “from the Poprad River (Slovakia) to the Pacific” as a well-known slogan says. They never wanted or deserved to be lumped in with the “Ukraine” for the past 75 years since Stalin stole it after World War II. They don’t deserve that separatist-movement name now and in the future.
Transcarpathia would make a lovely addition to the other two extraterritorial Russian enclaves, Kaliningrad and Crimea. I was there when I was 9 and have the fondest memories of the place. Yes, these people are more Russian than any other Russians. Most remarkable.
It means a lot that you took the time to respond so favorably. Interesting about your childhood trip.
Why couldn’t Russia have extra-territorial enclaves? Just look at all the other examples of non-contiguous territories (ignoring parts merely separated by water) comprising countries, such Pakistan 1947-1971 in two pieces about 900 miles apart, before it split into Pakistan’ and Bangladesh; or the convoluted Armenia/Azerbaijan area. This does not violate some essential rule of existence. In fact, it should be used more.
Great article which gives some strategic information.
If you wouldn’t mind, I’d greatly appreciate it if you write a separate article about the ‘Soviet/Russian oppression of the E. European and other Eastern Bloc countries, and especially about Gulags. Westerners and former Soviet countries use it as a point to attack Russia but mostly, their claims are based on Solzhenitsyn’s exaggerated stories.
As someone who has a good grasp of the Soviet/Russian history and politics, it’d be great if you can provide a comprehensive article regarding this matter.
I acknowledge your request, but decline. It wouldn’t do any good. Solzhenitsyn is a Nobel prize winner, and who am I? All I have on my side are facts, and facts do not change narratives; blows to the head do.
Tnx for great article. Not that funny as that buck per cube one, but you made it throuhg comments. Again. 🤣🤣🤣
All the best.
“300 years of the reunification of Ukraine with Russia.”, soviet poster from 1954
Ironically, it was this anniversary when Stalin (It was Khrushchev not Stalin. Mod.) gave Crimea to Ukraine.
Alaska was bought for $7.2 million. William Steward and Andrew Johnson did the deal of the 19th century when they bought their “icebox,” whereas the operation against Hawaii was a midnight coup by U.S. citizens against a bewildered queen.
“When the USSR suddenly vanished, they (the little Eastern European fiefdoms) swiftly switched allegiance, forgetting their Russian, learning English and eagerly welcoming American and Western European financial swindlers and thieves to come and pick them clean. And now that they’ve been picked clean and Americans are leaving, …”
How shallow, especially coming from you, Dmitry.
Nobody asked those peoples what they wanted, and even some questions were asked, the answers were ignored. But you know how this works. Why then generalizing and qualifying the peoples of Eastern Europe as “ungrateful”?
I can speak for the Bulgarians – they haven’t forgotten the Russian language and culture, the hundreds of monuments celebrating the Russian victory over the Ottomans (1877-1878) are still there, and even the monuments of the Red Army are still there, despite the controversy.
By the way, the Americans are not leaving, unfortunately. All I can say is they have been intensely hated, NATO as well.
Russia lost many lives driving the Turks out of Bulgaria and essentially created the country….and then Bulgarians fought alongside Hitler. Russia drove the Nazis out and helped Bulgaria after the war… and then the Bulgarians joined the anti-Russian NATO (in 2004). Never mind ungrateful, how about traitorous? With friends so reliable, who needs enemies?
If your point is that the poor Bulgarians had no choice but to submit to the Turks, and then to the Germans, and then to the Americans, then maybe setting them up as an independent country was a mistake to begin with. You see, by complaining about being called “ungrateful” you will only make things worse.
The Bulgarians fought with the Austrians and Germans in WWI. Doesn’t get much worse.
…Russia lost many lives driving the Turks out of Bulgaria *fighting the Ottomans out of geopolitical interest* and essentially created the country *partially true* ….and then Bulgarians fought alongside Hitler…..
See my reply to Jacob’s Ladder below, Mr Orlov.
As your replies are going off-topic – any further will go to trash. Mod.
One present day Bulgarian figure put our existential issue like this (approximetly) : – We, Bulgarians were trying really hard to survive in the harsh conditions, that at one point, we forgot why we strive to survive for in the first place.
My toughts – Bulgaria is pretty much a real Ukraine. First borderlands of the Greek world, then of the Roman Empire, then of the Ottoman Sultanate, then of the German Alliance, then of the Soviet Union, now European/NATO. With all the pros and cons of that stature.
Thanks to Dmitry for the article and the Saker for sharing it here also . Have a good night fellows!
People in Kharkov and Odessa are still a pro russian majority? At least Kharkov, Odessa, Donbass and Transnistria can join Russian Federation?
I wrote an email to my congressman about who is really in charge in Kiev, Ukraine. Here is the picture I included with my email:
I encourage all of the Saker community to send this picture to others (in the U.S. and abroad) who are on the fence about what is going on in Eastern Europe.
One of my Christian brothers who lives in America (I won’t say who) feels the U.S. political process is hopeless and that voting is a waste of time but at least it’s an attempt to expose the darkness of Satan to the light of truth.
Again regarding the “ungrateful” peoples of Eastern Europe:
I’m reading comments from ordinary Russians on the “ungrateful Bulgarian traitors and cowards”. I expect another level of analysis from Dmitry on this subject.
Two more points:
1. The USSR ceased to exist and left a power vacuum which has been immediately filled by a more powerful entity
2. The Bulgarians were fed up with the communist elites corruption, hypocrisy and dictatorship, exactly as the Russians were
How is this a matter of ungratefulness (showing no gratitude) towards Russia?
In this matter I fully agree with the comment made by:
Попово Поље on November 26, 2021 · at 10:08 am EST/EDT
When a union dissolves, there’s bound to be a lingering bitterness on both sides.
However, when one of the sides joins a former enemy in order to attack the previous partner…that’s a whole different dynamic. This is exactly what we are seeing in E. Europe, in the ex- Soviet and ex-Yu space…
Mr. Orlov is nostalgic of the great Russian Soviet Union.
Anyone who criticises it is an ungrateful traitor. Especially the little powerless countries who should feel eternal gratitude that a huge Russian power even dared to conquer them.
Helpless or not, you have always bet on the enemies of the Russians and Slavs – Thank Stalin and his naivety for the fact that you are getting ready to fight Russia again. I think you can guess what I think should and will happen to you.
You might want to look up:
– Treaty of San Stefano (Bulgaria as a Principality under Ottoman suzerainty, thanks to Russia)
– Treaty of Berlin 1878 (Bulgaria as a heavily truncated vassal state, thanks to Russia)
– Unification of Bulgaria 1885 (under the reign of Alexander I von Battenberg, a German, this act NOT supported by Russia, but supported by Austria-Hungary, Germany and Great Britain)
– Unilateral proclamation of Bulgaria’s de jure independence from the Ottoman Empire, 1908, and re-establishement of the Bulgarian Kingdom under the reign of Ferdinand I of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Tsar of Bulgaria
…in order to learn:
– why many Bulgarians are NOT too grateful towards Russia
– about the historical ties Bulgaria has had with Germany
By the way, during WWII Bulgaria resisted Axis pressure to join the war against the Soviet Union, which began on 22 June 1941, but did declare war on Britain and the United States on 13 December 1941. The Red Army entered Bulgaria on 8 September 1944; Bulgaria declared war on Germany the next day.
Please close this conversation down as its going 0ff-topic. Please take to the MFC. Mod.
Agreed, this commenter is misusing this comment section, considering that his whole tirade is in response to just this: “Russia does *NOT* need the Ukraine as a dependent. Same goes for the rest of Eastern Europe, from Estonia all the way to Bulgaria.”
Correct, Russia does not need the Ukraine as a dependant, it needs the entire country from border to border as a giant DMZ. With Russian weapons they neither need to invade or hold ground. Just make it clear, very clear, any military movement in the zone will be eliminated with prejudice.