UK Petition: Lift EU/US sanctions on Russia to increase trade now the UK is leaving the EU

As the UK has chosen to exit the EU, we will be no longer bound by US-influenced, EU sanctions on Russia. We should lift sanctions on Russia as an independent country to regain the millions of pounds of trade we have lost with Russia. We don’t need to participate in EU/US sanctions against Russia.

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The EU and the US introduced sanctions on Russia over the democratic decision of the people of Crimea to reunify with Russia and Russia’s alleged backing of separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The UK had to participate in this as an EU member. Now the UK is leaving the EU, we need not be dictated to by it. Lost trade with Russia costs the UK many millions of pounds. This is trade that we are now at liberty to get back. Russia is a market of 140m consumers British business needs.

Russia has France on the Ropes: French now Saying Crimea is Russia

So as we have all probably read in the news, France has sent some MP’s to Crimea. Why is this significant? This is the first step to the EU recognising Crimea is Russia – that’s why. The sub text is France is really hurting with the sanctions lark and want to rebuild relations with Russia. […]

Ukraine: So What is Vladimir Putin Really Planning?

Unlike most westerners, I do not blindly believe western media, I do not subscribe to the “America good – Russia bad” media hysteria being shamelessly stage-managed by our governments. Perhaps having a Russian-born wife makes me take a more balanced view. I am not anti-Russian, I am not anti-Putin. Nor am I anti-American. I might […]

Crimea & Russia – The Aftermath.

Following Russia’s recent re-acquisition of its territory in Crimea from an unstable Ukraine, we must wonder what comes next.

What isn’t likely to come next – contrary to what the hysterical media will have you believe – is that Russia will be ‘invading’ (as they put it) anywhere else too soon.

Despite the fever pitch whipped up in the media, those familiar with Russian thinking know full well that the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and Poland have nothing fear from Russia, despite the pontificating and sabre rattling of America and its EU puppets.

Well, as long as they don’t start poking the bear with a stick that is.

The hysterical Western media will have you believe Russia taking Crimea back over was an act of expansion of the “Russian Empire” or Putin trying to recreate the USSR. As we explained in the article here: Ukraine and American News Propaganda fed to the Sheeple, it is nothing of the sort.

The reason is simple: Putin took the only logical course of action he could when confronted with a possible NATO member Ukraine. Do you REALLY think he’d allow the only warm water port that his navy has access to to fall under control of a NATO country?
Where does that leave Ukraine in the aftermath?

At the moment Ukraine is like a young girl choosing between two marriage proposals.

She does not want to alienate either suitor but can not make up her mind which way to go.

So, as we can now see, actions being taken by the interim government are designed to placate both parties without making irrevocable commitments to either.

Based upon the raw economics, Ukraine can not afford to join with the EU in an association, especially when they understand that association is not membership.

As I already noted, it would seem that having looked at Ukraine’s business plan and having a better understanding of the resources available the interim government, fronted by the PM a seemingly very smart bloke, now understand much better the reality facing the legitimate government.

I am absolutely certain that if it was possible for Ukraine to have signed the economic part of the association document that she would have done so – no ‘nationalist’ pleas, threats or cajoling otherwise would have done the trick. The association deal was, as we know, the ostensible reason for the coup so not going ahead is a very big issue.

As for war, I see, absent some really shoddy statecraft on the part of the US, no chance that we will see any escalation to war.

Here’s why: When all this stuff arose a few weeks ago it was a shock to the US at the national security level. They fondly imagined streets strewn with roses just as they had wrongly imagined in Iraq a decade before. When these guys feel threatened there is no room for dissent, no wish to introduce contrary ideas and the old ‘experienced’ hands with their long memories of their youthful encounters with the Soviet Union come to the fore.

Later, there comes room for analysis, for consideration and for new thinking. That is happening now. Given that it is my firm belief that what we see in the media at these times is a reflection of the narrative chosen at high levels of government and commerce we can now see that there is room in the mass media for some new and contrarian opinion and analysis. That is a reflection of what is going on in closed rooms in the White House, Pentagon and other more secret places. Indeed some of the contributors will be those writing the pieces we are now seeing.

This process of understanding, willingness to introduce new ideas and challenge old hands takes time and, of course, there is a similar process in Russia, albeit that the Russian government did not start this, they were reacting to external stimuli as best they could and were thus in an even worse state than the US. Now the Russians are gaining a decent picture of the limits of the problems, the extent of the new threats and they seem to be much more nimble than the US. Probably proximity both culturally and geographically helps. I think a strong leader is also key here. I have previously written about Obama’s lack of control over events – we see the effects now. The US needs a visible leader.

Whatever happens the ongoing situation will be more delicate and more unstable than hitherto but at the same time the quality of knowledge about each other in both the Russian and US administrations, at all levels, will have been improved.

Russia and the US have good reason to find common cause.

Ukraine and American News Propaganda fed to the Sheeple

A mistake that most people are making and the single most spectacular success of the propaganda being fed to you is this:

What started out as interference in the domestic politics of an independent state by the US has now been successfully re-framed to the sheeple in the west as actions on the part of Russia. The whole narrative is now framed in terms of Russia initiating processes.

This re-framing makes it very hard for those affected by this fictional worldview to consider what is actually happening, even when they have access to verifiable, accurate inputs about the actions of the various players.

In this context it is thus almost impossible for USAians to see what Russia is doing as a reaction to the inputs of the US. The effect is that Russia is implicitly cast as an aggressor. The truth is rather different. Russia has been forced into taking actions because of the inputs from the west. Those reactions are, in comparison to what we would expect from, for example, the UK or US in a similar situation, hugely restrained and very low key. That is why, in part, the west, led by the US has been ratcheting up the stimuli, upping the inputs in the hope of getting a non-linear response from Russia that better suits the chosen US narrative.

To be honest, I do not think that the US strategists are up to managing a scenario of the type I outlined in my previous post. However it would fit the stated goals of the US and frame the US in a positive light while marginalising Russian influence and casting the Russians as villains.

The way in which language is used to frame the ability to think about and therefore discuss a topic is very interesting. I read about it many years ago but it had no real relevance to me until I started writing a particular document a couple years ago. The research for that work made it clear that using language to manage the way that people were able to think was going on. Seeing the practical effect upon ordinary people was informative. Since then I have come to understand how such management is pretty much the norm in the US these days and is becoming so in the UK. This is one reason why I do not dumb down what I write and why I refuse to use a narrow vocabulary because by reducing the variety of words we use we reduce our ability to transfer shades of meaning.

In this case now, every discussion, no matter the standpoint of the participants, is framed in terms of Russian aggression. That aggression is the “accepted truth” so we have people defending Russia but still accepting a reality of Russian aggression meaning that each discussion starts with a participant on the defensive. The reality is that we should be working from an implicit acceptance of an almost diametrically opposite perspective. A reality in which none of this would have happened if the US had not imposed regime change in Ukraine.

We understand that the US was paying for regime change in Ukraine in order that US foreign policy goals might be more easily attained. I think few of us now think that what happened in Maidan was a spontaneous outpouring of Ukraine solidarity, etc., etc. – even if many of the participants thought that was the case.

Given that we know the US put at least $5billion into the pot to pay for that process what does that tell us about Yanukovych?

You see there’s a thing.
The US may seem to be run by fools, but they are not, they are evil (If you do not think that provoking a coup d’etat and civil war is not an act of evil then we have different moral compasses), and they are above all pragmatic.

If there was a budget to enable US goal attainment in Ukraine who do you think was approached first when the US decided to put Ukraine into play?

Yes, those who shouted out “Yanukovych” win the prize of a free vacation in Cancun.

The money put on the table by the US would have first been offered to Yanukovych. Maybe he was willing to go along with the Americans, but at a point he refused. That was when the US started getting serious about regime change.

So, we know and understand that the current crop of kleptocrats in Ukraine are bought and paid for tools of the US, just as happened during and after the Orange Revolution. We know that Yanukovych was around before the Orange Revolution – did he turn down the US money back then as well? Was that the trigger for the Orange Revolution?

If you knew that the guy was willing to stand firm against the US, knowing the personal outcome for him and for is country, what happens to your perception of the guy?
Do you start to see the current crop as rather less patriotic and maybe that Yanukovych was somewhat more principled and patriotic than we might have thought him before?

You see, I tend to think that people tend to do that which is the easiest. If the US could attain their goals by paying Yanukovych don’t you think they would’ve?
This tells us Yanukovych could not be bought!
What is being missed by many, but not, I am certain by those who are nearer to the top of the food chain is this:

The US, as part of its expressed foreign policy goals wants NATO to include Ukraine (and a couple of other places).
NATO can not extend membership to states that have non-NATO military bases on their territory.

Ergo, as of this moment Ukraine can not join NATO.

This means that either Ukraine does not join NATO, which is counter to US foreign policy OR Russia’s military bases leave Ukrainian territory.

It is unlikely in the extreme that Russia could be inveigled out of its bases on the Black Sea. They WILL go to a shooting war for those – that’s Russian foreign policy. Russia is legally in those bases, they have a multi-year agreement to be there and they pay their rent. It is not easy to get rid of them for many years.

The truly Machiavellian among us might wonder if the US is playing an absolute blinder here, they are perhaps playing in a different game of chess than the one we and the Russians think they are playing?

We know that Russia’s expressed foreign policy precluded annexing any part of Ukraine because they want and need a buffer between Russia and NATO and they understand that NATO is not an option as long as the Russian bases are in Crimea.

However, if Russia were driven to a place whereby they felt it necessary to take over Crimea then Ukraine would no longer have non-NATO bases on her territory. NATO could sign up Ukraine and Russia would lose their buffer state. Checkmate.

We know because they have already done it, that the US has no qualms about destroying countries for their own foreign policy goals. A few hundred thousand deaths is irrelevant, after all they are not Americans and thus not proper humans. The money is a bagatelle, even in the US’s straitened situation. This way no boots on the ground. Ukraine will become a client state of the EU and will be pillaged for the next few decades while a succession of kleptocrats keep the country ticking over.

If this is true then we will see a lot of bluster and threats from the US but little more. There may be some more violence stirred up to keep the pot boiling and tempers high – angry people don’t think much.

President Putin’s 4th March 2014 Speech on Ukraine in English

The President of Russia met with media representatives to answer a number of their questions, in particular with regard to the situation in Ukraine.

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues,

How shall we do this? This is what I’d like to suggest: let’s have a conversation, rather than an interview. Therefore, I would ask you to begin by stating all your questions, I will jot them down and try to answer them, and then we will have a more detailed discussion of the specifics that interest you most.

Let’s begin.

QUESTION: Mr President, I would like to ask (you took a lengthy pause, so we have quite a few questions by now) how you assess the events in Kiev? Do you think that the Government and the Acting President, who are currently in power in Kiev, are legitimate? Are you ready to communicate with them, and on what terms? Do you yourself think it possible now to return to the agreements of February 21, which we all talk about so often?

QUESTION: Mr President, Russia has promised financial aid to Crimea and instructions were issued to the Finance Ministry yesterday. Is there a clear understanding of how much we are giving, where the money is coming from, on what terms and when? The situation there is very difficult.

QUESTION: When, on what terms and in what scope can military force be used in Ukraine? To what extent does this comply with Russia’s international agreements? Did the military exercises that have just finished have anything to do with the possible use of force?

QUESTION: We would like to know more about Crimea. Do you think that the provocations are over or that there remains a threat to the Russian citizens who are now in Crimea and to the Russian-speaking population? What are the general dynamics there – is the situation changing for the better or for the worse? We are hearing different reports from there.

QUESTION: If you do decide to use force, have you thought through all the possible risks for yourself, for the country and for the world: economic sanctions, weakened global security, a possible visa ban or greater isolation for Russia, as western politicians are demanding?

QUESTION: Yesterday the Russian stock market fell sharply in response to the Federation Council’s vote, and the ruble exchange rates hit record lows. Did you expect such a reaction? What do you think are the possible consequences for the economy? Is there a need for any special measures now, and of what kind? For instance, do you think the Central Bank’s decision to shift to a floating ruble exchange rate may have been premature? Do you think it should be revoked?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Fine, let us stop here for now. I will begin, and then we will continue. Don’t worry; I will try to answer as many questions as possible.

First of all, my assessment of what happened in Kiev and in Ukraine in general. There can only be one assessment: this was an anti-constitutional takeover, an armed seizure of power. Does anyone question this? Nobody does. There is a question here that neither I, nor my colleagues, with whom I have been discussing the situation in Ukraine a great deal over these past days, as you know – none of us can answer. The question is why was this done?

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that President Yanukovych, through the mediation of the Foreign Ministers of three European countries – Poland, Germany and France – and in the presence of my representative (this was the Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin) signed an agreement with the opposition on February 21. I would like to stress that under that agreement (I am not saying this was good or bad, just stating the fact) Mr Yanukovych actually handed over power. He agreed to all the opposition’s demands: he agreed to early parliamentary elections, to early presidential elections, and to return to the 2004 Constitution, as demanded by the opposition. He gave a positive response to our request, the request of western countries and, first of all, of the opposition not to use force. He did not issue a single illegal order to shoot at the poor demonstrators. Moreover, he issued orders to withdraw all police forces from the capital, and they complied. He went to Kharkov to attend an event, and as soon as he left, instead of releasing the occupied administrative buildings, they immediately occupied the President’s residence and the Government building – all that instead of acting on the agreement.

I ask myself, what was the purpose of all this? I want to understand why this was done. He had in fact given up his power already, and as I believe, as I told him, he had no chance of being re-elected. Everybody agrees on this, everyone I have been speaking to on the telephone these past few days. What was the purpose of all those illegal, unconstitutional actions, why did they have to create this chaos in the country? Armed and masked militants are still roaming the streets of Kiev. This is a question to which there is no answer. Did they wish to humiliate someone and show their power? I think these actions are absolutely foolish. The result is the absolute opposite of what they expected, because their actions have significantly destabilised the east and southeast of Ukraine.

Now over to how this situation came about.

In my opinion, this revolutionary situation has been brewing for a long time, since the first days of Ukraine’s independence. The ordinary Ukrainian citizen, the ordinary guy suffered during the rule of Nicholas II, during the reign of Kuchma, and Yushchenko, and Yanukovych. Nothing or almost nothing has changed for the better. Corruption has reached dimensions that are unheard of here in Russia. Accumulation of wealth and social stratification – problems that are also acute in this country – are much worse in Ukraine, radically worse. Out there, they are beyond anything we can imagine imagination. Generally, people wanted change, but one should not support illegal change.

Only use constitutional means should be used on the post-Soviet space, where political structures are still very fragile, and economies are still weak. Going beyond the constitutional field would always be a cardinal mistake in such a situation. Incidentally, I understand those people on Maidan, though I do not support this kind of turnover. I understand the people on Maidan who are calling for radical change rather than some cosmetic remodelling of power. Why are they demanding this? Because they have grown used to seeing one set of thieves being replaced by another. Moreover, the people in the regions do not even participate in forming their own regional governments. There was a period in this country when the President appointed regional leaders, but then the local Council had to approve them, while in Ukraine they are appointed directly. We have now moved on to elections, while they are nowhere near this. And they began appointing all sorts of oligarchs and billionaires to govern the eastern regions of the country. No wonder the people do not accept this, no wonder they think that as a result of dishonest privatisation (just as many people think here as well) people have become rich and now they also have all the power.

For example, Mr Kolomoisky was appointed Governor of Dnepropetrovsk. This is a unique crook. He even managed to cheat our oligarch Roman Abramovich two or three years ago. Scammed him, as our intellectuals like to say. They signed some deal, Abramovich transferred several billion dollars, while this guy never delivered and pocketed the money. When I asked him [Abramovich]: “Why did you do it?” he said: “I never thought this was possible.” I do not know, by the way, if he ever got his money back and if the deal was closed. But this really did happen a couple of years ago. And now this crook is appointed Governor of Dnepropetrovsk. No wonder the people are dissatisfied. They were dissatisfied and will remain so if those who refer to themselves the legitimate authorities continue in the same fashion.

Most importantly, people should have the right to determine their own future, that of their families and of their region, and to have equal participation in it. I would like to stress this: wherever a person lives, whatever part of the country, he or she should have the right to equal participation in determining the future of the country.

Are the current authorities legitimate? The Parliament is partially, but all the others are not. The current Acting President is definitely not legitimate. There is only one legitimate President, from a legal standpoint. Clearly, he has no power. However, as I have already said, and will repeat: Yanukovych is the only undoubtedly legitimate President.

There are three ways of removing a President under Ukrainian law: one is his death, the other is when he personally stands down, and the third is impeachment. The latter is a well-deliberated constitutional norm. It has to involve the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Rada. This is a complicated and lengthy procedure. It was not carried out. Therefore, from a legal perspective this is an undisputed fact.

Moreover, I think this may be why they disbanded the Constitutional Court, which runs counter to all legal norms of both Ukraine and Europe. They not only disbanded the Constitutional Court in an illegitimate fashion, but they also – just think about it – instructed the Prosecutor General’s Office to launch criminal proceedings against members of the Constitutional Court. What is that all about? Is this what they call free justice? How can you instruct anyone to start criminal proceedings? If a crime, a criminal offence, has been committed, the law enforcement agencies see this and react. But instructing them to file criminal charges is nonsense, it’s monkey business.

Now about financial aid to Crimea. As you may know, we have decided to organise work in the Russian regions to aid Crimea, which has turned to us for humanitarian support. We will provide it, of course. I cannot say how much, when or how – the Government is working on this, by bringing together the regions bordering on Crimea, by providing additional support to our regions so they could help the people in Crimea. We will do it, of course.

Regarding the deployment of troops, the use of armed forces. So far, there is no need for it, but the possibility remains. I would like to say here that the military exercises we recently held had nothing to do with the events in Ukraine. This was pre-planned, but we did not disclose these plans, naturally, because this was a snap inspection of the forces’ combat readiness. We planned this a long time ago, the Defence Minister reported to me and I had the order ready to begin the exercise. As you may know, the exercises are over; I gave the order for the troops to return to their regular dislocations yesterday.

What can serve as a reason to use the Armed Forces? Such a measure would certainly be the very last resort.

Is this the real reason Putin has secured Crimea?

Today, prime Minister Medvedev in his meeting had this to say: Last December we signed a few documents that have not been amended or cancelled by anyone. This includes the project to build a transport corridor via the Gulf of Kerch. This is an important issue. Naturally both Russia and Ukraine are interested in a […]

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