Tag Archives: regime change Ukraine

A new Swiss humanitarian convoy for the city of Donetsk

On 22 May 2016, two humanitarian convoys Confederation carrying chemicals for treating water and medical supplies left for Ukraine in the conflict zone.

Part of the convoy with medical equipment and medicine was awarded to the Kurakhove hospital this morning.

The products have been transported by road but also, for the first time by rail .

Sunday morning, a train ferrying chemicals for water treatment left Switzerland to Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

The cargo is for waterworks of Donbass, which supply the population with drinking water on both sides of the line of contact.

Other goods, including medical supplies, including spare parts for X-ray machine, are transported by road to Donetsk on trucks.

A second convoy of fourteen trucks, is designed to transport some 245 tons of chemicals to the waterworks of Donbass, in the city of Krasnoarmiynsk placed under government control.

A load of medical equipment and medicines by truck was delivered this morning at the hospital Kurakhove.

Convoys benefit from the guidance and support of seven members of the Humanitarian Aid of the Confederation, which is part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) and as collaborators of the embassy and the Kiev cooperation Office.

This convoy is the fourth Swiss humanitarian convoy for this area of ​​conflict since the spring of 2015.

The SDC is so far the only state actor to organize humanitarian convoys crossing the contact line in eastern Ukraine. Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

War Returns to Ukraine

Whilst all eyes are on Syria there has been a steady deterioration of the situation in Ukraine.

In violation of the ceasefire shelling of the territories of the two people’s republics has resumed, and the OSCE has confirmed that the Ukrainian military has moved heavy weapons back to the contact line.

The Ukrainians meanwhile have extended their ban of commercial flights to and from Russia by banning also transit flights.

Ukraine has placed Crimea under food blockade. To the intense embarrassment of its Western backers (see this editorial in the Financial Times, headlined “Kiev should act to end the blockade of Crimea”) it has enlarged this to an energy blockade.

Ukraine claims the power lines to Crimea were destroyed by Crimean Tatar “activists” backed by Right Sector.

Even if this were true, the Ukrainian authorities have done little or nothing to take control of the situation, arrest and punish those responsible for what was after all an act of criminal damage, or carry out the necessary repairs.

Characteristically most Western governments have said nothing, save that there has been some muted criticism from Germany.

Contrast this silence with the furious – and wrong – accusations regularly made in the West against Russia for its supposed use of energy as a political weapon.

All of this is happening to a drumbeat of demands in the Ukrainian media for the country to renounce the Minsk II agreement.

The Russians for their part have responded by stopping coal supplies to Ukraine. Since Ukraine is again failing to pay for its gas, it seems the Russians intend to stop supplying Ukraine with gas on Tuesday.

The two people’s republics have also announced they are stopping their own coal deliveries to Ukraine.

These steps increase the prospects of severe power shortages in Ukraine during what is predicted to be a harsh winter.

The Russians are also due in January to impose sanctions on Ukrainian food imports to Russia. This is in retaliation to Ukraine joining EU sanctions against Russia, and imposing sanctions of its own.

Bizarrely, this systematic severing of trade links with Russia is being hailed in parts of the Western media as proof Ukraine is “successfully reorienting” its trade to the EU and away from Russia, and is becoming “less dependent” on Russia. This of course takes no account of the damage these actions are doing to Ukraine’s economy.

There has also been an orchestrated attempt in recent weeks on the part of some sections of the Western media to talk up Ukraine’s economic situation, with claims that it is “stabilising”. The US credit agency Moody’s has joined in the game by upgrading Ukraine’s credit rating.

To the very limited extent this is true, it is wholly the consequence of the August ceasefire, which stopped the drain of fighting the war on the civilian economy.

The actions the Ukrainian government and “activists” have been taking over the last few weeks puts this in jeopardy.

What is causing this sudden deterioration in the situation?

At its simplest, it is growing alarm in Ukraine that Western – especially European – support for Ukraine is flagging.

It is now widely accepted that Merkel and Obama are becoming increasingly isolated in their insistence that the sanctions against Russia be extended.

In France Nicholas Sarkozy, Hollande’s likely conservative opponent at the Presidential election, has clearly signalled his opposition to sanctions, aligning himself on this issue with Marine Le Pen.

More to the point in Germany Merkel’s coalition partners – the SPD and the CSU – are both becoming openly critical of a sanctions policy with which one senses they both privately always disagreed.

Russia Insider has already discussed the increasingly rebellious line being taken by Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD’s leader and Germany’s Vice Chancellor.

Possibly even more important is the call from Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU – the CDU’s right wing coalition partner in Merkel’s coalition – for a rapprochement with Russia.

Whilst Seehofer’s comments seem to have been specifically triggered by the migrant crisis and the conflict in Syria, their tone suggests a wider rapprochement.

Interestingly, Seehofer has been forging increasingly close links in recent weeks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – a bete noir in Washington – who is known to be a strong advocate of good relations between Europe Russia.

Back in September – as the migrant crisis was starting to spiral out of control – Orban made another call for a new relationship between Europe and Russia. Significantly he did this straight after a meeting with Seehofer.

The mounting opposition in Europe to the sanctions is being picked up by the “realists” in the US.

Russia Insider recently republished an article in The National Interest – the main publication in which the US foreign policy “realists” express their views – which should be read as a call to the Obama administration to take the lead in diplomatic discussions with Moscow before the sanctions regime collapses, leaving the US looking isolated and humiliated.

A number our readers misunderstood this article, taking literally its ritual claims about the sanctions’ effectiveness and Putin’s supposedly “desperate situation”.

The sad truth about policy debate in the US today is that it cannot admit defeat, so that even when it retreats it has to claim “victory”.

The key point about the article in The National Interest is not what it says about Putin and Russia.

It is its call for the US to initiate diplomatic negotiations with Moscow to find a face-saving way to end the sanctions before Europe splits away and they fall apart.

The gradual shift towards an improvement in relations with Russia began before Russia’s intervention in Syria.

In fact it has been underway ever since the Minsk II agreement was reached in February. We have discussed the process at length in various articles here on Russia Insider.

However the Russian intervention in Syria and the Paris attacks have markedly accelerated the process, with Western public opinion showing increasing signs of backing Russia.

All of this is causing in Ukraine growing alarm. The Ukrainians must be seething as international attention is refocusing away from them, and as Russia shows signs of winning over Western public opinion to its side.

The consistent response of the Maidan movement whenever it senses it is losing is to double down and escalate and that is what we are now seeing.

A way to rationalise it would be to say that the Ukrainians are trying to provoke Russia into an overreaction, so as to reignite the conflict in order to shore up Western support and get the sanctions – due for renewal in December – extended.

Though this is at a certain level true, it seriously underestimates the purely visceral aspect in Ukrainian behaviour.

For the Maidan movement any sign Russia is gaining credit with the Western public is like a red rag to a bull. There is no need to look for calculation in Ukrainian behaviour in order to understand it.

The underlying problem – as we have said many times – is that the Maidan movement is inherently incapable of the sort of compromise that Minsk II envisages.

To see how that is so, consider what has happened since the October summit in Paris where the Europeans in effect ordered Poroshenko to implement Minsk II within a revised timetable.

The Ukrainians have done nothing of the sort, and the new timetable for carrying out the terms of Minsk II is already slipping.

Any discussion of the internal aspect of the Ukrainian conflict – as opposed to its external aspect – has to proceed from the fact that the present Ukrainian government is simply incapable of compromise unless overwhelming external pressure is brought upon it.

The Russians long ago grasped this. Over the last few weeks there are clear signs the Europeans belatedly are starting to grasp it as well.

The question that remains is for how much longer the Europeans will be prepared to go on making their relations with Russia hostage to the ideological obsessions of the Maidan movement and its neocon supporters.

The mounting evidence – judging from comments by people like Sigmar Gabriel and Horst Seehofer in Germany, Sarkozy in France, and from what happened during the summit in Paris – is that European patience is wearing thin. Continue reading

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Exceptional – Why the World Needs a Powerful America by Dick Cheney

It starts out quite interesting, actually. It walks the reader through history as Cheney sees it first, starting off with the founding fathers and the usual stuff about freedom and liberty, and he dwells on the relationship between the US and Europe in the second world war somewhat.

Reading through the lines you start to see the changes in attitude from what started out as good sound principles of freedom and liberty to what we see today (not sure he intended that to show through as clearly as it does). From what I deduced, it was somewhere between the end of the Vietnam war and the arrival of Carter as president the US started to become noticeably aggressive and interventionist abroad.

The book implies that Reagan was single handedly responsible for bringing down the Berlin wall with his Brandenburg speech. Not true.

It is an interesting read initially for the non-American as it offers an insight into *why* Americans think as they do.

What is disappointing in a way is how he described the principles the US was founded on and its early development (I suppose we all knew them anyway but they are well presented therein). He describes a country that anyone would want to live in.

What I see as an outsider (and occasional visitor), is how far wide of that mark and those intended standards the US has become, both with actions abroad and the influence of big media and business on the masses and the political decision making. But that happens anywhere.

I had no opinion on Cheney one way or another, so I can read his opinions without any particular bias against the guy. He seems to have a dim view of Obama, but then again, so do most Americans.

I was finding untruths and flawed thinking early on. The bloke is the neocon of neocons.

He seems scornful of any president who didn’t want to bail into any country, all guns blazing, at the drop of a hat. He thinks the Iraq war was a terrific idea. Obama and Clinton have had scorn. He seems to like the Bushes.

It started out well but then goes downhill rapidly with his train of thought……

Then it gives a scary insight into the neocon mind. Example: Indignation that Assad didn’t step down as Obama “instructed” him to do. Really!

About a third of it is taken up with quotes from other neocons to support his worldview, with some commentary in-between.

Then follows page after page of quotes from Obama with him trying to rip it to bits. The thing was, after reading Obama’s stuff, I am actually starting to like the bloke. I didn’t before.

Then he launches into the real out there stuff: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, etc. were all *super* ideas and they should have gone much, much further.

He thinks Russia is still the USSR, and must be hemmed in and castrated at any cost. He has similar views of China.

Then, there is page after page of what he thinks the next president should do, which basically is rule the world and start World War 3 to do it.

It rounds off with a General Cheeseburger rant about “exceptional”, greatest country in the world, apple pie on Sunday, blah blah.

I can only say its great that this old duffer was put out to grass. If one who thinks like him gets in the White House in 2016, there will be a world war for sure.

All in all it was a disturbing journey into a disturbing mindset. After reading it, I am surer than I ever was of the need to contain American aggression around the world and de-dollarise. I came out of it – unintentionally – with a new-found fondness for some of Obama’s ideas.

Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America

Should read:

Dangerous: Why the World Doesn’t Need a Powerful America Continue reading

Posted in Books, Media, Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russian Ukrainian Adventures Forum Newsletter – Summer 2015

The Forum Has Changed Direction a Little to Include More Travel, Culture, News and Politics.

The site was stuck in what is a dying and declining niche. When the site first started back in the mid naughties, it was firmly aimed at what some termed the “mail-order bride” niche. The FSU dating scene was then – although slowing down – still a vibrant industry. It was mostly centred on Ukraine the last decade or so, and most of those travelling there to meet women were from the US.

However, as you will know, a year and a half ago, there was a western-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine that saw the overthrow of the elected president and the installation of a new regime in Kiev. Subsequently, Crimea reunified with Russia and the east of Ukraine broke away into independent regions. Since then, civil war has raged in Ukraine while the new borders are being defined.

Against a backdrop of significantly reduced dating-related travel to the region, Crimea reunifying with Russia, increased American aggression against Russia, US/EU sanctions against Russia, counter sanctions from Russia, civil war in Ukraine and the MH17 crash, it isn’t hard to see why the forum became quickly dominated by these topics of discussion. So we decided to roll with it and reorganise the site somewhat.

If you take a fresh look at the placement of the forum rooms, you will find the dating and marriage sections have been condensed and moved further down the page. Up closer to the top you will find Cyrillic & Language, FSU News & Politics, Visas, Travel Discussion, Travel Reports, Culinary, Culture, Russian/Ukrainian Media and Expat Chat closer to the top. While we still have a lot of chat pertaining to dating in the former Soviet Union, you will find it isn’t as dominant as it once was.

Guys, if you are already married and haven’t visited us in a while, you can tell your wife it is a political, news and travel forum more than a dating forum nowadays. We know we lost a few of the married guys as their wives objected to them participating in what they saw as a ‘dating forum’. Yes, we still have some dating ads along with other types of ads, but like any site, we have to pay the bills. There is a topic on that here: Site Funding. Supporting Members. Q&A.

We would like to give you a few links to, and a little background about some of the recent popular topics. Continue reading

Posted in Business, Politics & Random Musings, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Next After the Neocon Rape of Ukraine?

Ukraine is a disaster, a bankrupt nation run by crooks and hoodlums, in hock to another set of villains in the EU. It’s little reported in the West, but now there are major ructions in the West of the country. The problem is Right Sector, which is basically a private army of Nazis who wield crippling power, attended by gangsterism, racketeering and violence. It was they who were in the vanguard of ousting Yanukovich in 2014 (a legally elected president), and now Right Sector is pushing to eject the current band of knaves and cutthroats holding court in Kiev. It’s a real comedy of errors, except there is nothing much to laugh about. Any country that has a private army rampaging about is in for big trouble. If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas, as the saying goes. Poroshenko and his ilk could well find themselves dragged out into the streets and shot without so much as a by your leave. Mr Poroshenko, an oligarch with a somewhat dubious and shady past, had better have his private jet standing by for a quick getaway.

However, it might then be shot down and doubtless the blame would be laid on another ‘Putin’s missile’ (headline courtesy of that bastion of balanced journalism – the Sun). In case you were unaware, according to the Sun it was ‘Putin’s missile’ that shot down flight MH17 last July over Ukraine!

The West has encouraged and in fact orchestrated the mayhem and madness in Ukraine. Millions of dollars were pumped in to fund NGOs, whose ulterior motive was to bring about regime change and create chaos on Russia’s borders. And for their henchman they selected or at least condoned Nazi thugs such as Right Sector to do the dirty work. I find it ironic and sad in the extreme that our fathers and grandfathers fought a long and bitter WWII to rid the world of Nazism (helped out a great deal by Russia who lost something like 25 million souls in the effort), while today the West is turning a blind eye to its menace in Ukraine. And all in a sick and twisted geopolitical game.

The good news is that NATO has blown Mission Ukraine. Despite all the sanctions and hoo-ha, it’s hard to lend credence to the assertion that Russia is a threat and has designs on sweeping west to cut a red swathe through the heartlands of Europe. Nobody is really buying that particular brand of baloney. ‘The Russians are coming’ was always a rather empty and silly jest, anyway. On the other hand, NATO has swept east, despite the promise of Bush Sr to the Russians in the early 90s that they wouldn’t. For heaven’s sake, Russia is the biggest country in the world; it doesn’t need to go rampaging about like a bear in a glass factory.

The Baltic States and their pathetic whining about the ‘Russian threat’ are frankly a laughing stock. NATO generals and Western politicians maunder on about this ad nauseam too, but anyone with half a brain should be able to shred this tissue of lies into fragments and see it for what it is: a desperate and ill-judged move to demonize and ultimately unseat Putin in the old game of let’s change the regime. Judging by opinion polls in Russia, the plan has backfired spectacularly. An overwhelming majority of the population approves of Vladimir Putin, and the chances of ousting him appear about as likely as installing a Communist Commander-in-Chief in the White House. Incidentally, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, enjoys similar popularity at home. Continue reading

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russian “Threat” Proves American Ignorance, Arrogance and Hypocrisy

The current situation in Ukraine was instigated by the United States. The collapse of the government, the civil war and the installation of a pro-American government, all the consequence of American meddling in the affairs of a country bordering Russia. As usual, the American media played its usual role, selling the government’s version of reality, thus making it easy to cast Putin and the Russians as the bad guys.

The Russian response, the annexation of the Crimea, moving troops near the border, whatever, would all seem reasonable to Americans if a similar crisis was happening in Mexico. Imagine the Russians deciding they didn’t like a Mexican government they claimed was too pro-American and took measures to cause its collapse, then taking an active part to ensure a government friendly to Moscow took its place. That’s what the United States has effectively done in Ukraine.

Too many Americans just don’t understand how the world works and how their own government is the instigator of so much strife in the world. If they can think they sure don’t demonstrate an ability or willingness to do so. If they did they would honestly and rationally conclude that their own government is provoking Russian near intrusions into U.S. airspace.

But since coming to that conclusion would require reading (sorry, no pictures, no tracing your finger slowly across the page, and absolutely no mouthing the words as you read them) and thinking about information more than a few minutes into the past, that’s not gonna happen. So when Americans read about Russian military aircraft flying near U.S. airspace they’re outraged because that’s the easiest reaction.

Maybe that’s exactly what the U.S. government wants. As the article points out, U.S. military surveillance can track Russian military aircraft before they leave Russian airspace. Let them get close and then intercept. Feign outrage and foster fears of Russian aggression. The terrorist bogeyman is getting old so why not return to an old favorite. All governments need a bad guy; if one’s not readily available then fabricate one. As history has demonstrated, the U.S. government is hands down, best at that.

Reaction to these Russian flights just proves what critics of American policy have been saying since the Bush administration cherry-picked “intelligence” to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, taking the United States down a permanent path of financial destruction through stupid, unnecessary and unwinnable military operations.

If another country acted similarly the American government would be ablaze with self-righteous outrage. The media would perform like the trained seal that it is and toot the government’s propaganda horn, riling the American people into an irrational, frothing patriotic fervor. Among the political class there would be calls for economic sanctions and, if the country was small and weak, threats of imminent military action.

And we do that for non-existent threats. General Joseph Dunford, nominee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Russia an “existential threat” to the United States. No doubt many Americans would, like zombies, nod in agreement, all because of what the media told them about outdated Russian aircraft flying close to U.S. airspace.

Ignoring tangible and ongoing threats to Russian security instigated by the United States over the last quarter century demonstrates that when it comes to American foreign policy and assessing its real consequences, ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy remains the order of the day. Continue reading

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cabinet of Ukraine plans to nationalize bank deposits of Ukrainians

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine intends to take a decision allowing wartime involvement in the country’s budget, bank deposits of citizens of more than 200 thousand. UAH ($8000 US). It is reported by Ukrainian edition ZN.UA citing its own … Continue reading

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Whats Really Going on with Islamic State?

Is what is going on in Iraq and Syria more evidence of the worlds most prolific terrorist state in action once more?

Yes, that’s right. America, the worlds most prolific terrorist state and orchestrator of regime changes across the world is at it again.

Daash, ISIS, ISIL, IS or whatever their handlers in the US want you to call them these days are a creation of the US. They are using US material and are paid for by the US.

The only reason the US is taking its token action is because they are overstepping their bounds in Iraq and because it gives the cover story for attacking the Syrian government in Syria.

No sensible person thinks that a mobile guerrilla force can be overcome by lobbing bombs at them, but the establishment that is Syria can be.

There’s a goal here. Qatar wants a pipeline running to Europe carrying its gas. Syria and Iran do not want the pipeline to cross Syria and so a regime change, or destabilisation is needed.

The US want the pipeline in order that the European oligopoly of gas supply can be broken in order to cause economic problems for Russia.

Right now, Turkey will not intervene because Daash are beating up on the Kurds in northern Syria and the US will not put their own troops into play because Iran and Syria have a mutual defence treaty and the US can’t deal with a proper army, at least not without logistical support, and Turkey won’t give such support because of their covert support for Daash against the PKK.

The underlying problem though is that the US seeks a destabilised middle east because in that manner, by picking alliances and ‘friends for now’, they get, in their worldview, to control the last major supplies of hydrocarbons outside of Russia. And, of course, for the US, Russia is the final frontier.

This mess is devised and stirred up by America for its own interests.

I have written before now about levels of reality and how people see the world from their own level and do not see or understand the different levels that affect their own worldview.

This is another of those cases.

Ask a bloke with a gun and a big knife for chopping off heads what he is doing, and why, and he might say, ‘with the money I earn I can afford another wife’.

A more perceptive bloke with a gun and a big knife for chopping off heads might say, ‘I am rebuilding the caliphate according to the will of Mohammed, blessed be his name.’ And both would be right.

But then there’s John McCain who has been meeting with the leadership and their view is ‘Well John, we understand what you want and thanks for the money and training that your guys have provided. The pipeline will be safe to build once we have taken care of the inland region of Syria for you and can you do something to get the Turks to close their borders to the Kurds?’

See what I mean? Yes the establishment of a new Islamic state may be an overarching goal of Daash, Da’esh, ISIS, IS, ISIL but there’s a lot of other stuff going on.

Same as in Ukraine and now in Hong Kong. In both places I have friends who genuinely support the purpose of the demonstrations. They honestly believe that what is going on is good and right.

They do not know that they have been purposefully misled or that the demonstrations have been paid for and instigated by the US.

Even if they were to choose to understand that fact they may well still choose to ignore the larger picture ill effects of the demonstrations in order to serve the smaller picture that they see.

Levels of reality are a very important part of the toolbox of manipulation of populations. Continue reading

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia blocks alcohol imports from Ukraine

Russia suspends alcohol imports from Ukraine – consumer rights watchdog

Russia has decided to suspend alcohol imports from Ukraine on August 15. On Wednesday the consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said there had been a number of breaches in consumer legislation.

The restrictions apply to beer produced by Obolon and SUN Inbev Ukraine, and alcohol from the Ukrainian Distribution Company.

“When scrutinizing imports of vodka, beer and other beverages from Ukraine a number of breaches in consumer protection legislation were discovered,” the watchdog’s statement said.

Rospotrebnadzor said Ukrainian beer doesn’t meet the nutritional value written on the bottles, and its branding broke the rules as it doesn’t have the right alcohol content.

The watchdog cited “numerous violations of the law on protection of consumer rights” as the reason.

Rospotrebnadzor added that the state monitoring of alimentary goods, in particular of vodka and beer, found numerous violations of consumer rights.

Following WTO rules, the information has been sent to the relevant body, the Federal Customs Service and to offices of Rospotrebnadzor across the Russian Federation.

Earlier this month, the watchdog found dangerous substances in Bourbon, a US-made whiskey.

According to the sanitary authority, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by Barton 1792 Distillery Company did not comply with Customs Union technical regulations, although the whiskey label has the Eurasian Conformity, or EAC, mark, used for products on Customs Union member state markets, on it.

Falsified products were found in supplies from Germany, the Czech Republic and France.

On July 29 the watchdog banned the import of Ukrainian fruit and vegetables and canned fish claiming they also broke consumer legislation.

Join the discussion on Russian/Ukrainian sanctions using the comment box below or you can also join in the conversation about the retaliatory sanctions Russia placed on imports on the >>Russian Forums<<. Continue reading

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s Cunning Plan on Sanctions, Europe and the US.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has implemented a cunning plan in relation to Europe and their sanctions on Russia. I call it “Right back at ya – watch this!”

“Russia is finished! Sanctions from Obama and the European Union will finished the Russian economy and now it will become the poorest country in the world! Russia can not do anything to answer the West! We will all die”

So love to scream those who do not know about Putin’s cunning plan.

Europeans believed that Russia does not respond to sanctions; but Russia has. The EU will soon feel the pain as they now know that they will lose at least 12 billion euros by being Washington’s puppet.

Putin has decided to act on the principle “I will beat gently, but firmly.” The effects wont take long to be seen.

European politicians have expressed “surprise”, “confusion”, “misunderstanding” and the hope that we can somehow “get out of the logic of sanctions.”

For the European Union, Russia is a key market. The EU’s share in the Russian food imports was 42%, and for the EU, Russia was the largest consumer, after the United States.

It is significant that the European politicians console themselves in the fact that sanctions are only imposed for a year, but the Russian market can be lost forever. Therefore, the damage from the “sanctions” Putin has retaliated with will be long-term.

In addition to the direct economic effect, the Russian sanctions will create permanent political problems. It turns out that Putin has – as Russians say – generously laid out a whole constellation of buttons on the chair – and the European Union will soon think twice about imposing sanctions on Russia.

The fact is that now all the affected countries will require from the European Commission compensation for loss, and the European Commission has to then find an extra 12 billion euros a year – and it can’t.

Finland is asking already for money: Finland is worried it will slip into another economic crisis due to the fact that Russia introduced sanctions against it. The Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said, “There is the potential that it will be the economic crisis number two,” at a press conference yesterday. It’s funny that the Finnish politician immediately demanded compensation from the European Union: “It is absolutely clear. If sanctions hit Finland disproportionately, we will try to get help from our partners in the EU. he said”

With a flick of the wrist, Putin has turned a few EU countries into clones of Ukraine. They will now also lose money just for the fact that they hate Russia (or believe they should). For Ukraine, this disease has already ended badly, but Finland and other countries will be cured of it quickly.

The treatment with be with the favorite German medicine – budget austerity policy, better known as the “healing by starvation.”

Another headache for the EU is the need to somehow arrest the indirect consequences of Russian sanctions. For example, farmers are unable to repay part of the loans that they have secured via export contracts in Russia.

Some manufacturers will not be able to pay subcontractors, some will have to lay off workers – it’s creating problems; the solution of which requires money. And the most annoying is the fact that it is now or will need to accept the fact that the export potential of the EU is diminished. 10% or so is the food consumed in Russia from European exports. The EU will have to increase subsidies to European producers, so they have a chance in other markets.

The level of subsidies in the EU amounts to 30% already, and to increase it will be very expensive, and the WTO rules will not allow this. For some countries, even the increase in grants won’t help.

For example, the Minister of Agriculture of Poland has already admitted that to replace the Russian market will be extremely difficult. The Europeans do not even have options to respond in kind, because Russia does not export food to Europe.

Russia is a major exporter of grain, but does not sell it in the EU.

With the exception of certain premium goods like French wine, Italian ham and certain cheeses, all food exports from Europe are easily replaced by exports from other countries, or Russian production.

It turns out that for Russia, there is potential for growth of its own production, while for the EU losing money is guaranteed.

There is something to think about. Assessing the long-term problems that arise from the first Russian sanctions, EU bureaucrats are likely to come to the conclusion that it is much more profitable ignore Ukraine and forget about the situation there. It is very possible that such thoughts have already dawned on EU leaders.

Just a few hours after the administration of Russian sanctions, news feeds carried this message:

“We want to overcome the logic of sanctions, we want to sit down with the Russian to the table to jointly discuss further ways of development of Ukraine”, – said the spokesman of the European Commission in Germany, Austrian Richard Kuehnel, RIA “Novosti” with reference to Deutsche Welle.
Russia offered this at the beginning, but, apparently, the Europeans needed a demonstration of political will and proof that Russia can inflict pain, without even touching the gas valve.

They got the proof, and in a rather offensive manner.

One has to be very naive to believe that the Europeans would agree to suffer economic losses for Ukraine. As can be seen from the statement by Kuehnel, they can not even tolerate a couple of weeks in order to “save face” and at least pretend that they care about the problems of Ukrainians more than the problems of their own farmers.

It is possible that we will have to watch the show and it will become quite funny. Washington will put pressure on the European Union and demand the preservation and strengthening of the sanctions, or the European Union will require compensation from the United States.

Extra money, the Americans do not have now they are bombing Iraq again, and so they may be forced to run the printing presses (“quantitative easing”) this autumn for fear of completely undermining the economy.

The most likely scenario is the US and the EU will organise some kind of scheme that could pass for a “diplomatic solution to the issue”, allowing Europeans to wear the halo as peacekeepers.

Russian sanctions have freed the EU from its default feeling of invulnerability and exclusivity.

Understanding that the loss of good relations with Russia is an unaffordable luxury, will greatly help the EU to build a better relationship with Russia, in spite of pressure from Washington. Continue reading

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment