Features

Silent strongman Sergey Shoigu is the real force behind Russia’s military aggression

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

‘Crimea is ours,’ President Putin boasted last May. He was speaking on a documentary viewed by millions of Russians, and it was the culminating moment in the militarisation of Russia. Moscow had attracted criticism for spending unprecedented sums on its armed forces under Putin, despite a weak economy over-dependent on oil. The successful annexation of Crimea seemed a perfect vindication.

Yet the huge expansion of Russia’s armed forces budget was instigated not by Putin but by the defence minister, the mysterious Sergey Shoigu.

The ascendancy of the military has propelled Shoigu up the ranks of the power elite to the extent that he is now regarded as the favourite to succeed Putin. And he has become a pivotal global figure after Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian warplane last week, which the Kremlin described as ‘planned provocation’. Shoigu is overseeing the investigation into the communications box of the aircraft, which will reveal if any warnings were delivered by the Turks in advance. And it was Shoigu who authorised Russia’s response: the deployment of S-400 missiles to the Russian air base in Latakia on the Syrian coast. As tension escalates, and Cameron and Obama dither, Shoigu has emerged as a key decision-maker.

He prefers to operate in the shadows, one step behind Putin and looking over his shoulder. His style is decisive but low-key. There have been no self-promoting TV interviews. Instead he prefers his spokes-man Igor Konashenkov to defend Russia’s Syria policy. When asked about the true targets of the air strikes, Konashenkov replied rather unconvincingly that the decision to bomb Syria was made at the last minute and executed within hours of the Russian parliament approving the use of force. In fact, Shoigu had been planning the military operation over several months.

As the brutal Russian pounding of rebel position in Syria intensifies, Shoigu remains a hardliner in Putin’s inner circle. During their meetings he told Putin that he had ‘no choice’ but to support President Assad. It was also, he said, an ideal opportunity to reinforce Russia’s last remaining ally in the Middle East. And there was the strategic benefit of shifting the debate away from Ukraine, which could lead to the easing of sanctions.


So who is this secretive, workaholic man overseeing Russia’s most aggressive foreign policy since the Cold War?

Sergi Shoigu was born in 1955 in Tuva, near Siberia’s Altai Mountains. After graduating from the Krasnoyarsk Institute, he became a construction engineer. He had some success, but showed no sign of entering politics. His opportunity came soon after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. At a time when Russia was ill-equipped to handle such catastrophes, Shoigu became chief of the Rescue Corps and then minister of civil defence and disaster management. During this period, he enhanced his reputation by personally attending every fire, flood and explosion. He ensured his ministry was sensitive to the families of the victims.

Shoigu became popular as someone involved in rescuing people rather than delivering soundbites. As a result, he built a power base of former military and intelligence officers and Kremlin insiders who realised that he was popular with ordinary Russian people and wanted to bask in his reflected glory.

He became an important ally to President Yeltsin. Then, in 1999, Shoigu again benefited — albeit unwittingly — from disaster. A series of deadly explosions in apartment blocks in Moscow resulted in the soon-to-be President Putin and Shoigu developing a close bond. It was always Shoigu who appeared first on the scene and at the flashpoints and he was awarded his country’s highest award (Hero of Russia) ‘for courage and heroism in the line of duty in extreme situations’. He remained minister for emergency situations during the Putin years.

Politically, Shoigu is not ideological; heregards himself as a man of action and a traditionalist. Like Putin, he looks back with a fond if rather misty-eyed nostalgia for the Soviet era when the nation was a ‘great power’ and Russians felt safe and financially secure. Shoigu hated the corrupt oligarchs and despised the liberal reforms of President Gorbachev. His critics say that he suffers from a selective memory. ‘There was just as much corruption in Russia before the oligarchs and since Putin came to power,’ one analyst told me. ‘It was just structured in a different way.’

In 2012, Shoigu was made minister of defence and became integral to Putin’s strategy of restoring Russia’s military prowess as a way of winning elections. He focused on a massive overhaul of all the nation’s outdated military hardware and aims to modernise 70 per cent of Russia’s entire armed forces by 2020. By last year the defence budget was up to 4.8 per cent of the country’s GDP. Serious concerns have been raised about spending so much in a time of slow economic growth, falling oil prices, rising inflation and western sanctions. But Putin and Shoigu defend their policy as a way of boosting Russia’s hi-tech industry.

Putin has also used conscription to revive the martial spirit in Russian society, alongside the reintroduction of military training in schools. But Shoigu believes that a modern army requires professionals and prefers contract soldiers. ‘An unoccupied soldier is a threat to the police,’ he once said.

Putin and Shoigu are both throwbacks to Soviet times. They regard themselves as ‘Muzhiks’ (real Russian men) who love sports and hunting. Shoigu rides horses, plays ice hockey and shoots and hunts for elk, roe and bear throughout his beloved Siberia. He has a vast collection of Samurai swords, sabres and knives. Perhaps more surprisingly, he paints with oils and makes wooden artefacts at his country house in the outskirts of Moscow.

Over the past three years Shoigu has become a confident, ruthless and demanding defence minister. But it is his close friendship with Putin that will determine whether he becomes the next president. As the world regards their often-indiscriminate bombing of Syria with increasing hostility and trepidation, that personal bond will be severely tested.

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Show comments
  • Rascalndear

    The description of Shoigu’s work on Chornobyl reads like a modern-day fairy tale. And that’s all it is. Moscow caused the accident by insisting that the operators turn off the safety back-up system and test the tolerance of the #4 reactor. When the thing blew up, as was inevitable, Moscow hid the reality from its citizens for more than a week, not even stopping the May Day parade six days later on a bright, sunny day in downtown Kyiv. It evacuated only the higher ups initially and did not even provide iodine tablets to counter the impact of radiation. Shoigu was indubitably involved in all these decisions and inaction/actions. Please stop trying to snow your readership.

    • Vadim D

      Ты редкий мудак.

      • Johnny Foreigner

        Bit harsh.

    • Alexey Strelkov

      No offence, but what you wrote is simply silly – of course the “description of Shoigu’s work on Chornobyl reads like a modern-day fairy tale”, because it is! When Cherobyl happened Shoigu was just a director of a small construction company in Abakan, Republic of Khakasia aka That God-Forsaken Tiny Town Thousands of Kilometers Away From Chernobyl.
      However, in 1991, just before the collapse of the USSR, he was invited to become a part of the committee tasked with dealing with the aftermath of Chernobyl. Then the Union collapsed, for obvious reasons no committee was formed and that’s it – I don’t know what mind-altering drugs one has to take to “read” the description of Shoigu’s work on Chernobyl.

  • JabbaTheCat

    No mention of the deep kleptocratic tendencies of Shoigu so well documented by Navalny?
    http://www.rferl.org/content/russian-dm-shoigu-accused-owning-mansion/27330203.html

    • knave27

      Worthless links by paid State Dept shills and Soros/oligarch founded foundations with no more worth than cheap paper tracts distributed by Bolshevists that only low-information idiots would refer to. How about we do an investigation on your Baby Buggery Island where child rape is made legal.

      • JabbaTheCat

        Lolz…is that the best you can come up with?

        • knave27

          Lol, that’s exactly the point, you can’t come up with anything better than recycled trash handed over to fifth columnists by the State Dept and Soros-funded NGOs – and thankfully these coup-making machines now have been out outlawed in Russia.

  • knave27

    The imaginary non-existent Russian military aggression meaning anyone who is not yielding to western military aggression and subversion or isn’t a puppet who betrays his nation to serve the “west”.

    • Dr. Heath

      Savushkina Street? What’s the rate you krembots are paid for this sort of spew?

      • Bouvman

        And whose bot are you yourself? lol

      • Cyril Sneer

        It’s called being aware of what’s really happening, but you keep watching the BBC.

        • Dr. Heath

          Happening where? What does your comment mean? Is there a translation?

          • Scradje

            He’s a kremkrapper who is so gutless he hides his posting history.

          • 22pp22

            I don’t know if he’s a Kremcrapper of not, but I agree with him. It wasn’t Putin who wrecked Libya, was it. GROW UP.

          • Scradje

            I never mentioned Libya. The troll I referred to belongs to one of the eurotrash fascist parties that worships the mass murderer and invader putler. As do you. You have never been to Ukraine in your life. You quote notorious RT hate and lies from February 2014, such as Nuland ‘spending $5bn destabilising Ukraine’. Total drivel; the money was spent over a period of 22 years, trying to help Ukraine recover from the horrors of RuSSian occupation.

          • 22pp22

            The bits of Ukraine that really suffered were in the East, where nationalist sentiment is weak. The West never experienced the Holodomor. So the places that were really abused don’t want your help.

          • Cyril Sneer

            “the troll I referred to belongs to one of the eurotrash fascist parties”

            Um…. I voted UKIP in the last election, not a member of any party, want out of the EU and a controlled limited immigration policy for the UK. Does that make me a fascist? 😀

            You’re actually quite nuts.

          • Cyril Sneer

            I’m English, born and live in Worcester UK.

            Scradje is just a paranoid fruitcake.

          • Cyril Sneer

            There you go Scradje, my history is unhidden. Didn’t realise it was hidden and couldn’t care less either way.

            You’re a paranoid fool who thinks anyone who differs from you on the subject of Ukraine is a ‘krembot’.

          • Scradje

            I do not mind those who have different view to mine. What I loathe is people who seek to glorify a fascist regime that murders innocent Christians and steals their land. If you are prepared to condemn without reservation such vile behavior then there is no dispute between us. I am not even anti-kipper, I often have them for breakfast and even eat fruitcake sometimes. I just don’t like Kremkippers.

          • Cyril Sneer

            You defend the Kiev government who are responsible for numerous atrocities in East Ukraine. I speak out more against US instigated regime change than I do in blind support of Russia. You seem completely unmoved by what the USA and friends are doing in the world.

            “glorify a fascist regime that murders innocent Christians and steals their land.”

            Are we talking about Crimea here? If so, I disagree with you, Crimea is Russian.

          • Scradje

            RuSSia currently occupies 20% of Georgia and 7% of Ukraine. You are presumably aware that Russian proxies plus Rus regulars deliberately fired heavy artillery into residential apartment complexes in Mariupol, Debaltseve, Kramatorsk, Illovaisk and others? The swastika-tattooed savages occupying Donbas are inflicting murder, torture, rape, extortion and theft on an almost daily basis on innocent civilians there. None of that seems to concern you and your ilk whatsoever, which I find to be very sad indeed.
            Crimea is Ukraine. Look at the map. Please name the countries that recognise it to be part of RuSSia. The Krim Tatars, whose land it belongs to, choose overwhelmingly to be Ukrainian, not Russian. Do you think that any imperial power has the automatic right to seize back any of its former conquests whenever it feels like it, or do you reserve that right only for Putler’s RuSSia? Just because you steal someone else’s land, commit genocide upon the inhabitants and initiate race replacement, which has been imperial Russia’s standard strategy for centuries, that does not make it yours.
            Would you like it to become official kipper policy for any country desiring EU membership to be invaded and occupied by RuSSia? Or does that rule apply only to Georgia and Ukraine?
            What entity is responsible for the most murders of Christians in Europe this century, islamo-fascists or Rus state terror? The answer is the latter by a long, long way.

          • Cyril Sneer

            Scradje, your anti-Russian hatred seeps through almost every post your make. For god sake man, you change Russia to RuSSia… it’s pathetic.

          • Scradje

            Strange how you are so offended by the richly deserved RuSSia tag, yet are totally unmoved by the mass murder committed on innocent men, women and children on their own land by the occupier; the thought process of a sociopath. I am pro-Russia, anti-fascist mass murderers who steal off their own people and steal other people’s land. Putler fanatics are anti-Russia, pro-fascism.
            So I take it therefore that you will be lobbying for Russia to invade any country desiring EU membership? You will presumably be equally happy for Germany to retake Holland and Turkey to retake Greece? That is your perverted, malevolent logic.

          • Cyril Sneer

            I can fully understand why East Ukraine rejected that government. That’s my position. Ukraine had an elected government but that was replaced in a coup. Ukraine had a democratic system, it was corrupt, imperfect but it was a democratic system. The maiden ‘revolution’ was a coup, a western sponsored coup. I cannot support that, I do not support the western policy of regime change and this is just one on a long list.

          • Scradje

            There is no east Ukraine, there is an independent unitary state called Ukraine. Parts of the east have been invaded by a fascist power. Ukraine and Georgia have been INVADED and occupied by a murderous fascist power. Neither of these two Christian nations that are much older than Russia, have ever invaded or even threatened anyone. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are now little more than Russian oblasts; the only thing they could do to avoid being invaded yet again. Belarus is another invasion candidate unless it capitulates. Would you been arguing for Hitler’s ‘right’ to invade Sudetenland? You seem to approve of invaders don’t you?

          • Dr. Heath

            Friends of Vladmila are so irrational [and nasty and racist, in most cases] that any attempts to engage in some sort of dialogue with them are a waste of time. What a shame that The Spectator attracts people who not only support murderers and war criminals – like Vladmila – but imagine that the world’s full of people who share the same nauseating views.

          • Scradje

            Too right doc. The DT swarms with kremtroll fascist filth and unfortunately even the speccie is not imune. Prior to Feb 2014, when the trolls descended to glorify Vladmila and generally kiss his popa, I had no idea of the existence of kremkippers.

          • Dr. Heath

            I also like ‘krembot’. But whether they’re kremkippers or krembots, they’re certainly a species of filth. Seriously, though, Vladmila’s stooges and fans in the West are backing someone who’s a Russian version of an tinpot African dictator. The populations of the EU/NATO are together about 850,000,000. The Russians number about 110,000,000. By every measure of a nation’s achievements and progress, Russia tanks in in last place. A one-trick pony sort of economy that makes nothing and exports only gas, oil and minerals, it’s a truly miserable sort of vast, open-air khazi. Yet, reading the comments of people who’d clearly love to spend their time wedged up Vlad’s back passage, you’d think he was Alexander the Great and that Moscow was Babylon.

          • Sania

            duty moron, u are sucker in any parts of life
            except repeating fox news and different broadcasting clown camarilla.

          • Scradje

            Pissy little kremtroll maggots are an accurate reflection of the slime they troll for.

          • Sania

            crudje, Rus made form and kept free georgia. for example, Batum( Adjaria) were free from turkey in 1877 as result of bloody Pleven battle which finished the war. 31,000 Russian soldiers got end asylum in bulgaria land.

          • Cyril Sneer

            They’re coming to get you Scardje oooooooh…. hahahaha :))

          • Cyril Sneer

            Bad things happen to a country when it refuses to play to the tune of the USA.

  • Presidents of Russia and the Ukraine since the ‘collapse’ of the USSR (cut off date June 30, 2013), including their political affiliation before the ‘collapse’ of the USSR:

    Russia:

    Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin – July 10, 1991 – December 31, 1999 – Communist.

    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – 31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000 (Acting) and May 7, 2000 – May 7, 2008 – Communist.

    Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev – May 7, 2008 – May 7, 2012, during his studies at the University he joined the Communist Party.

    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – May 7, 2012 – Present, Communist.

    Ukraine:

    Leonid Makarovych Kravchuk, December 5, 1991 – July 19, 1994, joined Ukraine Communist Party in 1958.

    Leonid Danylovych Kuchma, July 19, 1994 – January 23, 2005, Communist, 1960.

    Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko, January 23, 2005 – February 25, 2010, Communist, 1980.

    Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, February 25, 2010 – February 22, 2014, Communist, 1980.

    Analysis:

    Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings are only ‘elected’ president of Russia and the Ukraine, proving that the ‘collapse’ of the USSR to be a ruse.

    The following is a discovery I made in April regarding the fake collapse of the USSR, and what that fraudulent collapse proves about the institutions of the West…

    When Soviet citizens were liberated from up to 74 years of horrific Marxist-atheist oppression on December 26, 1991 there were ZERO celebrations throughout the USSR, proving (1) the ‘collapse’ of the USSR is a strategic ruse; and (2) the political parties of the West were already co-opted by Marxists,* otherwise the USSR (and East Bloc nations) couldn’t have gotten away with the ruse.

    ZERO celebrations, as the The Atlantic article inadvertently informs us…

    http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/12/20-years-since-the-fall-of-the-soviet-union/100214/

    Notice, however, the Kremlin staged anti-government demonstrations that took place in Russia (and other Soviet republics) in the years immediately preceding the ‘collapse’, yet ZERO celebrations after the ‘collapse’!

    For more on this discovery see my blog…

    https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/

    The above means that the so-called ‘War on Terror’ is an operation being carried out by the Marxist co-opted governments of the West in alliance with the USSR and other Communist nations, the purpose being to (1) destroy the prominence of the West in the eyes of the world, where the West is seen (i) invading nations without cause; (ii) causing chaos around the globe; and (iii) killing over one-million civilians and boasting of torture; (2) close off non-Russian supplies of oil for export, thereby increasing the price of oil, the higher price allowing oil exporting Russia to maintain economic stability while she modernizes and increases her military forces; (3) destroy the United States Armed Forces via the never-ending ‘War on Terror’; the ultimate purpose of the aforementioned to (4) bring about the demise of the United States in the world, opening up a political void to be filled by a new pan-national entity composed of Europe and Russia (replacing the European Union), a union ‘From the Atlantic to Vladivostok’; which will (5) see the end of NATO.

    Now you know how Bolshevik Russia survived in 1917; how the West ‘lost’ China to the Communists in 1949; why the Eisenhower administration turned a deaf ear to the anti-Communist Hungarian uprising in 1956; why the Eisenhower administration in 1959 was indifferent to the Castro brothers’ Communist fidelity, actually used the CIA to overthrow the Batista government; why the Nixon administration abandoned Taiwan for Communist China, and signed treaties/provided economic aid to the USSR; why the Nixon administration refused to tell the American People that over 50% of North Vietnamese NVA regiments were actually Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers (attired in NVA uniforms, and proving that the Sino/Soviet Split was a ruse, as KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn told the West back in 1962), thereby (1) ensuring the Vietnam War would be lost; (2) destroying the prominence of the United States abroad and at home; (3) breeding distrust between the American people and their government; and (4) securing Communist victories in Southeast Asia. Working in the background within the political parties of the United States and Great Britain were Marxist agents doing their best to (1) ensure the survival of Communist nations when they popped up; and (2) sabotage any policies that would bring down a Communist nation. That’s why after the fake collapses of the East Bloc nations and USSR there was no mandatory Western verification process to ensure the Communists weren’t still in control.

    Now you know why not one political party in the West requested verification of the collapse of the USSR, and the media failed to alert your attention to this fact, including the ‘alternative’ media. When determining whether the ‘former’ USSR is complying with arms control treaties, what does the United States do to confirm compliance? Right, the United States sends into the ‘former’ USSR investigative teams to VERIFY compliance, yet when it’s the fate of the West that’s at stake should the collapse of the USSR be a ruse, what does the United States do to confirm the collapse? Nothing!

    The fraudulent ‘collapse’ of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Marxists, which explains why verification of the ‘collapse’ was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    It gets worse–the ‘freed’ Soviets and West also never (1) de-Communized the Soviet Armed Forces of its Communist Party officer corps, which was 90% officered by Communist Party members; and (2) arrested/de-mobilized the 6-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Union’s Ministry of the Interior and police control the populations of the larger cities during the period of ‘Perestroika’ (1986-1991)!

    There can be no collapse of the USSR (or East Bloc nations) without…

    Verification, De-Communization and De-mobilization.

    The West never verified the collapse of the USSR because no collapse occurred, since if a real collapse had occurred the West would have verified it, since the survival of the West depends on verification. Conversely, this proves that the political parties of the West were co-opted by Marxists long before the fraudulent collapse of the USSR, since the survival of the West depends on verification.

    Conclusion:

    The West will form new political parties where candidates are vetted for Marxist ideology, the use of the polygraph to be an important tool for such vetting. Then the West can finally liberate the globe of vanguard Communism.

    ————————-

    * The failed socialist inspired and controlled pan-European revolutions that swept the continent in 1848(1) taught Marxists and socialists a powerful lesson, that lesson being they couldn’t win overtly,(2) so they adopted the tactic of infiltration of the West’s political parties/institutions. In the case of the United States…(continue reading at DNotice)…

    https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/now-you-see-me-now-you-don-t

  • sidor

    The civil war in Ukraine is about drawing the border between the Russian Empire and the EU Empire. The key question is how the failed state of Ukraine is to be divided. The natural division looks like this: Galicia should go back to Poland, East and South – to Russia, the rest as it would wish.

    The political problem is Putin: he is a humble, timid and mediocre leader, trying to keep balance between different power groups in Russia and simultaneously please the West. The situation is like in the 17th century before the advent of Peter the Great.

    • Paul Niland

      There’s little correct at all in your comment. Starting with the fact that the war in Ukraine isn’t a “civil war” at all. It has, since the beginning, been directed and supplied by Russia from the very outset. If Russia had not invited itself to interfere in Ukraine’s affairs there would have been a peaceful period of post-revolution bullshit busting as many people believed a lot of the nonsense spouted by the pro-Yanukovych and Russian TV channels they chose to misinform themselves from and there would be 8,000 less dead people.

      Ukraine should not be divided at all, it is in fact more united today than it has ever been. You think the east and south should go to Russia? Go and ask the people of Odessa or Slovyansk if they have any desire for that. You will find that they do not. Equally, you’ll find that people in western Ukraine have no desire to be a part of Poland and Poland has no designs on annexing any territory from western Ukraine.

      As for Putin, he is neither humble nor timid, although he is mediocre. He most certainly isn’t trying to please the west as you suggest, hence all of the sanctions on Russia from all of the EU< and Canada and the US. That's hardly the outcome of a regime busying itself pleasing the west, obviously. If he wanted to try and please the west, to start even, then he could have kicked off his campaign in Syria by actually targeting ISIS, as it is though he has not done this and shown that his key aim is to keep Assad in power in as much of Syria as possible.

      • sidor

        The civil war in Ukraine exactly repeats the one that occurred in the 17th century. The same pattern: East-West, both sides were supported by, respectively, Russia and Poland. The fact is that Kiev’s regime killed many thousands people in the Eastern Ukraine who don’t want to recognise its authority. Putin betrayed these people. He is a coward and a Western puppet, driven by his own commercial interests. Peter the Great acted differently 300 years ago.

        If you don’t like Assad in Syria, you support ISIS. It is that simple. No third party is available in that war.

        • ed t

          Putin is neither timid nor humble (nor, for that matter, a coward). There would be no breakaway tendency in E Ukraine without him or his associates. The Kiev regime has been demonised by Putin’s propagandists, and the ‘rebels’ in E Ukraine are often undercover branches of the Russia military, or at least funded and equipped by them.
          There are other partners in Syria than ISIS (or Al Qu’eda) or Assad, For example the Sahwah allies; Putin has been bombing them in preference to attacking ISIS.

        • Paul Niland

          1) You continue to be demonstrably wrong about Ukraine. The authorities in Kyiv were forced to react with military force to a military situation. It’s as simple as that. Suggesting that they killed thousands for not wanting to recognise their authority is simple false.

          2) “If you don’t like Assad in Syria, you support ISIS” – what complete tripe (like your earlier comments, not coincidentally) I can be against both Assad and ISIS, and in fact any/every rational person would be against both Assad and ISIS.

          • Mr B J Mann

            But Kyiv “IS KILLING IT’S *OWN* PEOPLE!!!!!

          • Paul Niland

            The Ukrainian armed forces responded to a military situation in the east of Ukraine. In early April, following weekends of imported violence in now peaceful cities like Kharkiv, heavily armed men began seizing infrastructure buildings like police stations and town halls, across parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

            Those heavily armed men were not local. They came from Russia. The fight against the Ukrainian armed forces in eastern Ukraine has been fueled from the very beginning by Russia with material, men, and propaganda.

            You are a part of that propaganda, or you are a useful idiot. You have blood on your hands either deliberately or through stupidity therefore.

          • 22pp22

            My Ukrainian friends have very mixed feelings about all this. The ones from Odessa in particular never wanted independence. Victoria Nuland boasted about spending 5 biilion destabilising the place. Many of the people in the east and Crimea DO consider themselves Russian. You know NOTHING. The idiot is you. And it’s not Putin who asked the Third World to come and colonise us.

          • Paul Niland

            Victoria Nuland has never “boasted” of destabilising Ukraine. I recently watched the speech she gave where she mentioned the $5 billion, and the word she used was “assistance” to the state. In fact this figure (which is accurate) is much twisted but it is all of the aid that the US has provided to Ukraine since independence. In the same period Russia got $20 billion in aid from the US.

            As for your friends in Odessa. well, they would be in the minority… On December 1st 1991 there was a Ukraine-wide ballot on independence and the vote in favour in Odessa Oblast was 85%. Incidentally, it was 54% in Crimea, and 83% in both Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

            Many people in eastern (also southern) Ukraine and in Crimea are ethnically Russian, I am aware of this. Lots of them in the main cities speak Russian as their first language, that doesn’t mean that they want to be part of Russia in any way shape or form and that is the miscalculation that Putin made invading this part of Ukraine. The local population simply didn’t join in with Putin’s plan, and that is one major reason why the plan to create what was initially called “Novorussia” (note how that term has disappeared…) has completely failed.

            Even if you type is in capitals, claims that I know “NOTHING” are baseless… All of the facts, percentages, I state are easily checked.

            Here’s some more facts as well… The military operation to grab Crimea started on February 27th with heavily armed men taking over the Crimean Parliament building. In a closed session, literally at gunpoint, Sergey Aksyonov was suddenly installed as the new Prime Minister of the region. The last time Crimea had a legitimate election Aksyonov’s “United Russia” party received 4% of the popular vote……… Aksyonov, hand picked by Putin, is reputed to be involved in organised crime. Democracy, Russian style, gangsters, guns, and screw the will of the people.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I’m part of WHAT?!?!?!!!!

            Where do I start?!

            Let’s keep it simple:

            The US and EU clearly promoted and provoked the illegal coup in Kiev (including snipers, and please don’t mention “election” – was the former President and his allies allowed to stand?)

            And try reading your contribution substituting Syria for Ukraine!

            YOU are the one with blood on his hands, idiot!

          • Paul Niland

            “You are part of that propoganda” is what I said… Happy to answer your first point…

            Keeping things simple… The revolution (it wasn’t a “coup” at all) was started by Ukrainian people and it was carried out by Ukrainian people. On December 1st a million Ukrainian people came out on the streets of Kyiv. That, without doubt, would be a feat that the US and the EU could not pull off in a million years. Suggesting that the revolution was some kind of foreign action is stupid, on December 8th also one million people were on the streets of Kyiv. Your argument fails right there.

            If you want to learn more about Euromaidan there’s an excellent artticle called “EuroMaidan Myth and Reality” in the Kyiv Post written by, me.

            The only snipers came from Yanukovych’s security services, whether he directed them or whether he was directed remains an open question.

            Was Yanukovych allowed to stand? He didn’t register himself as a candidate, so, that’s an irrelevance. Were his allies allowed to stand? Yes, they were. Including Yuriy Boyko, a Yanukovych era Minister, Mikhylo Dobkin, Kharkiv Oblast Governer and Party Of Regions supporter, and Serhiy Tyhypko who folded his political party into the Party of Regions.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Was it Ukranians who were handing out coffee and cookies?

            Or perhaps Putin’s henchmen?!

            Did you personally count the million? They can’t even get that in London, despite the labels!

            How come the US and EU couldn’t pull it off, but a rag-tag, unorganised protest could?!

            So the only snipers came from Yanukovych’s security services:

            Shooting themselves?!

            “Was Yanukovych allowed to stand? He didn’t register himself as a candidate, so, that’s an irrelevance.”

            So that’s alright then!

            He left the country in fear of his life, and didn’t register himself as a candidate, so the question of whether he was allowed to stand is an irrelevance.

            Just like it’s an irrelevance whether non party members are allowed to stand in China or North Korea as they don’t register themselves as candidates!

            Ditto various African “democracies”!!!

            But what else do you expect from someone who posts:

            “You are a part of that propaganda, or you are a useful idiot. You have blood on your hands either deliberately or through stupidity therefore.”

            And then admits:

            “If you want to learn more about Euromaidan there’s an excellent artticle called “EuroMaidan Myth and Reality” in the Kyiv Post written by, me.”?!

          • Paul Niland

            1) Yes, it was Ukrainians handing out coffee and cookies. and sandwiches and soup, and anything else they could gather, collectively, and serve. That is precisely what happened, and I was there almost every day to witness it. Some days, like February 19th, the only food I ate was on Maidan.

            2) No, I did not personally count a million people, that’s such a stupid question. Beyond stupid in fact. There is aerial footage, based on density of crowd and size of space, there were a million people on both December 1st and 8th.

            3) A “rag tag unorganised protest” that happens to reflect the feelings of millions of people, yes, it can pull that off. It’s called a revolution. Look it up, there’;s lots of precedent. They’re almost always against kleptocrats and dictators, and in favour of civil right, like, well, democracy.

            4) Yanukovych feared prison (for a third time) and loss of all of the money he had stolen more than anything else. He was safe behind the walls of the mansion he denied having (which I was in the day he left) and he flew out of there in a helicopter stuffed full of loot. That’s what happened. Defending him is ridiculous.

            5) Yanukovych’s own party, the Party of Regions, decided to expel him and officially endorse Dobkin as their candidate. He came 6th, wiht 3.03% of the vote, such was the nationwide support for them. That party no longer exists in name, it exists under a new banner and calls itself the Opposition Bloc. They have 29 seats in Parliament.

            6) There is no “propaganda” in any of my writing. My goal is to set the record straight simply so that people understand the facts of what has happened in Ukraine over the last two years. If you’ve got a specific allegations against me or can disprove a single word that I have written and is a matter of public record, try that, rather than just throwing out baseless accusations.

            By the way, “Mr B J Mann” there is nothing even slightly anonymous in my writing, here, in the Kyiv Post, on Twitter, on Facebook. I am who I say and publicly stand by my words.

          • Mr B J Mann

            1) So you’re saying press reports of Westerners feeding the rioters were lies?

            2) Where can we see this aerial footage (of protesters complete with banners, as opposed to commuters, shoppers, tourists…..)?

            3) Where are there precedents for such supposedly large scale rag-tag unorganised (“spontaneous”) protests?! And you’re saying Yanukovych was the first, one and only Ukrainian politician who was a kleptocrat and a dictator? How poor was that golden girl of Ukrainian politics, Yulia Tymoshenko, for example, and how did she scrape together the pittance she possesses?!

            4) So he was the only Ukranian politician who feared prison? And where and when have I defended him?

            5) “Decided”? Were the elections fully monitored? Was Yanukovytch standing? Why weren’t they held when they were supposed to have been held? Etc.

            6) So you’ve told us the West supported the Maidan riots….. er, no, you said you were there and only Ukrainians were dishing out the rations! You told us that every politician there robbed the country, err, no, you were just getting round to that!!

            And where did I say there was anything even slightly anonymous about you?!

          • Paul Niland

            1) No. Nuland was on Maidan. I am saying that 99.99% of the feeding done on Maidan was Ukrainians feeding Ukrainians. The effect of Nuland handing out a few biscuits is probably about as measurable in feeding terms as the amount by which an aircraft carrier sinks when a bird lands on the deck. Probably measurable, statistically, but essentially insignificant.

            2) Here is footage from December 8th. It was taken from the top of the Yolka. People packed in from all directions. There are no commuters, shoppers, or tourists who happened to accidentally wander in to this.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nNFrvGOb9o

            3) a) Precedents, Poland, Romania, Phillipines. Etc. Future, any other corrupt kleptocracy or dictatorship headed by a stealing regime by the way. b) Nope, not saying Yanukovych was the only corrupt politician. c) You can look up another article of mine in the Kyiv Post entitled “Tymoshenko, again?” to get my views on that lady.

            4) No, Yanukovych wasn’t the only politician fearing jail. On the day that he fled (there’s an excellent New York Times article analysing what happened, essentially, his support base collapsed and he knew that members of the Party of Regions were speaking to the opposition about convening parliament to impeach him, so he ran. It’s called “Ukraine Leader Was Defeated Even Before He Was Ousted) A few dozen more of his most corrupt inner circle also ran away, almost all of them took private jets to Moscow. Like former PG Pshonka, Acting PM Arbuzov, Family insider and overnight billionaire the 28 year old Kurchenko… Others went to Belarus by car, like Interior Minister Zakharchenko, until he was told to leave, even Lukashenko wouldn’t have him.

            5) a) “Decided”, yes, past tense, a decision was made… The Party of Regions, who were the support base for Yanukovyuch, expelled him from the party and they selected Dobkin as their nominee for the post of President. What’s your problem with these facts? b) Yes, the elections were fully monitored. Easy to confirm that fact online, and find a list of organisations who sent observer missions… c) No, Yanukovych wasn’t standing, for reasons already discussed. d) Elections were held early because the post of President had been left empty because the previous holder of this office was unable to fulfill his duties as he had abandoned his office and fled the country. e) etc…

            6) What happened on Maidan wasn’t a riot, Maidan was always a peaceful place unless the police were attacking it. What the west supported was the call from Ukrainians for a real democracy, that is what is being built in Ukraine now following the revolution. As for only Ukrainians dishing out rations, a very good friend of mine who is from Moldova spent time in some of the kitchens… The first death on Maidan was Sergiy Nigoyan, he was Armenian…. Other nationalities were present, witnessing what the Ukrainian people were doing. There were even a few Russians too. Was every politician from the Yanukovych era robbing the country? No. The vast majority of them were though. The central reason for Maidan was corruption. The main chants were “Bandy Het” and “zeka Het” meaning “out with the gang” and “out with the convict”

            As for the anonymity point… I am saying that I am not even slightly anonymous… But “Mr B J Mann” is a little anonymous…

            In conclusion, your narrative is thoroughly flawed. Sinking to depths of “as opposed to commuters, shoppers, tourists” is just plain silly. This revolution lasted for 93 days from start to finish. It was done by the Ukrainian people and for the Ukrainian people. I am proud to have stood amongst them, young and old, professionals, students, retirees, for 89 of those 93 days and listed to their stories. Trying to tell me that you know better than my first hand experience of what really happened there is a futile waste of time.

            I have enjoyed the opportunity through to educate other people, who may be witnessing this conversation, on the reality of events in Ukraine from November 21st 2013 to February 22nd 2014, the period of the revolution, and beyond.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Riiiiiiight!!!!???

            So if Obama had come to the Maidan and handed over just one cup of coffee to one rioter…..

            Or even handed over no supplies whatsoever:

            Just gave the leader of the rioters a big hug while a fellow Ukrainian rioter handed them a coffee:

            “The effect of [THAT] is probably about as measurable in feeding terms as the amount by which an aircraft carrier sinks when a bird lands on the deck. Probably measurable, statistically, but essentially insignificant.”

            Feeding terms?!?!?!!!

            I take it you’re not a political journalist then!!!!!!!!

            As for your Precedents, off the top of my head I couldn’t comment on the rest: but didn’t Poland take years to organise and build up?

            Including the Polish Pope handing out tiny wafers of bread?

            The effect of “Which……. is probably about as measurable in feeding terms as the amount by which an aircraft carrier sinks when a bird lands on the deck. Probably measurable, statistically, but essentially insignificant.”?!?!?!!!!

            Oh, and who was rumoured to have trained the “Ukrainian”(-Arab?) social media organiser behind the riots?!

            And why has it taken so long for you to independently and even-handedly admit it’s not as black and white as your previous posts implied?!

            And you still haven’t mentioned the gangsters and “renegade” paramilitaries on the “Ukranian” side.

            Nor ALL the deaths!!!!

            You say the Maidan wasn’t a riot, it was peaceful except when the police were attacking it……

            So peaceful that when they were, supposedly, attacked by the police they responded with petrol bombs and gunfire (how many police died?).

            But was even the one death you admit worth bringing the election forward a bit?!

            Was it, or even the riots, even necessary given the rest of your points?!?!

            How many died in (the same few days leading up to) Poland’s revolution?!?!?!!!

            It’s a good job the West wasn’t to blame, eh?!

            Oh, and it’s my name, but if it wasn’t: what difference would it make to the truth?

          • Mr B J Mann

            PS Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the old regime, or the new (which is “bombing it’s own people!”):

            “I am proud to have stood amongst them……l

            Clearly makes you a partisan participant rather than a detached, uninvolved, unbiased, independent observer.

            And:

            “I have enjoyed the opportunity through to educate other people….. on the reality of events in…… the period of the revolution, and beyond.”

            Makes you sound more like a propagandist, and a Soviet one at that!

            Oh, and where have I been:

            “Trying to tell me that you know better than my first hand experience of what really happened there”?

            But I do know that trying to have a rational discussion with a “reporter” who has gone native and so obviously, and admittedly, become emotionally involved:

            “is a futile waste of time”!

            There’s as much point as discussing the Middle East with a BBC reporter who is crying at the funeral of a terrorist!

          • Paul Niland

            Oh, you seem to be having an emotional and angry reaction to my having demonstrated that the square was actually full of protesters with banners and not “commuters, shoppers, tourists”… Well, what you could do is say “OK, you were right, I see that” because that would be the honest and obvious and least embarrassing step for you at this time.

            Instead, you continue to rant about the west, and when you already have no credibility left you also make silly accusations about the new authorities bombing their own citizens. Despite the fog of the manufactured conflict, it is not apparent to almost everyone in the world (apart from Russians and RT watchers) that this has been from the start an invasion of sovereign Ukrainian territory by Russia. Because, criticism and sanctions from the developed and civilised democratic world aren’t for nothing you know…

            As for me. I am neither a reporter or a journalist. I am just a guy who happened to be around to see all of this and every now and then I write Op Eds in some publications because the Editors of those publications (and other people of note who then share my writing) happen to think that I make a reasonable point. I take no payment for anything I write, I am not a trained journalist. I write what I see.

            Attempting to claim that I am a propagandist is silly. I have gone native in so far as Ukraine is my home and I am interested in what happens here. Sometimes I am emotional about it, and see nothing wrong with that… The fact that I was an observer to the revolution doesn’t mean that there is any bias in what I write, and the further insinuation with accusations of bias or propaganda you are throwing at me is that there is some dishonesty in what I say. Find it. Demonstrate it. Highlight a single mistruth from me. I dare you.

            As for where the violence came from, this video of a million not shoppers or tourists or commuters was shot on December 8th. That day was entirely peaceful. The response from Yanukovyuch was that his riot police moved in to put an end to Maidan two nights later, today’s date in fact, the night of the 10th-11th of December. When that failed the next Putin-Yanukovych plan was a $15 billion loan and a 1/3 cut in the gas price which was negotiated on December 17th.

            The events you are talking about when protesters took aggressive actions were more than a month later, on January 19th. Those events followed the passing of the Dictatorship laws by Ukraine’s Parliament on January 16th. A full two months of peaceful protests came before that.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Nope.

            Totally unemotional and completely placid.

            Is that what’s got you all confused?!

            PS “Instead, you continue to rant about the west, and when you already have no credibility left you also make silly accusations about the new authorities bombing their own citizens…….”

            So who are they bombing?

            France’s own people?!

            And British people get shot by British people, never mind yanks by Yanks (Kent State, Waco…….).

            That doesn’t prove that either side is right!

            Oh, and as for:

            “Highlight a single mistruth from me. I dare you.”

            Apart from everything else I’ve highlighted: you forgotten to apologise for casting nasturtiums at my name.

            “because that would be the honest and obvious and least embarrassing step for you at this time. Instead, you continue to rant……….”

          • Paul Niland

            I didn’t cast anything at your name at all… I simply said that your post is semi anonymous because you use initials and not your full name.

            You’ve highlighted nothing untruthful in any one of my comments. That much will be obvious to anyone reading this thread.

            You do appears to be asking one more question, “Who are they bombing” well, what has happened in eastern Ukraine has been a military response to a military situation. A military situation that, again, was manufactured by Russia. It was also manned by Russians (and still is, says Reuters, quoting the UN: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-un-idUSKBN0TS0TQ20151209?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter#I7YHIDIa2q4Ogvx8.97 ) and has been supplied by Russia from the very start. Had Russia not got involved there would have been no war in Ukraine. 10,000 people would not have died.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Wow, I’m “semi anonymous”!

            Just WOW!

            And I take it you are going to have stern words with “liberals”, especially those in the meejah, who object to Assad “bombing his own people” then?

            Or are you going to claim that it was “A military situation that, again, was manufactured by Russia”?!

            But, knowing all this, did you, the EU, NATO and the UN try to calm the situation, keep the lid on things, advise the “protesters” to disperse at the first sign of trouble?!

            No, you seem not just to be an apologist for, but at least a supporter of, the “protests”!

            But you

            “If you’ve got a specific allegations against me or can disprove a single word that I have written and is a matter of public record, try that, rather than just throwing out baseless accusations.”

            Well, here’s half a dozen of your words for a start:

            ” You have blood on your hands”

            None one drop on mine, mate.

            It’s not me who supports violence!

            And that’s on top of the semi/anonymous smear!

          • Paul Niland

            You are semi anonymous unless you are making your comments in public by an identifiable name. Who are you “B J”? Are you a guidance counselor from Rochester, NY, or another B J Mann?

            I do object to Assad bombing his own people, yes. My record on this subject (see Twitter, in my own (full) name) is pretty clear…

            My position on Syria is not that it is “a military situation … manufactured by Russia” but it is a military situation that has developed with Russian protection of the Assad regime for 4 years and now Russian support of the Assad regime under the guise of them pretending to be going up against ISIS…

            It is duly noted how you are changing the topic, btw.

            Not sure why you think the word “protesters” needs quotation marks, how I have just used them is correct, how you used them was not. But, did I advise them to “disperse at the first sign of trouble” (again, appropriate use of punctuation) no, I did not. The protesters knew what they were doing. They were bravely standing up against a thoroughly corrupt regime. Defeating that absolutely required standing firm, as they did in the unprovoked attempt to clear Maidan exactly two years and 6-7-8 ours ago.

            Why are you invoking NATO in that last sentence? You think NATO should have advised protesters in Kyiv to disperse at the first sign of trouble? Or is that just a keyword that you have to throw in every now and then? It’s entirely out of place of course.

            I am not an “apologist” for the people who stood up against Yanukovych/corruption and for democracy and a fairer system in Ukraine. They need no apologising for, not for a second. Am I a supporter of them. Yes, 100%. I was and I am still.

            And, almost finally, I do not support violence, in any way shape or form.

            And, finally, the “semi anonymous” thing isn’t a smear. Firstly it’s a fact, (until you identify yourself) and second this observation isn’t in any way a “smear” either…

            Actually, one final final thought… For context… No, I have no problem whatsoever with Nuland handing out cookies on Maidan. Yes, I do have a serious problem with Putin handing out lethal weapons to those responsible for bringing war to Ukraine and killing upwards of 9,000 people.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I’m changing the topic btw?!

            How many times have you brought up my name?

            And what difference does it make?!

            The simple facts are that, as even in Libya and Syria, 9,000 people have died unnecessarily due to the provocations of the US and EU, and support of people like you.

            There might have been some excuse if the upcoming elections had been undemocratic and hadn’t reflected the will of the people.

            But instead you’ve had an illegal coup which put in power people supported by shield bearing, military helmet wearing, gun wielding, rock throwing, petrol bombing, police killing revolutionaries months from a legal election.

            And, ironically, but typically for all such “liberal” adventures, YOU have put in place a government that seems to include ultra right wing extreme nationalist thugs that “kill their own people”.

            You need far more than a guidance counselor from Rocheste handing out cookies to wash the blood off your hands from this.

          • Paul Niland

            You realise that bringing something up repeatedly is the exact opposite of changing topic, right? I note that you continue to deflect rather than disclose your actual identity.

            Libya, Syria, they’re topic changers… Also noted…

            The US and EU didn’t provoke the revolution in Ukraine. Yanukovych’s corruption did. Back to the point, you saw the video you asked for as proof that they weren’t shoppers, tourists or commuters… The US and EU couldn’t get a million Ukrainian people on the streets and it’s pretty stupid to even try to suggest that they did. It defies logic and reality and common sense.

            The will of the people is an interesting argument. By coincidence, I wrote an article with exactly those 5 words as the title. Here:

            http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/paul-niland-the-will-of-the-people-396759.html

            There was no “coup” and it doesn’t matter how often you try to assert that term, it remains incorrect. The election wasn’t months away, it had been brought forward by agreement between Yanukovych and the opposition in a deal brokered by Poland’s then FM Radek Sikorski, a change to the constitution was also agreed, but he ran away instead of implementing the agreement… Fact.

            Name a single “right wing” person, let alone an “extreme nationalist thug” in Ukraine’s government. Go on, name one….

          • Mr B J Mann

            Ermmmmmmm:

            I was discussing politics, and the way some people try to distract from the facts.

            You repeatedly bring up my name as though it has some significance!

            As you’ve just done again.

            My name Mr B J Mann.

            Even if it isn’t:

            What difference does that make?!

            As for:

            “Libya, Syria, they’re topic changers… Also noted…”

            No, pattern confirmers:

            Balkans, Libya, Ukraine, Syria……h

            The West trying to export “democracy”, usually for its own ends, and the locals ending up worse off than they were to start with.

            OK, you’ve convinced me:

            You don’t have to reply again:

            The Paul Niland who sometimes writes editorials in the Ukraine for free:

            Is actually paid by the CIA.

            Whereas the semi anonymous Mr B J Mann objects to spin, hypocricy, propaganda and lies (from whichever side) for free for real and is fully autonomous.

            Happy now?

          • Paul Niland

            I am paid by the CIA. That’s the best that you can do? Really, that’s the only logical conclusion you can come to? Your mind works in a very strange way “B J”…

            For the record, you’ve been asked to provide an example of one single lie from me, and have not been able to, repeating a claim that there might be some lies coming from me without providing any proof is duly noted….

          • Mr B J Mann

            For the record, Agent Niland is lying again, as anyone who has been following the thread will realise.

            Nice try at fooling newcomers though Agent Niland!

          • Mr B J Mann

            By the way, your video was followed by one that “proved” that the moderate, non violent, democratic, peaceful, law abiding protesters were shhoting the cops (and that the cops were going out of their way to avoid shooting unarmed protesters).

            So your point is, Agent Niland?!

          • Paul Niland

            The point that the actions of some people fighting against the Yanukovych regime became violent was on January 19th, the trigger for those events (not that I am excusing them, but explaining them) was the passage of a set of laws on January which were called the dictatorship laws. Those laws were passed off as European norms by the sponsors of the bills, both Party of Regions members, and they were passed by a show of hands after which someone shouted that they had been passed by 235 votes. In fact analysis of images from inside parliament during that voting showed that there were half of that number of deputies in the session hall and voting.

            Now, if your civil liberties were being taken away, by a corrupt bunch of thieves who had at that point ignored two months of peaceful rallies (from November 21st, and, I will remind you the million person video I presented was on December 8th) and if those civil liberties were taken away in a clearly illegal manner, what would you do? Roll over? Go home? Or stand up and fight?

            By the way, in the days that followed January 19th during the fighting on Hrushevskoho Street Maidan remained a violence free place, and in those clashes on Hrushevskoho riot police deliberately shot both medics and journalists and raided/trashed a first aid centre. At this time two men who had been injured were kidnapped by Yanukovych’s henchmen from hospital, that’s right, KIDNAPPED FROM HOSPITAL by the government and then they were tortured. One of them, Ihor Lutsenko, was released after a few days, the other, a 41 year old Geologist called Yuri Verbitsky, was left to die in a forest from wounds inflicted on him while he was being tortured.

            You expect people not to stand up to a regime like that?

            Are you, again, going to insinuate that I am lying? Or, would you like to try to disprove any of the specific details of the information in this comment?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-protest_laws_in_Ukraine

          • Mr B J Mann

            And you are arguing that all that, and what has happened since, is better than leaving well alone until the election that was imminent anyway, and voting for change, Agent Niland?!!?!?!?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Oh, oh, and the US and EU couldn’t get a million people on the streets and so it’s pretty stupid to even try to suggest that the Ukraine did in defiance of a ruthless, evil dictator and his murderous henchmen!

            It defies logic and reality and common sense!!!

            Agent Niland.

          • Paul Niland

            You say “It defied logic and reality and common sense!!!” Yet, you have seen the video evidence for exactly that… Here it is again…

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nNFrvGOb9o

          • Mr B J Mann

            Re read what I said, Agent Niland!

          • Paul Niland

            Read it. Understood it. Replied to it. Tovarish Chelovek.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Read it. Couldn’t understand it. Can’t reply to it. As I didn’t do Eastern European Languages at the CIA Academy like you, Agent Niland!

          • Paul Niland

            Because someone who disagrees with you, and points out why you’re wrong, they must be a CIA agent… That’s the only possible explanation…

          • Mr B J Mann

            You might disagree with me, but you still haven’t pointed out how the Ukraine isn’t following the pattern of Libya and Syria, or how my supposedly being “semi anonymous” makes a blind bit of difference, or how I have blood on my hands, never mind proved anything else, Agent Niland!

          • Paul Niland

            I don’t have to discuss Libya or Syria as I have no desire to. Your being “semi anonymous” isn’t a supposed thing, it is an actual thing, are you using your full name? No. Fact confirmed. All I am saying is that I have the courage to put my thoughts in my own name, some do not. You have blood on your hands because of the position you argue and (poorly) defend.

            And here’s another article I haven’t been paid by the CIA or anyone else to write, just published…

            http://www.kyivpost.com/article/opinion/op-ed/paul-niland-see-you-in-court-russia-404070.html

          • Mr B J Mann

            Agent Niland -> Mr B J Mann • 3 hours ago

            I don’t have to discuss Libya or Syria as I have no desire to.

            Obviously you don’t desire to highlight the same regime change pattern that was followed in the Ukraine.

            Your being “semi anonymous” isn’t a supposed thing, it is an actual thing

            Course it’s “an actual thing”.

            So are fish.

            But what has it got to do with the price of fish?!

            are you using your full name? No.

            So what?!

            Fact confirmed.

            So what?!?!

            All I am saying is that I have the courage to put my thoughts in my own name, some do not.

            So what?!?!?!?!?!?!

            Doesn’t make them any less true, though, does it!

            And how many of your mates among the peaceful, legal, democratic Maiden revo……, sorry, “peaceful, legal, democratic protesters” were wearing badges with their full names on?!

            You have blood on your hands because of the position you argue and (poorly) defend.

            Ermmmmmm, I didn’t promote and support a “peaceful, legal, democraticprotest” that led to hundreds, then thousands, of deaths in an armed coup and then a civil war.

            Like you did.

            Mr Paul “Blood On His Hands” Agent Nuland, sorry, Niland!

            And here’s another article I haven’t been paid by the CIA or anyone else to write, just published…

            The one that says (I’ve fixed it ferya!):

            Maidan revolutionaries’ annexation of the Ukrainian was an illegal act of military aggression, the “election” that followed had neither legitimacy nor credibility, and the announced results were obviously an insult to intelligence. Let’s not cloud those basics of that matter with anything at all.

            There, isn’t that more like it, Agent Nuland?!

          • Mr B J Mann

            And according to Wikipedia:

            Svoboda:…..

            Ideology Ukrainian nationalism[3]
            Right-wing populism[4][5]
            Anti-communism
            Ultranationalism[6]
            Ethnic nationalism

            Political position Far-right…….

            The party won 6 seats in the late October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election…….

            From 27 February 2014 till 12 November 2014 three members of the party held positions in Ukraine’s government…….

            It is widely considered a fascist and/or anti-semitic party,[21][22][23][24][25][26][27]………

            On 18 March 2014, Svoboda members posted an online video of party MPs beating acting National Television Company of Ukraine president Oleksandr Panteleymonov and trying to force him to sign a letter of resignation because he broadcast the Crimea ascension to the Russian Federation ceremony in the Kremlin……

            This is the freedom and democracy you propagandised and fought for, Agent Niland!

          • Mr B J Mann

            Then there’s news like:

            “Clashes over the weekend in south-western Ukraine between members of a far-right volunteer militia and local authorities have raised fears that violence is spreading beyond the conflict in Ukraine’s east and could further destabilise the country’s fragile political balance.
            They also underline the delicate and highly risky relationship between the Ukrainian government and the volunteer militias, who are helping fight Moscow-supported militants in eastern Ukraine…….”

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-33523869

            No right wing extreme nationalist thugs there then!

            And again the parallels with Syria and Libya

            You have done well, Agent Niland!

          • 22pp22

            There is no viable third party.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Why should he kick off his campaign in Syria by attacking IS!S, who are supported by Turkey and Saudi, and supposedly being deal with by NATO already, and are attacking the supply lines of the so-called “moderate” rebels to their rear, when the so-called “moderate” rebels are at the gates of his ally Assad’s capital?!?!!!!!!

        And before anyone regurgitates it:

        The US “was killing it’s own people”:

        750,000 of them:

        In it’s own Civil War!

        Otherwise it wouldn’t be a Civil War, would it?!?!

        Who are the “moderate” rebels killing?

        Peru’s own people?!?!?!!!!!

  • Baron

    Not a bad synopsis, Mark, skin deep though, of the man who’s transformed the Russian military which were, to put in mildly, a heap of $rap in the last decades of the Red Menace, and under Boris.

    Crimea’s the gem for anyone who holds it, Sevastopol being the only deep sea port this side of Urals that doesn’t freeze. That was the prize the Americans were after, spent $500mn to get it, fugged up with the Feb 2014 Kiev coup which they didn’t see coming, failed to stop.

    East Ukraine has no strategic value to Russia, (the whole Ukraine does), Putin’s helping the region only because if he didn’t, the Russian unwashed would turn against him, the majority of burghers there are Russians (see recent elections).

    The Americans will make the next move, either prop up the Poroshenko administration, take the country into NATO, or drop him, bargaining the country for something they regard as more strategically important, let Russia to deal with it.

    In the long term, Ukraine will re-join her bigger eastern brother, the coupling of history, survival, and blood ties is too strong not to prevail.

    • zorbatheturk

      Bull. The EU beats Russia every time. Russia offers nothing to Ukraine.

      • 22pp22

        The EU offers unlimited ME migrants.

  • rtj1211

    Just remind me again how many bombs the USA has dropped on Iraq, Libya and Syria the past 15 years……

    I believe we were referring to Russian militarisation??

    • Terry Field

      Hello Pravda! Have a nice day!

      • 22pp22

        I am as Anglo-Saxon as it is possible to be, but the Russians are right on this occasion. You should get out more. There are lotsof people who think the way I do.

        • Terry Field

          Of course you think like hordes of others. Groupthink is distinctly unimpressive.
          I get out to more place than you do little Brit.

          • 22pp22

            No, I am not the one swallowing the party line (no pun intended).

            1). The only reliable US ally in Syria are the Kurds.

            They are being bombed by US ally Turkey.

            2). France has gone to war to take revenge against ISIS.

            ISIS is supported by French/US allies KSA, Qatar and Turkey.

            3). USA bombing in favour of moderate rebels they cannot identify. Some attacks on the Syrian army, the only effective force against ISIS.

            4). France forced to cooperate with Russia.

            The official line is so mentally challenged that anyone who follows it is likewise mentally challenged.

          • Terry Field

            Oh dear.
            Words in abundance and no sense at all.
            Obviously a bog standard comp product.

          • 22pp22

            I didn’t go to a comprehensive and I have published in academic journals in Britain, New Zealand and the United States. The editors all praised my written style.

            The comment was written in abbreviated form as I was assuming you understood the background. Clearly you do not. As I said, those who follow the party line are mentally challenged. I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you. Intelligence is largely determined by genetic factors. There is nothing you can do.

          • Terry Field

            Oh for God’s sake stop being so serious!
            I am sure you are erudite, educated and bright. The only thing to do in this miserable situation is to make fun of people. It cheers me up.
            I also am educated; I also am published; I also have experience of faculty life.
            None of that gives me a warm feeling for the future.
            Best of luck to you. Peas be upon you (and carrots – HOW’S THAT FOR GENEROSITY?)

    • Mr B J Mann

      Then there’s the Balkans!

    • carl jacobs

      The Europeans begged us to drop those damn bombs in the Balkans. And in Libya. The US had no reason to engage in either place. But Europe is so militarily incompetent on its own, it couldn’t project power to either location without us. And Europe wanted to engage.

      As for Iraq. I realize that Europe would have been just fine with the US army sitting for f___ing ever in the desert acting as a tripwire against a nuclear-armed Iraq. The US wasn’t so sanguine about that idea however. So we acted.

      You are free to build your own deterrent and your own military and defend yourselves of course. If you can pry yourselves away from the welfare state trough long enough to manage it.

      • Mr B J Mann

        You mean J!hadis and Mujahadeen who went on to 9/11 begged you to b0mb the Christians in the Balkans:

        And the Yanks said how high?!

        • carl jacobs

          No, I mean Europe. The European Gov’ts were mortified that their “post-war” continent was being riven by such a war. It exposed the while European pretense. But Europe didn’t have the ability to project power into the region. It needed the US to act.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Eh9!

            It was the EU who encouraged fasc!st and J!hadi elements into illegal unilateral declarations of indepence and undemocratic armed revolt.

            No doubt with US support and connivance.

            It was the model for all the US, sorry, Arab, Spring troubles, Ukraine……….

            It even provided the template, excuse and justification for Putin’s adventures!

            The Yanks have a lot to answer for!!!

  • Jacobi

    Shoigu seems a reasonable man if he does succeed Putin, which by the way is not imminent. The Russian Federation is a vast and complex country and needs a system quite different from our tiny little crowded island.

    Putin/Shoigu have sent a clear signal to the Turks with the S-400, and I am quite sure NATO
    have picked this up!

    And lets stop, this nonsense about Crimea. It has been under Russian influence since medieval times and definitely Russian for over 300 years although moved “administratively” during the Soviet period.

    Otherwise we in Europe, as we now see day after day, are in for a long struggle against expansionist Islam, of which Turkey is now seen to be an active element, so lets get used to working with the Russian Federation, whoever is running it

    • ed t

      Why didn’t the ‘Russian Federation’ ‘get used to working with us’ over the fate of Assad? Why did they signal their desire to partner with us over radical islam by fomenting and backing rebels in Ukraine? What responsibility are the ‘Russian Federation’ taking for driving immigrants into Europe? How many immigrants are the ‘Russian Federation’ taking from all those driven from their homes by the turmoil they are unleashing with their bombing? What kind of idiots would we be for trusting Putin as an ally?

      • Mr B J Mann

        And again:

        Why should he kick off his campaign in Syria by attacking IS!S, who are supported by Turkey and Saudi, and supposedly being deal with by NATO already, and are attacking the supply lines of the so-called “moderate” rebels to their rear, when the so-called “moderate” rebels are at the gates of his ally Assad’s capital?!?!!!!!!

        And before anyone regurgitates it:

        The US “was killing it’s own people”:

        750,000 of them:

        In it’s own Civil War!

        Otherwise it wouldn’t be a Civil War, would it?!?!

        Who are the “moderate” rebels killing?

        Peru’s own people?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Cyril Sneer

          Indeed, it’s really quite tiring to keep hearing about how ‘Russia doesn’t attack ISIS’, it’s a great indictator that the person making this accusation doesn’t really know what is actually going on in Syria. Russian air strikes on ISIS are well documented and it doesn’t take much to seek them out.

          In the initial stages of the air campaign Russia was focussing its efforts on the rebels on the Assad heartland, this is where the greatest threat to the government lay, this is where the SAA needed the most help. ISIS do not really feature here, Nusra the ISIS equivalent, FSA etc do.

      • Jacobi

        All very speculative questions, but, time has moved on. We must re-adjust to the new world and leave the old “Cold War ” mentality behind us. That includes the USA and UK armaments interests The Russian Federation is not now our enemy. Militant Islam is. That does not include Assad however nasty he might be.
        ps the armaments interests needn’t worry. We will need all the weaponry we can get when this war against Saudi/Sunni/ISIL/o(and “allies such as Turkey) really hots up.

      • 22pp22

        The Russians had nothing to do with starting the wars in Syria or Libya and so why should they take refugees?

        • ed t

          There would have been no civil war, just a revolution, without Russia support for Assad. Just a fact.

          • 22pp22

            Overt Russian support for Assad only started recently. The war is five years old. Are you seriously saying that covert Turkish and Saudi support for ISIS has had less impact than Russia’s earlier covert support of Assad. That is just deluded.

          • ed t

            The important point is that Assad has held out because of tacit, active, covert and overt Russian help over many years, diplomatically and practically. Thus Russia is partly responsible for the chaos caused by the durability of this malignant regime, which is a brutal participant in a now-polarised conflict. And how many refugees from this conflict which they are co-sponsoring is Russia taking?

          • Cyril Sneer

            Last time I checked this brutal regime is still the Syrian government, Syria is still a country and external support of rebels, many non-Syrian rebels, jihadists mostly, against a soveriegn country is against international law.

            Russia is in the best place to apply pressure to the Syrian government, open the way for negotiations and reconcilliation but this can’t happen whilst AQ, ISIS and the like are still active, in force, in Syria. This is the nightmare that the west and her Sunni friends have brought to Syria.

            Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Syria… regime change courtesy of the USA and friends.

          • Mr B J Mann

            “There would have been no civil war, just a revolution”

            So you admit that the “revolution” has nothing to do with Syrians!

      • Sania

        u are an idiot if u take Russian Federation in ‘quotes’. We do not need such allies…

    • Scradje

      Medieval times? Nonsense? What are you on about? Crimea is part of Ukraine; look at the map. Ukraine is much older than Russia and is a nation, not an empire. Catherine the great annexed Crimea in 1783, nine years after guaranteeing its independence. Which then, as now, just goes to show that Russian guarantees are worthless. Just because you steal someone else’s land, commit genocide upon the inhabitants and initiate race replacement, which has been imperial Russia’s standard strategy for centuries, that does not make it yours. Do you believe all former imperial rulers have the right to seize former occupied territories whenever they feel like it, or does that rule apply only to Russia?
      Russia guaranteed that no Russian weapons would ever be used against Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994. Putler tore it up in Feb 2014 and committed mass murder in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, along with terror atrocities of a savagery comparable to the fiends on Isil.
      RuSSia has murdered far more Christians in Europe than any Islamic terror gang this century.

      • GenJackRipper

        Stop lying. Russia took the peninsula from the turks in the 1700s, filled it with russians, was given by ukrainian Soviet President Chrustjev to Ukrainian SSR, later became part of Ukraine, despite having no history to ukraine and filled with russians.

        Order is restored. Get with the program.

        • Scradje

          I presume this is your idea of satire? Pretty stupid either way.

          • Giuliano Lancioni

            FYI: Russians have never been less than 60% of the population of Crimea since 1939:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Crimea#Ethnicities%20and%20languages

            Even before, a plurality was not represented by Ukrainians, but by Crimean Tatars.

            Crimea in Ukraine has always been a nonsense. Even Odessa has never been truly a part of Ukraine, which by the way has virtually never been an independent country before 1991.

          • Scradje

            The Krim Tatars choose overwhelmingly to be Ukrainian, not Russian. Do you think that any imperial power has the automatic right to seize back any of its former conquests whenever it feels like it, do you reserve that right only for Putler’s RuSSia? Just because you steal someone else’s land, commit genocide upon the inhabitants and initiate race replacement, which has been imperial Russia’s standard strategy for centuries, that does not make it yours.

          • Oleg Silakov

            Ты поразительный врунишка.

          • Scradje

            Lying is the speciality of kremtrolls. Go post on the daily stormer or RT.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Tell that to the Native Americans, Hawaiians, Inuit,…… Iraqis……. Serbs in Bosnia or Kosovo……….

          • Scradje

            Deflection is a standard kremtroll tactic. So are you in favour of former imperial powers seizing their former vassals whenever they want, or is that rule for RuSSia only?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Sorry, you’ve lost me mate:

            Are you claiming to be one of these creme-roll characters?

            Or are you warning me that the person I was replying to was trying to use a distraction tactic?!

            As for what I’m in favour of:

            I’m in favour of my taxes, our troops, and other countries’ citizens lives not being wasted on impractical and hypocritical grandstanding by politicians who haven’t got a clue.

            The US and the rest of the West has been trying to instigate regime change from Cuba to Syria via Libya and the Balkans.

            The US nearly started a Nuclear WW3 over the Soviets trying to base missiles in Cuba IN RESPONSE TO the US basing missiles on the USSR’s doorstep in Turkey.

            The West and NATO have bombed Christian Slavs in support of J!hadis and Mujahadeen (some of whom went on to become 9/11 hijackers).

            How on earth can the US/ NATO/ West complain about Russia trying to keep control of its own backyard and support its own allies when we act as if the world is our backyard.

            And we support and arm the Saudis, Turks, Kurds, IS!S, Syrian “rebels”…… against each other.

            We bomb hospitals.

            We kill civilians.

            We bombed and killed civilians and POWs in WW2, and even handed over tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of “freed” POWs to the Communists to be massacred.

            We even killed thousands “of our own people” in our own Civil Wars, 750,000 in the US, who knows how many in the various internecine wars in the UK.

            It’s about time our overgrown schoolboy activists on both sides of the Atlantic grew up, stopped posturing, and started acting like Statesmen.

            Russia is still a permanent security council member, and though much reduced in stature, a nuclear superpower with a massive military.

            Poking a bear with a sharp stick isn’t going to stop it doing anything it wants to.

            But it might provoke it to start doing things you would want even less.

          • Scradje

            Why don’t you answer the question instead of deflecting? Moral relativity is pointless and stupid. Unless you actually believe the RuSSia is entitled to murder its neighbours and steal their land. No one has done any ‘poking’ except RuSSia. Have you even the slightest idea of the savagery and mass murder of innocents inflicted by the invader/occupier? Or maybe you just could not care less?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Why don’t YOU answer the question:

            Have you finished trØlling yet, yes or no?!

          • Scradje

            Kremtroll sewer gas has a repellent stench.

          • Mr B J Mann

            8<———

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yes, I can smell you from here!

            8<——–

          • Giuliano Lancioni

            My remark was only against the claim that Crimea naturally belongs to Ukraine: Krim Tatars maybe “chose” to be something (why not being Tatars, by the way), but it is a fact that a Ukrainian majority never materialized throughout the history of Crimea. It happened to be in Ukraine and now it happens to be occupied by Russia; which, by, the way, has a stronger Wilsonian claim to it.

          • Scradje

            Let’s assume for a moment you are not a kremtroll: Do you believe all former imperial rulers have the right to seize former occupied territories whenever they feel like it, or does that rule apply only to Russia?

        • zorbatheturk

          Russians are mongrels. There is no such thing as a ” Russian. “

      • carl jacobs

        Nations can do what they have the strength to do. Ukraine will only earn its independence from Russia by enforcing its independence. No one else is going to fight for or guarantee Ukrainian independence. Possession of Ukraine is a vital Russian interest because Russia cannot be a great power without it. The Russians will always seek to incorporate it. That’s the hard truth.

        • Scradje

          Ukraine is not and never has been a province of Russia. Its citizens voted an average of 93% in favour of independence from its malevolent former imperial ruler in December 1991. It has no more to do with Russia than Pribaltika or any other of the other nations formerly occupied by it.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s all beside the point. The Russians won’t agree, and won’t feel bound by those assertions. Ukraine will have to compel the Russians to acknowledge what you say. No court or other international body can do it. No other nation will do it.

      • юрий волков

        you can spend a day without thinking of Russia and Putin?

        • Cyril Sneer

          Yes but then he won’t be paid.

      • LOL

        “Ukraine is much older than Russia and is a nation, not an empire”

        Nonsense. You have no idea where from the Russia began. Ukrainians are mixed turkic-slavic breed with mostly negative features of both branches developed.

        • Scradje

          Typical Pamyat drivel. Go to the daily stormer or RT, its sister site. Your friends are there.

          • LOL

            1) Why should I teach you the first russian city was Novgorod (currently Velikiy Novgorod), not Kiev, which was Khazar fortress before it was conquered by Varyag warriors.
            2) Or why don’t you realize the principality of Kiev was completely wiped cut out the mongols (as was stated by italian monk Plano Carpini), thus the territory of current ukraine were just so called “dikoye pole” inhabited only by nomads which was populated again only after a couple of centuries by slavs and qipchaks (turkic tribes), this mix will start an ethnicity called cossacks of zaporozhye. And Velikiy Novgorod was captured only once and it happened only in XX century. So, how ukraine could be older than novgorod, if russian Kiev is in fact appeared after the Novgorod and in fact Kiev populuation of XV century has no relation to its population of IX century, while Novgorod population of XV are descendants of its inhabitants from IX.
            3) The “UKRAINA” name is in fact an old russian term which stay to our days: “OKRAINA”, literally means “at the periphery”, which expresses the fact it was just one of old russian principalities, which once was the main one but lost its value about century before the mongol invasion – its role was taken by Vladimir and Suzdal.

          • Scradje

            Why don’t you just answer the question instead of spouting Pamyat drivel?

          • LOL

            Ok, I will stop now. Not sure if I deal with a real human, looks like USA government just invented a stupid AI.

          • Scradje

            Kremtroll sewer gas has a putrid stench.

          • Vlad Pufagtinenko

            Where is the part where archaeologists have determined that Russians are direct descendants of Mongols effing their horses?

          • LOL

            Suffix “ko” in ukrainian surnames has turkic origins.

          • Sergey Titkov

            Topical ukrotroll brainwashed by your TV.

      • King Kibbutz

        You mean all 15 years of this century? How did they conduct their affairs prior to that?

      • 22pp22

        The old Ukraine you are talking about did not include Crimea. All the southern territories were added in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. And we are talking about 2015, not1936.

        • Scradje

          Do you believe that all former imperial powers have the automatic right to seize back any of their former conquests whenever they feel like it, or do you reserve that rule for RuSSia only?

          • 22pp22

            Lugansk, Donetsk and Crimea want to be Russian. Who are we to deny them that right.

          • Scradje

            You obviously know nothing about Ukraine but clearly are a keen viewer of the hate and lies channel RT. Will you answer the question please? Why is it so hard for you?
            The parts of Donbas currently under RuSSian occupation have lost 1.6m citizens; INTERNAL refugees created by the invasion. That is a war crime, together with the 6000 innocent civilians murdered by the occupier. Before the invasion, the population of ethnic Russians in that region consisted of 38%. A minuscule percentage of them are secessionists. Invasion commander Igor Girkin lamented that he was unable to raise even 1000 local fighters; the rest were imported RuSSian fascists, mercs and Rus regulars.
            As for Krim, Russian invaders always practice genocide and race replacement, that is why there is an ethnic Rus majority. Those relative few who wish to be Russian are free to leave and live in Krasnodar. Strange that putler is so keen on his fake uprisings on other people’s land, yet ruthlessly crushes the many genuine independence movements within the RF.

          • 22pp22

            Many of the refugees have fled to Russia! I know one.

          • Scradje

            220,000, as opposed to 1,6m internal. They should stay there, since they obviously like living in a fascist state. Why do you admire criminal leaders who murder their neighbours and steal their land?
            Why have you still not answered the question I put to you? Try again.

          • carl jacobs

            Nations don’t have rights. They have power. Your question is meaningless.

          • Scradje

            Your answer is evasive, as per standard kremtroll practice.

          • carl jacobs

            My answer is not evasive. A “right” implies some kind of law that may be enforced. There is no such law. You are essentially arguing that Ukraine has a right to its independence simply because it asserts that right. It doesn’t. Ukraine has no more rights than a gazelle has rights against a lion.

            If you want independence, you have to take it and enforce it. You are not going to be given independence just because you think the world owes it to you. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

          • Scradje

            You responded to a question I put to another poster. The question was : Do you believe that all former imperial powers have the automatic right to
            seize back any of their former conquests whenever they feel like it, or do you reserve that rule for RuSSia only?
            Yes or no?
            Your next two posts were evasive. Assuming you are a pedant, rather than a kremtroll, why is it so difficult for you to answer?

          • carl jacobs

            You responded to a question I put to another poster.

            Yes, for two reasons.

            1. This is a public weblog. That’s what people do.
            2. It was self-evident that you thought your question was unanswerable. It isn’t.

            why is it so difficult for you to answer?

            It isn’t difficult to answer. You just want me to answer in a way that affirms the underlying premise of “rights.” I won’t do that. Assume Russia did have the “right”? Who would confer it? That is the flaw in your question.

            Do I think Ukraine is a part of Russia? The answer isn’t relevant. The Russians think it is, and I am more concerned about relations with Russia than I am about the independence of Ukraine. Am I willing to fight a war with Russia over Ukraine? No. So that means Ukraine falls within Russia’s sphere of influence.

            You want to impose some obligation on external actors to guarantee Ukrainian independence via a mechanism of “rights”. That isn’t going to happen.

          • Scradje

            You continue to evade the answer, in a bogus attempt to appear impartial and hide the fact that you are a proponent for a dangerous fascist regime that murders its neighbours, steals their land and spreads poisonous lies and hate about its victims. Ukraine is no more Russia’s ‘sphere of interest’ than Pribaltika, Poland or any of the many other desparately unlucky nations that had to suffer the horrors of Russian occupation and RuSSian genocide.

          • carl jacobs

            Rephrase your question without using the word “rights.” Then I will be able to answer. But I don’t think you will do so.

            You want me to say “Yes,Russia has the right” or “No, Russia doesn’t have the right.” Either answer fixes the discussion in the world of rights. I refuse to discuss this subject on that ground.

            Ukraine has no right to independence. Russia has no right of conquest. Why? Because there are no rights among nations. If Russia has the power and the will, Russia will reincorporate Ukraine whether Ukranians like it or not.

            You seem to believe that there is some sovereign equality among nations. There isn’t.

          • Scradje

            Stop pretending to be impartial, when clearly you are not. Moral relativity is stupid and pointless.
            ‘Ukraine has no right to independence’. What are you on about? It is recognised by the UN as an independent unitary state, with the same rights as any other democracy in Europe.

          • carl jacobs

            And it can keep that status only as long as it has the power to keep that status. Do you think any other state will fight a war to enforce the UN-recognized independence of Ukraine? Do you think the Security Council is going to find that any Russian action against Ukraine violates the UN charter? Ukranians “rights” extend no farther than the paper on which they are printed.

            Powerful states do what they will. Weak states suffer what they must.

          • Scradje

            Would you be coming up with the same fake disengaged, fatuous statements if France decided to take back one of the Maghreb countries, Germany decided to take back Austria, or Turkey decided to take back Greece? You are indeed a kremtroll, you just don’t have the honesty to admit it.

          • carl jacobs

            This isn’t about principle. It’s about national interest. Decisions don’t have to be consistent because national interests aren’t consistent. Kuwait was defended not because any other Gov’t cared about the fate of Kuwait. Kuwait was defended because of the geostrategic implications of Kuwait being conquered by Iraq. Ukraine would not be defended because there is no country willing to risk nuclear war for Ukranian independence.

            You are framing this argument in terms of rights in order to create an obligation in the “world community” to establish that which Ukraine is not strong enough to keep. There is no “world community.” There are only nations. And not one of them will come rushing to the aid of Ukraine. So if you want your independence, you had better build an army and learn how to fight.

          • Mr B J Mann

            “or Turkey decided to take back Greece?”

            “Take back”?!

            You mean re-invade?

            Hopefully without the massacres, ens!avement, castrat!ons and s-x-s1avery!

          • RedStarTrout

            That is an appalling view of the world. I thought we had all moved on from those ideas in 1945.

          • carl jacobs

            Sure. Ask the people in Tibet about it.

          • Sania

            UN allowed to bomb Belgrade in 1999?
            crud, ukra has right to independence(especially west from dnipro), but has not right to kil people in Donbass. blood of Odessa are on ur dirty hands too

        • Richard

          The FACT of the matter historically, Crimea was given to Ukraine by Khrushchev, shortly after the death of the USSR’s biggest murderer, Stalin. But of course it was given to Ukraine when no one thought that Communism and its oppressive ideology would ever collapse into itself. It collapsed because feeding the population socially was less important than feeding the corrupt leaders and the inevitable collapse occurred. Just because Crimea geographically was part of Russia at one time, are you saying Russia may want to invade and take Alaska back? Facetiously, go ahead and try, make my day!

          • 22pp22

            If Alaska chose to join Russia, I would say let them. It is, however, unlikely to happen. Duh.

      • Sergey Titkov

        Nonsense is what you try to say. Even the word “Ukraine” comes from ancient Russian word meaning “borderland”. The country exists only for 25 years. The people were before known as Malarossians, and they have always thought of themselves as a part of Russian culture and people (until 20 century), read Gogol’. The terr

        • Sergey Titkov

          The territory was devided between Russia and Poland and had never been an independent state. NONE stole Crimea as there was a refe

          • Sergey Titkov

            Referendum. I’d advise you to talk to Crimean people about this. Study some history aswell for those rubbish Ukrainian lalks just show the level of your education.

        • Scradje

          Address the specific issues I raised please: Do you believe all former imperial rulers have the right to seize former occupied territories whenever they feel like it, or does that rule apply only to Russia?
          Yes or no. I realise it is hard for a Pamyat to face truth, give it a try.

          • Sergey Titkov

            What kind of occupation are you talking about? Donbass? All what we face

          • Sergey Titkov

            What kind of occupation are you talking about ? Donbass? Those are just pointless accusations without any proof. Crimea? Even worse. I heard talks about Crimean independence from Ukraine about 7 years ago during my holiday trip. Try asking Crimean people about the matter. There was a referendum as you might know. On the other hand, what can you tell me about Kosovo having been torn off from Serbia? Who gave you right to bomb a dozen of independent states? Who gave you right to teach other countries how they should live? Who gave you the right to stick your nose into other people’s affairs around the world? Well I do realize it would be hard for an American citizen after all this TV rubbish to face the truth, but still give it a try. And the last: the word”Pamyat'”means “Memory”

          • Scradje

            Память is the name of a Russian political movement that believes that Russia is the victim of a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy. It also believes that Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus belong to Russia. A view shared by fellow naz#s Dugin and Zhirinovsky, as well as of course Russian supremacists like yourself and the invader/occupier/mass murderer Putler.

          • Sergey Titkov

            It has “‘”. It is not used in this context. Have a good day.

    • jim

      If we want to prevent europe from turning into an afro-arab-moslem continent we will have to make wary alliances where we can. Nothing is more important than keeping the thirdworld out of the west but that is followed closely by keeping the east at bay.

      • Jacobi

        lets just concentrate on keeping the Islamic world out. That will be dificult enough!

      • King Kibbutz

        Followed, but not closely. Nowhere near in fact.

        • jim

          You like Albania,The Balkans…..?

          • King Kibbutz

            Not particularly, why?

          • jim

            They’re comin’ too.

          • King Kibbutz

            I think we may have crossed wires here. I took you to mean that the threat from Russia was almost on a par with that of expansionist Islam.
            It’s my contention that any concern about Russia, pales.

          • jim

            Compared to the threat from Islam ,everything pales …….Still, a country with Russian resources… run by guys like Putin ………Of course he’s right about Assad…..

          • Scradje

            Then your contention is wrong. What entity has murdered the most Christians in Europe this century? Islamic terror or Putin’s Russia. The answer is the latter, by a very long way.

          • King Kibbutz

            I’ll be staying with my contention – fifteen years doth not a history make.

          • Scradje

            Your contention is wrong. If you want to go into the last century, then it is eve mite wrong, Russia murdered 40m of its ‘own’ citizens.

          • King Kibbutz

            And that, is really pushing at history’s far edge yes?

          • Sania

            scum,lenin and stalin murdered own citizens, not Russia.
            lenin was a british spy…

    • юрий волков

      • Ser Korz

        JayWye wrote to you:

        NATO is expanding due to Russia’s aggression in Georgia and Ukraine.(and the Baltics) Once again,Russia is the source of the problem.

        

юрий волков you replied : to JayWye • 
Bravo! Georgian shelling of systems of salvo fire Ossetian capital and killing Russian peacekeepers – this is Russia’s aggression?
        =================
        Better answer to JayWye is
        Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia.

        ( It had reported that Georgian started that conflict ) .

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/30_09_09_iiffmgc_report.pdf

        I would post that to JayWye but that web page had band me . better then just a video of war. A report by West itself.

        beside on Ukraine
        Sahra Wagenknecht about the EU Crisis and the civil war in Ukraine
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIi4a7ri-dc

        &

        No Russian Troops in Ukraine-(Eng subs)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNx2DvY3qaw
        «Ukraine’s General Viktor Muzhenko admits there are no Russian troops.

        “You’ve heard how the US mainstream media kept saying over and over, for a year now, that Putin invaded Ukraine.
        Evil Russia invaded poor little old defenseless Ukraine……..,

        along comes the general of the whole Ukrainian army appointed by Poroshenko who was appointed by Obama.

        The Chief of Staff of Ukraine’s entire Armed Forces, General Viktor Muzhenko says, Russian troops? What Russian troops?

        “We (Ukrainian army) are not engaged in combat operations against the Russian army.”

      • Ser Korz

        Here is another good reply.

        EU spy chief rules out Russian military presence in Ukraine
        https://www.rt.com/news/eu-no-russian-interference-ukraine-844/

        “In an interview with Finnish national news broadcaster Yle, Alafuzoff said the Russian military had nothing to do with the seizing of government buildings in eastern Ukraine.

        “In my opinion, it’s mostly people who live in the region who are not satisfied with the current state of affairs,” said Alafuzoff, referring to the situation in East Ukraine. He went on to say that the people are worried for the welfare of those who speak Russian as their first language in the region:.

  • marvin

    When it comes to the strategies used in security, Russia has an exceptional history compared to that of either Europe or the US. The only difference being – that Russia is led always by proven military officers while Europe is led by the Old Boy’s School rich kids and the US is led by spoilt brats! No contest!

    • Cornelius Bonkers

      Er, not always. WW1 was a disaster of Russian leadership early on – I think?

  • Oleg Silakov

    Бомбить “сирийских повстанцев” – сильная фраза. Вы доиграетесь с террористами.

    • 22pp22

      I had to look up a word, but now I understand, I agree 100%.

  • For those very few non-Marxists who read The Spectator, see my comments below and behold the non-shocked replies (along with zero ^ votes)…

  • 22pp22

    More silly propaganda. This guy is a shill, not a journalist. Russia is the only group operating in Syria with really clear objectives. Whose bombing is indiscriminate? NATO claims to be bombing in the name of the “moderate opposition”, but does not know who they are. Turkey is indiscriminately bombing the Kurds. Turkey, Qatar and KSA (our allies) are funding the people who just shot up Paris.

  • new_number_2

    Western military aggression is never referred to as Western military aggression by the mainstream media.

    • Terry Field

      Because we all need to eat.

  • JabbaTheCat

    Shoigu is as corrupt as the rest of the kleptocratic mafia gangsters running the Lubyanka People’s Republic…
    http://www.rferl.org/content/russian-dm-shoigu-accused-owning-mansion/27330203.html

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