Russia, Ukraine and "2022: The Year Ahead"

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17 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

Investors Continue to Ditch Russian Assets Amid War Fears

Russia’s largest companies have lost more than $100 billion in value over the last week.

Updated: Jan. 18, 2022


Excellent time to pick some up, as this obviously buckles the fundamental energy trends.

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The US must finally realize that the Great Troubles Time of the Yeltsin period ended about 20 years ago.

Now the minister of foreign affairs is not Mr. Yes Kozyrev, but rather another Mr No like Gromyko.

Realize that you have a minor problem - as long as you have been pushing Russia into a forced alliance with China you have successfully achieve this greay victory of XXI US foreign policy 

Putin is now 100 times more sensitive to Xi Jinping's requests than to Bidens one.

For now, Russia simply for now politely indicates that the West is to withdraw from its military presence in Ukraine.\

Some little secrets will be revealed to you

. As a result of the Maidan, Russia has made a firm stance on China.

In the present crisis, Russia is not really afraid of sanctions by the West Simply because you pushed her into a strategic alliance with China.

Therefore, Russia is now much more concerned with all Chinese wishes and interests than with the interests of the West, especially the European Union.

Now you are harvesting its fruit.

Well, because trade exchange

2000 $ 8 billion

2014 $ 65 billion

2021 $ 147 billion

The future is cooperation with China, not with the West.

And since the future is cooperation with China, you can play with someone who has ceased to be a strategic partner. read the European Union much harder than before.

The best case is Russian gas to China will be two more gas pipelines. Europe will not be a priority. There will be gas, but not for everyone

The smaller Russia's trade ties with the West, the more it can play hardball with you because it risks much less betting on China.

Polish geostrategists, out of God's grace, seem to call for years fot the severance of all relations with Russia to not see this simple fact.

Besides, the Polish attitude vividly reminds me of the attitude of the impotent who regularly stands on the market square in the middle of the city and morally urges everyone that if he cannot do sex, then no one should have businesses with Russia.

All are to adapt to this ideological-induced commercial disability.

Most Western countries approach this type of call, as always, with deep concern and understanding.

Result of such policy?

 We dont have a big trade with Russia. Well but maybe we have especially in 2021.

Why?  Because as a result for NG we pay the most in Europe. In December alone just about 38 $ per mbbtu.

Very good price indeed.


Edited by Tomasz

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Eonomic coercion is the West’s favourite tool to influence Russian behaviour. But with oil prices rising, Russia’s economy growing, and the West backing off from pledges to exclude Russia from SWIFT, this policy seems to have reached a dead-end.

In 2014, the Russian economy was struck by a double-whammy. First, the oil price collapsed. And second, Western states imposed a series of sanctions in response to events in Ukraine. The immediate impact on Russia’s economy was dire, sending GDP plummeting.

Economists had problems determining which was more responsible for Russia’s problems – the oil price or the sanctions – but most came down in favour of the former. Cheaper oil translated into a less valuable ruble, which increased the price of imports and created inflationary pressures. To this end, the Central Bank responded with higher interest rates, depressing demand and thereby GDP.

The economic crisis of 2014 created hopes in the West that Russia could be brought to its knees. Pundits predicted that cheap oil was here to stay. Beyond that, the introduction of so-called 'sectoral sanctions’, targeting Russia’s energy, financial, and military industries, was meant to strangle what were seen as the most vital sectors of the Russian economy.

t would not be long before Russia would be bankrupt, some claimed. Speaking in Ottawa in November 2014, former Russian Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov stated that within two years, Russia would have used up all its financial reserves and would have to severely cut government spending. The Russian people would then turn away from the government en masse. In the face of cheap oil and sanctions, the 'Putin regime’ was doomed. 

It didn’t turn out that way. Sanctions had a rather marginal impact on the Russian economy. The government responded effectively by important substitution, providing financial aid to threatened sectors, and finding new sources of much-needed technologies (most notably China). This came at a price, but Russia weathered the sanctions storm quite well.

Rather than declining, Russian oil and gas production has remained steady. Moreover, the price of hydrocarbons has rebounded. This week, Goldman Sachs issued a prediction that oil would reach $100 a barrel by the end of the year, as the world economy recovers from the Covid-induced recession, and demand for oil and plastics increases. Suddenly, the picture is looking very different from what it did in 2014.

In fact, the Russian government is flush with cash. Russia’s international currency reserves hit a record high of $600 billion last year. Meanwhile, the country’s debt in relation to GDP is one of the lowest in the world – especially given that, much like other former Soviet states, much of its GDP is uncounted, off the books in the black and grey economies. This compares very favourably to Western states, who have borrowed on a massive scale during the Covid pandemic and are afloat in a sea of debt. It’s the West that is looking bankrupt, not Russia.

That’s not to say that all is well with the Russian economy. Inflation has risen to 8%, and the World Bank predicts that GDP growth will slow from 4.3% in 2021 to 2.4% in 2022. This is far below the rate Russia needs in order to catch up economically with the West. Still, it is growth, not decline. The Russian economy suffered much less than many other countries during the Covid pandemic and has recovered faster. Russia is perhaps not doing well, but it’s not doing immensely badly either.

All this undermines Western sanctions policy. If the purpose of sanctions was to punish, they haven’t succeeded. If it was to deter Russia from further “aggressive” acts against Ukraine, then it’s impossible to prove that they haven’t worked (given that one doesn’t know what would have happened in a universe without sanctions), but one has to doubt it. Given Russia’s success in riding out past sanctions, Russia has less reason to worry about them in the future. It has also reduced its dependency on the West. The deterrent value of sanctions is weak.

Unfortunately, rather than recognizing the pointlessness of sanctions, many in the West are now doubling down on them, allegedly as a means to deter Russia from invading Ukraine. Top of the list of proposed measures is excluding Russia from the SWIFT system that underpins international trade by facilitating financial transfers. If put into practice, this would make it very difficult for Russia to sell goods and services abroad, and as such it would be potentially very harmful.

The problem, however, is that it would harm many Western countries too. The Russians aren’t going to hand over oil and gas for free. If Russia were excluded from SWIFT, European countries that depend on Russian supplies, such as Germany, would find themselves deprived of energy to heat their homes and power their industries. American LNG could not make up the difference.

Understandably, therefore, people are having second thoughts. On Monday, the newspaper Handelsblatt reported that the German government had decided SWIFT should not be part of any future sanctions against Russia. If this is true, then the most significant threat against Russia has been removed.

In any case, were Russia to decide to invade Ukraine, it would be because a decision had been made that vital national interests were at stake. At that point, only military threats could deter the Kremlin from action, not economic ones. But Western states have ruled out fighting to defend Ukraine. In short, the idea that Russia can be deterred is a fallacy.

In practice, all these threats do is annoy. For some in the West, that’s enough. Writing on Saturday in the Toronto Star, veteran anti-Russia campaigners Bill Browder and Marcus Kolga claimed that the fact Putin was annoyed by sanctions was proof they were working. But this is a silly argument. Sanctions are meant to change the target’s behaviour in a way that suits the sanctioner. But it’s hard to see how angering your target translates into him behaving in a way that suits you. More likely, the result is the opposite. 

The past few years show that the idea Russia can be economically coerced into political concessions, or so crippled that its population rises up against the government, is completely mistaken. Western policy is thus at an impasse. Today Russia enjoys high oil prices, vast reserves in the bank, and the knowledge that the West can’t follow through with its worst threats without severely damaging itself. Western threats are not, therefore, very meaningful. If we want Russia to act in a manner more suiting our own interests, we need to find a new approach.

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Russia can culturally ignite the hybrid war against Ukraine level max but still below the threshold of the war.

It will destabilize Ukraine as much as it can. Enough?

Gas stocks have fallen by  2/3 in Europe since the beginning of winter, and we have mid-January.

Gas prices means fertilizer prices and fertilizer prices mean food prices.

After the harvest, Poland and Europe will see a hybrid war as Poles will see how much food produced on fertilizers costs now, with a raw material price of at least $ 1,000.

And in Ukraine, nowadays there is neither coal nor gas and they burned with wood.

You can also fire an immigrant weapon, but on a serious scale not what Lukashenko did there, but at least on the Erdogan scale.

And  send this all these  people across Ukraine to the West.

Against Poland, it is enough to use one very simple trick - since from January 1, 2023 no gas agreement between Poland and Russia will be connected, Russia will simply not sell any gas to Poland.

And then we will see how the PiS theories of diversification work in practice in the middle of winter.

On a global scale - the president of Iran, according to Kommersant, proposed a deal for military equipment from Russia. One estimate is $ 4 billion another $ 10 billion. In the rich version, the total value of the deal, according to Kommersant, is less than $ 23 billion.

Payable with crude oil and products without using the dollar.

In the radical version, Russia will start producing 9 billion barrels of oil just as in 2020, and not 11 million as in 2022.

In a situation of structural crude oil shortage on global scale, Goldman Sachs is already forecasting $ 96 per barrel this year and $ 105 per barrel in 2023.

Let's subtract from the market  2 million barrels of Russian raw material  how much oil would cost in US midterm elections?

In the  total destabilization variant, they will cut off supplies of nuclear fuel from Rosatom to Ukraine.

At least 5 reactors still run on Russian nuclear fuel and so far no one in the world has used a different raw material for these reactors.

It is just I would rather a lot of opportunities in the time of the global energy crisis

IMHO a little different situation that in 2014.

Then we were awash in oil now we are not.

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Over long term Ukraine would be far better with a Finnish and Swiss solution. No Nato Membership.

If they don't grab that concept - Russia will hit very hard against Ukraine Military and destroy Weapon depots and US and British Supporter. They know exactly where to find it.

Its like in Syria. First hit was against CIA Weapon Depots.

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Edited Tuesday at 10:38 PM by Andrei Moutchkine: The guy with the scoop

is on US sanctioned entities list for now. Till the next Republican administration, I expect? 


For the record, Trump Administration put Derkach in the sanction list for tapes in Hunter Biden.  The Ukrainian policies are a territory lost by United States to the Kaganate of Nulandia, and thus it is fully independent from the Presidency of USA.

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So much of the intractability of current crisis is rooted in denial of reality:

- Ukraine will never join NATO/EU

- Crimea will never return to Ukraine

- Weapons sales to Ukraine will not thwart Russian aggression

- Sanctions will not deter Putin

- NATO will not fight for Ukraine

This is not a pleasant for West  reality to admit but it is one that is undeniable and demonstrates the limits of Western power (and interests)


Edited by Tomasz
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Has any of you passionately played Paradox games like Europa Universalis or Hearts of Iron?

There you could have significant problems during the gameplay because of something called overextension.

I think this has finally caught up with NATO as a military alliance/

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Germany Roiled By "Political Earthquake": Navy Chief Resigns After Saying "Putin Deserves Respect", Warning China Is "Not A Nice Country"

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jan 23, 2022 - 10:35 AM

Just as the covid narrative is slowly disintegrating even as its MSM propaganda powers "cancel" anyone who dares to speak out against the lies  - so the "Russia is about to invade Ukraine" plotline just suffered a major blow after the chief of Germany's navy, vice-admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach , said on Friday that Crimea “will never come back”, and that what Putin “really wants is respect...and it is easy to give him the respect he really demands - and probably deserves."

And sure enough, just one day later, on Saturday evening, he resigned from his post for having the temerity to speak out against conventional wisdom.



"I have asked Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to relieve me from my duties with immediate effect," Schoenbach said in a statement cited by the Reuters news agency.

"The minister has accepted my request," he added.

Speaking at an event organized by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses on Friday, the vice-admiral redpilled the shocked audience when he dismissed as “nonsense” the notion that Russia was “interested in having a small and tiny strip of Ukraine soil and integrating it into their country.”

“Does Russia really want a small and tiny strip of Ukraine soil to integrate into their country? No, this is nonsense. Putin is probably putting pressure because can do it and he splits EU opinion."

Schönbach went on to claim that what President Putin really wanted was the West to “respect” Russia, adding "giving some respect is low cost, even no cost. If I was asked, it is easy to give him the respect he really demands and probably also deserves."...


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Transit of Russian gas to Poland through Ukraine has been suspended since January 19
There is no information about the resumption of transit yet

KIEV, 24 January. /TASS/. The transit of Russian natural gas to Poland through Ukraine has not been carried out since January 19. This is evidenced by operational data of the company "GTS Operator of Ukraine".

It is noted that the transit of gas to Poland through the GIS "Drozdovichi" on January 17 amounted to 3.766 million cubic meters. m, January 18 - 241 thousand cubic meters. m, and from January 19, zero level is fixed.

In December 2019, Moscow and Kiev agreed to extend the transit of Russian gas through Ukrainian territory for the period from 2020 to 2024, with the possibility of extending the agreement for another 10 years. The contract provides for the transit of 65 billion cubic meters. m of gas in 2020 and 40 bcm. m annually from 2021 to 2024. The transit arrangement implies a "pump or pay" principle, where transit fees are charged for the amount of booked capacity, even if actual pumping is less.


Since the beginning of January 2022, the volume of transit through the gas measuring station (GIS) Drozdovichi has fluctuated widely - from 2.839 million m3 (January 14, 2022) to 10.673 million m3 (January 3, 2022), demonstrating an unstable downward trend.
On January 17, 2022, gas transit to Poland through the GIS Drozdovichi on January 17 amounted to 3.766 million m3, on January 18 - 241 thousand m3, and from January 19 to January 22 (the latest available data from the OGTSU) the zero level is recorded.

In general, on January 22, 2022, the GTS of Ukraine received 44.55 million m3 of gas, of which 19.87 million m3 was received through the Sudzha GIS (entrance to Ukraine of the gas pipeline Urengoy - Pomary - Uzhgorod) and 24.68 million m3 - through the Sohranivka GIS (entry to Ukraine IHL Soyuz).
Incl. through GIS Germanovichi in Poland, there was zero gas flow at the entrance to the GTS of Ukraine.
At the exit from the GTS of Ukraine, the volume amounted to 47.958 million m3, incl. through well logging Uzhgorod (to Slovakia) 27.285 million m3, well logging Beregovo (to Hungary) 3.408 million m3, well logging Orlovka (Romania) - 4.027 million m3, to Moldova - 13.238 million m3.

In total, in 2021, gas transit to Poland through the Ukrainian GTS amounted to 3.8 bcm, which is 1% more than in 2020.
In general, the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine amounted to 41.6 billion m3, which is higher than the contractual volumes under Gazprom's long-term transit contract (40 billion m3/year or 109.5 million m3/day).
Additional capacities of the Ukrainian GTS were booked by Gazprom at monthly and daily auctions, gaining a total of 44.4 billion m3 of transit capacity, i.e. 2.8 billion m3 of additional capacities of the Ukrainian GTS remained unused.
From October 2021, Gazprom refuses to book monthly additional capacities of the Ukrainian GTS, and additional capacities remain unclaimed at quarterly auctions.
Additional capacities of the Ukrainian GTS for February 2022 were also not booked by Gazprom. 

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On 1/23/2022 at 3:52 AM, Piotr Berman said:


Edited Tuesday at 10:38 PM by Andrei Moutchkine: The guy with the scoop

is on US sanctioned entities list for now. Till the next Republican administration, I expect? 


For the record, Trump Administration put Derkach in the sanction list for tapes in Hunter Biden.  The Ukrainian policies are a territory lost by United States to the Kaganate of Nulandia, and thus it is fully independent from the Presidency of USA.

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On 1/19/2022 at 8:17 PM, Andrei Moutchkine said:

How about throwing out the Western multinationals who own the most of their mineral extraction?

Without those Western multinationals there wouldnt be any mineral extractions (I presume you mean largely oil + gas resources)

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On 1/20/2022 at 4:16 AM, Andrei Moutchkine said:

Nope. Or not very casually. Russia is the only country which always had a full PKI suite unrelated to RSA, courtesy of USSR. Developed from different math from the ground up

You could use them with OpenSSL by the means of this

(there is likely already is a gost-engine .dll or .so which came with OpenSSL that is all over the place)

Specifically the military field radios make an extensive use of pre-shared

instead of PKI, or PKI alone. There is no known way to break this. This means some guy from the FSB will come every day and input a new code into all the radios that are supposed to hear each other.

There are also

and "keystations" like

which are transmitting apparent gibberish. This is so that an agent out in a field can piece together his temporary "pad" from parts of a transmission received on specific time, with nobody else knowing that specific time. Can obviously be compromised, but in the practice, hasn't been.

US also does this a lot, BTW. Lots of old intelligence farts refuse to belive in anything they don't understand, including PKI.

Dick is хуй (as you see on the pictures) and cunt is пизда in Russia. Both have many combinations and derivatives. It is generally believed to be possible to express everything in Russian by using about 5 principal profanities, including the old

Perfectly innocuous Chinese name "Sun Hui Chai" usually has some Russian operative behind it (means "dip your dick in your tea")

Ive heard if you call someone a goat (козёл) you are calling them a "dick" also

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43 minutes ago, Rob Plant said:

Without those Western multinationals there wouldnt be any mineral extractions (I presume you mean largely oil + gas resources)

Yes. Uranium and other metals too. There was already extraction during USSR.

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27 minutes ago, Rob Plant said:

Ive heard if you call someone a goat (козёл) you are calling them a "dick" also

Does not contain any taboo language

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Both scenarios involve a certain price and involve risks”

Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center Dmitry Trenin on the likelihood of a new armed conflict involving Russia

Moscow is waiting for a written response from the United States and NATO to Russian demands for security guarantees, after which President Vladimir Putin is expected to decide on further steps in relations with Ukraine and the West. Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center Dmitry Trenin , in an interview with Kommersant correspondent Elena Chernenko , named the scenarios for the development of events, highlighting two main ones: logical and forceful.

- I would like to ask, as in the famous film: “Are we on the eve of a grand nixer?” But the situation seems serious, so I'll ask this: are we on the verge of a real armed conflict?

- If we talk about a very short term, about the next month, then I think not. As for the longer term, here I have questions for both sides.

A question for the Western side: will the Kiev authorities, or some of its subdivisions, or some elements that are not very controlled by it, acting together with some shadow players, arrange a provocation in order to draw Russia into it? The answer to this question is rather negative. Such a scenario will not bring much benefit to those who stand above Kiev.

Any such provocation cannot end otherwise than in the defeat of the Ukrainian forces.

The scale of defeat for Ukraine may be different. And no matter how high the cost of this victory for Russia, this does not compensate for the colossal blow that the defeat of Ukraine will deal to the reputation of the Joe Biden administration - and above all within the United States. For the second time after Afghanistan, it would be extremely dangerous for the administration to lose a prominent regional ally, precisely in an intra-American context. Plus, there is also the context of NATO and the factor of American reputation in the world. After all, this situation is closely watched by such countries as China and Iran.

— In other words, do you think the Georgian version is unlikely?

Yes, it seems to me that the Americans have enough control over the Ukrainian government and the elements operating in Ukraine.

- And what is the question for Russia?

- There are many questions for Russia. I think that everything will depend on what assessment the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the President of the Russian Federation, will give to everything that is happening before our eyes. I'm talking about all the recent diplomatic efforts backed up by military maneuvers and references to military and military-technical measures. And there are indeed many questions here, since we cannot know what exactly Vladimir Putin is up to. What's his plan? What is his strategy? What options does he see for different scenarios? This is very difficult to judge from the outside.

It is clear, in any case, that the demands that Russia has put forward and which it calls the key ones cannot be satisfied by the West. At least in the form in which these requirements were stated. And since this is obvious to everyone, then, of course, the President also knows this. The question is what he prepares as a response to the refusal.

- So you rule out the possibility that the United States and its allies will in some form satisfy Russia's demand to give it guarantees of non-expansion of NATO?

— There will be no legally binding NATO non-expansion treaty. There will also be no written political commitments that Ukraine and Georgia will “never, never” (as the Russian side insists) be accepted into NATO. The question is how Russia will behave when it becomes completely clear that the demands that Russian officials have repeatedly called the "absolute imperative" will be rejected by Western countries.

- What options do you see for the development of the situation?

- The first option seems to be logical. It will be announced that, in general, we did not count on this (agreement to the non-expansion of NATO and so  on. - “Kommersant” ), we are not stupid people, we understand everything perfectly, but it was necessary to bring the situation out of the impasse, shake up all this Western political, diplomatic and military get-togethers, primarily in Washington, to demonstrate to them the seriousness of our intentions, and as a result we got something. Firstly, they did not reject our proposals out of the blue, but began to respond, and moreover, they agreed to give a written response to our proposals, and this is serious, which means that they thereby de facto recognize the seriousness of our concerns and demands.

Secondly, they agreed to discuss topics important to us, which they had previously ignored. For example, our proposal to introduce a mutual moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles. Previously, they did not want to hear anything on this score, but now they themselves are offering us to negotiate. They are now ready to talk about limiting military maneuvers near our territory, all these sea and air exercises, including those with imitation of nuclear missile launches. We have previously repeatedly offered them mutual restraint in this area, but they listened to us only now. There is also a response to a number of other Russian initiatives.

The Russian demands were put forward in such a decisive manner in order to induce the Western powers, primarily the United States, to take actions beneficial to us from the point of view of ensuring security.

It was important for us not only to defuse the situation on our western borders, but, above all, to force the West, in the end, to agree with us on European security issues.

This has already happened after the very beginning of the dialogue. For the first time since the German reunification talks, the West has agreed to discuss European security with Russia. From 1999 to 2021, security in Europe was based on the good or ill of the United States, with NATO as the main instrument. Now the US and NATO, as in the Yalta-Helsinki times, are negotiating the security of Europe with Russia, and because of this, this security itself is based on two pillars instead of one.

- In such a scenario, is it also worth counting on the fact that the West, and above all the United States, will be ready to put significant pressure on Ukraine in order to implement the Minsk agreements?

- I really hope so, but I would not count on such actions by the United States yet. The Minsk agreements are a diplomatic victory for Russia, based on the military victory that the militias and their supporters won over the Armed Forces of Ukraine in February 2015. I am not sure that there is an understanding in the United States that the key to defusing the situation around Ukraine is the implementation of the Minsk agreements, although this is exactly the case.

In principle, these agreements can still be implemented. Donbass can still be reintegrated into Ukraine on Minsk terms, ensuring the rights of the inhabitants of the region and preserving the territorial integrity of Ukraine within the borders recognized by Russia. But so far, I do not see Washington's readiness to put pressure on Kiev in order to fulfill the Minsk agreements.

The unresolved conflict in the Donbass is the best formal pretext for continuing pressure on Moscow. In recent years, US policy has aimed - and Ukraine is just one element of this - to increase pressure on Russia. If I understand the Western strategy correctly, this pressure will culminate at the moment when the process of power transfer begins in Russia. In a confrontation with China, Americans need a more accommodating Russia. But this is a long-term, not a short-term goal.

- Okay, this is the first option, shake it up and take what they give.

- Yes, here we can remember that politics is the art of the possible, and bring a lot of arguments in support of this option.

The second option assumes that in fact everything is very serious, and we are already at the point where the new policy of Russia is beginning to supplant the old one. In my book The New Balance of Power, I wrote that Russia's foreign policy—both under Yeltsin and Putin, including the Medvedev period—stands on the shoulders of Gorbachev's policies. One way or another, this is a continuation of integration into the Western world, finding one's own place in it, searching for a certain balance of interests in relations with the United States and other Western countries with an emphasis on cooperation.

But what if this course is now being radically revised? And this applies not only to foreign policy, but also to where Russia is heading as a whole. What if we are moving away from a period where the main task was seen as integration into a single world, albeit on our own terms? Moreover, what if the break with the West that President Putin spoke of in response to the prospect of American “sanctions from hell” becomes a reality? What if, as a result, Russia starts implementing a completely different foreign and domestic political (including economic, social and ideological) project?

It is possible that a separate “Russian project” is already being built, no longer involving integration into a world where the West does not play a dominant, but still a leading role.

In the context of a break with the West, Russia can enter into much closer, including de facto, allied relations with key non-Western countries, primarily China, but also with Iran, as well as with US opponents in the Western Hemisphere - Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. Under this option, the activity of Russian politics may increase significantly. Moscow can take on what the West accuses it of.

Are you talking about creating zones of influence?

- And about zones of influence, and about the right to use force to overthrow objectionable regimes. The United States overthrew the dictatorial regime in Iraq, for example. Yes, they did not find weapons of mass destruction there, but on the whole in the West they believe that they did a rather good deed by eliminating the dictator.

And now I note that Russian diplomats and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, first of all, when speaking about the authorities of Ukraine, are increasingly using the concept of “regime”. The regime is something illegitimate. At least from a moral and ethical point of view. And since the government is illegitimate, why not help the healthy forces to overthrow it?

I have a feeling that Russia is looking for a new assemblage point in the post-Soviet space. There may be a variety of options here, for example, expanding the concept of the Union State by including new territories. Conditionally, if the Russian authorities come to the conclusion that it is impossible to implement the Minsk agreements, they can recognize the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as one or two states and include them in the Union State of Russia and Belarus. Hypothetically, Abkhazia and South Ossetia may also enter this association.

This is if Russia goes to the scrapping of what it does not like, and will act on the principle of "if it doesn't work out in a good way, we will use force." The United States is unlikely to be able to really prevent this; they will not enter into a direct conflict with Russia.

- You described two very different scenarios. By analogy with chess, the first option is a tricky game with pre-thought-out moves, risk calculation. In the second option, one of the players simply knocks over the board with all the pieces.

- Yes Yes.

- So what option is being implemented now?

- I do not know that. Only one person in our country can answer this question. It is impossible to calculate his answer from the outside. Russia has the potential to implement both the first and second options. The Russian state and its armed forces will be ready to solve any of the tasks assigned to them.

But both scenarios involve a certain price and are associated with known risks. In the case of the first, we are talking about losses of a reputational nature, both in the international arena and within the country. If Russia backs down from what it claims to be an "absolute imperative", it could be accused of bluffing. Great powers don't bluff. If Russia is bluffing, then it is descending to some other levels of world status. But even if it is negatively perceived by a part of the population, it is generally not terrible. Inside the country, the power is strong enough. Rather, the international reputation will suffer, Russia may be taken less seriously in the future. However, all this can be experienced.

The second scenario, in which the bet is placed on the development of power, implies a very serious break in relations, including within the country. It cancels out the hopes of a small but influential part of the Russian elite, which still hopes that relations with the West will someday normalize. In a radical version - described by a number of Western think tanks - it will also be a test for the broader sections of the Russian population. We are talking about the "occupation of Ukraine" scenario.

- What if the matter is not limited to the recognition of the independence of the DPR and LPR?

Yes, if the Russian authorities decide that the only guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO and there will be no American missile bases on its territory will be direct control over Ukraine by Russia or the establishment of a government friendly or loyal to Moscow in Kiev. In any case, this strong-arm scenario will not be like Crimea, where not a single shot was fired and no one was hurt.

Do you think this scenario is at least somewhat probable?

- Probably not. It is fraught with a large number of negative consequences, large human and financial losses.

Is this the worst case scenario?

Everything depends on your preferences and interests. For some it is the best, for others it is the worst. In my opinion, it carries with it a colossal risk for Russia itself.

- From your book, I concluded that, in your opinion, NATO expansion does not pose such a big threat to Russia. Is it so?

- No NATO expansion, including at the expense of Ukraine, threatens the military balance and stability of deterrence. By installing missiles near Kharkov, the United States will not gain a serious advantage in the military-strategic field over the Russian Federation.

— But what about all the statements about the shortened flight time, 5-7 minutes to Moscow?

They don't contradict what I said. What will happen in this situation? Russia will install hypersonic missiles, conditionally Zircon, on its submarines that will cruise along the US coast, which will provide itself with the same flight time to the most important US targets. Containment will continue, but at a higher and more dangerous level. An American brigade in Poland or NATO battalions in the Baltics are also not capable of seriously reducing Russia's security. The only thing that can seriously worry Russia is the elements of the US missile defense system in Romania and Poland. The rest of the things don't pose much of a threat.

So, in terms of military security, I really don't see NATO expansion as such a terrible threat.

But there is another factor: a country that becomes a member of NATO undergoes a very deep reformatting, it captures all spheres of life. A political and ideological transformation is taking place. As long as Ukraine is outside NATO, the possibility remains that the whole country or some part of it will still decide that Slavdom, the Russian world and other things matter to it, and there may be a normalization of relations with Russia, even rapprochement with it. At least, looking from the position of Moscow, this possibility remains.

If a country joins NATO, then that's it, the train has left. In this sense, yes, there is a threat, but this is not a military threat, but a geopolitical and geocultural one.

However, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the military-political leadership of the country, judging by the published articles, has completely different considerations on this score, and they must be taken seriously.

— Russia has threatened the West with a "military-technical response" in the event of refusal of its demands. What else, besides what you said, can be discussed?

- If the story with the recognition of the DPR and LPR develops according to the Abkhaz version, Russian troops and bases can be deployed there. But I think that the main part of the military-technical response will be related to the deployment of some kind of weapon systems in those places where they do not yet exist.

- For instance?

- For a long time it was believed that if Russia was dissatisfied with something militarily in Europe, it could deploy an additional number of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. The Kaliningrad region was considered as an advanced springboard from where Russia could threaten all sorts of adversaries. But Kaliningrad is physically separated from the rest of Russia, it is quite difficult to deliver something there and maintain communications, especially in the face of hostility with the West. It is possible, but not easy. It is much easier to place something on the territory of friendly Belarus, an ally, where until now there were no Russian bases and missiles, especially nuclear ones. Moreover, the President of Belarus himself ...

- Invites you to do it?

- Yes, he has a very developed political instinct, he is ready to provide such an opportunity for the Russian Federation for a silent, but guessable price. This is one option.

There are options for a global plan - for example, closer cooperation with China, closer coordination between Moscow and Beijing in the military field, more active military-technical cooperation between these two countries. Military rapprochement with such countries as Iran is also possible. Finally, against the backdrop of the crisis around Ukraine, telephone conversations took place between the President of Russia and the heads of Venezuela and Cuba.

- That is, Russia can act as a spoiler in a situation in which the United States hopes that it will sit quietly and not interfere with their conflict with China?

Yes, of course, that's an option. In principle, this would be normal practice. Countries that are in hostile relations with each other, like Russia and the United States today, influence each other by force. Such is the reality. Not by persuasion and arguments, but by force - not necessarily military. The Americans, in addition to their military potential, have financial and economic strength, and they are increasingly using this lever in the Russian direction. Russia is strong, first of all, in geopolitical, energy, military and military-technical terms.

- There are suggestions that Russia may deploy missiles in Venezuela, in Cuba.

I don't think that South America or Central America are seriously considered as possible bases for Russian missiles. This, in principle, is not necessary. Moreover, if such efforts are now accelerated, this will create for Russia exactly the threat that it seeks to avoid.

If Moscow starts harassing the United States from a Latin American direction, they will respond in Europe, where a number of countries would be happy to host intermediate and shorter-range missiles. Why is it Russia?

- What happened that we are suddenly talking about such disturbing scenarios? Where is the world heading?

“The world is heading down a very dangerous path, but I don’t know where. But if you look at history, it becomes clear that if, after some major struggle - be it a "hot" or "cold" war - the losing side is not included in the new security system on terms that satisfy it and instead finds itself wounded in its pride and not ready to put an end to its sovereignty, then in 20-30 years it will get stronger and demand respect for its national interests.

- And now the moment has come?

Yes, I think the time has come. By this time, 30 years had passed. The victors in the Cold War at first believed that Russia had lost its former importance, it had ceased to be of interest to them, no one was particularly willing to deal with the difficult task of integrating it into the Western world.

Moreover, such integration would require Western countries, above all the US, to agree to a significant limitation of their own influence, to give Russia a decisive voice. The US was not ready for this. They are not ready to share influence and voting rights even with their closest allies. The final word must always be with Washington. On the terms of unequal partnership proposed by the West, Russia itself did not want to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic region. Actually, no one was particularly sorry about this then, it was believed that Russia had a weak economy, negative demography, a shaky political system, and it might crash more than once. Therefore, with her you can especially not ...

- Do not stand on ceremony?

- Yes. Attitudes towards Russia began to change after the Crimea, and especially after the start of the operation in Syria. You remember that before that, US President Barack Obama called Russia a "regional power." And then everyone saw that it has not only recovered as a subject of international relations, but can also act far beyond the periphery of its own borders.

But here, Moscow's actions went against the interests of the West, Russia began to be perceived as an adversary that needs to be punished and put in its place by pressure, primarily sanctions. Steps towards or concessions to her began to be interpreted as appeasing the aggressor. The West, sensing its weakness, has become, on the whole, much less prone to compromise, less ready to sit down at the negotiating table with other, shall we say, competing, even hostile regimes and negotiate with them on an equal footing. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West does not agree with anyone on an equal footing - not even with China.

The West can also be understood, it is going through a rather difficult period in its development, and we are really talking about the decline of Western dominance and the prospect of leadership in the world. They are difficult. I think we're heading for a major relationship crisis. Some clarity can be achieved, perhaps, after a serious test of strength in different regions and functional areas. All this cannot be decided at the diplomatic table, but the result can be formalized. Thus, a new world order will emerge.


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The past week was unprecedented in terms of the density of contacts between Russia and the West: negotiations with the US, NATO, and the OSCE. On the table are Moscow's proposals for security guarantees in Europe. On January 14, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that he was waiting for a final answer on them within a week. Will it wait? AiF asked Sergei Karaganov, Academic Supervisor of the HSE Faculty of World Economy and World Politics, Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, about this.

Nightmare for Washington

Vitaly Tseplyaev, Sergey Alexandrovich, did the negotiations fail, or is there still hope of an agreement?

Sergei Karaganov: We'll see. While we are pressing (not only in words - I am sure that some non-public steps are being taken in the military and other areas), we are demonstrating our readiness for any development of events. There is a tough, offensive diplomatic game with a very powerful force element. 

- Long before these negotiations began, you predicted that "partners in the West will try to wrap up Russian demands." Does that seem to be the case?

— Russia has vast experience in such negotiations. And we understand who we are dealing with. We understand that the system of relationships, the system of institutions that we inherited from the Cold War, from the 1990s, has outlived its usefulness and needs to be broken. And I hope that the new Russian policy will bear fruit in the coming years. When we signed the Paris Charter in 1990, we erroneously agreed that any country has the right to join any union. The then leadership of the country, apparently, thought that we ourselves would join NATO, or that NATO would at least be a kind of peaceful defensive alliance of democratic countries. But since then, NATO has committed a series of aggressions. And we continued to have meaningless conversations with them through the Russia-NATO Council, the Partnership for Peace program, etc. And we talked about anything, except for the real danger - the bloc's approach to our borders. All these forums and gatherings were used to preserve the system that the West created for itself as a result of, as it believed, its victory in the Cold War, to legitimize NATO expansion. Well, the time for empty talk is over. 

- Many call Moscow's proposals an ultimatum. But an ultimatum is a risky thing: if it is not answered, something must be done to hurt the other side. And how can Russia infringe on the same America? 

- I would not now discuss on the pages of my favorite newspaper all our possible actions. I can only say that we have weapons systems that can threaten the viability of the United States extremely severely. We also have in reserve such weapons as deepening military-political cooperation with China, which could become a real nightmare for Washington. And if the Americans threaten us with "breaking" sanctions, and this is a declaration of war, then let them remember that Russia and China have such an opportunity to break the economy and societies of Western countries as a cyber war. 

- According to you, Russia's historical experience inspires optimism: we have more than once managed to tame someone's imperial ambitions, "turning their carriers into relatively vegetarian and convenient neighbors  - Sweden after Poltava, France after Borodino, Germany after Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin." Yes, but there is one problem: we tamed other people's ambitions with the help of wars. With the current main empire, the United States, we will also have to fight, or what? 

“I hope we can manage without a war after all. Moreover, now the situation in the world is slightly different. Of course, if we did not have nuclear weapons, we would have been attacked long ago. And it still serves as a psychological safeguard against a big war. But we are able to show our colleagues that this is not our only resource, that we generally have stiffer muscles and a colder head. And they begin to understand it. Even from recent conversations, it is noticeable that our Western partners have begun to retreat. They are already proposing military dialogues, negotiations on arms limitation - something that until recently was categorically rejected. So maybe we can agree on something. 

- Some analysts believe that a whole series of Caribbean crises awaits us. No wonder they have already started talking about the new deployment of missiles in Cuba and Venezuela ... 

- The last cold war began to end precisely after the Caribbean crisis. Many of us seem to have come to the conclusion that if something like this does not happen now, if our partners do not sober up, then they will definitely play out before a hot war. Russia just wants to prevent it. To prevent a repetition of June 22, 1941 in some of its new version. 

Why is Russia not the USSR?

- You call NATO a "European cancer" and propose "to limit its metastases to a combination of therapeutic measures - military radiology, political chemistry, etc." Does the “oncologist” have the necessary stock of medicines and tools?

- First of all, it is important to recognize that this is cancer. And while metastases are only spreading. To survive, NATO has to constantly pump up confrontation. Surgery could be deadly for the subcontinent. Therefore, first it is necessary to limit this disease territorially - and then we'll see. And it’s definitely enough to call the disease a “partner”. By "talking" it, we only helped it to spread. 

— You also claim that the geopolitical positions of Russia are now more advantageous than those of the USSR — if you do not strive for the role of a superpower that has ruined it. And what is the benefit?

- The Soviet Union fed a huge number of third world countries that adhered to a socialist orientation. The USSR subsidized the countries of Eastern Europe, and Russia was a donor for almost all the union republics. Incidentally, Ukraine was the largest consumer of subsidies, and on a per capita basis, Georgia received the most. And, apparently, having become impoverished, they are eager for other donors, including NATO. Further, the USSR maintained a colossal military machine, completely redundant. At the end of the Union, we had more tanks than all the other countries combined! In addition, we were preparing to fight on two fronts - with the West and China. Now China is a friendly power, we can rely on it, which increases our combined power many times over. And we are increasing the power of China. And finally, in the late USSR, almost everyone (and the elite, and the people) considered themselves morally flawed, seeing how the communist idea was dying, how inefficient our economic system was, how poor we were. We then wanted to be "like them." Such sentiments are found in our country today. But in general, the morale of both the elite and society is radically different. We know that we are right and that makes us strong.

- In early January, the countries of the nuclear five issued a joint statement that "there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it must never be unleashed." Isn't it surprising that in the current situation, the United States generally wanted to sign at least some kind of joint document with Russia and China?

“They begin to realize that they played too much. I do not rule out that if we go through this period peacefully enough, then in 10 years we will have decent relations with most Western countries. And such a relationship would be very beneficial to us. Because, despite the deep friendship with China, the imbalance between us will grow, and relying on other friends will not hurt us. We would benefit from a peaceful, calm western flank. Of course, it is difficult now to say what will happen in the West itself. If he is captured by new anti-human ideologies, with their denial of history, gender, homeland, with the LGBT cult, ultrafeminism and other things, then we will have severe ideological differences. But I hope that sound forces will still keep Western countries from falling into a moral abyss.

Ukraine as a buffer 

— How did the events in Kazakhstan affect the balance of power in geopolitics? Russia strengthened its position by providing military assistance to President Tokayev?

 - Certainly. She showed the ability of her armed forces to respond to a dangerous situation within half a day. But there is another problem here. It is obvious that many countries of the former USSR are not turning into capable states. And sooner or later the question of how to keep them afloat will arise. In fact, this is a question of a new gathering of lands. I thought it would happen in 5-7 years. But events in Belarus, Armenia, and now in Kazakhstan show that we will have to do this much faster. And this worries me a lot. Because this can lead to dissipation of forces and means, diverting us from internal development, the development of Siberia and Russian Asia as a whole, which should become our main development resource in the next half century.

- You propose to stop "rehashing the crafty and dictated by Polish genes" Z. Brzezinski's assertion that Russia without Ukraine cannot be a great power. Why are we so clinging to Ukraine, which is desperately trying to break away from us?

 - Firstly, because many of us really believed Brzezinski. He was an outstanding cunning, brilliant mind. It was he who “helped” the USSR to plunge into Afghanistan, which he was very proud of later. Therefore, any of his words should be treated with caution. Secondly, Ukraine is a buffer. Either separating us from potential Western aggressors, or used to put pressure on us. And now the Ukrainian issue is primarily a matter of non-spread of a hostile alliance on the territory of this buffer. And the annexation of Siberia made us a great country (if you remember the phrase of Brzezinski). This is all the more true now, in the age of Asia. It’s bad if too deep involvement in European squabbles distracts from the development of a turn to the East that is beneficial for the future of the country. 

- Even if the NATO military is in Ukraine, is it so dangerous? The Baltic States have been in NATO for almost 18 years - after all, there was no particular catastrophe.

- When the countries of Eastern Europe, the same Poland and the Baltic republics were part of NATO, the West told us - do not worry, after that they will only calm down, become your peaceful, good neighbors. But it turned out the opposite - they became even more brutalized. Because the very existence of an alliance built on the idea of confrontation reinforces the worst elements in political and public sentiment. We see what happened to the Balts, how the Poles became insolent when they found themselves on the NATO front line. And we absolutely do not need to get the same Ukraine. Yes, there are a lot of pro-Russian minded people who are close to us spiritually and culturally. But there are other dark forces as well. Do we want all this dregs to rise to the surface, so that Ukraine becomes, like the Balts and Poles, the main engine of anti-Russian policy in Europe? Not to mention weapons which will be posted there. But, of course, we absolutely do not need to fight for Ukraine to the last Ukrainian, we certainly do not want to fight there. All this squealing about the fact that we are going to capture Kiev, it is about nothing. Yes, our military is standing at the Ukrainian border, but only so that on the other side it does not occur to anyone to break into the Donbass. And the capture of Ukraine in our military plans, I'm sure, is not included. If only for the reason that capturing a country that is castrated economically, morally and intellectually, a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population is the worst-case scenario. The worst thing America can do for us is to give us Ukraine in the form to which they brought it. that we are going to capture Kiev, he is about nothing. Yes, our military is standing at the Ukrainian border, but only so that on the other side it does not occur to anyone to break into the Donbass. And the capture of Ukraine in our military plans, I'm sure, is not included. If only for the reason that capturing a country that is castrated economically, morally and intellectually, a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population is the worst-case scenario. The worst thing America can do for us is to give us Ukraine in the form to which they brought it. that we are going to capture Kiev, he is about nothing. Yes, our military is standing at the Ukrainian border, but only so that on the other side it does not occur to anyone to break into the Donbass. And the capture of Ukraine in our military plans, I'm sure, is not included. If only for the reason that capturing a country that is castrated economically, morally and intellectually, a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population is the worst-case scenario. The worst thing America can do for us is to give us Ukraine in the form to which they brought it. which is castrated economically, morally and intellectually, a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population is the worst-case scenario. The worst thing America can do for us is to give us Ukraine in the form to which they brought it. which is castrated economically, morally and intellectually, a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population is the worst-case scenario. The worst thing America can do for us is to give us Ukraine in the form to which they brought it.

//The interview was published in the weekly " Arguments and Facts " No. 03 dated 01/19/2022, as well as on the website

e website

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Above you have recent opinions of 2 best known russia geostrategists- Sergey Karaganov and Dmitry Trenin

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Russia-Ukraine Crisis Deescalating As NATO Countries Break From Bellicose US-UK Stance

Tyler Durden's Photo
TUESDAY, JAN 25, 2022 - 05:15 PM

Deescalation appears to be accelerating over the Ukraine crisis given a number of rapid developments which have seen lead NATO countries break from the more bellicose and threatening tone of the United States and UK. After Germany's neutrality toward the Russia-Ukraine crisis became apparent, Sweden is the latest to follow its lead of forbidding arms transfers to Kiev, while Croatia is out with a firm statement saying it will recall all of its troops from NATO in the event of war. 

This followed on the heels of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announcing that circumstances in the region are now "under control" and that there's "no reason to panic" according to The Associated Press.

It appears the earlier hyped messages of an 'imminent Russian invasion' have backfired, as Ukraine officials have now turned to castigating the media for spreading a sense of overblown panic and doom among the population. Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov went so far as to say the threat of a Russian invasion "doesn't exist" despite there still being "risky scenarios". Other Ukraine defense officials have echoed this as well..


"As of today, we don’t see any grounds for statements about a full-scale offensive on our country," Danilov had stated confidently on Monday. Here's more from the defense chief:

"As of today, the Russian army has not formed a strike group that would be able to carry out an invasion," Reznikov was quoted saying in local media after a meeting with lawmakers in Kyiv. "There are no grounds to think that an invasion will happen tomorrow from a military point of view."

"But that doesn’t mean," he said, "that they won’t develop—there are threats."

"The Kremlin is trying to destabilize Ukraine with hybrid means, particularly by sowing panic," he wrote in an op-ed published by Ukrainskaya Pravda a day earlier. "We must not give them the opportunity."

This perhaps more realist sentiment is spreading, and now with a European consensus emerging that direct conflict with Russia must be avoided at all cost, the message has reached the White House, which is singing a different tune from even a day ago...

"President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that he does not foresee U.S. troops moving into Ukraine," Axios writes Tuesday afternoon. Biden stressed, "There is not going to be any American forces moving into Ukraine," which seems a reversal of the "stand by orders" he gave the day before. Here's further details on the administration's backing off the prior confrontational tone, as it's looking more and more like diplomacy is winning out...

  • He added that the decision to put troops on high alert is "not provocative" but intended to reassure the U.S.' allies.
  • "We have no intention of putting American forces, or NATO forces, in Ukraine. But as I said, there will be serious economic consequences if he moves," he added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Asked if he could see himself personally sanctioning Putin in the case of an invasion, Biden replied, "Yes...I would see that."

State Department spokesman Ned Price still thought it necessary to go and act tough for the cameras - "no concessions" he warned... even as allies like France are vowing they'll always be willing to site down dialogue and negotiate with Russia. "We will never give up dialogue with Moscow," French President Macron said Tuesday.

And yes, there is daylight... actually massive fissures opening among NATO allies on the issue:

"No daylight" with European allies. 

"The key point is that any steps that we would take would not be concessions," Price said. "They would need to be on a reciprocal basis, meaning that the Russians would also have to do something that would help improve our security – our security posture."

And Jen Psaki is still standing by the White House's line of an invasion is "imminent" as of Tuesday afternoon even as the Ukrainians themselves downplay it. Additionally Biden had this to say directly of the situation

But he made clear Putin remains something of an enigma, one whose vague intentions have have proved befuddling to him and other western leaders.

"I'll be completely honest with you, it is a little bit like reading tea leaves," Biden said after browsing a small gift shop and selecting a sweatshirt for his grandson.

"Ordinarily, if it were a different leader, the fact that he continues to build forces along Ukraine's border, from Belarus all the way around, you'd say, 'Well, that means that he is looking like he is going to do something,'" Biden went on. "But then you look at what his past behavior is and what everyone is saying and his team as well as everyone else as to what is likely to happen, it all comes down to his decision."

All of this looks like an admission that the assessment has changed: no, at this point he's not going to do anything we thought he was going to do, the president appears to now be admitting. The above is also a reaction to NATO showing willingness to sit down and take Moscow's security demands seriously. According to the latest via CNN, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has ruled out sending troops to Ukraine..Importantly for the Russians, and after all the panic that resulted from Putin merely moving a hundred thousand troops to southern positions but within Russia's own sovereign borders, it appears momentum is moving in their direction. Russia may get what it wants after all: guarantees of no further NATO eastward expansion - or at least for the West to take its concerns seriously.

The US previously said this demand was a "non-starter" - but given the rapid shift in atmosphere surrounding tensions, it'll be interesting to see if by week's end the US tune is very different.

For for time being, some level of military economic threats and counterthreats look to continue...

Edited by Tomasz

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A conspiracy theory on how to end the conflict between Russia and the West fom polisg geopolitical site

Let us start with the fact that further deepening of the disputes between Russia and the West does not serve either side of the conflict
Well, we would have to assume that in the West and Russia, and more specifically in the USA and Russia, they are ruled by idiots themselves, who learned nothing during the Cold War confrontation. In fact, there is a point in this, but there are also smart people there.
So it's hard to believe that when they pushed Russia into war with Ukraine, they didn't take into account what happened in 2008. In 2008, US credibility was hit hard.
 It will not be otherwise, and this time, if Russia deploys its army in Ukraine and the US does nothing but impose sanctions, which will have no effect anyway.
 Thus, in this case, both the credibility of the USA and NATO would suffer severely and Russia would lose a lot economically and visually as a result of the sanctions.
In addition, if all relations between Russia and Europe were severed, it would deprive Russia of an alternative and it would have to completely shift to cooperation with China, which would only strengthen China and not in the interest of the West.
And here we come to the heart of the matter.
What if the US and the West and Russia are not concerned with further confrontation, and on the contrary, the West would like Moscow to be at least neutral during the US-China economic war?
In that case, you have to offer Putin something, which he really cares about, and at the same time make it appear that none of the parties has even stepped down from its principled position, even by a millimeter.
 The task is not generally easy, but if you think about it well, it is also not impossible to do.
We must first, with mutual efforts, raise the stakes in the narrative of the conflict to the limit of total war between Russia and the West, put the world public in front of the vision of a nuclear catastrophe, and then announce to the world that the crisis was finally overcome at the last moment, but the world was saved, and the President of the USA and Russia they deserve a peaceful Nobel Prize.
 Of course, all of this has to be done in cooperation with each other.
So what speaks for this version? It is enough to follow the course of events:
- In the west, a media campaign was launched to indicate that Russia would attack Ukraine any day (it was forgotten to mention it at the beginning of Ukraine itself, and at the very beginning it denied the revelations of the Western media;
- Western politicians then join the media campaign;
- Absolutely unexpectedly, Russia, in the context of its aggressive anti-Russian campaign, presented tasks to the west that are radical and absolutely unacceptable, and it did it in a provocative manner;
- Then NATO-Russia consultations began;
- The United States has recently announced that it will give a response to Russian tasks in writing, but apparently it has a diplomatic request to Moscow that this answer be kept in strict confidence (I do not doubt that, of course, then there will be a lot of leaks very quickly, and very quickly the content this answer will be known to everyone but no one will ever confirm it officially).
So what's next?
- It will be announced that there has been a confidential compromise between the West and Russia;
- From leaks from Reuters citing an anonymous well-established source, we will learn that the West has agreed that NATO will not accept new members from former post-Soviet countries for the next 20-25 years;
- We will also learn from leaks that under the same moratorium it is forbidden to further deploy NATO bases and US offensive weapons in the countries of Eastern Europe.
- The USA will sell such an agreement to the world narratively, as a pacification of the "bear with nuclear weapons" and saving the world from complete destruction.
So Putin will also be fairly pleased and the US is not losing face.
 The question of Russia's cooperation with China will remain.
With such a development of events, mutual relations do not change. They will still be relatively good, but neither side will be dependent on the other side anymore and Russia will not be determined to develop cooperation even on unfavorable conditions in the time of confrontation with the West.
The Chinese will accept it with understanding, because they themselves are doing this all the time, although they also benefit the most from the mutual confrontation between Russia and the West.

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I am by no means a conspiracy theories about Russia, but I can't stop thinking that Russia may be doing this as a cover for China going into Taiwan, 

And know that we have an F35 sitting in the bottom of the China Sea as China rushing to grab it would give them more excellent cover to put Sea Assets of Taiwan.

Just saying.........

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A big Ukrainian experiment.

They try to prove that they have enough Power for 5 days without Russian or Belarus support.

If that fails for whatever reason - Selenskys days will be counted as irresponsible Statesman.


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War guide Why the Minsk agreements will not become peaceful in any way


The countries of the "Normandy format" returned to the discussion of the Minsk agreements. There is nothing new and sensational in this fact itself, but the context has changed: for the first time, the West is almost openly putting pressure on Kiev in the matter of following the agreements. However, this does not guarantee the success of the negotiations. “Kommersant” figured out why the seemingly simple plan to end the war in the Donbass is almost impossible.

US President Joe Biden and his administration officials have recently appeared more interested in Ukraine's implementation of the Minsk agreements than Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky

US President Joe Biden and his administration officials have recently appeared more interested in Ukraine's implementation of the Minsk agreements than Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky

If you want Minsk, prepare for war

The meeting of political advisers to the leaders of the Normandy Format countries in Paris on January 26 is news from the category of scarce ones. The negotiations broke down in August, and since then the situation around the Donbass and Ukraine in general has only heated up .

Reports of a concentration of Russian troops near the borders of a neighboring country, satellite images of field camps set up outweighed Moscow's assurances that it was not going to attack Ukraine. Russia counterattacked with statements that Kiev could go for a forceful solution to the problem of uncontrolled territories.

The restart of the Normandy Format had an antipyretic effect . Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the President of Ukraine, called it a "powerful signal", announced that Kiev was ready to discuss every point of the Minsk agreements, and expressed hope for a constructive dialogue. Moscow, however, refrained from making any predictions about the meeting.

Coincidentally or not, this time the Paris talks will be held on the same day as the first meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group this year to resolve the situation in eastern Ukraine. This means that if compromises are reached, political advisers will be able to promptly bring them to the representatives of the parties in the contact group.

According to Kommersant's information, Kiev intended to submit for discussion by its Quartet colleagues its finalized draft of the so-called key clusters for the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The term "clusters" appeared in negotiations at the end of 2020 at the suggestion of Germany and France. To move forward the stalled negotiation process, Berlin and Paris proposed dividing the “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” into clusters, agreeing them within the “Normandy Four” and then lowering them to the level of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) to resolve the situation in eastern Ukraine to prepare on their basis of the final peace settlement plan. But the process of discussing clusters by the spring of 2021 also reached an impasse .

As a result, according to an informed interlocutor of Kommersant, during a telephone conversation between Messrs. Yermak and Kozak (Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of the presidential administration of the Russian Federation) in the first half of January, the latter insisted that it was necessary not to multiply documents, but to discuss what had been lying for a long time. on the table, that is, the Minsk agreements.

Just to the point of impossibility

Moscow, Kommersant's interlocutors participating in the negotiation process in Russian government agencies, are assured that it has a position that it has not changed since the Minsk agreements appeared: they should be implemented to the point and in the form in which they were signed. And it is up to Kiev and Donbass to do this.

The Minsk agreements are a package of documents. But Russia always has only one in mind: "A set of measures to implement the Minsk agreements."

This is important because the first of them, the protocol agreed on September 5, 2014, never specifies who the contracting parties in the conflict are. For example, its first paragraph reads: "Ensure an immediate bilateral cessation of the use of weapons," but to whom this refers is not deciphered.

A clear indication of this appeared only in the “Package of Measures…”, agreed in February 2015. It already clearly states that the Ukrainian side and the armed formations of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions (ORDLO) should withdraw their forces. The negotiation subjectivity of CADLO is also fixed in other points.

The special status of Donbass within Ukraine should be coordinated with Donetsk and Luhansk, the issue of adopting a law on local self-government in ORDLO and holding local elections there should be resolved according to the same scheme. The restoration by Kiev of control over the segment of the border with Russia, which was lost in 2014, should again take place “in consultations and in agreement” with representatives of ORDLO within the framework of the TCG.

Moscow considers the “Package of Measures…” its important diplomatic victory for two reasons. Although Russia's participation in the Donbass conflict is obvious, and it does not hide its support for the unrecognized DPR and LPR, there are no documents fixing any obligations of the Russian side regarding the settlement. Secondly, the “Complex of Measures…” gained the weight of an international document — it was approved by the UN Security Council Resolution No. 2202 of February 17, 2015.

If the “Complex of Measures…” was signed with the approval of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, which the current Ukrainian government constantly blames him for, then in 2019 Volodymyr Zelensky officially agreed with this document.

At the Paris summit in the Normandy format in December 2019, he, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French and Russian Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin, approved the final document of the meeting, which states that the Minsk agreements are the basis of the work of the Normandy format.

Despite this, in the past two years, Kiev has repeatedly raised the issue of the need to revise the document or at least change the sequence of implementation of its points. In particular, to swap the holding of local elections in ODRLO and the restoration of control over the border (according to the Minsk agreements, first elections, and then control).

The Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry did not even agree to discuss this. The meaning of the sequence of points is to first create a power recognized by Kiev in the ODRLO, and with its own power component in the form of a people's militia, and only then transfer the border to the disposal of the central government.

“The sequence of points was scrupulously worked out. A smooth transition is prescribed so that one step does not anticipate another, but provides preparation and prerequisites for moving forward, ”one of the Russian negotiators explained to Kommersant.

For Kiev, the implementation of the "Complex of Measures ..." is a big problem.

Any movement forward can be perceived as a capitulation by the passionate and nationalist part of Ukrainian society, which is easy to rise to the Maidan, which in recent years has been repeatedly demonstrated by noisy actions under the walls of the office of the head of state. The team of Mr. Zelensky and he himself reckon with these sentiments. This, among other things, explains the change that happened to the Ukrainian leader less than a year after he was elected president. He came to power in the guise of a peacemaker and promised to bring a speedy and lasting peace. But pretty soon he became a "hawk".

Abroad will not help

It is more difficult and painful to move from hawkish positions in the opposite direction than vice versa: any step in this direction is read as a surrender of positions. This happened with the recent withdrawal from the Verkhovna Rada of the bill "On the state policy of the transitional period", which, among other things, assumed the legislative consolidation of the status of an "aggressor state" for Russia. The bill, severely criticized by Moscow, was withdrawn by the Ukrainian government on Monday, on the eve of the Paris meeting of the Normans, thus fulfilling the Russian demand.

Kiev has previously refused such concessions. But now the context has changed. Moscow has raised the stakes dramatically, and not just through a show of force. In February, the State Duma is preparing to consider the appeal of the Communist Party faction to President Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the DNR and LNR. The signal can be deciphered as follows: if Russia continues to be called a party to the conflict and demand from it the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which, among other things, stipulate the granting of a special status to Donbass, then it can fulfill them, granting such a status at its discretion.

But the point here is not only Moscow's intransigence. The West has actively joined the process.

On the one hand, the US and the EU threaten Russia with consequences if it encroaches on the territorial integrity of Ukraine or uses force against its neighbor, but on the other hand, they are playing a diplomatic game and are already clearly trying to influence Kiev on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke openly about this. He called the document the only way to resolve the conflict and spoke out against its revision.

Kommersant's diplomatic interlocutors confirm that Washington is working with the Ukrainian authorities to move the negotiations forward. Insiders even make cautious assumptions that things may come to a substantive discussion of the autonomy of Donbass.

It is difficult to perceive the negotiations on Donbass separately from the discussion between Russia and the West on security guarantees launched against the backdrop of the expectation of a real big war. Although it concerns security in the broadest sense, the Ukrainian issue is not in last place. For Moscow, the maximum program is to permanently close Ukraine's road to NATO. Moreover, the alliance itself must guarantee this.

But such a concession would be too humiliating for the West and does not look very realistic. Another thing is the reintegration of Donbass into Ukraine on special conditions prescribed in the Minsk agreements. Formally, neither the US, nor the EU, nor NATO concedes anything here: the Ukrainian authorities are responsible for themselves. But it is clear that in this scenario, ORDLO will become a serious obstacle on the way of Kiev to the Euro-Atlantic structures, which may suit Russia. It remains to explain to the Ukrainian authorities why they need to agree to everything.

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