We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

If Russian govt. endorses Crimean referendum, will they also allow/endorse similar votes in republics in Russian Federation?

Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia

61 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    That would be nice in Russia – and in American also. For example an independent South Dakota (lower taxes than Texas).

    As for Putin – he got rid of even elected Governors (went back to appointing everyone from Moscow) and crushed all independent media.

    To put it in American terms – it was as if the Governors of all 50 States were to be appointed by Barack Obama, and the troops sent in to crush the Wall Street Journal.

    Meanwhile in the Crimea, Heaven (or somewhere else) be praised – the statues of Lenin and monument to the KGB (which under various names helped murder so many millions in the Ukraine) are safe!

    The Crimea (and other areas where Russians live?) are going to be returned to the embrace of Mr Putin.

    The “libertarian” left (and American Pat Buchanan style “conservatives”) are beside themselves with joy.

    The evil Neo Nazi Hitler loving Ukrainians are going to be defeated. And a good thing to – as they are puppets of the Jews.

    Neo Nazi, Hitler lovers who are puppets of the Jews?

    Do not worry it all makes sense – Max and co will explain it all. It is all to do with the banksters, and free trade not being “real” free trade, and privatisations for the multi national corporations and the 1% oligarchs – especially people with big noses who work for Goldman Sachs.

    And (remember boys and girls) fracking for oil and gas is a PLOT AGAINST THE NHS!

    The Jew (sorry “Zionist Apartheid”) Banksters are at the bottom of it all.

  • Here’s another relevant quote:

    Any peo­ple any­where being inclined and hav­ing the power have the right to rise up and shake off the exist­ing gov­ern­ment, and form a new one that suits them bet­ter. This is a most valu­able, a most sacred right–a right which we hope and believe is to lib­er­ate the world. Nor is this right con­fined to cases in which the whole peo­ple of an exist­ing gov­ern­ment may choose to exer­cise it. Any por­tion of such peo­ple that can may rev­o­lu­tion­ize and make their own of so much of the ter­ri­tory as they inhabit.

    Who said that? Abraham Lincoln–in 1848.

  • Mr Ed

    Of course they will allow referenda, and neighbouring countries will send observers who will in all likelihood express no concerns about the elections, but the observers will not be from bad neighbours like Poland and Norway, but good ones, like China and North Korea.

    And if the vote goes the ‘wrong’ way, we know what happens in votes about EU treaties, you vote again until the right answer comes.

  • Jacob

    Did Khrushchev hold a referendum before he handed over Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 ?
    Did Ukraine ever hold a referendum to find out what the population prefers ?

    We must not forget what fine people the Ukrainians were – many of them collaborated with the Nazis, participated enthusiastically in murdering Jews, and were the original inventors of the 19 century pogroms against Jews. Neither are they successful economically, now. I can understand why the Russians in Crimea (the majority of the population) would prefer to join Russia.

  • Mr Ed

    Jacob, if you read about the Ukraine in the 1930s, and the Terror Famine, and think of a poor Ukrainian who find that his State’s erstwhile co-belligerent in the war against Poland suddenly turns up and kicks out the Bolsheviks, you might understand why some joined the Germans against the Soviets, the only hope of deliverance, betrayed from the start. You did not have the misfortune to live in that time and place, you should not judge the current day Ukrainians by the deeds of past generations.

    The idea of a referendum might well be window dressing, it will set off any number of comparisons with the sparsity of referenda in the UK over issues like EU membership (as opposed to voting systems), but as you point out, this would be a first.

    One might suspect that a referendum held under the watchful eye of Mr Putin will put the wind in the sails of the Crimean secession and re-union movement, it will probably have more rigging than the Spanish Armada.

  • Jacob

    That the Ukrainians have very good reasons to hate Russians is not in doubt, everybody has.
    The point was that the Ukrainians were antisemitic thugs and extremists and pogrom perpetrators long before even the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. One can’t blame everything on Stalin and the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine that he caused.

    What I am trying to say is that I don’t see why anyone in the West would prefer Crimea to belong to Ukraine rather than Russia, why anyone would give a damn. What business is it of theirs?
    Putin’s claim that the Crimean population prefers Russia, and that Ukraine refused to hear them sounds true to me.

  • Mr Ed


    I would not say that all Ukrainians were anti-Semitic thugs, I have only met a few in my life, and whilst there certainly was an element of thuggery in the history of the Ukraine and the Tsarist empire, without which behaviour the grandfather of Paul Marks might have remained under the Tsars, they probably aren’t all thugs, it’s just that a cup of sewage in a churn of milk rather takes away from the otherwise wholesome nature of the contents.

    I certainly think that on balance, a referendum on Crimea’s future would be a helpful precedent and I can see no reason for anyone to be concerned about Crimea’s future either way, it’s a Lilliputian Boiled Egg War in real life over which bunch of thugs and crooks gets to rule Crimea.

    The big question for me is what can be done to make the rule of law and liberty extend to the former USSR.

  • It’s amazing how the antianticommunists come out to defent Putin. And I’ve hear a lot of them project that it’s the pro-Ukrainian people who are trying to refight the Cold War.

  • Mr Ed

    Ted, From my perspective in the UK, Ukraine’s plight is that it is being subjected to a struggle between two sets of thieving gangster politicians. If the set that is aligned with the EU suffers a setback, that is a small victory against the EU, which is a positive for liberty. It’s not so much defending Putin as hoping for a meteorite might arrive to produce a less bad outcome than the present.

    If the bulk of the Crimea wish to be part of Russia and have Lenin statues, then Ukraine is well-shot of them, win win.

  • Paul Marks

    Jacob if we are talking about the Crimea (not the Ukraine in general) then Stalin rounded up the Tartars of the Crimea and sent them to Siberia.

    Most of the Tartars died – which is why Russians are in the majority in Crimea today.

    However, Mr Putin is so sure of the Russian vote in the Crimea that he has already blocked “Black Sea Televison” (the pro Kiev television station).

    It is less difficult to control public opinion when you control access to information.

    For example I might believe the FSB disinformation campaign (helped by European Union idiots) that it was really “Neo Nazis” who killed the Protestors in Kiev – if I had not watched the police shooting the protestors.

    Now unless we believe all the camera teams (from the Indian NDTV, Arab Al Jazeera, and a dozen other stations) were all working for the CIA, Mr Putin’s people are guilty.

    I repeat – I watched (thanks to several different television crews) the snipers do the killing they were standing right next to the police.

    Without control of the media (such as shutting out Black Sea Television) I doubt Mr Putin would even get the Russian vote in the Crimea.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed.

    If the Russians of the Crimea really do love Lenin and the KGB then I AGREE with you (ditto the areas in Eastern Ukraine come to that).

    But it would be nice to have an honest vote to find out what they really think.

    Let them watch “RT” – where it will be explained to them that the Parliament in Kiev are a bunch of “Neo Nazis” who are (at the same time) puppets of the Jews. But let the voters also have alternative television stations.


    As for the level of RT propaganda – I have recently reposed on my Facebook thing some of the comments from February.

    The head of Goldman Sachs (Jewish) responsible for a “financial HOLOCAUST” (yes the second word was stressed by dear old Max) and he has personally ordered the murder of 50 bankers (who had, in fact, mostly got nothing to do with him – and committed suicide in this high pressure industry).

    The “apartheid” Israel with its “holocaust” against the Muslims, is a regular target.

  • Laird

    “I don’t see why anyone in the West would prefer Crimea to belong to Ukraine rather than Russia, why anyone would give a damn. What business is it of theirs?”


    Point of order: Is the proper name of the country “Ukraine”, “the Ukraine” or “Ukrainia”?

  • Paul Marks

    By the way, it would not surprise me if Max K. is himself of Jewish origin – his language is very similar to that of Karl Marx (accept that Karl was more extreme – some of his attacks on Jews go off the scale), Karl Marx was of Jewish origin (but like the founder of the Spanish Inquisition) had trouble coping with it.

    Laird – if the doctrine that Mr Putin has a “Sphere of Influence” (to use a term that has been used, with approval, by Dr Sean Gabb and other “libertarians”) wherever Rusisans live that does not just effect the Ukraine.

    It also hits Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – which are formal NATO allies of the United States (as well as the United Kingdom).

    It is too late to do anything about the Crimea (I agree with you) – but now is clearly time to reinforce Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

    Mr Putin must not be left with the impression that a move into the Baltic States (not the Ukraine – the BALTIC states) would just be winked at.

    War comes from miscalculation – Mr Putin must be left in no doubt about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

    Mr Putin also has no jurisdiction over Russians living in London and New York.

  • Mr Ed

    Point of order: Is the proper name of the country “Ukraine”, “the Ukraine” or “Ukrainia”?

    <<Fluttering of pigeons as cat is set loose>>

    I have been aware of that country as a distinct entity since before I was 10, in the 1970s, and to my ears, the correct name in English is ‘The Ukraine’, like ‘The Netherlands’. Some people seem to get het up about it as if the ‘The’ makes it more a geographical than a political expression, to which I can only offer boiling their own heads as a solution for such obsessive irrelevance. ‘Ukraine’ sounds wrong to my ears, ‘Ukrania’ is as wrong in English as ‘Bharat’ for India.

    ‘The Argentine’ is not used these days for South Venezuela Without Oil, but it certainly has been used but may now be archaic. One does not hear ‘United States’ for ‘The United States’ except perhaps when saying ‘…United States forces arrived to relieve the Canadians in…’.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    If Russian govt. endorses Crimean referendum, will they also allow/endorse similar votes in republics in Russian Federation?

    Funny thing, but countries do this “Hotel California” thing….

  • the other rob

    It’s a long time since I went there, but iirc people pronounced it something like ookra-eena. The Crimea was something like “The Crim”.

    FWIW, I spent a week in The Crimea and, while that’s not much time to draw any conclusions, people there did seem to see themselves as Russian.

  • Laird

    Hearing no objection, it appears that “The Ukraine” is the winner.

    Paul, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania may indeed be NATO allies of the US, but I have long argued that the US should no longer be in NATO and, in fact, NATO is an irrelevancy. The EU (or Europe in general, or specific parts of it) may have a legitimate interest is assisting those countries to avoid Putin’s embrace. Have at it. But the US has no more interest there than it does in the Ukraine, and should stay out.

    100 years ago hostilities began in precisely that same area of the world, and we eventually got dragged into it. Forgive me, but I lack any enthusiasm whatsoever for a repeat performance.

  • RAB


    But but bluster and harumph, Europe pay for its own defence? That’s what America is for, surely?

    I agree. If the EU want to play geopolitical games and rattle sabres let’s see how many divisions they can field and at what time after lunch they may deem to launch hostilities… the French and the Germans don’t do mornings, and it’s no good relying on muggins UK this time, we are a bit overstretched already thanks.

    It’s amazing how fast countries can whip up a Referendum when they want to though isn’t it? 😉

  • Jacob

    Stalin deported the Tatars of Crimea to Siberia ? Sure. How is that relevant ? Crimea was not a part of Ukraine, and had no Ukrainian population until 1954, and doesn’t have many Ukrainians even now.

    Sure, Putin is a thug, and he dared take Crimea by force in our age of political correctness and pious platitudes. That is unpardonable.

  • Tedd


    For what it’s worth, Wikipedia lists it as Ukraine, redirects Ukrania and Ukrainia to that title, and says the following.

    “The Ukraine” was once the usual form in English but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, the English-speaking world has largely stopped using the definite article.

    (Original punctuation, which I’ll correct when I get around to it.)

    I assume some deliberation went into those decisions, but I have not investigated it.

  • Mike Giles

    If you’re one of those independent nations, and still retained a significant Russian population, I’d worry. Just as Hitler did with the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia, Putin will use that as an excuse to invade your country.

  • The problem is not Crimea (which has always had a significant Russian population), but the pretense for invasion. Having to “protect” the ethnic Russian population (against what?)has 1930s-era Germanic overtones, and the implications are grave for the Baltic states (which were subject to intense Russification during the USSR era).

    But who cares about the Sudetenland Lithuania Estonia Latvia Crimea anyway?

  • Tedd

    If you’re one of those independent nations, and still retained a significant Russian population, I’d worry.

    The west coast of Canada may be in peril!

  • Mr Ed

    “The Ukraine” was once the usual form in English but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, the English-speaking world has largely stopped using the definite article.

    Tosh, ‘Ukraine’ sounds wrong, so it is wrong. If they don’t like it, they can get stuffed with their mind-bending, totalitarian approach to language. I wish the good people of the Ukraine well, nonetheless.

  • M. Thompson

    For what it’s worth, in the Former Soviet Union, the EU is quite popular for being less corrupt than the thugs who currently run the place, apparently.

  • I think Kim du Toit has it exactly right and I think Jacob is missing the point. The problem really ain’t the Crimea per se.

  • Mr Ed

    Yes, but no one is saying that there are WMDs in Crimea, are they?

  • Paul Marks

    You mean like HILLARY CLINTON said in Iraq Ed?

    Of course there were some chemical shells found – and a lot more were moved to Syria (where they still are – even though President Assad promised to get rid of them in the middle of last year, everyone bar Paul-the-Pedant seems to have forgotten about that promise).

    Of course the Israelis had already blown Saddam’s nuclear reactor to bits (as they recently did with the Syrian one) – but the vague term “WMDs” includes chemical weapons, not just nuclear ones.

    I still oppose the Iraq war though – because it was a Woodrow Wilson style war-for-democracy.

    If it had just been hitting military targets from the air, I would have had no problem with it at all.

    Ditto Iran now.

    Although the Iranian bases are buried deep underground and in the sides of mountains.

    So they may be no alternative to turning sand into glass.

    Unless one wants the Iranians to do it first.

  • Mr Ed

    If your rationale for war a is pre-emptive strike on the basis that a State might have WMDs, as, at best, was the case in Iraq, then you have a rationale for invading San Marino as you cannot prove that it might not have WMDs, a recipe for war, any time, any place. Putin has no such extensive pretext, his aims, whatever they might be, are limited.

    The Afghan War was a war for women’s rights, hence Cherie Blair and co were right behind it, as her spawn weren’t in the firing line, just naïve Army types ‘serving’ their Queen and country, too slow to spot the fraud as the Blairmacht was forged.

  • Paul Marks

    Who said anything about a new war Ed?

    There was no peace treaty from the 1991 war – and Saddam broke the cease fire agreement multiple times.

    Just hit his military bases when a problem seems to be developing – no need to invade and cost thousands of Western lives.

    Not nice – but we both know that I am not nice.

  • Julie near Chicago

    The Ukraine, The Crimea, The Sudan, (there’s at least one more I forget), and of course The Netherlands … not to mention The Sudetenland, speaking of the Sudetenland.

    The United States … and The United Kingdom. (Happily, no longer The U.S.S.R. Although “a rose….”)

    Oh, and The Ivory Coast.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Kim du Toit writes,

    “But who cares about the Sudetenland Lithuania Estonia Latvia Crimea anyway?”

    I hate to edit Mr. du T.’s perfectly accurate statement, but I won’t let that stop me:

    “But who cares about the Sudetenland Czechoslovakia Poland Lithuania Estonia Latvia Crimea anyway?”

    Of course, the Anschluss itself held no information that could conceivably have had educational value for Western Europe and the UK.

  • Maz

    Laird – for what it’s worth, I recently worked with some Ukrainian lawyers in Kiev who corrected my use of “the Ukraine” and told me politely but firmly that it is “Ukraine”.

  • DICK R

    Crimea was only incorporated into Russia in 1954 by Krushchev , having been historically part of Russia for several hundred years , which under the Soviets was unnoticed, only becoming a problem after the the break up.
    Ukraine even within the USSR somehow had it’s own seat at the UN,although it was only a device ,they naturally toed the party line.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Dick – and this was the same Stalin who had removed the Crimean Tartars (most of them dying). And the same Stalin who murdered so many millions of people in the Ukraine – and was crushing Ukrainian resistance in 1954, and calling anyone who opposed him a Nazi (in 1954 – nine years after the collapse of National Socialist Germany), indeed “RT” is still doing it, and the BBC (and so on) will eventually follow the lead of Russia Today (especially with the Ukrainian political parties that have some doubts about the European Union – if they are anti Putin AND anti E.U. they will be sneered at as “Fascist” or “Nazi”, and BY THIS DEFINITION I must be a “Fascist” or a “Nazi” because I am anti Putin AND anti E.U.).

    Laird – Putin has just got landing rights for his bombers in Venezuela and Cuba.

    A bit closer than Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

    Although, as with the First World War, America may wait till Putin makes a deal with Mexican factions (as the Imperial Germans did) and there are actual raids into the United States (“little” things that the Rothbardians leave out in their neoMarxist account of World War One being for the benefit of arms manufacturers and “banksters” such as J.P. Morgan).

    By the way Hollywood has historically loved Mexican Revolutionaries (endless films showing these maniacs as hero figures). Well now Mexican gangs (motivated by the same “Social Justice” desire to rob, rape and murder) are active in California.

    What a good thing de facto “free migration” will be for the Hollywoodheads – eventually the gangs will be so powerful that they will take over local government (democracy is the rule of the majority after all) and they will outgun (or control) the private security around the homes of rich people in LA (just as they did in Mexico after 1910).

    Then the Hollywood people (and their families) will get to meet their hero figures – up close and personal. Just as so many people in Mexico did in the rivers-of-blood years after 1910 (the Revolutionary years Hollywood loves so much).

  • Mr Ed


    Interestimg that your acquaintances in Kiev say, ‘Ukraine’, but I don’t care for how many Ukranians say ‘Ukraine’, if any of them think we should say ‘Ukraine’, they can swivel, as in English, it is and has been, ‘The Ukraine’. If the ‘The’ annoys them, then they are obsessive fools who deserve no respect whatsoever. It would be a totalitarian use of language to complain how a foreigner desribes your country in his own language as if it were a domestic political issue. Perhaps it is Lenin’s long shadow.

    And no Paul, the BBC is not following RT, in fact it is mocking the number of their Talking Heads who turn out to be actors and actresses reciting lines.

    And as Dick R says, the Ukraine has always had a seat at the UN, as has Belarus, it helped with the placing of spies in the UN missions and 2 more votes for Stalin in the General Assembly.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed – I stand corrected on the BBC.

    I must learn not to always assume the worst.

  • Trofim

    The idea that “the Russians” are going to invade Europe, or even the Baltic States is far-fetched indeed. This is a different country from the USSR which was committed to the spread of an ideology.
    The Crimea, as has been pointed out used actually be part of Russia until 1954.
    As for the Ukraine as a whole, if you understand its historical and linguistic position vis-a-vis Russia, it is easier to understand why Russians feel as they do.
    The root of Ukraina is край (krai) – a morpheme, meaning the edge, the most extreme or distant part. крайний (krainiy) means extreme, outermost, on the periphery.
    Ukraina really means something like “peripheral region”. Until a century ago the Ukraine used to be known as Malaya Rossiya – Little Russia and the Ukrainians as Little Russians. English language books and maps of the 19th and early 20th centuries refer to three kinds of Russians – Russians, White Russians and Little Russians, the three peoples being linguistic brothers in that they are speakers of the three still existing Eastern Slavonic languages.
    Kiev was the first capital of what is now Russia, a thousand years ago, as you will see if you look up “Kievan Rus”. It is all this which gives the Ukraine its special status in Russian eyes, and it is this special status which informs Russia’s actions, in my view.
    As for its name, it has always been known as The Ukraine in English, whether Ukrainians like it not. They have no definite article and there is now a sort of linguistic political correctness now going on. It’s amazing how many people who used “the Ukraine” a couple of months ago are now saying “You can’t say that: it’s UKRAINE, not THE Ukraine”.

  • Jacob

    Putin is, of course, a thug, with communist-nationalist-totalitarian tendencies. He is more thuggish and active (like in Crimea) than most world leaders (the other thugs), but not by much.
    I always applauded when thuggish despots were liquidated – like Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein, despite the fact that the replacement regime isn’t very good either.

    I do not really oppose the efforts of John Kerry and Obama to reform Putin by righteous preaching, and/or token sanctions. I’m just ridiculing them, not because they are wrong in their intentions, but in the means.

  • but I don’t care for how many Ukranians say ‘Ukraine’, if any of them think we should say ‘Ukraine’, they can swivel, as in English, it is and has been, ‘The Ukraine’.

    Exactly so Ed. Just as an Italian saying “There is no such place as Leghorn” would also be quite incorrect (not that they ever do, they know what it is called in English). It may be “Livorno” in Italian but it is “Leghorn” in English… just as it is the Ukraine in English.

  • DICK R

    Since when has Ukraine had any emotional attachment to the Crimea it was only incorporated in living memory 1954!

  • DICK R

    Perry, there are numerous examples of this, the one that grates the most is probably BEIJING for PEKING the French however continue to call it PEKIN no BBC newsreader [for that is where most of this nonsense originated] would
    dream of saying PAREE , ROMA , MUNCHEN ,etc

  • “The idea that “the Russians” are going to invade Europe, or even the Baltic States is far-fetched indeed.” – Trofim

    Let’s remember this one when the Russian tanks once more roam the streets of Tallinn, shall we?

    Much the same thought was prevalent prior to WWI, when no one could believe that the Germans would ever invade the Low Countries or France. When it comes to the Russians, anything is possible, especially where ports (Black Sea, Baltic etc) are in play.

  • Tedd


    Yes, that was a close shave.

  • Mr Ed

    And whilst we are here, the BBC should know that there is no ‘r’ in Afghanistan, nor is there one in Pakistan.

  • Laird

    “Laird – Putin has just got landing rights for his bombers in Venezuela and Cuba.

    A bit closer than Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.”

    True enough, and the US has landing rights in Germany and lots of other places quite close to Russia. What of it?

  • Paul Marks

    No Jacob – President James Earl Carter was a man of good “intentions” and bad results, President Barack Obama is a man of BAD intentions (in his heart he is no better than Putin – but he constrained by a different political system and situation).

    I still wake up finding it hard to believe that Mr Barack Obama is President of the United States and that John Kerry (whom I remember from many years ago – his lying pro enemy propaganda, in wartime and in uniform, in testimony before Congress) is Sec of State.

    It is all very depressing – almost beyond words.

  • Paul Marks

    Trofim has a point – although a narrow one.

    Putin and co do want to grab as much land (and loot) as they can (from as many countries as possible), but they have no IDEOLOGY now (yes they have a weird mixture or Marxism and libertarianism on RT and so on – but it does not really hand together as a coherent world view).

    Actually Mr Putin is not a Marxist (at least I do not believe he is) – he is more like a more intelligent (and vastly more powerful) version of Al Capone (but in charge of loads of nukes).

    The world has to be protected from people like this – but intelligently, one does not fight on every battlefield.

    As for B.O. being in charge of both the United States military and the intelligence services – there is nothing any of us can do about that.

    If anyone has a doorway into an alternative history I will happily walk through it (use me as the expendable test subject).

    It is possible that the alternative history would be worse than the situation we find ourselves in – but highly unlikely.

    I really want to get out of this world.

  • ragingnick

    One has to feel for Ukranians, the chosen victim of a power play between the Obama regime and the EUSSR on the one hand, and Putins gangster state on the other.

    About the only good thing one can say of Putins Russia is that it has so far resisted the PC cultural Marxism that has poisoned the West.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    March 8, 2014 at 3:41 pm


    Yes, that was a close shave.

    Both ears and the tail. Now, go to your room!

  • Trofim

    Kim du Toit:
    The USSR had an ideological message to spread – Russia operates to defend what it believes to be its interests. It’s a very different place in a completely different world, in that the USSR was insulated from outside information and opinion. Now it’s impossible to regulate. I have a Skype acquaintance who lives in Kherson, right next to the Crimea, and one on the other side in Novorossiysk.
    But the most convincing reason is outlined in this article:


    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this doesn’t seriously damage Putin’s prestige in Russia and mark the beginning of his decline.

  • Trofim, even a casual look at Russia’s territorial ambitions over the centuries shows that the USSR’s “ideological” pretext was simply the latest in a long line of pretexts. In 1914 it was the “protecting Slavs and the Orthodox Church in the Balkans” pretext, and now the “protecting ethnic Russians” pretext is just another. Certainly, the Baltic states are alarmed at the extent of Russification within their boundaries, because they too realize the implications. And I would venture to suggest that Russification of occupied vassal states was part of Russia’s geopolitical long game.

    As I said, we will look at your earlier statement when the next manufactured neo-Russian “crisis” occurs in the Baltic states. I give it five years at the outside — and I’m an optimist.

  • Julie near Chicago

    According to at least some historians, early in WW II Stalin reverted from holding Communistic ideology uppermost in his mind to good old Russian Nationalism, with knobs on. Thereafter his aim was to expand the USSR’s Empire first, Communism second.

  • William Newman

    Mr. Ed wrote “If your rationale for war a is pre-emptive strike on the basis that a State might have WMDs, as, at best, was the case in Iraq”

    I’m no fan of the invasion of Iraq, but I’d like the critics to get it right: there wasn’t just the free-floating “San Marino might have nukes” issue, there was the matter of the settlement left over from when Iraq was kicked back out of Kuwait.

    And now I see Paul Marks already pointed that out, but I do have something to add. I’m no fan of that settlement, either. I thought it was grimly funny when before the invasion of Iraq pundits were hyperventilating about analogies to letting Hitler get away with stuff in the runup to WWII. If you’re going to go all 1930s analogy on the region like that, it would be nice to think about the WWI part too, and wonder it was really a good idea to “end” a war with punitive treaties structured to piss people off and incentivize the next round of conflicts.

  • Paul Marks

    I do not agree with those historians Julie – I believe that “Stalin” (a special Revolutionary name of course) remained a dedicated Marxist to the day he died. By the way Stalin was not Russian – and did not like Russians.

    William Newman – that is the J.M. Keynes view of the end of World War One. Actually the problem with the settlement was that it was NOT punitive.

    As both Foch and General Pershing understood – the Allies should have marched into Berlin and ended the German Empire (restored the independence of Bavaria and the other Kingdoms and Free Cities).

    As for “reparations” and so on – the Germans never really paid them (unlike France after 1871 which DID pay).

    There was no “punitive” treaty breaking up the German Empire (restoring an independent Bavaria and so on) in 1919 – and there SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

    In despair Marshall Foch declared that the failure to take the chance to smash the German Empire had condemned Europe to future German aggression.

    Foch declared that the treaty of 1919 was a “twenty year truce” – and he even got the timing right (1919-1939).

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yes, Paul, I badly mis-stated the claim. The idea was that to muster the proper Fighting Spirit during WW II, Stalin appealed to a sense of Russian Nationalism. That’s not to say he believed in it himself. (Yes, I know he was Georgian.)

    Then after the War (or at least sometime in the second half of the 20th Century, natch) we got lots of stuff about the alleged fact that the Russians were (understandably) paranoid, so blah blah blah.

    However, Stalin as confirmed expansionist celebrant of Global (International) Communism was just as determined that he and his particular gang would be Top Dog when their objective of World-Wide Empire was achieved.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Julie.

    And “Stalin” knew how to USE national feelings (even whilst despising them) – after all he had been Commissar for Nationalities.

  • Mr Ed

    If the turn-out in the Crimean referendum is a whopping 123% in some areas, it looks as if Mr Putin’s Black Sea Fleet has got more rigging than the Spanish Armada.

  • Paul Marks

    The leaders of the Jewish community in the Ukraine (a very small community) have come out to attack the lies of Putin and RT (lies that are swallowed whole by the “libertarian” left and elements of the anti American right). The idea that Mr Putin (the ally of Iran and the “The Party of God” in Lebanon and Syria) is a friend of the Jewish people is absurd. The Red Army is not coming to save the Jews.

    Yes Mr Ed – they were a bit clumsy in the “referendum”.

    For the record – opinion polls showed that one third (not 96%) of the population of the Crimea favoured union with Russia (before the troops rolled in).

    If Putin is wise he will settle for the Crimea – as Perry is fond of pointing out, mainland Eastern Ukraine is a dump (full of Soviet era heavy industry that is obsolete).

    In the Crimea Putin has already promised everyone higher (government) pensions and higher (government paid) salaries – that is the real face of the “free market”, “Austrian School” talk one hears on “RT” (the twist in the tail, more public services for everyone,because the rich are the problem, is what is important not all the citing of free market talk in the early parts of shows such as “Boom-Bust” – by the way whoever writes the script that the blond lady [badly] reads out, OWES ME MONEY as a lot of the free market talk seems to be word-for-word from attacks on credit bubble banking and so on I wrote years ago, although the twist in the tail stuff is their own).

    The thugs in Eastern Ukraine, gathered round their statues of Lenin, are a curse – for whatever country has them. Putin would be a fool to take them into Mother Russia.

    Leave them to the West – the E.U. can fund them, with absurd bailouts. As with Greece – where the government has announced it is going to use the latest bailout to buy votes in the upcoming local elections (I mean to “help the poor”).

  • Paul Marks

    My favourite bit of RT propaganda recently was from a show called “Sophieco” (Sophie and co?).

    Basically the same format as “Boom-Bust” – have a attractive lady read stuff out and interview death-to-America guests (and various well meaning, but rather stupid, libertarians and conservatives). Accept this time the lady is dark haired and has Slavic cynical look in her eyes (rather than a blond lady who cultivates an air-head manner).


    A couple of days ago a former “American intelligence officer” (Scott….) came on to explain that opposition to what Putin is doing in the Ukraine is based on capitalist greed (I bet the “libertarian” left are repeating this all over the place) – like the “Oligarchs in the time of Gorby…” (surely Yeltsin) and then went on to explain how the First and Second World Wars were NATO plots against Russia.

    NATO was founded in the late 1940s – and Western countries were actually allies (not enemies) of Russia in both World Wars.

    But these minor details will not stop the “libertarian” left (and elements of the anti American right) treating all this stuff as Gospel.

    “Just as we have always said – an intervention policy overseas is for the benefit of rich capitalists, General Butler and General Johnson said the same…… it is all a plot by big business”.

    Yes, Yes, Yes – opposing the Barbary Pirates was a plot of the “1%”, as was opposing Imperial Germany, and National Socialist Germany, and international Communism.

    The United States of America exists on a different planet – so what happens on the Planet Earth will not effect America.

    The final irony?

    Comrade Barack Obama (who hates America with a fanatical passion – and has done his entire life)is laughing about all this.

    It gives him the perfect excuse to act in the way he wants to anyway.

    To let Mr Putin and his allies (such as the Islamic Republic of Iran) do what they like. In Syria and everywhere else. As the defences of the West are cut to bits (thanks Senator for Warren Buffett – now Defence Sec) and the Welfare State bankrupts every major Western nation.

    Perry once accused me of basically writing a suicide note (over and over again) – and he has a point.

    But if anyone has a better policy than suicide I would like to hear it. And I mean policy – not “take your mind off things by….” drivel.