Those who get their misinformation from Guardian and BBC might be forgiven their oblivion to the fact of Ukraine having seen eight years of civil war, with thousands of deaths in the eastern regions, since the US-engineered Maidan coup of 2014 installed a Russophobic, antisemitic and neofascist regime in Kiev. At which the alarmed populations of the east prepared (a) to defend themselves against armed fascists and (b) to secede.
The neo Nazi Azov Battalion in Kiev shortly after the 2014 Maidan Coup
This state of total ignorance – including by Western ‘leftists’ who show no great interest in extending and triangulating their sources – may now change in light of what just happened.
The Saker, February 21 (slightly abridged) …
Russia recognition of the LDNR 1 – a few initial thoughts
I listened to the full Russian Security Council meeting, then to Putin’s address to the nation, then the signing of the the treaties on cooperation and mutual support.
The first thing I want to point out is that this was a carefully orchestrated event, and not just today’s live meetings and signing. For those of us who follow Russian politics closely there can be no doubt that all this was prepared long before the Russian ultimatum to the West.
This is “the plan” which Putin once openly referred to.
To be clear: this recognition should not be seen in isolation. It is just one phase in a process which began at least a year ago, with much more to come.
Next, this is not about the LDNR, Donbass or even Ukraine. It is about a new security architecture on Europe and, therefore, on our entire planet.
Russia expected exactly the reaction she eventually got (western politicians are fantastically predictable, being ignorant, stupid and arrogant) and that gave her a legal basis to take the current action (call it R2P, or moral duty, or genocide prevention or whatever else you wish).
I want to express my deepest gratitude to President Biden and Chancellor Scholz who both played their role to perfection, especially Scholz with his ‘laughable’ genocide comment. 2 More generally, a lot of the credit for what happened today goes to the leaders of Empire who played their hand exactly as the Kremlin hoped they would.
Next, I want to mention sanctions. Let it be said: whatever sanctions the West now agrees upon will be what they would have done in any case. Today’s recognition of the LDNR will have zero influence on the West’s maniacal determination to destroy Russia and her people. The coming sanctions were unavoidable, and Russia loses nothing. In fact, both during the RSC meeting and his speech, Putin hinted that, if anything, western sanctions have been beneficial to the Russian economy (especially the real economy, not just the value of Russian stocks or ruble).
Sanctions only matter to western politicians (and their 5th and 6th columns in Russia). Russians (a) remember that Russia and the USSR were always under some kind of sanctions and (b) that the goal of the West is not to reach an equilibrium with Russia, but to subjugate and destroy her.
In this context, the endless focus on sanctions (from hell or otherwise) is not only immoral, but plain stupid.
Next, I want to mention four specific threats made by Putin today. (Since the PR folks at the Kremlin are working at their usual snail’s pace, please bear in mind that I’m working from memory:
- Those responsible for the massacre in Odessa will be punished by Russia.
- Putin demands an immediate cessation of the shelling and shooting along the LOC.
- Russia will physically prevent the Ukraine from US/NATO deploying offensive weapons to threaten Russia.
- Russia will show Banderastan 3 how to organize a real “decommunization” (after indicating that the Ukraine was created by the CPSU).
Again, I will repeat here what I wrote above: this recognition should NOT, repeat, NOT, be seen in isolation. It is just ONE PHASE in a PROCESS which began at least a year ago, or more, and there is much more to come.
Unless the Ukies get it – and they probably won’t – I fully expect Russia to openly extend her “military umbrella” over the LDNR. That does not mean she will have to move troops in, though that now is also a possibility, but that any future Ukie ground operation will be countered by the full might of the Russian military. Officially this time. The Ukros along the LOC have heard it from Putin’s own mouth: we got a crosshairs on each one of you. While I wouldn’t put anything beyond the Ukros, I believe that today’s clear threat will have a strong deterrent effect, whether the Ukies admit it (not gonna happen) or not.
After listening to it all, I still have a few questions to which I did not get a reply yet:
Administrative borders of the DNR vs the LOC
UN Briefing Note on Ukraine, March 2020
In what exact borders does Russia recognize the LNR and DNR? Along the LOC or along their original administrative borders? I strongly suspect that for a while Russia will keep a flou artistique on this topic, but what Putin meant was a recognition of the LDNR in their original administrative borders. If I am correct, this also means Russia will not liberate the rest of Banderastan, which I fully approve of. The Ukrainians need to liberate themselves for once, enough of that constant waiting for the Moskals to liberate them from their western “friends”!
Putin mentioned the immense sums of money Russia has poured into Ukraine even after it turned into Banderastan. Will Russia finally impose an economic embargo on that Nazi state?
The DNR/LNR having just been recognized, they are not members of the CSTO and I very much doubt that all of the CSTO will recognize the LDNR anytime soon. So if there is the need to launch a “coercion to peace” operation, will Russia act unilaterally, maybe with Belarus, or will she try to get some kind of joint operation with other countries?
(This just in: the Russian MoD has announced it has the order to ensure the safety of the LDNR! That means a peace enforcement – coercion to peace – has been ordered!)
Some will focus on what western politicians will say or do next. I have no idea, but would advise them to be extremely careful. The mood in Russia is determined.
For Americans everything is measured in Dollars; for Europeans in Euros. During WWII Russia lost 27 million of her people, two thirds of them civilians. China lost 35 million. These are countries and nations which will not be broken, or purchased, by Dollars or Euros.
Then there is this: if the West slaps “sanctions from hell” on Russia, what will the leaders of the West do the day after? The West is already “out-sanctioned”. But let’s assume even more sanctions. Then what?
Nothing, of course.
Russia has long turned away from the West, culturally and economically (Mishustin confirmed that today). If the EU wants to commit economic seppuku – that’s fine by Russia. The Kremlin is quite willing to turn up the pain dial, but if western leaders want to increase the pain dial on each other (the US dialing up economic pain for the EU), by all means. Russia won’t object.
As always, I suggest we not jump to further conclusions too quickly: let’s wait for the full, official transcripts, then the statements of key politicians (who will be tasked with implementing these statements). In this situation, words matter (at least those of Russian officials).
I will conclude by a warning: I fully expect the CIA/MI6 agents in Russia (5th column: liberals; 6th column: emo-Marxists and pseudo-patriots) to unleash a major psyop offensive against Putin and this decision. Arguments will include anything and everything in between “not enough” and “too much” including the inevitable “too little too late”. If there is one thing you need to know about both the 5th and 6th columns in Russia it is that for them, any success by Putin (or even while Putin is in power) is categorically unacceptable and must be denied at all costs. So while they claim to hate each other, they really hate Putin much more. In fact, they hate Putin much, much more than they love Russia. I strongly urge all the readers to always think cui bono when you hear their endless defeatist wailing!
Okay, I will end it here: let’s see what happens next.
* * *
- LDNR – Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics
- Here’s what the Saker refers to in respect of German Chancellor Olaf Scolz.
- Calling Ukraine “Banderastan” is the Saker’s gibe at the resurrection and redemption, post Maidan 2014, of the Nazi collaborator Stepan bandera, even naming a Kiev street in his honour: a baptism short lived. In 2016, after Israel objected to this and other manifestations of virulent antisemitism following Yanukovych’s ouster, the street saw another name change. It is now Moscow Avenue.
Moon of Alabama has a couple of interesting OSCE monitoring team charts (one map/one chart) in this piece
The map shows the increases in explosions from Ukrainian artillery on the Donbass side.
The chart shows civilian deaths since 2018 on both sides of the contact line – 81% in the Donbass/16% on Ukrainian territory. Remainder in no mans land.