Preamble: “‘Rien pour la gloire! Glory brings no profit! Peace everywhere and always! War depresses the quotations of the three and four per cents!’ the France of the Bourse jobbers had inscribed on her banner.”
-Karl Marx, The Class Struggles in France
Translations by Gleb Bazov / Editing by @GBabeuf
Putin’s Cunning Plan
Original article here: El Murid
Photographs – Associated Press
Judging by the fact that, on both sides of the front, the participants are scaling back their activity and preparing for winter (and that, on the Ukrainian side, conversations about the Army’s lack of readiness for wintering in the field are getting louder), it can be assumed that, after all, a decision has been made to wait until the spring. We no longer need to suspect the sides of some kind of clandestine intentions—it is getting colder and damper, and, while, of course, there could be fighting, it will be solely in the form of torpid skirmishes and sabotage behind enemy lines. The usual kind of positional war following a Verdun-esque meat grinder.
In a sense the Cunning Plan has prevailed. Kiev was not allowed to finish off Donetsk and Lugansk, and they were pulled back from the brink at the very last moment. The existence of the rebel territory remains a thorn in the chubby backside and carries the threat of the pain being drastically amplified in case of misconduct. On the rebel territory itself, by the looks of it, a classic sweep of disloyal elements and the transformation of the freemen into something like a controllable entity has begun.
The existing bedlam has its negative aspects—the proliferation of weapons has taken on quite a menacing form. Just today, two contract soldiers were caught trying to sell a hundred grenades in the Rostov region. One can hazard the guess that this was simply scraps from the master’s table of the mobile Voentorg shop. What is carried out of the shop by men with stars on their epaulettes is, of course, not reported to the general public; but, as always, in times like this the arms trade is brisk and not at all retail in nature. Pumping the border regions—already complicated in every respect—full of weapons can only be done at one’s own peril.
On the other hand, by swiftly and firmly reining in the offensive impulse of the reinvigorated Militia, Moscow has demonstrated its commitment to a partnership with Kiev. It does not in the least fancy losing a thirty billion cubic metre Ukrainian gas consumption market, and the fact that Yatsenyuk is threatening that in ten years Ukraine will become fully self-sufficient in this product only causes them to sniff disdainfully in the Gazprom offices—“we will see where Yatsenyuk himself will be in ten years.”
We can assume that in the near future we may see a breakthrough in gas relations. The issue of the debt has not been resolved; however, “Aleks”, my acquaintance from Kiev, has already enlightened me as to the mechanism of this breakthrough. An international consortium has already been created, which will issue to Naftogaz a special purpose loan of six billion dollars so that it can repay the debt to Gazprom and make prepayment for additional volumes of gas required to maintain an uninterrupted transit to Europe. Naftogaz will also have to pay something, but it will be a mere trifle—approximately a hundred million dollars. The Ukrainian gas transport system (GTS) will serve as collateral for the loan. It is clear that no one will pay anything back, and we can already guess who will be the next owner of the GTS.
For Gazprom this situation is entirely comfortable—it will receive payment and will be relieved of the headache of the transit to Europe over the winter season. For all this, however, the payment will be a thrifty price for domestic Ukrainian gas consumption. The main negotiation is, in fact, centred on this price—there are conditions on either side that remain unacceptable for the other; however, in the end, as usual, everything will be decided at the last minute, in a conversation between the Presidents.
The oligarchs on both side are also quite satisfied—in the end, no nationalization took place in the DPR. Pushilin and Purgin, who stammered something about it once, were given short shrift, following which the question was taken off the table altogether. By the looks of it, Akhmetov will soon appear on the scene and solve the problem of the lack of qualified cadre plaguing the young republics—he has no shortage of specialists in all areas. Today’s home-makers, who are managing the state, will be asked to go, leaving a few of the familiar, but now entirely loyal, faces for television appearances.
The Western sanctions that cause very serious alarm in Moscow, will be frozen, with the most unpleasant personal (and some sectoral) ones removed. However, the situation will not return to initial positions—it was not all started just for that to happen.
It should be understood that everything will be frozen until the spring. No one knows what the winter weather will be like, and that is why the Europeans are categorically opposed to taking risks now. The United States will be forced to make some concessions; however, the ultimate goal—an attack on Russia—is not being abandoned. It is simply being delayed. Although, of course, the Saxons are masters of lies, and there is no vouching for anything.
All sides have a deep sense of personal satisfaction, even though all of them lost something. The residents of the Donbass, of course, cannot share this profound feeling, but then who cares about some bunch of natives?
What is Good and What is Bad
Original article here: El Murid
Photograph – REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
[On September 24, 2014], Obama spoke at the United Nations General Assembly. He touched on a broad range of subjects, but he devoted most of the time to Ukraine and Russia. Against the background of American bombing in Syria, his speech has a most cynical quality to it:
“…Russia’s actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order. Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt President fled. Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into Eastern Ukraine, fuelling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands. When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days. When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretence of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border…”
It is interesting, by the way, that the question of who shot down the Boeing is no longer even raised. The tune is now different: the unforgivable transgression of the Militiamen is that they did not allow someone to go somewhere. Even though, as I recall, the inspectors could not reach the crash site because of merciless shelling by the Ukrainian punitive forces. But who remembers that now?
Obama’s ominous summary: “We will reinforce our NATO allies, and uphold our commitment to collective defence. We will impose a cost on Russia for aggression, and counter falsehoods with the truth…”
However, there is also some pleasant news: “…[Russia can choose the path of peace.] The recent cease-fire agreement in Ukraine offers an opening to achieve that objective. If Russia takes that path—a path that for stretches of the post-Cold War period resulted in prosperity for the Russian people—then we will lift our sanctions and welcome Russia’s role in addressing common challenges. That’s what the United States and Russia have been able to do in past years[…]And that’s the kind of cooperation we are prepared to pursue again—if Russia changes course…”
Essentially, the President of the United States has issued an ultimatum. For now it is general and non-specific in nature, but his threats carry an absolutely clear message. According to Obama, Russia’s actions challenged the world order that was created following the Second World War. He is slightly disingenuous, but only slightly. It would be more accurate to say that Russia has challenged that order which arose after defeat in the Cold War. Formally, though, Obama is right—the Cold War ended after the Second World War. It is just that the current world order was established on the spur of the moment by the Unites States. This explains their rigid position: no one is permitted to change it. Only the United States is permitted to decide what is good and what is bad.
The allusion to “the path of peace”—this is a hint: not for Putin, with whom all bridges have been burned and who will not be forgiven for anything. It is a more than clear call to the sleeper agents in Russia—it is time to wake up and go to work. The cause of peace cannot wait.
The full text of President Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations is here.