Putin’s official Ukraine status

Leaked transcripts reveal Putin’s secret Ukraine attack

By Bill Sanderson | September 21, 2014 | NY Post

Giving lie to Vladimir Putin’s claims that Russia isn’t fighting in Ukraine, up to 80 Russian troops were killed in a skirmish there last month, according to information released by an opposition politician.

Members of an elite Russian paratroop force talked about the brutal battle near Luhansk, a city in eastern Ukraine, in telephone transcripts leaked to politician and newspaper publisher Lev Shlosberg.

“We’re f——g walking along looking for these f—–g Ukrainians,” one paratrooper says in an account reported by the Sunday Times of London.

“We get out into the open and are seen, kapow!” the paratrooper says.

“We dashed out onto the road, there was a field, sunflowers, and a checkpoint,” he continues. “They started to bomb it — bam bam bam — and they destroyed it.”

“Eighty guys were killed,” said the paratrooper, who was wounded in the attack. He added: “I was told only 10 made it out.”

He related the story to a fellow soldier in a phone call from a hospital where he was being treated.

More at NY Post: http://nypost.com/2014/09/21/leaked-transcripts-reveal-putins-secret-attack-in-ukraine/

From secret missions to secret funerals

Never a dull moment for Russia or Putin over Ukraine. Now they are tasked with covering up and hiding deaths or wounding of some four hundred Russian soldiers, on a mission that didn’t exist. Then Putin gives an award and praise to valiant heroic soldiers of a nation at peace.

Putin vs. the broach lady

…sans the steel cage.

The Russian leader who tests the West

by Madeline Albright | April 23, 2014

In 2008, in these same pages, I wrote that Putin would “remain an irritant to NATO, a source of division within Europe and yet another reason for the West to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.” I was wrong. It’s worse.

Through his illegal actions in Ukraine, Putin has reminded us that leaders of great countries are most dangerous when they make up their own facts. Putin’s worldview is colored by toxic fictions.

Putin’s ultra-nationalistic instinct has upped his poll numbers, but his increased influence will be temporary. Russia has acquired territory but lost credibility. Putin has bought himself a pile of problems at the cost of the international ties Russia needs to prosper. He has betrayed Russia’s best resource — its people — who will eventually realize his rhetoric is nothing more than a fantasy inside a delusion wrapped in a tissue of lies.

To some, Putin has “won” Crimea. Will he recognize his “victory” is Pyrrhic — or try to repeat it? History is filled with aggressors who triumphed for a moment. Then failed.

Albright served as the 64th U.S. Secretary of State

http://time.com/70855/vladimir-putin-2014-time-100/

 

This was hailed by Bill O’Reilly as a great, short hard-hitting piece. Not sure why.
With the formalities out of the way, as they say, time for a closer look. Sure, Putin’s poll numbers support him, not that it matters to him. It’s up to him and the Kremlin what they do with that popularity.

Putin would “remain an irritant to NATO”? That was so prophetic. Even if he got in NATO he’d be an irritant. He’s a spur in the West’s heel, but what is new? Putin’s rewriting of the Russian Constitution was a big help and say nothing of his calculated political maneuvering. He might not quite be a Clinton, but you get the idea.

Who could not have predicted that at some point he would once again be a big problem for the West? Yet here it is in living color, almost on cue. Good for Madeline speaking up, for what it’s worth. Now the only persons who would have been surprised by Putin’s behavior were Obama and his circle of enablers. They were in cosmic denial from way back.

When Mitt Romney mentioned Russia in the debate, Obama went to ballistic snark attacking him for it. Then said the 80’s wants their foreign policy back as a punch line. See no evil, hear no evil… It is a pattern for them. So nice that Albright speaks up but apparently not to the right people, ahead of time. Sure its easy to point out now how Putin was a predictable problem, but she’s preaching to the choir, after the fact.

Romney Told Obama “I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses on this, when it comes to Russia or Putin.” Romney also was treated to a snarky scolding about horses and bayonets. Albright said:

“Russia has acquired territory but lost credibility. Putin has bought himself a pile of problems at the cost of the international ties Russia needs to prosper.”

Sort of specious reasoning. “Acquired territory” equals credibility to Putin, no matter how you got it. All that matters is expansion. Diplomacy or other domestic policy concerns come in a distant second. And then it will be used to negotiate for further gains.

Now I know Albright is a respected diplomat, but does she not understand that? Or is she just trying to spin the web of explanations after the fact? Maybe they can create an exit strategy that will work for Putin? That must be it, they just didn’t stumble onto the right combination of appeasements yet. Turns out this is another empty shell, CYA statement. Might as well seek advice from the broach.

If he’s “testing” the West, then what grade does the West get?
RightRing | Bullright

Russian bear out of hibernation

The cost of stopping the Russian bear now is high—but it will only get higher if the West does nothing

The Economist | Apr 19th 2014


FIRST Vladimir Putin mauled Georgia, but the world forgave him—because Russia was too important to be cut adrift. Then he gobbled up Crimea, but the world accepted it—because Crimea should have been Russian all along. Now he has infiltrated eastern Ukraine, but the world is hesitating—because infiltration is not quite invasion. But if the West does not face up to Mr Putin now, it may find him at its door.

The storming of police stations in eastern Ukraine over the weekend by pro-Russian protesters (see article) is a clever move, for it has put the interim government in Kiev in an impossible position. Mr Putin has warned that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war. If the country’s government fails to take control, it will open itself to charges that it cannot keep order within its own borders. But its soldiers are poorly trained, so in using force (operations were under way as The Economist went to press) it risks escalation and bloodshed. Either way, it loses.

The West has seen Russia brush off its threats and warnings. It looks feeble and divided. Yet, after the destabilization of eastern Ukraine, even doves should grasp that the best chance of stability lies in standing up to Mr Putin, because firmness today is the way to avoid confrontation later.

Red lines and green men

Russia insists that it has played no part in the seizure of towns such as Sloviansk and Gorlivka. This is implausible. The attacks were coordinated, in strategically useful places that had seen few protests. Just as in Crimea six weeks ago, troops in unmarked uniforms and with Russian weapons carried out the initial assaults. Russian agents have turned up in custody and in reporters’ notebooks, organizing the protests and, some say, paying for them. Russia has been meddling in eastern Ukraine for weeks, occasionally with results from the pages of Gogol. On April 6th “local people” stormed what they thought was the regional administrative headquarters in Kharkiv only to find that they had taken control of the opera house.

Russian diplomats counter that they cannot be behind what is going on, because instability in eastern Ukraine is not in Russia’s interests. True, normal countries benefit from peace and prosperity next door. However, mindful of its own claim to power and the outlook for Russia’s stagnant economy, the Kremlin has much to fear from the pro-European demonstrations that toppled Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych. It appears determined to see the new Ukraine fail.

See more at Economist.com

Instability in Ukraine is not in Russia’s interest? Really. Stand by to watch Ukraine be digested by Russia. If not in ‘name’, then surely by most principles. But the bear is not hibernating.

Flashback (refresher)

Readers here would know early this year I posted on Putin’s elaborate state of the nation address. How strange it sounded even then.

Coverage on Putin’s December, 2013, address:

“Vladimir Putin pointed out the well-known attempts in recent years to impose an allegedly more progressive development model on other countries. But the result was invariably retrogression, barbarity and a high price in blood. On the other hand, the situation around Syria and now around Iran, too, proves that any international problem can and must be settled exclusively through political means, without ever resorting to the use of force, which, the Russian leader is certain, has no future and provokes rejection in a majority of world nations.” VoR

Here is the text of Putin’s remarks:

The Syrian crisis, and now the situation in Iran as well, clearly demonstrate that any international problem can and should be resolved exclusively through political means, without resorting to forceful actions with little potential that are rejected by most nations in the world.”

At the time, it made for a great rhetorical soundbite. Note the words “any” and “exclusively.” I said he was channeling FDR. Some like Pat Buchanan applauded it.

What a difference a few months make. That’s completely at odds with the picture now.

RightRing | Bullright

Foreign Policy of the Desperately Absurd

So Kerry announces that he will be going to Kiev, Ukraine. But Putin doesn’t care much what Kerry says, only what Obama says and does. He’s smart.

Just yesterday Kerry said Putin doesn’t have the strong hand.

On one hand Kerry called Putin’s move a “brazen act of aggression”.
On the other he declares Putin is acting out of “weakness” and “desperation.”

Russia is holding two Ukraine ships, forcing surrender. More weakness.

The Hill

“That’s not the act of somebody who’s strong,” Kerry added, saying Putin is acting out of “weakness” and “desperation.”

On ABC’s “This Week,” Kerry called Putin’s move a “brazen act of aggression” and raised the possibility that allied nations would move to kick Russia out of the Group of 8 in addition to boycotting the G-8 summit in Sochi this summer.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/europe/199645-putin-acting-out-of-desperation#ixzz2uvOYZrLQ

This is the same Obama that threatened congress for even talking about sanctions for Iran. Now he demands Congressional action. Some people!

Michael Crowley of TIME had a tweet that illustrated the situation.

“not a character judgment, but this does kind of capture the moment “

Putin is the consummate opportunist. You really can’t blame him, considering the holes Obama gives him. It’s not “desperation”, it’s pure opportunism. Putin has been fortunate in opportunities. And it’s not weakness.

But it’s Obama that is operating out of “weakness and desperation”… with limited opportunities.

I think I know what happened, the Obama regime leaned “forward” so far it fell over.

RightRing | Bullright

Putin the Conservative Superstar

This is an older article but so relevant. See previous post on Putin’s address.

The conservative right sees areas to praise Putin. If I told you a few years ago this would be the case, would you have  believed me?

Now he’s riding high on conservative steam.

 

Why Are American Conservatives Praising Putin?

Russia’s anti-gay policies deserve the scorn of U.S. conservatives.
Cathy Young | August 22, 2013 | Reason.com

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, the career KGB officer who has presided over the rollback of his country’s post-Communist freedoms and revived Cold War-style anti-Americanism, is an unlikely hero for American conservatives. Yet the Kremlin strongman has lately found some fans on the right who see him as a defender of Christian values — most recently, in the imbroglio over Russia’s new legal ban on gay “propaganda.” It is a sad misjudgment that does a disservice to the causes of conservatism, freedom, and religion alike.

Take a minute to inhale that. Its a good article too, aside from the subheading. But there is a point many miss. Sure, I have praised some of his moves myself. Does it make him a stalwart conservative? Put in relative terms, is he more conservative than Obama? Without doubt. I don’t think Putin is worried about his approvals either.

What amazes me is Putin’s theatrical disagreements with Obama on several fronts. He could be accused of hypocrisy too, but why bother when Vlad says stuff which makes sense to conservatives? That’s the point.

Putin can be crude and slick at times, and ruthless at others. He can rally the support of his people. Obama could take a lesson on that. Putin can appear conservative on fiscal and cultural issues. In other words, in areas Obama would never dare to venture.

It might demonstrate that the new American Left is more openly Marxist than Putin. If it were a political campaign, in many ways it is, Putin can run to the right of the progressive Left. But that is not hard to do. Hillary ran to the right of Obama – while darling Edwards ran to the Left — creating an illusion Obama was in the middle.

Consider that for decades  cultural Marxists were natural allies to ‘mother Russia’. Visions of Ted Kennedy and Andropov come to mind. They stuck it in our faces when they could. This is a different twist. Moscow knows the American Left’s record. So should conservatives. It was conservatives who actively opposed communism. (it was even popular to some Dems in the JFK era) Today is different. The mask is off for the Left.

On to Putin. He has made inroads with the people who historically were the most opposed to Russia. Just how could he do that? This article like others points it out. When he bagged the big Pike in the summer, fish was not the only thing biting. If conservatives are comparing his policies to ours, he’s come a long way. He knows it. Meanwhile, he appears less like the new Democrats, despite former alliance.

Spokesmen for several right-wing groups including the American Family Association have praised the Russian law, which prohibits any pro-gay speech or expression that could be accessible to minors. Veteran columnist Pat Buchanan has joined the Putin cheerleading squad. And, shockingly, the usually thoughtful author Rod Dreher, who blogs for The American Conservative, has added his own “1.5 Cheers for Putin.”
While condemning anti-gay violence and authoritarianism in Russia, Dreher praises Putin’s willingness to speak up for Christianity and laments that “post-Soviet Russia, for all its grievous flaws, is . . . more conscious of its Christian history and character than the United States.”
This is a truly grievous misunderstanding of the reality of religion and politics in 21st Century Russia. Russia today is outwardly far more religious than most of Western Europe, but it’s a religion of state more than church: Orthodox Christianity has taken Communism’s place as the new official ideology, with church membership an official badge of patriotism and loyalty.

More at Reason.com

It’s good politics for Putin. His staunchest chief enemy, conservatives, have suddenly been smitten by his moves. Who changed Putin or conservatives? We know Putin hasn’t changed his stripes, he changed the rules to allow him to regain power. (something some of us are leery of Obama doing) So he’s no hero for the rule of law. Yet he has won over some conservatives with his gimmickry.(and politics) He’s still that same Putin Obama promised more flexibility to. Now Putin seems to flirt with American conservatives. Age-old enemies. Like people play the dating game: present yourself as a noble partner while courting, then after the commitment the truth comes out.

Don’t be fooled, Putin is still the Russian bear. I think its dangerous to draw too many parallels. Pat Buchanan should know better than making very cordial comparisons to Russia and Putin. It’s too easy to take a few positions for common sense agreement with Putin. And still as easy to disagree on his traditional values and anti-gay stance we are supposed to condemn. But there is more lurking beneath the skin, just like Obama.

It is a fascinating change though. I leave you with Putin recently sounding more FDR:

Vladimir Putin pointed out the well-known attempts in recent years to impose an allegedly more progressive development model on other countries. But the result was invariably retrogression, barbarity and a high price in blood. On the other hand, the situation around Syria and now around Iran, too, proves that any international problem can and must be settled exclusively through political means, without ever resorting to the use of force, which, the Russian leader is certain, has no future and provokes rejection in a majority of world nations.

Recent address

Related https://rightring.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/new-bear-is-the-traditional-bear/

RightRing | Bullright

New bear is the traditional bear

Putin’s address to parliament: healthy conservatism and robust defence

Nikita Sorokin | 14 December

In his annual state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin laid emphasis on social, economic and home policy problems. The Russian leader was especially emotional when discussing the moral health of society and Russia’s role in the modern-day world.

He delivered his address on Constitution Day, December 12th, when Russians marked 20 years since the adoption of the constitution. Putin said the constitutional provisions determining the rights and freedoms of man and citizen are unchangeable, even though some pinpoint changes may and should be made in other chapters of the constitution due to law-enforcement practice and the course of events.

The constitutional process also prompts the need for promoting political competition. Vladimir Putin is certain that new parties that will successfully emerge from local elections will soon challenge the political old-timers. According to the President, the State is interested in updating government agencies by appointing well-trained and responsible officials. Putin also pointed out the need for tightening public control of bureaucracy.  […/]

“The Russian President feels that many countries are revising moral standards and removing cultural differences and national traditions.”

Demands are made today that one and all not only recognize everyone’s fair right to the freedom of conscience, to political views and privacy, but that they also mandatorily recognize of equal value, however strange it may seem, good and evil, the notions that are opposite by their very meaning. We know that increasingly great numbers of people around the world share our stand on the protection of traditional values, the values of a traditional family, human life, including religious life, the values of humanism and world diversity. This is clearly a conservative stand. But in the words of Nikolai Berdyaev, the idea of conservatism is not that it prevents progress and upward movement, but that it prevents one from moving backwards and downwards, to chaotic darkness.

http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_12_14/Putins-address-to-parliament-healthy-conservatism-and-robust-defence-3949/

Wait, did  Putin just cleverly appeal to Humanists, Orthodox,  the civil liberty crowd, progressives, Christians and conservative traditionalists on the same platform? I think he did.  Did he alienate a large constituency? I don’t think so.  And a nice side note to the bureaucracy-weary and Constitutionalists. Does the bear have something up his sleeve?
[Part #1 – more … later]

RightRing | Bullright