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Vladimir Putin’s Russia is jingoistic, angry and oppressive. But it’s nothing like Nazi Germany

21 March 2014

I’m conservative, so it’s hard for me not to love Vladimir Putin. His ripped torso, the way the sweat glistens on his pecs, the steely gaze, the cheeky smile. How much does he bench press, I wonder?

And of course the main reason why conservatives like me aren’t desperately keen to get stuck into the Ruskis over their occupation of Crimea is because, deep down, we really love Putin’s authoritarian style of nationalist chauvinism. Especially the beating up the gays part, because deep down we’re all secretly gay; or have micropenises. Whichever one would be more embarrassing.


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A lot of people actually believe this, and that those of us who are wary of conflict with Putin are the equivalent of the dastardly old aristocrats of 1938 who guffawed at the idea that we might go to war with the Germans because of some bally Jews.

But it clearly isn’t 1938 and Putin isn’t Hitler. True, there are some superficial similarities between Weimar Germany and modern Russia; both have lost an empire, which means that large numbers of fellow ethnics have been stranded in new neighbouring countries. Both feel an abiding sense of humiliation and grievance towards the West. In the Russians’ case they quite rightly feel that after Communism their country was ransacked by a bunch of crooks and that Americans played no small part in this episode. If I were an ordinary Russian I’d feel pretty bitter, too.

But it’s part of our mindset (whether it’s human or specifically western or modern I can’t say) to link different things via some very superficial similarities and categorise them together. And the comparisons are pretty thin; the Nazi party transformed Germany, abandoned long-held ideas about the rule of law, removed the rights that minorities had held for several decades, and put large numbers of people in detention or in euthanasia programmes. It also began expanding fairly quickly.

Russia has a poor human rights record, and on any measure it qualifies as unfree [here and here]. But this does not make it an existential enemy in the way that Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union were; Saudi Arabia, our ally in the Middle East, is far closer to being such an enemy, and, unlike the Russians, it is seriously trying to spread its ideas in our country, rather than just laundering ill-gotten gains into London’s property market.

And Russia is not expansionist enough to justify confrontation. In the 14 years that Putin has been in charge (I know that technically the Farage-lookalike Dimitri Medvedev was president for a while) Russian expansion has in total consisted of Abkhazia, which is about the size of North Yorkshire (and which hadn’t even been a de facto part of Georgia beforehand anyway).

As for Crimea, we’re not going to fight the Russians over it because they have a very good historical and present claim to the region. So there’s no point our mouths writing cheques our bodies can’t cash; that’s a sign not of strength but of weakness. If Russia threatens Estonia, then that is another matter, but it probably won’t.

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Show comments
  • Blazenka Hudson-trograncic

    The point about the House of Saud is a true bullseye, almost as good as shouting ‘Kosovo’ ever time Cameron and Hague open their stupid mouths.

  • Steven Barr

    Does Russia kidnap our people without making a case to the courts, as our “friends” in Washington and Brussels routinely do with their “extradition” treaties which resemble those forced on nineteenth century China? Did Russia fund the IRA for decades as the US did? Does Russia undermine our justice system every day with absurd “human rights” laws as the EU does?

    • Dave Cockayne

      Does Russia kidnap our people without making a case to the courts, as our “friends” in Washington and Brussels routinely do with their “extradition” treaties which resemble those forced on nineteenth century China?

      No it doesn’t, it just carries out extra-judicial murder on our streets using strange umbrella/chemical and nuclear/polonium weapons.

      Did Russia fund the IRA for decades as the US did?

      Nope, but neither did the US government. Those funds came from ‘Irish Americans’ while genuine Irish people living in Ireland were pissed off with the IRA for turning their country into an economic no-go land.

      Does Russia undermine our justice system every day with absurd “human rights” laws as the EU does?

      No it doesn’t, but that is an entirely different issue between us and the EU monster.

  • Rossspeak

    I am weary of all the “idealistic hot air” coming from European politicians – we all know that there is no prospect of really damaging sanctions against Russia because of EU investment in Russia and dependence on Russian gas supplies.
    This does not apply to the USA – but we know Obama’s record on international action.
    We had all this hot air over Syria – result – zilch.
    As for the EU’s posturing about ” no democracy” in the Crimea – at least their population were granted a referendum – which is more than the UK has had.
    No doubt the EU will propose the Ukraine adopts their “democratic model of Governance by an unelected Commission and, if a referendum is granted and comes up with the “wrong” result – keep having more referenda until the stupid electorate see sense.

  • Richard N

    The ‘evil empire’ that represents the biggest threat to Europe and Europeans is the EU empire – not Putin’s Russia.

    Watching this blatent and obviously illegal orchestrated coup and land grab of Ukraine by the EU gang, assisted by the US, I can’t help thinking that it must be unusual in the annals of history to have an empire which is simultaneously expanding at a rate that Genghis Khan would have envied – and which is at the same time collapsing internally, due partly to its own economic incompetence, and partly to the rapid rise of anti-EU forces bent on the destruction of this new Soviet Union in the making.

  • jack

    Why is Estonia another matter than the Crimea? I am not ready to die for Tallinn. Are you? This NATO expansion was a total farce. The west will not fight for any of the Baltic countries. The idea simply does not pass the smell test. It has no credibility. Putin knows this I am sure. He knows the west and he knows that american mothers will never give their sons to defend such a remote and inconsequential place. The Dow-Jones industrial index would hardly drop 100 points it the Russians invaded Estonia.

    • serguei_p

      Jack, you views are the exact copy of what people in Europe and the USA thought in late 1930s :)
      Nobody cared about Czechs. Nobody was prepared to die for them. The Americans only moved when Japanese attacked them.

      • jack

        The trouble is that most of the time, its a very good and sensible policy. For example, if we would have followed that approach we cold have avoided wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Somehow, I don’t think Putin is Hitler or has the slightest desire to take over any countries that are truly vital to us.

        • serguei_p

          In 1938 nobody imagine that Hitler wanted war with the rest of Europe. But it happened.

    • Dave Cockayne

      Because failing to defend a full member of NATO and the EU would destroy those organisations, that is why. NATO outspends Russia 12 to 1 in defence and while the fight would be costly in both blood and treasure it would end up with a united Europe willing to spend heavily on it’s military. Given the history of the last few centuries this would be a very bad thing…

      I invite you to type Kaliningrad into a Google map search and to study the area. Kaliningrad, an isolated enclave of Russia and the Crimea are the only two naval strongholds that Russia has left that don’t become inoperable during the winter due to ice. Kaliningrad now lies in the middle of Europe and NATO aligned countries and it is only accessible via a small canal into the southern lagoon at Baltiysk. With the loss of the of Crimea and the Black Sea Fleet the entire Russian Navy could be prevented from going to sea, refuelling or rearming by a single torpedo sinking a single ship in the Strait of Baltiysk. This is why the Russians freaked out about the toppling of a democratically elected government in Ukraine. They are not attempting to restore the Soviet empire and territories, just to maintain the geographical and military balance as it now stands.

      We could if we so wished blockade Kaliningrad and place more troops there than there are people within 72 hours but we are unwilling to take such action so like Ed says, our mouths should stop writing cheques that our bodies are willing to honour, it just makes us look like fools.

      • jack

        Exactly why Estonia should never have been admitted to NATO. However the calculus remains the same. The USA WILL NOT FIGHT FOR ESTONIA. It is not in our vital interests. It it means NATO is finished then so be it. What real reason is there for NATO anymore. It simply serves as a means to entangle us in conflicts that don’t concern us.

      • jack

        As to the naval balance; Russian submarines can go under the ice. They have better attack submarines than us and they can totally cut us off from Europe in the event of war. Other than denying free navigation to us, they do not need Naval power. Their logistical dominance in the east Europe rail and road network is overwhelming. They can supply 4 tank divisions for each one in NATO.. Our forces in eastern Europe would be cut off from supplies and outnumbered. Poland would collapse in 30 days.

        • serguei_p

          And this is how Putin will start 3rd World War if he is not stopped earlier.
          His every next step will be larger then his first, until it is too late. Exactly as it happened in 1930-s.
          If you really did go to a British school you should know the history of how Hitler rose to power (it is a bit different from the Russian version, I would say).

          • cbinTH

            What is the Russian school version of how Hitler rose to power, out of interest?

            • serguei_p

              British and French wanted to ensure that Hitler would attack the USSR. This is why they have given Czechoslovakia to Hitler, so that he will move East.

              • cbinTH

                Surely this is not taught in modern Russian schools.

                Oh well.

          • jack

            We survived quite happily when the Russians controlled eastern Europe with an iron fist. We would simply return to that status and life would go on. World war three would simply be an extension of the cold war. We really have no other option. We cannot defeat the Russians in a shooting war. Heck we could not even defeat the Afghan’s. Moreover if the Armerican public would not support relatively minor sacrifice in a war like Iraq, why would they sacrifice everything for a war where we have very little or nothing at steak. It does not pass the smell test.You are jst full of talk with your WW-3 gibberish. You are talking big and carrying a pea shooter. No body but a fool believes US treaty commitments to eastern Europe are worth squat. And this is based on the reality of US security needs. E. Europe is a cost not an asset. It would be hard even to get Obama to order troops into action in defense of western Europe. Obama will not fight and the american people will not fight. Deal with it.

            • serguei_p

              This is the same situation that existed in late 1930s.
              The public in the UK and in France did not support the idea of helping Czechoslovakia. And the public did not think that Hitler would go further and eventually would end up on the streets of Paris.

              • jack

                I would take you seriously. Except I know your type. I know full well your guts turned to water and you turned tail in Iraq. So whats you plan brave monkey boy? Shall we march into Moscow? Hitler tried that too.

        • Dave Cockayne

          Blimey Jack, I’m wondering if you have updated your rhetoric or facts since the end of the cold war. Of course Russian submarines can go under the ice, they are submarines, that is the point! What they can’t do is rearm or resupply or repair while they are under the ice, hence my point. What is left of the Russian Fleet is mostly cold war rust buckets that pose more of a risk to their own crew than to the more modern and well maintained western navies. Russia has very few modern vessels.

          As far as Russia’s ground forces go they have half the number of active personnel as the EU and two thirds of them are conscripts. They have a grand total of 550 T90 tanks that provide a credible threat to EU forces compared to Europe’s 2000 Leopard 2 and 1000 Challenger2/Leclerc/Ariete tanks. That is before the US rolls up with it’s 8000+ Abrams of course. Russia could invade Europe with T72 tanks, but given that in the last twenty odd years of conflict there have been many encounters between modern western tanks and T72’s with the results being 100% losses to the T72, it probably wouldn’t be wise.

          I’m also going to disagree about the logistics. Modern ‘logistical dominance’ isn’t about the size of the transport network, it is about being able to protect that transport network from attack by smartbombs/drones/missiles by maintaining air superiority. Russia had to ground a third of it’s fighters in 2009 as they were no longer fit to fly and Europe has over 400 Typhoons in current service. In simulated combat the Typhoon should beat the SU-35 (Russia’s best) at a ratio of 5 to 1, however during the Indian trials the Typhoon came away with 8 wins to 0.

          Russia currently has all of 34 SU-35’s and the rest of it’s air force is effectively just a collection of barely flying targets so forgive me I think Russia would have difficulty supplying it’s ground forces once it’s air force, roads and railways cease to exist.

          This isn’t the cold war and it isn’t ww3, militarily Putin knows that Europe could wipe the floor with Russia with breathtaking ease. Politically of course, Putin could sack every capital on mainland Europe before we finished arguing about the wording of a draft statement of condemnation…

  • serguei_p

    Sorry, Ed West, but unfortunately the differences you managed to find are quite superficial.
    What is winning today in Russia is a party of war against “the West”. It is the mindset that believes in enemies who are trying to break up the country, the idea that some neighbouring people don’t deserve to have their own countries, the idea that it is OK to increase your Lebensraum.
    You don’t have to start killing your minorities your people already hate to start a war.

    • jack

      All great powers seek to control there neighboring peoples. Have you never heard of the Monroe doctrine. How many times has america invaded and manipulated the politics of the different countries of Latin america. Or we could speak of China and its neighbors (Japan, Vietnam, Burma, Korea). The Russians are no different when it comes to eastern Europe.

      • serguei_p

        At least the USA does not make the Latin America countries parts of its own territory. This is what makes the difference.
        What makes the difference is the idea that some ethnic groups are not “developed” enough to have their own states. Unfortunately it is quite widespread in Russia to look down on Ukrainians as “lesser nation” who can’t have their own state.

        • jack

          Well Russia does not seek complete control either in most cases. They are content to let the Ukrainians and other “small” slavs run their internal affairs provided foreign and military matters are in the hands of mother Russian. In addition I would remind you that the states FL, used to be spanish and TX,NM, AZ, CO, CA and NV used to be Mexican territory. And let is not forget Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands and various other Islands.

        • rtj1211

          What a load of claptrap.

          The reason Central American states were called ‘banana republics’ is that all the State apparatus was organised around the interest of one or possibly two US multinationals controlling the banana industry.

          If you are a native peasant working solely for the interests of an American Corporation, whether or not your country still has its own name makes no difference to your situation. You are a slave to America.

  • FF42

    The problem, I think, is that Mr Putin believes he’s doing a wonderful job. At some levels he is: He is in complete control of Russia. Russia turned out a well executed annexation of the Ukraine. He has scored against the “Western” aunt sallys.

    More importantly his policies have resulted in far lower living standards in Russia than they would otherwise be. A trend that’s going be accelerated by this month’s actions in the Crimea. The country cries out for investment that he can now kiss goodbye to. Strategically Russia is weakened by the Crimean landgrab: the Ukraine will now be pushed into the Western orbit. Other countries have a strong distaste for what he has done – all the Security Council members voted to condemn the invasion with only China abstaining.

    More Mugabe than Hitler, I think.

    • Baron

      You obviously have no knowledge of the Russian soul, its predisposition to find suffering and disaster nobler than happiness and success, its tendency to regard as the heroic ultimate the capacity to endure pain to the bitter end.

      To put it simply, the more the West harks at them the greater their togetherness. It’s something that works everywhere, but more so in Russia.

    • jack

      II think that Putin will take the whole of Ukraine if they try any nonsense about orienting towards the west or accepting any Western arms or troops. Georgia is the model. The Ukrainians will be permitted to take western money provided it is spent in Russia. Any Ukrainian politicians that object will meet an unpleasant ending. And Putin may well extend the Georgia model to the baltic states despite NATO umbrella. We cannot stop him.

      • serguei_p

        Yes, he will. In exactly the same way as Hitler took the whole of Czechoslovakia.

        • jack

          Do you mean he will take Ukraine even if the Kiev government agrees to his terms for quasi independent status? I don’t see why he would bother. As long as he has Crimea and as long as the Russian minority in the rest has protected status that guarantees them a veto over the government and laws, then he has what he needs. He wants to rebuild the USSR but with a different name. He calls it the Eurasian Cooperation Block. Ukraine is a necessary part. All members would be subservient to Moscow just as the provinces of the USSR were. They would have limited independence just as american states have limited independence. All it means is slightly different rules.

    • Tom Tom

      You confuse Putin with Cameron, Russia is much healthier than before Putin took office and economically much better off and its military is much better

      • the viceroy’s gin

        It’s better, but it’s still in bad shape. They were closed off for too long, and they need more economic diversity.

  • Two Bob

    Putin is a MANS man. He is admired by alot of people here not because of his policies but because he has something our politicians lack – a SPINE.

    • Unenlightened_Commentary

      “He does what he says he will.”

      He said he wouldn’t annex Crimea.

      • Baron

        If we didn’t help to propel into government in Kiev a bunch of haters of the Russians and Jews and liberals…he felt the treaty securing his access to the Black Sea was safe, we may have behaved differently.

        Events, unenlightened, events shape history. And events happen, like $hite.

        • jack

          When he annexed Abkhazia did Putin end up losing Tbilisi? Did he drive Georgia into western hands? There was a tendency but it was firmly blocked. Besides, can the Germans even afford to bankroll the debts of Kiev? The americans have no interest in doing this. Does anyone know how expensive Ukraine will be to whoever “wins”. Ukraine is no prize.

          • Baron

            Excellent points, jack, whichever one slices it, it doesn’t taste good: militarily we look weak, diplomatically inept, financially out of pocket, politically immature.

            Have you also noticed how the boy says: the international community condemns ….. Have Baron missed an election in the international community? The barbarian was under the impression the boy is PM here, in the UK. Arghhh

          • Tom Tom

            Germany is not going to fund Ukraine but Merkel cannot resist US pressure until BDI tells her that Germany has spent 100 years getting back to the dominant position in Russian business it had before 1912 and is not prepared to throw it away

            • jack

              The US is not applying any particular pressure indefense of Eastern Europe. You are going to discover that the present occupant of the Oval office is not G. W. Bush. There is a cost to you for this change. Maybe few neocon loud mouth fools will speak from the back benches But they will e treated much lke Churchill was treated in 1933. Obama does not care about European security in the slightest. As far as he cares, you could all go hang each other (and richly deserved). He is tired of wasting american tax money on NATO when Europeans have larger social benefits and will not spend even one tenth the amount on defense. He wants american workers to have the same benefits that European workers have. This means cutting our defense budget to the bone and abandoning Europe to its fate.

  • Jabez Foodbotham

    dastardly old aristocrats of 1938 who guffawed at the idea that we might go to war with the Germans because of some bally Jews.

    Guffawing aristocrats or no, I don’t think we went to war over some bally Jews. That belief is very much latter-day revisionism.

    • jack

      Did it not have something to do with Poland?

    • Tom Tom

      it is modern-day propaganda masquerading as History teaching in schools and shows just how young the deputy editor of the Catholic Herald is…….then again, it is only teenagers who can afford to work at The Speccie and Telegraph on work-experience pay rates

  • Curnonsky

    Not to mention that Hitler had a mustache while Putin is cleanshaven – so nothing at all in common, then?

    Or perhaps, even though one was motivated (in part) by a fanatical ideology and the other mainly by nationalistic revanchism, there are still some important similarities – especially in the response of the “world community” which has again shown itself to be cowardly and delusional about the way power works.

    The basic problem is – now and then – that while the high-minded leaders of Europe and the US firmly believe that war and nationalism are things of the past, hard men like Putin and Hitler who hadn’t gotten the message could consistently out-fox them. Putin, thief and thug though he be, is quite sincere in his patriotism and has no intention of taking the “off ramp” anytime soon while he is on a roll. Whether or not he actually invades the Baltic states, Kazakhstan, Poland and the rest those nations will have to conform to the new power reality: Russia is the essential player in Europe.

    And for all those who endlessly display their keen grasp of Ukrainian history to justify this latest move: the important thing that just happened was that a nation whose borders and security were guaranteed by the West and Russia just discovered that guarantee to be worthless. All the talk of ruthless EU and NATO imperial expansionism could not be wider of the mark: the EU and NATO have been exposed as complete shams on the order of the League of Nations or the UN.

    The 19th century has won again.

    • Denis_Cooper

      “All the talk of ruthless EU and NATO imperial expansionism could not be wider of the mark: the EU and NATO have been exposed as complete shams on the order of the League of Nations or the UN.”

      Complete non sequitur; the EU/NATO imperial expansionism has been and still is there, it has simply run up against a major obstacle in the form of a Russia which has a stronger leader than previously.

      • Curnonsky

        Really? The inept, ineffectual, useless Cathy “Baroness” Ashton has unbeknownst to us actually been the Julius Caesar of the EU Empire? Surely there has never been an empire that collapsed as suddenly into a quivering pile of jelly than this one. You have been listening to Russian fairy tales again, my friend.

        • Denis_Cooper

          The start of this predated Ashton, and rather than listen to her I have listened to what Merkel said at the EPP congress in Dublin a fortnight ago:

          “EU centre-right leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Poland’s Donald Tusk, have given the strongest support so far for Ukraine’s hopes to join the EU one day.”

          “Chancellor Merkel said that “Ukrainian people have the same right for freedom and democracy as we have in the EU.”

          She added: “And the same goes for the people in Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan,” referring to the other countries in the EU’s “Eastern Partnership” policy on former Soviet Europe.”

          Which “Eastern Partnership” succeeded earlier Partnership and Cooperation Agreements; while last July Cameron went a step further by going to Kazakhstan and telling his audience in Astana that he wanted the EU to stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals.

          And here he is today at the signing ceremony for parts of the association treaty between the EU and Ukraine, the same one that the president of Ukraine refused to sign leading to his violent overthrow and flight:

          Which has caused some concern even with the pro-EU Open Europe:

          • Curnonsky

            Surely you can see the difference between a democratically-elected government voluntarily joining an international organization such as the EU (or the WTO, or the Boy Scouts, or whatever) and the taking of territory or control of one nation by another by force of arms?

            Or do you believe that because Putin sleeps better knowing that Russia is surrounded by autocracies as corrupt and repressive as his own, we should then permit him to install them as he sees fit?

            This is not to defend the EU, merely to point out that there are worse things (as the Ukraine knows).

            • Denis_Cooper

              I can certainly see the difference between a directly elected president who fails to get himself re-elected in a scheduled election and a directly elected president who is forced to flee by mob violence instigated and supported by foreign powers; and why did that happen?

              Because as Peter Oborne explained over two weeks ago, perhaps you didn’t notice:


              “Last November, President Yanukovych resolved to abandon a co-operation treaty with the European Union, and entered instead into an agreement with President Putin. Up to that point, the West had concealed any distaste for Yanukovych. Thereafter, we started to ally ourselves with the protesters against his regime.”

              There is no legitimate government in Ukraine, it is a revolutionary government and one with some extremely unpleasant elements which have been supported by the EU and the US in the process of fomenting a revolution to further their geopolitical ambitions; and if there was any doubt about that it would be finally removed today by the disgusting spectacle of our own Prime Minister sitting down with those who have violently usurped power in Kiev to sign an EU agreement which happens to be almost the same as that rejected by the deposed president.

              And will you or I be asked whether we agree that Ukraine should be allowed to join the EU some years down the line?

              Of course not, when Hague wrote his “referendum lock” law he deliberately excluded referendums on EU accession treaties, and in fact he has already used that exemption to block a referendum on whether we wanted Croatia should be allowed to join, and it would be the same if it was Ukraine joining or Turkey or Kazakhstan; so don’t try to talk about democracy in this context, this is geopolitics and democracy doesn’t come into it.

            • Baron

              You’ve got to give it to him he gave the Crimean unwashed a referendum. Remind Baron when did we have one on the ‘democratic’ EU?

              • Curnonsky

                You can be sure if a referendum on the EU is ever permitted it will be because the result is about as much in doubt as Putin’s Crimea stitch-up.

                • Baron

                  It must be the first time we agree on something, curmonsky,

            • jack

              Does Kosovo ring a bell.

          • jack

            I notice very little interest in EU sanctions against Russia.

    • Baron

      Stop being vague, curmonsky, tell the ‘true’ history of Ukraine then. And whilst you are at it, explain why the EU should have a 20-year plan for Ukraine? Should it not be the heir to the Bolsheviks penning 20-year plans? For Ukraine, the Baltic republics, Poland …..

    • rtj1211

      It would appear to me that the trigger for all this was the lack of guarantee of the electoral part of the Ukrainian Constitution.

      It would further appear to me that the dismemberment of this arch-pillar of Western democracy was driven by the EU and the USA.

      We’re arguing semantics here: I can organise coup d’etat and you must stand by and watch……

      Is that written into NATO’s constitution??

  • Tom Tom

    “dastardly old aristocrats of 1938 who guffawed at the idea that we might go to war with the Germans because of some bally Jews.” You must be a school kid to think Britain went to war over Jews……..bizarre !

    Britain gave a guarantee to Poland run by Sanacja, a military junta, an anti-Semitic regime which removed Jewish passports in 1938 leading to Reichskristallnacht, which had camps for opposition groups in Poland; which restricted Jews in universities……..

    This was the regime to which Britain gave carte blanche to refuse to negotiate with Hitler because Britain was there to fight any conflict Poland chose

  • Denis_Cooper

    It’s interesting that the author uses the term “existential enemy”, because
    it must be clear to the Russians that the EU/NATO/US troika is an “existential
    enemy”, that is to say an enemy which threatens the very existence of Russia.

    Why? Because Russia has a European part and an Asiatic part, and the dividing line is held to be on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains; so when somebody says that he wants the EU to stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals obviously he is envisaging that Russia will cease to exist in its present form.

    OK, so the person who said that last July when in he was in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, already well to the east of the line of the Urals, in fact 1200 miles further east than Stalingrad where the Soviets stopped the last attempt to destroy Russia, is only the Prime Minister of a country which Putin previously derided as a small island that nobody listens to, but he knows that isn’t really true.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    The appeal of the above photograph to both ‘same side backers’ and the Tea Party right wing gunslingers is undeniable. When will the first Ukip supporter come out?

    • Colonel Mustard

      A real man’s man! But slightly less repugnant than a privileged, pink-cheeked, middle aged Etonian kidult who ought to know better “chillaxing”, twiddle-thumbed, with Angry Birds. I bet that gave Putin a laugh.

  • Denis_Cooper

    As my comment was put into moderation for some reason I will try again, but omitting the word which may have been deemed offensive even though it was used in the headline.

  • Altesegel

    The fact is people in Britain and America have no longer the stomach for war. Vide Iraq, Libya and more importantly, Syria. It is now politically impossible for Cameron and Obama to launch a military strike against Putin. So they had best shut up Sanctions are ridiculous – we need Russian gas more than Moscow needs western designer scarves and aftershave.

    • Tom Tom

      We should be in perpetual war with conscription like in the England of 1916 when people were happy to go up to the front……..Merrie Olde England

      • Colonel Mustard

        Don’t be silly.

    • lgrundy

      “It is now politically impossible for Cameron and Obama to launch a military strike against Putin”.
      How old are you? It’s also militarily impossible. Do you not realise that Russia is a nuclear-armed power with enormous conventional forces? Unlike all the other countries we’ve been bombing since 1997 in the name of Liberal-Left One Worldism, Russia is able to bomb us back and turn both Europe and the continental United States into a radioactive wasteland.
      “So they had best shut up”

    • rtj1211

      Actually, it’s the rest of Europe that needs Russian Gas. We get ours from other places.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and the Russians do much of their banking in Londonistan, too.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Just goes to show what a crock of —– the EU blathering about preserving peace in Europe really is.

    Whether the EU wants to join the EU or not the point is that it hasn’t. This current ‘crisis’ is a matter for Russia, the Ukraine and the Crimea to sort out, countries which have an entwined and interactive history going back centuries. Nothing to do with the little grey socialist provocateurs in their newly-minted, jumped up little ‘Empire’ in Brussels. Their intervention is aggressive and provocative, a punitive act that does not promote peace but threatens it.

    Just like Ireland, something happens that they don’t approve of and the toys come out of the pram. Cameron talks pompously about sending a message (about all he is good for, sending silly messages hither and thither). Putin quite right to be contemptuous of those little men, huffing and puffing in their little ‘super state’ with grandiose ideas but no substance beyond the projectile vomiting of petty bureaucratic legislation and regulation over the people of the countries THEY have annexed without consent.

  • R2-D2

    If Russia threatens Estonia, then you can just search-and-replace “Crimea” with “Estonia”, and republish this. And Latvia, and Lithuania, and Poland, and…

    • Denis_Cooper

      I don’t think so, because they are in NATO while Ukraine is not, thank God.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      That would get the Germans riled up for sure. They’d be liable to wake up and start arming up and go full-on Prussian gangsta. .

      • jack

        The germans will not “arme up”. They were not even willing to fight to liberate Berlin so why would they fight for Kiev?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          First, the Baltic states and Poland are not Kiev. Second, the Germans will arm up, if the Russians feint at any of these nations. They’d have to. NATO might support, but Germany would have to take their own lead, and not wait for the US or anybody else. Putin knows this, that further movement gets him a hostile Germany, armed up, directly on his flank. He doesn’t want this.

  • Radford_NG

    “Ra Ra Vlad Putin
    Not lover of Russian `queens`.

    Ra Ra Vlad Putin
    Russia’s greatest love machine.”

    For the original-if I recall right-see

  • ItinerantView

    “Saudi Arabia, our ally in the Middle East, is far closer to being such
    an enemy, and, unlike the Russians, it is seriously trying to spread its
    ideas in our country, rather than just laundering ill-gotten gains into
    London’s property market.”

    A theme that is rarely mentioned in the press, a country that ranks among the most intolerant and oppressive on this earth,yet has an extensive outreach programme in the British education system.

    Saudi efforts to spread Wahhabism and their Muslim Minority Affairs agenda,needs far more exposure and criticism in the MSM.

    • Tom Tom

      but Saudi is bringing ‘democracy’ to Bahrain

  • swatnan

    I’m beginning to feel sorry for Russia. It must be pretty unnerving having a ring of NATO missiles pointing at you from Turkey to the Ukraine, a string of countries with basketcases and fruitcakes running them.

    • McRobbie

      Yes..I see all the leaders of the countries you refer to running round half naked with guns in their little hands to show how macho they are. That the actions of a basket case for me.

      • Foolish Pride

        If you believe this you don’t know much about Russia. Putin’s goal is to provide a proper masculine role model for Russian men. There is a lot of truth behind the stereotype of Russian males as abusive drunks. Putin on the other hand is not a drinker.

        We would never dream of our leaders doing such things in our safe, cozy western democracies because that’s not our culture. In Russia however it makes much more sense.

    • Tom Tom

      It means building new weapons with massive force to overwhelm any system and launching inside US territorial waters which is why China is moving submarines there

      • Foolish Pride

        Chinese subs wouldn’t last a few minutes inside of US territorial waters.

        I served in the US Navy as an ASW sailor, I have a good idea what I’m talking about. Chinese attack subs are old and loud, and Chinese diesels are pretty noisy as wel AND don’t have the range to cross the Pacific.

    • swatnan

      How about Russia getting some bases in Cuba or Bolivia to house their nuclear arsenal?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        They’ve previously agreed not to put offensive weapons in Cuba, and Putin will undoubtedly uphold that agreement.

        Bolivia and Venezuala wouldn’t be stable sites for Russia. The Venezualans are in street riot mode right now, and Bolivia could get there as well. The Russians gain nothing much by rattling a nuclear sabre. They’re better off yanking the chain a bit and supporting the like minded in the Americas, which they’ll continue to do. They want to compete against the Chinese for weapons sales there, not look for military bases per se .

        • Foolish Pride

          FWIW Russia’s economy and military spending are a tiny fraction of that of the US and much smaller than that of the UK’s.

  • HookesLaw

    Mr West finds ever more ways to show us what an idiot he is.

    • Tony_E

      I’ll expect to see you on the front lines then, when your friends in the EU decide to defend Ukraine’s ‘independence’ from Russia?

      • Wessex Man

        gulp! what about the blokes who would have to rely on him in the frontline?

        • rtj1211

          Surely in this age of equality half of them should be girls?

  • Wessex Man

    It’s a nonsense article about a nonsense situation brought about by EU interferance and expansionism meeting Russia’s. I don’t accept the comments below, Britain has always jumped into war and suffered for it let them get with and vote UKip in May!

    • HookesLaw

      Typical numpty logic. If the Ukraine wants to join the EU that’s their business not Putin’s. The future of the Crimea should be decided by a proper democratic plebicite. Putin is just throwing armed men around to show his mown people what a big man he is. In so doing he has goiven his game away. In supporting communist agression and dictatorship, kippers have given themselves away.

      • an ex-tory voter

        Crimea has just decided it’s future by proper democratic plebiscite.

        • McRobbie

          So its proper to have a no choice choice on the ballot paper ..join russia or have independance..and no opposing views were heard with the pro separation argument being the only argument allowed and referred to a choice between russia or fascism? Thats a proper democratic plebiscite ?..not even before recognising the lack of agreement with crimeas sovereign country, whose sovereignty had been ratifed by a treaty signed by russia, and the mad rush to bring the referendum forward from the previously agreed date without regard to the elected parliament ( note I do not refer to the absconded PM) to ensure the presence of russian troops on the streets did not become too obvious. Crimea is now allied to russia..heaven help it, as russia had no regard for its previous treaty with an ally..ukraine.

          • an ex-tory voter

            The lack of choice does not negate the legitimacy of the plebiscite. In any case the vbote to leave Ukraine was overwhelming.
            If you think it right to impose the agreement with the sovereign country then I suggest you must also be in favour of giving the English the right to vote on Scottish independence.

          • Tom Tom

            People in Argentina had no referendum on the Malvinas only the people in the Falklands not even people in Britain……and Gibraltar, why didn’t Spaniards get a vote about return of their territory within the EU ?

          • rtj1211

            Actually the choice was ‘join Russia’ or ‘greater autonomy within Ukraine’. There was no choice for independence.

            But don’t let factual details get in the way of your reasoning.

        • National Conservatism

          I am assuming that was a joke

      • tolpuddle1

        But Ukraine is split pretty well down the middle between pro-West and pro-Russia people; so it’s clear that only about 50% of Ukrainians do want to join the EU.

        The hopeless division within Ukraine is the root of the entire crisis.

        • Baron

          Key point, tolpuddle1, and it wouldn’t be like this if the EU apparatchiks didn’t meddle, then lost the plot as few armed thugs went about a displacing a legitimately elected government in a putsch.

          This is what saddens so much, the country was in peace with itself, all ethnicities co-existed, voted regularly to get rid of corrupt officials (only to be replaced by another batch of the same), but the important thing is they voted, they had faith in the ballot box. Not now.

          Unless we pour in tens of billions into Ukraine, we are to have a failed state on our doorsteps. Lunacy.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            It will be a failed state anyway. The first 5-10 billion the West hands Ukraine will go directly into Putin’s pockets, to pay for Ukrainian natural gas payments in arrears, and for the +3B he loaned them last year sometime.

            Then, the autocratic kleptocrats freshly empowered in Ukraine will have to pocket a slice of that fresh Western cash. And then the government ineptocrats will have to buy themselves some political support, and that costs money. And they’ll have to organize a security service to monitor those who would do to them what they just did to Yankovych, and that costs.

            So basically, the money will get spent out buying off ne’er-do-wells and gangster types, before the first Ukranian gets a taste. That’s a failed state by anybody’s measure.

            • Foolish Pride

              This is why I don’t see Putin trying to make a major grab in Ukraine beyond what he’s already taken, unless Ukraine falls into de facto pieces, and in that case the US would rather see the pieces squabble than have Russia gain power.

              He otherwise owns enough of Ukraine as it is.

      • Wessex Man

        Well thank you for your kind words Hooky, tasteful as ever. You deny then that the EU Commission were offering bribes to the Ukraine to join, that Russia is growing tired of the EU expanist push ever eastwards to border his country and the fact that the legitimite elected Government of the Ukraine was overthrown by a bunch of thugs, see them beating up TV editor and forcing him to resign, funded by the EU.

        If you do, you are no better than them, it has to do with democracy being upsurped thugs sponsered by you and yours. I’d rather be a UKip member than an associate of thugs and revolutionaires thank you.

        • FrenchNewsonlin

          Interestingly some French media of late has begun referring to the EU as “the Europe of Brussels” . This may be a reflection of increasing voter alienation ahead of the May elections.

      • Tom Tom

        Has there been a referendum in Ukraine on the EU or have armed men in black simply decided for them ?

    • National Conservatism

      I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it sounds like you draw a connection between a UKIP victory and the UK not being involved in future wars? This is the part of (some) UKIP supporters ideas that puts me off. If you don’t like the EU and want to leave, this is a fair argument – but if we are not part of a future European Empire then at least give us a decent alternative where Britain is a great power. The UK sailing on alone with an isolationist mentality doesn’t do anything for me, because I think our place should always be at the top table of the world, involved in world politics and decision making. If we are not in the EU then we should aim to regenerate our country ourselves, in all parts of our national life, be it social, economic, cultural, military etc. We need a plan, a strategy, for how we turn this nation around, and before it is too late. Stop ”managing our decline” and make a genuine revival happen. An isolationist Britain is one that accepts it is no longer relevant to anything in the world and has gone off to hide in a corner and pretend the world isn’t there. Instead, why don’t we work for a Britain that is a great power and a world leader? It can be done.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        “Isolationist” implies exactly that. No trade. No foreign involvements. Nothing. Isolated.

        Scorning the EUSSR doesn’t imply “isolationism”.

  • Bart Kustra

    As for Hitler’s expansionism. Rhineland? It was Germany anyway, Austria? basically the same. Sudetenland? He needs to protect German speakers. Wait a moment… Where is France???????

    • Tom Tom

      France agreed that the German majority in Sudetenland should be protected and they were guarantors of Czechoslovakia by 1915 Treaty and if France did not mobilise the USSR was not obliged to honour ts treaty with Benes

      • Bart Kustra

        Clearly, irony is lost on you.

        • Tom Tom

          Not at all, merely adding succour to your comment

  • edithgrove

    I think if you take your argument back as far as it can go it’s just cowardliness, spinelessness of a peculiarly British, island nation kind.

  • D Whiggery

    Wow, another balanced article on this issue. Don’t get carried away now.

  • IainRMuir

    “Russian expansion has in total consisted of Abkhazia, which is about the size of North Yorkshire”

    Having taken over South Yorkshire several decades ago.

  • allymax bruce

    Ed, luv yer 2nd paragraph; reminds me of a comment I read on a similar Rt article, where a comment read ‘the Saudi camel-humping Monarchy’, which is brilliant imagery for people with persecuted anxieties.
    The article; yes, it would seem Putin’s Russia has out-manoeuvred the West in the West’ own moral, ethical, and integrity value-stakes; we can no longer say to Russia, we’re more moral than thee!

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