Coffee House

The conflict in Crimea will be the downfall of Putin

18 July 2014

Earlier this year, Owen Matthews discussed in the Spectator how the conflict in Crimea will be the making of Ukraine and the end of Vladimir Putin:

David Cameron says that Russia’s annexation of Crimea ‘will not be recognised’. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk promises that ‘we will take our territory back’. They are both misguided. Let Crimea go: it will be the making of Ukraine and the end of Vladimir Putin. Without Crimea, there will never again be a pro-Moscow government in Kiev. Ukraine will have a chance to become a governable country — a strongly pro-European one with a Russian minority of around 15 per cent. Putin will have gained Crimea but lost Ukraine for ever. And without Ukraine, as former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski famously said, ‘Russia can no longer be an empire.’

Crimea is a gangrenous limb on Ukraine’s body politic. It will never be governable from Kiev again. What Ukraine needs now, after two decades of thievery and mismanagement, is a kamikaze government that will implement unpopular reforms — including amputating the Crimea.

The good news is that, thanks to Putin’s aggression, there is no shortage of wealthy western benefactors willing to nurse the amputee back to health. The European Union originally presented President Viktor Yanukovych with an Association Agreement that threatened to destroy Ukraine’s rust-belt economy in order to save it: unsurprisingly, Yanukovych went to Moscow for a better offer. But Yanukovych has been overthrown by people power, Ukraine’s new leaders are so serious about austerity that they flew economy class to meetings in Washington, and whatever government emerges from the May elections, there will be few pro-Moscow voices in it. With Crimea gone, Ukrainian politics will no longer be a tug of war between the Ukrainian west and the Russian east: the balance of power tips irrevocably west.

Thanks to Putin’s rash decision to occupy Crimea, not just the EU but its most powerful members — notably Germany, the UK, France and Poland — realise that supporting Ukraine is no longer about handouts but principle. Countries that strive towards European values — and suffer for it — should be rewarded and protected. Angela Merkel, the European leader who knows Putin best and is usually the most conciliatory towards Russia, told the Bundestag last week that he was ‘on a different planet’. Brussels has hurried to offer an amended Association Agreement; the US has backed a generous bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

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Physically, the Crimea is easy enough to cut off: it is connected to Ukraine by a single, tiny neck of land to the north, and to Russia only by a slow ferry (though that will speedily be replaced, says Moscow, by a $3 billion bridge). The peninsula receives 80 per cent of its water and electricity from Ukraine; this year about $300 million of Crimea’s $540 million regional budget was due to come from Kiev. Its two main industries are tourism — mostly from Ukraine — and the Russian and Ukrainian navy bases in Sevastopol.

Russian media portrays Crimea rather as one would speak of a newly acquired ruin which could, one day, become an ideal family holiday home: it will replace Egypt as a tourist hotspot, predicts Russian Channel 1, and its offshore oil and gas reserves will cement Russia’s position as the world’s top energy producer. Crimea’s pro-Russian leader, Sergey Aksyonov — who before the latest crisis led a block of no more than 12 per cent of the regional government’s seats and has been accused of being an enforcer for the ‘Salem’ mafia gang with the nickname ‘Goblin’ — received 15 billion rubles ($410 million) in financial aid from Moscow after he signed the act of unification last week. But bank accounts in the territory remain frozen, locals are furiously buying all the dollars they can and tourism has ground to a halt.

Doubtless Putin will pour money into his acquisition, as he has done into Chechnya, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But making Crimea a viable part of the Russian Federation will be cripplingly expensive. ‘Today, our Crimea looks no better than Palestine’ — not the words of a EuroMaidan enthusiast in Kiev but of Russia’s regional development minister, Igor Slyunayev, speaking to the Russian business daily Kommersant just before Putin’s Anschluss.

What’s more, in taking Crimea Putin has made himself a hostage to Kiev. Putin’s main economic leverage is that he sits on Ukraine’s gas pipelines: but now Kiev sits on Crimea’s road, rail, water and power. And unlike the gas wars that the Kremlin launched against Ukraine in 2005 and 2009, which cut off Moscow’s European customers, a Ukrainian blockade of Crimea will hurt only Crimeans.

Donetsk — or as it was known until 1961, Stalino Province — remains a problem for the revolutionary government in Kiev. Russian-backed protesters and imported provocateurs are vocal and violent. But they are in a minority. According to the last census in 2001, ethnic Ukrainians account for 57 per cent of the population, Russians only 38 per cent.

But Putin’s biggest problem is not that annexing Crimea will be expensive for the treasury — it is that it will be expensive for Russia’s elite. On the face of it, US and EU sanctions amount to a mere pinprick. But the cost to Russia’s business class will be deep, and come in subtler ways — higher borrowing costs, evaporated international enthusiasm for their share offerings, a sliding stock market, a weak ruble, bad credit ratings. With energy prices sliding too, and Europe pushing hard to find alternatives to Gazprom, Putin is strangling the goose that laid golden eggs in pursuit of an incoherent imperial vision. Russia’s moneyed class will not forgive him.

For the first time in years Russia stands absolutely isolated in the UN Security Council, abandoned even by its old ally China. And former Soviet countries with large ethnic Russian populations — Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Latvia — are all suddenly more nervous. Hitherto, the price of their loyalty has been cheap Russian gas. That price will soon go up. The foundations of Putin’s post-Soviet Customs Union have been shaken.

Putin says that Crimea has ‘always’ been part of Russia. He is right — in the sense that, like Warsaw and Vilnius, it was annexed to the Russian empire under Catherine the Great. But now Poland’s defence ministry has announced it will relaunch plans to establish a joint Polish, Ukrainian and Lithuanian military brigade, the first step towards Nato membership. In Crimea, Putin has scored the ultimate Pyrrhic victory.

Owen Matthews spent six years as Newsweek’s Moscow bureau chief, and is the author of Stalin’s Children and Glorious Misadventures.

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Show comments
  • RightWingGraham

    If Crimea had not voted to join Russia they would undoubtably by now be a heap of rubble bombarded by ballistic missiles and shells from Kiev. They have stability and peace with Russia – whereas Donetsk has death and destruction.
    As for the Ukraine, it’s being torn apart by the IMF, World bank, a civil war and the EU agreement (made during the eastern genocide!) means that Monsanto and Dupont can move in and grab the farming business. It’s revealing that no one from Donetsk is escaping to Kiev, the hundreds of thousands of them are taking refuge in Russia.

  • SoCal88

    Very well done – I agree with everything in the article, and I would add this: as Putin becomes more isolated and his options become fewer, he will become much more dangerous.

  • Greg

    “Countries that strive towards European values — and suffer for it — should be rewarded and protected.”

    What are these European values? Europe is as corrupt as Russia, bankrupt, poorer and has just as poor a Human Rights record.

  • rtj1211

    You finally reveal the truth about all that is going on in Ukraine: the West’s obsession that Russia ‘must never have an Empire’.

    What about America never having an Empire?? How about that faceless entity, the EU?

    The world would be a far better place if that happened, but oh, no, got to find the bogeyman.

  • Gregory Mason

    ‘Yanukovych has been overthrown by people power’

    So that’s what we’re calling neo-Nazis and thugs these days is it?

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    Nonsense. Crimea was a big victory for Putin. By being patient and thinking strategically, Putin is winning this conflict quite handily so far. Not to mention, Russia has the advantage in weaponry, resources (NG), and morale. Not only is China moving closer to Russia, but Germany is, too, and that scares the US/EU leadership.

    • rtj1211

      Not to mention countries on South Stream route. Germany has invested very significantly in Russia and won’t be mothballing all that lot any time soon.

  • John Hancock

    Excellent observations. Putin has shown his true colours: a fanatical lunatic who has bitten off more than he can chew. In winning the battle (Crimea) he didn’t realise he then automatically lost the war (Ukraine); and just as fanatical leaders do, he couldn’t stop: Putin has now sealed his fate with the crash of MH17. Stick a fork in him; he’s done.

    • John Byde

      Not so sure. I read a bio of him and what strikes you within the first 10 pages is that this guy is streets ahead in intelligence, ruthlessness and will power than our current set of losers. He makes Cameron, Hollande, Obama and Auntie Angie seem like children. We shall see!

  • Q46

    Lest we forget, there are two partners in this Tango.

    Consistant with the recent past centuries, an ambitious clique among the Western European elite are at pains to extend their power and control over the Continent of Europe. As the useful idiot Cameron declared, an EU from the Atlantic to the Baltic, but somewhat falling short of what the ‘Project’ Masters have as a long term aim, an EU from Atlantic to Pacific.

    So in furtherance of the ‘Project’, the ambitious clique moved to insinuate their control and government into Ukraine, the last buffer between the Franks and Hun and the city limits of Moscow… the Franks and Hun having been there before in recent memory.

    Whereas the likes of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania fell to the European Empire, fall of the Ukraine would bring ethnic Russians under dominion of the Franco-Hun: a border too far.

    So we have de facto an EU – Russian proxy war being fought in Ukraine… a big Attaboy! to the Euro-elites for that.

    If it does spell the downfall of Putin, let us hope too it will be the downfall of the EU and all its works and pomps.

    Those pointing fingers at Moscow over the downed Malaysian jet, should be pointing a few at Brussels and the capitals of the European Hegemony.

    • John Byde

      Perfectly put. This is a horrible crime but let’s not overlook the cretins at the EU.

  • Dr. Heath

    As belligerent as Mr. Putin and his subjects are reported to be by outsiders, it’s entirely unlikely either that the crisis in Ukraine will buoy up Russians’ confidence in the Dear Leader or that the political costs of murdering foreigners who’ve offended his fragile ego and sense of amour propre will make him unpopular. Putin has rightly been described as a leader whose policies veer between the reckless and the prudent. In between both poles lies the ground – the policies – that our thin-skinned tyrant ignores. The Russians themselves need a leader who’s prepared to try to do the things Putin has never shown the least interest in, such as providing them with a sounder economy, larger incomes, a cleaner environment, or reasons not to emigrate and reasons to have families and not to despair about the future of a nation which has ever more in common with a vast slum than with a proud empire of valiant exterminators and oppressors of uppity neighbours [Putin’s sole priority being, it seems, the preservation of venerated imperial status for himself and Russia].

    Russians may be downtrodden and they may be kept in the dark about almost everything that goes on in the world or in their back gardens but they’re hardly so stupid as to be perennially content with living conditions and a future delivered to them by a man barely one step up the evolutionary ladder from Kim Jong-Un.

    • pp22pp

      All this is true of Britain which is speeding towards an Islamic Third World future. Hadn’t you noticed? Not much more than half the babies born in Britain today are indigenous and many of them are born to the worst of our women on a mission to live off the public teat.

    • rtj1211

      So far as I’m aware, Putin has done a great deal in his time as leader to improve Russian living standards. That’s why people vote for him. Little matter of a big sovereign wealth fund he’s put aside too. None of that in our enightened UK-US-EU axis, is there?

      They may need a new leader who can diversify their economy, but what they don’t need is some namby pamby idiot who spreads their legs to America and says ‘I’m yours – do what you want to me’.

      You may hate the man, but his job is not to make you like him, his job is to earn the approval of his own people.

      Do you think Russians liked neocons looting their country in the early 1990s??

  • Michael Wind

    on the other hand russia can invade ukraine,and kill all the nazis and pay them back for killing russians during ww2,and …….

  • Darrell01

    Downfall of Putin? Annexation of Crimea is more popular than sеx and vodka in Russia. I swear, delusional bloggers who think they’re journalists…

  • WinstonF

    In the read world “Russia: Crimea supplies grain products to Turkey”

    What did America export lately? Dead muslims?

    No please “author” go and blow on Obama’s dongle, while Dave “everyone’s mate” Cameron sticks you in the other end, spit roast styleeeee…

    • El_Sid

      What did America export lately? Dead muslims?

      The US exports nearly 30 million tons of wheat each year, making it the biggest wheat exporter in the world….

  • beenzrgud

    Some very good points, but I wouldn’t write off Putin just yet. He’s a wily old fox !

  • Sean Lamb

    You can almost certainly wave goodbye to Eastern Ukraine now. The only question is how much blood will be shed before a Kosovo style solution is agreed on. Knowing the English appetite for blood I expect a couple of hundred thousand. The English could really have taught Milosevic a lesson or two about whipping up mass slaughter.

    If the separatists didn’t shoot down the plane, they are never going to be forced into saying they did. And Britain and America will never allow any information that implicates either them or Kiev to become mainstream. So a perfect bloody stalemate.
    And it must have all seemed so clever when it was cooked up at Albert Embankment and/or Langley. Doubtless they slapped themselves on the back and bent over laughing – what could possibly go wrong?

  • Roger Hudson

    Dumb title, not the conflict ‘in’ Crimea, there isn’t one, you perhaps mean ‘about’ Crimea.

  • Gizzard Puke

    Well said sir!

  • Smithersjones2013

    It always amuses when when liberal western journalists apply their standards and morality to other cultures. Its basic fight or flight response. Where western liberals run away (further exacerbated by the failure of the middle eastern adventures of the western liberal classes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria etc) from difficulty other cultures face it and that is why Putin has little to worry about because it will be the West (in particular the EU) who will capitulate in any test of international might and Putin knows it.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Only some cultures. They keep very quiet about the cultures likely to put a fatwa on them and talk benignly about “cultural traditions” whilst dodging the elephant in the room.

    • pearlsandoysters

      problem with liberal values being presented as universal, one size fits all sort of thing.

  • Terry Field

    That bastard’s military gave the barbarians the SAM to do this. The nast little psycho has blood up to his elbows.

    • Span Ows

      That’s not what a lot of reports are hinting. Kiev air traffic control need to answer some questions too.

      • Terry Field

        the reports hinting something else come from Pravda and Isvestia – sorry RT.
        There is clear audio evidence between a Russian military oficer and the local Donbas thugs discussing what they have done.
        You are an apologist for a bunch of killers.
        Putin is a psychopath.
        His record is hellish.
        It is petty clear that it was not Soviet communism that was nauseatingly foul – it is the Russian regime and maybe just the mentally ill Russians themselves.

        • Span Ows

          I am not an apologist for anyone, I do however question everything, you apparently not. Read what I have written if you can through that seeming red mist, oh maybe not red (haha but certainly dimming your wits). What makes the audio evidence different from eye witness and other evidence? What makes the flight path maps, shown by every single media outlet including those presumably acceptable to you, Terry, showing the flight path well north of previous?

          • Terry Field

            I have checked this evidence – it is clear it was a Russian / insurrectionist are – and you comment re an EU cockup is grotesque.
            You are Soviet Mole.

            • Baron

              Years ago, Baron was imprisoned by the KGB, but reckons today the KGB colonel has done more for the Russians that any other ruler before, the Russians have it better now than at any time since the 16th century Oprichnina.

              It was Russia who was robbed of Crimea in 1992, not Ukraine in 2014.

              Whatever the West does in Ukraine, it can never guarantee the country’s long term security. Blood ties always trump any societal construct that ignores them, you’ll see, Terry.

        • Baron

          You obviously know alot about the Russians. Explain then how does this tragic incident benefit the one you think is a psychopath.

          • Terry Field

            Oh come on, that is more than obvious. He set this hare running by supporting a monstrous autocrat who was toppled and rightly so, then he invaded Crimea, then he wound up the impoverished Donbas to act independently and his local military invaded in small groups to ‘support’ the locals – it is a small step for him regional commanders to continue supply of materiel to the insurgency – and it is clear from traffic that a Russian and an insurgent had acted to bring down the plane. The inadequate and clearly nasty Putin lost control some while ago, but he set this running and stoked the fires. To say he cannot control it now via his media prostitutes is just risible.
            As Hitler set the murderers free by his words of encouragement across occupied Europe, so has Putin made a tragic situation in the economically ruined Donbas much much worse, and this horror is a pert of that.
            The underlying problem however seems to be the psychological difficulties that inhabit the skulls of Russians.
            Their recent suffering has been immense, but the result – in terms of behaviour – is truly terrible.
            As Hitler died in the bunker, it is clear that the words and deeds of people with these personality deficiencies become seriously self-destructive.
            Putin’s serious flaws have permanently ruined his relationship with – now – the entire world; his country experiences massive capital flight, his economy an oil and gas pump and nothing more, his customers doing what they can to replace their supplier, and his people as isolated, as deranged and deluded as ever they were under Soviet communism.

  • Scradje

    ‘without Ukraine, as former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski famously said, ‘Russia can no longer be an empire.’
    The thing is, Russia is an empire. And the imperial mindset is still intact. One of Putin’s top advisors, Alexandr Dugin, is an old style imperialist. Basically a fascist, he believes that Georgia belongs to Russia and that Ukrainians are simply Russians who don’t yet know it. Unfortunately, he is a respected TV commentator in Russia, not shunned as such people are in the west.
    No, Putin should be allowed to get away with his Crimea land grab. Ukrainians and Tatars are being driven out by fear and intimidation, to make way for more compliant citizens coming in from Russia. Peace can only be restored when the status quo has returned to Crimea and the Donetsk oblast. Putin respects only strength. Therefore there needs to be sanctions with real bite; to bring Russia’s banks almost to their knees.

    • Terry Field

      Europe should build 200 nuclear rectors and deal with climate change and that basta*d Putin at the same time.

      • Baron

        How about copying Adolf, starting another bout of killing fields. Would that appeal to you too?

      • John Byde

        And perhaps cure halitosis too>? Gosh, you have the anger and outrage that only rich liberals suffer from.

      • Roger Hudson

        They just have to do it by October. Remember the gas tap.

      • rtj1211

        Nuclear rectors is what lslam has exported to us, mate.

        I’ve yet to hear Doctor Hook and his mob calling for Jihadis to descend on Moscow and kill the infidel Vladi and his mob of Orthodox Christian invaders of the NE Caliphate.

        But do send me the Youtube Link – I’d love to hear it!!

    • John Byde

      Not so sure. The key to this is World War Two. The Russians lost 20m+ dead and since then, have been rather paranoid about anyone interfering with nations to the west of them that they regard as their buffer zones protecting them from another invasion. If Putin is guilty of the Malaysian aircraft shoot-down, no excuses, but frankly all the enticing and “come-ons” from the EU and Helen “Stupid” Ashton in recent years have only made the Russian bear more uptight.

      • John Byde

        Sorry, apparently, the apparatchik is called Katherine.

      • Scradje

        The point is John, that Ukraine no longer wishes to be a buffer zone, or a Russian vassal state. However silly it might seem to us, they want to join the EU. That’s democracy! Six million Ukrainians and Ukrainian Kulaks were murdered in the Holodomor; they have had enough of Russian imperialism.

        • rtj1211

          But do the peoples of the EU want Ukraine to join just yet?? I’m sure the unelected mountebanks in Brussels don’t care about that, but real people have the right to say ‘No’, if ‘No is their firmly held opinion.

          Ukraine in the EU will go bust, there will be a massive migration eastward. The rich in the EU will get richer, the people of the EU will get poorer and Ukraine will become Germany’s next low cost manufacturer.

          Is that what voters in France, England, Spain, Italy etc want??

          • Scradje

            The EU is bad for Britain and we should leave. However, poorer countries such as Poland have done very well out of it. Ukraine will do very well too; it has an excellent education system, rich land and of course lots of shale gas, quite a lot of which is in – you guessed it, the Donetsk oblast!

  • Colonel Mustard

    “The conflict in Crimea will be the downfall of Putin”

    Doubt it. He’s not a soppy wet Eurocrat in a sash frightened of upsetting his own shadow. Our resident Lieborg troll writes continuously about the EU ensuring peace in Europe but attempting to establish a federal super state with its own military and encroaching into Russia’s sphere of influence is an aspiration of pure folly. NATO is one thing but an EU Empire another. Stand by for a new cold war with some very odd alliances.

    Empire of Evil eh?

    • Roger Hudson

      No!, NATO is a bigger danger than the EU.

    • rtj1211

      BRICS bank has got Washington in a tizzy??

      • Colonel Mustard

        Didn’t mention either in my comment. If you want to make a clever clogs statement about BRICS and Washington write your own comment.

  • The Commentator

    The new Ukrainian government will be disappointed when they find out how much the west has to spend on reconstruction their country. Should have done some background checks: who has massive unserviceable debts and an out of control money printing habit? Who has a massive budget surplus and vast foreign currency reserves? Should have stuck with Moscow…

    • rtj1211

      Yes. But you say ‘the Ukrainian Government’. Actually, a small number of self-serving billionaires who accepted CIA money to get into power. Billionaires usually became billionaires not by caring about other people but by looking after number 1.

      If they are richer billionaires when Ukraine goes bankrupt, will they care?

      Doubt it. They’ll have their London mansion and their private jet to jump ship in.

      • Colonel Mustard

        “They’ll have their London mansion and their private jet to jump ship in.”

        You should be pleased. Chairman Ed will then be able to tax them until the pips squeak to pay for his bribes.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Where’s Willi Hague when you need him most?

    • Wessex Man

      Retired, the other relevent question is where is Kath Ashton, who was on the streets encouraging the Ukrainians to become an associate member of the EU.

      • Colonel Mustard

        She’ll be in a cavalcade of armoured eco-busting 4x4s somewhere toting a fearsome armoury of globally warmed hot air.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Busy filling out yet another expenses claim.

      • rtj1211

        Saying ‘Gosh’ in Brussels, marvelling at the unintended consequences of her Animal Farm revolution……..

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Chasing you and the rest of your ignorant EU sponsored gibberish spouting socialist nutter sock puppets from these threads with any luck laddie. What time is the Goat’s shift laddie!

    • rtj1211

      Doing his Mossad debrief?!

  • swatnan

    On the contrary Crimea is definitely Russian territory..
    The Ukranian Separatist in Donetz should forget about breaking awayfrom Kiev and settle for greater autonomy in a federal Ukraine.

    • Terry Field

      Yes, and Normandy and Calais is English

      • John Byde

        You’re rather angry and emotional aren’t you? I have no illusions about Putin, but let’s wait until the evidence is in, shall we?

        • Terry Field

          No, I am neither angry nor emotional; I take as I find. If people make intelligent and sensible comments, I respect that and respond.
          Idiotic comments receive a different response.
          As for the evidence, the black boxes are reported to be in Moscow – now ‘lost’ – the rocket parts no doubt removed and the site looted and despoiled.
          What ‘evidence’.
          It is clear as a bell.

    • Roger Hudson

      Semi-Autonomous oblasts are the answer, like Kosovo was before 1989.
      I never read of any trouble in Vojvodina ( a part of Serbia).

    • swatnan

      The Americans are guilty of carrying out a proxy war in the Ukraine.
      It is not Russias fault at all.

  • Mark McIntyre

    Agreed – OM. But…
    What about Konigsberg / Kaliningrad

  • telemachus

    You forget the actual nature of Putin and the Russian People
    The Cabal Around Putin are dedicated above all else to the restoration of the near abroad to Russian Control
    This take precedence over considerations of the concern of any other country or attempted economic constraints
    The vastness of the country, their natural resources and their human resources allows them to do this
    And all the Russian people know this
    Remember that despite the privations most Russians did and do still hail Joseph Stalin as an all conquering hero

    • Shazza

      For once tele, I agree with you.

      Also, don’t forget that Putin headed up the KGB in the old USSR and won’t have forgotten how Russia lost face when Communism collapsed. Russians are very proud people and unlike the West do not suffer from ‘guilt’ over their glorious pasts.

      He is playing the long game.

      • Barakzai

        He didn’t ‘head up’ the KGB. He was astute enough to bale out (as a Lieutenant Colonel) rather than actively support the putsch against Gorbachev.

        • Shazza

          Sorry – I had my wires crossed! Still doesn’t change his mindset though, does it?

      • Span Ows

        he copied and pasted it from somewhere…

        • telemachus


          • Span Ows

            the strange sentence structure and breaks: that happens when you paste from a pdf in column format

            • telemachus

              Then google any part and pray tell from whence it hails
              It is authentic .telemachus

              • girondas2

                authentic .telemachus

              • girondas2

                Span Ows has got a point. Sadly I have to spend some of my time checking for plagiarism. You would be under immediate suspicion as a fake. Not everything can be googled

    • Ordinaryman

      “Privations”?? I do like your euphemisms. Stalin was directly responsible in one way or the other for the deaths of more than 20 million and possibly as many as 60 million of his own people. That’s quite a “privation”. Some hero!

  • Span Ows

    You seem to be living on another planet. Just how far will the West go to provoke the situation.

    • White Rose

      Not as far as Putin will go to provoke a conflict.

      • Span Ows

        Oh I doubt that, he doesn’t need to. OTOH Ukraine being the most recent crazy EU cock-up.

      • pp22pp

        What does Putin have to gain fro a conflict?

    • telemachus

      The West politically could not care less
      We will hear a lot of huffing and puffing these next weeks and the announcement of a few more sanctions
      Stalino Province will de facto return to the motherland
      Putin, Stalin’s heir, will gain even more kudos in that motherland

      • girondas2

        Yes, yes telemachus, if that’s the party line…

        Tell me
        telemachus, have you ever had a thought of your own?. You know a question
        or an idea that emanated from within you and wasn’t just planted there by
        someone else.
        I ask because you spend so much of your time here just pushing your product, like some wretched insurance salesman.
        I feel quite sorry for you really.

        • telemachus

          Never- ever- make the mistake that ad hominem of the messager negates the message
          The genesis of the current crisis can be traced back to the West’s failure to respect and embrace the newly free Russia
          They were belittled and pushed around
          This awoke the great Russian Bear and the recent moves to reclaim the near abroad
          Bush in particular by his actions allowed an emboldened Putin to understand that the West was a paper tiger
          His own and Blair’s reinvention of Pope Urban’s call to arms ignoring and belittling ostensibly Christian Russia can be argued to have led to the current impasse

          • girondas2

            I dare say I’m as old as you, charlatan.
            Old enough to remember when the Labour Party contained within its ranks men and women of integrity.

          • Colonel Mustard

            You blame everything in the world on the West and everything in the UK on the Tories. You always blame the victims for the terrorism that murders them. You are one sick, twisted article.

            • rtj1211

              The day you assign some responsibility to the EU, the UK, the US and Israel for some of their GLOBAL actions is the day you will have some credibility.

              Responsibility is broadly spread and rarely owned up to. Especially by the right wing in the West……..

              • Colonel Mustard

                The day I look to you as an arbiter of credibility will be the day I stop posting.

                Your comment is nonsense. Don’t project your own prejudices and bigotry onto me and when I don’t share them find me wanting. And if you are looking for responsibility rarely owned up to, in fact never owned up to, one need go no further than the Labour party.

                And stepping in to bolster the Thoughts of Chairman Telemachus does little for your credibility, such as it is.

    • John Byde

      Oxymoron of the week: “European values” – atheism, greed, reality TV, abortion, homosexuality, relativism and euthanasia

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