A Full Year of Ukraine Crisis

23

Fifteen thousand casualties, which includes over five thousand dead, and a country in ruins. And it didn't have to be this way.

This week, John and Steve recap the events of the past year and remind everyone of just how disastrous this "revolution" has been for the people of Ukraine. If you have the time this holiday weekend, please give this entire podcast a listen. I know you're busy, though, with family and friends. Therefore, if anything, try to carve out some time to listen to the first 10 minutes.

In just those first 10 minutes, Professor Cohen:

  • Revisits the origin of the crisis
  • Discusses the changes to US/NATO relations
  • Assesses the New Cold War
  • Describes how these events have led to a new Russia/China alliance (which, ultimately, brings us all closer to The End of The Great Keynesian Experiment)

Again, more on Professor Steve Cohen can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_F._Cohen

And more information of John Batchelor's nightly radio program can be found here: https://johnbatchelorshow.com

TF

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DeaconBenjamin
Nov 27, 2014 - 12:10pm

Russia's Medvedev and Ukraine's Yatseniuk discuss economic ties

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk by telephone, the Russian government's press service said on Thursday.

Medvedev and Yatseniuk discussed financial and economic relations between Russia and Ukraine, the press service added, without elaborating.

https://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/russias-medvedev-ukraines-yatseniuk-di...

DeaconBenjamin
Nov 27, 2014 - 6:09am

Crimean Tatars reproach Turkey for not imposing sanctions on Rus

Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian Parliament lawmaker Mustafa Abdulcemil Kırımoğlu. AA Photo

Turkey should follow the West and impose sanctions on Russia, the leader of the Crimean Tatars has said during a visit to Ankara, reproaching his hosts for continuing trade with Moscow.

“We wish Turkey would join the sanctions imposed by Western countries [on Russia],” Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian Parliament lawmaker Mustafa Abdulcemil Kırımoğlu told Anadolu Agency, before his scheduled meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Nov. 25.

“Of course it wouldn’t yield results if only some countries implement sanctions, while others continue trade benefiting from this opportunity,” Kırımoğlu said, referring to Turkey’s moves to take advantage of chilled business ties between Russia and the West.

After the United States and the European Union began imposing sanctions on Russia for its role in the conflict in Ukraine, Russia retaliated with restrictions on the importation of food from the EU and other Western countries in August.

As Turkish authorities rushed to eliminate barriers on trade to boost the exchange of goods between countries, Turkey’s food exports to Russia surged over the first nine months of the year, with white meat exports, poultry and seafood increasing by 447 percent, according to figures announced by Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker on Nov. 24.

Despite reproaching Turkey’s unwillingness to impose sanctions on Russia, Kırımoğlu said he knows that “Turkey’s position is clear, supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/crimean-tatars-reproach-turkey-for-not...

DeaconBenjamin
Nov 27, 2014 - 4:30am

Diverging Interests in Europe

Within the European Union, the interests of the 28 member states are diverging in what are becoming increasingly clear ways. Taking a tough stance against Russia is generally less important to southern Europeans than it is to eastern Europeans. In the past, the German government had sought to serve as a bridge between the two camps. But in Berlin itself these days, significant differences in the assessment of the situation are starting to emerge within the coalition government pairing Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD). It's one that pits Christian Democrat leaders like Merkel and Horst Seehofer, who heads the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), against Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the SPD and Social Democratic Party boss Sigmar Gabriel, who is the economics minister.

Map: Russia's Areas of Influence

"The greatest danger is that we allow division to be sown between us," the chancellor said last Monday in Sydney. And it's certainly true to say that this threat is greater at present than at any other time since the crisis began. Is that what the Russian president has been waiting for?

Last week, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier traveled to Moscow to visit with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. With Steinmeier standing at his side, the Russian foreign minister praised close relations between Germany and Russia. "It's good my dear Frank-Walter that, despite the numerous rumors of recent days, you hold on to our personal contact." Steinmeier reciprocated by not publically criticizing contentious issues like Russian weapons deliveries to Ukrainian separatists. Afterwards, Vladimir Putin received him, a rare honor. It was a prime example of just how the Russian strategy works.

United Assessments, Divided Approaches

The German foreign minister is professional enough not to be surprised by the Russian kindness. Even as the chancellor sharply attacked Putin during her appearance in Sydney, saying the West shouldn't be "too conflict averse," Steinmeier struck a far softer tone on the same day in Brussels. Without mentioning Merkel by name, Steinmeier urged for a bit more restraint in public statements, saying the West had to be careful to make sure "that in our use of language in public, we do not eliminate our chances of contributing to the easing of tensions and to the mitigation of conflict."

When he said that, the foreign minister knew that there was a chance he might get a meeting with Putin. As such, one could interpret his statements as an attempt to avoid jeopardizing his possible appointment with the Russian president at the Kremlin.

Still, the statements marked the first time any fissures had become visible in the joint position vis-a-vis Moscow held by Steinmeier and Chancellor Merkel. They are united in their assessment of Russia's actions, but their views differ on the best way to face the Russians in the coming weeks. That, though, has long since become the all-important question.

Merkel considers it to be crucial to make clear to Putin publicly how his conduct is viewed in the West and just what is at stake. She believes that the Russian president will only respond to clear statements -- if he bothers to respond at all.

Her approach is based on the concern that pro-Russian separatists may seek to divide eastern Ukraine for the long run and that the West will have to resign itself to that development. If that happens, then Russia will now have succeeded with its strategy for the third time since the end of the Soviet Union. Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, breakaway republics that are part of Georgian territory, are under Russian control, as is the Transnistria region of Moldavia. The consequence being that neither country is able to join NATO because the military alliance stipulates that any member state must have previously resolved all border disputes with its neighbors prior to accession.

https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/german-government-shows-faul...

DeaconBenjamin
Nov 27, 2014 - 4:22am

German FM: 'Crimea Will Remain a Source of Conflict'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a master at keeping her cool, even when the pressure becomes almost unbearable. This may explain why a speech she gave at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, immediately following the G-20 summit in Brisbane, turned so many heads. Her comments in Sydney were the clearest indication yet that she is losing patience with Russia. "Outdated thnking in terms of spheres of influence which tramples international law underfoot must not be allowed to prevail," she said. "Russia is violating the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine."

During the audience discussion after the speech, Merkel warned that "we're not just talking about Ukraine. We're talking about Moldavia, about Georgia. If things go on, we'll be talking about Serbia and the Western Balkans."

Coming as it did just hours after an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin was aired on German television, the speech was seen as a direct and forceful response. And it seemed to make German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier uncomfortable. It is important, he said not long after Merkel's comments, "that in our use of language in public, we do not eliminate our chances of contributing to the easing of tensions and to the mitigation of conflict."

SPIEGEL: Many understood your appeal to tone down the rhetoric against Russia as a criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel following the clear comments she made in Sydney after the G-20 summit. Which parts of her speech did you find objectionable?

Steinmeier: That is really far-fetched! It does justice neither to the seriousness of the crisis nor to the legitimate questions addressed by summits like Brisbane to try to turn them into a problem within the German government. What I find imprudent is when summits like this, which offer a last chance for direct and perhaps confidential talks, are treated as an open forum.

SPIEGEL: But with your tone, you clearly distanced yourself from Merkel and the chancellor is prepared to strengthen the sanctions against Putin. Are you as well?

Steinmeier: Again, our position is clear. Our policies, and thus our decisions on sanctions, are a consequence of our assessment of the situation. And it will remain that way. On Monday (Nov. 17), European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels issued instructions to identify those responsible among the separatists in eastern Ukraine and add them to the list because they are riding roughshod over Ukraine's territorial integrity. That is what was necessary in the current situation and it is, above all, the collective position of the German government.

SPIEGEL: In Germany and the European Union, the discussion over how to deal with Putin is more controversial than ever. Do you not believe that Western unity may be in danger?

Steinmeier: Nobody, SPIEGEL included, should be afraid of the fact that debate in democracies is spirited at times. It is, in fact, a misjudgment made by autocratic regimes to see that as a weakness. In the EU, 28 countries come together with totally different historical experiences leading to different perceptions and objectively different degrees of concern. Nevertheless, we have always been able to arrive at a unified position and to see it through. I will fight to keep it that way.

https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/german-foreign-minister-stei...

DeaconBenjamin
Nov 26, 2014 - 8:52pm

Le Pen forced to justify €9m loan from Russia

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s cash-strapped far-right National Front (FN), on Sunday justified her party's €9 million loan from a Russian Bank saying it was needed to beef up their war chest ahead of local elections, saying “French banks won’t lend to us”.

The loan, from Moscow-based First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB), was signed in September and was first revealed by French investigative website Mediapart on Saturday.

In an interview with French daily Le Monde, Le Pen said her party had had no choice but go to a Russian bank for funds, with the departmental elections coming up early next year.

“It’s scandalous, the French banks won’t lend to us,” she said, insisting that the fact that the bank is Russian had nothing to do with the party’s choice of lender.

“We had thrown out hooks everywhere: in Spain, Italy, the United States, Asia and Russia. And we signed with the first one who agreed and we’re very happy about it,” she told Le Monde.

The National Front’s treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just told French radio broadcaster France Info about the party’s financial woes, confirming also the difficulties in securing funds from French banks. “No bank wants to give us a cent,” he said.

“I reached out to a large number of French and European banks and I got some replies, but they were always negative.”

The National Front's bank Société Générale said in November that it would no longer be mending any money to the political party.

“We have been looking for loans for some time, to fund our election campaigns. But our bank, like most French and European lenders, categorically refuses to give the FN and FN candidates the slightest cent,” Saint-Just said.

Speculation persists however that there may be something more sinister behind the National Front's Russian bank loan, which comes at a time when ties between the the EU and Moscow are strained due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

It also comes as a report was published in Moscow that laid out how Vladimir Putin could help influence internal politics in EU member states by bolstering far right parties, like the National Front.

The report, seen by German media, suggested Russia could make loans to far-right parties, which like the National Front in France, have a pro-Putin and pro-Moscow stance.

In France, Le Pen however rejected claims from critics suggesting the move had political implications in the sense that the FN is trying to firm up its relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

“Ridiculous,” she said, adding “these insinuations are outrageous and offensive. That obtaining a loan would determine our international stance. We’ve held that (pro-Russian) line for a long time,” she said.

Le Pen doesn't hide her respect for the Russian leader, and was quoted by Le Monde in September as saying she has “a certain admiration for the man. He proposes a patriotic economic model, radically different from what the Americans are imposing on us”.

In recent weeks Le Pen has also criticized the French government for bowing to pressure from the US and Nato by refusing to deliver a warship to Moscow.

“I don’t believe the National Front’s story that they are penniless.

“It’s true French banks won’t lend them money but if they want to borrow money there are banks around the world, not just in Russia.

“This is a case of Russia or Putin trying to send a message to governments in EU countries to say ‘be careful with your position towards Russia because if you don’t support us we will support parties who are a threat to you.

“It’s basically a kind of blackmail.”

“It’s not a wise move on the part of Russia, because the French public, many of whom are sympathetic to the Russian position on Ukraine, do not like foreign countries meddling in their politics. So they will lose potential support.

“As for the National Front, their supporters don’t care where the money comes from. They were pro-Russian before. They like the idea of a strong man with an iron will and Putin certainly fits that description.

“The French government will no doubt be worried by any attempt to influence internal politics. It may influence their own decision on whether or not to deliver the two mistral ships to Moscow.

https://www.thelocal.fr/20141124/frances-far-right-turns-to-russia-for-9...

DeaconBenjamin
Nov 26, 2014 - 7:10pm
Key Economic Events Week of 10/26

10/27 8:30 ET Durable Goods
10/27 10:00 ET Case-Shiller home prices
10/27 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
10/27 10:00 ET Richmond Fed
10/28 8:30 ET Advance Trade in Goods
10/28 8:30 ET Wholesale Inventories
10/29 8:00 ET ECB monetary policy stmt
10/29 8:30 ET Q3 GDP first guess
10/30 8:30 ET Personal Income and Spending
10/30 8:30 ET Core Inflation
10/30 10:00 ET UMich Consmer Sentiment

goldcom
Nov 26, 2014 - 7:09pm

That's right Nick

And don't forget the New World Order Crowd I'm sure didn't like this statement Putin said in an October speech.

"The builders of the New World Order have failed, having built a sand castle. Whether or not a new world order of any sort is to be built is not just Russia’s decision, but it is a decision that will not be made without Russia."

DeaconBenjamin
Nov 26, 2014 - 7:05pm

Ukraine banks axe services in pro-Russian regions

Ukraine’s government has begun cutting off payments and banking services to areas of the country under the control of pro-Russian rebels, in a further sign that Kiev has given up trying to control the territory.

There has been a problem with ready cash in the region for months, but Kiev’s decision to sever banking services to the region mean even credit cards will no longer work.

Journalists reported seeing long queues of people outside banks in Donetsk attempting to withdraw their money. The majority of businesses said their credit-card machines were no longer working, after Ukraine’s central bank ordered all banks to cease operations in the east.

Ukraine’s government has also said it will stop funding social services such as schools and hospitals in areas it does not control.

Winter in the major city of Donetsk and other parts of the east under separatist control is likely to be harsh for those who have remained, as industry has ground to a halt, military confrontation continues and supplies of food and energy are unreliable.

The separatist authorities have a dilemma: they have declared independence from Ukraine, but unlike with the Crimea peninsula, Russia has shown little appetite for formally taking over the east. This leaves the rebel authorities unsure where to turn for the cash to dole out benefits, pensions and other payments.

“What this means in reality is the confiscation of the pensions and benefits of our veterans, pensioners, disabled people and mothers … It is an attempt to end civilised life in the Donbass region,” said the Donetsk People’s Republic in an official statement. “We think there are no legal reasons not to pay money from the budget to people based in the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. People living on our territories have the same rights as other citizens of Ukraine.”

Previously, the Donetsk authorities have proclaimed their territory an independent state and said they no longer wanted anything to do with Kiev. Ukraine has been setting up makeshift border posts along the line of control, a further sign that Kiev has realised it cannot win back the territory militarily.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/26/ukraine-banks-suspend-serv...

Nick Elway
Nov 26, 2014 - 6:24pm

Holes in the narrative

Cohen states at 4:30 "Expansion of NATO the multi-year driving force behind this crisis" and at 17:00 "NATO remains the currency in this game"

Batchelor and Cohen ignore the Jim Willie observations of additional US motives specifically: cutting off Europe from Russian gas, the theft of gold from Ukraine, and the attempt to prolong the life of the reserve currency.

Kudos to them for identifying the Finland misinformation

Batchelor "This is about Russia believing they are under attack and NATO believing they are under attack"

I find this similar to "Republicans believing they are under attack and Democrats believing they are under attack" or "Tea partiers believe they are under attack and African-Americans believe they are under attack" Everybody is right! Cohen is right! Jim Willie is right! Those that believe they are under attack are right!

IMO TPTB set up (and reinforces) these "under attack" beliefs in order to maintain control and profit. I suspect they(TPTB) are setting up a skirmish line to run more or less from Finland to Iraq (by way of Kiev, Odessa, Turkey, and Syria) with never-resolved tensions and forays across that line. Perhaps their goal is perpetual conflict ala 1984.

SteveW
Nov 26, 2014 - 11:44am

Virtual Russian sub

Here's the story about the Russian sub that Sweden was searching.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/19/sweden-search-russian-subm...

The idea of a foreign sub off Stockholm is immediately suspect as anyone who has visited Stockholm would know. Stockholm, while a port, is about 50 miles from the open Baltic. One has to traverse an archipelago of multiple islands and a narrow channel before reaching the capital city. Why would a sub go into such an exposed position? Cohen is right, its all a farce to motivate the non-aligned Scandinavian countries.

https://www.defensenews.com/article/20140612/DEFREG01/306120040/Russia-W...

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Key Economic Events Week of 10/26

10/27 8:30 ET Durable Goods
10/27 10:00 ET Case-Shiller home prices
10/27 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
10/27 10:00 ET Richmond Fed
10/28 8:30 ET Advance Trade in Goods
10/28 8:30 ET Wholesale Inventories
10/29 8:00 ET ECB monetary policy stmt
10/29 8:30 ET Q3 GDP first guess
10/30 8:30 ET Personal Income and Spending
10/30 8:30 ET Core Inflation
10/30 10:00 ET UMich Consmer Sentiment

Key Economic Events Week of 10/19

10/19 11:45 ET Goon Chlamydia
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Key Economic Events Week of 10/12

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Key Economic Events Week of 10/5

10/5 9:45 ET Markit Svc PMI
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Key Economic Events Week of 9/28

9/29 8:30 ET Advance trade in goods
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9/29 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
9/30 8:15 ET ADP employment report
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10/1 8:30 ET Personal Income and Spending
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Key Economic Events Week of 9/21

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9/22 Noon ET Goon Barkin
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9/23 9:45 ET Markit flash PMIs for September
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Key Economic Events Week of 9/14

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9/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales
9/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
9/16 2:00 ET FOMC Fedlines
9/16 2:30 ET Powell Presser
9/17 8:30 ET Philly Fed
9/18 8:30 ET Current Acct Deficit

Key Economic Events Week of 9/7

9/9 10:00 ET JOLTS job openings
9/10 8:30 ET Initial jobless claims
9/10 8:30 ET PPI
9/10 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
9/11 8:30 ET CPI
9/11 9:45 ET Core CPI

Key Economic Events Week of 8/31

9/1 9:45 ET Markit Manu Index
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9/1 10:00 ET Construction Spending
9/2 8:15 ET ADP employment
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9/2 10:00 ET Factory Orders
9/3 8:30 ET Initial jobless claims
9/3 8:30 ET Trade Deficit
9/3 12:30 ET Goon Evans
9/4 8:30 ET BLSBS

Key Economic Events Week of 8/24

8/24 8:30 ET Chicago Fed Idx
8/25 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
8/26 8:30 ET Durable Goods
8/27 8:30 ET Q2 GDP 2nd guess
8/27 9:10 ET Chief Goon Powell Jackson Hole
8/28 8:30 ET Pers Inc and Consumer Spend
8/28 8:30 ET Core Inflation
8/28 9:45 ET Chicago PMI

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