Economics, Essays, latest, Russia
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Russian Stalemate

Frank Lee

Moscow Financial Centre

The brewing conflict between the Russian Oligarchy and the Russian people is reaching a crisis point. The side that prevails will determine the future of Russia and perhaps the world.

On 17 March 1991 a referendum was held in the Soviet Union on whether or not the USSR should continue to exist. There was an 80% turnout (some 185,647,355.00 of registered voters). The upshot of this election was that 113,512,812.00 voted to preserve the USSR. That’s 71.92%. Their wishes were disregarded, however. The entrenched bureaucracies and business interests, collectively the nomenklatura, decided that this was too good an opportunity to pass up; there was money to be made in this once in a lifetime situation. Which sounds eerily rather like EU referenda practise.

The sunny interlude of Gorbachov was to give way to the beginning of the Yeltsin catastrophe – a catastrophe not equalled since WW2. The emergence of the cosmopolitan business oligarchy and its political hangers-on was to consolidate its power and create a new kind of political, economic and social structure. At the time, and even today, the leading Russian capitalists’ over-riding aim was to realign their country into an assigned subordinate position in the world hierarchy of capitalist classes thus subjecting the Russian economy into a semi-peripheral extractive structure based on oil, gas, metallurgical products and military hardware.[1]

As the old Soviet system was dismantled the scale of the looting was mind-boggling. The level of the subsidies which passed from the state sector to the private sector could be gauged from the sale of assets involved amounting to less than 5% of their market value. State enterprises were sold off at a mere 20th or even 30th of the value of their real worth.

The whole process was overseen by western advisers, such as Jeffrey Sachs, Andre Schleifer and the lawyer Jonathan Hay, all of which had a high degree of influence over Russia’s economic policy; a policy leverage which was unprecedented in a sovereign state. The whole operation was conducted under the auspices of institutions such the IMF and World Bank. Policy prescriptions emanating from these sources were predictable and banal: if it moves, privatise/deregulate it. Local additions to this retinue were the extremely dubious neo-liberal duo of Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais who were only too keen to join in the plunder.

In addition to the dismantling of the industrial/manufacturing sector of the Soviet economy to undergo another pernicious episode during the transformative process, namely the continual outflow abroad of capital from the Russian economy.

In the crisis of 2014-2015 the net outflow of private capital was estimated at $210 billion. This huge amount of money could have been used to boost both wages and investment and overcome the slump which occurred in 2008. It should be noted that when business borrows more from the world that it lends to it (i.e., imports more capital than it exports) the government sharply increases the exports of capital via its own mechanisms. Such funds are sent abroad by the state and private sector. Overall Russia remains invariably a net exporter of financial resources. It is only natural as the former Soviet republics are bled dry and real wages have fallen.”[2]

In passing it is worth mentioning in this context that what was true of Russia was also true a fortiori of the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) a regional organization of 10 post-Soviet republics in Eurasia formed following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and ex-satellites in Eastern Europe. The policies and economies of these nominally sovereign states shifted to largely deindustrialised nations brought about by the decline of manufacturing and growth and the development of extractive sectors.

In terms of their position in the world economy these states have been transformed into suppliers of low value-added materials to the developed capitalist centre. An army of cheap mobile labour at one pole and a comprador class of tycoons and property owners plus out-and-out criminals at the other. Such has been the nature of their ‘liberation’, with Ukraine and Moldova bringing up the rear having descended into what can only be considered as peripheral or third world status and which are now the two poorest countries in Europe.

The post-Soviet states now export mainly products characterised by a low degree of processing of the original raw materials and import products with a high level of added value.[3]

It is an economic truism that in international trade, states do not, generally speaking, get rich or significantly develop by concentrating their efforts on the promotion and export of raw materials. Time and again it has been shown that the vicious cycles of underdevelopment can only be effectively countered by changing the productive structures of peripheral and semi-peripheral states. This took place in the United States and Germany in the 19th century. A successful nation-building project involves a top-down strategy involving increasing diversification away from sectors with diminishing returns to scale (traditional raw materials) to sectors with increasing returns (technology, increasingly intensive manufacturing and services) creating a complex division of labour and new social structures in the process.

This will create an urban market for goods, which will induce specialization and innovation, give rise to new technologies, create alternative employment and create economic synergies which will serve to unite a nation-state both economically and politically. This is not to say that extractive industry will cease, since the key to coherent development is the interplay between sectors with increasing and diminishing returns in the same labour market. This is, in essence, has been the East Asian model of development during the 20th century.

It is precisely this type of long-term nation-building strategy which is imperative for Russia but which is being thwarted by the existence of a cosmopolitan oligarch class whose interests run counter to any to any such strategy and, moreover, who are perfectly content take profits from extractive exports and then invest them back into the centre of the capitalist system, usually in the shape of paper assets like US Treasury Bills and/or property. Cronyism, corruption, incompetence are endemic characteristics of this powerful group and they are unfortunately firmly ensconced in positions of influence and power in Russia. It would be reasonable to surmise that a political, parasitic system of Yeltsin-lite is now extant in Russia and that a domestic head of steam is, judging by its internal critics, building up in opposition. For every action there is a reaction.

Of course, this evolution of capitalism to its later parasitic stages – that is to say, financialised capitalism – is by no means restricted to Russia. This process was pioneered in the United States with the shift of American corporations from managerial firms to financialised structures. The shareholder revolution along with the development of the shadow banking system consisting of hedge funds, private capital, unlisted derivatives all unregulated in over the counter (OCT) transactions coalesced to form the basis for the financialization process.

Corporations were ruthlessly downsized, restructured, stripped of assets, their investment funds severely curtailed. All that mattered was the bottom line – increasing dividends and bloated share/stock prices.

The modern financial world-capitalist system placed short-term pecuniary gain above long-term growth of productive, value-creating enterprise. The new system was codified and became known as the ‘Washington Consensus’ And of course these novel phenomena were not lost on the new lumpen-bourgeoisie who had come to power in Russia during the Yeltsin interregnum.

The postulates of Washington Consensus – price liberalisation, deregulation, liberalisation of capital controls, flexible labour markets – were taken up with alacrity by the Russian nouveaux riches who in their adulation for all things American had become more catholic than the pope. It was what George Orwell who once referred to this phenomenon as ‘Transferred Nationalism’ that is to say the total denigration of your own nation-state, society, its culture and history, to the worship and allegiance to some other body or nation. In Russia’s context the fawning infatuation of its business and political class, and some of its intelligentsia, to the United States and its culture.

Predictably perhaps, a deep split in the Russian ruling elite took place. The two groups of Yeltsin’s elites which supported Putin’s coming to power gradually transformed into two parts of his current coterie. One of them originating from business circles comprises the ‘Atlantic Integrationists’ who are favourably disposed to integrating Russia into the capitalist world system on Western conditions – in essence an archetypal comprador elite. The other significant group whose origins were in the Soviet secret services (the Siloviki) are called ‘Eurasian Sovereigntists’ who are if favour of strengthening the independent position of the country in the world economy and international policy. Their goal is to free Russia from dependency on the West, promote Eurasian integration and strengthen relations with other members of the BRICS.

Putin balances precariously between these two factions and listens to both ex-Finance Minister Alexi Kudrin an arch-Atlantic Integrationist who recently accepted a leadership post at the public finance watchdog Audit Chamber, a post that has a mandate to oversee government expenditure, and Sergei Glazyev, a Eurasian Sovereigntist who is advisor to Putin on regional economic integration, and member of the National Financial Council of the Bank of Russia. Whose side Putin is on is a matter of conjecture, but what isn’t conjecture is the result which this internal political struggle has had on the formulation and consistency of Russian Foreign Policy.

This particularly came to light in the context of the Ukrainian crisis of 2013-14. Ukraine had long been a prize which the West (i.e. NATO) sought to detach from Russia and integrate into its own sphere of influence. The first attempt was made with the Orange Revolution, led by Yuschenko and Tymoshenko, two wealthy opportunist chancers who eventually fell out over the division of spoils in what was one of the early prototypes of colour revolutions. The second time around a new colour revolution was the western inspired coup against the sitting President, Yanukovich, and as a coup was largely successful. I have written extensively on this issue elsewhere as have many others and the history is easily available.

The preparation for this putsch was meticulously engineered to realise this objective. For more than two decades western agencies, the CIA, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Human Rights Watch, local Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs, had been actively preparing for such an outcome and were absolutely dependent on the West, particularly for finance. About 1000 NGOs were controlling the main aspects of Ukrainian society including pro-western political parties, armed neo-nazi militants such as Right Sector and Svoboda trained in Poland and Georgia by NATO instructors. All the necessary perquisites were in place to carry out a colour revolution and install an anti-Russian regime.

At the time things seemed to be going swimmingly for the Kiev Putschists. But like many detailed, fool-proof plans – But in the words of the famous Scottish poet, Robbie Burns, ‘The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang agley.’ (go awry). However, the West had spent a great deal of cash US$5billion, according to Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State of Eastern European and Eurasian Affairs, and the West wanted to see the results of its investment.

… the West was eager to reap the results of its long-term strategy. Ousting the Russian Naval from Sevastopol and replacing it with NATO forces, extending NATO membership to Ukraine, deploying US anti-missile defence system in Ukraine, disrupting economic relations of the two countries, imposing great damage on the Russian economy, including its military production, supressing the rights of the Russian speaking areas in the Ukraine, and generally humiliating Russia. Taken together these measures threaten the very foundations of Russian national security in all possible meanings. Not a single Russian government which would like to preserve even a shadow of support of its population and keep its position as an actor of international relations could tolerate such a mortal threat.”[4]

Putin was forced to make the decision to confront the NATO juggernaut and its neo-nazi client in Crimea on 16 March 2014. The referendum was overwhelmingly endorsed by the electorate by a very large majority. Crimea re-joined Russia. Moreover, the misgivings of the people of the Crimea about rule from Kiev were confirmed by the outrages of the Odessa fire atrocity and a week later by Ukrainian militia shooting down unarmed civilians in the eastern Sea of Azov port of Mariupol.

Suffice it to say that Putin’s obduracy and these events did not go down at all well with the Atlantic Integrationists in both Russia and Ukraine. The Rebellion in the Eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk was the last straw for the oligarchy, forcing Putin to make some accommodation to their (the oligarch’s) demands. The Russian President also had to deal with was the Eurasian Sovereigntists as well as the mass of the Russian people who wanted him to take a much tougher stance on Western and Kiev-enabled aggression in both Russia’s backyard of the Donbass and internationally, and the Atlantic Integrationists who wanted accommodation with the West – on the West’s terms! Abject surrender might have been a more accurate description.

The bottom line was that Putin’s view of Russia’s future development and position was couched within the context of a neo-liberal global economy which, as it stood, was largely controlled by the US either directly or with the assistance of the US-controlled global institutions such as the IMF WTO WORLD BANK and so forth plus, the weaponization of the US$ as global reserve currency.

As for the Russia’s inclusion in the ‘rules based’ international environment – this was sadly out of whack with the barely hidden Western view: i.e., US Imperial-aggrandizement and a geo-political, zero-sum game of winners and losers, with Russia in the latter category. Putin was seemingly comfortable with a neo-liberal global economic order and what he considered to be Russia’s rightful place within that order. And his vision – a tissue of neo-liberal tripe dished up by the likes of Kudrin – i.e., a free market from Lisbon to Vladivostok, made him susceptible to the propaganda of the Atlantic Integrationists.

A globalized neo-liberal order would only include Russia as a subaltern member, which is precisely what the Atlantic-Integrations are hankering after. Is Putin aware of this? Well advisers like Glazyev are, or is the President trimming his sails to meet the demands of the oligarchy? It is difficult to tell. But he seems to be in the unenviable position of riding two circus horses which are moving in different directions; a political position which ultimately precludes compromise; a fact which is evident in the stirrings of an internal political crisis in Russia itself. These internal policy anomalies have been replicated in Russian foreign policy as pointed out below.

Moscow continues to lose its influence in post-Soviet states. This can be observed in both the Caucasus and Central Asia. Even, their close ally, Belarus, occasionally demonstrates unfriendly behaviour and focuses its own efforts on the exploitation of economic preferences granted by Russia.

Evaluating the current internal political situation in Russia and its foreign policy course, it’s possible to say that the Russian leadership has lost its clear vision of national development and a firm and consistent policy, which are needed for any great power. Another explanation of this is that the Russian leadership is facing pressure from multiple agents of influence, which stand against vision of a powerful independent state seeking to act as one of the centres of power on the global stage.

One more factor, often pointed out by experts, is the closed crony-caste system of elites. This system led to the creation of a leadership, which pursues its own narrow clannish interests. Apparently, all of these factors influence Russian foreign and domestic policies in one way or another. The 2014 events in Crimea showed to the Russian population that its state is ready to defend the interests of the nation and those who describe themselves as Russians even by force of arms. This was the first case when this approach was openly employed in the recent history of Russia.

Therefore, the population was enthusiastic and national pride was on the rise. However, the Kremlin failed to exploit these gained opportunities and did not use them to strengthen the Russian state. In fact, up to February 2019, the policy towards eastern Ukraine has been’ inconsistent’.’’[5]

Inconsistent seems a rather evasive term to use when describing Russia’s policies in the Donbass. The DB represented a buffer zone between Russia and the Ukie Neo-nazi militias. Russia hardly wanted the likes of the neo-nazi units and their petty-Fuhrers, Pariuby, Yarosh and Biletsky and their Wannabee-Waffen SS outfits sitting on Russia’s western frontier less than 100 km from the major city of Rostov-on-Don. But at the same time a relatively tight leash was kept on the Eastern rebel militias.

But the war was to go badly for the Ukrainian forces. A rebel counter-offensive in the winter of 2015 went into overdrive after the Ukie army and volunteer battalions underwent a crushing defeat in the battle of Ilovaisk and were forced into headlong and disorderly retreat under constant bombardment from Russian artillery along the Sea of Azov coast in February 2015. (This Russian military intervention was almost certainly ordered by Putin.)

At this point the rebel commanders were within sight of Mariupol a city of half a million in the Donetsk region, and an important Seaport and Airport; its capture would have changed the whole balance of power in the conflict. But, the capture of Mariupol was forbidden at Moscow’s orders. And this gave Poroshenko’s routed army a breathing space to regroup and fight another day.

I think it reasonable to surmise that the influence of the conservative elements in the Kremlin were responsible for this. It doesn’t take much to figure out what was happening. A compromise between the two Russian political factions led to precisely this ‘inconsistency’ in Russia’s response to the war. On the plus side The Ukie Army was stopped in its tracks at Ilovaisk and suffered another humiliating defeat at the Delbatsevo in February 2015. No fresh offensives have been launched since then. Putin is on record as saying on many occasions that any Ukrainian attempts to overrun the two republics of LPR, DPR will not be tolerated.

However, it bears repeating that with the Ukies on the run in 2015 the Kremlin ordered an immediate cease-fire and this ceasefire actually saved Poroshenko’s army and his regime from a complete rout. Given Moscow’s initial inconsistences and later compromises with Kiev and the West, distrust of the Kremlin grew constantly in the militias’ ranks, as did the popular outrage among the Russian people, at Moscow’s lack of principle and action. By September the Kremlin vacillation was transformed into a more or less logical political line: to deny both sides a decisive victory.

The Donbass would be out of bounds for Poroshenko and the Ukrainian military, but there would be no independence or integration of the DPR, LPR into Russia. The militias would be defanged, and order restored. Throughout this whole episode Russian authorities have done their best to isolate the most belligerent elements among the rebels and compel them to leave the DB. Some of the more independent leftist militia leaders – Motorola, Givi, and Zakhachenko – were assassinated by unknown assassins, allegedly Ukrainian hit-squads (which nobody believes among the local militias).

Their crime was to reject the Minsk agreements – which had also been rejected by the Kiev regime outright – which extracted unilateral concessions on the two republics, and the orders to declare their allegiance to return to a federalised Ukraine. In short, the DB had become something of an embarrassment to certain sections of the Russian ruling class; these people where more concerned about the admission to the world’s globalist elite than they were about the people of the DB or even Russia’s future as an independent sovereign state. All of this was to soothe the West and the oligarchs that everything was under control and an attempt to promote a wider accommodation to the West.

Thus, Russian foreign policy was thus a function of the internal political struggle in Russia itself. But this internal political watershed is part of a global crisis which is also giving rise to powerful disruptive shocks in the Anglo-Zionist Empire.

These are momentous and historical developments which have yet to play out and which will ultimately influence the future of humanity.

Suffice it to say that for all its shortcomings, and there were quite a number, the Soviet Union enabled, possibly by accident, the existence of national liberation struggles and social-democratic reform parties around the world. The post-war settlement was based upon an agreement between the respective class blocs in the core countries of capitalism of concessions of capital to labour and in the global south a long retreat from empire by the UK, France, and Portugal, and the first Cold War which was based upon a ‘Realist’ foreign policy of détente even when Reagan came to power. That epoch is now over. The whole era was brought to a shuddering halt and reversal with the demise of the USSR.

Post-war social progress was, it seems, a tactical, aberrant form of European capitalism made necessary by the challenge of communism. We now know the second half of the sentence whose first half, so strongly believed in 1989, stated: ‘Western style welfare capitalism is better than Eastern Communism…’ The second half went unnoticed 10 years ago … ‘but western style welfare capitalism only existed because of communism.’ Now Europe (and the world – FL) seems to be drifting towards, a divided, turbulent and ugly future.”[6]


  • [1] Andre Gunder Frank – The Development of Under-Development. This process involved (a) a transition to a to a simplified structure of production which suited the needs of high-income countries of the ‘centre’ (b) the transformation of the social and economic structure of the countries in question including the pauperisation of the mass of the population, creating a reserve army of cheap labour and the rise of a ‘comprador’ bourgeoisie on the basis of the local elites which became intermediaries in the exploitation of the cheap, natural and human resources of their countries. This is essentially the structure of the world economy. Semi-peripheral states are not on a linear development path toward the exclusive club of the centre; they are simply secondary structures in the world economy who will remain so until a nation-building coalition comes to power and challenges the status quo. Such a transformation as has been seen in East Asia.
  • [2] Semi-peripheral and the Ukraine Crisis – Russia, Ukraine and Contemporary Imperialism – p.85
  • [3] Ukraine per capita income $2657.00 – Angola per capita income $4100.00 Russia per capita $10956.00. Source:
  • [4] Semi-Peripheral Russia and the Ukraine Crisis – Ibid.
  • [5] South Front – 26 February 2019. Introduction by Saker
  • [6] Peter Gowan – The Global Gamble p.319

Frank Lee left school at age 15 without any qualifications, but gained degrees from both New College Oxford and the London School of Economics (it's a long story). He spent many years as a lecturer in politics and economics, and in the Civil Service, before retirement. He lives in Sutton with his wife and little dog.


  1. Peter says

    Next cab off the rank will see Russia fingered for the 737 Max-8 all like a stone events.

    Despite the maintenance procedures conducted three days prior in a shining example of democracy on the eastern shores of the Med.

    Glass bowls everywhere it seems…oops…steams

  2. Peter says


    The caring understanding nurturing types have just killed of Berlusconi’s so called bunga princess with polonium to frame Putin and Russia again and stop North Stream 2.

    Maybe it will take 100 years for the UK to cool off.?

    Or it could make a nice glass mine at some stage…

  3. An excellent analysis, thank you. And tantalising:

    “….Russian foreign policy was thus a function of the internal political struggle in Russia itself. But this internal political watershed is part of a global crisis which is also giving rise to powerful disruptive shocks in the Anglo-Zionist Empire.

    These are momentous and historical developments which have yet to play out and which will ultimately influence the future of humanity.”

    I look forward to a follow up article elucidating this point. We are cliff hanging!

  4. bevin says

    Dances with Bears has a prescient piece on this question today. Helmer reviews a biography of Gorbachev, who he sees as fatally flawed, a snob and an arisatocrat of the kind that which confuses self made (ie successfully careerist) with God made, ass in providentially gifted.

    “…The lesson of Gorbachev’s political biography is that every Russian has the duty to expect the US Government will be doing much more than wait for Russia to fall into the American basket. Instead, to accelerate the fall and make it irreversible, the US Government wages permanent war against Russia. Failing to understand this was one of the reasons for Gorbachev’s retreat from the advance of American forces on all of Russia’s frontiers – the advance which President Vladimir Putin must defend against today.

    “What fresh lessons can an American historian’s study of Gorbachev add to the story which Gorbachev’s subordinates, one-time friends and former allies have already told in their own memoirs? Lessons which ordinary Russians have acknowledged for years? The lessons start with the Russian proverb President Ronald Reagan used to repeat at Gorbachev — Доверяй, но проверяй, trust but verify. This cannot be Russian policy towards the US because it’s never been American policy towards Russia. The correct expression should be: Никогда не доверяй, они мошенничают — never trust, they always cheat. ”

  5. olavleivar says

    I am DEAD TIRED of YOUR NEO BOLSHEVIK DRIVEL … but FORTUNATELY … President Putin is NOT listening to Your RUBBISH !

  6. Peter says

    The West has lost its war on Russia in Eastern Europe. Escalation dominance is everything baby.!
    Apart from that the real contest will come in the Levant.
    The above article points that out clearly. But with scum like May sitting upon the Great Wen and leaders like toilet brush man Williamson only God knows…
    In 50 years time the UK should have cooled enough to allow human habitation…after its cleansing.

  7. summitflyer says

    A good analysis and point of view on what is going on in Russian politics .Certainly beyond my capacity to critique .
    All I can say is that Russia has done well economically since the demise of the USSR and it seems that all this is due to good management with the Putin team . Personally , I root for Russia ,probably because it has been demonized so much .It is in my character to side with the so-called underdog , the persecuted and oppressed .
    So carry on Russia , maybe you will end up being a shining example , who knows.

  8. Peter says

    To take and keep Mariapol would have over extended the martial capacities of Donbass and Lugansk. Russia wants all of Ukraine except Galicia and will take it when the time is ripe. He West has lost in Ukraine. The West is holding the ukraine hostage and the knives on the ukrainian throat are the Chernobyl type powerplants being ever more readied to join their sister plants fate. Westinhouse blew up Chernobyl with its mishappen MOX fuel rods. This bankrupt concern is loading the same non compliant fuel rods into Chernobyl’s sisters today. Russia knows the West will blow these things if pushed. So it bides its time and move assymetricly. It knows that the dogs mean nothing. That the only thing that matters is the guy in the check shirt. That check shirt is in the Levant. So it holds the gun to the beast’s head down there. Its a complicated group of problems.

    Russia waits for the inevitable showdown in the Levant. It is ready to crush the West where it counts. It will win that fight. As my uncle Mario says…don’t, whatever you do, ever, fuck with the Russians.

  9. Joerg says

    Excellent article!

    The only power that could stop the ongoing destruction of Syria and other countries of the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) is Russia.
    But I think we are fooled about Moscow’s role in this game (and I say “Moscow” and not “Putin”, “Medvedev” or else, because I have no knowledge of the power game within Russia).
    This because Moscow is not really opposed to the western aggressions in MENA.

    We have to conclude this from the pat attitude of Moscow. Let’s look back and not forget,
    1) that when the US attacked Saddam’s Iraq in 2003 it was Putin who poured gasoline into the fire by stating: “Russian President Vladimir Putin says that after the 9/11 attacks Moscow warned Washington that Saddam Hussein was planning attacks on the US. He said Russia’s secret service had information on more than one occasion that Iraq was preparing acts of terror in the US and its facilities worldwide” – . Why did Putin make this statement?

    2) Moscow agreed to these absolutely unjustified sanctions against Iran (in the middle of the last decade), which ruined Iran’s economy.

    3) Moscow agreed to the no-fly-zone against Gaddafi’s Libya, which ruined the country to this day.
    Also this: Russian online news in English or German (“Ria Novosti”, later “Sputniknews”, “RT”) always spoke of “Gaddafi’s regime”. This although Gaddafi had only a representative job (rightfully he compared his role to that of the Queen). Also the negative Word “regime” – instead of “government” – was used, while Tel Aviv, London, Washington, Riyadh, were never called so.

    4) Ukraine: Since the West installed this Yushchenko (this guy with the bad face skin) in Kiev ( “Orange Revolution“ of 2004) Moscow knew the western ambition in Ukraine. And when then Yanukovych was elected the West for years prepared for another “colour revolution”. With not less than $5 Billion – as we know from Victoria Newland.
    And of course the FSB (Russian secret service) knew all that. We can conclude this, because Ukraine is not a little country hidden somewhere in, let’s say, South America. Instead Ukraine is a direct neighbour of Russia. Also probably nearly all Ukrainians understand or even speak Russian. But Russia’s FSB did nothing to inform or support Yanukovych.
    When the putsch in Kiev brought Poroshenko to power, Moscow – without any need – hastily recognized this putschist.
    And, yes, Yanukovych was then allowed to flee to Russia. But Moscow has obviously fixed him with a gag order. I mean it would be interesting what the last legitimate President of Ukraine has to say about the situation in his country and what he thinks how may be to get out of that quagmire. But since at least 5 years we don’t even here a ‘peep’ from Yanukovych. Of course there is no interview with him by the equalized western press. But every Russian or Chinese or even Vietnamese journalist naturally would have loved to interview Yanukovych. But, no …!

    5) Syria: When the SAA and Russian military had nearly annihilated those invading armies in the spring of 2016 Russia suddenly pulled out and allowed that ISIS and others spread again in Syria and conquered again vast parts of that country. Only then were all mayor Syrian cities and nearly all of Syrian’s infrastructure destroyed. And only then mass emigration started.
    Moscow obviously didn’t want to this cruel war to end!

    By the way: Also the elected government of Syria was – until recently – always called “The Assad regime” – see .

    6) Sanctions against North Korea: North Korea is not even a signer of the UN “Nuclear weapons barrier contract”. So it could make even a nuclear test at any time (like India, Pakistan and so on). But North Korea didn’t even make a nuclear test. It only tested a new rocket (like Russia, USA, China and others probably do all the time). So there was no reason for (new, more!) sanctions. But Moscow immediately agreed to this sanctions! Also: On the diplomatic sector Russia could have easily have signalled to the west that it would be prepared to agree to the new sanctions against North Korea
    …if the west before …
    a) … paid for the damage done to Libya, by misusing the “no-fly-zone” for a mass-bombardment of that country,
    b) … lifted the unjustified sanctions against Iran,
    c) … lifted the unjustified sanctions against Syria.
    But instead and with no need whatsoever even this: “Russia begins DEPORTING North Korean workers in reluctant crackdown” –

    • mark says

      Russia has always stabbed friendly countries in the back in futile attempts to try to curry favour with the Ziocons.
      It always does this and gets absolutely nothing in return except a kick in the teeth.
      It facilitated the NATO terror bombing and dismemberment of Yugoslavia.
      It was an accomplice to the destruction of Iraq and genocidal sanctions that cost the lives of 500,000 children under 5.
      It enabled the terror bombing and destruction of Libya.
      It facilitated sanctions against Iran on trumped up nuclear charges to appease Zionist interests. It admitted these were lies, but did so anyway. Iranian children died as a result.
      It did this in return for worthless US promises that were never kept not to place missile bases on Russian borders.
      It is now supporting the US economic strangulation of DPRK. People have died and are dying as a result.
      It did so even as one set of sanctions after another were being imposed on it on lying specious grounds.
      Time and again, Russia accepted worthless US promises that, “If you call off your offensive in Syria, this time we really, really, really, really will bring our proxy pet terrorists under control. Honest.”

      No other country should ever trust or rely on Russia. It will always throw its friends under the bus and grovels on its belly to the Ziocons. Spit in Russia’s face whenever you like. Russia will just pretend it’s raining.

      • Rosa says

        Incredible how you managed to twist the events to blame Russia. Russia has an obligation to protect its people first and foremost. Had it done what you suggest it should have done at the time when it was not ready, it would have been destroyed. But pointless explaining this to you.

  10. Grafter says

    Frank, get it right. It’s………..”The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley,” (Robert Burns)

  11. Zzz says

    Not as bad as many and somewhat adequate history but author can’t resist tealeaves kremlinology novelisation and conspirrological tidbits. Seems like he somewhat familiar with 90, maybe even this was time when he actualy visited it, but lose track of modern Russia and rehash hearsay narrative.

    • vexarb says

      Zzz, interesting. You seem to be a modern Russian, could you please tell us what is really going on there, not just reading the Kremlin tea leaves? Thanks.

      • Francis Lee says

        I am British actuallly, but I did spend some time in Ukraine (Donetsk) between 2006 and 2012 for family reasons

        • vexarb says

          Francis, of course I was not questioning your own excellent job of both Synthesis and Analysis of reports on Putin vs Atlantic.Org, merely asking Zzz to disclose some of his authetic info from inside modern Russia. But Zzz appears to have dozed off without answer.

  12. mark says

    Putin has to reconcile different interest groups and power centres like any other chief executive. His depiction as a crude, villainous cartoon thug is frankly ludicrous.

    There is a remarkable consistency between Nazi post conquest plans for Russia, General Plan Ost, and Ziocon objectives. Carve the country up into a number of administrative regions and ruthlessly exploit its natural resources. The only differences were plans to settle the land with German settler farmers and Wall Street’s use of the Jew oligarchs to do its dirty work. Businesses like Yukos were actually sold off for a fraction of 1% of their value. Russia was treated like the natives of one of Europe’s African colonies in the 19th century.

    Russia gave away 2 million square miles and nearly half its population to form the 14 other new republics. Outcomes for the peoples of these new nations have been uniformly disastrous. The Baltics have lost all their industry and a quarter of their population. Ukraine’s main export is Natasha prostitutes. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. The decades long ruler of Turkmenistan spends most of his time erecting golden statues of himself. The decades long ruler of Uzbekistan spends most of his time boiling his opponents in oil.

    Ukraine has probably suffered worst than most. At independence in 1991, Ukraine was the most highly developed and prosperous part of the Soviet Union. Coal, iron, steel, metallurgy, chemicals, vehicles, aircraft, locomotives, shipbuilding, engineering, agricultural machinery, armaments, space craft. All the helicopter engines for the country and its many export customers were made there. A well educated and skilled work force. Twenty years later, this was all gone, the result of non stop uncontrolled looting by Jew oligarchs. The economy contracted by 60%, electricity generation by a third, tractor production by 95%. The number of large engineering businesses, the biggest employer, fell from 100 to 3. Mass unemployment and poverty, destitution, corruption, crime, alcohol, drugs. The collapse of society and the health system. Plummeting life expectancy and the death of millions. The population fell from 52 million at independence to 38 million twenty years later, with another 7.5 million scratching a living working abroad as prostitutes or picking cabbages in Poland. Since then, with the war and the loss of Crimea, Donbas, and 1.5 million refugees to Russia, the population of Ukraine is now about 30 million. In 2012 – before the coup and the war – average income per head was $2,800, less than Egypt ($3,000) and slightly higher than Syria ($2,400.)

    That is what Ziocons and Crapitalism do to countries. It is just a case of crude and blatant imperialist looting and plundering, like the Spaniards in South America in the 1500s or the British in India in the 1700s. Anything goes. Strip countries bare like a plague of locusts, suck the dry and move on to the next victim. The current targets are Venezuela and Iran.

    • bevin says

      I cannot for the life of me understand, Mark, why you find it necessary to mention the religion of those oligarchs who are Jewish. By doing so you undermine the serious points that you make (Uzbekhistan’s fabled ruler is no more, by the way).

      • mark says

        If they were Fijians, or Cambodians, or Egyptians, or Seventh Day Adventists, or Zoroastrians, or Wiccans, I’d say so. But they aren’t.

        • summitflyer says

          In truth , they are Khazars ,which come a Eastern European area in days of old. Identified as Jews for those that still practice the religion , but for no other reason.

      • Jen says

        Turkmenbashi who erected the giant revolving gold statue of himself and renamed the month of April after his mum is also no more.

        • mark says

          I’m sure we all mourn the passing of this great statesman.

          • Jen says

            Don’t worry, every time he passes he’ll come around again in sunlit glory. 🙂

      • Jeanne Wilding says

        Bevin, I couldn’t find any mention of religion, Judaism or Jews in Marks comment – unless you are equating ziocon/zionism with Judaism. Zionism is surely a political nationalist movement rather than a religion. Or is criticism of zionism now deemed to be anti semitic!?

          • vexarb says

            Brett, why do you think Mark is crude to describe the chief Russian kleptocrats as Jew Oligarchs? Were they not Jews? Are they not Oligarchs?

            If one were to describe some other band of kleptocrats as Christian Oligarchs or Muslim Oligarchs or Hindu Oligarchs would that be equally crude?

            • bevin says

              “If one were to describe some other band of kleptocrats as Christian Oligarchs or Muslim Oligarchs or Hindu Oligarchs would that be equally crude?”
              They weren’t though were they. Why was that? Do you have an explanation or are you content to leave us with the implied explanation that Jews and Oligarchy go together?

        • vexarb says

          Jeanne, I think Zionism is a religious belief as well as a political one. The common mythical ancestors of Jews, Christians and Muslims were Abraham, Isaac and Israel (ie Jacob). The god of the Jews, who is called Jehovah in English (a name used even by many Christians) is believed to have promised some Land in W.Canaan to his Chosen People, the Israeli. Many Christians (and probably some Muslims) also believe this. A homecoming to Zion, to build your Elect society, is a powerful religious symbol — even among some godless socialists.

        • bevin says

          “Bevin, I couldn’t find any mention of religion, Judaism or Jews in Marks comment – unless you are equating ziocon/zionism with Judaism. Zionism is surely a political nationalist movement rather than a religion. Or is criticism of zionism now deemed to be anti semitic!?”

          The point is that describing the kleptocrats by their religious affiliations tells us nothing except that the author suggests that it means something which he doesn’t explain.
          Is Mark suggesting that had these people not been Jewish they would not have become oligarchs? Perhaps that was the case: many minorities also function as networks capable of mobilising capital and other necessities. Was that the case here? If so explain. They might equally have been Quakers, Armenians or Parsees.
          What was the difference here? Was it that Jews were a minority distinguished by the fact that they were equally at home within their religious based culture and the atheistic Communist Party? Perhaps that was important. We do know that most of the oligarchs were either members of the Party apparatus, the KGB or close to them.
          Perhaps all that is happening is a process of elimination and that the only people who could mobilise the various angles of support needed to become oligarchs were members of cultural minority networks within the state apparatus/ party structure /security system. Is that it?
          If the fact that oligarchs were Jews is significant that significance can either be explained or left in the air. In the air it connects automatically with a vast culture of antisemitic nonsenses from the Protocols of the Elders to charges of blasphemy and ritual murders which descends into the pit of the worst variations of racism.
          In fact anti semitism is not just the socialism of fools but the theory of intellectual idlers who hope that by mentioning the Jews a course of logical explanation automatically suggests itself. As I said Mark does himself no credit by hitching his analysis to cheap anti-semitism. Unless he is looking for upvotes from neonazis which I find hard to believe.

          • Jen says

            In his original comment, Mark is alluding to the fact that the political/economic elites who currently dominate Ukraine – people like Poroshenko, Ihor Kolomoisky and Julia Tymoshenko – have Jewish or part-Jewish backgrounds, and have capitalised on this fact to build connections with agents or agencies within the US government (like the infamous Victoria Nuland, long departed from the State Department) for their own benefit. Kolomoisky himself has Cypriot and Israeli citizenship in addition to Ukrainian citizenship in defiance of the law that forbids politicians from having dual citizenship. I think this is all Mark is saying and he is not racist in saying so.

            All this is happening at the same time that Ukrainian security forces have been taken over by extremist organisation s descended from the old OUN who collaborated with the Nazis in killing Jews and Poles. Indeed, Poroshenko in his quest to retain power in Ukraine, even though he faces annihilation in the March 31 elections, is becoming more dependent on the virtually Nazi security forces to quell opposition.

            For its part, Israel seems not to have much objection to working with Ukraine as it is even though it must know that Jewish communities are clearly in danger. But perhaps if these communities were to emigrate to Israel because of this danger …?

    • vexarb says

      Mark & Frank. Whether Russian companies were sold off to the AZC for 1% or 5% of their true value, all the same that’s what Peter Cook would have called “still a lot of money”. Any idea where that money came from?

      Follow the money.

      • mark says

        What is a lot of money to any normal person is chicken feed and petty cash to Wall Street and The City. Yukos was sold for something like a derisory $200 million. The money for this and the biggest orgy of looting and plundering in history was supplied by western banks to a small coterie of Jew spivs and oligarchs acting as their agents, because in theory foreigners could not buy these assets. Khordokovsky, Berezovsky, Abramovich, Browder and a handful of others. At one stage, 7 Jew oligarchs owned 70% of all the energy and mineral wealth of Russia. Their contribution to the economy was zero. They built absolutely nothing, they just seized control of state assets for a pittance. Through corruption, influence peddling, blatant fraud and criminality and outright gangsterism, including several murders in Khordokovsky’s case. It was the same in Ukraine with characters like Kolomoisky and Poroshenko. No tax at all was paid on any of this vast wealth, and the state was left bankrupt. Russian energy was sold for next to nothing to shell companies in Switzerland, who sold it off at the market price and pocketed the difference. Never before in human history was so much stolen from so many by so few. This is what these people do.

  13. Andrew Mcguiness says

    An analysis of a quality rare on the internet! I can’t recall anywhere else I’ve seen such a mix of precise political detail with abstact economic concepts.

  14. Thomas Prentice says

    I wondered about the new neoliberal-style pension scheme reduction Putin did a Hamlet over.

    But what of Syria? Are the two cliques in agreement there?

    Why would Putin bomb the Ukies but them prevent the rebels from taking the port city — incoherent.

    Why does Putin keep talking about “our western partners” after such savagery ? One side of the internal audience?

    Is Putin in charge? Is Trump in charge? May is clearly NOT in charge. Neither are Macron or Trudeau. Is the pro-West Kremlin clique betting on lame horses?

    • Seamus Padraig says

      Trump is definitely not in charge of anything other than a Twitter account.

      • Wilmers31 says

        Presidents are generally not in charge, or their speeches in election campaigns and what they do would not diifer so widely.

        Obama did not campaign on destroying Libya and Syria but it was done because people told him so.

        Clinton did not campaign with deregulating the finance industry but he did, very cleverly, too. He did it towards the later time of his presidency so the demise would not come in his time in office. Demises of such kinds always take a few years, here 8. The 2008 crisis was a consequence of Clinton’s deregulations.

        The UK is obviously implementing neo-capitalism purissima: Interserve and Carillion are striking examples for what ideologies not fit for purpose produce. Russia should take note – what NOT to do.

  15. JohnG says

    Exports are a cost. You send socially useful goods and services offshore in return for electronic entries in foreign bank accounts.

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