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Russia attacks Ukraine - Open thread

by fjallstrom Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 08:47:47 AM EST

After months of US claiming that Russia was going to invade Ukraine, it appears to have happened tonight. There are reports of explosions and troops landing in many parts of Ukraine, including the capital.

This is an open thread, add your news and views.

Frontpaged - Bernard

I can start with a view: I thought this wouldn't happen and I was wrong.
by fjallstrom on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 08:49:36 AM EST
You are not the only one.

Oui, on Feb. 11, 2022:

Imagine we wait 10 days for the Russian military exercises to expire and all young recruits can go back to their bases and a small contingent will remain.

Obviously, there are not going back to their bases just yet.

As for me, I just thought this was the most likely outcome: nobody amasses that much military forces on three sides of a country to leave it unused. But it was just probability; I've never taken any bet (and certainly not on human lives): everyone who claimed to know Putin's mind was a liar or a fool (or both).

OK, now we know.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 09:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No need to resort to metaphysical nostrums in search of a rational--perhaps, scientific--explanation for "intervention" in a political conflict whose adversaries are unwilling or unable to resolve by any other means.

Criteria of "national security" and "competition" espoused by your own elected representatives are as enigmatic as any bursts of synaptic energy recovered from his severed head.

by Cat on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 04:20:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tick all the right boxes ...

I'm in good company 👌🏽

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 11:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MoA | Disarming Ukraine - Day 1, 24 Feb
On February 15 Professor John J. Mearsheimer gave a talk (video) about the Ukraine crisis. He starts out (at 3min) by explaining who has caused it:
The United States, mainly, and its allies are responsible for this crisis.
I recommend to watch it in full.
Like me and many other analysts Mearsheimer did not expect that a Russian move into the Ukraine would happen. Why the Russian government finally decided to take that step is not clear to me. I believe that Zelensky's lose talk about acquiring nuclear weapons for the Ukraine was one of the decisive factors. Who told Zelensky to come up with that?
unattributed, California Cohort of Petty Landlords, 25 Feb
archived Sat Feb 12th, 2022
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:30:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I really considered it pretty unlikely, but here we are.
by generic on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 01:12:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been trying to get inside Putin's head to work out his endgame, because I couldn't find one that had a positive outcome for Russia. And indeed, there wasn't one. Banging on the table and shouting "It's not fair!" is not a rational negotiating tactic. I was convinced he was going go annex the People's Puppet Republics, but I didn't dare imagine that he would do anything so completely insane, a complete lose/lose.

I've been alarmed to find that my posts look like I'm a NATO hawk : why do I have no empathy with the idea that we need to find a compromise with Putin?

There would have been ample opportunity, over the last twenty years, for Russia to converge economically, socially and politically with Europe. But during all that time, Putin has been consolidating his personal power and imposing his conservative social vision. He had no interest in convergence. And his military adventures have amply justified the defiance of potential European partners in defense matters.

And I am now convinced that since he "lost" Ukraine in 2014, he has been planning and preparing the present intervention.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 07:31:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think one need be a hawk to have that attitude.  What Putin's done is insane and unacceptable.

I also think it was fair and right to be skeptical of the defense and intelligence types in the West for all the obvious reasons.  But they were basically right on this one.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 07:56:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are Twitter rumours that Putin is ill, possibly terminally (probably Parkinson's, perhaps also cancer, some possibility of dementia) and is on a confusing cocktail of drugs.

Speculatively: we know that Putin considers the fall of the Soviet Union the worst event in his life. If he is on a mission to undo that and he has limited time left, his ability to assess outcomes rationally won't be good.

Retrospectively the signs were certainly there, from his enthusiastic support for innovation in Russia's nuclear forces, to his upgrading of Russia's civil defence system, to his promotion of cyberwar and especially infowar and subversion of the UK, EU, and US, and his previous actions in the Crimea, Georgia, Chechnya, and elsewhere.

The suggestion that this is somehow NATO's fault is the standard DARVO you'd expect from a bully. NATO has never been likely to launch a first strike or invasion of Russia without provocation.

US policy elsewhere since 2001 has been an utter catastrofuck in every possible way - except for the defence contractors who benefited from it financially.

But it's been based on invading smaller petrostates and "deterring socialism" in South America (and the UK.) Not on attacking rival superpowers who aren't a pushover.

So - we're in big trouble. Putin is an angry paranoid kook with a superpower's armed forces and the largest collection of nuclear weapons on the planet.

He has fantasies of rewriting history, based on a vendetta that is very personal to him. And he's in a hurry.

I will be very relieved indeed if we're all still here two weeks from now.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 10:26:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There have been rumors about that with Putin for some years now, and the cautiousness of the western powers makes me think there might be some truth to them.

Doubly so, as I think the last couple weeks of the various intelligence agencies basically just calling Russian moves as (or even before) they're made in real time demonstrate that the sourcing is probably...about the best you're going to do in that world.

This is all really worrying.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 11:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Also, too, while I think there's plenty of obviously fair criticism to be leveled at the US/NATO/etc, I think the western powers have been pretty levelheaded in this crisis.  If anything, the mistake seems like it may have been assuming levelheadedness on Putin's part.

I don't know that I would've done anything differently from Biden here, honestly.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 03:17:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin's health is just speculation at this point: we cannot know for sure (until he eventually keels over, that is).

The only thing we can see is that he is acting like a man in a hurry. There can be plenty of reasons for that, such as a disastrous demographic trend in the Russian population (aggravated by the Covid deaths), but this is long term. Many things could explain why Putin thought that this was now or never...

(and yes, levelheadedness might be the only thing that could keep us on this side of nuclear war)

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 09:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hopefully levelheadedness keeps us on that side.  The NATO footprint is clearly a red line though.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 09:55:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The demography of Russia's oil reserves is also an important factor. Production will probably peak in the next few years, and surplus available for exports is only going to decline from now on (unless they go big on fracking)

These numbers are from the Ministry of economic development of the Russian Federation

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 12:12:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was Jordan Peterson. Word on the street is, He's out of the alleged RU de-tox asylum now and back in neolithic YouTube space-time continuum.

Conversely, PUTIN's MIND is stuck in a Shakespearean loop, according to The Moscow Times: King Lear with Castilian accent impersonating Musk, Blofeld, Louis XIV or Napoleon-- depending on the audience of Putin's audience.

The real drama lay with those who could not count on that favour. In some ways this was a grey-suited re-run of King Lear, when the self-indulgent monarch demands his daughters compete in the over-the-top avowals of their love and obedience. This time, though, the contest is not for new lands but to retain old jobs.
When Putin specifically asked whether anyone disagreed with his understanding of the situation, the silence was deafening. Nonetheless, it was clear that there were grandees there who were less enthused by the opportunity of openly violating international law and inviting more sanctions.
When Kozak wanted to weigh in on the wider question of the future of the Donbas, though, Putin cut him off quickly and curtly, not once, but twice. Overall, one got the sense that Putin is really not passionate about human relations best practice < wipes tears >. If he never faces a war crimes tribunal, he at least ought to face an industrial one, as he definitely seems to cultivate a toxic and unsafe work environment.
[... trans.]
Prof. Mark Galeotti is a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and an Honorary Professor at the UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies. He is the author of "We Need To Talk About Putin."

Naturally, Politico published a flex-box automated edition for media savvy ROLE-playing scenario modelers, Politico | WHAT DOES PUTIN REALLY WANT?, 25 Feb

(expanded game board)

See what I see? R2P is not an option!

by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 09:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US employs unusual intel strategy to counter Putin: anti-propaganda propaganda
Russian officials on Friday took moves to restrict Facebook, in an action the social media company said was retaliation for countering disinformation and as a tool for activists to organize protests.  

"Ordinary Russians are using [Meta Platform Inc's.] apps to express themselves and organize for action. We want them to continue to make their voices heard, share what's happening, and organize through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger," Nick Clegg, Meta's vice president of Global Affairs wrote on Twitter [LOL!].

That's good, right?
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 10:52:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I know, Meta is apolitical, and answers only to its shareholders and paying customers. I assume this was a business decision, balancing the loss of Russian monetization revenue streams against reputational costs.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 12:30:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 02:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought they would attack in Donbass to try to pressure Ukraine over Minsk.  Also thought they'd try to expand the Donetsk and Luhansk footprint, or at least demand the "claimed" territory as part of a negotiation.

I thought it was possible -- but highly unlikely -- they'd launch a full-scale invasion to topple the government.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 03:21:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Note to Readers, on the Invasion of Ukraine
A faceplant of my own.

Part of news and even commentary is admitting mistakes, and though I always made sure when discussing the subject to note Vladimir Putin could still invade Ukraine, I have to admit, I didn't see this happening. Some old colleagues I trust, including some Putin-critical Russians, didn't see it, either, but in many cases they just didn't want to believe it, for reasons that are more understandable from their perspective. My mistake was more like reverse chauvinism, being so fixated on Western misbehavior that I didn't bother to take this possibility seriously enough. To readers who trust me not to make those misjudgments, I'm sorry. Obviously, Putin's invasion will have horrific consequences for years to come and massively destabilize the world.
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 09:59:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As close to a declaration of war as you get these days:

Decision taken on denazification, demilitarization of Ukraine -- Putin

MOSCOW, February 24. TASS. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he had made the decision to hold a special military operation in response to the address of leaders of Donbass republics.

"People's republics of Donbass approached Russia with a request for help. In connection therewith, <...> I made the decision to hold a special military operation. Its goal is to protect the people that are subjected to abuse, genocide from the Kiev regime for eight years, and to this end we will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine and put to justice those that committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful people, including Russian nationals," Putin said in the television address.

Justice and truth are on Russia's side, President Vladimir Putin said in a special television address.

"The welfare, the very existence of entire countries and peoples, their success and health are always originating from the strong root system of culture and values, experience and traditions of ancestors, directly depending on abilities to quickly adapt to continuously changing life, consolidation of the society, its readiness to consolidate and gather all forces together for moving forward," Putin said.

"Forces are always needed but they can be of different quality," the Russian leader said. "And we know the real strength is in justice and truth that are on our side," he added.

So the Russian line will be it isn't a war, it is "a special military operation". But military operations across borders are wars.

by fjallstrom on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 09:00:13 AM EST
Genocide. Of locutors of Russian. Apparently.

strong root system of culture and values

Those criminals had delusions that they were Europeans. But they're not. They are Russians (albeit second-class Russians speaking a degenerate dialect). They need a strong leader, like Russians have always had. Starting with Batu Khan.

No, what pisses me off is that he's been preparing for this for at least twenty years. Which means that any and all kinds of appeasement wouldn't have changed much.

Putin is a great advertisement for any other system of government than dictatorship.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 01:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin is a great advertisement for any other system of government than dictatorship.

Not to state the obvious, but many dictators are.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 01:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Batu Khan
Batu Khan (c. 1205-1255),[note 1] also known as Tsar Batu[2] in Russian historiography, was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Golden Horde, a constituent of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi, thus a grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus ruled over the Kievan Rus', Volga Bulgaria, Cumania, and the Caucasus for around 250 years.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 07:23:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  • across borders
  • within borders

We've all watched this loop. The option left for the spectators  is an ethical objection to whom is allowed to play the role, humanitarian.
by Cat on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 02:05:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The last functioning presidency in the United States was George H. Bush with James Baker III as Secretary of State ...

William Jefferson Clinton with Hillary Rodman were both fools, smart presidential campaigns based on deception ... ahead of their time. Deceived Russian president Yeltsin in 1994.

The Kosovo deception of genocide to gain independence set a precedent ...

With Clinton, Bush II, Cheney we got non-Patriots to the American ideals of freedom and democracy ... failed to serve when called upon in Vietnam War (a milestone in atrocities, humanitarian suffering and war crimes). In 2004, John Kerry who served in Vietnam and a decorated hero was Swift Boated.

Many impressions were left of American policy sinds 1992. A US Congress falling apart in partisanship, failing the American People and the Global community.

Confrontation Pristina airport in Kosovo 1999

But General Wesley Clark's plan was blocked by General Sir Mike Jackson, K-FOR's British commander.

"I'm not going to start the Third World War for you," he reportedly told General Clark during one heated exchange.

General Jackson tells the BBC: "We were [looking at] a possibility....of confrontation with the Russian contingent which seemed to me probably not the right way to start off a relationship with Russians who were going to become part of my command."

The NATO Brussels HQ and Pentagon hotheads won the game from political leaders.

NO WORDS ... PEACE    ☮️

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 10:01:19 AM EST
Oui, may I make a suggestion?

Have a rest? Maybe go off the internet for a day or two?
(Sorry to be so passive-aggressive. But you know why.)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 10:58:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 04:54:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In all transparency :
Partly out of concern for her welfare. Obviously.
And partly out of concern for reputational damage to this site. A casual observer might well consider that Eurotrib is a pro-Putin site, because she has provided about three quarters of the content over the past week, and it's been an unremitting barrage of excuses in advance for the current military operation, and outright disinformation, while claiming that she didn't believe it would happen.
And with very rare exceptions, refusing to engage in discussion of, or challenges to, the material she provides. This is not what I want this site to be. What about you?

I hope she can take some time out, engage in some introspection, or just think about something else entirely. Anyway, it's what I would do if I had been so passionate and prolix about an important subject, and been so badly wrong.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 06:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've learned a great deal from Oui's localized,  international, and sometimes intimate perspectives on political affairs as well as integral criticism of disparate accounts of events presented by sundry journalists. I drill into Oui's links daily simply because I have free time to satisfy my curiosity. And obviously I prefer to spend it here than reading identical stories presented four score times or more each day in multinational editions of a dozen MSM "outlets", Meta Facebook, and Twitter.

You, on the other hand, I've notice over the past decade slipped from the drawer of eurotrib local correspondence with your interest in EP and national poll results and scant notice. Perhaps, too, without concern for known and unknown eurotrib readers whose presence appears only in comments.  


Only to return with an extremely peculiar, topical belligerence and faintly patronizing instructions, disguised as "what I want this site to be" is, I must say, is a daring strategy to exhort anti- PUTIN commenters to subscribe to eurotrib. Be a role model. Write that diary entry you want the site to be! Sparking an invasion UKAUS columnist to decisively quash independence of EU thought.

by Cat on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 09:46:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I drill into Oui's links daily simply because I have free time to satisfy my curiosity

I just don't have the time. But I've seen excellent sites turned to crud because people have avoided the issues that are killing them. Somewhat similar to marriage.

And I do care about about ET contributors.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 06:33:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And while we're here. As so often, I am not smart enough to figure out what you are saying about me (but I think you are saying that I come and go. Yeah, time issues).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 06:35:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And while I'm still here...

I miss the sense of community this site used to have (and in fact, I don't know you, you don't know me. Sad.) It was killed off by Facecrack or whatever, many years ago. But these days, no sentient being would admit to being on that thing, so perhaps we could try to get it back?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 07:29:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What am I?

I have been quite open and shared personal information on occasion. Not that it matters, how did you establish I'm a she and not a he or other perhaps? Has been covered many moons ago when the Booman Tribune and Eurotrib was a community. Did a number of Welcome Wagon diaries at the earlier place. A very enjoyable and pleasant time Spring 2005 and forward. Many acquaintances from both blogs and set up personal meetings in Amsterdam and The Hague. Even participated in a ET meeting in Amsterdam.

Have been a prolific blogger for so many years and returned to ET when the place was desolate and a diary now and then and far in between. It's more lively today, that is a big win.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 01:48:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was actually talking to Cat when I said that we don't know each other. I have the impression that I know you fairly well, Oui, because you are indeed quite open.

No doubt that is why I felt I had the right to offer some advice. It was an extreme step, but you have not responded, other than very obliquely, to any of my attempts at dialogue.

I am glad that you have fond memories of friendlier times (I have only been to one ET meet-up, Paris in the spring six or seven years ago, and I cherish the memory).
So perhaps we can restart something?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 02:01:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you should consider using Substacks. It is free and it is possible to open comments (at least when we receive it we can comment, but then it is stored for the author of the page to see first, if I understood correctly).
Your comments here and at MoA are extremely valuable to putting things in context and give them a perspective.
I also think that the fancy layout is not a plus. Rather slows down loading and reading.
I would be one of the readers for sure and it might help to get the possibility of getting some readers of more famous places that are interested not solely US/AU/CAN concerned.
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:35:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Update lifted from Merlin2 at the old bar:
Note, a) The speed and timing of the start. Reputedly Russians started moving exactly at the end of the (probably pre recorded) Speech at 5h40.
b) Most of -but possibly all - Airforce, airfields, Command centres were hit in the first hour. Amazingly quick ! (The major Ukrainian Command centre was comprehensively wiped out by - not by the Russians - but either the LPR or DPR. Leaving those "Regular" Ukes around Donbass without any centralized command centre.
c) Bridges and military bases. Hit.
d) Lots of bridging equipment seen and Crimea has already had it's water supply reinstated.
e) Humanitarian corridors have been established for those Uke soldiers that lay down their arms. The have been promised that they will NOT be harmed, (Probable as Putin doesn't like unecessary deaths as they become rallying points at later dates) and many seem to have already done so. Previous "tweets" from the Russian side mentioned separating the "people from the "regime". Personnally I don't give much chance to those who continue fighting - Mercenaries (incl. Blackwater), Azovists and assorted Jihadists. Apparently LPR and DPR are to look after the Ukes around Donbas - preventing them from regrouping and being useful elsewhere.
f) A landing has been reported near Odessa, and the Azov sea (with Uke ports having been squelched) has been declared a no-sail area (something on those lines, precise wording unknown)
by Tom2 on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 10:49:03 AM EST
RFERL | Zelenskiy Says Ukraine Has Suffered 'Serious Losses' After Russian Air Strikes Pound Dozens Of Targets
Zelenskiy also said he was breaking diplomatic ties with Moscow and he urged Russians "who had not lost their honor" to protest their government's actions.
m'k. Coming from him, that's amusing.
Explaining what the demilitarization of Ukraine means, Peskov said it is the "neutralization of its military potential, which recently was noticeably increased due to, among other things, the active efforts by foreign countries."

Answering a question about how deep Russia plans to get inside Ukraine, Peskov said: "I cannot give any information related to military, technological, and other elements of this operation. The only source for that data is our defense institution, our military."

"The terms of the operation will be defined by its efficiency, congruity, and will, of course, be defined by the supreme commander."

Zelenskiy, meanwhile, urged Ukrainians to step up to defend their country and promised to provide them with weapons if they did so.

al Jazeera | civilian property and casualty photo gallery

by Cat on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 05:23:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Putin's definition of 'genocide', the Palestinians qualify.
(latest Putin declaration about the ongoing 'operation' with French subtitles)
by Tom2 on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 11:07:10 AM EST
Russia attacks US "democratic processes": SMOKE
And sure enough, a new survey verifies that most Americans are not happy with the false choice between two political parties. The new poll from NBC News found that the Democrats and Republicans are about as popular as the horseback hemorrhoid clinic located near where I live.

"According to the the poll, 44 percent of participants said they viewed the Republican Party negatively, 34 percent that they viewed it positively and 21 percent said they were neutral. ... The Democratic Party's ratings in the poll were fairly similar, with 48 percent saying they viewed the party negatively, 33 percent saying they viewed it positively and 18 percent saying they were neutral."

Plus, I imagine those positive numbers are actually higher than they should be, because anyone willing to take an NBC News phone poll is already not the sharpest tool in the insane asylum.

by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 03:31:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have tickets to see Giselle tomorrow night, performed by the St Petersburg Festival Ballet.

The group of friends I'm going with includes a Russian and a Ukrainian.

The timing is a bit odd.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 11:08:42 AM EST
Not if you've got all your shots and the theater is not in Ukraine.
by Cat on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 05:09:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could see it again on Mar 11 in Odessa.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 07:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah. I thought for a moment that the Petrograd ballet was going there... sadly, no. It's the Odessa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 07:15:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm seeing Pikovaya Dama next month at La Scala. It was supposed to have been conducted by Gergiev, but he seems to have withdrawn after refusing to sign a loyalty oath
La direzione del teatro e il sindaco hanno concordato una lettera formale inviata a Gergiev: il direttore deve scrivere «una dichiarazione a favore della risoluzione pacifica dei conflitti», dopo le «generose prese di posizione a favore di Vladimir Putin», se vuole «continuare a collaborare con il Piermarini».
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 08:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be interesting to have a "Polish media watch". Just a suggestion.
by Tom2 on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 02:05:19 PM EST
Stocks off of session lows after Russian attack on Ukraine roils global markets
Meanwhile, investors flocked to safe-haven plays amid a broader risk-off trade across global markets. Gold prices surged 2.1% to $1,970 an ounce, hovering around a one-year high. WTI crude oil jumped to its highest level since July 2014, notching the biggest surge since Nov. 2020.
Good thing NATO's cooking with gas now, and spring is in the air.
European allies acted in lockstep to reprimand Russian aggression. Germany halted approval of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that would have deepened western Europe's energy link to Russia, the world's largest natural gas exporter. Fears of other energy-linked sanctions sent crude oil prices to a seven-year high and Brent crude towards $100 per barrel.

"Putin knew these were going to be coming," CSIS International Security Program senior adviser Mark Cancian told Yahoo Finance Live. "He took his move anyway, so it's unlikely that they will deter him."

by Cat on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 05:07:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the archive (sorry if it was posted already in another thread; no time to search now)
by Tom2 on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 02:20:29 PM EST
So we now have the definitive response to the US-UK 'Drang nach Osten'. Victoria Nuland, KUDOS! It is significant that she remains in charge of East European policy at the State Department. Too bad it is the Ukranian people who pay the price.

Talk about over playing one's hand! What hand? We invoke 'self determination', Putin invokes Pan Slav mysticism. Putin has 200,000 troops available, detailed intelligence and the initiative. We have no troops involved.

Now we get to see who the sanctions hurt the most. I expect to pay over $5.00/gallon at the gas station tomorrow. I expect SWIFT to loose its front teeth.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 05:30:31 PM EST
In USAmerica, we will have Republicanist politicians, even ones who a few days ago were praising Putin, tell us that this is all Biden's fault because he's so weak and if Trmp were in the White House, which was absolutely positively stolen from him by rampant election fraud (every instance of actual election fraud I've seen mentioned in the news has been perpetrated by a Republicanist) this never would have happened.

I would like to be wrong about this but I'm probably not.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 07:27:48 PM EST
hmmm, to judge by US Congressional roll calls, I don't think that's quite right. Decades of resolutions that penalize RU, CN, IR, VZ, IQ, SY, and sundry Latin American governments is not only a bi-partisan pastime. They've permitted as many POTUS to direct cabinet secretaries in the mission prescribed to compete, as they say, against other nation-states for primacy, dominance by every imaginable contest of power. Why do you wonder that US Americans are barely capable of communicating to each other, in private or public, without resorting to sporting idioms?

That some US representatives admire Putin's command-and-control style in managing "national security" far more than his tiresome, pedantic persona in televised speeches is not surprising. RU won this heat of a race with NATO's leaders to pacify--euthanize or subjugate, if you will--UKRAINE government. You know the joke: He brought a gun in a knife fight...in a arena filled with right-to-life, right-to-work my-best-life voyeurs, I must add.

What continues to surprise me is this lingering compulsion to invoke Trump--past, present, or future-- whenever the federal government fails to fulfill its constitutes' expectations of how best to liberate peoples in foreign lands from their inferior forms republican "democracy".

by Cat on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 11:41:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
APsplainin, Actual greenhouse gas volumes exceed official [Texass] reports
Flaring occurs mostly at oil wells, but even companies that primarily produce and sell natural gas burn off some of it. Companies argue that they flare and vent for safety and maintenance and because selling or reusing the gas is not financially feasible. The industry and its regulators even refer to this gas as "waste." [OH MY!] But experts say a valuable resource is being squandered because of weak regulations, ineffective tracking of flaring and venting, and a lack of economic incentives to capture and sell the gas.

"The atmosphere is a free dumping place," said Robert L. Kleinberg, senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. "It's like throwing [$10.6B] garbage out the window back in the Middle Ages."

archived Barack J. O'Biden "social cost" price sheet
California won't immediately change pollution [carbon] credit program
the goal of spurring companies to pollute less

But a recent report by a panel that advises state lawmakers found companies have saved up so many pollution credits -- 321 million -- for later use that it could make the program ineffective. The report's authors, environmental advocates and some lawmakers have urged the California Air Resources Board

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Nunez) [!] expanded CARB's role to development and oversight of California's main greenhouse gas reduction programs. These include cap-and-trade, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) programs. As a result of these efforts, the state is on track to roll back carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. With the passage of additional laws (such as SB 32 in 2014 and AB 398 in 2017), CARB is now mapping out how these programs and others can help California reach its next target: reducing greenhouse gas emissions an additional 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The ultimate goal for California is to reduce greenhouse gases 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.< wipes tears >
to do a thorough analysis of the risks posed by the saved allowances.
archived EIA | Drilling natural gas wells and producing natural gas
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 06:03:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 07:38:52 PM EST
The Russian authorities have forbidden any such demonstration and threatened immediate arrest - and people were indeed arrested. That marches still take place anyway, speaks volumes about the disillusionment of many Russians with their deteriorating living conditions.

Those who can read French can check this thread from university professor Anna Colin Lebedev (who grew up in USSR).

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 09:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 02:40:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Place de la République, Paris, 26 February 2022.

Also in Marseille, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne, Chambéry and le Puy-en-Velay.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 06:53:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the cue is Viet Nam, I was expecting a Summer '68 photo gallery with Satre captions. My mistake.
by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:00:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France had other things to deal with in 1968. Like real, actual social revolution.

I remember 1968. My elder siblings went to anti-Vietnam War demonstrations (but NZ had skin in the game, troops on the ground). Also, anti French nuclear test demonstrations.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:35:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, France eternally stuck in the 1960's, with De Gaulle, hosting Jackie & JFK, Sartre in a Paris café with Simone de Beauvoir... (Is this a USian thing?)
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:42:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, getting back to business:

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:51:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just teasing you with recollections, attributed to France's ICONIC pubic intellectuals found in the massive, posthumous biography penned by his "daughter".

I would be surprised to meet an American, then or now, who did not attach greater political significant to domestic EXISTENTIAL THREATS than communist orphans rehabilitating the ruins of imperial Japan. What good did challenging MAGA do for adolescent boomers then, besides heating a sexual revolution.

I can almost appreciate your (pl.) ambivalence to the wan articles of NATO alliances today. US "intervention" in Korea and in "French Indochina" are parts of a piece of "shared history" that ostensibly belongs in the dustbin, but sticks to the shoes of MODERNITY like so much gum.

by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 10:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I suspected it (teasing is just your style :)
That USian view of France with the cursor firmly stuck in the 60's is something that always amazed me when I was living in the country a couple of decades ago.

It does still leave traces in the culture, I suppose: for instance, France's colonial past is still permeating a lot of attitudes and political discourse, even today with our Gen-Xer president.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 08:59:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 05:06:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 06:27:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It turns out that they are on both sides [I am shocked! SHOCKED!]

Petersburg nazi gang going back to Ukraine?
Having made their reputation for atrocity in the Ukraine in 2014-15, they were sent to central Syria by the Wagner non-group (presumably paid out of the Kremlin's catering budget), and it sounds like they are heading back to their first stamping ground.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 07:57:12 PM EST
Boris Johnson has said the UK would offer support for a Ukrainian government in exile after warning the president he may need a "safe place" to flee from Russian troops.

The prime minister said he has told Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky he and his ministers may have to leave the country in the wake of the Russia invasion.

"One of the points I made to president Zelensky this morning was it might be necessary for him to find a safe place for him and his cabinet to go," the PM told MPs.

Wait a moment. This is Johnson....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 08:43:42 PM EST
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 03:36:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 09:40:27 PM EST
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 12:59:10 AM EST
China Daily | Major US role in Ukraine opposed, 25 Feb
Just 26 percent of the respondents say the US should have a major role in the conflict, according to the survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Fifty-two percent approve of a minor role for Washington, and 20 percent want the country to steer clear of involvement.
"We make national security decisions based on what's best for our country's national security, not on the latest polling," [WH press secretary Jen Psaki] said.

Jennifer Rau, a 51-year-old mother of three who lives on Chicago's South Side, said she listens to local public radio for her world news. But in recent days, when the news turns to Russia and Ukraine, she has started to tune out.

"I'm so frustrated. It's enough. We're bombarded," Rau said. "There are other stories in Chicago that need to be covered. I just feel like there's a war going on in the United States, every day, in Chicago," she said, referring to the city's high crime rate. "And it is really scary. And I feel like no one helps us."

Editorial | Washington's perverse foreign policy has resulted in a multi-lose tragedy, 24 Feb
With the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project suspended, something that has long been a thorn in the flesh of the US economy and its policy approach toward Europe, the European countries will have to rely more on energy resources from the US or the energy providers it controls, although at a higher price, binding their economies closer to it.

It also helps breathe life into "brain-dead" NATO [Macron, Nov 2019] so that the US can tighten the security shackles it has imposed upon European countries and which they were trying to loosen. The European countries have predictably indicated that they intend to tie themselves closer to the US security umbrella, scuppering any notions the European Union may have had of greater autonomy in its foreign relations.

archived Brain Dead NATO Gets New Mission in European Defense 4 Freedom, "to exit NATO might be the only way to revive that 'brain dead'," below the fold, Thu Nov 7th, 2019
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 02:26:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the European countries will have to rely more on energy resources from the US or the energy providers it controls, although at a higher price, binding their economies closer to it.

I don't believe that to be true (need to see some numbers). The massive expansion of LPG in recent years, not only from the US, has created a perfectly fungible and much more competitive market, as far as I can see (somebody please correct me if that is not the case). Putin will have no difficulties selling his gas eastward, Europe can get tankers from the middle east and the US, zero sum game. Energy prices are high because of rising demand (and producers clutching the throttle), but that can be fixed... Probably by massive demand destruction.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 11:34:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that is strictly true. Last I heard any interconnection between the gas fields in western Russia towards the east where still a decade off.
by generic on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 11:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gazprom said in a statement it planned to increase gas exports to China to 48 bcm per year, including via a newly agreed pipeline that will deliver 10 bcm annually from Russia's Far East.

Russia already sends gas to China via its Power of Siberia pipeline, which began pumping supplies in 2019, and by shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG). It exported 16.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to China in 2021.
Gazprom said in a statement it planned to increase gas exports to China to 48 bcm per year, including via a newly agreed pipeline that will deliver 10 bcm annually from Russia's Far East.

I may be wrong, but given that they also deliver LNG by rail, I don't think the non-interconnection between Siberian and Caucasian fields is a huge issue.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 12:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PLATTS | , 2 Dec 2019, because that's where the NEW money is headed
The 5 Bcm/year of gas supply is estimated to account for around 1.6% of China's total gas supply estimates of 316 Bcm in 2019, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics and China's National Development and Reform Commission. Once it reaches full capacity of 38 Bcm/year in 2022-23, it would account for around 9.5% of China's total gas supply estimates of 402 Bcm for 2022.

"By 2023, nearly 40% of Chinese gas demand growth will be met through Russian gas from Power of Siberia. With global LNG markets banking on Chinese demand growth to sustain new projects, Russia's pipeline and LNG pincer move on Asia does give reason for pause," said S&P Global Platts Analytics senior LNG analyst Samer Mosis.

This will make Russia one of the major natural gas suppliers to China in the future, besides Australia and Turkmenistan. Australia and Turkmenistan are currently the top two natural gas suppliers to China, sending 22.8 million mt or31.4 Bcm, and 20.2 million mt or 27.8 Bcm in the first 10 months of this year, Platts' calculation based on data from the Chinese customs showed.

The dead money is circling the Greater Middle East drain. I bet, EU's new best friend Qatar knows that. KSA certainly does, to judge by diversification of its refining bidness in the run up to ARAMCO IPO, o wait, 11 Dec 2019.

by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 03:03:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin will have no difficulties selling his gas eastward, Europe can get tankers from the middle east and the US, zero sum game.

Not immediately, no:

For the first part, the Russian gas pipeline infrastructure - crucial for deliveries - is still, to the majority of its capacity, directed towards Europe, not China. Pipelines have been built in Siberia and others may follow, but the capacity is not there just yet.

For the second part, I've read from some big cheese in an EU energy corporate (probably Total), that Europe doesn't have enough capacity at its LNG terminals at the different ports to switch overnight from pipeline delivered gas to tanker delivered LNG. Here too, it will take time. Energy infrastructures are slow moving.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 11:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yle | Foreign Minister: Finland taking part in Nato virtual summit
"It is important for Finland and Sweden to be involved in the Nato meeting, due to the situation in the Baltic Sea region, for example," Haavisto said. "We consider it important that Nato continues its open-door policy and that we can apply for membership if we wish," Haavisto said.

Finland and Sweden are currently Nato partners, not members of the military alliance. Public support for Nato membership in Finland has been generally weak, but as the situation between Russia and Ukraine escalated, there has been increasing interest [16 Feb POLL: 43%] in joining the alliance.
"Finland will help people through humanitarian aid both inside and outside Ukraine. The government has dealt with helping those who stay and those who leave for security reasons," he said.

Several groups have called for special meetings due to the Russian invasion, including an extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium on Friday.

An extraordinary meeting of the OSCE was called in Poland on Thursday and in the evening Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) is scheduled to attend a European Council meeting about sanctions on Russia.

APN podcast: A convoy of demands, disturbances and disappointments
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 01:46:48 AM EST
[Al Jazeera is funded in whole or in part by the Qatari government--Biden-designated "Major Non-NATO Ally", 31 Jan 2022]

Streaming "WORLD REACTS TO WAR, GLOBAL PROTESTS OF RUSSIAN INVASION" by hundreds of Ukrainian ex-pats at Russian embassies in capitols around the world. Surprising no one, at a glance the lingua franca is printed English.

by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 02:41:27 AM EST

IndiaExpress | Ukraine says 137 civilians, soldiers killed; president says 'left alone' to fight Moscow
Ukraine Ambassador to India: 'Deeply dissatisfied with India stand, but Modiji makes me hopeful'
Referring to the large number of Indian students who study in medical colleges in Ukraine, Polikha said Indian intervention is also required for the safety of these Indian citizens.
Modi tells Putin to end violence; Biden says US in talks with India
After the call, in Washington, asked by PTI if India was in sync with the US on the issue, US President Joe Biden said that "we are in consultations (with India) today, we haven't resolved that yet."
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 03:08:01 AM EST
RT | Russia's triumph in India shocks US, 14 Dec 2021
The deal takes on even more significance as it was just one part of 28 investment deals between Russia and India signed during the very recent visit of Putin himself to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. These covered a broad range of subjects, including not just oil, gas, and petrochemicals, steel, and shipbuilding, but also military matters.
The scope and scale of this coup by Putin in India is as dramatic as it is unexpected, and runs contrary to the US's expectations of how well its contra-China/Russia strategy in the Middle East had been going. The US fightback against China's expansion of influence in the Middle East was founded principally upon the `relationship normalisation' deals that have been made with the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel, and on India's role as a counterbalance to China in Asia and as a major global buyer of oil and gas, as analysed in depth in my new book on the global oil markets.
Until China dramatically upped the tempo of this OBOR-related policy - at around the same time as the US signalled its lack of interest in continuing its own large-scale activities in the Middle East through its withdrawal from the Iran `nuclear deal' and its withdrawal from much of Syria - India had stuck to a policy of trying to contain China. With the announcement in August 2020 of the US-brokered Israel-UAE `normalisation deal' it appeared that a new corridor of co-operation was being developed from the US (and Israel), through the UAE (and Kuwait, Bahrain and in part Saudi Arabia) through to India. As much of China's current turbo-driven expansion into the Middle East is predicated in the first instance on the energy sector, the starting point for the build-out of the US-Israel-UAE-India also appeared to be the energy sector.
archived EU-US sanctions... piled so high, Kicking a Gift Horse in the Teeth
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 05:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 12:02:38 PM EST
It is apparently easier to have empathy for people far away than for the guy sleeping on the street next door, isn't it? Imagine when a bunch of lunatics decide to fight for Alsace and Lorraine returning to Germany and you get caught in between. If ask by the one of the most powerful army on earth if you want to surrender or die, what will you do? Die for Alsace and Lorraine?
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 01:36:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It could be funny if it was not disgusting.
And what about the Russkie refugees if ever there was a (oh so moral?) retaliation?
https:/www.eureporter.co/world/ukraine/2022/02/24/we-are-prepared-for-refugees-and-they-are-welcome -von-der-leyen


www.cnews.fr/france/2020-03-04/un-mois-apres-la-derniere-evacuation-paris-un-nouveau-camp-de -migrants-deja


by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 01:31:56 PM EST
I am in favour of welcoming refugees in need, wherever they come from. Just call me Mutti.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 02:10:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You really want to run down that path from 2010 to present through every EU member's real and financial razor-wire fences?
by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 03:11:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Von der Leyen is only stating the obvious : refugees from a European war will be welcome in the EU.

I was replying from first principles to Tomtom, who finds the idea of welcoming refugees "funny and disgusting", apparently.

Personally, I find his thought experiment about what would happen if Ukraine won the current war to be more disgusting than funny.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 05:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was the war that "could be funny if it was not disgusting" in Tom2s sentiment. But I could be wrong.

I hope the general support for Ukraine at least makes a common and shared EU refugee poilcy possible here, rather then making it the problem of Poland and Roumania.

by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 06:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's a given. I can't really see who would be the hold-outs, other than the extreme right, who are against all the refugees (and pro-Russian).

I expect Sweden to more than its share, as usual, or has that changed fundamentally?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 07:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In general, Sweden's refugee policy has become much harsher since 2014, with the conservatives joining the far right in demanding closed borders, and liberals split. And the Soc-dems goes wherever it appears votes can be won so they followed the conservatives.

In this case, I think the conservatives and liberals will call for open borders, making the Soc-dems follow. The far right will be in a pinch, because while they are for closed borders, these refugees are white and are fleeing the russians.

So I think Sweden will at least accept its share.

by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 07:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the far right is not pro-Russian in Sweden? Why is that?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia is the Swedish arch-enemy. Well arch-enemy number two after Denmark, but Sweden won the power struggle over Denmark (and got Norway), and lost the one with Russia (they took Finland!), so Sweden is all good with Denmark.

Didn't we use to have a macro for Rysskräck?

Testing: [Starvid's Rysskräck™ Technology] - oh look it works.

For newcomers, Starvid is another poster from Sweden and Rysskräck is a Swedish word for the fear that the Russians are coming.

The far right can be - and have been - cozy with Russia over shared islamophobia, general conservatism, and so on. The far right even employed a possible Russian spy in parliament (I don't remember how that one ended). But in this situation I think Rysskräck trumps islamophobia among their voters.

This might look strange to those who don't read Swedish media, but there was a few weeks ago lots of very serious press on how Sweden was beefing up defenses at Gotland.  One might think that a Russia pre-occupied with Ukraine would have less troops to spare to occupy Gotland. One might not even consider Gotland the first place Russia would attack, but in that case one hasn't been reading Swedish newspapers and one doesn't know the feeling of Rysskräck.

So in short, when there is a feeling that the Russians are coming, and the Ukrainians are fleeing the Russians, it would be down right anti-Swedish to support the Russians. And I don't think the far right can afford to be seen as such.

On the other hand, NATO membership just became an election issue (elections are in September). How that fares remains to be seen.

by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 10:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe welcomes Ukrainian refugees -- others, less so
The change in tone of some of Europe's most extreme anti-migration leaders has been striking -- from "We aren't going to let anyone in" to "We're letting everyone in."
Some journalists, too, are being criticized for descriptions of Ukrainian refugees. "These are prosperous, middle-class people," an Al Jazeera English television presenter said. "These are not obviously refugees trying to get away from areas in the Middle East... in North Africa. They look like any European family that you would live next door to."
CBS news apologized after one of its correspondents said the conflict in Kyiv wasn't "like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European" city.
Polish U.N. Ambassador Krzysztof Szczerski said at the General Assembly on Monday that assertions of race- or religion-based discrimination at Poland's border are "a complete lie and a terrible insult to us."

"The nationals of all countries who suffered from Russian aggression or whose life is at risk can seek shelter in my country," he said.
"It is not completely unnatural for people to feel more comfortable with people who come from nearby, who speak the (similar) language or have a (similar) culture," [former UNHCR policy head Jeff] Crisp said.

In Poland, Ruchir Kataria, an Indian volunteer, told The AP on Sunday that his compatriots got stuck on the Ukrainian side of the border crossing into Medyka, Poland. In Ukraine, they were initially told to go to Romania, hundreds of kilometers away, he said, after they had already made long journeys on foot to the border, not eating for three days. Finally, on Monday they got through.

by Cat on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 01:50:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"A refugee is a refugee, whether European, African or Asian," Mohammad said.

The change in tone of some of Europe's most extreme anti-migration leaders has been striking -- from "We aren't going to let anyone in" to "We're letting everyone in."

Those comments were made only three months apart by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Unsnip, just to highlight the obvious point that this is a left/right issue (if you add up the ratings of the French presidential candidates who would be in favour of open borders for all war refugees, that's about 20%. Electors ).

Indian students getting a hard time from Polish border guards? More shocked than surprised.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 07:49:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Témoignage d'un citoyen congolais bloqué à la frontière ukrainienne

Quick translate:

Many African countries, including Nigeria and South Africa, are trying to help their nationals to flee the Russian invasion, on a background of growing claims of racism vis a vis African people at the Ukrainian border. Krystel Boenga, a Congolese citizen residing in Ukraine since 2009, speaks about the situation at the border.

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 01:48:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Medyka, at the border between Poland and Ukraine. The place of the forgotten ones"

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 02:11:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Salvini has welcomed the "real refugees". I've no idea what he though of the quarter million Ukrainian immigrants to Italy before the invasion (BTW, the largest Ukrainian diaspora until now is in Russia...)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From checking the MSM I don't see yet any mention of Zelenski offers of ceasefire and neutrality, which pro Russian platforms have been quoting since the morning.
RT has this now
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 03:14:27 PM EST
Interesting view (from Circe at MoA, answering s.o.)
I think you don't get how Ukraine has become a de facto member of NATO regardless of the official public rigamarole and how strategically important it is to USNATO in containing Russia as a world power. This unofficial Natofication of Ukraine is an existential threat to Russia.

From your comment you don't seem to get how every day this threat has been increasing and how the goal of the UkieNeonazis is the destruction of Russia by all means including through NATO and influencing Ukraine's government in the direction of that goal.

How else can Russia ensure that doesn't happen without involvement in that government guaranteeing absolute neutrality, eliminating the influences hostile to Russia?

I don't see a cosmetic, one-dimensional solution here. We're talking about a country bordering Russia with NATO all around it, so it's disingenuous on your part to throw in Neocon.

Ukraine is not some country like Iraq was or Iran is that were targeted merely to grow U.S. hegemonic interests. Russia IS like Iran in the crosshairs, and more so, being a world power antithetical to U.S. interests.

If this Russian Operation appears to resemble strategy from the Neocon playbook, then Russia can bring up Iraq and Libya, where regime change occurred; and ask: how were these two an existential threat to the U.S. and NATO (albeit in Iraq's case NATO went under the guise of coalition of the willing)?

Let's be fair, frank and truthful. In this case, Russsia is Iraq, Libya and Iran fighting back with all the might Russia, unlike the others, is fortunate to possess; the military might and ingenuity required to defeat the behemoth, USNATO, via Ukraine as that is the tool the former is using. Therefore, eradicating all traces of allegiance to the behemoth is essential.

by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 03:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I think you don't get..."

You know you're replying to your own comment, right?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is called an addition to a related issue.
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Weird term.  Never heard that one.  Which part of the states are you from?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're supposed to use < blockquote > tags when you quote someone else.

Oh I forgot. You're too lazy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 07:18:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is so brilliantly written (and convincing to me at least) that I can resist quoting it:

Michael Brenner

My muse knocked at dawn. Exhausted after catching the redeye from Moscow and then diverted over Finland. He insisted on a full breakfast before whispering in my ear. A week pulling up the grass roots from the permafrost in Gorky Park while subsisting on borscht and boiled cabbage had drained him.. Reanimated, the Truth began to flow - in short, staccato sentences with none of the usual refinements and subtle similes.

Context and background are everything in understanding the Russian attack. Look at the process of decision as dynamic over time rather than sharply focused in the immediate.

Putin is not a dictator. He cannot simply choose a course of action and give commands a la Stalin. Never has been. He has great authority; yet, at the same time, he represents the underlying convictions, thoughts and interests of powerful people in and around the government. Most of them were seated in that semicircle at St. Catherine's Hall for the televised meeting of the Russian Security Council.

They, along with most all of Russia's political cum economic class, have felt deeply humiliated by what they see as the shabby, patronizing treatment they have received from the West - led by a crass America - since 1991. The insults in word and action have hit them nonstop since 2014, reaching a crescendo from March 2021 onward. They have known full well that the aim is to denature Russia as a political cum diplomatic power in Europe - and beyond. The West want it neutralized and marginalized so that the U.S. can remain master of Europe as it prepares for a titanic struggle with China for global supremacy. Unfettered access to Russia's wealth of natural resources is a bonus.

Concrete security concern have sharpened progressively as Washington has broken a series of major arms control agreements, expanded NATO, connived to replace friendly governments with American proxies via the notorious "color revolutions," sought to undercut energy ties with European states, and deployed advanced weapons systems (above all, the anti-missile systems in Poland and Rumania able to be converted into offensive missile launchers), and via its `rules-based international order' sloganeering and democracy vs autocracy campaign make explicit its intention to do everything possible to rig the game of world politics in its favor.

Ukraine, they believe, became the occasion (not the cause) to pin down a Russia whose growing strength discomforted and annoyed the Americans. It represented a conscious decision of the Biden administration under the sway of reborn Cold Warriors in State, the NSC, the CIA and the Pentagon. The triumph of their will in a government bereft of contrary voices and led by a weak, manipulable President was a sure thing. The Ukraine anti-Russia operation began in March with the Washington encouraged build-up of Ukrainian military forces along the Donbass Line, delivery of large quantities of arms including Javelin anti-armor weapons, renewed talk of heavy economic sanctions, and a chorus of shrill rhetoric from all quarters in Washington and Brussels.

The American objective of putting Russia back in its subordinate place was taken as an obvious given by the Kremlin. Uncertainty existed on the question of what initiatives on the ground to expect: a major assault on the Donbass or provocative acts to force a Russian reaction that could be used as a pretext for imposing sanctions (above all, the cancelling of NORDSTROM II).

It is likely that senior policymakers in Washington themselves had not made a definitive judgment on the issue. Divisions among individual players and a wavering President could very well left have important matters unresolved within a soft, cloudy consensus. There was visible evidence of this in the repeated juxtaposition, and alternation, of bellicose rhetoric and Biden's mollifying words in public and the "let's not go to war" telephone conversations he initiated to Putin and reaffirmed at their Geneva Summit.

In Moscow, too, there likely were differences of opinion - or, more accurately, of emphasis. They surely led to some divergences over what actions Russia should take. It is essential to bear in mind that Putin himself seems to have been closer to the dovish end of the continuum among Security Council members on the overarching issue of how to deal with the U.S., with the West, and particularly Ukraine. One could imagine a gradual hardening of thinking among all individuals as tensions mounted and frustrations grew in the Kremlin. A Putin, who might have been trying to fashion an approach that reconciled his own wariness about military confrontation with genuine worry about the threats to Russian security presented by Washington's hardline, might have found himself in a quandary. I suspect that American official have very little understanding of this reality or appreciate its implications.

That could explain the promulgation of that strange position paper/demarche wherein he laid out in detail a list of demands for a drastic revision of Europe's security configuration punctuated by an emphasis on time urgency. That is to say, a Hail Mary to stay the hand of a growing consensus that the time had come for Russia to hit back at the West in the Ukraine. Two things perhaps tipped Putin's thinking into accepting the necessity of doing what he did. One was the West's unbending and unaccommodating response. The other, was the Ukrainians' launching an unprecedented artillery and mortar barrage against the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Who forced that fateful step? Elements of the Ukraine Army and/or security services? The AZOV brigade and associated parties? Zelensky? With how much encouragement from the CIA and/or the White House?

Michael Brenner

by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:08:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you don't get how Ukraine has become a de facto member of NATO regardless of the official public rigamarole and how strategically important it is to USNATO in containing Russia as a world power. This unofficial Natofication of Ukraine is an existential threat to Russia.

From your comment you don't seem to get how every day this threat has been increasing and how the goal of the UkieNeonazis is the destruction of Russia by all means including through NATO and influencing Ukraine's government in the direction of that goal.

You're quoting some fellow from the MoA blog, right?

This also happens to be the official Putin's talking points and justification (look what you made me do...)

You can, of course, post this opinion here, but we can also call it complete bollocks.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 05:09:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, as explained in line 1, I quote someone (who btw is usually attacked by the hardcore marxists of the blog). I thought it was well written and indeed a vision I feel hard to dismiss.
I doubt Putin used "rigamarole" and the rest of the text do not seem to me to repeat a speech by him or someone else. I pasted it from the beginning to avoid any confusion.
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 05:40:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for clarifying: your lack of formatting often makes it difficult to follow what is yours, what you're quoting or even which comment (and commenter) you're replying to.

Of course, Putin doesn't speak English, but he has communicated his talking points, justifying his aggression, clearly enough:

  • NATO is expanding in Ukraine (it is not)
  • Ukraine military (+phantom NATO) is threatening Russia (obvious disproportion of military forces notwithstanding)
  • Ukrainian government is carrying out genocide against its Russian speaking minority, particularly in Donbas (Ukrainian president is a Russian speaking Jew and the separatists areas of Donbas have been off limits to Ukraine, thanks to - unofficial - Russian military presence there for years)
  • Ukraine is run by "Nazis" (Neo-Nazis parties have made less than 10% at the last elections)

Some people can endorse these wholesale (it's a free country), but personally, I'll pass.
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 06:59:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nazis obsession, continued...

Putin calls Ukraine government 'drug addicts and neo-Nazis'

Also, this piece from the Tass agency, quoted by Fjallstrom yesterday.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 07:49:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
folklore: very interesting ... obsessions.
by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 03:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, Putin may be quite sincere. In Israel, people are well aware of his philosemitism.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 08:14:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you don't get how Ukraine has become a de facto member of NATO

Why do you bother quoting such gibberish?
You know, surely, that a NATO member would be defended by all NATO members in the event of an external aggression?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 07:20:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually Article 5 says that each party must do "such action as it deems necessary", which is a little vaguer.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:17:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More and more interesting, the French gov radio bulletin of 17:00 talks about Zelenski calling all Europeans who want to fight to join him in Ukraine and says not a word of the offer o Zelenski.
2 contradictory narratives developping?
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The BBC follows the same narrative but has this "Vladimir Putin tells Ukrainian troops to overthrow their own country's leadership" in the summary of the live. But it also has that "Ukraine's interior ministry also says 18,000 machine guns have been given to volunteers".

I am not sure if this can help democracy anywhere... Machine guns against planes and tanks? to do what?

by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:27:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New element added: French MSM claiming Ukr source says high level radiations around Tchernobyl. After two years of depression (and the latest 'depression wave' with the Omicron narratives), throwing a war and the 'nuclear threat' to the pot can only be within the full respect of the seriousness of information you expect in a democracy, isn't it?
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 05:08:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't take a city with planes and tanks.

You take a city block by block. With foot soldiers.
Even Molotov cocktails are useful. But eighteen thousand machine guns are better.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 07:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Useful for what? Like what is the endgame here? If you're arming the population in your capital you really should be seeking terms, whatever those are. Because the way cities defended by irregulars have been taken recently has been by bombing the rubble and then bombing it again.
by generic on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:49:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, so far, the Ukranian government has been announcing civilian death tolls in the low hundreds. This would indicate that the Russian army is under instructions to minimise that. So they are not going Syrian on Kiev.

Despite the occasional cruise missile taking a random chunk out of an apartment building (or perhaps that was pinpoint accuracy on a particular apartment?)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:18:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Follow his twitter feed #Zelensky for public statements.

The unreliable Sky News UK follows development from Kyiv and broadcasts "breaking" news on Ukraine ...

"Russia kicked out of Eurovision" ☹ really newsworthy

I have seen the videoclip ... it is nowhere to be find ... almost as military censorship cut out a aentence

These are the words I recall, Zelensky spoke English in the clip ...

PS I am and will not be a war correspondent. To get a good feel of war, one should be embedded ... the safest place. ☹    Not useful to bring warfare into the living room as 90% is propaganda for their side, and needs verification. The fog of war.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 05:31:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be useful if the ppl who pretend that Ukraine 'can fight it' (with our help and money) could also explain why the Ukrainian gov refused to implement the Minsk agreement.
Even in Washington some admit that there has been a US agenda to not let it be implemented.
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 06:49:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Might be also useful to remember that the best receivers of the "we must fight the atheist Russkies" in the last fifty years have been... zombified djihadists (Afghanistan, Syria, now Mali?)
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 06:57:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From your first RT link :
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov considers President Volodymyr Zelensky's readiness to discuss a neutral status for Ukraine "a movement towards the positive."

Earlier on Friday, the Ukrainian leader said he was prepared to discuss the possibility of neutrality for Ukraine with Russia, but on condition of securing "third-party guarantees." However, he expressed doubts that any third countries would provide Kiev with such guarantees, as Ukraine is not a NATO member and "everybody is afraid."

You don't seem to realise (but that's OK, I'm here to educate you) that the whole point of being in NATO, for Ukraine, is to have third-party guarantees.

So "neutrality with third-party guarantees" would be fine for Zelensky (and obviously, unacceptable for Putin) because they would be defended by third parties if, hypothetically, Ukraine were to be invaded.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 07:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately it's hard for me to imagine Ukraine holding up against a committed Russian invasion aimed at taking Kyiv.  (I hope I'm wrong, of course, and in any case I hope bloodshed is as small as possible.)

I don't know what comes next.  I have my doubts about Russia's ability to hold Ukraine.  But I think taking Putin at his word they need to start building up on the NATO lines.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 04:14:13 PM EST
This just in: François Fillon, the former Prime Minister of French president Nicolas Sarkozy between 2007 and 2012, who was running as the "Les Républicains" party candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, has resigned his two directorships at Russian companies Sibur and Zarubeshneft.
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 05:36:00 PM EST
That decision must have cost him dearly.
Some say Fillon is pro-Russian; in France we know he is pro-money.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 01:01:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
archived ELECTION2017 highlights!
It's tiight
Fillon defiant
by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 03:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm glad to see I got one prediction right :
The blood-letting on the left is going to be completely horrifying.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 04:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 07:21:46 PM EST
From the Permanent Mission of Russia to the EU, when was that? One week ago?

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 07:25:03 PM EST
But it was 16 Feb. < wipes tears >
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 07:44:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congress wants to go further for Ukraine. It may be too late.
Lawmakers have plenty they could add to a bill helping counter a Russian invasion. What that vehicle is, and when it can pass, remains unclear.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee on the State Department and foreign operations, told reporters Friday morning that any supplemental funding bill would likely exceed $10 billion, the majority of which would go toward humanitarian aid to address the impending refugee crisis in Europe.
SIDEBAR: received 20 Feb a free fed 4 pc. "rapid-flow" COVID-19 test kit, ordered 17 Jan, manufactured in S Korea, distributed by Roche, N.A.
"If we are not doing everything possible, we are not doing enough," said Sen. Lindsey Graham Cracker (R-S.C.). "Time is not on our side."
Some EXTRA military AID already has been sent; the Biden administration last month shipped $200 million worth of anti-armor missiles, ammunition and other military equipment to Ukraine. The Pentagon has moved several thousand U.S. troops into eastern NATO countries on Russia's periphery. The State Department also last week approved a long-awaited $6 billion sale of tanks to Poland.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a senior House Appropriations Committee member, said this week that the administration communicated to lawmakers that, in the event of a Russian incursion "there is a need over the next twelve months of at least $1 billion for humanitarian needs."
DOD remote learning special operation
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 08:00:42 PM EST
ROLL CALL | The consensus against using force holds, despite Russia's invasion, yesterday
Lawmakers Appropriators back new sanctions and military aid, but Ukraine will have to fight alone

[DeFazio... Davidson... "Congress must approve any military action against Russia"]

"If there's any authority [Biden] doesn't have that he does need to increase sanctions on Russia, he'll get it from Congress. And I think Congress, on a very bipartisan basis, will also be willing to provide whatever resources are necessary to help Ukrainian defense," Schiff said.

Schiff also suggested cutting Russia off from SWIFT, a financial messaging system that links the world's economies and facilitates international transactions. The suggestion has gained steam among European leaders but would be an unprecedented move.

[Graham... McCarthy... Tester...Collins ...]

In the end, Senate Democrats and Republicans introduced two differing pieces of legislation -- and passed neither. Instead, the Senate last week approved a six-page nonbinding resolution (S Res 519-A resolution supporting an independent and democratic Ukraine against any further Russian military invasion, and for other purposes), a symbolic motion that carries no legislative weight, that scolded Putin for building up over 150,000 troops on the Ukrainian border.

Tehran Times | Russia declares breakaway Ukraine regions "independent" republics, 22 Feb 2022
"It`s not clear the size of the force that Moscow will dispatch and when they would travel to the breakaway regions."
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 08:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Large Amount of Weapons Supplied by West to Ukraine Has Been Seized, 25 Feb BENGHAZI!

The Russian military said on Friday it had seized a large cache of Western-supplied weapons inside of Ukraine.

The cache included American-made FGM-148 Javelin and British-made MBT NLAW anti-tank missiles, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The two fire-and-forget missile systems have been a key part of Western aid supplied to Ukraine in recent years, intended to be a soft defense against Russia's considerable armored forces. Biden said in January that he had already sent $600 million in aid to Ukraine, which was just a drop in the bucket of shipments sent since 2014. However, the NLAWs only arrived last month as part of a rushed shipment amid tense negotiations between Russia and NATO.

uh oh. Zelensk(iy)(yy)(y) must go.
On Friday, Putin called on the Ukrainian military to overthrow the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying they might be more reasonable to negotiate with.
by Cat on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 10:07:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nearly half of Biden's free COVID-19 tests remain unclaimed
46% of 500M kits equals 68M kits?
If 500M kits divided by 4 tests per kit each equals 125M households; 68M divided by 125M equals 54% of 500M kits?
Perhaps 68M kits of 230M equals 46% kits delivered?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 03:34:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Belgian radio, NATO and Belgium announce they are sending troops to the Eastern border of NATO.
Maybe Biden rushed it before he lose the mid-terms.
by Tom2 on Fri Feb 25th, 2022 at 09:09:57 PM EST
I assumed Bad Vlad would occupy the break-away provinces and perhaps a little deeper just to convince Ukraine not to try and retake them.  I knew he wanted a Dnieper Line, but I didn't expect him to go for the whole thing this time.  He has, and I now expect him to try and flatten Kiev because why would he want that on his border.  The question I've been turning over is why now, why the rush?  And I have to admit I blew it, I misinterpreted an important thread.  I knew he turns 70 this October, but I didn't trust reports of his failing health, first because they were all over the place, and second because they rang too much like the constant reports we used to get of Politburo members' health during the Cold War.  Now I'm certainly more inclined to believe there is a health issue, but I don't believe it's needed to explain the current affairs.  Sick or not, Putin can feel the sands running through the hour glass, and he has no succession plan.  Not even as much as Stalin had.  Stalin at least had the Politburo; Putin has been a one-man gang, and it's too late to put together an institution to allow an orderly transfer of power.  So he's going for all he can now.  That's why he's committed such a relatively small part of the army; he wants be able to pivot against other targets.  The West needs to understand this quickly.  Germany especially needs to understand this is not "just business".

And I'm not willing to give the western intel services credit for supposedly "getting it right" either.  Aside from their hand in creating this mess (MI6, CIA, and BND all recruited OUN elements including Bandera and Lebed to conduct anti-Soviet operations.), intelligence work is like maths in this respect: If you get the right answer for the wrong reason, you're still wrong.  20 years ago they gave us the wrong answer for the wrong reason, and we may never stop paying.  This time the analysis was no better.  The services just wanted to let slip the dogs of war and were willing to beat the drum to make it happen.  We still don't have an honest analysis of what is happening or why, which makes it difficult to make an intelligent and effective response.  It couldn't be working better for Putin if he had a latter-day Bill Haydon in place.

by rifek on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 02:27:12 AM EST
One point about the timing: Arming Ukraine had become a football to kick around in US politics. Under Obama it was still considered too provocative, but now we were at a point where not doing it was basically borderline treason. So if you want to drive to Kiev today is better than tomorrow.

As to what the Russians want to achieve, I guess the best case is they think they can do a repeat of Georgia, have Zelensky implement something very much like Minsk 2 with additional territorial losses and go home. Worst case they try to go for regime change, which would have to be backed by a substantial military occupation.
The thing is, can scenario one really work out long term for Russia? Georgia is far off, while Ukraine is bordered by NATO countries and being victimized by Russian aggression has basically been turned into the founding myth of, at least the western parts, of post Soviet Ukraine. Which is why I really didn't think the Russians would go for it. (with a side helping of US intelligence haven't been right about anything substantial in the last thirty years). But then, if the policy is really driven by Putin being an irredentist right wing crank we're definitely looking at much worse outcomes.

As to Western intelligence: I find it notable that Zelensky was complaining that no one told him anything and apparently the German intelligence chief had to leave Ukraine with the first wave of refugees while the anglo spook connected journos were confidently talking about an exact date for the invasion. Was there a Russian ultimatum to the US? Putin reportedly considers talking with the Europeans as a waste of time, an estimation that is famously shared by the US ("fuck the EU") so the Euros being out of the loop wouldn't be surprising.

by generic on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 01:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
30 years?  I would submit the Western intelligence services have been primarily motivated by budget since WWII and that their analyses and shite-stirring in nonaligned countries have not been aimed at informing their respective governments and carrying out those governments' policies but rather at compelling those governments to keep the services' gravy boats filled.

What do the Russians want?  Their empire back, and Putin considers it his destiny to get it.  It's interesting, though, that the face of Russian policy suddenly seems to have become Medvedev.  Whether Putin is grooming him to come back up the ladder or setting him up to be kicked off entirely remains to be seen.  What's also interesting is that Medvedev went straight to rattling the nuclear saber, which would indicate Russia is desperate to avoid a war of attrition, hot or cold.

Meanwhile, Germany finally woke up to the threat both of Russia directly and of most of its Ostis believing Russia is the victim here, and is shipping military aid and supporting cutting off Russian access to SWIFT.  That would reduce the ruble to bog paper.  In the US, the FCC, DHC, and DOJ are FINALLY investigating Russian control of communication companies, including media outlets and wireless and VoIP services.  RT seems to be the main target at the moment, but you can expect all the usual RethugliKKKon operators to be circling the wagons by Monday morning.

by rifek on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 08:52:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the Georgian scenario has already turned to rubble. The Russians did make attacks into Georgia outside the disputed territories, but they never tried to take Tbilssi.

I think Putin may well be sincere when he says he wants to negotiate with the Ukranian military, once they have deposed Zelenskiy. The idea being that Ukraine can occupy itself and the Russians go home. I can't see another end game : any mediation between crazy old man Putin and drug-addled nazi Zelenskiy seems like a long shot.

And if the army doesn't stage a coup, then the mounting death toll among Russian troops (no idea about the numbers) is going to damage the Russian social fabric, being blamed on Putin rather than on the Ukranians.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:44:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True enough, it's already much worse than Georgia. What made me scoff at the idea of a full scale invasion initially was that the Russians really don't seem to have assembled the numbers to occupy a country the size of Ukraine. So either the talk about a military coup is more than just bluffing, they got even more high on their own supply than the Americans when they attacked Iraq or they are willing to offer terms to the current government.
Hopefully it's the latter:
by generic on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 02:46:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would guess that he didn't want to commit more troops because he wants to maintain readiness for a NATO military riposte elsewhere (but we all know that he needn't have worried about that)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 03:24:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
escapes apolitical twitter moderators

by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 04:07:12 PM EST
by Cat on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 04:15:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Snake Island border guards who defied Russia warship 'may be alive': report
The 13 Ukrainian troops on Zmiiniy Island, or "Snake" Island, might still be alive after defying a Russian warship last week - after they were previously believed to have been killed, the Ukrainian government said.

"The SBGSU and the Armed Forces, like the whole of Ukraine, have received hope that all of Zmiiny's defenders are alive," the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine said in a Facebook post on Saturday, noting that Russian media claims the soldiers were captured, not killed.

The main source seems to be the Tass agency.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:14:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. And Allies Begin Cutting Russia Out Of International Financial System SWIFT
The U.S. expects the move to cause "most banks around the world [to] simply stop transacting altogether with Russian banks that are out of SWIFT," the official added, saying the list of affected banks would be released soon and will ultimately be determined by the European Union because Belgium administers the SWIFT system. The official noted that China, from which Russia has sought support despite the Chinese leadership's uncertainty [?] about Putin's plans, "has tended to respect the force of U.S. sanctions."
mmmm, ahhhh, hmmm, if NYFed and BoE history of arbitrary asset forfeitures wasn't enough disincentive, this pirate parlay will dispel deposit incentives for many a "trade partner" besides RU and China. I will file this episode in my NEW! NATO self-sanctioning folder with settlement of the Meng Wanzhou caper and Evergrande's "restructure".

Russia Total External Debt
Bank of Russia | Estimated actual external debt payments of non-financial organisations in 2022 H1
SAFE Releases China's External Debt Data a/o Sep 2021, pub'd 31 Dec 2021

by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 12:00:11 AM EST
Politico.eu.com | Western leaders agree new Russia sanctions, including SWIFT curbs
After Putin launched his war on Ukraine on Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba declared that anyone who doubted Russia should be banned from SWIFT "has to understand that the blood of innocent Ukrainian men, women and children will be on their hands too."
ummm, no. That's not how empathy waxes NATO's boomer bedrooms, boardrooms, and kitchens.
But some countries, including Germany, resisted excluding Russia from the Belgium-based payments network, not least because they use it to pay for Russian gas, on which they are highly dependent.

Even as they announced their move, allies were still working to find ways to limit its impact on energy prices. If removing Russian banks from the financial payments service prevented the country from selling oil and natural gas, prices could jump as European customers scrambled to find alternative sources.

The United States and Europe were coordinating with SWIFT to see if there were ways to identify energy transactions in the system or whether exempting certain banks would limit the potential for disruption, a senior U.S. administration official said on a briefing call for reporters.

waiver alert
"We are going to go institution by institution in terms of those that are removed from the network," the official said. "And we'll pick those very carefully to maximize the impact on Russia and minimize the spillovers profits to Europe and the EU and the global economy."
case.closed.Germany to send Ukraine weapons in historic shift on military aid
From its own stockpile, the German government will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft defense systems to Ukraine. The government has also authorized the Netherlands to send Ukraine 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and told Estonia it ship over send nine howitzers.
der post-kapitalist Großer Zapfenstreich by the book
Estonia, in particular, had said it wanted to send old howitzers but was prevented from doing so because Germany was withholding its approval. Estonia bought the weapons from Finland, which gave its sign-off, but Germany also has to OK the transfer because it originally sold the howitzers to Finland.
archived Sat Dec 11th, 2021 Baerbock's debut
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 02:02:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SWIFT is just a messaging system; payments can still go through without it.

For more details, this Twitter thread from a former State Dept. hack:

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:08:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
um no. This is not yer grandpa's internet bulletin board.

It is dedicated, private interbank telecommunication infrastructure by which banks process payments ("authenticate" account balances, record transactions, and transfer "money" between any and all account owners at banks in different countries, which pay a subscription to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications.

Central banks regulate national, closed-loop intrabank payments such as RBA and ACH and  or CHIPS according to legislated capital controls as to Reasons®.

No funds--for any reason? No transfers.

Contrary to libertarian folklore, "digital currency" has been circling the globe since US-UK laid the first transnational, under-sea cables to lock up mutually beneficial imperial assets.

Scott and Zachariadis, "Origins and Development of SWIFT, 1973-2009"

Go First Bank of America fourth life!

by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 03:49:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

What is SWIFT? How could banning Russia from The Banking [PAYMENTS] System impact the country US?
Alexandra Vacroux, executive director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard [lol], told NPR/VOA, "It doesn't move the money, but it moves the information about the money."
< wipes tears >
Iran lost access to SWIFT in 2012 as part of sanctions over its nuclear program, though many of the country's banks were reconnected to the system in 2016. Vacroux told NPR that when Iran was kicked off, "they lost half of their oil export revenues and 30% of their foreign trade."
archived INSTEX 2019 and waiver trafficking
Several hours later, Germany, which had been the last European Union nation holding out on the sanctions, offered measured support for Russia's disconnection from SWIFT, according to a joint statement from German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and German Economics Minister Robert Habeck.

"We are working flat out on how to limit the collateral damage of a disconnection from #SWIFT, so that it hits the right people," the officials wrote in a statement. "What we need is a targeted and functional restriction of SWIFT."

shhh, don't frighten the children.
archived, SWIFT Alternative, 29 Nov 2019, ECB, EIFR 2018, EP 2010, Electronic money 2015,
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 07:08:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
euractiv | Russia's economic defences likely to crumble over time under sanctions ONSLAUGHT
"The view Russia will be unaffected is wrong. The negative effects may not be felt upfront, but sanctions will hobble Russia's potential in the longer run," said Christopher Granville, managing director at consultancy TS Lombard and a veteran Russia watcher.
Russia has dismissed sanctions as counter to the interests of those who imposed them. And they won't immediately dent an economy with $643 billion in [foreign] currency reserves and booming oil and gas revenues.
What was China's Foreign Exchange Reserves a/o Jan 2022? USD 3.2T. parity watch RUB:RMB,13.2:1; RMB:EUR, 1:0.75; EUR:USD, 1:11.
According to Granville, surging oil prices will offer Russia an extra 1.5 trillion rouble ($17.2 billion) windfall this year from taxes on energy companies' profits. But this kind of autarky [independence] has a price -- deepening isolation from ["]The World Economy["], markets, and investment, he noted.
Sergei Guriev, economics professor at France's Sciences Po and former European Bank for Reconstruction and Development chief economist, pointed out that Russian nominal per capita GDP, double China's in 2013, was now behind.

"In 2013 Russia was a high-income [GDP $2.2T? compared to KR $1.3? CN $9.6T? US $16.5T? EU $17.3T? ] country and was actively negotiating OECD accession recognition. Russia is now back to the middle-income [$5.00/day!] status," he said.

y'all tripping all over yer lies eight ways to Sunday school
Losing access to SWIFT would complicate export and import payments, and could even prevent paying bond coupons, triggering technical default. JPMorgan projects sanctions will slice up to 3.5 percentage points from GDP growth in the second half of 2022. Limited access to foreign capital denominated debt leaves oil companies reliant on prepayment deals and facing significantly higher cost of capital, the bank added.
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 08:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUR:USD, 1:1.11
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 08:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More importantly :
  • The Norwegian sovereign fund will divest its Russian holdings (but it's only a couple of billion)
  • BP to divest its 20% of Rosneft (that is huge)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 08:39:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How? and who will buy those bonds?
NATO has spoken. There will be no sWIft payments, yo.
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 08:54:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A cheque? slower than SWIFT
or a shipment of bullion?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 10:33:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The value of the stake was estimated at $14bn (£10.4bn) at the end of last year. It is unclear who BP would sell it to."

alrighty then. Between Guardian's bleeding charity features and NY Post's "kremligarch"* silent auction of 19th-century tycoon mansions, I suspect that arms-length disposal of the WWII.000348 booty will be a tall order.

lemme tink... AHA!

  1. return of Bad Bank! custody of toxic assets;
  2. bundle into a REIT whose sole beneficiary is NATO;
  3. select trustee from ECB/FecNY primary dealers

* according to sources with knowledge of the matter, an oligarch who is not independent but may be linked to legit money-laundering by western industrialists
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 12:11:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Anyone Selling Russian Assets Faces Few Options, Big Losses
, 28 Feb
Accelerated Offering?
Big investors and corporate shareholders often opt to sell a chunk of shares in an accelerated placement after markets close. These transactions are typically underwritten by banks, who buy the stake and offer it on the open market and take on the risk of the disposal.
Wholesale Buyers?
the crippling international sanctions are making Russian assets financially unattractive, even at steep discounts, meaning that Chinese investors may not want to risk the political headache
Daring Fund Managers?
"Institutional buyers, especially with ESG or sanction-related restrictions likely won't be able to buy and have no intention to do so"... There may be some buyers from small hedge funds or family offices, where time horizons are long enough
Russian Buyers?
Stock trading on the [Russian] bourse was canceled... This means buying global depositary receipts of Russian stocks being traded on exchanges such as [NYSE, LSE, NASDQ] has also become prohibitively expensive for Moscow-based portfolio managers
Take the L
"For now, a very hefty writedown is likely to remain the main course of action"
by Cat on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 02:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder why he picked 2013 as a basis for comparison? Maybe this graph from the CEIC will help?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:03:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GDP per capita is the worst measure of HH income (average distro) irrespective of personal disposable income, liabilities, "off-shore" assets, price parity, etc.

"nominal" GDP simply is sum value of total economic activity in one nation. har. at the end of one reporting year.

yes, the only explanation for selection 2013 is to dramatize pirate penalties net effect on RU by 2014 FYE. I for one remain enchanted by IMF country income brackets and OECD criteria for membership, ie. EU, "spanning the globe" as it excludes 80% of UN nation-states who transfer wealth to the club.

by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:58:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
personalized SWIFT sanctions cover story.

Turns out early this morning allies actually seized ("freezed") Central Bank of Russia (CBR) foreign currency held in EU, US banks. Reserve ratios of reported USD 643B value--domestic:external, currency basket--forfeiture risked as yet publicized, but notification out of UK is sufficient to trigger FX speculator short sale "attack", abrupt RUB devaluation, and explosion of civil disturbance in RU expected to depose Putin: to summarize alt-media hot takes and MSM triumph.

Russia Set for Currency Crisis as EU, US Limit Access to SWIFT, Freeze CBR Assets

There's really no other way to put it: the decision by the West to limit Russian banks' access to SWIFT and to freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Russia is equivalent to dropping a financial nuclear bomb on the Russian economy.

The Russian economy is now isolated globally, with only China serving as a potential lifeline. But even then, the Chinese government has prohibited state banks from financing purchases of Russian commodities, a sign that China itself is not looking favorably at recent developments.


Reports have emerged over the weekend that, in response to the West's sanctions, bank runs have begun in Russia (as expected). Queues at banks and ATMs are widely reported in both traditional and social media, with Russian citizens no longer able to obtain foreign currencies. Russia's Tinkoff Bank, the world's largest digital bank and Russia's second largest credit card issuer, was quoting EUR/RUB at 163.00 and USD/RUB at 153.00-171.00 - that's effectively a 100% increase from where the market closed on Friday.

REUTERS | Sanctions shock-and-awe reverberates beyond Russia
"a large chunk of its foreign currency reserves"
ASEAN stops short of calling out Russia in delayed statement
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 02:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, European cities, including mine, are fighting to get their share of Ukrainian refugees.

Yes, all this is grim for Putin... But there is nothing that nuclear weapons can't fix.

Of course, "don't be silly"; we were saying that this time last week too.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 08:03:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Johnson's Nationality and Borders Bill passes, however, any Ukrainian who arrives in Britain outside of official resettlement schemes will be treated as a criminal, receiving limited rights and risking imprisonment in processing centres thousands of miles from our shores.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 08:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stocks decline amid Russia's invasion, sanctions escalation
The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq each opened lower. [WTI] crude oil prices (CL=F) soared to as much as $99.10 per barrel before paring some gains. Brent crude (BZ=F), the international standard, rose to a near seven-year high of more than $104 per barrel. Gold prices jumped while [US] Treasury yields slid as investors piled into [OECD] safe haven assets.
NO *flation-fighting rate hike for yous!
Capital Economics group chief economist Neil Shearing wrote in a note Monday. "So far at least the West has stopped short of a ban on energy imports from Russia, which would be the most powerful sanctions they could implement."

"At the same time, the US, European Union, UK and Canada have announced sanctions[freeze] on the Central Bank of Russia (CBR)," Shearing added. "This is perhaps a more significant move since it will substantially reduce the ability of the CBR to liquidate its foreign assets to support the ruble and help Russian firms service FX-denominated liabilities. Around 40% of Russia's international [FX] reserves are held in the financial systems of the countries that have signed up to these sanctions."

The ruble opened lower by about 30% against the dollar in offshore trading [Emerging Mrkt Economy [EME] currencies]
versus Advanced Economy (AE) currencies parity watch: USD:RUB, 1:99.53
and Russia's central bank more than doubled its benchmark interest rate to a near two-decade high of 20% in a move to try and help counter the currency's depreciation.

"While ["]market fundamentals["] in the U.S. [bull market] have seen very minimal deterioration, sentiment-driven concerns are unlikely to change anytime soon. From a market perspective, sanctions against Russia will likely have the largest impact on currency markets, including the ruble, the Euro and the dollar," David Bahnsen, chief investment officer of The Bahnsen Group, wrote in an email Monday morning.

by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 03:28:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RU is not NAZI Germany!

US Treasury Prohibits Transactions With Russia's Central Bank, Wealth Fund & Finance Ministry, 28 Feb

The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has prohibited United States citizens from engaging in transactions with Russia's Central Bank, its National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance.
This action effectively immobilizes any assets of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation held in the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located.
The United States has not taken this action alone. On February 26, 2022, partners and allies committed to imposing restrictive measures that will prevent the Central Bank of the Russian Federation from deploying its international reserves in ways that would undermine the impact of United States sanctions and the European Union followed up with their restrictions last night. Our actions demonstrate global support for Ukraine and the commitment to hold Russia's threatening, authoritarian rulers responsible for their HEINOUS actions.
Today's actions were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 [19 Apr 2021], which authorizes sanctions against Russia for its harmful foreign activities, including violating well-established principles of international law, such as respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states.
The Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive will disrupt Russia's attempts to prop up its rapidly depreciating currency by restricting global supplies of the ruble and access to reserves that Russia may try to exchange to support the ruble.  

Contemporaneously with the issuance of this directive, OFAC is issuing a general license to authorize certain energy-related transactions with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and will follow with other authorizations and guidance as needed.

Yellen added that in coordination with partners and allies, the US was "following through on key commitments to restrict Russia's access to these its own valuable resources."
except gas and oil
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 04:27:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 04:31:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
USD:UAH, 1:29.67
EUR:UAH, 1:33.47

by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 04:50:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True. Nazi germany didn't have nuclear weapons.
And the Swiss never turned on them

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 05:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
before that, US industrialists were free to trade with the NAZI ray-geem AND the USSR
archived 1941 calling ..., legendary US profiteers
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 05:40:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DW's Monday Morning press burst from the gates with a will to push RU collapse into existence.

Russia's economy in crisis as sanctions bite, beginning with RUB DEPRECIATION

Russia's currency, the ruble, fell by around 30% to record lows after the latest sanctions, although it did recover slightly in recent hours.
supra Understanding on-shore, off-shore FX demand
The currency collapse has led to long lines outside ATMs across Russia, with fears rising over further plunges in the value of the ruble. The below tweet shows a video of a line outside ATMs in Moscow at 5 a.m. On Monday, the central bank announced that the Moscow Stock Exchange would not open.
ATM? supra Understanding domestic and int'l intrabank payment networks; and customary EME (eg. GR, VZ, AR, BR, TR, CN, etc) central bank capital controls and "plunge protection teams"
CBR, Exporters to sell foreign currency revenues in all cases
CBR Operation of Moscow Exchange on 28 February 2022
List of SPFS users of the Bank of Russia

However, if Russia struggles to buy rubles [?!] with its foreign reserves, pressure on the currency will intensify and long lines at ATMs could evolve into more panicked runs on banks. The exact details of how the central bank will be blocked are yet to be revealed.
wut. CBR exists to print RUB, finance domestic purchase of goods with FX reserves settled in foreign denominations; NATO external finTech obviate imported RU *flation.
Around 15% of its foreign reserves are held in China, and the Chinese government may be willing to help. Russia also holds one of the largest stockpiles of gold in the world, around 2,300 tons -- worth around $142 billion at current prices. However, Sergei Guriev [!], an economist [!] with Sciences Po university in Paris, told the Financial Times [!] that such options were fraught with uncertainty as well.

"Whoever says it will be easy to sell gold or yuans [sic] must be kidding. Chinese state banks are already blocking financing of Russian oil sales [?]. China is afraid [?] and rightly so of secondary sanctions.

supra first-order capital control: RMB instrument for FX instead of PBOC-issued yuan tender; "afraid" is an impolitic turn of phrase, considering relentless US "currency manipulator" charges, tariff retaliation, AND sordid "secondary sanctions" currently afflicting ASEAN members arising from specious JCPOA and WTO penalties primarily orchestrated by US to block IMF adding China to its SDR basket.
second-order currency control: Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System CBIBPS aka CIPS
However, until it is clear which banks will be hit, it is difficult to make a meaningful assessment of the impact. Russia has built its own alternative to SWIFT, known as SPFS. It already accounts for around 20% of domestic Russian transactions [sic; see SPFS/FMS], but it has struggled to attract overseas banks.
Russia Briefs
Russia's Alternative To SWIFT, 15 Dec 2021
Pakistan's Prime Minister Khan Meets Putin, Discusses Trade, 25 Feb 2022
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 11:35:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SWIFT is just a messaging system; payments can still go through without it.

But it's a pain. My US credit union isn't on SWIFT....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 08:43:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with First Bank of America Fourth Life for 35 years.
TBTF! No midddle-man! No branch banking!
And $35 will get 'er done, ahem, discretely at any account on the prison planet. In that respect C's vig has a slight edge on PayPal, I think.
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:11:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heck, I haven't needed SWIFT in ~15 years. But I have frequently enjoyed the swift and might swords of C fraud detection in the past 10.
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But with mine I got a credit card with a large American flag (it's called USALiance, after they gave up having to explain IAG all the time). I don't think I'll ever need to transfer money to the account again, and for withdrawals I just use the ATM.

The credit card I would really like to have is that of the Chemnitz Sparkasse. Just look at it:

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 09:18:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
vanity plate archive
by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 10:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the question of Putin's health has been evoked repeatedly :

What follows is the "Putin" sub-plot of a collaborative parody vampire novel I participated in, in 2009. The main theme is a plot by a Californian vampire start-up aiming for world domination.

Perpetual Darkness - an extract
The Board's ordinary business was expedited in a perfunctory manner. Everyone was restless; they were all on standby, awaiting the results of the Davos mission.

If the mission was successful, it would be probably a week before Mirka could get back with labelled bags of organic material; another couple of days to brew the serum; and then they could finally go into action. There was no way to know how many samples would be recovered, or which world leaders would fall thus into their power. There was, indeed, no formally defined process to assign Directors to victims; but all assumed that the well-defined informal pecking order would prevail, with their Chairman, Master Valeriu, having first pick.

Valeriu sensed the restless mood and decided to take the bull by the horns. He made a game of it. They brainstormed a list of names, in three columns : Political leaders; business magnates; top journalists. He stopped the count at forty prime victims. Then he took an anonymous poll : who would be your first choice?

After the count, there was a rare moment of levity when it turned out that, of twenty-three directors present, seventeen wanted Putin.


That same afternoon in Davos, Peter Brown also had a rendezvous with Milos and Laslo. He interrogated Laslo about his sample collection methods, and smiled with approval when he explained about his helpers. He enumerated a number of high-value targets, which Laslo undertook to give the highest priority to.

"And our number one target is Vladimir Putin", said Brown.

"No way!" said Laslo. "I've talked to the permanent staff about him. Apparently, every year, he brings his own staff, chambermaids and everything. Nobody gets near him. He doesn't even use the hotel's toilets : he craps into a sort of potty thing, and they ship it all back to Russia."

"Wow, that's weirder than Howard Hughes!" said Milos.

"No, it's sort of rational paranoia", Laslo continued. "It seems the CIA pulled a trick on Brezhnev in the seventies : they cut into the waste pipe from his room, collected a sample of his shit, and diagnosed the liver disease that eventually killed him. Putin doesn't want to be diagnosed, it seems."

"What are all these samples for, anyway?" asked Milos anxiously.

Brown smiled broadly. "It's a research project. We wish to discover whether, as we suspect, a large proportion of world leaders have vampire ancestry. We need to analyze biological samples to do that."

"Then why do you want me to add stuff to their food?" Milos pursued.

After an almost imperceptible hesitation, Brown replied : "It's a biological agent that will react in a certain harmless way on the metabolism of a person with vampire ancestry, and leave traces in samples taken afterwards. It will greatly enhance our capacities of detection and analysis."

"That's great!" said Laslo enthusiastically. "I'm proud to contribute to the project!". Milos kept his own counsel, but accepted the bags of blood Brown handed over to him.

The town was already buzzing with business magnates, power brokers and deal-makers. World leaders were mostly expected the following afternoon, in time for the inaugural dinner.

Shortly after nightfall, Hank and Mark Davidson met with Peter Brown in a different café on the outskirts of Davos. Brown was terse and businesslike: "As our direct-action operatives, your mission is to obtain biological samples from high-value targets which we can't access by other means. But your first duty is to avoid detection. Even at the expense of failure in your assigned missions. And in the event of your being captured or killed, it is imperative that there be no connection to myself or to the Organisation. Any compromise of my status as official invitee would be disastrous."

Hank realised that Davidson was seething with anger. Understandably so : Brown was apparently treating the two of them as equals, and as his inferiors; whereas Davidson was a fellow Director, and chief of the Security section of the Organisation. In Davidson's mind, and perhaps in that of Brown, his status as a mere Coffer put him perpetually in a position of inferiority, and resentfully on the defensive.

"Master Petru, there is no need to lecture me about security imperatives. Indeed, it would be well to defer to me on the subject. Give me the list of targets, and let me deal with the matter."

"Of course, Master Mirka." said Brown, with a forced smile. "I treat with you as an equal. But you must understand that, in this mission, there can be only one operational commander."

"Indeed", Davidson concurred. "However, for security reasons, I think it would be unwise for us to meet again at Davos. There are police, soldiers, cameras everywhere. Iancu and I will execute our missions without any further reference to yourself. I believe this will be the most effective strategy."

"Fine", said Brown, realising he had been out-manoeuvered. "Vladimir Putin is our highest value target. Our local operatives do not have access to him." He outlined what was known of Putin's domestic arrangements. "Over to you, Master Mirka, to devise the plan to get what we want from him." On the one hand, Brown realised, if the Putin mission succeeded, he would have difficulty claiming much credit for it. On the other hand, if it went sour, then he would carry no blame.

The approach to the hotel was fairly easy, much easier than Hank had anticipated. Davidson had plotted it out well, he realised; it was physically challenging, with fences to vault and walls to climb, but not very risky for someone of his calibre. He had to be very careful with the timing; Davidson had determined the pattern of military patrols precisely, and his safety margins were slim.

The real danger was the random patrols which supplemented the regular ones. But Davidson was lurking in the shadows, ready to cover him in that event.

Likewise, entering the hotel wasn't all that hard. Laslò had given him some useful clues about how to work around the alarm system. Once inside, he took off his grey overall, and headed for the Russians' suite in his bellhop uniform.

There, he had a stroke of luck. He had all the necessary material and skill to pick the lock of the suite, or to force it if necessary; but it would have taken time, and might have attracted attention. But the door was ajar, and he glided through. The suite was big, and apparently empty. He found the legendary potty, and collected the precious sample with distaste. He had almost reached the suite's exit door again when a door opened, and a young woman emerged from a small office.

Startled, she addressed him in Russian, then in English : "What are you doing here? It's off limits, surely you know that." She's probably feeling guilty about leaving the door open, thought Hank. Good looking : perhaps she's waiting for a lover? Do I have to take her down? A quick decision was required : he knew he could do it without fuss, and would do her no lasting harm. He would get away OK, but there would be an investigation, and who knew the consequences? Better try to bluff his way out.

"I'm sorry. I saw the open door and ... I thought you might be waiting for someone. Why not me?"

She grinned at this, and seemed to weigh his proposition. Oh Christ, he thought : what if she says yes?

"Run away, little boy. The important people will be back soon. Another time perhaps." Hank winked at her, and made a graceful exit.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 11:39:15 AM EST
Davos, continued

Back outside in the snow, he knew the job was almost over. And he realised that the time for decisions was near.

He had never thought much about politics. His loyalty to his vampire kin was automatic, unquestioning. Being asked to kill for them had been a true test, a borderline moral dilemma which circumstances had allowed him to sidestep. Mere burglary he had no moral qualms with. World domination? Most of the directors seemed to be decent enough people. On balance, they would likely do a better job than the incumbents.

But his brief contact with this other crowd, the vampirologists of the WHO, had perturbed him more than he cared to admit. Ordinary enough people, but they were making their own decisions; like fish swimming freely in a sea of possibilities, weighing freedom and responsibility, making moral choices. He realised that he had been an ant all his life, marching in a column, never straying from the path determined for him, never imagining that he might take initiatives on his own account.

Checking his watch, he waited before crossing the last open space before the security perimeter fence. Once the scheduled patrol had disappeared, he set out across it, walking fast but noiselessly in the snow. He spotted Davidson a hundred yards off on the other side of the fence, at the arranged meeting point. Suddenly Davidson waved him back, but it was too late.

"Halt! Hands in the air!" First in German then in English, a two-man security patrol intercepted him, close to the security fence but still on the wrong side. Still in the closed security zone.

Play dumb again, though Hank. What am I doing here. Nothing much. The gear I'm carrying is a giveaway, though. It's not looking good.

He waited patiently, hands held high, as the Swiss soldiers closed on him, automatic weapons at the ready but not actually pointing at him. Nice touch, he thought.

As they came to a halt facing him, a couple of yards away, one of them made a quiet choking sound, then slumped. Garotted by Davidson, who had approached soundlessly, invisibly behind him.

The second soldier brought his gun to bear and opened fire as Davidson sprang at him. He was almost stopped in mid air by the impact of four or five powerful bullets, but landed on his target, his knife plunging downward in an arc, over the soldier's body armour, through his throat into his heart.

As they sprawled in the snow, Davidson face down on top of his victim, Hank suddenly saw things more clearly.

All this for a hunk of shit, he thought wonderingly. A doggy bag of Putin pooh. He slipped the ziplock bag out of his pocket, and threw it away as far as he could into the snow.

We never finished the novel, but logically, Putin is the only major world leader who escapes the vampires' biohack, so it would have been up to him to save the world.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 11:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 03:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny, I found a declassified paper on remote diagnosis of Brezhnev, but they don't mention the sewer hack.
I wonder where I read it originally

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 05:15:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drug-addled nazi Zelenskiy and dying madman Putin agree to talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy agreed to start peace talks with Russia, his office said Sunday.

Following a phone call with Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko, Zelenskyy's office said he had agreed to send a delegation to a meeting on the Belarusian-Ukrianian border near the Pripyat river.

The talks would be the first to take place since Russia invaded Ukraine. His office said the talks would be held without preconditions.

"We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River," Zelenskyy said in a statement.

Russian nuclear deterrence on high alert
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered that Russia's nuclear deterrence forces be put on high alert.

"I order the defence minister and the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into a special mode of combat service," Putin said in a televised address.

The move comes following a wave of sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine that look set to cripple the Russian economy.

it'll all turn out fine in the end... unless it all turns to toast.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 02:40:13 PM EST
AFP | Ukraine Forms 'International Brigade' To Fight Russia
President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday urged foreigners to head to Ukrainian embassies worldwide to sign up for an "international brigade" of volunteers
That's a funny way to spell unpaid freedom fighter. Or all expenses paid vacation.
to help fight invading Russian forces.

"All foreigners wishing to join the resistance against the Russian occupiers and protect global security are invited by the Ukrainian leadership to come to our state and join the ranks of the territorial defence forces," Zelensky said in a statement.

"A separate unit is being formed from foreigners -- the International Brigade of the territorial defence of Ukraine. This will be a key testimony of your support for our country."

by Cat on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 05:54:06 PM EST
Turkey to implement pact limiting Russian warships transit to Black Sea

Erdogan has decided that Russia is at war (very perceptive of him).  Therefor he has the right to prevent Russian warships (and Ukrainian ones too) from passing the Dardanelles.

Under the 1936 accord, Turkey has control over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles and the power to regulate transit of naval warships. It also guarantees the free passage of civilian vessels in peacetime and restricts the passage of ships not belonging to Black Sea countries.

In wartime, or when it is threatened by aggression, Turkey is authorised to close the straits to all foreign warships. It can also refuse transit for merchant ships from countries at war with Turkey and to fortify the straits in case of conflict.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 08:10:39 PM EST
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 12:15:56 AM EST
From the twitter thread you (actually/accidentally?) linked, an interesting discussion of the question (it's about providing Ukrainian pilots with aircraft they are already familiar with :
Someone points out to me that Slovakia decided a few days ago to accelerate the phasing out of its MiG-29s (were meant to last to next near) because it didn't want dependence on Russian technicians to maintain them. Opportunity there. https:/tvnoviny.sk/domace/clanok

So it seems eminently doable.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 03:27:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-war rally draws at least 100,000 in Berlin, 27 Feb
At least 100,000 people gathered in the center of Berlin to demonstrate against Russia's invasion of Ukraine as the German parliament was in an extraordinary session over the response to the resulting security crisis.
Many of those in attendance dressed in the sunflower yellow and sky blue of the Ukrainian flag. They carried signs with slogans including "No World War 3" and "Stop the killer" as they amassed at the Brandenburg Gate, located near the Russian Embassy on central Berlin's Under den Linden avenue
DC approval
WaPo.Bloomberg | Putin Has Already Caused a Revolution in Germany
It wasn't a physical one, like the blasts of the bombs Russian President Vladimir Putin is lobbing at the brave people of Ukraine. It was instead the detonation of two or more decades of naive, misguided and often hypocritical foreign and defense policy.

In a special session of parliament, Chancellor Olaf Scholz dispatched nearly every dogma Germans -- notably including his own party, the Social Democrats -- have stubbornly clung to for a generation to the chagrin of their allies in NATO and the European Union.
The goal, several speakers made clear, was the complete economic, financial and political isolation of Putin's Russia.

But that wasn't the biggest surprise. That prize goes to the decision to finally send weapons to Ukraine for its self-defense. Throughout this crisis, Germany had stubbornly stuck to its position of not arming parties in war (which it has hypocritically ignored in other conflicts).
That sanctimoniousness has crumbled, as Germans keep witnessing Ukrainian heroism. Like people across much of the world, they're agape at the valor of ordinary Ukrainians preparing to fight, and of mothers stoically seeking shelter with their children in subway shafts. And they're inspired by the laconic courage of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy -- who answered American offers to transport him to safety with the reminder: "I need ammunition, not a ride."

REUTERS | Germany mulls extending nuclear plants' life-span - economy minister
Asked by German broadcaster ARD whether he could imagine letting [E.ON] nuclear plants run longer than planned under Germany's exit plan, which foresees shutting down the country's three remaining plans by the end of 2022, Robert Habeck said: "It is part of my ministry's tasks to answer this question. I would not reject it on ideological grounds - but the preliminary examination has shown that it does not help us."
Foreign Policy | Putin Accidentally Started a Revolution in Germany
€100B defense fund, 2% p.a. therafter; "nuclear role in NATO"; purchase order of US arms
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 03:46:08 AM EST
In shock news, Zelenskiy's approval ratings are at 90%.
Sure that the military are going to depose him now.

I don't know what drugs he is doing, but I want some.

In more worrying news, 70% of Ukrainians believe the Russians can be defeated.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 08:17:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 05:58:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a great marketing move, a Lviv brewery repurposes bottles of its popular "Putin is a dickhead" beer.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 02:14:17 PM EST
Chechen fail?
Ukrainian military forces were successful in destroying a Chechen special forces column of 56 tanks near the capital of Kyiv on Saturday, Ukrainian news agency The Kyiv Independent reported.

According to the report, which the outlet said was confirmed by the Ukrainian President's Office, the attack killed top Chechen general Magomed Tushayev, head of the 141 motorized regiment of the Chechnya National Guard.

The report was not independently verified.

But even if it's untrue, it's a good story.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 02:23:37 PM EST
Prigozhin sends in the cooks to kill Zelensky?
More than 400 Russian mercenaries are operating in Kyiv with orders from the Kremlin to assassinate President Zelensky and his government and prepare the ground for Moscow to take control, The Times has learnt.

The Wagner Group, a private militia run by one of President Putin's closest allies and operating as an arm-length branch of the state, flew in mercenaries from Africa five weeks ago on a mission to decapitate Zelensky's government in return for a handsome financial bonus.

Information about their mission reached the Ukrainian government on Saturday morning and hours later Kyiv declared a 36-hour "hard" curfew to sweep the city for Russian saboteurs, warning civilians that they would be seen as Kremlin agents and risked being "liquidated" if they stepped outside.

Great news for Africa, if it's true.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 03:08:22 PM EST
The Kremlin once again denied it has any influence over Wagner and suggested that Prigozhin only provides catering services to the Russian government.

For a broad definition of "catering".
Traditionally in France, bribes in the construction industry were itemised on bills in terms of cubic metres of concrete. Perhaps the mercenaries are billed in multiples of canapés and petits fours.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 03:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A  blurry video claiming to show a Ukrainian girl confronting a Russian soldier has generated 12 million views on TikTok and nearly one million views on Twitter.

But it actually shows Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi, aged 11 at the time, confronting an Israeli soldier after her older brother was arrested in 2012.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 06:15:01 PM EST
Zelensky Asks EU to Admit Ukraine as a Member
The EU membership process can take years and involves broad economic, judicial and political ["]changes["]. Even Balkan countries, like North Macedonia, that are carrying out such changes have spent years waiting for permission to even begin negotiations.
A number of EU capitals, including France, are wary of accepting any new members.

The EU did sign a ["]broad trade and political agreement["] with Ukraine in 2014, a pact that the Kremlin [?] had tried to defeat.

by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 07:08:10 PM EST
It's not coming out of nowhere. The proximate cause of the Maidan revolution, lest we forget, was Yanukovych's last-minute refusal to sign the EU association agreement, preferring instead to put his country in hock to Russia.
The European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement is in force since 2017.
The agreement commits Ukraine to economic, judicial, and financial reforms to converge its policies and legislation to those of the European Union. Ukraine commits to gradually conform to EU technical and consumer standards.[6] The EU agrees to provide Ukraine with political and financial support, access to research and knowledge, and preferential access to EU markets. The agreement commits both parties to promote a gradual convergence toward the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy and European Defence Agency policies.

Accelerating the process is an absolute certainty after recent events. Chalk up a victory for Vlad.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 07:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not what Ursula said. Is she bluffing?
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 08:14:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She has already been outflanked
The European parliament will adopt a resolution on Tuesday calling on EU institutions to work towards granting EU candidate status to Ukraine and in the meantime to continue to work towards integration into the EU single market, the Guardian's Daniel Boffey writes.

The call from MEPs follows images from Kyiv of president Volodymyr Zelenskiy signing a formal letter of application for EU membership.

An EU official has explained the process. The letter of application is written to the president of the council of the EU which is currently held by France.

Member states, the European parliament and national parliaments are then informed of the application by the council.

A meeting of the 27 EU affairs ministers, known as the general affairs council, needs to take a decision to formally seek the European Commission's opinion on the application.

It would normally take 15 to 18 months for the commission to issue its opinion, although that period could be significantly shortened "depending on the political considerations", the official said.

There is a pre-accession period of varying length, during which the candidate country adapts its institutions, standards and infrastructure to enable it to meet its obligations as a member state. The accession process involves compliance with the accession criteria including adoption and implementation of EU law.

Another key is that previously, Ukrainian public opinion was fairly evenly split between "pro-Russian" and "pro-European", forcing their governments to tread warily. This (by my best guess) is now a thing of the past : plausibly, a certain number of people will have changed their minds. So the pace of reform will accelerate.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 08:38:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Others think so too... Anna Colin Lebedev

En se plaçant véritablement comme un ennemi de l'Ukraine, Vladimir Poutine a clairement créé une unité nationale qui ne préexistait pas. En 2014, quand la guerre a éclaté dans le Donbass, les sentiments nationaux étaient plus disparates, la société ukrainienne était traversée par diverses perceptions de la Russie, du passé commun et de l'avenir. La guerre a fait basculer tout le monde, ou presque, dans le même camp. Aujourd'hui, les sentiments anti-ukrainiens sont encapsulés : les personnes qui les portent vivent dans une « république séparatiste », ou sont parties en Russie.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 09:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Slav and Balt club
Several presidents of EU member states have published an open letter calling for Ukraine's swift candidacy into the EU.

The letter reads as follows:

We, the Presidents of the EU member states: the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, the Slovak Republic, and the Republic of Slovenia strongly believe that Ukraine deserves receiving an immediate EU accession perspective.

Therefore, we call on the EU Member States to consolidate highest political support to Ukraine and enable the EU institutions to conduct steps to immediately grant Ukraine a EU candidate country status and open the process of negotiations.

In this critical moment, we reiterate our full solidarity with Ukraine and its People.

The open letter follows an appeal earlier today from Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy for Ukraine to be granted EU membership immediately under a special procedure, with Ukraine formally applying for membership.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 09:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finland will provide weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, the country's prime minister, Sanna Marin, has said.

The shipment will include 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 bullets, 1,500 anti-tank weapons and 70,000 food packages, Finland's defence minister, Antti Kaikkonen, added.

Speaking after a government meeting today, Kaikkonen told reporters:

The anti-tank weapons can be used to fight armoured vehicles.

Kaikkonen hinted yesterday that the Finnish government was considering scrapping Finland's long-standing policy of not allowing weapons to be exported to war zones.

The minister also said that Finland, which is not a Nato member and shares a long border with Russia, had given the green light to Estonia to send previously Finnish-owned field guns to Ukraine.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 07:31:09 PM EST
There is one new word today capturing the mood on Chinese social media in light of the Russia-Ukraine crisis: wū xīn gōngzuò (乌心工作), meaning people are so concerned with what is happening in Ukraine, that they cannot focus on work.
(Is there a way to get the diacriticals to show up properly in the subject?)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 08:26:30 PM EST
Some background stories on Ukrainian gas pipelines:

from the site founder

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 10:08:41 PM EST
EU Commission to propose Windfall tax on big oil, proceeds to fund renewables, 28 Feb
According to Reuters sources, the European Commission will propose EU countries tax energy companies' windfall profits from the gas price rise. With revenue from the windfall being invested in renewable energy sources. The proposal is subject to change, but would not introduce an EU-wide tax, rather it would permit governments to introduce the tax without running afoul of EU rules.
Unfortunately for [EU27] taxing authorities, LNG is a seaborne commodity, and producers are incentivized to sell gas to whoever bids the highest price, net of tax and transportation. By increasing taxes on energy companies in Europe, it could mean European utilities and consumers need to pay a higher price to pull gas away from Asia. Effectively putting the additional tax burden on already stretched European consumers.

In the medium term, the taxation strategy becomes more opaque.

by Cat on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 12:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Friends, eh?
Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven said they would contest the "spurious and unfounded basis" of European Union sanctions imposed for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The EU on Monday sanctioned both Fridman and Aven, along with dozens of other prominent Russians, Reuters reported.

The EU said "Aven is one of Vladimir Putin's closest oligarchs" and that Fridman had been "referred to as a top Russian financier and enabler of Putin's inner circle."
Aven said it was wrong of the EU to say that he was an "especially close personal friend" of Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. Fridman said it was untrue that he had "cultivated strong ties" to the administration of Vladimir Putin.

They both said it was untrue to state they "were unofficial emissaries for the Russian government" or that they had supported or benefited from Russian decision-makers responsible for the destabilisation of Ukraine.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 08:34:45 AM EST
Pat Robertson explains Ukraine

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 01:01:58 PM EST
We'll be greeted as liberators, redux:

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 01:49:55 PM EST
The first exchange of prisoners in Sumy region took place, head of Sumy Regional State Administration Dmytro Zhyvytsky said.

"We have exchanged our five people from the territory defense unit for one Russian military police officer," he wrote on his Telegram channel.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 02:44:50 PM EST
Egypt has launched an international wheat tender to import wheat from April 13 to 26, just 48 hours after canceling a tender that received only a single offer.

The Egyptian Supply Commodities Authority set a Feb. 28 deadline for offers for the new tender.

It canceled an international wheat tender on Thursday after receiving a single offer to import 60,000 tons of French wheat. A tender must receive more than one offer to become valid.

The country is working on a plan to import wheat from areas outside Russia and Ukraine following the outbreak of war, said Nader Saad, a government spokesman, adding that Egypt has a 5 million ton strategic stockpile of wheat.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 08:48:27 PM EST
Pre-pandemic, Egypt was RU's biggest importer. What are the odds, this year's Coalition of the Willing will be successful in persuading all EME's purchasing RU wheat to wait for mo' better justice delivery from Canada?

flow graphic: Russia, Ukraine and the global wheat supply, 2019

2021-2022 Marketing Year (MT)
PLATTS | Russia's MY 2021-22 wheat exports down 18% through Dec 2, prices dip from record high
"Turkey remained the largest buyer of Russian wheat during the year, buying 3.9 million mt as of Nov. 25, followed by Egypt at 2.8 million mt and Kazakhstan at 1.2 million mt."

US Wheat Associates | MY mid-year yields, illustrated
"USDA pegs 2021/22 world wheat production at a record 776 million metric tons (MMT), up 1.0 MMT from last year and 2% above the 5-year average of 757 MMT. Total global supplies are forecast to reach 1,064 MMT, 1% less than last year."

by Cat on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 11:44:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some questions (no time to look for answers sorry)

  • Is the 2021 Ukrainian harvest OK? Exports already exported? Silos targeted by the Russians? etc
  • Let's hope things settle down before the planting season (ground still frozen, nothing lost so far)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 2nd, 2022 at 10:06:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
**Ukraine has seen a 27% rise in its wheat shipments so far in the marketing year 2021-22 (July to June), with exports rising to 16.1 million mt, as neighboring Russia increased its export taxes. Platts Analytics projected Ukraine's wheat exports at 22.5 million mt in MY 2021-22.

So, most of the expected exports (year to June) have been shipped, with "only" a 6 million metric ton shortfall. No global crisis there.

Optimistic version (war lasts no more than a couple of months) :

  • Some people will make some fortunes speculating in wheat (and sunflower oil)
  • Consumers will get stiffed
  • Nothing new here

Pessimistic version : no comment.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 2nd, 2022 at 11:30:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't help myself. Ukrainian national symbol in short supply, Ramadan panic in India
Anxious Indian buyers, with no clarity on sunflower oil shipments out of Ukraine, are turning to crude palm oil from Malaysia to fulfill demand ahead of month-long Ramadan which starts in early April, industry sources told S&P Global Platts.

"Panic at destinations specially at India about the supply chain is resulting in buyers looking to cover oil from every source and the asked price," Vivek Pathak, managing director of India-based trading house Athena Tradewinds, which deals predominantly in sunflower oil said in a Feb. 28 note.

Last month, 500,000 mt of sunflower oil was expected to leave Ukraine and the March line up so far is also around 450,000 mt, of which India buys roughly 250,000 mt each month, Pathak said.

Buyers are currently not placing new orders for Ukrainian sunflower oil as they have not been able to track their shipments since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, sources said.

Ukraine accounts for 46% of the world's sunflower oil exports and the ongoing war represents a significant disruption to the global edible oils trade flows as the market was looking for an increase in sunflower oil exports from Ukraine to partially relieve the current tight supply in global edible oil markets, CGS-CIMB Research said Feb. 28.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 2nd, 2022 at 11:24:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's been a weird couple of days, and internationally, Ukraine suddenly seems to have the upper hand.

But on the ground, Putin seems to be leaning towards all-out war : until recently, he has seemed to be trying to avoid large-scale civilian deaths (if we charitably ascribe the various atrocities to blunders or poor tactical decisions by battlefield commanders).

But in Kharkiv, where apparently the Russians expected to be welcomed with open arms, because it's a "Russian majority" city... it's getting extremely bloody. Mariupol, if the separatists try to take the city, will be carnage.

But to negotiate an end to the war, they need to throw Putin a bone. Cede the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk to Putin, and be done with it?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 09:03:48 PM EST
Here's one
1/12 We - Russia - want to be a nation of peace. Alas, few people would call us that now.
2/12 But let's at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar.
3/12 I cannot, do not want and will not remain silent watching how pseudo-historical nonsense about the events of 100 years ago has become an excuse for Russians to kill Ukrainians, and for Ukrainians to kill Russians while defending themselves.
4/12 It's the third decade of the 21st century, and we are watching news about people burning down in tanks and bombed houses. We are watching real threats to start a nuclear war on our TVs.
5/12 I am from the USSR myself. I was born there. And the main phrase from there - from my childhood - was "fight for peace." I call on everyone to take to the streets and fight for peace.
6/12 Putin is not Russia. And if there is anything in Russia right now that you can be most proud of, it is those 6824 people who were detained because - without any call - they took to the streets with placards saying "No War".
7/12 They say that someone who cannot attend a rally and does not risk being arrested for it cannot call for it. I'm already in prison, so I think I can.
8/12 We cannot wait any longer. Wherever you are, in Russia, Belarus or on the other side of the planet, go to the main square of your city every weekday and at 2 pm on weekends and holidays.
9/12 If you are abroad, come to the Russian embassy. If you can organise a demonstration, do so on the weekend. Yes, maybe only a few people will take to the streets on the first day. And in the second - even less.
10/12 But we must, gritting our teeth and overcoming fear, come out and demand an end to the war.
Each arrested person must be replaced by two newcomers.
11/12 If in order to stop the war we have to fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves, we will fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves.
12/12 Everything has a price, and now, in the spring of 2022, we must pay this price. There's no one to do it for us. Let's not "be against the war." Let's fight against the war.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 2nd, 2022 at 11:08:51 AM EST

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