A cornered rat: Putin starts negotiating for Ukraine

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2014/11/26 • Politics

Western sanctions, the fall of oil prices, the rapid devaluation of the ruble and outflow of investments are slowly doing their ‘good deed’ for Russia. Even though Putin continues to spew nonsense that “because of the fall of the ruble, budget revenues are not only not suffering, they have even increased,” he understands that he screwed up royally. While before we heard the Kremlin’s cries about the threat of fascism, the importance of defending “compatriots” in Ukraine from the “brown Kyiv junta,” federalization and the “inefficacy” of Western sanctions; the negative tendencies in the Russian economy made the Kremlin regime honest regarding its position on Ukraine.

As a background for internal use, there is still the broken record about Ukrainian “Nazism,” however the Kremlin started launching completely different messages to the outside world, in a quite earnest and even inappropriate form. The main conditions the Kremlin now poses is abolishing the sanctions against Russia and an international guarantee that Ukraine would not become a NATO member in exchange for the Kremlin’s cessation of further confrontation of the Ukrainian situation. The statements by Russian politicians regarding the necessity to adhere to the Minsk Accords and initiate dialogue between Kyiv and the rest of Ukrainian regions (i.e. federalization) lie in the plain of “non-membership” of our country in European-Atlantic structures.

Economic aspect

In order to make sure that the West’s sanctions against Russia are giving the necessary result, it is enough to look at the differences between the statements made by the Russian Prime Minister in the past months. For example, in July at the Russian government session, Dmitry Medvedev claimed that “no sanctions are able to lend irreparable economical damage (to Russia).”

In October, in an interview to CNBD Medvedev was also sure of Russia’s power, claiming that “our partner, at least those of our partners who are passing certain sanctions at the moment, made it their main goal to cut Russian banks off from the solvency market, from financing. I don’t think they will be able to do it… We will definitely survive these sanctions.”

In parallel to such brave statements, oil continued to decrease in price, and the ruble – to devalue.

This has the necessary effect on the consciousness of the Kremlin junta and Medvedev who chained his viewpoint about the sanctions drastically in mid-November, saying: “We have to just (!) say no to sanctions, return our relations to the normal plain of work, return to normal, calm, productive dialogue.”

It is also necessary to note, that the oil price laid at the foundation of the Russian 2015 state budget is $96, and Energy Minister Alexandr Novak reports that Russia has no possibility of influencing the global oil prices. However, it is necessary to hope for something to fill up the budget which is tied to oil and gas.

It seems “something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” if Medvedev wants to “just” solve the sanctions issue.

Military-political aspect

Besides economic ‘proposals,’ the Kremlin started bargaining over NATO’s possible expansion in the east.

On November 13, in an interview to German TV channel ARD, Vladimir Putin vaguely mentioned some sort of “demarkation lines” in Europe in the sphere of security.

On November 17, the deputy director of the department of information and press of the Russian MFA Zakharova accused the NATO of increasing its military presence near Russian borders.

On November 19, during a press conference with his Hungarian colleague, head of the Russian MFA Sergey Lavrov stated the importance of Ukraine’s non-block status to “ensure stability in Europe and the Atlantic region, also from the viewpoint of Ukraine’s national interests.”

On the same day, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told BBC openly: “Russia needs a 100 percent guarantee that nobody is thinking of Ukraine’s membership in the NATO.”

On November 20, official representative of the Russian MFA Lukashevich proposed an option to guarantee NATO’s non-expansion into the east on account of Ukraine: “Russia proposed (and retains it large-scale European initiative at the talks table) to turn these obligations into legally-binding ones, which could be documented in the Agreement on European Security… There are individual statements made by Ukrainian politicians that the neutral status of the country, documented in the Constitution, should be changed. If a principal political decision is made to change this status, of course, the issue of guarantees will be raised directly. It is obvious, that the appearance of such guarantees could help diffuse the tension.”

What may we conclude?

It is obvious that the Kremlin does not view Ukraine as an independent subject of international relations. But there is another, more important instance.

Putin’s statements manifested through his associates are not diplomacy but an open way to haggle and plea for salvation. For the Tzar to be able to safe face. All the claims about “Nazis” and “threats” to the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine turned out to be a screen for the annexation of Crimea and starting the war in eastern Ukraine.

The West understands this very well. It is a matter of time whether anyone will give Putin such guarantees. But it is quite obvious that Putin betrayed ‘Novorossiya,’ ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ as independent formations or new Russian subjects. The only thing he has left for him is begging the West to ensure Ukraine’s non-block status.

Another important issue is the following: does the West understand that by allowing Putin to breathe now, they are charging him for another attack against Ukraine and, possibly, the Baltic states? The situation in Georgia in 2008 should not repeat itself, when Europe pretended it believed Moscow’s fairytales about the genocide to Tskhinvali citizens and elegantly distanced itself from the conflict.

Despite the Kremlin’s readiness to haggle with the West over Ukraine, we have to account for the possibility of influence of external players on the decision-making process in the Kremlin. By playing on Russia’s foreign-political priorities and emperor Putin’s personal ambitions, they can encourage the Kremlin to deepen further into Ukraine with the bloodiest consequences possible for both Russia and Ukraine. At the same time, we cannot exclude Russia’s new strategic partner, China, from the list of these players.

It is important for the West to comprehend one obvious reality: Russia headed by Putin is an Ebola virus which has to be combatted using the most radical means.

Girkin should either shoot Putin for betraying ‘Novorossiya,’ or, governed by officer’s honor, shoot himself in the forehead.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Source: Information Resistance

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  • Michel Cloarec

    Everybody knew all the time that putin was only interested in stopping NATO for Ukrainia. The rest he does not care . But to make LPR and DPR to understand will take at least 100 years.
    The russian budget is based on the price of the oil barril ! So there he is lying again.

  • Rods

    Keep up the support for the US Congress law #pass2828 as this will tighten the ratchet further on Putin and also help Ukraine defend itself from Russian aggression. Looking at the fact that Russia have used 50% of their foreign currency reserves from their peak of $517bn, this time last year, suggests that they will be in deep financial trouble in 12 months, when they will have to make dramatic changes for the worse to their economy or start selling their gold reserves to survive, which at $461bn, would allow then to survive for about a further 12 months or so before they are bankrupt.

    The rouble has dropped about the same amount as the oil price so far, so oil earnings in roubles will be little changed apart from lower sales where we are beginning to see an oil and gas glut, but the 25% of food and everything else they need to import will be more expensive and this will cause high inflation and and along with sanctions eat into their currency reserves where they are going to have to replace the capital that their banks and industry need as their loans and bonds will need refinancing and the west have closed their capital markets to some of the big borrowers. High interest rates to defend the rouble and high inflation will reduce the roubles buying power, industries profits and the Kremlin’s tax income. In the next 12 months the Russian government will have a budget deficit of around 3%, which is going to need to be funded or budget cuts made to balance the books.

    I think the current problems in Ukraine caused by Russia are going to take time to be resolved, but Putin with his $2tn economy cannot win against the combined $44tn economies of the West that have imposed sanctions. His rhetoric, bravado and propaganda ‘that sanctions can’t hurt us’ is just that, they can, are and will continue to do so.

    • Jim

      Unfortunately, as German officials have recently revealed, the information warfare campaign is going to intensify through which Putin hopes to change attitudes, or cause more sympathetic (greedy) people to come into power.

      “I think we need to prepare ourselves for a prolonged conflict in which Russia will use all the means at its disposal,” Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the German Bundestag and a member of Merkel’s conservative party, told Reuters.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/25/us-ukraine-crisis-germany-insight-idUSKCN0J91EN20141125

      The battle is against what German officials describe as a “massive propaganda campaign” by the Kremlin to convince Russia sympathizers in Germany and elsewhere in Europe to break with the hard line backed by Merkel and Washington.

      The most public example of this was an interview Putin gave to German public television station ARD.

      Broadcast on the eve of Merkel’s Sydney speech, Putin struck an unusually conciliatory tone, saying he was convinced there was a way out of the crisis. In a message tailored for his German audience, he expressed concerns about ethnic cleansing in eastern Ukraine by neo-Nazis wearing swastikas and SS symbols.

      Putin, of course, is lying as usual, in an attempt to play on the emotions of his audience. It is all propaganda, all the time for him, and it is war.

      Make no mistake, Russia is in a state of war with the West, especially the US, and they will do whatever they have to to win. The goal is to sever the trans-Atlantic connection so that Putin can dominate Eurasia from Vladivostok to Lisbon.

      • Rods

        I read that about Germany and their coalition is far from united, but I think Merkel is convinced that talking to Putin is a waste of time and her view will prevail. A bigger concern is that EU sanctions need to be renewed next March and where all countries have to agree. It is far from certain that Italy, the Czech Republic or Hungary will.

        I think European leader are mainly gradually facing the fact that you can’t deal with Putin as no agreements are honoured and that he is a direct threat to the Western European way of life and the established world’s order that you don’t invade and change borders. Those on the front line definitely are with the Baltic countries and Poland leading the way, not on with their rhetoric but also by increasing their defence spending.

        In the US they are becoming increasingly aware in Congress, see proposed law #pass2828 and also in the Senate, that not fully supporting a country that want our values and way of life will have major global strategic implications not only as an ally but one that they signed an agreement in upholding their territorial integrity. They realise that no one will take US assurances seriously in the future with all of it strategic implications to global territorial integrity, especially in Asia. It also poses a direct threat to globalization. They now just need to get the White House to see the damage their overly cautions and inept foreign policies are causing.

        I agree that if Putin can get away with it, he will create an empire from Lisbon to Vladivostok. All it will need for his evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing!

  • Danny Smith

    I do not believe Putin he lies too often,
    so if Putin is making the condition of Ukraine not joining nato for peace.. expect more not less military incursions into Ukraine.
    just like with the Minsk agreement.. worthless as far as Putin is concerned

  • Paul P. Valtos

    Well looks like Czar Putin did not take Economics 101. Maybe he should read Keynes

    • Eddy Verhaeghe

      If he starts reading Keynes, then in a few years Russia will be bankrupted…

  • Jim

    If we haven’t learned by now not to trust a single statement that comes from Putin, then I fear we will be taken in yet again. He will promise whatever it takes to have the sanctions lifted but he will not scale back his efforts in Ukraine in any way. More likely he would accelerate the aggression while in the midst of negotiations. Wake up.

    • Jim

      There are a lot of weaknesses in Europe which Putin can take advantage of. Russian propaganda is quite effective over time given their usage of principles of Neuro-Linguistic Programming to shut down the rational mind in order to implant emotion-based belief structures. Trying to argue with a person whose belief structure has been formed by such Trojan horse is nearly impossible. Add to that a growing dislike for the US and economic advantages offered by Russia (bribes, lucrative kick-backs, skimming) and the control of the energy resources and it might not be long until Putin has divided and conquered the EU.

  • Jim

    BTW, if there is a vote – I vote for Girkin to shoot Putin in the head, then maybe Surkov, Kiselyev and Dugin, then himself. I view the choice at the end of the article as a false disjunction. It is possible to have “both-and” in this case.

  • Jim

    Putin is not at all concerned about the Russian economy or people. He will prevent any “Color Revolutions” from taking place in Russia, using the enormous means at his disposal. Very few people are willing to risk having a visit in the middle of the night from the FSB and most of them have become so zombified that they don’t even see that Putin is at fault.

    And, unfortunately, as German officials have recently revealed, the information warfare campaign is going to intensify through which Putin hopes to change attitudes, or cause more sympathetic (greedy) people to come into power.

    “I think we need to prepare ourselves for a prolonged conflict in which Russia will use all the means at its disposal,” Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the German Bundestag and a member of Merkel’s conservative party, told Reuters.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/25/us-ukraine-crisis-germany-insight-idUSKCN0J91EN20141125

    The battle is against what German officials describe as a “massive propaganda campaign” by the Kremlin to convince Russia sympathizers in Germany and elsewhere in Europe to break with the hard line backed by Merkel and Washington.

    The most public example of this was an interview Putin gave to German public television station ARD.

    Broadcast on the eve of Merkel’s Sydney speech, Putin struck an unusually conciliatory tone, saying he was convinced there was a way out of the crisis. In a message tailored for his German audience, he expressed concerns about ethnic cleansing in eastern Ukraine by neo-Nazis wearing swastikas and SS symbols.

    Putin, of course, is lying as usual, in an attempt to play on the emotions of his audience. It is all propaganda, all the time for him, and it is war.

    Make no mistake, Russia is in a state of war with the West, especially the US, and they will do whatever they have to to win. The goal is to sever the trans-Atlantic connection so that Putin can dominate Eurasia from Vladivostok to Lisbon.

  • Don Casavant

    Why not make a trade with Putlier?
    If Russia does the following, Ukraine will not join NATO
    1. Withdraw all Russian Troops from Ukraine, including Crimea.
    2. Withdraw all Russian troops and weapons from eastern Ukraine.
    3. Disband and disarm all Terrorists in areas controlled by DNR and LNR.
    4. Turn over to the Kiev government all members of DNR and LNR.
    5. Turn over to the Kiev government all Russians that were in the DNR or LNR.
    6. Turn over to the Kiev government all Ukrainian “officials” that are now living in Russia.
    7. Pay the Kiev government to repair all the damage that the Terrorist did in the eastern part of Ukraine.
    8. Pay the Kiev government for all the money that was lost due to the Russia boycott of Ukrainian goods.

    Of course this agreement would be contingent on the USA passing Senate bill 2828!!

  • Murf

    An old American Indian saying about the White conquest is appropriate when talking about Putin and his offers:

    “You only kept one promise, you promised you would take our land and you did.”
    This will only end when Russia is broken. Utterly.

    If it ends before that then his little green cockroaches will come out of the wood work somewhere else.

    My money is on Azerbaijan as the Baltics represent a big risk on a confrontation with NATO. Azerbaijan is not aligned with any one and is dependent on Russian weaponry but they are direct competition for European gas and oil.

    So the only answer is to keep him hemorrhaging money as fast as possible.That way he will have to many other problems to deal with.

    Preferably a separatists movement in Siberia. Russia is to big and xenophobic. It needs to be broken up into manageable parts.

  • JisLor

    The German socialists are firmly pro Russian and German public opinion now hovers at 52% (& rising) favoring Russia and Putin, considering Ukraine a fascist entity. The two “stars” of this german putinism are Putin’s favorite prostitutes: the socialist former chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schroeder who are his agents in Germany

  • Michael Couck

    9. Turn over Yanukovych and all the money he stole.
    10. Putty to publicly cut off his index finger, couldn’t resist.