All-Out War in Ukraine: NATO’s ‘Final Offensive’ Be Warned

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All-Out War in Ukraine: NATO’s ‘Final Offensive’ Be Warned

Unread post by Paul Kemp » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:17 pm

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All-Out War in Ukraine: NATO’s ‘Final Offensive’
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By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, November 21, 2014 - This Article
Region: Russia and FSU
Theme: US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: UKRAINE REPORT
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  • There are clear signs that a major war is about to break out in Ukraine: A war actively promoted by the NATO regimes and supported by their allies and clients in Asia (Japan) and the Middle East (Saudi Arabia). The war over Ukraine will essentially run along the lines of a full-scale military offensive against the southeast Donbas region, targeting the breakaway ethnic Ukraine- Russian Peoples Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk, with the intention of deposing the democratically elected government, disarming the popular militias, killing the guerrilla resistance partisans and their mass base, dismantling the popular representative organizations and engaging in ethnic cleansing of millions of bilingual Ukraino-Russian citizens. NATO’s forthcoming military seizure of the Donbas region is a continuation and extension of its original violent putsch in Kiev, which overthrew an elected Ukrainian government in February 2014.

    The Kiev junta and its newly ‘elected’ client rulers, and its NATO sponsors are intent on a major purge to consolidate the puppet Poroshenko’s dictatorial rule. The recent NATO-sponsored elections excluded several major political parties that had traditionally supported the country’s large ethnic minority populations, and was boycotted in the Donbas region. This sham election in Kiev set the tone for NATO’s next move toward converting Ukraine into one gigantic US multi-purpose military base aimed at the Russian heartland and into a neo-colony for German capital, supplying Berlin with grain and raw materials while serving as a captive market for German manufactured goods.

    An intensifying war fever is sweeping the West; the consequences of this madness appear graver by the hour.
War Signs: The Propaganda and Sanctions Campaign, the G20 Summit and the Military Build Up

The official drum- beat for a widening conflict in Ukraine, spearheaded by the Kiev junta and its fascist militias, echoes in every Western mass media outlet, every day. Major mass media propaganda mills and government ‘spokesmen and women’ publish or announce new trumped-up accounts of growing Russian military threats to its neighbors and cross-border invasions into Ukraine. New Russian incursions are ‘reported’ from the Nordic borders and Baltic states to the Caucuses. The Swedish regime creates a new level of hysteria over a mysterious “Russian” submarine off the coast of Stockholm, which it never identifies or locates – let alone confirms the ‘sighting’. Estonia and Latvia claim Russian warplanes violated their air space without confirmation. Poland expels Russian “spies” without proof or witnesses. Provocative full-scale joint NATO-client state military exercises are taking place along Russia’s frontiers in the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

NATO is sending vast arms shipments to the Kiev junta, along with “Special Forces” advisers and counter-insurgency experts in anticipation of a full-scale attack against the rebels in the Donbas.

The Kiev regime has never abided by the Minsk cease fire. According to the UN Human Rights office 13 people on average –mostly civilians –have been killed each day since the September cease fire. In eight weeks, the UN reports that 957 people have killed –overwhelmingly by Kiev’s armed forces.

The Kiev regime, in turn, has cut all basic social and public services to the Peoples’ Republics’, including electricity, fuel, civil service salaries, pensions, medical supplies, salaries for teachers and medical workers, municipal workers wages; banking and transport have been blockaded.

The strategy is to further strangle the economy, destroy the infrastructure, force an even greater mass exodus of destitute refugees from the densely populated cities across the border into Russia and then to launch massive air, missile, artillery and ground assaults on urban centers as well as rebel bases.

The Kiev junta has launched an all-out military mobilization in the Western regions, accompanied by rabid anti-Russian, anti-Eastern Orthodox indoctrination campaigns designed to attract the most violent far right chauvinist thugs and to incorporate the Nazi-style military brigades into the frontline shock troops. The cynical use of irregular fascist militias will ‘free’ NATO and Germany from any responsibility for the inevitable terror and atrocities in their campaign. This system of ‘plausible deniability’ mirrors the tactics of the German Nazis whose hordes of fascist Ukrainians and Ustashi Croats were notorious in their epoch of ethnic cleansing.

G20-plus-NATO: Support of the Kiev Blitz

To isolate and weaken resistance in the Donbas and guarantee the victory of the impending Kiev blitz, the EU and the US are intensifying their economic, military and diplomatic pressure on Russia to abandon the nascent peoples’ democracy in the south-east region of Ukraine, their principle ally.

Each and every escalation of economic sanctions against Russia is designed to weaken the capacity of the Donbas resistance fighters to defend their homes, towns and cities. Each and every Russian shipment of essential medical supplies and food to the besieged population evokes a new and more hysterical outburst – because it counters Kiev-NATO strategy of starving the partisans and their mass base into submission or provoking their flight to safety across the Russian border.

After suffering a series of defeats, the Kiev regime and its NATO strategists decided to sign a ‘peace protocol’, the so-called Minsk agreement, to halt the advance of the Donbas resistance into the southern regions and to protect its Kiev’s soldiers and militias holed-up in isolated pockets in the East. The Minsk agreement was designed to allow the Kiev junta to build up its military, re-organize its command and incorporate the disparate Nazi militias into its overall military forces in preparation for a ‘final offensive’. Kiev’s military build-up on the inside and NATO’s escalation of sanctions against Russia on the outside would be two sides of the same strategy: the success of a frontal attack on the democratic resistance of the Donbas basin depends on minimizing Russian military support through international sanctions.

NATO’s virulent hostility to Russian President Putin was on full display at the G20 meeting in Australia: NATO-linked presidents and prime ministers, especially Merkel, Obama, Cameron, Abbott, and Harper’s political threats and overt personal insults paralleled Kiev’s growing starvation blockade of the besieged rebels and population centers in the south-east. Both the G20’s economic threats against Russia and the diplomatic isolation of Putin and Kiev’s economic blockade are preludes to NATO’s Final Solution – the physical annihilation of all vestiges of Donbas resistance, popular democracy and cultural-economic ties with Russia.

Kiev depends on its NATO mentors to impose a new round of severe sanctions against Russia, especially if its planned invasion encounters a well armed and robust mass resistance bolstered by Russian support. NATO is counting on Kiev’s restored and newly supplied military capacity to effectively destroy the southeast centers of resistance.

NATO has decided on an ‘all-or-nothing campaign’: to seize all of Ukraine or, failing that, destroy the restive southeast, obliterate its population and productive capacity and engage in an all-out economic (and possibly shooting) war with Russia. Chancellor Angela Merkel is on board with this plan despite the complaints of German industrialists over their huge loss of export sales to Russia. President Hollande of France has signed on dismissing the complaints of trade unionists over the loss of thousands French jobs in the shipyards. Prime Minister David Cameron is eager for an economic war against Moscow, suggesting the bankers of the City of London find new channels to launder the illicit earnings of Russian oligarchs.

The Russian Response

Russian diplomats are desperate to find a compromise, which allows Ukraine’s ethnic Ukraine- Russian population in the southeast to retain some autonomy under a federation plan and regain influence within the ‘new’ post-putsch Ukraine. Russian military strategists have provided logistical and military aid to the resistance in order to avoid a repeat of the Odessa massacre of ethnic Russians by Ukrainian fascists on a massive scale. Above all, Russia cannot afford to have NATO-Nazi-Kiev military bases along its southern ‘underbelly’, imposing a blockade of the Crimea and forcing a mass exodus of ethnic Russians from the Donbas. Under Putin, the Russian government has tried to propose compromises allowing Western economic supremacy over Ukraine but without NATO military expansion and absorption by Kiev.

That policy of conciliation has repeatedly failed.

The democratically elected ‘compromise regime’ in Kiev was overthrown in February 2014 in a violent putsch, which installed a pro-NATO junta.

Kiev violated the Minsk agreement with impunity and encouragement from the NATO powers and Germany.

The recent G20 meeting in Australia featured a rabble-rousing chorus against President Putin. The crucial four-hour private meeting between Putin and Merkel turned into a fiasco when Germany parroted the NATO chorus.

Putin finally responded by expanding Russia’s air and ground troop preparedness along its borders while accelerating Moscow’s economic pivot to Asia.

Most important, President Putin has announced that Russia cannot stand by and allow the massacre of a whole people in the Donbas region.

Is Poroshenko’s forthcoming blitz against the people of southeast Ukraine designed to provoke a Russian response – to the humanitarian crisis? Will Russia confront the NATO-directed Kiev offensive and risk a total break with the West?

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James Petras latest book is THE POLITICS OF IMPERIALISM:THE US, ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST (CLARITY PRESS:ATLANTA)
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Paul Kemp
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Re: All-Out War in Ukraine: Russia’s Vulnerability to EU – U

Unread post by Paul Kemp » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:10 am

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Russia’s Vulnerability to EU – US Sanctions and Military Encroachments
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By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, November 09, 2014 This Article
Region: Russia and FSU
Theme: Global Economy, US NATO War Agenda
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  • The US-EU sponsored coup in the Ukraine and its conversion from a stable Russian trading partner, to a devastated EU economic client and NATO launch pad, as well as the subsequent economic sanctions against Russia for supporting the Russian ethnic majority in the Donbas region and Crimea, illustrate the dangerous vulnerability of the Russian economy and state. The current effort to increase Russia’s national security and economic viability in the face of these challenges requires a critical analysis of the policies and structures emerging in the post-Soviet era.
Pillage as Privatization

Over the past quarter century, several trillion dollars worth of public property in every sector of the Russian economy was illegally transferred or violently seized by gangster-oligarchs acting through armed gangs, especially during its ‘transition to capitalism’.

From 1990 to 1999, over 6 million Russian citizens died prematurely as a result of the catastrophic collapse of the economy; life expectancy for males declined from 67 years during the Soviet era to 55 year during the Yeltsin period. Russia’s GNP declined sixty percent – a historic first for a country not at war. Following Yeltsin’s violent seizure of power and his bombing of the Russian parliament, the regime proceeded to ‘prioritize’ the privatization of the economy, selling off the energy, natural resources, banking, transport and communication sectors at one-tenth or less of their real value to well-connected cronies and foreign entities. Armed thugs, organized by emerging oligarchs “completed” the program of privatization by assaulting, murdering and threatening rivals. Hundreds of thousands of elderly pensioners were tossed out of their homes and apartments in a vicious land-grab by violent property speculators.

US and European academic financial consultants “advised” rival oligarchs and government ministers on the most “efficient” market techniques for pillaging the economy, while skimming off lucrative fees and commissions –fortunes were made for the well-connected. Meanwhile, living standards collapsed, impoverishing two thirds of Russian households, suicides quadrupled and deaths from alcoholism, drug addiction, HIV and venereal diseases became rampant. Syphilis and tuberculosis reached epidemic proportions – diseases fully controlled during the Soviet era remerged with the closure of clinics and hospitals.

Of course, the respectable western media celebrated the pillage of Russia as the transition to “free elections and a free market economy”. They wrote glowing articles describing the political power and dominance of gangster oligarchs as the reflection of a rising “liberal democracy”. The Russian state was thus converted from a global superpower into an abject client regime penetrated by western intelligence agencies and unable to govern and enforce its treaties and agreements with Western powers. The US and EU rapidly displaced Russian influence in Eastern Europe and quickly snapped up former state-owned industries, the mass media and financial institutions. Communist and leftist and even nationalist officials were ousted and replaced by pliant and subservient ‘free market’ pro-NATO politicians.

The US and EU violated every single agreement signed by Gorbachev and the West: Eastern European regimes became NATO members; West Germany annexed the East and military bases were expanded right up to Russia’s borders. Pro-NATO “think tanks” were established and supplied intelligence and anti-Russian propaganda. Hundreds of NGOs, funded by the US, operated within Russia as propaganda and organizing instruments for “subservient” neo-liberal politicians. In the former Soviet Caucuses and Far East, the West fomented separatist sectarian movements and armed uprisings, especially in Chechnya; the US sponsored dictators in the Caucuses and corrupt neo-liberal puppets in Georgia. The Russian state was colonized and its putative ruler, Boris Yeltsin, often in a drunken stupor, was propped up and manipulated to scratch out executive fiats . . . further disintegrating the state and society.

The Yeltsin decade is observed and remembered by the Russian people as a disaster and by the US-EU, the Russian oligarchs and their followers as a ‘Golden Age’… of pillage. For the immense majority of Russians it was the Dark Ages when Russian science and culture were ravaged; world-class scientists, artists and engineers were starved of incomes and driven to despair, flight and poverty. For the US, the EU and the oligarchs it was the era of ‘easy pickings’: economic, cultural and intellectual pillage, billion dollar fortunes, political impunity, unbridled criminality and subservience to Western dictates. Agreements with the Russian state were violated even before the ink was dry. It was the era of the unipolar US-centered world, the ‘New World Order’ where Washington could influence and invade nationalist adversaries and Russian allies with impunity.

The Golden Era of unchallenged world domination became the Western ‘standard’ for judging Russia after Yeltsin. Every domestic and foreign policy, adopted during the Putin years 2000 – 2014, has been judged by Washington according to whether it conformed or deviated from the Yeltsin decade of unchallenged pillage and manipulation.

The Putin Era: State and Economic Reconstruction and EU-US Belligerence

President Putin’s first and foremost task was to end Russia’s collapse into nothingness. Over time, the state and economy recovered some semblance of order and legality. The economy began to recover and grow; employment, wages and living standards, and mortality rates improved. Trade, investment and financial transactions with the West were normalized – unadulterated pillage was prosecuted. Russia’s recovery was viewed by the West with ambiguity: Many legitimate business people and MNCs welcomed the re-establishment of law and order and the end of gangsterism; in contrast, policymakers in Washington and Brussels as well as the vulture capitalists of Wall Street and the City of London quickly condemned what they termed Putin’s ‘rising authoritarianism’ and ‘statism’, as Russian authorities began to investigate the oligarchs for tax evasion, large-scale money laundering, the corruption of public officials and even murder.

Putin’s rise to power coincided with the world-wide commodity boom. The spectacular rise in the price of Russian oil and gas and metals (2003-2013) allowed the Russian economy to grow at a rapid rate while the Russian state increased its regulation of the economy and began to restore its military. Putin’s success in ending the most egregious forms of pillage of the Russian economy and re-establishing Russian sovereignty made him popular with the electorate: he was repeatedly re-elected by a robust majority.

As Russia distanced itself from the quasi-satellite policies, personnel and practices of the Yeltsin years, the US and EU launched a multi-prong hostile political strategy designed to undermine President Putin and restore pliant Yeltsin-like neo-liberal clones to power. Russian NGOs funded by US foundations and acting as CIA fronts, organized mass protests targeting the elected officials. Western-backed ultra-liberal political parties competed unsuccessfully for national and local offices. The US-funded Carnegie Center, a notorious propaganda mill, churned out virulent tracts purporting to describe Putin’s demonic ‘authoritarian’ policies, his ‘persecution’ of dissident oligarchs and his ‘return’ to a ‘Soviet style command economy’.

While the West sought to restore the ‘Golden Age of Pillage’ via internal political surrogates, it pursued an aggressive foreign policy designed to eliminate Russian allies and trading partners, especially in the Middle East. The US invaded Iraq, murdered Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party leadership, and established a sectarian puppet regime, eliminating Moscow’s key secular-nationalist ally in the region. The US decreed sanctions on Iran, a major lucrative trading partner with Russia. The US and the EU backed a large-scale armed insurgency to overthrow President Bashaar Assad in Syria, another Russian ally, and to deprive the Russian Navy of a friendly port on the Mediterranean. The US and the EU bombed Libya, a major oil and trade partner of Russia (and China) hoping to install a pro-Western client regime.

Goading Russia in the Caucasus and on the Black Sea, the US backed-Georgian regime invaded a Russian protectorate, South Ossetia, in 2008, killing scores of Russian peace keepers and hundreds of civilians, but was repelled by a furious Russian counter-attack.

In 2014, the Western offensive to isolate, encircle and eventually undermine any possibility of an independent Russian state went into high gear. The US financed a civil-military coup ousting the elected regime of President Viktor Yanukovytch, who had opposed EU annexation and NATO affiliation. Washington imposed a puppet regime deeply hostile to Russia and ethnic Russian-Ukrainian citizens in the southeast and Crimea. Russian opposition to the coup and support for pro-democracy federalists in the south-east and Crimea served as a pretext for Western sanctions in an effort to undermine Russia’s oil, banking and manufacturing sectors and to cripple its economy.

Imperial strategists in Washington and Brussels broke all previous agreements with the Putin Administration and tried to turn Putin’s oligarch allies against the Russian president by threatening their holdings in the West (especially laundered bank accounts and properties). Russian state oil companies, engaged in joint ventures with Chevron, Exxon, and Total, were suddenly cut off from Western capital markets.

The cumulative impact of this decade-long Western offensive culminating in the current wave of severe sanctions was to provoke a recession in Russia, to undermine the currency (the ruble declined 23% in 2014), drive up the cost of imports and hurt local consumers. Russian industries, dependent on foreign equipment and parts, as well as oil companies dependent on imported technology for exploiting the Arctic reserves were made to feel the pain of ‘Putin’s intransigence’.

Despite the short-term successes of the US-EU war against the Russian economy, the Putin Administration has remained extremely popular among the Russian electorate, with approval ratings exceeding 80%. This has relegated Putin’s pro-Western opposition to the dust bin of history. Nevertheless the Western sanctions policy and the aggressive political – NATO military encirclement of Russia, has exposed the vulnerabilities of Moscow.

Russian Vulnerabilities: The Limits of Putin’s Restoration of Russian Sovereignty

n the aftermath of the Western and Russian oligarch’s pillage of the Russian economy and the savage degradation of Russian society, President Putin pursued a complex strategy.

First, he sought to differentiate between ‘political’ and ‘economic’ oligarchs: the latter included oligarchs willing to co-operate with the government in rebuilding the economy and willing to confine their activity to the generous guidelines set forth by President Putin. They retained enormous economic power and profits, but not political power. In exchange, Putin allowed the ‘economic’ oligarchs to maintain their dubiously-acquired business empires. In contrast, those oligarchs who sought political power and financed Yeltsin-era politicians were targeted – some were stripped of their fortunes and others were prosecuted for crimes, ranging from money laundering, tax evasion, swindles and illegal transfer of funds overseas up to financing the murder of their rivals.

The second focus of President Putin’s early political strategy was to deepen Russian cooperation with Western states and economies but on the basis of reciprocal market exchanges rather than one-sided, Western appropriation of Russian resources prevalent under Yeltsin. Putin sought to secure greater political-military integration with the US and EU to ensure Russian borders and spheres of influence. To that end, President Putin opened Russian military bases and supply lines for the US-EU military forces engaged in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and he did not oppose the EU-US sanctions against Iran. Putin acquiesced to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, despite Russia’s long standing economic ties with Baghdad. He joined the five powers ‘overseeing” the Palestine – Israeli ‘peace’ talks and went along with Washington’s one-sided support of Israel. He even gave the ‘green light’ to the NATO bombing of Libya, naively assuming it would be a limited affair – a ‘humanitarian’ intervention.

As a result of Putin’s political and diplomatic collusion with the Washington-NATO military expansion, Russian trade, investment and finance with the West prospered. Russian firms raised loans in Western capital markets; foreign investors flocked to the Russian stock market and multi-nationals formed joint ventures. Major oil and gas ventures flourished. The Russian economy recovered the living standards of the Soviet era; consumer spending boomed; unemployment fell from double to single digit; salaries and back wages were paid and research centers, universities, schools and cultural institutions began to recover.

The third component of Putin’s strategy was the state recovery (re-nationalization) of the strategic oil and gas sector. By outright purchase and buy-outs, through financial audits and the confiscation of the assets of gangster oligarchs, the Russian state takeover of oil and gas was successful. These re-nationalized sectors formed joint ventures with Western oil giants and led Russian exports during a period of peak energy demand. With the rise in oil prices over the Putin decade, Russia experienced a consumer-driven import boom – from agricultural commodities to luxury jewelry and autos… Putin consolidated his electoral support and deepened Russia’s ‘integration’ in Western markets.

Putin’s expansion and growth strategy looked exclusively westward to the EU and US, and not east to Asia/China or south to Latin America.

With this focus on the West, Putin’s initial tactical success began to expose Russia’s strategic vulnerabilities. The first signs were evident in the Western support for the corrupt oligarchs’ anti-Putin campaign and the media’s demonization of the Russian judicial system which prosecuted and convicted gangster oligarchs, like Mikhail Khodorkovsky . The second sign was the West’s financial and political support of the Yeltsin-era neo-liberals competing against Putin’s United Russia Party and candidates…It became clear that Putin’s effort to restore Russian sovereignty conflicted with the West’s plans to maintain Russia as a vassal state. The West favorably counterpoised the Golden Years of unrestrained pillage and domination of the Yeltsin period to the Putin era of an independent and dynamic Russia – by constantly tying the Russian president to the defunct Soviet Union and the KGB.

In 2010, the US encouraged its client, President Saakashvili of Georgia to invade Russia’s protectorate in South Ossetia. This was the first major indication that Putin’s accommodation with the West was counter-productive. Russian territorial borders, its allies and spheres of influence became Western targets. The US and EU condemned Russia’s defensive response even as Moscow withdrew its troops from Georgia after applying a sound beating.

Georgia was a militarist dress rehearsal; one of several western planned and financed coups – some dubbed ‘color revolutions’ other’s NATO ‘humanitarian interventions’. Yugoslavia in the Balkans was fragmented by NATO bombing and Ukraine had several ‘color’ uprisings up to the present bloody ‘civil war’. Washington and Brussels interpreted Putin’s series of conciliatory measures as weakness and felt free to encroach further on Russia’s frontier and to knock off regimes friendly to Russia.

By the middle of the second decade of the new century, the US and EU made a major strategic decision to weaken Russia’s security and its economy sovereignty: to seize control over Ukraine, expel Russia from its Black Sea military base in Crimea, convert the Ukraine into an advanced NATO outpost and cut Eastern Ukraine’s economic ties with Russia – especially the Russian market for the strategic Ukrainian military weaponry. The coup was financed by the West, while far-right and neo-Nazi Ukraine gangs provided the shock troops .The Kiev junta organized a war of conquest directed at purging the anti-coup, pro-democracy forces in the southeast Donbas region with its Russian ethnic majority and heavy industrial ties to Russia.

When Putin finally recognized the clear danger to Russia’s national security, his government responded by annexing Crimea after a popular referendum and started to provide sanctuary and supply lines for the embattled anti-Kiev federalists in eastern Ukraine. The West exploited the vulnerabilities in the Russian economy, which had resulted from Putin’s development model, and imposed wide-reaching economic sanctions designed to cripple Russia’s economy.

Western Sanctions, Russian Weakness: Rethinking Putin’s Strategic Approach

Western aggressive militarism and the sanctions against Russia exposed several critical vulnerabilities of Putin’s economic and political strategy. These include (1) his dependence on Western-oriented ‘economic oligarchs’ to promote his strategy for Russian economic growth; (2) his acceptance of most of the privatizations of the Yeltsin era; (3) his decision to focus on trade with the West, ignoring the China market, (4) his embrace of a gas and oil export strategy instead of developing a diversified economy; (5) his dependence on his allied robber-baron oligarchs – with no real experience in developing industry, no true financial skills, scant technological expertise and no concept of marketing – to restore and run the peak manufacturing sector. In contrast to the Chinese, the Russian oligarchs have been totally dependent on Western markets, finance and technology and have done little to develop domestic markets, implement self-financing by re-investing their profits or upgrade productivity via Russian technology and research.

In the face of Western sanctions Putin’s leading oligarch-allies are his weakest link in formulating an effective response. They press Putin to give in to Washington as they plead with Western banks to have their properties and accounts exempt from the sanctions. They are desperate to protect their assets in London and New York. In a word, they are desperate for President Putin to abandon the freedom fighters in southeast Ukraine and cut a deal with the Kiev junta.

This highlights the contradiction within Putin’s strategy of working with the ‘economic’ oligarchs, who have agreed not to oppose Putin within Russia, while transferring their massive wealth to Western banks, investing in luxury real estate in London, Paris and Manhattan and forming loyalties outside of Russia. In effect, they are closely tied to Russia’s current political enemies. Putin’s tactical success in harnessing oligarchs to his project of growth via stability has turned into a strategic weakness in defending the country from crippling economic reprisals.

Putin’s acceptance of the Yeltsin-era privatizations provided a certain stability in the short-run but it led to the massive flight of private capital overseas rather than remaining to be invested in projects to insure greater self-sufficiency. Today the capacity of the Russian government to mobilize and convert its economy into an engine of growth and to withstand imperial pressure is much weaker than the economy would have been if it was under greater state control. Putin will have a difficult time convincing private owners of major Russian industries to make sacrifices – they are too accustomed to receiving favors, subsidies and government contracts. Moreover, as their financial counterparts in the West press for payments on debts and deny new credits, the private elites are threatening to declare bankruptcy or to cut back production and discharge workers.

The rising tide of Western military encroachments on Russia’s borders, the string of broken promises regarding the incorporation of Eastern Europe into NATO and the bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, should have shown Putin that no amount of unilateral concessions was likely to win Western acceptance as a bona fide “partner”. Washington and Brussels were unwavering in their strategy to encircle and maintain Russia as a client.

Instead of turning west and offering support for US-NATO wars, Russia would have been in a far better position to resist sanctions and current military threats if it had diversified and oriented its economy and markets toward Asia, in particular China, with its dynamic economic growth and expanding domestic market, investment capacity and growing technical expertise. Clearly, China’s foreign policy has not been accompanied by wars and invasion of Russian allies and encroachment on Russia’s borders. While Russia has now turned to increase economic ties with Asia in the face of growing NATO threats, a great deal of time and space has been lost over the past 15 years. It will take another decade to reorient the Russian economy, with its major industries still controlled by the mediocre oligarchs and kleptocrats, holdovers from the Yeltsin period.

With the closure of Western markets, Putin has had to ‘pivot’ to China, other Asian nations and Latin America to find new markets and economic partners. But his growth strategy still depends on oil and gas exports and most of Russia’s private ‘business leaders’ are not real entrepreneurs capable of developing new competitive products, substituting Russian technology and inputs and identifying profitable markets. This generation of Russian ‘business leaders’ did not build their economic empires or conglomerates from the ‘bottom up’ – they seized and pillaged their assets from the public sector and they grew their wealth through state contracts and protection. Moscow now asks them to find alternative overseas markets, to innovate, compete and replace their dependence on German machinery.

The bulk of what passes for the Russian industrial capitalist class are not entrepreneurs, they are more like rent collectors and cronies – oriented to the West. Their origins are more often as gangsters and warlords who early on strong- armed their rivals out of the public giveaways of the 1990’s. While these oligarchs have sought to gain respectability after consolidating their economic empires and hired public relations agencies to polish their images and economic consultants to advise them on investments, they have never demonstrated any capacity to grow their firms into competitive enterprises. Instead they remained wholly dependent on capital, technology and intermediary imports from the West and subsidies from the Putin Administration.

The so-called Russian “capitalist” rentiers stand in sharp contrast to the dynamic Chinese public and private entrepreneurs – who borrowed overseas technology from the US, Japan, Taiwan and Germany, adapted and improved on the technology and are producing advanced highly competitive products. When the US-EU sanctions came into force, Russian industry found itself unprepared to substitute local production and President Putin had to arrange trade and import agreements with China and other sources for inputs.

The biggest strategic flaw in Putin’s economic strategy was his decision to concentrate on gas and oil exports to the West as his ‘engine of growth’. This resulted in Russia’s dependency on high prices for commodity exports and Western markets. With this in mind the US and EU exploited Russia’s vulnerability to any drop in the world price for energy and its dependence on Western oil extraction technology, equipment and joint ventures.

Putin’s policy has relied on a vision of economic integration with the West alongside greater co-operation and political connections with the NATO powers. These assumptions have been proven wrong by the march of events: US and EU cooperation was tactical and contingent on asymmetrical, indeed unilateral, concessions from Russia – especially its continued willingness to sacrifice its traditional allies in the Balkans, Middle East, North Africa and especially the Caucuses. Once Russia began to assert its own interests, the West turned hostile and confrontational. Ever since Russia opposed the coup regime in Kiev, the West’s goal has been the overthrow of Putin’s Russia. The ongoing Western offensive against Russia is not a passing phase: it is the beginning of a prolonged, intensified economic and political confrontation.

Though Russia is vulnerable, it is not without resources and capacity to resist, defend its national security and advance its economy.

Conclusion: What is to be Done?

First and foremost Russia must diversify its economy; it must industrialize its raw materials and invest heavily in substituting local production for Western imports. While shifting its trade to China is a positive step, it must not replicate the previous commodities (oil and gas) for manufactured goods trading pattern of the past.

Secondly, Russia must re-nationalize its banking, foreign trade and strategic industries, ending the dubious political and economic loyalties and rentier behavior of the current dysfunctional private ‘capitalist’ class. The Putin Administration must shift from oligarchs to technocrats, from rentiers to entrepreneurs, from speculators who earn in Russia and invest in the West to workers co-participation– in a word it must deepen the national, public, and productive character of the economy. It is not enough to claim that oligarchs who remain in Russia and declare loyalty to the Putin Administration are legitimate economic agents. They have generally disinvested from Russia, transferred their wealth abroad and have questioned legitimate state authority under pressure from Western sanctions.

Russia needs a new economic and political revolution - in which the government recognizes the West as an imperial threat and in which it counts on the organized Russian working class and not on dubious oligarchs. The Putin Administration has pulled Russia from the abyss and has instilled dignity and self-respect among Russians at home and abroad by standing up to Western aggression in the Ukraine. From this point on, President Putin needs to move forward and dismantle the entire Yeltsin klepto-state and economy and re-industrialize, diversify and develop its own high technology for a diversified economy.

And above all Russia needs to create new democratic, popular forms of democracy to sustain the transition to a secure, anti-imperialist and sovereign state. President Putin has the backing of the vast majority of Russian people; he has the scientific and professional cadre; he has allies in China and among the BRICs; and he has the will and the power to “do the right thing”.

The question remains whether Putin will succeed in this historical mission or whether, out of fear and indecision, he will capitulate before the threats of a dangerous and decaying West.

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Putin:Talking to Russia from position of strength is meaning

Unread post by Paul Kemp » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:50 pm

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Putin: Talking to Russia from position of strength is meaningless
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Home / News /
Published time: December 04, 2014 10:33 This Article
Edited time: December 04, 2014 20:52 Get short URL
Tags
Arms, History, Military, Missile defense,
Politics, Russia, USA
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Russia is open to the rest of the world and ready for developing equal partnership with other countries, said Vladimir Putin He dismissed treatment Russia through strength and sanctions as ineffective and warned against scheming.

“Talking to Russia from a position of strength is meaningless,” said Putin in his annual state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly, stressing that the ‘deterrence policy’ towards Russia is nothing new.

“The deterrence policy was not invented yesterday, it has been always conducted towards our country, for decades, if not centuries,” Putin noted.

“Every time somebody considers Russia is becoming too powerful and independent, such instruments are turned on immediately,” said Putin.

US manipulating foreign relations of Russia’s neighbors

The US has always been, either directly or behind the scenes, affecting relations between Russia and its neighbors, the president said.

“I’ve mentioned our American friends for a good reason,” Putin said. “Because sometimes you don’t even know to whom it is better to talk to: the governments of certain countries or directly with their American patrons.”

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http://www.youtube.com/v/IvciyvcBwPA
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ABM is a threat to US itself

Further deployment of America’s global anti-ballistic missile defense poses a threat to the US and those European countries that agreed to host it, because it builds up a dangerous illusion of invincibility, Putin said.

“This [ABM] constitutes a threat not only to the security of Russia, but to the whole world, in view of the possible destabilization of the strategic balance of powers. I believe this is dangerous for the US itself, as it creates a dangerous illusion of invulnerability and reinforces the tendency of unilateral, often ill-considered decisions and additional risks,” Putin said.

READ MORE: ‘Remember lessons we taught Hitler’: Top 10 quotes from Putin’s State of Nation address

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The European Phased Adaptive Approach, a centerpiece of the US missile defense shield in Europe, implies deployment of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, all of which are fitted with the Aegis weapon and radar system, interceptor batteries in Poland and Romania, radar in Turkey, and a command center at Ramstein, Germany, a US Air Force base.

Russia considers the system to be a major threat to its own security and has threatened to increase its own arsenals and missile shield piercing capabilities in response.

Russia says ‘no’ to arms race

Russia will not get involved in an expensive arms race, the president said, yet the country’s defensive capacity in the new conditions will be securely guaranteed.

“There’s no doubt about that – consider it done. Russia has both the capacity and creative decisions to do so,” Putin said.

READ MORE: Theft, graft in defense industry equals terrorism - Putin

Yugoslavia-style disintegration scenario for Russia failed

Russia has fought off attempts to initiate its disintegration, similar to the scenario applied to the former Yugoslavia, Putin said.

“They would make us follow the Yugoslavian scenario, with its disintegration and dismemberment of territory, with great relish and with all the resultant tragic consequences for the peoples of Russia. No way. We prevented it,” he said.

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Putin also recalled the fate of Adolf Hitler, who also planned to destroy Russia, and the Nazis’ misanthropic ideas.

“Everyone should remember how that ended,” Putin said.

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Russia & weakness incompatible

Russia cannot afford the liberty of being weak, Putin added.

“The more we retreat and offer excuses, the more impudent become our opponents, acting in the most cynical and aggressive manner,” Putin said.

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Putin recalled the situation in the 1990s when Russia showed unprecedented openness to international cooperation, but it faced “the support of separatists from abroad: informational, political, financial and from intelligence agencies, was absolutely evident.”

READ MORE: Putin offers amnesty for money coming back to Russia

All that was taking place at a time when Russia “considered its recent enemies as close friends and nearly allies,” Putin said.

Ukraine – our ‘brother nation’

Vladimir Putin spelt out Russia’s special bond with Ukraine as being like a “brother nation” and despite the recent tension between the two countries, this relationship will not change.

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"It is well known that Russia has not only supported Ukraine and other 'brother republics' of the former USSR in their seeking sovereignty, but also has contributed significantly to this process in early 1990s. Since then, our position has not changed. Each nation has an inalienable right to its own development path," the Russian president said.

Crimea’s reunification with Russia ‘historical’

The Russian president stated that Crimea was of huge civilizational and historical relevance for Russia. Putin stated how Crimea was to Russia, what Table Mount is to Jews and Judaism. He commented on how important as a spiritual reference the peninsula has for the Russian people, noting that Prince Vladimir was baptized in Crimea as a Christian, before he would eventually baptize all Rus.

“Exactly on these spiritual grounds our ancestors have perceived themselves as a common nation at the first time and forever,” Putin noted. “This gives us all reasons to say that Crimea is of enormous sacral importance for Russia,” he said with confidence, noting that “We will take this so once and forever.”

Writing the speech himself

The President's Federal Assembly address on the state of the nation and the country's major international and internal policies is one of the political highlights in the country. The annual speech is mentioned in the Russian constitution. This year the tradition marked its 20th anniversary - with the first address having been delivered by President Boris Yeltsin in February 1994.

The speech usually takes around an hour - with Putin's longest address having taken 82 minutes to deliver in 2012, and shortest 47 minutes in 2004. This year Putin spoke for just over an hour, in front of an audience of some 1,100 people at the Kremlin's Georgievsky hall.

With the current situation in the country - both in regards with economic situation and international relations, the president's address had been prepared by Putin himself, as well as last year's speech - a source in president's administration told RIA Novosti news agency.
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Last bumped by Paul Kemp on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:50 pm.

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