Supporter of Possible Sexual Deviants
Anyone paying attention to this?
Well, I did turn up in the bears thread as of a few minutes ago. Truth be told, I had only heard the term "bears" used in a sexual sense to refer to hairy-bodied male homosexuals, a class of people I positively would not wish to feast my eyes upon!
Scenarios for Ukraine’s Future
With the new Ukrainian government taking charge, the Crimea warning that it may leave the Ukraine and that it does not recognize the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian government, and the new government asking the West and the IMF for aid in paying 17 billion dollars of debts it’s worth considering what the future may hold.
- by Ian Welsh
- 2 min read
Largely Peaceful Partition
The Crimea was given to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1954. The majority of the population is Russian, and it is already an autonomous region. The Speaker of Parliament has spoken of the possibility of leaving Ukraine. One suspects that if it does, it will quickly be reabsorbed back into Russia. There are many in Crimea who don’t want this, including the Crimean Tatars and a Ukranian speaking minority, but they are the minority.
On the other hand, Kiev may not be willing to let Crimea go. The armed forces have pledged their loyalty to the new order.
Russia has been very generous with passports to people of Russian extraction. They could easily use the same justification they did for their war with Georgia (protecting our citizens) and intervene to enable the partition. Ukraine’s army may be less of a joke than Georgia’s, but if NATO doesn’t intervene, the outcome isn’t really in doubt. This intervention could just be for the Crimea, or Russia might want to peel off the parts of eastern Ukraine in which the population still mostly speaks Russian and supports Russia. From a strategic point of view, Russia needs room on its western border in case of any war. Ukraine holding all its current territory and essentially or actually part of NATO is simply not acceptable.
The Long Game
Why bother intervening? Let the rebels have their day, and their government. Let them get their money from the EU and from the IMF. That money will come with conditions, those conditions will be “reform”, and reform, these days, never means good things for ordinary people. The economy may improve briefly, but it will not improve in the long run.
Ukrainians admire and envy Poland’s success and believe that if only they were facing West rather than East, that would be them, but they are two very different countries. Poland has very low levels of inequality, Ukraine has some of the highest inequality in the world and an economy controlled by rich and powerful oligarchs. Europe loves oligarchs, so does the US and the IMF, and the oligarchs removed their support from the old government. The West isn’t going to allow the new government to take away the oligarchs money, power and control over the Ukrainian economy.
Ukraine can try to run a housing bubble for as long as the West is willing to give them free money, but they will not gain long-term prosperity from integration with the EU. Their fate is more likely to be Greece, or Spain, or Portugal, than it is to be Poland.
Russia won’t give up Sevastapol. But if an agreement is reached letting them keep using it, well, let the Ukrainians have their Europe centered government, for however long it lats. It didn’t last long before, it probably won’t this time.
Most of this is a guessing game about what Putin is thinking, because the decision is his. The Crimea won’t declare independence if they don’t know for sure that Russia has their back, and obviously the decision to intervene militarily is Putin’s. The West may be willing to help the Ukrainians with money, with weapons, and so on, but they aren’t going to get into a direct war with Russia over it.
I have read that Yanukovich and Putin positively loathe each other.Updates for anyone not keeping up:
Yanukovich (the current PM) has stepped down and fled. He's currently missing (most likely in Putin's breast pocket)
Ukraine: Pro-Russia Gunmen Seize Government Buildings In Crimea
Reuters | by DALTON BENNETT and KARL RITTER
Posted: 02/27/2014 5:52 am EST Updated: 02/27/2014 12:17 pm EST
By Alessandra Prentice
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Armed men seized the parliament in Ukraine's Crimea region on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev's new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around.
Crimea, the only Ukrainian region with an ethnic Russian majority, is the last big bastion of opposition to the new leadership in Kiev since President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted at the weekend and provides a base for Russia's Black Sea fleet.
"I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet," said Olexander Turchinov, Ukraine's acting president.
"Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression," he said, a day after 150,000 Russian troops near Ukraine were put on high alert.
The Ukraine Foreign Ministry also summoned Russia's acting ambassador in Kiev for immediate consultations as the face-off between Moscow and the West over Ukraine revived memories of the Cold War.
The United States called on Moscow to avoid doing anything risky over Ukraine, which has been in crisis since November, when Yanukovich abandoned a proposed trade pact with the EU and turned instead towards Russia.
The fresh turmoil in Crimea sent the Ukrainian hryvnia tumbling to a new record low of 11 to the dollar on the Reuters dealing platform.
The International Monetary Fund said it would send a team to Kiev in the coming days.
Ukraine's new finance minister, Oleksander Shlapak, said he hoped the IMF would work on an aid package of at least $15 billion. Ukraine says it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid bankruptcy.
The minister also said he expected the hryvnia to strengthen soon at around 10 to the dollar.
Ukraine's new rulers pressed ahead with efforts to restore stability to the divided country, approving formation of a national coalition government with former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk as its proposed head.
Yatseniuk told parliament that Yanukovich had driven the country to the brink of collapse. He accused the deposed president of stripping state coffers bare and said $70 billion had disappeared into offshore accounts.
"The state treasury has been robbed and is empty," he said.
Yanukovich said on Thursday he was still president of Ukraine and warned its "illegitimate" rulers that people in the southeastern and southern regions would never accept mob rule.
In a statement sent to Russian news agencies from an unknown location, Yanukovich railed against the "extremists" who had stolen power in Ukraine, threatened violence against himself and his closest aides and passed "illegal" laws.
As the drama unfolded in Crimea, there were mixed signals from Moscow, which put warplanes along its western borders on combat alert. Earlier it said it would take part in discussions on an IMF package for Ukraine.
The fear of military escalation prompted expressions of concern from the West, with NATO urging Russia not to do anything that would "escalate tension or create misunderstanding".
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski called the seizure of government buildings in Crimea a "very dangerous game".
"This is a drastic step, and I'm warning those who did this and those who allowed them to do this, because this is how regional conflicts begin," he told a news conference.
It was not immediately known who was occupying the parliament and government buildings in the regional capital Simferopol and they issued no demands, but witnesses said they appeared to be ethnic Russian separatists.
Interfax news agency quoted a witness as saying there were about 60 heavily armed people inside. No one had been hurt when the buildings were seized in the early hours by Russian speakers in uniforms that did not carry identification markings.
"We were building barricades in the night to protect parliament. Then this young Russian guy came up with a pistol ... we all lay down, some more ran up, there was some shooting and around 50 went in through the window," Leonid Khazanov, an ethnic Russian, told Reuters.
"I asked them what they wanted, and they said 'To make our own decisions, not to have Kiev telling us what to do'."
There was also anger at the invasion of parliament.
Alexander Vostruyev, 60, in a leather flat cap and white beard, said: "It's disgrace that the flag if a foreign country is flying on our parliament ... It's like a man coming home to find his wife in bed with another man."
About 100 police gathered in front of the parliament, and a similar number of people carrying Russian flags later marched up to the building chanting "Russia, Russia" and holding a sign calling for a Crimean referendum.
One of them, Alexei, 30, said: "Crimea is autonomous. The government in Kiev are fascists, and what they're doing is illegal ... We need to show our support for the guys inside."
About 50 pro-Russia supporters from Sevastopol, where part of Russia's Black Sea navy is based, lined up shoulder-to-shoulder facing police in front of parliament in Simferopol.
Gennady Basov, their leader, said: "We need to organize ourselves like this to maintain order while this illegal and unconstitutional government operates in Kiev.
Ukraine's new leaders have been voicing alarm over signs of separatism in Crimea. Acting interior minister Arsen Avakov said the attackers had automatic weapons and machine guns.
"Provocateurs are on the march. It is the time for cool heads," he said on Facebook.
The regional prime minister said he had spoken to the people inside the building by telephone, but they had not made any demands or said why they were inside. They had promised to call him back but had not done so, he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ignored calls by ethnic Russians in Crimea to reclaim the territory handed to the Soviet Ukraine by Soviet Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Russia must be transparent about military exercises along Ukraine's border and not take any steps that could be misinterpreted or "lead to miscalculation during a delicate time".
But Russia's foreign ministry said Moscow would defend the rights of its compatriots. It expressed concern about "large-scale human rights violations", attacks and vandalism in Crimea.
Crimea is the only region of Ukraine where ethnic Russians are the majority, though many ethnic Ukrainians in other eastern areas speak Russian as their first language.
A respected Russian news organization reported that President Viktor Yanukovych, who was driven out of Kiev by a three-month protest movement, was staying in a Kremlin sanatorium just outside Moscow.
"I have to ask Russia to ensure my personal safety from extremists," Yanukovych said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies on Thursday. He said he still considers himself president and sees the new Ukrainian authorities as illegitimate.
Shortly after, the same three Russian news agencies quoted an unnamed Russian official saying that Yanukovych's request for protection "was satisfied on the territory of Russia."
Oleksandr Turchynov, who stepped in as acting president after Yanukovych's flight, condemned the takeover of government buildings in Crimea as a "crime against the government of Ukraine." He warned that any move by Russian troops off of their base in Crimea "will be considered a military aggression."
"Unidentified people with automatic weapons, explosives and grenades have taken over the governmental buildings and the Parliament building in the autonomous region of Crimea," he said. "I have given orders to the military to use all methods necessary to protect the citizens, punish the criminals, and to free the buildings."
In Kiev, lawmakers chose Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the new prime minister. He will face the hugely complicated task of restoring stability in a country that is not only deeply divided politically but on the verge of financial collapse. The 39-year-old served as economy minister, foreign minister and parliamentary speaker before Yanukovych took office in 2010, and is widely viewed as a technocratic reformer who enjoys the support of the U.S.
Shortly before the lawmakers chose him as the leader of the new Cabinet, Yatsenyuk said Ukraine doesn't want a fight with Russia, but insisted the country wouldn't accept the secession of the southern Crimea region.
He said Crimea "has been and will be a part of Ukraine."
Yanukovych fled after riot police attacked protesters in Kiev's central square, killing more than 80 people, and European and Russian officials intervened. He has not been seen publicly since Saturday, when he said he remained the legitimately elected president — a position that has been backed by Russia.
Russia's respected RBK news organization reported Wednesday evening that Yanukovych was staying at the Barvikha sanatorium, which is run by the presidential administration's property department. The spokesman for this department, Viktor Khrekov, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he has no information about this.
The RBK report was impossible to confirm, but security at the Ukraina Hotel was unusually heavy late Wednesday, with police watching from parked vehicles outside and guards posted throughout the lobby. Some of Yanukovych's allies, also reported to have been at the hotel, may have still been there.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman also said he had no information about Yanukovych's reported arrival in Moscow.
In a clear warning to Ukraine, Putin on Wednesday ordered massive military exercises involving most of the military units in western Russia. On Thursday, as part of the exercises, fighter jets were put on combat alert and were patrolling the border, Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement. It didn't specify the areas where patrol missions were being conducted. The military also announced measures to tighten security at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean peninsula in southeastern Ukraine.
The military maneuvers prompted a sharp rebuke from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who warned Russia that any military intervention in Ukraine would be a "grave mistake."
The Russian Foreign Ministry voiced concern Thursday about the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and vowed to protect their interests. State-owned ITAR-Tass news agency quoted a statement read at a session of the ministry's board on Thursday, saying that Russia "will have a firm and uncompromising response to violations of the rights of compatriots by foreign states."
Russia has accused Ukraine's interim leaders of failing to control radicals who threaten the Russia-speaking population in Ukraine's east and south, which includes the Crimean Peninsula.
Witnesses said the gunmen in Simferopol, the Crimean regional capital, wore unmarked camouflage uniforms and carried rocket-propelled grenades, sniper rifles and other weapons. They raised the Russian flag over the local parliament building.
The men did not immediately voice any demands and threw a flash grenade in response to a journalist's questions. They wore black and orange ribbons, a Russian symbol of the victory in World War II, and put up a sign reading "Crimea is Russia."
Maxim, a pro-Russian activist who refused to give his last name, said he and other activists had camped overnight outside the local parliament in Simferopol when 50-60 heavily armed men wearing flak jackets and carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers and sniper rifles took over the building.
"Our activists were sitting there all night calmly, building the barricades," he said. "At 5 o'clock unknown men turned up and went to the building. They got into the courtyard and put everyone on the ground.
"They were asking who we were. When we said we stand for the Russian language and Russia, they said: 'Don't be afraid. We're with you.' Then they began to storm the building bringing down the doors," he said. "They didn't look like volunteers or amateurs; they were professionals. This was clearly a well-organized operation."
"Who are they?" he added. "Nobody knows."
A convoy of seven armored personnel carriers was seen on a road near the village of Ukromnoye, about 10 kilometers (some 6 miles) away from the city of Simferopol. In Moscow, Russia's Foreign Ministry said that Russia was abiding by an agreement with Ukraine that sharply restricts troops movements, but acknowledged some unspecified troops movements, claiming they didn't violate the deal, the Interfax news agency reported.
In a statement, the local government said Crimean Prime Minister Anatoly Mogilyev had tried to negotiate with the gunmen but was told "they were not authorized to negotiate and present demands."
Ukraine's acting interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said on his Facebook page that police were sealing off the area.
"Measures have been taken to counter extremist actions and not allow the situation to escalate into an armed confrontation in the center of the city," he said.
Phone calls to the Crimean legislature rang unanswered, and its website was down.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, dropped further to a new record low of 11.25 to the U.S. dollar, a sign of the country's financial distress.
One of the new government's first tasks will be to seek rescue loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The finance ministry has pegged the country's needs at $35 billion dollars for this year and next to pay salaries and debts and cover the large budget deficit.
Russian Federation Council Okays Troop Deployment in Ukraine
After effectively taking control over the contested Crimean peninsula off the coast of the Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin formally submitted a request to send Russian troops to the mainland. His request has swiftly been approved by the Federation Council.
Coming merely hours after President Obama advised that "there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," Putin's request was largely seen as a formality. After a unanimous response from Russia's upper house, the remaining decision comes from a final vote, which is still to come.
Unanimous vote in the Federation Council to send Russian troops to Ukraine. Here we go.
— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 1, 2014
Here is the text of Vladimir Putin's request to the upper house:
“Due to the extraordinary situation that has taken shape in Ukraine and the threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation, our compatriots, and the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation who are deployed on the territory of Ukraine (the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) under an international treaty, I hereby introduce, under Clause (g) of Part 1 of Article 2012 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, an appeal for the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the social and political situation in that country.”
While the U.S. contributed its stance on the issue in Obama's press conference yesterday, members of the EU appear to additionally stand against the Russian intervention. Finland's Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, perhaps a little too late, called for "cool heads" in the crisis.
"We wish to support Ukraine's interim government in bringing things under control," Mr. Katainen said.
While Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has also weighed in, saying that Putin's intervention breaks international law.
Russian military intervention in Ukraine is clearly against international law and principles of European security. http://t.co/Oby0UXmROs
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) March 1, 2014
Russian influence has already begun to taken hold, as a crowd in the center of Donetsk pulled down a Ukrainian flag and raised a Russian flag in its place.
Watching John Kerry blow steam out of his ears on ABC about how vile Russia is for using "19th Century Tactics in the 21st Century"
What a tool. No one is going to do anything about this conflict b/c the world doesn't want to go to war over Ukraine. The Great Leader won't have any luck drumming up popular support for military-anything because of how he and his party have demonized the War on Terror (and actually "legitimate" reason to be in another reason playing nation-builder) and to now hear Dem talking heads spouting rhetoric about how Russia is behaving badly is just foolish.
FWIW, despite Putin's thug-status, I'm slowly coming to the opinion that he's a decent leader - he knows what he wants, goes out and gets it, and has the glory of Russia at the heart of most of what he does. Would rather have somebody putting the USA first than trying to cement their own legacy in the process of their job.