To the surprise of no one, Crimea is not happy under Russian rule

April 13, 2015
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“And then I told them they could have free elections!”

I know, I know. You’re as shocked as I. Imagine the ingratitude for all the efforts Vladimir Putin made to rejoin Crimea with Mother Russia. Writing in National Review, Leona Amosah recounts all the benefits Russian governance has brought: a crashing tourism industry, inflation second only to Venezuela’s,  and food prices through the roof. Whiners.

I mean, who wouldn’t appreciate ethnic oppression and political arrests?

In particular, Crimea’s Tatar Muslim minority is suffering levels of persecution not seen since the Soviet era. This pressure includes “disappearances, sadistic murders . . . attacks on media, and arrests on trumped-up charges,” according to one informed observer. So pervasive has this discrimination been that, back in February, the United Nations took the unprecedented step of publicly condemning Russia’s treatment of the Crimean Tatars.

Political opponents of the Kremlin, too, have found themselves in the official crosshairs. To date, several Crimean lawmakers have been arrested and even exiled because of their opposition to and condemnation of Russia’s takeover of Crimea. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has equated Russia’s conduct in its newest holding to a “reign of terror” designed to both subjugate and pacify the region’s population.

A wrecked economy and political persecution: what’s not to like? Look, if Crimeans have trouble appreciating the benefits of life under Moscow, they could always ask Boris Nemtsov.

Oh, wait.

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How Ukraine Can Win

March 8, 2015

As Mr. Schindler points out, time is not on Putin’s side, and he offers some advice on how Kyiv can run out the clock on the new Tsar.

The XX Committee

As we are now in a lull in Russia’s war against Ukraine that Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin began one year ago, it’s time to assess how Kyiv can do better at war-fighting. Not for want of courage, Ukraine’s efforts to defend its territory and sovereignty from Russian aggression have been failures, as I’ve explained many times. I’ve repeatedly counseled Ukraine to emulate how Croatia in 1991 lost one-third of its territory to Serbian rebels, only to regain almost all that territory through quick, decisive military operations in 1995. As a template for strategic success against a more powerful enemy at a reasonable cost in lives and treasure, Zagreb’s model from the early 1990’s cannot be improved upon.

This has been met with whining from supporters of failing President Petro Poroshenko that 1. War is hard, and 2. Russia isn’t Serbia. The latter is true, but it’s also worth…

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On Arming Ukraine

February 4, 2015

A needed bit of “real talking” on the slow-motion war in Ukraine.

The XX Committee

I have been sharply critical of Ukraine’s political and military leadership in the war against Russia. Kyiv must get serious, now, if it expects to prevent the further destruction and dismemberment of their country by Vladimir Putin. The lack of gravitas in military matters demonstrated by Petro Poroshenko and his goverment — favoring vacillation, candlelight prayers, hashtags and trips to Davos instead of mobilization and strategy-making — does not inspire confidence in Ukraine’s ability to stem the Russian tide.

That said, Western aid to Ukraine to date is stunningly unimpressive and indicates that even core members of NATO and the EU are willing to watch Kyiv be crushed. Angela Merkel’s Germany has signaled that under no circumstances will it assist Ukraine with weaponry, which sends a clear message to all NATO and/or EU countries east of the Oder that they, too, will be sacrificed by Berlin if Putin decides…

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Excerpt of the Day: Russian paranoia department

September 2, 2014

 

satire tinfoilhat conspiracy

Hoo-boy. It never pays to underestimate Russian paranoia.

In an article at The Weekly Standard regarding Russian media reporting derangement over the conflict with Ukraine, Cathy Young writes:

The derangement extends beyond current events. EJ.ru’s media watch columnist Igor Yakovenko notes that TV commentary on the World War I anniversary was so heavy on rhetoric blaming the war on American machinations that the uninformed viewer could easily assume that the United States was Russia’s main adversary in that conflict. TV-1 also aired a “documentary” exploring the “alternative” theory that Archduke Ferdinand was actually killed by a British sniper acting at the behest of an international conspiracy of Freemasons bent on world domination, which later also engineered the Russian Revolution to prevent Russia from emerging as one of the war’s victors.

All you need is fine art and the Papacy and you have the makings of a Dan Brown novel. Something tells me we’re going to have a hard time convincing the Russian public that it’s in their best interests to pull out of Ukraine.

Not that their leader is big on realism, either.

(The article’s worth reading, by the way.)


The Russo-Ukrainian War

August 31, 2014

Our “We don’t have a strategy yet” leadership in DC has left the initiative to Vladimir Putin, who has exploited it to the hilt and is now settled on a revanchist war in Ukraine. Mr. Schindler is right: if NATO means anything anymore, it must respond to this with something more than sanctions.

The XX Committee

This week Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine became overt for all the world to see. Since February, Moscow waged a semi-covert campaign that I term Special War, with the initial aim of taking Crimea. This succeeded almost bloodlessly thanks to confusion in Kyiv. Over the past six months, inspired by Crimean success, Russian strategy has focused on creating and preserving Kremlin-controlled pseudo-states, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics,” which are in fact subsidiaries of Russian intelligence.

This, however, is a far more ambitious goal than the Crimean operation, and resistance has mounted. In recent weeks, Ukrainian efforts to retake territory around Donetsk and Luhansk in what Kyiv calls the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) have gained momentum, and this week Moscow sent troops across the border more or less openly since the alternative is the defeat and collapse of its proxies in southeast Ukraine. That Putin will not allow, and…

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Latest Ukrainian Intelligence News

August 7, 2014

If this is true, then… WOW. According to Ukrainian intelligence, not only did Russia try to frame Ukraine by shooting down one of their own airliners, but it then drew up a list of rebels marked for assassination, presumably to cover Moscow’s tracks in the mistaken downing of the Malaysian flight. Granted there’s a possibility this is a frame up, but it’s not as if the Russians haven’t been known to be utterly brutal in the past, either. Like I said, WOW.

The XX Committee

As war rages in eastern Ukraine, with a possible Russian invasion looming, Kyiv has gone public today with shocking stories about the extent of Russian espionage and lethal covert action in their country.

As reported by 5 Kanal TVValentyn Nalyvaychenko, head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), today stated that the 17 July shootdown of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 near Donetsk by Russian-backed separatists represented a terrible case of a Kremlin provocation gone horribly wrong. According to Nalyvaychenko, the SBU has evidence that what happened was the outcome of a diabolical Moscow plot to create a pretext for war, meaning Russian invasion, by shooting down an Aeroflot airline (specifically AFL2074, see details here) and killing its (mostly Russian) passengers, then placing blame on Ukrainian forces.

However, the SBU boss explained, Kremlin-backed militants were supposed to shoot down the Russian plane at Pervomaysk to the west of Donetsk, but…

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If Putin Invades Ukraine …

August 6, 2014

It looks like Vlad the Terrible is putting all the pieces in place to invade Ukraine and continue his carving up of that state. Schindler argues that, while the Russians can beat the Ukrainians army-on-army, holding seized territory will be much more difficult.

The XX Committee

Today NATO stated that Russia has amassed about 20,000 battle-ready troops near the border of eastern Ukraine and stands ready to intervene in the war raging around Donetsk and Luhansk, where Russian-backed paramilitaries are losing ground to Kyiv’s forces. Ukraine has been making slow yet steady progress in its “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO) against Moscow’s proxies in eastern Ukraine and it’s now clear that, if the Kremlin does not directly intervene in the conflict — beyond the artillery support from across the border that the Russian military has been providing its paramilitaries for weeks — it’s likely that the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) and the “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LNR) will soon unravel altogether. NATO has warned that Moscow may send troops across the border under the guise of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission (observers have spotted Russian military vehicles near the border pre-painted with “peacekeeping” insignia), in a Putinesque version of…

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