Lead Us Not Into Destitution

Uncle Volodya says, “The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room.” Especially if there is no cat.”

“It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.”

George Orwell, from “1984”

I went down to the bank this mornin’, ’bout half past nine
Well, I was lookin’ for a little somethin’ in the credit line
But the man said, “Look, what we got here, Sonny
There’s too much month at the end of the money”

Marty Stuart, from, “There’s Too Much Month (at the end of the money)”

What I wanted to do with this post was to highlight the unprecedented simple-mindedness with which Germany is sleepwalking into a profound economic catastrophe, which – if left to run the course its idiot government has charted – will see the ruin or relocation of core industries, the collapse of its status as the powerhouse economy of Europe and the cratering of living standards for many of its population. I thought a good way to start might be to cite an example of comparable stupidity, but that proved much harder than I thought it would be. I searched for “examples of stupidity by national governments”, but what mostly came up were jackhole lists of ‘the worst-governed countries’ as compiled by self-congratulatory think tanks like the Legatum Institute. Ha, ha; sorry, something just struck me funny – look; back in 2015, Ukraine made the list of the 25 worst-governed countries as rated by that collection of ersatz intellectuals. Of course, that was before the Churchill of Chernivtsi, the Napoleon of Novovolynsk, the Rommel of Rozdilna, the almost-too-much-humble-genius-to-fit-into-a-green-T-shirt super-fucking-size-me statesman, Volodymyr Zelensky, emerged to take the helm of the country Europe now recognizes it cannot do without. But let’s not get sidetracked. We are not here to talk about Ukraine, except peripheral recognition of its role as prime mover to a catastrophe.

Any discussion of the shit avalanche Germany is standing under, shouting up, would be incomplete without a short sidebar about how useless its present leader, Olaf Scholz, is. And again, that was much harder than I thought: the question that immediately springs to mind is – how the hell did this chocolate teapot become the leader of Europe’s most powerful and energetic economy? And I’m not quite sure myself. I know it’s not an elected position; at least, not a general election with a public vote. No, the Chancellor is elected by the members of the German Parliament. That suggests ample latitude for politics rather than what is good for the public or who might make a good leader for this reason or that. And Scholz struck a coalition agreement with the paint-chip-eating Greens, awarding the powerful positions of Foreign Minister and Economics Minister, as well as Vice Chancellor, to loopy Green ideologues Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck. And it is those two who are really running Germany, and the direction they are running it right now is on a collision course with the earth’s core. Right into the ground.

The former cannot seem to get her stories straight, claiming at various occasions to be a member of the German Marshall Fund and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and an international lawyer – she was none of those – plagiarizing passages of her book, “Now. How We Renew Our Country” and declining to disclose all of her income. The latter, Habeck, sounded positively ebullient when he announced that Germany was ready for a shutoff of Russian gas: “Habeck, a member of the governing coalition partner Greens, acknowledged that if Germany were to cut off supplies of Russian gas, there would be a gap initially that would certainly “drive prices higher.” Habeck added, “As far as the short-term price increases and the burden on consumers and businesses are concerned, we will provide relief elsewhere.”

What a prophet. It certainly did drive prices higher: the price of natural gas in Europe was at least four times what it was at this time last year. And that was in February, before the additional sanctions imposed by Europe as punishment for commencing the military operation in Ukraine: now, they are about 15 times higher than the average, and Habeck is a lot less cocky. The expansive, devil-may-care politician – apparently allergic to razors, or has one which chops his stubble at a thigh-melting eighth-of-an-inch – who saw the quarrel as an excuse to switch the continent over to ‘renewables’ is presiding over a return to coal. That has to hurt.

“Coal has made a return, too. Just two years after the previous government set out ambitious plans to phase out coal-generated electricity by 2038, hard coal-fired power plants across the country are restarting operations in a bid to ensure that Germany can keep the lights on.”

Germans, though, are evidently slow learners; the same article gives the German government a hat-tip for its ‘smart’ choice of building LNG terminals at warp speed. The ‘NG” in LNG stands for Natural Gas. Germany is simply opting for buying natural gas in a far-more-expensive form so it can thumb its nose at Russia and its far-cheaper pipeline gas. If you’ve got money to burn, knock yourselves out.

Oh, whoops! That doesn’t appear to be the case.

Germany GfK Consumer Climate

That’s Germany’s consumer confidence, and I don’t think anyone here needs a course in how to read graphs to see that it is at record lows. If you weren’t sure about that, the preamble at the site (Trading Economics) dispels all illusion.

“The GfK Consumer Climate Indicator in Germany fell to a new record low of -36.5 heading into September of 2022 from a revised -30.9 in the prior month and worse than market forecasts of -31.8. The latest reading highlighted persistent recession fears and mounting concerns over higher energy costs. The propensity to save hit its highest in over 11 years, as households take precautions and put money aside for future energy bills; while the willingness to buy fell 1.2 points to -15.7, the lowest print since October 2008, marking the seventh straight month of declines. Meanwhile, the gauge for economic expectations edged up 0.6 points to -17.6 and the measure of income expectations added 0.4 points to -45.3. The institute warned that the situation could become even worse in the coming weeks and months if there is not sufficient fuel, especially gas, to heat homes, as this would further increase prices and drive up heating bills.”

Much of the complicated algorithms of economics boils down to if you make the people spend too much of their limited money on heat or lights or rent or food, they don’t have anything left over to buy a car or a new vacuum cleaner or a refrigerator or an extravagant naughty weekend in the Mosel Valley. Much of government’s role in economics boils down to balancing wages and taxes and utility costs to ensure the voters have a little scratch left over for modest luxuries, because buying stuff makes both purchaser andSmiley, Emoticon, Sad, Face, Icon, Good, Sign, Symbol - Smiley Bad - Free Transparent PNG ... seller happy. Germany’s population right now – and you don’t have to believe me, look at the graph – is as happy as if it were standing barefoot in bubbling-hot shit up to its ankles. Let me see if I can find a smiley-face that captures it. Yes…that will do. 

But maybe I’m wrong – let’s look at a few more indicators, what say? Inflation, how about? The inflation rate is the highest it’s been since the mid-70’s, and the government is visibly struggling to get it under control by throwing money at it.

Germany Inflation Rate

Where’s the money coming from? I’m glad you asked. Well, government spending is certainly up. To the tune of 51.5% of GDP.

What effect is that having on the country’s exposure to debt? Gosh – is it getting warm in here? I’m sweating like a German writing a cheque!

What’s this…this…this idiocy based on? Well, when in doubt, a fairly reliable rule of thumb is to look at what The Economist recommends, and do the opposite. Headquartered in London, ground zero for Russophobia, The Economist is so blinded with hatred for Putin and Russia that it tends to see the unfolding situation through a cheery ejaculation-spackled lens of determined self-affirmation. Let’s look at an example.

“Industry accounts for 37% of Germany’s gas consumption, a third more than the eu average—not counting the gas-fired electricity it gets from the grid (see chart). Until recently, Germany got over half its gas imports from Russia. As happens every summer, on July 11th the main conduit for the stuff, Nord Stream 1, was shut down for maintenance. It may remain inactive after the planned restart date of July 21st. Russia’s autocrat, Vladimir Putin, is threatening to starve Europe of the fuel as punishment for Western sanctions imposed after his troops invaded Ukraine. Many EU countries are vulnerable. But Germany has the most to lose.”

See, they just couldn’t resist slipping it in there that THE AUTOCRAT, Vladimir Putin, is “threatening to starve Europe of the fuel as punishment for Western sanctions imposed after his troops invaded Ukraine“. Has Putin ever actually threatened that? Show me.

“If in winter gas is still in short supply, Mr Habeck will declare the third stage of the three-tier emergency plan. The Federal Network Agency will then decide which firms must reduce gas consumption and by how much. To make an informed decision, the regulatory body has collected data from 2,500 large firms and is feeding them into a computer model. There will be no hard-and-fast rules, but likely criteria include whether curtailment would destroy capital stock and how critical a firm’s output is to a supply chain. BASF would probably get at least 50% of its usual supply; as a maker of luxury goods, KPM may have to close its doors for some time.”

Note that Scholz is not even mentioned, as surplus to requirements as an ear growing on your ass – nope, it’s Habeck who is running the store. And one of his most noteworthy recent acts was to engineer a € 15 Biillion bailout of energy company Uniper. Uniper promptly rewarded this splurge of taxpayer funds by posting a € 12.3 Billion loss. Well, thankfully, the short-term future is not all sturm und drang. No; under Habeck’s capable leadership, a gas levy on customers who are already paying more than ten times as much for gas as they were this time last year will help keep Uniper from going under.

I bet some of you remember Uniper in happier times…like when they were a partner in Nord Stream II. Here’s what they said then, although the mandatory warning was appended later to assure you they were all out of their heads, and just didn’t see The Big Picture.

“Since the commissioning of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline, which supplies natural gas directly from Russia to European markets, the global energy industry has changed. The US has advanced from an energy importer to an exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The LNG market is global and Europe would be an obvious major market for LNG from the USA. We have sufficient terminal capacity and considerable interest in securing more gas for our markets.

However, US-produced LNG is not interesting for Europe in terms of price because Europe is in very good pipeline distance to major natural gas producers. That is a trump card from which we Europeans benefit every day. Thanks to pipeline gas, we have a comparatively low gas price level. That’s good for industry and good for consumers. Europe is efficiently linked to many gas producers such as Norway, Russia and Algeria through pipelines. This pays off not only economically, but also in terms of energy policy – because it means security and reliability.”

You don’t say. But since then Germany has entered a parallel universe, where its stubble-faced playboy de-facto leader is more than happy to pay extravagant prices for American LNG, and the western media and its abundant analysts reckon he is just as smart as…as a big bag of smart things, for his rapid development of LNG terminals. And his people get to pay ten times or more as much for gas as they did only a year ago, while energy companies that were full partners in the importation of cheap gas – and could look forward to a doubling of their supply via a completed but never-used pipeline which the German government refuses to certify or use – live on handouts the taxpayer has no choice but to give.

Once again – the ability to add and subtract has not been whisked away from Germany by the Blue Fairy. Germany’s unbelievably incompetent government ideologues understand perfectly well that their groveling obeisance to Washington is costing their electorate gas prices which have risen so much in a year that they make Viagra look like penny candy. They know that being Uncle Sam’s spear-carrier is ruining German industry, and putting mild everyday luxuries out of reach while essentials must be eyed with grim determination. And still they press on.

Take note, world. That’s leadership, western style. Expect more of it.


646 thoughts on “Lead Us Not Into Destitution

  1. Po angielski:

    Tass: Putin announces partial mobilization, assures Russia’s security in nationwide address

    The stretched-out frontline, the constant shelling of Russian borderline areas by the Ukrainian military and attacks on liberated regions required the call-up of servicemen from the reserve, the Russian leader explained

    …TASS has put together the highlights of Putin’s address broadcast live by Russian TV Channels.

    Partial mobilization

    The combat engagement line now stretches over 1,000 km in the special military operation in Ukraine while terrorist strikes from Western weapons are already being delivered against Russian borderline areas. “NATO is conducting reconnaissance actually across the entire south of Russia in real time, using advanced systems, aircraft and ships, satellites and strategic drones.”

    Nuclear blackmail has also begun to be used: “This involves not only the West-encouraged bombardments of the Zaporozhye NPP, which may trigger a nuclear disaster, but also the pronouncements by representatives of leading NATO countries about the possibility and the admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia.”

    As proposed by the Russian General Staff and the Defense Ministry, Russia will call a partial mobilization and these measures will begin already on September 21.

    Russia will call up reservists, primarily those who served in the army. Mobilized citizens will undergo required training and enjoy the same guarantees that are given to contract-enlisted personnel. The Russian government and the Defense Ministry will equate Donbass volunteer formations to Russian servicemen in their status.

    The Russian authorities will also immediately resolve all the issues related to the provision of defense industry enterprises with necessary supplies and financial resources.
    Special military operation as a required measure

    “After the current Kiev regime publicly rejected the peaceful solution to the Donbass problem and, what’s more, announced its claims on nuclear weapons, it became absolutely clear that a new large-scale offensive on Donbass, as was the case twice in the past, was inevitable. After that, an attack on the Russian Crimea, on Russia would have followed.”

    The peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine that continued from 2014 did not suit the West and that is why the compromises reached at the Istanbul talks were rejected and the accords were disrupted “actually under a direct instruction from Western countries.”

    The Donbass republics and the liberated Ukrainian regions turned to Russia with a request to support the referendums and Moscow will do its utmost to ensure security and safety for residents of those territories to make their choice. “We will support the decision on their future that a majority of the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions will make.”

    The Lugansk People’s Republic “has already been practically fully liberated from Neo-Nazis.” The battles in the Donetsk People’s Republic are continuing and “there the Kiev occupational regime has created a deeply layered line of long-term fortifications over eight years.”
    West’s threats are inadmissible

    There have been statements in Western countries about the need of the disintegration of the Russian Federation, as was the case with the USSR in 1991, “into an array of fatally warring regions and areas.” Russia has always stopped those who sought world supremacy and will do this again now.

    Russia will also take urgent steps to preserve its independence. “Those who are attempting to blackmail us with nuclear weapons must be aware that the prevailing winds may also turn towards their side.”

    “Russian citizens must be confident: the territorial integrity of our Motherland, our independence and freedom will be ensured. Let me stress it again: this will be ensured by all of our available means”.

    Orgasms in Washington and Brussels no doubt.


    1. Tass: Partial mobilization applies to reservists with military experience, specialty

      University students and conscripts will enjoy exemption

      …Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu clarified that a total of 300,000 men – about 1% of the mobilization potential – would be called up for military service.

      Mobilization will concern those who have already served in the army, primarily those with combat experience and a military specialty. University students and conscripts will enjoy exemption, Shoigu said…

      …”only citizens who are currently in reserve – above all, those who served in the armed forces and have certain military specialties – are subject to conscription under partial mobilization.”

      – Mobilization will concern those with combat experience in the first place, Shoigu said on the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

      – Recruitment of students is ruled out “under any circumstance,” he stressed.

      – Mobilization will not apply to the conscripts to be drafted starting from October 1. There are no plans for sending conscripts to the zone of the operation in Ukraine. They will continue to serve on Russian territory.

      – Military-industrial complex employees will be granted a deferment from mobilization, as follows from Putin’s decree. Other specific categories of citizens entitled to a deferment and the procedure for granting it will be determined by the government…

      Plenty more details at thel link.


  2. Follow-up vis Finland being unhappy with nationalization of Uniper.

    Euractiv: Berlin to acquire 99% of Uniper as major energy company trades hands

    Berlin to acquire 99% of Uniper as major energy company trades hands

    …The nationalisation will see the government invest €8 billion through a capital increase, spending €1.70 per share. Another €500 million will be spent purchasing Fortum’s shares.

    Berlin will replace Fortum’s cancelled €4 billion shareholder loan and €4 billion in credit guarantees…

    …One new wrinkle in the agreement is a limited right of first purchase if Uniper decides to sell the “Swedish hydro or nuclear business.” Then, former owner, Fortum, is free to decide whether to purchase the installations. This right will be limited until 2027.

    “Uniper currently has no intention to sell those businesses,” Uniper said in a statement…


  3. The Toilet Barf (Russia correspondent Nataliya Vasilyeva quotes Putin from TV as saying ‘I am not bluffing on using nuclear weapons’ I’ve not seen this, so is it actually true or just inferred, i.e. interpreted to the west propaganda favor?

    Full text:

    Обращение Владимира Путина к россиянам. Полный текст
    Vladimir Putin’s address to the Russians. Full text

    …Тем, кто позволяет себе такие заявления в отношении России, хочу напомнить, что наша страна также располагает различными средствами поражения, а по отдельным компонентам – и более современными, чем у стран НАТО. И при угрозе территориальной целостности нашей страны, для защиты России и нашего народа мы, безусловно, используем все имеющиеся в нашем распоряжении средства. Это не блеф…</i

    To those who allow themselves to make such statements about Russia, I would like to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for some components more modern than those of the NATO countries. And if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. It's not a bluff.

    So not a direct quote or even accurate translation of the words. Quelle surprise! ‘various means of destruction’ has thus been interpreted to mean only nuclear weapons and all others ignored such as hypersonic precision weapons such as the Kinzhal and other. When will our media stop lying?


  4. Vis very recent events, no direct comment about the United States. The media has been doing it’s job in disassembling and lying to the western electorate excellently on behalf of the powers that be, so far in that they mostly remain oblivious to how dangerous things have become apart from the coming energy crunch.

    Does Russia need to be public and explicit to the United States and state in no uncertain terms that any escalation/salami-slicing will lead to direct conflict and consequences with the US and not just be contained in u-Rope (sic there’ll be no pieces to pick up cheaply if you are also in pieces)?

    No one over there seems to be terrified of the real possibility of war (as we all should be) so there is little or no pressure from below on their elected leaders to stop f*&&ing around abroad and fix stuff at home.

    As always, I expect Moscow will make such comments at the right time, if necessary. None of us have such legendary patience, but when the consequences are potentially so extreme it is precisely the kind of patience that is requried to avoid everyone getting killed or another global war occuring again by accident.


  5. Via Mark Ames on twatter:

    Javier Blas
    European Commision has **eased its coal sanctions on Russia**, now allowing EU companies to trade, ship and finance Russian shipments to 3rd countries. Brussels says this is needed to avoid sanctions impacting “energy security”

    Full text below and link: https://finance.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2022-09/faqs-sanctions-russia-listed-goods_en. pdf

    For the doc, remove the space before pdf

    Should read European Commission has decided to stop sanctioning itself and making u-Rope’s energy crisis worse. Too late though.

    There was a story the other day that Hungary’s largest steel producer had started shutting down its furnaces because it had not received raw coke from its supplier of decades (Austria).*
    As of yesterday, a second furnace was idled.**

    * https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/hungarian-steel-plant-stops-production/

    ** https://bbj.hu/business/industry/manufacturing/dunaferr-shuts-down-2nd-blast-furnace

    …The company said lower steel prices paired with the unprecedented rise in energy prices, supply chain issues, and the war in Ukraine have put the company in a situation with which it is “unable to cope alone”. Government support could give the company “a chance to survive” and continue to ensure work for its 4,500 employees, Dunaferr added.

    Dunaferr said the “only solution” to its woes is the restart of coke deliveries by DBK “within a week, at the latest”…

    €€€ or sanctions?


    …DBK could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.

    Dunaferr is is owned by Ukrainian company Industrial Union of Donbass (ISD) through the Cyprus-based company Steelhold, which is reportedly has ties to Russia, notably through the Russian state development bank VEB…


  6. Hurrah! The communal central heating has been turned on. Nice and cozy here now in our Soviet-standard hovel. Quite chilly here and no sign of there being an Indian Summer this year. Folk are saying that we are in for a humdinger of a winter 2022/2023. I do hope so! I hope it’ll be brass monkeys in Berlin and Brussels and London.


    1. Good news for European skiers and Uke mammoth slayers!

      El Niño and La Niña have their biggest impact on global climate during the Northern Hemisphere winter. The presence of La Niña will have a huge knock-on effect to Europe’s long-range weather forecast for winter 2022-23. During past La Niña winters, the Alps has seen record amounts of snowfall. So early signs are looking good for UK skiers!

      Above is general consensus of long-range weather forecasts regarding winter in Europe.


  7. RT Russia

    Liz Truss: Russia should leave Ukraine and pay it compensation
    September 21, 2022, 12:14 pm
    British Prime Minister Liz Truss said that Russia can become an equal partner in the international arena if it leaves Ukraine and pays it compensation.

    I am a stupid cnut!

    “Vladimir Putin must leave Ukraine and pay proper compensation for his invasion before he can return to the international stage”, Truss was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard.

    In early August, Truss said that Russia has been pursuing an aggressive foreign policy for the past 10-15 years.


  8. It’s almost the ideal timing for the United States to announce that it is sending the modernized and upgraded B61 nuclear bomb to u-Rope to replace the old and obsolete ones. Or maybe it won’t announce anything and base some in the lo-land of Po-land. Goodbye START treaties then.


  9. Stoltenberg spouting illogical shit — as per usual . . .

    21 Sep, 2022 15:49
    Russia cannot win nuclear conflict – NATO
    Such a war is unwinnable in general, but by Russia in particular, the head of the alliance claims

    NATO has told Moscow very clearly that Russia cannot win a nuclear war and has been amassing troops on its eastern border to “remove any room for miscalculation or misunderstanding,” the secretary general of the US-led bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, told Reuters on Wednesday.

    “This is dangerous and reckless nuclear rhetoric,” he told Reuters editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. “He knows very well that a nuclear war should never be fought and cannot be won and it will have unprecedented consequences for Russia,” he added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Asked what NATO would do in the event that Russia used atomic weapons, however, Stoltenberg said it “depends” on the circumstances, but that the bloc was very clear in their communications with Moscow that “a nuclear war cannot be won by Russia.”

    “So far we are not seeing any changes in the nuclear posture” of Russia, he added, but NATO is “monitoring very closely” if that changes.

    In a speech broadcast on Wednesday morning, Putin accused the West of seeking to dismember Russia and said Moscow would use any means at its disposal to defend the country’s territorial integrity – including its nuclear deterrent, in case of an attack with weapons of mass destruction. Putin emphasized that he was “not bluffing” about this.

    Stoltenberg insisted that the Russian leader had “made a strategic mistake” with Ukraine and that the conflict there is not going according to his plan – as inferred by NATO, anyway. He also argued that Russian forces are ill-equipped and struggling with command, control and supplies, while Ukraine has the unified support of the collective West, which Russia “totally underestimated.”

    “We are not party to the conflict, but we support Ukraine,” Stoltenberg insisted. NATO has supported the government in Kiev with money, weapons, training and intelligence, according to multiple Western officials and media outlets.

    So no side wins a nuclear war: it is unwinnable; so both sides lose, i.e. are annihilated — but Russia will be annihilated more than the USA and its EU stooge states.

    Stunning logic!

    And all this talk of Russia upping the ante, but the brain-dead shite says: “So far we are not seeing any changes in the nuclear posture of Russia”, he added, “but NATO is ‘monitoring very closely’ if that changes”.



    Sort of like Russia is going to use chemical weapons, even though there are no signs of this happening, but we are monitoring this, albeit Russia destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile under the terms of a treaty, whereas the USA has still not done so under the same treaty terms with its chemical weapons stockpiles


    1. They are providing weapons, training and intelligence but they aren’t a party to the conflict? How does that work? If one person aims the gun and another pulls the trigger, they’re both murderers.


  10. Sputnik

    Checkmate: Putin’s Address Marks Game Over for Kiev’s US & NATO Backers, Analysts Say
    1 hour ago (Updated: 1 hour ago)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial draft mobilization on September 21 and vowed to defend the right of the Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to hold referenda on joining Russia, as the latter continues its special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine.

    “Once the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions are integrated in the Russian Federation, the game is over,” said Paolo Raffone, director of the CIPI Foundation, a Brussels-based geopolitical think tank. “In fact, the US president has repeatedly said that his country is not at war with Russia and that he does not want to commit US troops on the ground to fight Russia nor he wants to use non-conventional weapons. Due to the domestic problems in the US, it would be difficult to reverse such an approach at least until the presidential elections in 2024.”

    The referenda on joining Russia will be held in the four regions of eastern Ukraine on September 23-27. In a Wednesday address to the nation, Putin drew attention to “the policy of intimidation, terror, and violence” pursued by Kiev against Donbass residents and Ukrainians holding pro-Russian views. This policy has become “more massive, terrible and barbaric,” the president underscored.

    The Donbass region has been under Kiev’s attacks since 2014, when a US-backed coup d’état saw the democratically elected president, Victor Yanukovich, ousted by neo-Nazi paramilitary groups. The de facto authorities of Ukraine launched an “anti-terrorist” operation against the pro-Russian population of eastern Ukraine in April 2014. Regardless of the efforts of the Normandy Four, Kiev has rejected the path to reconciliation with its breakaway republics outlined in the Minsk Agreements.

    Meanwhile, Ukraine’s opposition figures, journalists, politicians, and even children who voiced views contradicting Kiev’s agenda have been routinely placed on the list of “enemies of Ukraine” by the notorious Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) website, with some winding up dead. After the beginning of the Russian special operation on February 24, Ukrainian military forces and neo-Nazi battalions stepped up purges against pro-Russian Ukrainians as well as the torture and murder of Russian prisoners of war (POWs).

    “We know that the majority of people living in the territories liberated from the neo-Nazis, and these are primarily the historical lands of Novorossiya, do not want to live under the yoke of the neo-Nazi regime,” said Putin. “We cannot, we have no moral right to let our kin and kith be torn to pieces by butchers; we cannot but respond to their sincere striving to decide their destiny on their own”.

    Putin further underscored that Washington, London and Brussels are openly encouraging Kiev to move the hostilities to Russian territory and even resorting to the nuclear blackmail. The president highlighted that Russia will protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty “by all the systems available to us,” adding that Moscow possesses different types of weapons, some of which are more modern than NATO weapons.

    West Up in Arms About Russia’s Move

    Putin’s address has been met by “formalistic hysteria of the West,” according to Raffone. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the US ambassador in Kiev both claimed that Russia’s partial draft mobilization and the referenda are “signs of weakness.” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that the development is “bad and wrong,” while British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace surmised that Putin’s speech indicated that Ukraine is “winning.” For his part, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Warsaw “cannot agree” with the Russian decision.

    No matter how western leaders react to Putin’s speech, it is now clear that any military activity against the regions in question would automatically mean a “war against Russia,” according to Raffone. “This is a strong deterrent that worked already in the case of Crimea,” the think tank director argued. “Should the US or some EU states not understand this point, the escalation of the war is a certitude.”

    “The referenda are a logical consequence of the current confrontation,” said Tiberio Graziani, chairman of Vision & Global Trends, an Italy-based international affairs think tank. “It is part of the construction of the security zone of the Russian Federation. Furthermore, it ensures the participation of the populations residing there in political and civil life, compromised at least since 2008.”

    At the same time, the unfolding standoff is much broader than a Russo-Ukrainian conflict, according to Raffone. The crisis stems from Washington’s intent to preserve its declining global dominance, the scholar explained. The think tank director observes that in this scheme Ukraine has been used by the US as a “Trojan horse” against both the EU and Russia.

    “Since 2001, the rest of the world started working on a new world order that aimed at relativizing the US dominance,” Raffone argued. “Europe is a masterpiece of US dominance that cannot be left accessible to ‘others’ and should have no strategic autonomy. To do so, the US has consistently put pressure on Germany that dared defying the US with various agreements (not only in the energy sector) with Russia and commercial agreements with China. Plans to destabilize Germany and the EU started in 2004-2008 and got further since 2014, using Ukraine as a Trojan horse against the EU and Russia.”

    a stabilizing effect on the conflict, preventing it from further escalation, according to Raffone.
    “Moreover, the deployment of additional Russian troops in LPR, DPR, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions creates the security conditions for the referendum to take place,” the think tank director underscored.


  11. https://www.rt.com/russia/563213-ukraine-donbass-military-losses/

    “Our losses to date are 5,937 dead,” Shoigu revealed.

    He also praised the work of military medics, saying that 90% of the Russian troops who had been wounded during fighting were able to return to action after treatment.

    “Initially, the Armed Forces of Ukraine amounted to between 201,000 and 202,000 people, and since then they have suffered losses of around 100,000, with 61,207 killed and 49,368 others wounded,” he said.

    I find the Russian KIA’s very plausible while the Ukrainian KIA’s seem a bit on the low side and the wounded way low. I wonder if these are “confirmed losses” thus understating the actual figures.


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