Analyst: Putin trades in death because he has nothing else

Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech celebrating the annexation of Crimea by Russia during his visit to the port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. (Image: YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech celebrating the annexation of Crimea by Russia during his visit to the port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. (Image: YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images) 

2015/01/25 • Analysis & Opinion

Russian actions at the Donetsk airport over the last week and in Mariupol now show that “except for military blackmail and murders, Putin has nothing to offer either Western leaders or Ukraine,” a conclusion that Vitaly Portnikov argues should compel both to re-examine their willingness to negotiate with him.

Ukraine’s defensive actions need no explanation, the Kyiv commentator says; they reflect what people have always done when faced with aggression. But Putin’s actions do require answering questions like: why is the Kremlin leader dispatching his forces to fight and kill even in places that may have little strategic significance?

Why is Putin sending new military units to Ukraine “to prevent the liberation of Donetsk and other cities of Ukraine from bandit formations which are terrorizing local residents” even as he is “talking about peace and sending his foreign minister to Berlin ‘to achieve progress?’”

The answer to these and related questions isn’t hard to identify, Portnikov says. “Putin is not a military leader and even not a politician. He is a huckster,” someone who seeks to get his way by blackmail, intimidation, and trading one thing for another. That is clear if one considers what he has done in Ukraine in the past.

The Kremlin leader has used a series of carrots and sticks to try to bend Kyiv and Ukraine to his will, shifting from one to the other when his earlier “offers” didn’t work out and increasingly working to destabilize Ukraine with military force and violence, something Ukrainians are of course resisting.

“Now try to answer the question: what can Putin trade now? – given, Portnikov argues, that “his chief goal is not Ukraine and even not the restoration of the empire. His chief goal is that he be recognized as a real ‘emperor,’ a player equal in weight to the president of the United States and the leaders of the European Union.”

The only thing he can “trade in” is killing, the Kyiv commentator argues. His economy is at the brink of collapse, and he has nothing else to offer Ukraine, the remainder of the former Soviet space, or the world beyond.

The only way he believes he can “convince Obama, Merkel and the others to speak with him on conditions of equality is the destabilization [of Ukraine] and with the murder of Ukrainians.” And if he concludes that doing that in Ukraine won’t be enough to “frighten” them to the table, then “he will begin to kill someone else” elsewhere.

Putin iDeath and the maidens convinced that if he kills enough Ukrainians and destroys the Ukrainian economy, the West will invite him to sit at the negotiating table as an equal; but given that the West isn’t prepared for such a trade, this “Putin dialogue with the West is a dialogue of the deaf,” one in which neither side understands the nature of the other.

Whether Putin gets his wish and sits down with the Western powers in a position of equality as he hopes “depends on [Ukrainians] themselves. [They] must understand that Putin is proceeding from incorrect assumptions and that if [they] keep from being panicked and clenching [their] teeth,” they will live until the collapse “if not of the Russian regime itself than of its foreign policy course.”

“Such a collapse,” Portnikov says, “is a question of time. It is only important that [Ukrainians] do not destroy [their] own home out of the fear that tomorrow it will be destroyed by the trader of death.”

 

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Kruton

    Dig in!

  • Dr. Stanley Wesolowsky Ph.D.

    Putin – supreme “huckster”, indeed.

    • Dušan Radosavljević

      Putin needs to be held accountable for his crimes in Ukraine.

      • Dr. Stanley Wesolowsky Ph.D.

        Putin – to be accountable for his crimes in Ukraine in front
        of an international tribunal, YES.

      • Strodensky

        He has no such need :)

  • Brent

    What does the West really need from Putin and Russia? Petro products are cheap and plentiful. The Eu should spend 2015 finding alternative sources so they are not financing Russia’s terrorist murdering regime. What else does Russia export to the West? Mafia? Prostitutes? Crappy Lada cars? We even produce better vodka than them. WE DON’T NEED RUSSIA. WE SHOULD NOT SUPPORT THEM OR BUY THEIR PRODUCTS.

    We should isolate Russia and treat them as the pariah state they have become. Shut down their access to our markets, to our technology and our financial system. They profess to hate us in the West with our evil liberal values and our belief in territorial integrity.

    O’bumbla thinks he needs them to negotiate with other rogue nations like Syria, Iran and North Korea. Guess what. Russia supports those states. Whey should they be at the negotiating table when they support them and supply them with arms? When Russia itself is a rogue nation?

    Did the U.S. need Russia when the negotiate with Cuba about normalizing relations? No. That’s why those negotiations have been successful so far and have a promising future. Because Russia is not in the middle meddling in the negotiations.

    RUSSIA NEEDS THE WEST AND OUR MARKETS AND OUR FINANCES WAY MORE THAN WE NEED THEIR CRIME, THEIR TERRORISM, AND THEIR MURDEROUS WAYS.

    • Murf

      I have been saying the same since April. If the EU just turned off the tap then this would have been over by June.
      If Obama had deployed the 18th Airborne Corp to Poland and Romania for “Snap Exercises.”
      If
      If
      If
      This crisis is a monument to a lack of political will in the face of immoral aggression.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    this comment was CENSORED & deleted by Kyiv Post.

    HOWEVER it was posted by the JERUSALEM POST, (which is more pro Ukrainian that the kyiv post) I share it again here as it holds important information to counter smears against Ukraine:

    For 300 years any thought of Ukrainian independence has been smeared by
    “russia” as treason.

    For the last 70 years this smear primarily takes the form of
    equating Ukraine with nazism. One popular ongoing propaganda smear tactic is to
    refer to the Galizien or Haychyna division:

    To debunk this:

    Not just Ukraine, but every single nation that fell under the
    German boot had

    Waffen SS divisions.

    Most far, far more than Ukraine, but Ukraine is singled out as
    guilty while information on the other nations is censored.

    For example FRANCE (1941 population 40 million) had
    20,000 Waffen SS collaborators- JUST AS MANY AS UKRAINE.

    UKRAINE (1941 population 40 million) had 22,000

    Waffen SS collaborators.

    NORWAY (1941 Pop. 3 million) had 15,000 Waffen SS or

    proportionately to population 1900%
    or NINETEEN TIMES MORE THAN UKRAINE

    HOLLAND (1941 pop. 10 million) had 55000 Waffen SS almost three
    times as many as Ukraine and proportionately by population 1200% or TWELVE
    TIMES MORE THAN UKRAINE

    BELGIUM (1941 pop. 8 million) had 44000 Waffen SS nazi
    collaborators TWICE AS MANY AS UKRAINE and proportionately by population 1000%
    OR TEN TIMES MORE THAN UKRAINE.

    RUSSIA had 60,000 Waffen SS nazi collaborators and

    its other soviet Republics 70,000 TOTAL 130,000 Waffen SS 600% or SIX TIMES
    MORE THAN UKRAINE

    SERBIA (pop.1941 5 million) had 10,000 WAFFEN SS, 400% or
    proportionately to population or FOUR TIMES MORE THAN UKRAINE

    The list goes on and on…

    NB. NONE OF THESE NATIONS WERE SIMULTANEOUSLY FIGHTING TWO
    GENOCIDAL REGIMES AS WAS, UNIQUELY, UKRAINE.

    WHAT IS UTTERLY UNIQUE IN THE CASE OF UKRAINE, IS THAT
    UKRAINIANS JOINED THE GERMAN ARMY IN ORDER TO… FIGHT AGAINST THE GENOCIDAL
    DRAGON RUSSIA… NOT TO SUPPORT THE GENOCIDAL REGIME OF THE NAZIS AS DID ALL THE
    OTHER SS VOLUNTEERS.

    Further, ethnic non-Germans could NOT join the Wehrmacht. They were all integrated exclusively into
    the Waffen SS, which became Germany’s “Foreign Legion” so to speak. It is wrong
    therefore to ascribe fanatical “SS” sentiments to these Ukrainian troops as was
    the case with all the other abovementioned nations whose fanatical zeal often
    surpassed that of the Germans.

    The Halychyna or SS Galizien Division, after acute and intense
    investigation over decades by both Jewish and non-Jewish commissions and
    investigative bodies has been fully exonerated of any war or hate crimes
    against Jews or others. Not one single case has been established.

    The Halychyna Division participated in only one significant
    military operation. It was thrown as cannon fodder- a buffer- by the Germans
    against the massed spearhead of Soviet forces at the battle of Brody 1944 where
    it was annihilated. http://www.ucrdc.org/HI-BATTLE

    The SS Galizien Division continues to be a dead horse flogged by
    Russian and other propagandists in their constant efforts to smear Ukraine and
    its right to independence, which has been anathema to “Russia” and others, for
    three centuries.

    The same has been done regarding any and all Ukrainians striving
    for Ukrainian independence such as Bandera, Konovalets etc.

    Ukraine is constantly spotlighted and smeared by its enemies as
    a Nazi collaborator. No one however mentions the glaring fact that to save
    itself, the West is itself guilty of collaboration on a massive scale. The
    allies collaborated with a regime genocidally even worse than Germany, with
    their murderous sworn enemy, “Russia.”

    See also

    Wikipedia: Waffen SS Foreign Volunteers and conscripts.

    • Brent

      Excellent points and very good comments about the current hypocracy of Russia and its ‘useful idiots’ and how they like to demonize present day Ukraine. Bandera sought the Germans help in getting rid of the Polish occupiers of West Ukraine and was seeking independence for Ukraine, not to murder Jews or others, but he was quickly thrown into a Nazi concentration camp and spend most of the war there. The KGB assassinated him in the late 1950’s but Russians still demonize and fear him

      They also conveniently forget the USSR (Russia) was the actual ally of Nazi Germany, and not Ukraine. They also overlook how Russia now is the country with the most neo-Nazi’s who are openly allowed to spread their hatred.

      • Murf

        Yea, they like to forget their Nazi’s because they are…useful.

      • StefanBandera ssał pałeHitlera

        “Polish occupiers”??? Well, f*** you – lands surrounding Lwów were Polish since 10th century (they were only called Cherven towns back then, because Lwów wasn’t founded yet).
        Yes, these lands were also conquered by Kievan Rus in 11th century, but in 1340 they became Polish again and were Polish all the way down until 1945, when they were stolen by Stalin.
        Lwów citizens felt so much “occupied” in Poland, that when in 1918 Ukrainians were attacking the city, it was defended by its civilian population (Ukrainians hate this fact – that’s why they are constantly destroying their graves in Łyczakowski cementary).
        And the fact that Bandera was in Nazi concentration camp DOES NOT MAKE THAT PIECE OF SH*T INNOCENT!
        Ernst Röhm (founder of SA – a forerunner of SS) was also imprisoned (and killed) by Nazis, even though he was a die-hard Nazi.
        Bandera was a Nazi, because he wanted ethincally pure Ukraine, without any “Liakhy and Moskali”, and to push this idea, his organisation (UPA) started mass-murdering of the Poles in Volhynia and Galicia.
        So don’t whitewash that scum, as he was no better than Hitler or Stalin.

        • Dirk Smith

          Nice try katsap parrot. Nobody listens to your 70-year old Stalinist garbage. You degenerates copy and paste the same drivel…….LOL.

      • disqus_aJpixObjG7

        That’s right Brent! There is a lot of information out there. One further detail piece of the puzzle:
        When russian archives were briefly opened after 1991 it was revealed that russians dressed in Ukrainian shirts, impersonating UPA & OUN members carried out atrocities- the most atrocious throat slitting murders of women & children, elderly and Jews to smear the idea of UKRAINIAN independence & statehood…
        However, People CHOOSE to believe what they want,most often no amount of truth or evidence can change this

        • Mader Levap

          Whitewashing. Bandera is murderer, nothing more.

          It is shame that many Ukrainians see in this scum hero, because I support Ukraine in their war with Russia.

          Find yourself better hero. I heard about Cyborgs, they should be your hero, not Bandera.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF HEARING FOR THE 10 BILLIONTH TIME THAT “russia” defeated Germany as russians always lie and westerners dutifully repeat…

    WHEN YOU HEAR THAT LIE AGAIN JUST COPY AND PASTE THIS HANDY ANSWER that was posted TO ANOTHER russian Troll on another forum

    No, “russia” DID NOT defeat Germany. “russia’s” backside was
    SAVED BY UKRAINE… no more Russian lies needed in this world.

    Here are FACTS:

    UKRAINE, NOT
    “russia” defeated Germany as Churchill wrote.

    67% of ALL German
    forces including air sea land & elite and SS forces deployed WORLDWIDE were fighting in …UKRAINE, not in some…
    “russia”.

    UKRAINE LOST 14
    MILLION POPULATION IN WW2.

    As of late 1942 the
    German war effort had UKRAINE not “russia” as its priority.

    NO NATION ON EARTH
    GAVE AS MUCH TO DEFEAT THE AXIS POWERS AS DID UKRAINE.

    For every American
    killed in WW2 FIFTY TWO UKRAINIANS not “russians” died.

    It was UKRAINIANS WHO
    LIBERATED AUSCHWITZ AND ALL THE NAZI DEATH CAMPS IN POLAND …

    There are 2570
    “RIGHTEOUS” UKRAINIANS HONORED IN JERUSALEM WHO RISKED AND GAVE THEIR
    LIVES TO SAVE JEWS… there are only 250 “russians.”

    NO NATION ON EARTH
    GAVE AS MUCH TO SAVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE FROM THE HOLOCAUST AS DID …UKRAINE,
    (NOT…”russia”)

    UKRAINE’S POPULATION FELL BY 14 MILLION IN WW2
    ALL THE OTHER SOVIET REPUBLICS PUT TOGETHER PLUS “russia” lost a total of
    at most 9 million people in WW”

    UKRAINE, was the
    VICTOR against Germany NOT…some…”russia” as Churchill wrote and as the
    facts declare. ENOUGH OF THIS “russia” bs. …

    UKRAINE is NOT “russia.”

    THESE FACTS WILL PREVAIL as “russia” shrinks to a mere
    insignificant muscovite state and the TRUTH finally comes to light.

  • Lev Havryliv

    If is time for a total economic, cultural and sporting boycott of Russia.

    Appeals to Putin and his imperial cheer squad are pointless.

    The West should also supply Ukraine with modern military technology to help Ukraine defend itself.

    Without a strong, independent democratic Ukraine, Europe will not be secure from the threat of Russian imperial expansion.