Russian economist: Putin’s admission on Crimea gives West ‘unique’ chance to force change




Vladimir Putin’s acknowledgement that he personally decided upon and conducted a special operation to seize Crimea “opens a unique and limited-time window of opportunities” for the West to bring real pressure on him, divide his regime and force Moscow to change course, according to Slava Rabinovich.

The Russian economist and blogger says that Putin’s admission of responsibility along with his efforts to hide the role of his regime in the murder of Boris Nemtsov should lead the West to recognize and declare that Putin is “an international criminal and political terrorist.”

If Western governments did so, Rabinovich argues, then Putin would find himself on the list of those subject to arrest and dispatch to the international court, something that would not only limit his travel options but would also have a serious impact on the political pyramid in Moscow.

As the commentator says, this step would lead to “a legally and politically interesting collision” given that it is far from clear to anyone how anyone should act in a situation “where one is talking about a dictator who has established his unconstitutional dictatorship over one eighth of the earth’s surface and has in his possession nuclear arms.”

But Putin has opened the way for just such charges by his admission that the Anschluss of Crimea was a special operation he ordered rather than a free expression of the will of the residents of that Ukrainian peninsula as he and his minions have insisted on a regular basis over the last year. Indeed, he has “called down fire on himself” by his latest statement.

Were Western governments to take this step, Rabinovich continues, the upper reaches of the Putin regime would divide ever more clearly “into two camps: those who cannot avoid responsibility” for what Putin ordered “under any circumstances and those who have a chance to deny their involvement” up to and including by organizing “a palace coup.”

These two groups, he suggests, could be called “the twin towers of the Kremlin,” and they would seem to be completely unequal in strength. Putin might appear to have the military in his corner, but it is a principle of international law that “military personnel are not required to obey the criminal orders of their commanders.”

Consequently, were Putin charged with war crimes, Rabinovich continues, “the two towers of the Kremlin” would come into serious conflict because both would be interested “in the literal sense of the word” in protecting their own skins. And in conclusions he adds the following observation:

This could have in the near term but perhaps not long a positive set of consequences because “one of the towers knows better than the other that politically and economically precisely now there is a window of opportunities” that may soon close if Putin moves Russia in the direction of “complete geopolitical and domestic economic chaos.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Pawel Michal Bartolik
  • Rods

    The question must also be asked, why is Putin admitting this? I can’t beleive that this risk has been taken purely for his domestic audience.

    Putin and the Kremlin normally test the water before escalating any action, like letting tanks cross the border into Ukraine in front of journalists to test the West’s reaction. When there was no action or reaction from the West, this escalated to fully arming the Donbas terrorists with heavy armour and then launching an invasion.

    The question must be asked is this a prelude to test the West’s reaction, before launching a spring offensive and general war in Ukraine? To reduce the chances of this the West’s reaction again is crucial. No action will only further encourage and empower Putin to do more in Ukraine.

    Ukraine, must use the current lull in the fighting to strengthen their defences, not only through increasing the size of the armed forces, but also improving the training, the virtually non-existent logistics, medivac, weapons and armour and also setting up defence in depth and using the terrain to maximum advantage.

    Minsk II has taken Putin closer to what he wants in shackling Ukraine, but I still think he will use military options to press for more, so we have Minsk III, Minsk IV….., until Obama, Cameron, Merkel and Hollande have completely sold out what is left of a free Ukraine.

    Collectively, we must make sure this doesn’t happen. Glory to Ukraine

    • steve34609

      Absolutely! Putin needs to ensure a western-oriented Ukraine fails miserably and the association agreement is renounced. In a future fraudulent election cycle during which a new, pro-Russia president is elected, NATO will be taken off the table, the question of Crimea will be resolved in Russia’s favor and Ukraine will backtrack, joining the Eurasian Union. So much for western resolve and coming to the aid of new democracies, right? I certainly hope things do not evolve this way. I certainly hope that the US/EU alliance wakes up and grows a backbone before it’s too late…but the cost of world war three weighs heavily on everyone’s minds as well. So be it. I say let’s put the madman in his place at whatever cost.

      • Charles J. Kollman

        It is embarrassing and i am ashamed that my Nation USA. looks to Europe on what action need be taken in Ukraine. America at one time was the leader and Europe would listen now it, is the other way around. America does not need the OK. from Europe NATO. or the UN. to do what needs to be done in helping and defending Ukraine. America should send in many warships into the Black Sea and it Turkey does not give the OK then hang close in the Mediterranean Sea. Move in many Aircraft into Poland and Baltic States. Put in Ukraine a full Division of boots on the ground with heavy armor and put them on the border with yes Russia. Clean out these cities and towns of their Ukraine rebels and Russian mercenary’s. Gen. Patton went on the record to say before he was killed to rearm the Germans to fight the Russians then. He said fight them now with Germans or fight them later with Americans, but there will be a fight at some point in time with Russia. People must understand meaning those who are free that when a person like Putin does what he is doing to Ukraine and it’s people he is doing this to other Countries and it’s people at the same time. No reasonable person wants WW111, but at the same time you can not let a Tyrant hold this over your head for his gain. We need in America a true and honest American for a President one that is a Patriot. Obama is a Muslim Radical Domestic Terrorist he aids and supports Muslim Terrorist around the world. Congress has no balls to impeach him for high crimes and treason. They don’t have the balls to defund his socialist programs. He does not respect or honor the Military Constitution Flag Congress or We The People. I pray to God for a leader in America, but in truth i see none now. God Bless Ukraine America for Liberty and In God We Trust.

        • Ken

          I’m trying to be polite but it’s obvious your a Republican who hates Obama. GOP, Tea Party, Republican…what ever they want to be called, has been trying to undermine his office since he has been in power.

          But commenting about Obama’s religious believes is discrimination at it’s worst. The US constitution wasn’t created and founded on a Christian republic, it would seem highly unlikely that they would have forgotten to leave out their Christian intentions in the Supreme law of the land. In fact, nowhere in the Constitution do they have a single mention of Christianity, God, Jesus, or any Supreme Being. There occurs only two references to religion and they both use exclusionary wording. The 1st Amendment’s says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . .” and in Article VI, Section 3, “. . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

          Obama stance on the Putin and the Iran nuclear issue has been a diplomatic one instead of aggressive …something the US isn’t know for from the Bush administration. His team is trying to avoid direct US military action without the support of others counties and NATO. In doing this type of process, this has shown what countries would offer a military response if one was needed…something that wasn’t know before this crisis happened.

          A diplomatic sanctions approach on this situation is good for softening Putin’s revenue sources, which has him shifting monies around which has affected his massive revenue reserves.

          Could some things been done differently? Yes, I believe so…but putting troops on the ground while Putin’s coffers were bloated with his years of fuel resource profits, would have given him more reason to try a full invasion shorty after Crimea. Oil prices world wide were plummeted to target Putin, an industry that Putin heavily relies on for profits. Putin isn’t showing it but he’s probably feeling the pressure financially, and politically from his Russian elite circle.

          • Charles J. Kollman

            I am not a Republican or a Democrat i am an American and today i see no difference between them. I am a Tea Party person and a member of The NRA. and Oathkeepers. I am a Constitutionalists and believe in the Libertarian ideas. You are correct about The Constitution. Like many believe it does not state there is a separation of Church and State this is a coined phrase of Thomas Jefferson. The Constitution is what Obama has been undermining since he took over the office in the Peoples White House. He says i have a pen and a phone meaning he goes around Congress. As per The Constitution a President does not make laws he enforces them end of story. Those people meaning The Fathers of this Nation and that Framed the Constitution were all Christians no Savage Muslims. America is based and founded on The Jewdeo Christian principles not Savage Muslims. Obama is a Radical Muslim Extremist he is a Domestic Enemy of The Constitution and We The People. His goal has always been to take Liberty away from We The People collapse America and spread it’s wealth. Muslims have only Bombed America fly Aircraft into buildings and bomb and kill innocent runners. Now just what is it you don’t fucking understand. These Muslims clime out of their cesspools and come to my Country i am not going to their cesspools to live. They can not obey their religion and The Constitution making them criminals. They need to all be rounded up and deported back to the cesspools they came from. We have no need for a tribe of bloodthirsty savage barbarians that think nothing of beheading people or burning them alive in a cage. This is what Obama supports i believe he was stopped from doing this in Syria by another Tyrant Putin. You need to wake the fuck up to reality. I do not need to be polite to people like you!!!!!

          • Quartermaster

            Your statements on the text of the constitution are correct, you leave out a very important fact, the nature of the American people at the time the constitution was established.
            The constitution was established for a self-regulating people. John Adams recognized this saying that it was adequate only for a religious and moral people, it is inadequate for any other. In other words, it is the product of people steeped Christian values. As we get further from those people, and pollute the population with people that do not hold to those values, we get more chaos. The hateful racist Obama is one good example of the increasing problems the US faces.

    • evanlarkspur

      Perfectly said. Glory to Ukraine.

  • Brent

    I think the reason he is admitting this is because of his ego. Criminals love to brag about their misdeeds, which usually results in their downfall. Especially when the Western leaders are cowards who won’t stand up to Putin. Putin himself probably can’t believe how feckless the West’s leaders have been and now he’s going to brag much like he did after his takeover of Crimea.

    Look at what else Putin’s regime has done
    >illegal invasion and Russian troops sent into Ukraine’s Donbas region
    >terrorist bombings in Kharkiv, Odessa and Zaporozhe organized by FSB officers
    >shootdown of MH17 by either Russia’s own soldiers or their state sponsored stooges in DPR
    >kidnapping of Ukrainian citizens like Nadia Savchenko and Oleg Sentsov and others, as well as Estonian Eston Kohver
    >assassination of Boris Nemtsov

    Any of these violate international law. Any of these should cause criminal proceedings to be commenced against Putin.

    And so far what has the West done about this even though the Budapest Memorandum was supposed to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity? Nothing. Other than useless sanctions against cheerleaders like Iosif Kobzon. European countries are still allowing free travel to the minions who have been sanctioned. France still wants to see Russia assault class warships, and Germany still wants to continue trading and supplying Russia with Western technology.

    We keep hearing about new sanctions being ‘teed up’ from morons like John Kerry who openly admits that Russia is lying and then ….silence… all our idiot leaders hope this will just go away and not interrupt their lives anymore….

    • evanlarkspur

      Not I terrupt their golf games anymore, “teed up” indeed. It’s disgusting and embarrassing. Our “leaders” fail to lead, and deeply dishonor us.

    • Sirko

      Exactly! Not only has the West any backbone, but it also seemed to have lost its balls and guts. Putin, like all megalomaniacs, can’t contain himself and will boast of his conquering as long as the leaders of the Western world will sit and contemplate how to appease the little runt. President Kennedy stopped Krushchev by calling his bluff. Everybody with an ounce of brain will see that Putin is a pathological lier with Lavrov as his obedient stooge, running a well organised Brotherhood of criminals in Russia. As for Budapest Memorandum, like all agreements signed by Putin and his historical predecessors is just a sham to fool the feebleminded. If Putin is a recognise lier, then what would one call the leaders of USA and Britain who co-signed the Memorandum? The world silence is deafening.

  • Arctic_Slicer

    Putin doesn’t care; he wants to cultivate that anti-West tough guy image and claim the credit for “returning” Crimea for himself. Allowing the so-called “will of the people” in Crimea be responsible doesn’t fit the mythology he is trying to create for himself.

  • Peter T Garner

    Even if this approach was helpful….it is pure folly to even consider that Obama has enough backbone to use it….Venezuela…sure they pose no threat…..Russia …not a chance…

  • GG

    Literally the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. This economist really thinks that the 80% of Russians who support Putin and all his policies are just going to turn on ther leader because the US is Gona declare him a terrorist? If anythin it’s going to make
    Them rally behind Putin even harder. Crimeans will rally behind Putin, Russians will rally behind Putin, the EU would be too divided on the issue to issue such a order and this would in turn divide the EU and the west. Meanwhile, the rest of the world would laugh at the audacity of the U.S. after 15 years of straight international sovereignty violations around the world and even if US could bully friendlier nations to support them, the brics nations certainly would not

    • Quartermaster

      Anyone actually believing that 80% of the Russian people support Putin is doing serious drugs.

      • GG

        that may be but i actually do believe it and so does anyone who has actually looked at the statistical analysis that they did to get these numbers or anyone who has been to russia and asked normal russians walking down the street. Even the liberal opposition recognizes that these poll numbers are pretty much accurate

  • GG

    This is the dumbest idea I’ve heard to date on this whole stupid east v west debate. Who actually thinks that the 80 % of Russian who support their democratically elected president will jump ship becaus the U.S. declares him
    A internstional terrorist? If anything that will make them hate America even more. FUrthermore the eu won’t back that unanimously leading to divisions there and divisions between the U.S. AND eu. Some nations might support the U.S. in this but I think the major ones will just laugh at the hypocrisy of a country who has been consistently violating international borders for the last 15 years without even a flawed referendum to back them up trying to criminalize Russia’s actions when unlike in the places America has attacked and destabilized, majority of people on Crimea supported the move. How does this guy even hav a degree of any kind much less economics to think this would solve anything. Most likely he’s just a disenfranchised Russian opposition hu sees that they won’t win the majority vote any time soon so he wants internstional backers to undemocratically solve the problem by forcibley removing Putin thru Intimidation. Just pitiful. It’s like all the authoritarians in the world are democratically backed while the liberal freedom loving people need force and violence and destablized nations to seize power. What a world what a world