The Munk Debate: The West vs. Russia

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2015/04/15 • Analysis & Opinion

Do Putin’s actions demand the levying of punishing economic sanctions, its isolation in global fora, and arming the nations directly threatened by Russia? Or, should the West seek out a new relationship with Russia based on shared interests? How should the West deal with Putin’s Russia? For the US and some European powers the answer is obvious: isolate Russia with punishing economic sanctions, remove it from global institutions such as the G8, and arm the nations directly threatened by Putin. In short, return to the Cold War doctrine that froze Soviet aggression in Europe and helped bring about the collapse of communist Russia. Others argue that such a policy of isolation is a dead-end. Putin’s Russia has legitimate grievances against Western and NATO powers meddling in its sphere of influence. Instead of further antagonizing Putin and risking a dangerous escalation of the current conflict, the US and Europe should seek common cause with Russia to address shared threats, from the Middle East to Asia to combatting terrorism and build a new relationship based on these shared interests.

This was the topic of the recent Munk Debate held in Toronto, Canada, on April 10, 2015. The participants speaking in favor of the resolution were Vladimir Pozner [also spelled Posner – Ed.], Russian journalist, media personality and a senior Russian propagandist in the West who started his career in the Soviet propaganda machine, and Stephen Cohen, professor of Soviet, post-Soviet Russian history, and a “Putin-versteher.” Speaking against the resolution were Garry Kasparov, chess champion and former candidate for President of Russia, and Anne Applebaum, columnist and author on Russia and Eastern Europe.

This debate was important on a number of levels. First it was broadcast live on the internet, so people everywhere could follow along in real time, as well as participate online, via twitter hashtag #munkdebate. In addition, viewers were virtual participants in a rolling poll gauging the team’ performance during the debate, including casting a vote on debate winners afterwards.  Second, it was a unique opportunity, after many months of heightened media attention though without much scrutiny to Russia because of Putin’s actions in Ukraine, for a more in-depth conversation of the complicated issues involved in the West’s deteriorating relationship with Russia. Third, although all of the participants have quite openly and vocally expressed their views in the media, this was a rare opportunity to see them on the same stage, not only stating their case, but responding to each other.

VLADIMIR POZNER: Russia today is the direct result of non-engagement by the West, whose policy has been to humble a nation of proud people.

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Pro

Vladimir Pozner

“For the average Russian, who is a very proud person with a sense of history and a belief that his is a great country, Putin has given him back his sense of pride – you cannot ignore us any more, the way you did when Yeltsin was in power and Russia was on its knees.”

 

Although beginning by stating that he wasn’t there to present Russia’s case, Vladimir Pozner did just that. His remarks were less argument for engagement than a recitation of the historical, political, and importantly psychological dimensions underlying Russia’s actions today. Since the reality is that most people outside Russia are baffled by Putin and don’t understand what could be driving his shocking recent conduct and statements, Pozner’s perspective was an important addition to the conversation.

Right off the bat, Pozner spoke of Russia as a nation not to be ignored through isolation, and, in fact, a nation too important not to be reckoned with. “Isolation of any country is counterproductive and dangerous, especially when the country is as big, as wealthy, as powerful and as unpredictable as Russia.” Then he launched into a dramatic history lesson on the 20th century through Russian eyes:

“When the Russian Empire crumbled in 1917 and the Bolsheviks came to power, the West refused to recognize first, Soviet Russia and then the Soviet Union. Isolation and non-engagement was the word of the day, and so for a decade or so the country was cast by Western media as an evil power and left to stew in its own juices. The prediction was that it would inevitably fall apart. That it was economically dead in the water. that its people would rise up and destroy the regime. As we know, none of this happened. In 1929 the West was hit by the worst economic crisis in its history. Meanwhile the USSR announced its first 5-year plan of economic development. Over those years of nonrecognition and isolation, the Soviet Union leadership headed by Stalin had been allowed to conduct a massive bloodbath in the country. It had physically wiped out all political opposition. It had destroyed millions and millions of peasants who had refused to adhere to the collective farm system. It had starved to death millions of Ukrainian farmers who would not bow to the draconian demands for wheat and flour. It was in the process of annihilating Russia’s most precious human resource, the intelligentsia. It is in the process of creating a new human entity, the so-called “homos Sovieticus.” The great terror of 1937-38 lay just ahead. But nonrecognition, non-engagement, isolation, non-interference, if you will, on the West’s part, the absence of any united outcry, all this played no small role in allowing the Soviet system to evolve the way it did.”

Yes, Pozner was making the case that the West shares the blame for the horrors of Russia’s Soviet history, including Stalin’s deadly collectivization and the intelligentsia purges. Moreover, he suggests that the bloodbath of the Stalin years could have been prevented had the West been more engaged with the Soviet Union.

Pozner went further, in time and in blame. It was the West’s refusal to engage the Soviet Union in an alliance against Hitler in the late 1930s that led to Stalin’s alliance with Hitler in the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with its secret protocol selling off the Baltic states and part of Poland to the Soviet Union. Of course he also noted the Soviet Union was responsible for breaking the back of Nazi Germany (citing both Churchill and FDR). And despite the fact that the USSR went on to occupy Eastern and Central Europe, it became a military superpower, but a responsible one. “We should thank our lucky stars that World War III never happened, thanks to M-A-D, mutually assured destruction.”

In his brief time, Pozner articulated the deep feelings of resentment, defensiveness and injustice that Russians harbor against the West. Imagine, a great nation like Russia, who sacrificed so much to save the West, who not only isn’t grateful but doesn’t even give the respect and credit due. In this view, Russia is the Rodney Dangerfield, if you will, of geopolitics. No matter what great things it does, it just can’t get any respect from Western powers.

We’ve heard these sentiments in Putin’s speeches. [here, here and here.] The problem with such statements is that they mask a remarkable avoidance of looking within for blame. In other words, Russians have externalized blame for their actions instead of coming to terms with their own responsibility for them. There were attempts after the USSR’s collapse when documents were released and the truth of the regime began trickling out. More recently, however, it seems such attempts at reconciliation within Russia have come to an abrupt halt, and DeStalinization is now sadly ReStalinization. Organizations such as Memorial devoted to these efforts are under attack, museums dedicated to Soviet history such as the Gulag Museum in Perm have been repurposed. It seems Russia still has much work to do to understand the causes of its own unpleasant history, although this will certainly not happen under the current Putin regime.

Pozner continued this externalizing of blame in discussing Russia during the days of Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Here Pozner makes explicit the veiled resentment alluded to above, expressing the first of many statements about the feelings of humiliation and indignation that Russians have harbored since the collapse of the USSR.

“Did the West engage Russia? The [West’s] policy was this: You lost the Cold War? You’ll pay for it. Just shut up. Go back into your cave. You’re a second-rate country. We don’t care about you anymore. Had the West, the US first and foremost, decided to engage Gorbachev’s Soviet Union and then Yeltsin’s Russia, with the same aim that it engaged post-war Germany and post-war Italy, to help create and support democratic development and institutions, Russia today would be a very different country…. The Russia that exists today is to a large measure the result of non-engagement by the West. It is a policy aimed at humbling what is a nation of proud people. I vote for engagement because I want to see change, change positive, both for Russia and for the West.”

The inference Pozner is attempting to convince us to make is this: if only the West had given Russia the respect and support it needed and so deserved, it would now be more democratic and less aggressive, a peaceful Russia, one that would not have invaded Ukraine or rattled its nukes. Pozner makes several inferential leaps here. In his view, the Russian view he represents, Western non-engagement is synonymous with, and a result of, a history of disrespect, disdain and an unjustified attempt at humiliating a great people.

It is hard to miss the striking analogy to a humiliated Germany after World War I and the rise of Hitler and Nazism in a broken, demoralized Germany. I can’t imagine this allusion was unintentional, although it is a bit surprising to see such an argument come from Pozner, because the analogy also inevitably leads to the further analogy of Putin to Hitler.

ANNE APPLEBAUM: ”Russia is a disaster for Russians and a danger for everyone else.”

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Con

Anne Applebaum

“Russia is not a flawed Western power. Russia is an anti-Western power with a different, darker vision of global politics”

 

Ms Applebaum began by noting the imperfect word choices presented in the debate resolution; namely, that ‘engagement’ has positive connotations of integration and peace, while the word ‘isolation’ has negative connotations of confrontation. For viewers, this was a good example of how upside down, convoluted and often unexpected and unintuitive the debate about Russia is of late, including the strange alignments. Those who you expect to favor a policy turn out to favor just the opposite. So it takes some stepping back just to wrap your brain around the issues and the words we use to frame those issues. Initially, Applebaum believed engagement would work for Russia since it had worked so well for Poland, where she now lives with her family. However, after recent events, she now has determined that the unprecedented nature of the current Russian regime under Putin cannot be engaged.

Applebaum made her case for non-engagement with a blistering assessment of Putin’s Russia. Under “Putinism” Russia is a nation of essentially owner-occupiers, where a small number of oligarchs with ties to the Kremlin have not only pillaged Russia but now own and control everything. Their primary goal is to stay in power at all costs, and they are attempting to spread Putinism to Russia’s neighbors, undermining rule of law and democracy beyond Russia’s borders. In fact, it was Western engagement, she argues, that allowed Russia to use the West’s open financial networks to its advantage in order to protect its dishonest schemes. Isolating these oligarchs, she argues, is necessary to get Russia’s corrupt money out of the West’s financial system.

“Putin’s Russia is not just another autocracy or a traditional Russian dictatorship, Russia’s current leaders are not simply the political rulers of their nation. They are literally the country’s owners. They control all of its major companies, all of its media, all of its natural wealth. During the 1990s they took over the Russian state in league with organized crime, using theft, graft and money laundering. As a result, Russia is one of the most unequal countries in the world. 110 Russians now control 35% of the nation’s wealth. Many of those people also work in or with the Kremlin. Whatever you want to call this system, a mafia state, a feudal empire, it’s a disaster for ordinary Russians, but it is also extremely dangerous for everybody else. For in order to stay in power, in order to keep this tiny group of people enriched, Putin and his cronies have long needed not only to spread this system to their immediate neighbors, but to undermine rule of law and democracy in the West as well. How does this work? Well, Putin and his henchmen badly need to keep the international financial system safe for corrupt money. To do so, they buy Western politicians, for example, the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. When in power he stopped an investigation into a financial scam closely connected to Putin. Schroeder now works for Gazprom. Putin’s cronies have also invested heavily in strategically important European companies, hoping that by doing so they’ll acquire the political influence they need to protect their dishonest schemes. They make ample use of tax havens, thereby enriching the providers of these corruption services and depriving legitimate governments of revenue. How to stop this? Only by disengaging and isolating the problem. Let’s get Russian money out of the Western financial system.”

Applebaum next laid out that Russia has been investing heavily in extremist political parties in Europe in order to undermine the EU and NATO.

“Putin and his henchman are often frustrated by Western multilateral institutions, such as the EU and NATO. A united EU energy policy would make it much more difficult for Russia to use its gas pipelines as it does now to blackmail and bully its neighbors. If it weren’t for NATO, Russia would find it much easier, for example, to take the land it badly wants in the Arctic. And so the Russian regime has invested heavily in anti-European, anti-trans-Atlantic and even fascist political movements all across Europe. A Russian bank has lent 9 million euros to Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far right in France. Russia also maintains strong political and financial links to the anti-semitic far right Jobbik party in Hungary and to far right groups in Germany, Italy and many other countries. What to do about this problem. We need to disengage and we need to isolate. Let’s get Russian money out of European politics.”

Applebaum slammed Russia’s new form of insidious information warfare, disseminated by the state’s enormous propaganda machine whose aim is to confuse and distort with a variety of disinformation in furtherance of its political and financial goals. This is not the traditional form of propaganda touting Russia’s greatness but something much more sinister, purposely creating a “fog of disinformation” so that no one knows what is true and what is not. The West needs to expose Russia’s lies, she states, and shore up traditional objective journalism.

“The Russian regime has invested massively in an enormous system of disinformation. Television stations in multiple languages, websites, fake think-tanks, and a vast army of internet trolls whose work is now well-documented, whose efforts are designed to create chaos and confusion. This isn’t traditional propaganda. It isn’t about saying Russia’s a great country. No, when a Malaysian plane was shot down by a Russian missile over eastern Ukraine last summer, the Russian media responded with multiple absurd conspiracy theories. For example, that the plane was full of dead people when it took off. But even on an ordinary day, Russia Today, the Russian English language TV channel is capable of reporting on the CIA’s invention of Ebola. The point of these stories is to create a fog of disinformation so that no one knows anymore what is true and what is not.”

Finally, against this background of Putin’s Russia, Applebaum addressed Ukraine, which, she stated, cannot be understood without understanding Putinism. Putin tried to create a “copycat colonial version of Putinism” in Ukraine, which the people of Ukraine resisted by going out on the Maidan in 2013. Ukraine’s pro-democracy protesters stood up against corruption and Putinism, not Russia.

“For two decades now, Russia has maintained control over Ukraine by investing in politicians, companies, and disinformation. Putin hoped to create in Ukraine a copycat colonial version of the political system he invented in Russia and he almost succeeded. The young, pro-European and pro-democracy Ukrainians who went out on the streets in December 2013 were not fighting Russia as a nation. They were fighting oligarchs, corruption and Putinism. How can we assist these young Ukrainians? I repeat, we need to disengage and to isolate Putin’s Russia. We need to maintain sanctions on Putin’s cronies, on those 110 people around him who control their country. We need to make Putin pay a high price for invading a neighbor so that he doesn’t invade another one. And the best way to do this is through disengagement and isolation in this sense: Isolate Russian money, isolate Russian oligarchs, malign Russian political influence and propaganda. Prevent Russian violence and corruption from distorting the politics of Eastern Europe, Western Europe and North America. Putinism is a danger to Russians, and to Ukrainians and to all of us.”

STEPHEN COHEN: “The reality today is that our national security still runs through Moscow.” We need a partner in the Kremlin because we still share fundamental security and other interests in an increasingly unstable world.

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Pro

Stephen F. Cohen

“Equating Putin with Adolf Hitler is another example of how our new cold warriors are recklessly damaging U.S. national security in vital areas where Putin’s cooperation is essential.”

 

Mr Cohen’s presentation revolved around issues of realpolitik and national security. He argued that the West doesn’t have to befriend Putin, but the reality is, we need him as a partner because we share security interests. Whether we like it or not, “our national security runs through Moscow. This is an existential truth.” He repeatedly criticized opponents for stating opinions without real facts on which to base policy or analysis. He painted quite a dark picture of the world and a West that needs Russia’s cooperation.

“The world today is much more dangerous, less stable, less ordered than it was 25 years ago when the Soviet Union existed. There are more nuclear states but less control over nuclear weapons, over nuclear know-now, over nuclear materials. There are more regional conflicts, more open ethnic and religious hatreds, more political extremism and intolerance. And as a result, there is more terrorism and in more places. Making all this worse, there’s more economic and social deprivations and resentment. And as we all know, there are more environmental dangers and foreseeable shortages of the earth’s resources.”

We need Russia’s help, he argued, to deal with all of the unstable world’s problems, from regional and ethnic conflicts to extremism and terrorism, from economic and social inequality to environmental dangers. If that didn’t make you shake in your boots, Cohen then spoke pointedly of the threat from the Islamic world as well as Russia’s enormous stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

“Not one of these existential dangers can be dealt with effectively without Russia’s cooperation, no matter who sits in the Kremlin. Even after the Soviet Union, Russia remains the world’s largest territorial country and the one straddles that the fateful front line between Western and Islamic civilization. Russia still has proportionally more of the world’s natural resources, from energy to fresh water, than any other nation.  And of course Russia has its arsenals and stockpiles, of every conceivable weapon of mass destruction. Still more, whether we like it or not, Russia still has sympathizers, allies and partners around the world, even in Europe and even in the Western hemisphere.”

Citing Russia’s many recent agreements with other nations, more than the US he noted, Cohen argued  that ignoring Russia is dangerous because it will only force it to turn elsewhere, to China and others who harbor resentments against the West. And, still worse, it could give them weapons. Russia is too big, too rich and too interconnected in today’s globalized world to isolate. Moreover, it’s a fallacy to think isolating Moscow would somehow weaken it into compliance.

“Isolating Russia from the West will not make Moscow more cooperative or more compliant. Instead, we know what Russia will do. It’s doing it today. It will turn elsewhere, to the East, to China, and to many other dozens of regions and regimes that harbor resentments against the West, Europe, America and Canada. And what will Russia do if we so isolate them? It will sell them nuclear weapons, excuse me, nuclear reactors. It will sell them excellent weapons. It will give them credit. It will protect them politically at the United Nations with its veto.”

Cohen’s slip of the tongue was very telling. His entire statement to this point was building a kind of frenzied crescendo of fear, throwing in a veritable kitchen sink of the world’s ills. So when he slipped and said nuclear “weapons” instead of nuclear “reactors,”  it seemed that was where he indeed intended to go, into the realm of nuclear catastrophe. I’m not suggesting Cohen was insincere. He’s just not the young progressive he once was. His perspective is undoubtedly tempered by his own existential realities of being a father and a husband. Not long ago progressives, including myself, would have scoffed at anyone waving WMDs to frighten a population. The US and the West led by George Bush were once headstrong about Iraq’s WMDs, which proved both wrong and fatal, to Iraqis and to US credibility. We are still paying the price for those tragic mistakes. Fear of nuclear weapons drove policy then, and Cohen seems to be using it to drive policy now.

“A weakened, destabilized Russia will make every danger I have listed worse and create new ones. Consider for example, if this policy of isolation with its sub-policy of weakening Moscow were to succeed, what would become of Russia’s weapons of mass destruction if Moscow’s control over them diminished? Think about that. Think about yourselves. Think about your children. Think about this kind of madness. Is that what we really want?”

Now that virtually every conceivable fear had been implanted in our amygdalas to process, Cohen concluded that Ukraine was not reason enough to isolate Russia, by virtue of these already too high costs: (1) Ukraine made us lose a security partner in the Kremlin, perhaps for generations, (2) Ukraine has split Europe against US leadership, (3) Ukraine is possibly undermining NATO, (4) Ukraine has plunged us into a new Cold War, and (5) Ukraine has brought us closer to actual war with nuclear Russia than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Ukraine is just not worth it, he suggests, given how great Russia’s capabilities are for harming us.

The irony in Cohen’s views are not hard to miss. Here’s this old-school progressive using fear of nuclear apocalypse to prevent the West from supporting democracy in Europe. This was all realpolitik trumping Western values and principles. Cohen also managed to state that the West too has made many mistakes in Ukraine, essentially equating Russia’s acts of war with whatever it is he believes the West did wrong in Ukraine. That’s quite a statement to make, equating Western actions with Russia’s physically brutal on-going assault on and invasion of a sovereign state that’s already resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and upended accepted European order.

GARRY KASPAROV: “Putin’s Russia is a dangerous virus that needs to be contained.”

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Con

Garry Kasparov

“A dictator grows into a monster when he is not confronted at an early stage… And unlike Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin has nuclear weapons”

 

The most personal remarks of the evening were made by Garry Kasparov, having been recently forced to live in exile outside of his native Russia. He wistfully recalled the heady days of the past, when he reveled in bringing down KGB statues as his dream of the Soviet regime’s collapse was realized and he felt as if he had been “freed from a cage.”

He spoke of the positive developments in Russia economically and otherwise as a result of Western engagement, pointing out that Russia experienced its highest GDP to date in 2000. However, just as a fledgling Russian economy and feeble democracy were getting off the ground, enter Putin, perhaps Yeltsin’s greatest mistake, Kasparov stated. And the system began to unravel, purposely, he argues, under Putin’s guidance.

The first thing Putin did, Kasparov noted, was restore the Soviet anthem, something that should have given people pause, a hint that he would be bringing Soviet style politics back. One could see that it’s been a painful process for Kasparov to have watched the tragedy in his country unfold to such a degree that he now finds himself in the position of arguing for Russia’s isolation.

He recalled his disillusionment with Russia’s electoral process when he entered Russian politics in 2005 with a run for president. He lamented the state of politics under Putin. Everything about the election process – from political parties, to campaign funding and fundraising, lack of public debates and state media control – was geared toward one-party, one-man, Putin. He noted interestingly that Russian TV doesn’t do live broadcasts, so there could never be live debates, for example. He received the best bittersweet laugh of the evening here too:

“I knew it was an uphill battle, where my chess experience couldn’t help me at all. Because in chess, we have fixed rules and unpredictable results. In Putin’s Russia, it’s exactly the opposite.”

Kasparov flatly stated that Russia’s foreign aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea was not a local or regional problem, but the world’s problem. He spoke of Ukraine’s forced nuclear disarmament of the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world – more than the UK, France and China combined – under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, signed by the US and the UK in exchange for territorial integrity. Allowing Russia’s breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty to stand, he stated, sends a loud and dangerous message to regimes all over the world that they should build up their own nuclear arsenals because that is the only thing that will guarantee their security.

Kasparov emphasized that Russia today is extremely dangerous because it revolves around one man. The media works round the clock to uphold Putin’s image as a charismatic, fearless and invincible leader. And, he argued, Putin’s actions in Ukraine inevitably follow because he no longer can use a good Russian economy to keep himself in power. He concluded that Putin’s regime is akin to a dangerous virus, and thus it must be contained.

A few more issues were raised during rebuttal and questions from the moderator, the most controversial of which was the discussion of NATO. Cohen called it “the elephant in the room.” He argued the Russian perspective that NATO, as a security organization, has encroached into Russia’s neighborhood and thus threatened Russia’s security. Moreover, NATO moved right up to Russia’s borders in the Baltic states after having specifically promised to Gorbachev not to do so. This move was just too close for comfort.

Applebaum responded that the new member states had a moral right to join, and they did so of their own volition, precisely because they feared Russia. For good reason, she noted. She also asserted that NATO had not been a threat to Russia, having placed no bases in the new member states. To the contrary, the West was engaged in a huge build down since that time, so much so that not a single tank remained in all of Europe. Yet while the West was building down, Russia was building up its military and consolidating Putin’s power.

There was also a discussion of the extreme anti-West and anti-American sentiment in Russia. Pozner stated that in the past he had seen people being anti-Bush and anti-Reagan, but he’s never seen this level of animosity toward America itself. He claimed the average Russian is anti-American because Russia was dismissed and humiliated by US and Western isolation. Thus a policy of isolation now only stokes the very anti-American sentiment that empowers Putin and his ruling clique. Kasparov interrupted, reminding the room of Russia’s relentless 24/7 anti-US propaganda that even his elderly mother who lived under Stalin found remarkable. Pozner dismissed that sophisticated widespread Russian propaganda could be responsible for the unprecedented anti-Americanism in Russia today.

Pozner also gave a Russian perspective on Putin, stating that there were good reasons for Putin’s high approval rating. Putin’s 80+% approval rating among Russians is legitimate, he argued, because Putin stands up for Russia’s interests. “Putin’s a man who has brought Russia back. They don’t feel like they’re second place. Thanks to Putin.”

Thanks to Putin, indeed. That’s perhaps the one thing everyone could agree on. We are at this place in time and history because of Vladimir Putin and his leadership of Russia.

Endnote

For those who like to keep score…

debate-results

Before the debate began, an opinion poll was taken showing 58% agreed (Pro), 42% disagreed (Con) with the resolution to engage Russia. After the debate, another poll was taken, and the Cons won the debate 48% Pro, 52% Con. So, the resolution to engage Russia was defeated. The Cons, Applebaum and Kasparov, won the debate with a 10% vote gain.


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  • Michel Cloarec

    OK ! MEA CULPA, MEA CULPA , MEA MAXIMA CULPA It is the fault of the West that russia of today and urss of yesterday are what it is nowadays . The bad West !
    The West should be punished ! PROSPEROUS PROPAGANDA !

  • Murf

    “Sphere of Influence” is just an other name for imperialism. This is the modern world, not the 19th century. If you want influence in a region EARN IT!

    • Lev Havryliv

      You are correct.

      Also, when some writers refer to Ukraine’s “close historical and cultural ties to Russia” this is often presented in the context of justification of Russian imperial aggression against Ukraine.

      • Andrew Kinder

        It’s already a fact, so live with it! I particularly enjoyed those photos of American (and other NATO members’) APCs rolling within a stone’s throw from the Russian border.

        • Andrew Kinder

          What is it with Russians and threatening nuclear war? Does it convey a sense of power to brag that you can destroy a small, peaceful country with no air force (Estonia)?

          • Andrew Kinder

            Aha, sort of like Cuba when it was hosting a big, aggressive military in 1961?

            That riff above about nuclear missiles is.. bizarre, for lack of a better word.

      • Lev Havryliv

        What right does Russia have to dictate whether a nation chooses to join NATO?

        Your comment is just a crude apology for Russian imperialism.

        • Lev Havryliv

          Why change the subject?

          Even if your comment had some merit two wrongs do not make a right.

          Why be an apologist for Russian military expansion and imperialism?

          • Michel Cloarec

            Being a supporter of Michel Chossudovsky “the father of conspiration ” he has to follow the thread to the end or death.

          • Lev Havryliv

            Annexing sovereign Ukrainian territory and invading east Ukraine is “purely defensive and necessary”?

            Putin is just following in the footsteps of Hitler. You are in great company.

        • Michel Cloarec

          Krutchev did not attend to give the code to castro. That pissed off castro and he had to support the return to bases of the missiles.

      • Murf

        Having close historical and cultural ties doesn’t give one nation the right to rule over an other.
        The US and Canada are very closely tied. It can be very hard to tell us apart. some Americans traveling abroad when the Anti Americanism is running high will say they are from Canada.
        However if the US tried to take over Canada, our northern friends would have some sharp opinions on the matter. VERY sharp! Rightfully so.
        The “close historical and cultural ties” is just a cynical ploy to justify their imperial aggrandizement.

      • Dirk Smith

        Straight from the teleprompter. Think for a change.

      • Michel Cloarec

        If you read Anton Shekhovtsov article of the 3/02/2014 you will find a nice objectivity .

  • puttypants

    Applebaum’s arguments were good. Kasparov was too personal. Cohen and Posner what can we say about them? They have been Putin promoters forever. No matter what he does.
    They have no morals!!! Their arfguement is the West has hurt Russian pride so It’s OK if their neighbors are invaded, their cities and towns devastated, their people killed, their people refugeed and their land stolen? How does anyone justify doing that for a countries pride?
    For the sake of Russian pride Ukraine must die? And oh by the way Ukrainians aren’t worth helping. Their lives matter not!!! I do believe Stalin had the same sentiments and killed millions of them. Posner and Cohen are shameful shams . How could the cons have won by only 10%? The Putler propaganda machine must have been out in full force. After hearing just a very small amout of the arguements both pro and con any sane, fair minded, civilized human beings would have voted overwhelmingly pro-Cons.

  • canuke

    Unless you are a Crimean Tartar, or dare show an Ukrainian flag. Your post is totally off topic. Unless you have a point to raise about the debate, please refrain from posting nonsense postings.

    • canuke

      All news is fake, except of course, from Moscow. Keep believing. No one else does. Time to get your head out of your A**.

    • Michel Cloarec

      Keep the tartar sauce for your orgies on wedding night. Why not invite us, it is not very friendly !

  • George Knight

    Not 1998, but 1994 Budapest Memorandum

  • chris hawkins

    You do not ‘engage with’ murderers who “shoot whoever I want”.

  • AnotherOneComments

    “if only the West had given Russia the respect and support it needed and so deserved, it would now be more democratic and less aggressive, a peaceful Russia, one that would not have invaded Ukraine or rattled its nukes” ….
    My comments: “Respect” and “support” are never demanded but earned.
    Russia has not earned any respect by lying, cheating, stealing, killing, etc.

  • Brent

    For Russia to demand respect when it keeps invading its neighbors and stealing portions of neighboring countries is ridiculous. The West gave Russia many opportunities to be included in the G8, the WTO, and other international organizations that help Russia prosper. NATO was cooperating with and holding joint exercises with Russia. Germany and France were even helping retrain and re-arm its military.

    The West even bailed out Russia in 1992 after the USSR collapsed and again in 1998 after it had to devalue the ruble. Obama even promised to ‘reset’ relations with Russia on a more positive note in 2009 and cancelled the Eastern Missile Defense Shield. How is any of this disrespect?

    Russia and especially Putin have ridiculed the West for our liberal open values and stated how they do not want to be like us. And that’s supposed to make us respect them? Infacing neighboring countries, supporting insurgencies, revolution and terrorist bombings in cities like Odessa and Kharkiv is supposed to make me respect Russia?

    I don’t respect liars, thiefs or murderers. So how can I be expected to respect Russia or any of its lying trolls?

    • canuke

      Your assertions are laughable, when the overwhelming evidence shows the exact opposite. Russia is the aggressor state here. There would be no war in the Donbas, nor would Crimea be annexed illegally by Russia if it were not for Russia. Why not have a word with Strelkov/Girkin. Even today 80% of the banana republics of the DNR/LNR bandits are not from Ukraine. The UN and most countries of the world (except for Zimbabwe, North Korea and Cuba) condemned the so-called referendum. I wonder why? You call this democracy, do you?

      • Brent

        Keep slurping up that Kremlin propaganda pablum!!!

        So just how did all those ‘miners’, ‘farmers’, ‘lost soldiers’ and ‘volunteers on vacation’ fighting in Donbass get their hands on all the latest Russian military hardware that Russia has never sold to any other countries?

        Not one of you trolls has been willing to touch that question because you can’t answer it without knowing you are lying.

        Your timeline is also wrong. This all started with Russian troops sent into Crimea the end of February of 2014. Strelkov admits this. He even admits being leading Russian troops to take over government offices in Slovyanks on May 12th. Funny thing about that date. The first Ukrainian troops were sent into Donbass on May13th, AFTER Russian troops were seizing Ukrainian government buildings in Donbass….you’re really not very good at this. Be careful, you might get reassigned to be a Buryat volunteer and have to go fight in Donbass if you fail at being a troll…

        • LorCanada

          It is Putin’s “proxy” war against Ukraine that Strelkov/Girkin undertook at Pootie’s instructions: after Putin’s LAND GRAB of Crimea the next move was to invade east Ukraine, overtake their public buildings, plunk down the Russian flag, and claim Ukrainian land as theirs. THAT IS AN INVASION!

          You seem to forget that Ukraine was basically defending its own territory against the Russian terrorists as well as the local armed criminals who were brainwashed into killing their own citizens.

          • LorCanada

            There was no illegal government in Kyiv because the corrupt Yanukovych was voted out by his own party and would have been arrested but he fled to Russia leaving his position vacant. The Ukrainian people voted in a new leader, President Poroshenko, on May 25, 2014 with 52% or was it 54% of the vote. The voting was supervised by hundreds of international monitors and the results were even accepted by Putin at the time so you can hardly contradict Putin’s decision.

            The truth is Fascist Putin is turning Russia into a Mafia state being controlled by criminals and thugs who use fear, intimidation, and murder to eliminate their opponents.

            Terrorists are those who invade another nation with criminal intent. Quite honestly, I don’t see Ukraine invading Russia at any time recently, do you?

          • Dirk Smith

            LOL. Talking in circles like the usual Putinist zombie. We understand.

          • Michel Cloarec

            As terrorists they knew that the state of Ukraine will have to eliminate them. they are eliminating themselves now .
            “lpr/dpr” utopia not recognized by Kremlin ! Why ?

          • Michel Cloarec

            Very clever as usual ! WHY WHY LPR/DPR UTOPIA IS NOT RECOGNIZED BY KREMLIN ?

          • Michel Cloarec

            I say “NOT RECOGNIZED” You say “RECOGNIZED” Show me a statement from Kremlin or RT !

          • Michel Cloarec

            I can´t make a research about something which doesn´t exist ! I forced myself to watch the q&a on the 16th April
            4 hours marathon show of putin. Nothing there either. When did kremlin used the word novorossia last time ?
            The “lpr/dpr”utopia is DOOMED ! AND IT IS SELF EXPLAINING !

          • Michel Cloarec

            4 hours of how bad russia economy is ! inflation down with 0,1%. How many cows and milk problems to institutions.

            How bad the the aeronautic infrastructure is for Ukraine.

            NO PROMPTER ! (SEE PHOTO OF THE PLAY STATION)

            Your love for the putinism as a moscovite is so flagrant, that my computer with a sensor for mouldering decay reacts strongly !

            You have already a mummy at kremlin, when the other mummy in some years will lye there, and I will be lying in the soil of a democratic country. My great grandchildren will say “Old Grandpa was right about the destiny of that russian country on the other side of the iron wall , when saying that it is impossible to governe a country with 190 ethnic tribes and 80 republics .”

            Anyway russia little patience (2 years maybe) and russia will be great again (if it still exists)

            Quote from your GOD “Upbeat on economic prospects, despite decline

            Russian President Vladimir Putin said the worst was over for Russian economy and reasserted an earlier prediction that the country could return to growth in near future.

            “With what we are seeing now, the strengthening of the ruble and the growth in the markets … I think that it may happen faster … but somewhere in the region of two years,” Putin said.

            The Russian president also said that sanctions imposed amid the Ukraine conflict have encouraged Russia to diversify its production and move it to boost agricultural production and high-tech industries. Russia can overcome difficulties if it stays united, he said.

            “We must use the current situation to reach new levels of development,” Putin said during his annual call-in show, which received more than 2.3 million questions this year.

            The Russian economy is expected to contract this year by between 3.5 percent and 4 percent, according to the central bank. Next year will also bring negative growth of over 1 percent, experts have forecast. GOOD LUCK RUSSIA ON YOUR WAY TO A REAL ECONOMY , it was time !(my quote)

          • Michel Cloarec

            NO problems. I only see what is going on. 4 hours on the 16 th of April marathon show, I saw a man at the end of the roll.

            14 months ago I wrote about the thug in lpr. THE THUG !

            Today only the spill left:

            Carpenter’s took control of currency exchange points in the “LNR”

            17.04.2015 12:15 Society

            Currency exchange offices in Luhansk people’s Republic “came under the control of the” LNR “Igor Carpentry. As reported by informator.lg.ua , source close to the rebels, each “exchanger” is paying a “tax”, which is the head of the Republic. “It is not a secret. Any change knows that tax is Carpentry “, commented source.

            As previously reported, the leader of the “LNR” relates to the sale of fuels in the occupied territories. The petrol stations Of Russian contraband petrol for sale. Revenues from trade gets LNR Igor Carpenter’s. It is also known that the scrap market in the “LNR” placed under the control of the head of the “LNR”. Supermarkets Captured on the territory of the Republic is controlled by family members in the “LNR”. Recall also that the leader of the militia of Stakhanov Pavel Drëmov publicly accused the Carpentry in the theft and fraud by the Russian humanitarian aid. In addition, the business interests of the Republic “is a chain of supermarkets” people’s “(formerly” ATB “). It was earlier reported that through these stores is humanitarian aid from the Russian convoys.

            It was also reported that the head of the “LNR” bought a property near Moscow.

          • Michel Cloarec

            I use my computer as a prompter. So does mr putin !
            What is your point , of course he needed infos data not to make mistake about the numbers of cows and the number of liters of milk. It was said million of questions, a few prepared questions and the answers on the laptop/prompter/play station !

          • Michel Cloarec

            Say hello to the freedom fighter !

            Carpenter’s took control of currency exchange points in the “LNR”

            17.04.2015 12:15 Society

            Currency exchange offices in Luhansk people’s Republic “came under the control of the” LNR “Igor Carpentry. As reported by informator.lg.ua , source close to the rebels, each “exchanger” is paying a “tax”, which is the head of the Republic. “It is not a secret. Any change knows that tax is Carpentry “, commented source.

            As previously reported, the leader of the “LNR” relates to the sale of fuels in the occupied territories. The petrol stations Of Russian contraband petrol for sale. Revenues from trade gets LNR Igor Carpenter’s. It is also known that the scrap market in the “LNR” placed under the control of the head of the “LNR”. Supermarkets Captured on the territory of the Republic is controlled by family members in the “LNR”. Recall also that the leader of the militia of Stakhanov Pavel Drëmov publicly accused the Carpentry in the theft and fraud by the Russian humanitarian aid. In addition, the business interests of the Republic “is a chain of supermarkets” people’s “(formerly” ATB “). It was earlier reported that through these stores is humanitarian aid from the Russian convoys.

            It was also reported that the head of the “LNR” bought a property near Moscow.

          • LorCanada

            Russia’s Putin sent in Strelkov/Girkin (Russian special forces) to overtake east Ukraine cities and towns with the objective of conquering and establishing control or authority over east Ukraine territory, forcing a partition of said country, altering the established government (by executing the local Ukrainian mayors and governors; there IS evidence that Strelkov signed the execution documents). At present the current rebel occupiers of east Ukraine are still intent on further expansion of their invasion into Ukraine, perhaps Mariupol is next, so the story is far from over.
            Putin supported those terrorists and rebels, call them what you wish, by supplying them with guns, tanks, missiles, munitions, mercenaries, snipers, etc etc. But of course dishonest Pootie denies everything.
            Of course Putin does not want to claim Donbas because he would have to confess that Russians ARE INVOLVED in the invasion of east Ukraine. Anyways, Putin’s henchmen have destroyed a lot of Donbas infrastructure, it has blown up their bridges, railways, flooded their mines, stolen Ukraine’s commercial high tech machinery, even stolen its coal!
            You should do more reading because there is far too much evidence available to show Putin’s involvement.

      • canuke

        Your last paragraph is mind-boggling. You surely live in a parallel universe. “Political reasons”? PLEASE. What crap. So virtually every nation condemned Russia, and you claim that it was for ‘political reasons” that they did not support this forced annexation, which Putin himself admitted to be planning before the fall of Yanukovych. Many polls you say? This was a referendum at the barrel of a gun. Do you want to see a real democratic referendum, then look at the recent Scottish referendum or past referendums in Quebec, Canada. These took place over many months of campaigning, with both sides fully able to access all media services and to campaign openly. Did this occur in Crimea? Not on your life. Campaign against Russia, and you ended up beaten up or dead, as occurred to the young Tartar activist Reshat Ametov.

        There is so much information on direct Russian involvement, that your assertion should not even warrant a reply. Captured and killed Russian troops, modern Russian advanced weaponry only used by the Russian military, Here’s just a few links to jog your memory:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11506774/Separatist-fighter-admits-Russian-tanks-troops-decisive-in-eastern-Ukraine-battles.html

        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32114522?post_id=859825390_10155275026605391#_=_

        http://euromaidanpress.com/2015/03/13/russians-make-up-85-of-separatist-fighters-ato/

        The last link gives an 85% Russian figure for the terrorists of the Donbas. If that is not a Russian invasion, than, please tell me what is? And, who the heck cares whether they are volunteers or the regular military. This is an invasion. Oh, what of the 5th Tank Brigade of the Russian Army manned by Buryats who were the decisive force in Debaltsevo. Plenty of on-line pictures of these soldiers. To help refresh your memory, here’s a link showing the medals won for bravery:

        https://en.informnapalm.org/buryats-5th-armored-brigade-decorated-medals-military-valor/

        Your freedom fighters, eh? Like your self-confessed war criminal, Motorola (Arsenii Pavlov). Such a good Russian boy. Kills unarmed prisoners of war when he feels like it, and boasts to the world. Yes, such good “freedom fighters”.

        http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/alexander-j-motyl/meet-motorola-self-confessed-war-criminal-donbas

        Time perhaps to remove your head from the sand or less pleasant places, and smell the roses, my friend.

        • LorCanada

          Well said, canuke, and thanks for the links of added info.

        • LorCanada

          To: Ukraineisdoomed (or so you think): — You must be joking!
          After overtaking Crimea by using its fake referendum and armed masked ruskie soldiers in unmarked uniforms, the Russian authorities have systematically proceeded with ethnic cleansing of the Tatars marking their homes with a big “X”; their schools and places of worship have been closed; only Russian is allowed now. The same applied to Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea. Is that “democratic”? No, it is not!! These minorities are being coerced into accepting Russian citizenship when they want no part of it. Amnesty International has received many complaints from the Tatars of their Crimean citizens who are missing and no one knows what’s become of them. The Russians in Crimea are uninterested in pursuing the matter, of course.

          • LorCanada

            Do a Google search on why the Crimean referendum was a fake. Lots of info out there if you want to learn.

          • LorCanada

            Don’t you understand English? The Crimean referendum was RIGGED. The Google link I posted has dozens of websites that explain it all in plain English. And don’t forget, the UNITED NATIONS voted 100 AGAINST RUSSIA for illegally annexing Crimea which belongs to Ukraine according to INTERNATIONAL LAW. Got that? I hope so.

          • Oknemfrod

            LorCanada… he is simply trolling, in its purest, refined form. And by trying to respond to his rubbish, you’re supporting his cause, which is to continue… trolling. Look at his next response referring to “basic intelligence” – typical of all Kremlin trolls assuming the air of a superior mental ability as a last resort – and you’ll need no further argument. There are only two ways of dealing with this kin here: either ignore or respond in kind, i.e. tell him he is obtuse.

          • Oknemfrod

            >To have a reasonable discussion I need a person that has at least a basic intelligence. <

            Which means that you can't have a "reasonable discussion" because everything you've posted thus far is either flagrantly (and, most likely, intentionally) false, stupefyingly asinine, or both.

            That's what professor Preobrazhenski said about your kin: "Вы стоите на самой низшей ступени развития, вы еще только формирующееся, слабое в умственном отношении существо… и вы… позволяете себе с развязностью совершенно невыносимой подавать какие–то советы космического масштаба и космической же глупости…"

            Look in the mirror. Recognized yourself? If not, read the quote one more time – maybe it will sink in. I doubt it, though. For those infected by the Russian zombie box, there is no known cure, only an inherently strong immune system can counteract the infection, and very few Russians appear to have it. Judging from your symptoms, you're not one of them.

          • Michel Cloarec

            iT IS TOO DIFICULT FOR THE MOSCOVITES TO UNDERSTAND. THEY HAVE BEEN LIVING SO MANY YEARS WITH FAKE ELECTIONS, THAT IT HAS BECAME ALL NORMAL AND LEGAL FOR THEM . DOOMED TO CHAOS SINCE THE BOLSCHEVIK REVOLUTION. 77 years of bolschevism ? BOOM BOOM . Russia too short history !
            What is 24 years for a country . NOTHING !. About 100 years is the minimun, if russia could be democratic in the real sense of the term, then with little help from the world around it could be shortened a bit . So russia has a long road to march to freedom . What makes me pessimistic and wondering is that the young generation, newly educated , is leaving russia at the rate of 200 000 per years. In fact I saw the putin´s show yesterday, and it was a trist and sad performance. What will be the fate of russia could one guess listening the words of putin . it looked like that he has giving up hope ! PITY the normal russians are going to suffer more. The poors will remain poor, the middle class will loose , but the richs will still be rich . SAD

          • Michel Cloarec

            How do you say ” I have to vote in russian ? “

      • Lev Havryliv

        You are fooling no one.

        Russia is conducting a classic, dirty subversive war by proxy against Ukraine.

        Lying propaganda by stooges like you is just part of Moscow’s hybrid warfare against Ukraine.

        Go peddle your drivel somewhere else. Most readers of Euromaidan press are far too well informed to be taken in by you.

        • LorCanada

          To: Ukraineisdoomed — Hey, you could be wrong, you know!

          TRUTH? What is Truth? Isn’t it the first casualty of wars? And as Mark Twain has said:
          “Never mind the truth, just give me the facts.”

          • LorCanada

            Nope. Russia has no business intruding on the sovereign nation, Ukraine. The Russians are constantly infiltrating Ukraine’s borders, trucking in guns, tanks, missiles, munitions, etc., along with mercenaries and Russian special forces. I’m sure you know what is going on these days. There are now training camps run by Russian special forces located in east Ukraine. They are invaders and have no right to be on Ukrainian soil at all.

            The idea of “pro Russian” has faded fast, you know. Even Putin suggested to the rebels they would be better off under Ukraine’s rule and not Russian. Why? Because Putin doesn’t want to be burdened with the responsibility of ‘caring for his Russian speakers” (that’s a joke!). Pootin’s main interest is to destroy Ukraine’s economy and infrastructure and has no wish to REBUILD the devastation Russians have caused to east Ukraine.

          • Michel Cloarec

            Common sense does not exist in russian ! Fool !

        • Lev Havryliv

          How does it feel to be a Putin prostitute?

          Proud of your work? Or just doing it for the money?

          • Lev Havryliv

            What a sick joke from an apologist for Russian imperialism?

            You represent the problem for Ukraine. And you feel qualified to give someone advice?

            Ukraine is a part of Europe and the best thing that Russia can do is leave Ukraine alone.

          • Michel Cloarec

            Ukraine is in Europe !

          • Michel Cloarec

            Because you are a liar : get glasses and read , but not only RT or Sputnik, there only organized manure for the readers like you.

          • Oknemfrod

            A “civil conversation” can’t start with a blatant lie. And this is how *you* started it, not to mention that your alias is designed from onset with the not-so-thinly-veiled intent to denigrate and insult the Ukrainian people. Hence, “civil conversation” my arse.

          • Michel Cloarec

            UkraineisdoomedNOT. you are exploding soon !

          • Michel Cloarec

            Only for the pleasure , the rubbles being nothing, he has no choices. Anyway he doesn´t decide himself. So it is in moscovite land aka moscovitestan.

      • Michel Cloarec

        Stop drink in the morning !

      • Oknemfrod

        Look… there is no sense to reason with you because there are only three options:

        1) You are a paid troll dutifully following the FSB troll manual’s script.

        2) You are a zombie fallen prey to the RTV.
        3) You are an impenetrably dense eager beaver.

        I’m not sure which option is most lamentable.

        • Oknemfrod

          “Accrued to you”? Bwa-ha-ha. Obviously, it’s never *occurred* to you that before trying to play Mr. Wise on an anglophone board and pretend that Russian is not your mother tongue it wouldn’t hurt to learn a modicum of English. If you keep on putting your foot in your mouth like that, you are at risk of being demoted. Give it a thought if you’ve *accrued* enough gray matter to do that.

          • Michel Cloarec

            Foot in the mouth , is that an english expression ? In France they say —put finger in the eye up to the elbow— FUNNY ?
            Do you think it is related to the moscovites ?

          • Oknemfrod

            Yep, as English as it gets. Not sure it’s directly related to the Muscovites, but there is at least one funny parallel: Bears are known for their habit of sucking on their paws. Obviously, the French have their own inimitable way with words, too.

        • Oknemfrod

          For once, you’re right. I’ve never seen them lie. They only sit, stand, or walk.

    • Brent

      Great. Another newly minted troll off the assembly line at 55 Savushkina in St Petersburg who is still regurgitating the old Kremlin playbook about no Russian invasion…it’s so sad to see your economy crumbling ans now so many of you are selling your souls for a few extra ‘rubbles’. What’s funny is that most of you last only a week or two at most when you realize how stupid you look making such ridiculous claims.

      Think of this. What are you doing for your children? Giving them a future in a nation of Russia where the FSB controls what you think and speak? Giving them a future where their currency will be worth much less than the 1.9 U.S. PENNIES it currently is? Giving them a future where you are banned from travelling to other parts of the World because Russia has become a pariah state that no one even trusts any more?

      Well done “comrade”. If you’re too stupid to think for yourself, at least try not to destroy your children’s future….

      P.S. I couldn’t help notice you have posted 38 comments….and received 3 upvotes! I guess you’ll soon be complaining that you too just don’t get the respect you think you earn…..were those 3 that upvoted you your mother, father and little sister who are all cheering you on at your new job because there is one less mouth to feed in your 1 bedroom apartment? Yes, Russia really is a “great nation”……keep dreaming that “comrade”…..

      • Brent

        Tell you what “Skippy”. How about telling the truth and you’ll earn some respect!

        Of course you’re not going to comment on the rest. You trolls never do!!!

        Slime back under the rock you emerged from….

        • Michel Cloarec

          RT is washing your head !

          • Michel Cloarec

            Funny question, ask the world instead !

          • Michel Cloarec

            RT and Sputnik are only a “BIG LIE” organization on putin payroll !
            Difficult to find a lie among all of them .

          • Michel Cloarec

            RT and Sputnik are only a “BIG LIE” organization on putin´s payroll !
            Difficult to find a lie among all of them.

            And I forgot to say earlier, you are a liar also !
            Politics
            12:39 18.04.2015(updated 13:50 18.04.2015) Get short URL

            Russia has not officially recognized Donbass republics’ independence or their regional elections, but the Russian Foreign Ministry said it respected the will of the people of Donetsk and Lugansk.

            VLADIVOSTOK (Sputnik) – Russian President Vladimir Putin declined to comment on the possibility of Moscow recognizing the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) when the issue was brought up by the host of the “Vesti v Subbotu” (Saturday News) television program.

            http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150418/1021063098.html#ixzz3XnVgbjQN

      • Dirk Smith

        Do you realize your parroting the same ridiculous narrative that Stalin coined decades ago? Whenever anything happens negatively towards the General-Secretary (President), just blame the West/CIA/Nazis/EU. Irresponsible subhumans.

        • Dirk Smith

          You support state terrorism. Your boy Yanu’s day will come at the Hague along with his butt-buddy, Steven Seagal Jr.

          • Oknemfrod

            You started with this whopper: “Russia doesn’t invade anyone, nor does it steal portions of somebody’s territory.” It immediately disqualifies you as either coherent or sensible, indeed intent on having a “conversation” in the first place.
            Let me respond in your language, maybe you’ll understand better: “Неча на зеркало пенять, коли рожа крива.” Or, “Чем кумушек считать трудиться, не лучше ль на себя, кума, оборотиться?”
            Take you pick.

          • Oknemfrod

            Ha. Your English isn’t good enough to play this possum with me – Russian seeps through it all over the place.

          • Oknemfrod

            Trying what? To pass yourself for a native English speaker whose first language is not Russian? Don’t waste your time; you’ve already been outed by your Runglish.

          • Oknemfrod

            I know it but you don’t. You’re confusing intransitive “lie” with transitive “lay”. Hence saying that they don’t lie but only sit, stand, and walk is wholly proper and correct, while you’ve put your foot in your mouth once again and then doubled-down on that with the idiotic “get laid” reference.
            I’ve broken my rule by responding to you in soft jest hoping that a vestige of sense of humor still makes you somewhat human – you, a flaming moron, anti-Semite, Putler’s lap dog, and hater of all things Ukrainian. My mistake – won’t happen ever again. Drop dead.

          • Oknemfrod

            But of course it’s a lost battle – you had lost it before you began. None of your posts demonstrates a ray of rational thought, which is further exacerbated by the fact that you form your sentences in Russian and translate them verbatim into what you fancy is English. Reread the quote from Bulgakov I’ve posted earlier and look in the mirror. You share your DNA with Mr. Sharikov. ‘Nuff said, drop dead. Conversazione è finita.

      • Michel Cloarec

        The truth ? from Sputnik manure !

      • Oknemfrod

        Look who is talking. Russian oozes from *your* posts’ every crevice, and yet you’re taking a stab at Brent for being a “western” impostor. If you had a single wrinkle left inside your head (atop of your shoulders, not the one covered with the foreskin) you’d understand that English is Brent’s native tongue merely by reading his posts, and if you tracked them back far enough you’d know that Brent is his *real* name. That’s how it is, Ваня.
        Keep going, though. In tandem with another buffoon, “Ukraineisdoomed” (who, like you, uses Russian-like “English” but also pretends not to understand Russian), you offer a good deal of amusement for those on the board who care about this sort of entertainment.

        • Guest

          Not Russian, Ukrainian idiot. Just do not like Junta Fascist and the delusion this web site is spreading and you bread and live in it.

        • Michel Cloarec

          WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR SUGGESTIONS ?
          VERY MUCH IMPRESSED 1095 posts 371 votes . You will have to vote for yourself or maybe that is where your 371 votes are coming from !

    • Lev Havryliv

      Yes. Russia is shelling Donbas. East Ukraine is awash with Russian troops, Russian special forces and mercenaries from Russia.

      Putin has admitted that he planned the annexation of Crimea while Yanukovich, his puppet was still in control in Ukraine. Your leader, Putin is an inveterate liar.

      The referendum in Crimea was a total farce, a sham not recognized by any civilized country.

      • Michel Cloarec

        You doomed !

        • Tmos

          HAHAHAHA! Love the dew bro!

        • Dirk Smith

          Here’s the bulgarian jesus with Dear Leader. Oh, wait a minute, it’s just Dear Leader’s butt buddy Gerard Depardieu. Same thing I guess…..

      • Andrew Kinder

        Takes one to know one? Pot calling the kettle black? Those in glass houses..?

        • Andrew Kinder

          Hah, ok, that clears it up. A question then.. why are you taking so much time arguing with people here if they’re not knowledgeable and lacking in intellect? Wouldn’t that be an obvious waste of your time?

          • Andrew Kinder

            Ok, professor, however you want to spend your free time (or earn your pay). Thankfully your “teachings” seem to be falling on deaf ears.

          • Andrew Kinder

            I’m happy to have you waste time here failing to convince people of your “truth” — less time for spreading nonsense elsewhere.

          • LorCanada

            There is a saying you may have heard before:

            “When you have all the answers you haven’t asked all the questions.”

      • Lev Havryliv

        Only North Korea and Syria have recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

        Great company that Russia is keeping. Next you will be telling me that North Korea and Syria are civilized countries.

        My comment did not refer to the U.S. Why change the subject of Russian military expansion and bring up an irrelevant comment about the U.S ?

        • Michel Cloarec

          He doesn´t know what is the subject. Only to spew is viper venon as a provocator in love with miss putin. Love you know !

      • Dirk Smith

        Russia’s handiwork in Debaltseve.

        • Michel Cloarec

          Mr putin or miss putin ?

        • Michel Cloarec

          PROVOCATOR ! UKRAINEISNOTDOOMED

      • Michel Cloarec

        yes ! russia is shelling Donetsk, I could not say it better , thank you !

      • Michel Cloarec

        GOOD NIGHT , is she coming ? Is she civilized ?

    • LorCanada

      To: Ukraineisdoomed — You are mistaken. There is not a “civil war” going on, it is Putin’s “proxy” war against Ukraine with every intention of destroying its economy and making it a “no-man’s-land”, a buffer zone to suit Pootin’s agenda. Check out what Strelkov/Girkin has admitted regarding his receiving instructions from Putin to overtake east Ukraine, plunk down the Russian flag and claim Ukrainian territory as theirs. What fools! It is the Russians who are the invaders so face the facts.
      Regarding Crimea, it was rigged and not a true referendum since the Tatars and the Ukrainians had no representation, only the Russians. Also, the United Nations voted 100 AGAINST RUSSIA for invading and illegally annexing Crimea which rightfully belongs to Ukraine according to International Law. Or doesn’t Pootin understand the meaning of international law wherein each nation is to respect the sovereign borders of its neighbours.

      • LorCanada

        You know as well as I do that the Russian terrorists and thugs like to fire their missiles from populated residential areas, hiding amongst the civilians, so that the expected response would land in the populated areas and cause further destruction. It’s the ploy that the Hamas are good at using also. I’m sure you are aware of their tactics as much as anyone else.

        To date neither side, Ukraine or Russia, has officially declared war on each other, hence we have a stalemate of Putin’s initial “proxy” war against Ukraine.

        As for the voting of the Crimea referendum, see this heading: “Crimea Vote Doesn’t Offer ‘NO’ Option for Joining Russia”. You have missed the point, which is, there were only two choices, from Huffington Post, this:

        “Sunday’s vote in Ukraine’s Crimea is being officially billed as a chance for the peninsula’s peoples to decide fairly and freely their future – but in fact there is no room on the ballot paper for voting “Nyet” to control by Russia.”

        Check the details in a Google search (below) if you care to. There was NOTHING about Tatars or Ukrainians wishing to remain citizens of Ukraine. AND THAT IS THE FALSENESS.

        https://www.google.ca/search?q=crimea+referendum+rigged&oq=crimean+referendum&aqs=chrome.5.69i57j0l5.15588j0j8&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8
        ——-

        You can’t fool all the people all of the time. The United Nations voted 100 AGAINST RUSSIA for illegally annexing Crimea. WAKE UP AND FACE THE TRUTH!!!!!

        • LorCanada

          The UNITED NATIONS voted 100 AGAINST RUSSIA for illegally annexing Crimea which belongs to Ukraine according to INTERNATIONAL LAW.

          “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time!”

      • Michel Cloarec

        They don´t understand ! Kremlin has not recognized lpr/dpr WHY ?
        Just a few countries have accepted annexation of Crimea .
        Long list (very short sacarsm) of tourists on the way to 9th may´s carneval. Would you not be wondering if you were a russian, that something must be wrong ?

    • Michel Cloarec

      Naive RUscist , stop subcribing RT and Sputnik

      • Michel Cloarec

        RT = LIES ! They wrote that the President Petro Poroshenko has said to Putin. “take Donbass, I don´t need it ” That is a lie .

    • Michel Cloarec

      Are you sure ?

    • Michel Cloarec

      No russia doesn´t not invade ! What is wrong with you ?
      Are you a ventriloquist or what ?

    • Michel Cloarec

      This jealousy from all american makes you seeking apology all the time . Forget about USA , the issue is the terrorists in Donbass killing from left to right under the influence of bad vodka. They have no control over the situation as soon as the russian soldiers say something. I would not like to have foreigners into “my republic” I would bite as hell to throw them out. But of course if my army is not good enough I would borrow mercenaries from my neighbourg country to make me get medals (even if in russia land you can buy medals on the internet ) As far as it is today there is no civil war in Ukraine , but a country defending itself against terrorists with help of mercenaries with a tricolore flag . Putin had to fight against terrorism and Ukraine has the same right !

      ” 1. “Out in the outhouse”

      Perhaps the most famous statement of his Putin did back as Prime Minister in September, 1999. “Russian aircraft are and will continue to strike in Chechnya solely on terrorist bases, and this will continue, wherever the terrorists are … more We will pursue the terrorists everywhere in the airport at the airport. So you’re not me sorry, we catch in the toilet and in the outhouse of their wet, after all. All closed definitively “.

      For the 2010 year, the position of the President on this issue is not changed: “a matter of honor law enforcement — the masterminds of the attacks against vykovyrât’ from the bottom of the sewers”.

      ATO in Ukraine Anti Terrorists Operation. The thugs from “lpr/dpr” have to go away, take the mercenaries for a trip across the frontiers. The Ua gvnt will take care of donbass as it is suppose to be. ATO it is , that is a fact ! HYPOCRISY from Kremlin is only there because putin did a big mistake, Ua is too big and too stark.
      That he does not want to loose his face, can I understand , but he can get help , don´t they have hospitals for that in Russia ?

      • Michel Cloarec

        To make a story short . Poli…..is already planning to leave his “republic” Good bye, adios, don´t come back.
        UKRAINEISNOTDOOMED !

    • Michel Cloarec

      YOU ARE STUBORN OR STUPID ! (dickköpfig)

    • Michel Cloarec

      MYTH IS A MYTH ONLY IN YOUR HEAD !

  • Brent

    Get back on topic. Would you like me to start commenting about how women are beaten and disrespected by Russian men? How they have to look for husbands abroad to make them happy because you losers have limpdick from drinking too much?

  • Lev Havryliv

    Poor misunderstood Russia!

    No one loves or respects me!

    I think I’ll just go out and invade a neighboring country!

    That’ll make me feel better!

  • Dirk Smith

    Just keep killing the drunken mongol fascists. Mariupol will be the eunuch dwarf’s graveyard.

    • Dirk Smith

      We understand this is over your head since it doesn’t fit your teleprompter narrative.

    • Dirk Smith

      Hey everybody, it’s the Bulgarian jesus. Once again offering his insightful comments while masturbating to his master, the botox dwarf. Here’s our favorite Putinist stooge getting ready for another shift at the Sofia Sputnik trailer.

  • Dirk Smith

    Moron…..

    • Dirk Smith

      Thanks for proving my point. LOL.

    • Michel Cloarec

      You also have moron allergy ?

  • Michel Cloarec

    Bolschevism=urss=sovjet that is 77 years of terror or killing. 1991 they had a chance to be civilized . And be respected , russia short history (24 years) is definitly too short , another 100 years maybe !

  • Michel Cloarec

    TO THE VENTRILOQUISTS like ukraineisdoomed, usmilitarismsucks , hristo etc..
    RUSSIA INVADES OTHER COUNTRIES , IT IS AN BAD HABIT I KNOW, BUT THEY DO SO IN RUSSIA , EVERYTHING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RUSSIAN BORDERS ARE BETTER . SO DID GENGIS KHAN AND SO DO HIS OFFSPRINGS.

  • Michel Cloarec

    RT Lies and lies ! Only some small samples of the BS from Rossiya Segodnya

  • Michel Cloarec

    RT lies and lies Organized BS

  • Michel Cloarec

    BS coming direct from Rossiya Segodnya (russia today)

  • Michel Cloarec

    LIES & co = russia today BS

  • Michel Cloarec

    More from russia today Lying specialist !