Valery Gergiev: ‘The people who run Ukraine are spouting fascist slogans’

The conductor has given an avowedly patrotic, pro-Putin interview to a Russian magazine in which he justified the intervention in Ukraine and had this to say about the country’s revolution: Сейчас мы слышим откровенно фашистские лозунги. Они звучат на Украине из уст людей, которые уже почти пришли там к полному контролю над страной.

In plain English: ‘We are now hearing openly fascist slogans. They are coming in Ukraine from people who have almost complete control over the country.’

 

gergiev bashmet

Photo: RIA Novosti/Lebrecht Music&Arts

In other comments, he appears to be advocating a return to East-West confrontation and repressive government:

‘The Cold War continues…. In Russia and in China today there is a desire not only to strengthen relations between the two countries, but in general, to create a more balanced picture, balance of power between East and West… China shows the world: attacks on them are punished, and punished, especially economically. Tough, uncompromising, ruthless, I would say, the principle is: you do not want to be friends – we do not want to give you any opportunity to grow rich at our expense.’

Interesting, considering that Gergiev’s Mariinsky company is sustained by income from the West. Must ask him about it some time.

Full interview here (in Russian). Would anyone like to translate?

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  • No apology of Gergiev intended, but please keep in mind that the whole Ukraine issue isn’t just black and white.

    • Simon- You are right, and good of you to say so, especially with so many who comment here who were previously ready to pile on Gergiev and Putin – something that was no accident in this choreographed series of events- and who are now ready to condemn Russia response to the West’s Hitleresque putsch of Ukraine. (The beauty of the big lie is that the victimizer preempts the victim by using it- and using it first.)

        • ” to the West’s Hitleresque putsch of Ukraine.” Topsyturvydom, indeed. A trip through the looking glass.

          “ed’ looks forward, I’m sure, to redecorating Easter Europe and putting that iron curtain back up. Self-determination is such a bourgeois concept, anyhow. ” Putin’s mission is restoration. First, restore traditional Russian despotism by dismantling its nascent democracy. And then, having created iron-fisted “stability,” march.”

        • No, it was written in Washington DC and Langley. We also already know it cost about 5 billion US$ plus maybe additional funds from black sources channeled trough NGOs. Time will tell if it was a sound investment by the hubris stricken geostrategists in the US.

          • @ Christy: No, I don’t trust Russion sources, of course not. But there is reason for a certain degree of mistrust against Western and pro-Western sources, too.

          • Christy, acknowledge the Elephant in the room: What is the US’ longterm geostrategic interest in the region and Eurasia at large? What is the US policy toward Russia? What is the US position on a growing economical and political collaboration of Europe with Russia, leading to a future greater Europe?

            Start from there and you will see the truth… if you are interested in the truth…

          • @anonymous – The truth is that Russia has invaded Ukraine. It’s actually pretty darn clear.

          • @Christy, picking up on your premise: at which point in the chain of events? Causality? Unprovoked?

            Can you tell me in what interest the US government is acting exactly by paying billions of US$ to former opposition in Ukraine? Can you see the bigger picture or are you also one of those blinded by an intrinsic hate of anything Russian?

        • Eli, Brian and Winnie- Your collective comments are what’s called the golden spear, by hoisting their authors on their own petard. Facts are messy things, but that’s what one must deal with unless one is living in a different universe. Now, to be called Goebbels for relying on facts that have even been confirmed by recorded conversations between diplomats really takes the cake, but that’s ok, I still love you (even if I’m not interested in feeling your pain in the Clintonian sense or any other way).

          • Of course, nothing has been “confirmed by recorded conversations between diplomats”.

  • The opposition in Ukraine is hardly snow-white. There are some very unsavoury points of view kicking about. Gergiev is not that far wide of the mark in that regard.

    But his cold warrior rhetoric is a bit alarming.

        • That’s really the best you can do?

          Lets get musical then. Ihor Shcherbakov, president of the Ukrainian Composers’ Union, in a letter he addressed to his colleagues around the world (have just got this from a friend, so no link yet) :

          “Believe us, your colleagues, that there is no fascism in Ukraine. All the nations of our country have lived in peace and harmony for 23 years. Our people simply wish to live in a civilised European country. We have our millennium-old culture, art and music, and we do not want to be swallowed up by our northern neighbour”.

          • You show me your “video evidence” now. I wrote you then.

            Mr Shcherbakov speaks as the President of the National Union of Composers of Ukraine. If any member of this Union has disavowed him (this letter has been sent a week ago), please, let us know.

            Mr Shcherbakov doesn’t say there “are no fascists in Ukraine”, tut tut. He says “in Ukraine there is no fascism”. Maybe you don’t get the nuance, too bad.

            As for a collective declaration, try the one posted by Christy, here it is again for your convenience:

            http://eajc.org/page32/news43672.html

          • For the first time in the history of independent Ukraine, several Jewish and Tatar-owned businesses were burned to the ground this week – in Crimea. Never before, only now. If the Russians solidify the area, there is real fear that it could lead to a full pogrom – aimed at both Jews and Tatars. There are large concentrations of these groups in Crimea, where they have lived freely.

            It is clear who did this. If it were Ukrainians, the Russians would be screaming about it. They are not. Jewish businesses throughout the rest of the country are thriving. Several Jewish oligarchs are supporting the government. Tatars are fully backing the Ukrainian authorities. The two minorities are becoming extremely concerned about the prospect of some type of ethnic cleansing.

          • Christy, you need to give us sources to these horrible allegations. I couldn’t find anything anywhere.

            @Gounot: The liveleak link you overlooked? No fascism but fascists. interesting logic… You do know that these fascist parties have won over 30% of the popular vote in some parts of western Ukraine?

            These are your friends now? Only because you hate Putin so much, that you can’t think clearly and rationally anymore?

          • No Script bloked the video in the first link, I watched it, and many others of the same kind, and it changes nothing. I could quote here a loud declaration of a Polish fascist thug of the same kind, stating that the whole thing has been organized by the international Jewry and freemasons. True story. Some people believe this, others believe thousands spent three months standing in the cold because they were paid by the CIA and Langley for 5 billion dollars. Good for them.

            I don’t like these thugs any more than any honest man, but I’d rather deal with them than wIth Putin. They’re smaller. Maybe one should also keep in mind what Ukraine had to deal with in the 1930s and 40s. Keeps you from making quick judgments.

            Choosing your allies is usually a luxury. The West chose Stalin over Hitler, some choice, and we’re still paying for that.

            There are “fascists” in France. There is no “fascism” in France. Sorry you miss the nuance.

            My nick is Gonout, not Gounot. Or Gounod, for that matter.

          • @Anonymous… so brave. Here is one article regarding the first attack on a Crimean Tatar business since Ukraine’s independence.

            http://censor.net.ua/photo_news/274950/bandity_sojgli_dom_i_mashiny_tatarskoyi_semi_v_krymu_fotoreportajvideo

            There is never a justification for invading another country with troops. Concerns over minority protection are dealt with through international law. If there are concerns, OSCE monitors document them. Of course, in Crimea, Russian soldiers shot at OSCE monitors and refused them entrance. I wonder why?

    • There are Russian biker gangs cruising Crimea looking for Ukrainians to beat-up. The Russian who hoisted the Russian flag for all the cameras in Kharkiv is a neo-Nazi from Moscow. Guess what, the RUSSIANS who are involved in this are very very far from pure.

  • Anybody remember 1938 and the Sudetenland?

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

    George Santayana (1863-1952)

    • “Turns out, however, Ukraine had other ideas. It overthrew Moscow’s man in Kiev, Viktor Yanu­kovych, and turned to the West. But the West — the E.U. and America — had no idea what to do.

      Russia does. Moscow denounces the overthrow as the illegal work of fascist bandits, refuses to recognize the new government created by parliament, withholds all economic assistance and, in a highly provocative escalation, mobilizes its military forces on the Ukrainian border.

      The response? The E.U. dithers and Barack Obama slumbers. After near- total silence during the first three months of Ukraine’s struggle for freedom, Obama said on camera last week that in his view Ukraine is no “Cold War chessboard.”

      Unfortunately, this is exactly what it is for Putin. He wants Ukraine back.”-Charles Krauthammer

      • Let’s add that in Crimea Putin’s thugs shoot at the OSCE observers trying to get in – lest they observed something…

        Unless they just wanted to get these pretty uniforms you can buy in every store, according to Putin.

  • fascists replaced by other fascists indeed, EU = warmongers Putin = lost touch with reality

    Moreover doesn’t the ukranian constitution give every republic the right to becoming independent?

    • EU-warmongers? You mean : from under the table?

      “Every republic”? How many “republic” are there in Ukraine, in your opinion?

  • An Open Letter From Ukraine’s Jewish Leaders to Vladimir Putin.

    http://eajc.org/page32/news43672.html

    “The Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine are not being humiliated or discriminated against, their civil rights have not been limited. Meanderings about “forced Ukrainization” and “bans on the Russian language” that have been so common in Russian media are on the heads of those who invented them. Your certainty of the growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine also does not correspond to the actual facts. It seems you have confused Ukraine with Russia, where Jewish organizations have noticed growth in anti-Semitic tendencies last year.”

    “Yes, we are well aware that the political opposition and the forces of social protests who have secured changes for the better are made up of different groups. They include nationalistic groups, but even the most marginal do not dare show anti-Semitism or other xenophobic behavior. And we certainly know that our very few nationalists are well-controlled by civil society and the new Ukrainian government – which is more than can be said for the Russian neo-Nazis, who are encouraged by your security services.”

    I would suggest that this group should be the final word on antisemitism, fascism and neo-nazi tendencies in Ukraine.

  • I’m sure there are some unsavory characters among the Ukrainian demonstrators. But we don’t judge movements by their worst characters. And what of the skinheads and others you find beating on demonstrators in Russia?

    Meanwhile, the behavior of the Russians in Crimea is simply thuggish, and appalling in its cynicism, not to mention its violation of another country’s territorial sovereignty.

    • Well, actually Putin is doing in Crimea what the West did in Kosovo. In both cases there is a clear violation of international law and territorial sovereignty.

      And, btw, the people in Crimea have never been asked whether they want to be part of Ukraine either.

      • @Simon S. WRONG. The people of Crimea voted in 1992 to become part of Ukraine when they voted approved the new constitution. The document included a semi-autonomous status for Crimea as part of Ukraine. Every poll in recent years has found that Crimeans want to continue the current arrangement as a semi-autonomous part of Ukraine. Over 40% of the population is non-ethnic-Russian and a good portion of the ethnic Russians were born in Crimea, so identify only with Crimea. The birthrate of Crimean Tatars is at least double the Russians. Within a very few years, ethnic Russians will be a minority.

        • Was there an option to vote against being part of Ukraine in that vote?

          N.B.: I am not pro-Russian or Pro-Putin. I’d just like to point out that things are not that simple.

          • Things are complicated by nature. But you can make them very simple : you shoot the problem, no more problem.

          • Yes. Voting no meant that the region did not want to be part of Ukraine. It was a close vote – 53% in favor. But, since then, the Tatars returned, and now form almost 20% of the population. That is a big change.

        • So if Crimeans want to be part of Ukraine as you claim, what is the problem with holding one more referendum where the Crimeans can decide to which country they ultimately want to belong?

          Simon S. is correct, in Kosovo we did exactly that, take it away from the Serbs. It was the same logic Putin is using now to let Crimeans decide which nation they want to belong to. And Kosovo don’t even have a strategic military installation of Serbia, like the Crim has with the Russian Black Sea fleet.

          • Because a referendum organized under the “protection” of an foreign army is rarely credible. Something like this referendum : “The Anschluss was given immediate effect by legislative act on 13 March, subject to ratification by a plebiscite. Austria became the province of Ostmark, and Seyss-Inquart was appointed governor. The plebiscite was held on 10 April and officially recorded a support of 99.7% of the voters.”

            No, Simon S. is wrong, as argued elsewhere, the whole analogy is nonsense, as it was already in Ossetia.

            BTW : the place is called Crimea, not Crim… “Krim” is Russian. Careful.

          • Gonout, you seem to be an ideologist and nationalistic hate monger of the worst kind. Why not call the place “Krim”? It was Russian after all for most of the recent history and it’s population and spoken language in majority still is. Because Khruchev felt like handing it to Ukraine SSR in a symbolic gesture in 1954?

            And please stop the Nazi comparisons. It’s tiring and hyperbolic nonsense.

          • The English name of it is Crimea. You wouldn’t call Hungary – Magyarország, just to be nice to some Hungarians.

            The Nazi comparisons are self explanatory and have been used by professional historians.

            The rest of your post suggests that you’re running out of serious arguments.

          • The German name is Krim, I’m writing from Germany, now what?

            The Nazi Austria “Anschluss” comparison is particularly nonsense. In order for the analogy to work, you would need a coup fueled by an Anti-German power against the constitutional powers in Vienna first.

          • Petitio principi: first you need to prove that the events in Kiev were indeed “a coup fueled by an Anti-Russian power”. As for the “coup fueled by an Anti-Ukrainian power” in Crimea, it’s there for all to see.

            Nothing unconstitutional about it either. Mr Yanukovich promised to sign the return to the constitution of 2004. Unwilling to keep his own promise, since it would deprive him of a part of his powers, and pretexting a “threat to his life”, he fled, abandoning his post, his country, his people. If the ship was indeed sinking, he, the captain, jumped into the first boat and disappeared for several days, leaving the country headless. The democratically elected Parlament proceeded to fill the void left by the deserter, and proclaimed a new election at the nearest possible date.

          • Sorry, do you really not know the geopolitical realities? The US has no interest in creating unrest in the Ukraine, divide Europe and nudge closer toward the Russian sphere of interest?

            Could we please talk like adults, based on a reasonably educated background?

            Hear to another US war monger, Victoria Nuland, promoting the US agenda of global dominance, communicated under the catch words of “democracy and freedom”. It’s a travesty, one can’t eat enough for the amounts one has to vomit, seeing these enemies of mankind and humanity like Nuland.

            International Business Conference at Ukraine in Washington – National Press Club – December 13, 2013

            Victoria Nuland – Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs

            US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Nuland said: “Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government – all that is necessary to achieve the objectives of Ukraine’s European. We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals. ” Nuland said the United States will continue to “promote Ukraine to the future it deserves.”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y0y-JUsPTU&feature=player_embedded

      • You’re wrong on both points. The people in Crimea (they’re not all Russians, you know) have never been asked where they wanted to be, whether in Ukraine or in Russia. Because, before anyone has had the chance to ask them, the Russians were already there, shooting at the OSCE observers, which I wouldn’t qualify as evidence of a clear conscience. The Ukrainians themselves (I mean the current “fascist” regime…) never forced anyone in Crimea to be where they didn’t want to be, the Russians did – without asking, just as the Serbs did in 1991, invading two sovereign republics to “defend the Serbian minorities” (the Nazi precedent has been mentioned even then). Therefore you are absolutely right to mention Kosovo, but it’s the other way round : Belgrade didn’t ask the Kosovars whether they wanted to stay in Serbia. Before they could speak, 3000 of them were murdered by the Serbs, in something qualified by the UN as “a systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments”.

        • There is an antagonism of two principles: territorial integrity vs. self determination. The West can no longer credibly claim “territorial integrity” since it violated this principly so clearly in the Kosovo case. And of course there is violence, corruption etc. concerning the referendum which will now take place in Crimea – but there is reason to assume that if the Crimean poluation could choice freely in a perfectly democratic and monitored vote whether they want to join russia or remain a part of Ukraine, they would choose Russia.

          The problem is: When the USSR was dissolved in 1991, the limits of the former Soviet Republics became the borders of the new independent states without asking the people concerned, though these borders had often been drawn rather arbitrarily, without considering (or, in same cases deliberately ignoring) historic, ethnic and language issues. Crimea, which was given to Ukraine as a “present” by Khrushev in 1954, is a perfect example. Transnistria is another one.

          • If, as you say, “the Crimean poluation could choice freely in a perfectly democratic and monitored vote whether they want to join russia or remain a part of Ukraine, they would choose Russia”, why not make sure that the vote is indeed “perfectly democratic and monitored”, and therefore beyond suspicion and universally recongnized, instead of invading the Republic, lie about it blatantly, and shoot at the independent observers from OSCE? Why? Maybe Putin has doubts you don’t have – since, probably, he knows things you don’t.

            Because in the present condition, you can only be sure of one thing : no one can believe the future results, obtained – this time really – under the gun, and with no independent control at all.

            Christy has told you before that the Crimea population voted for the 1992 constitution, so there was no question about that. By the way, all these “doubtful” areas were created by the Russian national-communists precisely for this purpose: divide et impera. These people think ahead, you know.

          • I fully agree with your last sentence. But that’s not the fault of the ethnic Russians in Crimea nor anywhere else.

            And yes, in my view a perfectly democratic and monitored referendum would be the best option. But regrettably, this will not happen: not under Russian occupation, but neither under Ukrainian rule.

            And concerning the supposed 1992 vote: AFAIK this was a vote on the constitution, not on the territorial sovereignty.

          • No one is accusing the ethnic Russians here or anywhere. Only the guy in the Kremlin, cynically and cruelly playing with their fears and imagination. Exactly as the Belgrade was playing with Serbian fears in 1991.

            I cannot agree with your third phrase. You have absolutely no reason to pretend that such a referendum wouldn’t be possible “under Ukrainian rule”. It sounds like a “justification by unverifiable hypothesis”, betraying, infortunately, a powerful influence of the same Russian propaganda I mentioned in the first phrase.

            Let’s work with reality, can we? The new Ukrainian power needs help and assistance. It’s obvious it cannot find it in Moscow, so it must be the West. Should Kiev organize a referendum in Crimea (as it would not, since Moscow wouldn’t let it happen – I wonder why?), to prove its good faith, it couldn’t refuse Western observers, let aloe… shoot at them, as the Russians do. Unless, of course, you think – like some of ours friends do – that the CIA would immediately send its professional falsifiers…

            The consitiution defined the political situation of Crimea within the Ukrainian Republic. The Crimean voters accepted it.

          • @Simon S – the constitutional vote for the status of Crimea came following very intense negotiations, during significant Russian agitation led by Vladimir Zhironovksy. The region’s leaders negotiated with Kyiv leaders and agreed to a semi-autonomous status giving the region significant independence. This was then part of the vote. In all independent polls since, there has never been any indication of unhappiness. It is likely that a free election would not vote to join Russia, but may ask for greater autonomy within Ukraine.

      • Kosovo is not an analagous situation; just what foreign power is occupying Kosovo?

        If you want analogies, how about the aspirations of the people of Chechnya to be independent of Russia? Putin doesn’t mention that one.

        In any case, Russia signed the 1994 Budapest agreement respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which it has clearly violated here.

        • The initial violators of the UN Charter, Budapest Memorandum, and OSCE Helsinki Final Act of 1975 were the US and EU.

  • At the risk of violating copyright, which I suspect Paul Roberts will not invoke, here is an interesting viewpoint from a former German Defense Ministry official even if it collides with Donut Backson’s fantasy land of international law and foreign relations and comes from an interview conducted on Donut’s favorite media outlet.

    “US Abandoned International Law, Follows The Law Of The Jungle

    March 11, 2014 | Categories: Guest Contributions | Tags: Wimmer, | Print This Article

    US Abandoned International Law, Follows The Law Of The Jungle

    Willy Wimmer

    Willy Wimmer was state secretary at the German Defense Ministry and vice president of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This is what this well-informed member of the European Establishment told RT: http://rt.com/op-edge/ukraine-west-international-law-966/ The translation is not very good, but the message comes through.

    Western powers are following an agenda to partition the map of the European region under which a portion of the Black Sea territory will be under US domination, former vice president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Willy Wimmer, told RT.

    The veteran German politician, who served as a Defense Ministry state secretary, reminded that no Western government is talking about the extreme right element of the government in Kiev.

    RT: More than a decade ago, you told your country’s leadership of a disturbing connection between NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia and plans for the alliance’s expansion. We have some extracts from the letter you wrote to then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder after a conference organized by the US State Department. You raised concerns over some of the conclusions reached, such as: “It would be good, during NATO’s current enlargement, to restore the territorial situation in the area between the Baltic Sea and Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) such as existed during the Roman Empire…” Do you think these plans still exist? And, if so, could the Ukrainian crisis be playing a role?

    Willy Wimmer: I think what I thought of Gerhard Schröder is similar to Angela Merkel in May 2000 – is exactly what is going on in these days. During the conference in Bratislava which was high ranking with state presidents, prime ministers, defense, and foreign ministers, and organized by the top leadership of the US State Department, they made a proposal to draw a line between Riga on the Baltic Sea, Odessa on the Black Sea, and Diyarbakir. All the territories west of this line should be under US domination, and the territories east of this line – they might be the Russian Federation or somebody else. That was the proposal – and when we see developments since then, I think it’s like a schedule which had been presented to the conference participants; everything happens exactly as it was on the timetable in Bratislava.

    RT: Let’s take a look at another passage from your letter: “In all processes, peoples’ rights to self-determination should be favored over all other provisions or rules of international law.” That seemed to be agreed upon by high-profile Western diplomats taking part in that conference – why such staunch opposition to Crimea holding a similar referendum on its status now?

    WW: Because they didn’t make it. What we saw since the middle of the ‘90s – I think caused all these problems we have here today. Until the mid-90s, all major powers agreed in international law, and in cooperation. But in the middle of the 90s, the US changed habits, changed attitudes. They no longer pursed international law, they proposed the law of the jungle. At the beginning was the war against Yugoslavia, and since then, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, everything is going because of these developments, and they no longer stick to international law and to cooperation. They make use of military might and this creates the trouble and the fear we have in Europe.

    RT: Some argue that a referendum cannot be considered legitimate if it’s not recognized by the interim authorities in Kiev. Let me ask you this – is the current government in Ukraine legitimate?

    WW: I think it was a putsch, a coup d’état, what happened in Kiev. And what we heard in the news before – OSCE and other international bodies are doing what they can to create a legal framework for a government which is not legal at all.

    The problem with this government is that they are not only not legal, they are working together with people who will be forbidden sooner or later by the Supreme Court here in Germany: right wing people, Nazis, fascists. It is interesting and outstanding that no western government is talking about these people who already created – once last century – disaster, terror, and wars in Europe, and now these people come back…

    RT: Why is the legality then not being questioned and indeed the nationalist, the extremist element within the Kiev government?

    WW: Because these new Nazis are our ‘good Nazis’ now and this is disastrous for all of Europe.

    RT: Are they a real threat? Because some people are exaggerating this nationalist element within the Kiev government. Russia is really concerned and indeed those people in Crimea and the east of the country. Do they have fears that are justified?

    WW: It’s not only the people in Ukraine or Crimea or in Russia; the fear is in Dusseldorf, Cologne, Paris,and London as well. We did not create this modern Europe to have these people back again.

    RT: So what do you think the next step should be in this stalemate? The West is calling on Russia to revoke its support for the referendum in Crimea – do you believe that’s what Moscow should do?

    WW: I live here in Germany and next Thursday, the federal Chancellor Dr. Merkel will give a speech to the Bundestag about Ukraine and I expect – I’m not referring to Crimea or to Moscow or to Kiev, I expect here in Berlin – that she will address this Nazi question, that she will address the massacre on Maidan Square. If this happened in China, there would be an uproar in Western countries. Everybody is quiet here. Why doesn’t the Council of Europe take into consideration to make an inquiry as well as the OSCE? I expect Merkel to address these issues. And we had a major party conference of our Bavarian brothers some days ago and the main speaker addressed the audience with an appeal not to forget the friendship with the Russian people.

  • Some points of fact:

    1. Crimea is ethnically Tatar, a Muslim Turkic people. Stalin exiled every single Tatar to central Asia, replacing them with Russian, because he wanted a warm water port for his navy, and knew he could trust a Russian populace more than a Tatar one.

    2. The Tatars have been migrating back to their homeland since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. They now comprise around 14% of their old homeland, with Ukranians comprising another 22% or so.

    3. Therefore nearly every ethnic Russian living in Crimea is living on land stolen from the Tatar people within the lifetime of his parents or grandparents.

    4. The number of Tatars and Ukranians who long to be part of Putin’s Russia is around zero. That’s over a third of the region.

    5. Every country that was once part of the Soviet Union has significant ethnic Russian minorities. As so other countries that weren’t part of the USSR, such as Germany. Even the condominium complex I live in in California is 10% Russians who speak Russian in their homes.

    6. Putin has stated that he has the right to invade any country with ethnic Russians in it to protect them if he decides they need “protecting.” He didn’t mention the United Nations or any other international body. Just himself as the sole judge of who needs his army’s assistance.

    Proceeding from these facts to personal speculation, my biggest concern is that Putin believes his own propaganda, just as I think my former president George Bush II did regarding Iraq. And that in doing so he’s creating exactly the situation he fears most, in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    That is, by terrifying the governments and majority citizens of every country that used to be part of the USSR with threat of military invasion, solely on the basis of what Putin decides, they are collectively running to Wshington and begging America to support them–because they know that whatever flaws America has, it’s not about to invade them. And as any Georgian or Ukranian will tell you, Putin is.

    Let me add that while Putin has succeeded in annexing the Crimea militarily, and while he’s perfectly willing to put up with whatever temporary measures the West may impose, in the long run he’s dependent on the good will of Russia’s ruling class.

    Right now Russia has Western Europe over a barrel–an oil barrel. Well, natural gas, but you get what I mean. So he figures no one can really stop him.

    However, it’s the way of Strong Men to overestimate their strength and underestimate their enemies’ resolve. And currently he is rapidly making nearly every country around him his enemy except for China. We now know treaties and agreements with Russia are meaningless. And once your word becomes meaningless, how long does it take to restore it? In this case, I would guess forever. A successor would have to start from scratch.

    When your relationship with your neighbors becomes based on fear and coercion, you need to realize that people don’t enjoy being terroized and coerced. Thay hate it. And they hate the person who did it to them. And the country he rules as well. Putin is quickly undoing the ties with the West that have been building up since 1991.

    But Russia’s oligarchs like having ties with the West. They send their kids to school there. They have crucial business relationships there. And America and some other Western countries turn out to have huge natural gas reserves. Now Putin has given Western Europe a huge incentive to wean themselves from dependence on Russian natural gas—especially since he has already used the dependence for coercive tactics. They have the incentive, and now the West has the means. It will take years to create the needed infrastructure, but it’s starting to happen.

    My point is that in the long run Putin is a lot like a dictator but not quite–he can and will crush any one oligarch who tries to stand up to him. But if his revanchism leads to Russia becoming economically isolated from the West, not amount of ties with China will make up for that, and the oligarchs will cease to be his allies.

    Putin won in Crimea. But in the fulness of time it could turn out to be a Pyhrric victory.

    • Sorry, but your “facts” are false, right from the beginning.

      from your claims:

      “…Some points of fact:

      1. Crimea is ethnically Tatar, a Muslim Turkic people. Stalin exiled every single Tatar to central Asia, replacing them with Russian, because he wanted a warm water port for his navy, and knew he could trust a Russian populace more than a Tatar one…”

      No, Crimea is not ethnically monocultural, if you want to base it on history. About any major power and ethnicity in the region, Mongols, Turks, Russians, Khasars, settled an ruled once in Crimea. Since the 18th century Crimea was Russian.

      It was also not Stalin but Katharina the great almost 200 years earlier who started to use Crimea as a strategic navy base.

      After your logic America is native Indian land and the white man killed most of them, put the rest in reservations. So we strongly protest the annexation of America by the white man… good luck with that…

      • @Anonymous – Ekhzu’s brilliant post has made your posts sound even less cogent. We don’t have “native Indians” in America. Wrong continent. We do have native Americans who are, in fact, native. It is disgusting how we treated them centuries ago, and all Americans understand and agree with this. Our population has tried to accept what our ancestors did, although nothing can ever make up for it.

        The Crimean Tatar resettlement is factual also, although Russians still deny it. Russians have never acknowledged anything they’ve done that harms other populations. Today, many Tatars have returned and adamantly oppose Russian rule. They live on Crimea. They are not Russian and do not want to be Russian. Neither do the ethnic Ukrainians, or… shock… many of the ethnic Russians who chose to move to Ukraine for a reason over the last 22 years.

        Anonymous, why don’t you do everyone a favor? Collect your Putin shill money/gratitude somewhere else. I’m sure the FSB has other places for your skills.

    • Ehkzu: what a balanced breath of fresh air your contribution is! The displacement of Tatars and the re-settlement by Russians to support their strategic naval base left Russia with the perfect pretext to reclaim Crimea at any point if ethnic Russian interest seemed threatened in any part of Ukraine.

      I hope that Putin does not invade your condominium to protect your Russian neighbours!

  • Crimean Tatars are finding black Xs on their homes and gates.

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/03/who-will-protect-the-crimean-tatars.html?mobify=0

    Also, FB post today:

    I know his name, but have removed it:

    Disturbing news in Crimea. Crimean TatarsHave had a black cross marked on there homes so Russians know where they are. They say in Russia there is no room for Tatars . Also my wifes friends husband is a medical doctor in Sevastopol. He has to stay but his wife wants to leave for Kiev. No planes to Kiev only russia now. If Russians see you have a Ukrainian passport they take it away and give you a Russian passport. They also make them kneel and ask Russia for forgiveness. This is very worrying. Its important the world knows whats going on in Sevastopol and Crimea

  • This is really disturbing. How can you use an intro like this: ‘an avowedly patriotic, pro-Putin interview to a Russian magazine in which he justified the intervention in Ukraine and had this to say about the country’s revolution …..Etc.’

    Did you actually read this interview? Do you even understand Russian? Well I very much doubt you read it and more so, you have no idea about Russia’s or Ukrainian history. In which case, smart people would just hold their tongue. As for Gergiev he is a great man who has done a lot for his country and the region he comes from. He’s not a grey mouse who follows Putin’s opinion. I didn’t know being a patriot was illegal. This is pathetic journalism.

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