As some of you may realise, I (grumpy) cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as a “leftie” and it may surprise your readers to know that I have been involved in International business for about 30 years and have many close friends throughout the world.
My mate Konstantin is one of the best, a degree educated Electrical Engineer, Konstantin is a fiercely proud Russian who has never held back from voicing his opinions, something that the multinationals who have employed him have found out the hard way.
Anyway, Konstantin has been so dismayed by the way the Western media have portrayed his country in the Ukraine crisis that he has taken to writing.
He sent me this to critique and I was so impressed that I asked for, and was given, his permission to offer as a post here.
The below is Konstantin’s opinion and you are welcome to disagree.
1. Turmoil in Kiev or how it all started
The policy of the Ukraine for the last few years has been blackmailing the West on the ground that Ukraine will develop closer economic ties with Russia and blackmailing Russia that the Ukraine joins the EU next day. Their goal was to milk as much money and preferences as they could from one side and oil and gas and more loans from the other. Adding up an enormous level of corruption and very different lifestyles, economics, ethnic traits and religious beliefs between Western and Eastern Ukraine, this situation couldn’t last long. Ukrainian people got tired and went on Maidan. The US regarded this situation as very favorable one for reaching their two main goals in Europe: getting a firm foothold as close as they can to the Russian border and revive the NATO which with years has become too lazy and peaceful organization and obviously needed to be kept in check. This was the reason why Nouland, Biden, the CIA director, the US senators were visiting Kiev as frequently as they visited the golf courses. At exactly the same time Putin was enjoying his time at the Olympics and his aides stayed away from Kiev. Personally I was really amazed at such a bold and direct interference of the US officials in internal Ukrainian affairs. Well, just as they say, «Why there will never be a revolution in the United States? Because there’s no US embassy there».
2. Annexation of Crimea
I strongly believe this was the right thing to do. First, putting aside the all-Russian history of Crimea and the unlawful secession from Russia by Khruschov, if it wasn’t for the annexation we’d have a full scale bloodbath in Crimea right now, far worse than we currently see in Eastern Ukraine, to say nothing of a couple of naval NATO bases in Crimea in a few years from now. Second, uniquely enough for the modern history, the annexation was a «clean kill», so to speak, not a single person got hurt and 98% of the population supported joining Russia. The outrage of those who overlooked the event while they were supposed to keep an eye on Russia is understood. And let’s leave all the cries that there were no changing borders in Europe since WWII for the kids. I mean – Germany, Yugoslavia, Kosovo – the borders were changed every time the West thought they should.
3. Putin’s stature
Putin is supported by a vast majority of the Russian population because he leads more or less independent policy as opposed to Eltsin’s times when the West basically regarded Russia as a lowly state with non-existent interests. Russians are very sensitive to being treated this way even if in many cases they do not live up to the standards when they should be treated the other way. Right now people start grumbling that Putin backed down on Eastern Ukraine and doesn’t take any firm actions. Note that the number of Russian and Ukrainian(!) refugees fleeing to Russia exceeded several hundred thousand which is a big burden for the southern Russian regions to bear. If Putin keeps being indecisive his ratings will definitely start plummeting to finally meet Obama’s. That’s us, Russians – today we love, tomorrow we hate.
4. The West and the downing of the Malaysian plane
Now I am being sarcastic. I mean, guys, what’s happened to the West? Where are the basic Western democratic values like, say, the independent system of justice? Where is the presumption of innocence? In half an hour after the plane was shot down Putin personally was held culpable. The downing of the plane has raised many questions which desperately need answering before we are to blame anyone (why the pilots changed the course towards the war zone and lowered their altitude, who told them to do so, why the Ukrainian BUK battery radar activities increased drastically that day, were there any Ukrainian fighter jets following the Malaysian liner, what recent Poroshenko’s «we’ll have a surprise for you» remark meant, etc., etc.). Instead of a proper investigation we are being fed with some «psakiing» like «we got the information from social networks proving that the separatists shot down the plane and Putin was personally responsible. We also got some intelligence that we can’t disclose». I mean, are you kidding me? Social networks? If all the verdicts in Western courts had been based on «this is obvious that he did that» statements the West wouldn’t have become the West as we know it. I always respected the US internal policy and I still consider it to be the best in the world with a few minor exceptions. But the international policy of the US has been a disaster lately and more and more reminds me of some sort of trolling other nations. Unfortunately I do not see any attempts to solve the Ukrainian crisis in a diplomatic way. No talks between Putin and Obama, a few talks between Lavrov and Kerry, obviously, to no avail. So far the Western approach has been overly simplified – Putin is the villain of the peace, a pariah, let’s kick him out of our sandbox (G7, G20, 2018 WFC, what else?).
Indeed it looks like «the US and Russia are going to fight with each other until the last Ukrainian is standing». I do hope it doesn’t lead to WWIII. Big wars start with small incidents, as we all know.
P.S. My personal best to Matthew Lee, he is a great guy with brain and courage. Keep on, Matt!