Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Ukraine - Russia doesn't need to invade

The Ukranian soldiers bravely holding out in their Crimean bases may soon face additional pressures - from their wives. Ukraine's coffers are empty, with not enough left in the accounts to meet the armed forces paybill. The country's vanity flag-carrier UIA will soon have to ground its jets as it won't be able to pay for avgas or landing charges. And though Ukraine may be able to pay for 5.45 x 39 cartridges for the army's AK74s with dollar cash, spares for its MiG-29s, missiles and more sophisticated military hardware will be more difficult to come by. The make-believe new government, with the speaker of parliament also pretending to be the President, will have no money to pay the civil servants to promulgate its lunatic decrees. It's unlikely that eastern Ukranians, who run the country's significant industries, and with their loyalties to Russia, will be eager to pay taxes to Kiev and western Ukranians, wary of political corruption, and whose exports seem to consist largely of smuggled cigarettes and prostitutes, will not make up the difference.

The IMF have made clear that the earliest its first loan could come on stream is mid-April, and stress the word loan. It will be coupled to savage spending cuts. Any hopes of a decent revenue from Black Sea tourism will be dented as German and UK lads and lasses after cheap booze and dodgy sex pick somewhere without camouflaged APCs overlooking the beaches. And though Ukraine may produce a record 60m tonne grain harvest this Autumn, it's probably already been mortgaged to the hilt by the outgoing regime. 

Commentators who believe that after a brief period of hardship Ukraine can emerge like a butterfly as a prosperous western component of a Federal Europe are either naive or cruelly deluding the people of the Ukraine; Andrej Nikolaides writes in the Guardian of Bosnia's experience. If it's indicative, the best the Ukranian people can hope for is poverty, debt servitude to European banks and eye watering levels of IMF-induced unemployment. 

One feels sympathy for the Ukranians who believed the siren seduction of the EU's unelected officials; they will now be approaching the EU stressing their urgent need of a few billions to get them through March and pay the wages. They may be offended or even rendered hostile by the EU's refusal to fund them. 

All the while, Putin doesn't have to fire a shot. Russian roubles are more important to London's banks, warship orders to French shipyards and Russian investment more critical to a recovering Europe than the Ukraine. And Russian gas doesn't only heat Europe's homes but drives the furnaces and smelters of Europe's heavy industry and the turbines of its power plants. Russia's biggest trading partner is Germany, and Merkel won't risk that relationship to back the ultra-nationalists of the Maidan.

From all the news interviews I've seen, what the majority of Ukranians seem to want is a return to the status quo ante - with a slow, steady and democratically backed evolution that balances Russian interests and western aspirations. The situation, in fact, destroyed by the insane hubris of the EU's unelected officials and its Ruritanian 'External Action Service'. If Kiev wants to put anyone on trial, Van Rompuy, Ashton and Reding are surely prime suspects.


G. Tingey said...

Sorry, Radders, but...
I believe your (Extremely well-founded) distrust & dislike of the EU has blinded you to just what a corrupt thug Putin & his gang of ex-KGB cronies are.
To the point where even the EU is preferable to being controlled from Moscow.
I will say just one name to illustrate this point:
Sergei Magnitsky And you would trust people who did this to a whistleblower over the EU?
Err, I beg to differ.

Anyway, Ukraine should be a half-way-house, benefitting from the trad flowing in both directions, shouldn't it?

Raedwald said...

Greg - I learned long ago that ALL Russian leaders are cruel despots and always have been; even Alexander II maintained a secret police that murdered and imprisoned thousands.

I'm under no illusions about Putin, but for my own peace and security I'd rather have a predictable and stable despot running Russia than any number of Eurocrackpots ..

And yes, agree 100% that Ukraine should be a halfway house, bridging E and W and profiting from so doing - but this will take time and patience, many years - the EU played on their desire for instant gratification, for wealth tomorrow rather than in a decade, and that's what's unforgivable.

Anonymous said...

Although I share your opinion of the EU and their meddling in Ukraine. We all bemoan the fact that the MSM no longer tell us the real news but it seems to me that blogs like yours are also avoiding the truth of Ukraine and who is stirring it - the US of A. I think this guys explanations make more sense of the situation than any thing else I read.


Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Yup - what is Obamessiah and his crew up to? - it would seem that they are not simply curious observers from afar if the reported utterances of assorted Mercan officials is accurate.

The patchwork quilt of oblasts that is Russian political / ethnic makeup is fertile soil for sh1t stirring and one has to suspect that's what's going on.

One has to wonder at the "choices" presented to Ukranians most of whom likely want to simply get on with their lives peaceably.

I think, Barrosso, Rumpuy and Ashton should go to Kiev, take hotel rooms facing the Maidan and STAY THERE until it's all settled.

Raedwald said...

Yes - agree that the US has also been a key player and thanks for the link - new to me, but now bookmarked. They've been acting both directly and through NATO, and by encouraging the idiots from the Berlaymont. NATO is a shame because Rasmussen is one of the good guys.

Don't forget that the links between govt and the global corporates are nowhere as strong as the US - which is why the US is 100% behind EU federalism. If the UK votes to leave the EU, just wait and see the pressure the US applies on us; it will be intense.

Mike Spilligan said...

Putin is right (whether you like him and his long term aims or not) in that there has been an armed insurrection against a legally appointed government, democratically elected. To hear Hague say (in the HoC) that Yanukovich "ran away" as justification is risible. What would he have done? - stayed and be shot? That is our pretend Foreign Secretary.

cuffleyburgers said...

Mike - I think on that basis you could be arguing that Putin is not the legitimate president of Russia because the Tsar was not deposed by constitutional means.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Gordon, I think Barroso, Rumpy, and Ashton should go to Kiev, take hotel rooms wherever they wish, pay for them themselves, and stay there for good.

But I'm just an old idealist, I know.

cuffleyburgers said...

@ Anonymous - I looked at the Pal Craig Thomas link, the guy looks to me like a looney.

Any good points he might have are drowned in bile and frankly he comes over as totally ignorable.

A far more convincing purveyor of cynical and informed comment on US foreign policy is the Diplomad whom I would commend to anybody here who is not already a regular visitor.

Budgie said...

Raedwald - a very impressive summary. It's funny how democratically elected Putin and Yanukovych are supposed to be the villains but dictators like Rompuy, Ashton and Reding, un-elected all, get away with deposing elected politicians. But of course they have form.

G. Tingey said...

Putin & "Y" are murderers
Rompoy Ashton Reding, though deeply unpleasant are not.
I think this matters