“Only an Insane Person and only in a Dream…”

By JC

Vladimir Putin sat down with several Italian newspapers recently, in advance of his visit to Italy, and weighed in on many topics: relations with Europe and the U.S.; Ukraine; empire; and much more.

Consider this an open thread on the resurgence of the Cold War.

“…As for some countries’ concerns about Russia’s possible aggressive actions, I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia. They just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid. Therefore, it is pointless to support this idea; it is absolutely groundless. But some may be interested in fostering such fears. I can only make a conjecture.

For example, the Americans do not want Russia’s rapprochement with Europe. I am not asserting this, it is just a hypothesis. Let’s suppose that the United States would like to maintain its leadership in the Atlantic community. It needs an external threat, an external enemy to ensure this leadership. Iran is clearly not enough – this threat is not very scary or big enough. Who can be frightening? And then suddenly this crisis unfolds in Ukraine. Russia is forced to respond. Perhaps, it was engineered on purpose, I don’t know. But it was not our doing.

Let me tell you something – there is no need to fear Russia. The world has changed so drastically that people with some common sense cannot even imagine such a large-scale military conflict today. We have other things to think about, I assure you…”


  1. lizard19

    Mr. Color Revolution has his loot all up in Ukraine:

    A hacked document from the Ukrainian Government, in which George Soros, on 12 March 2015 (a month after the Hollande-Merkel Minsk II ceasefire agreement had been signed), advised Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko how to re-arm and resume the war against the Donbass region in Ukraine’s far east. (According to a Russian television report dated 14 April 2011, Soros had been financing the political careers of the people who have now become the leading politicians in Ukraine, since at least 2008.)

  2. steve kelly

    And others invest in Lockheed Martin. The F-35: “Currently seven years behind schedule and $167 billion over budget, the F-35 program could cost over $1 trillion over its lifetime.” – Jeremy Bender, Business Insider

    http://www.businessinsider.com/lockheed-martin-f-35-guide-2014-4

  3. Turner

    I suspect that Putin is correct in stating that the fear of Russia, among Americans especially, is overblown. At the same time, his comment that “suddenly this crisis unfold[ed] in Ukraine” (as though it caught him totally off-guard) and his claim to have had nothing to do with the crisis are patently ridiculous.

    • steve kelly

      Anything specific you could add? What did Putin do to make it his doing

    • lizard19

      no, it’s not ridiculous if you consider the broader context of the region. when Georgia initiated a military conflict with Russia in 2008, Bush let Saakashvili get his ass kicked by the Russian response instead of risking an escalation. this is Bush the Neocon invader/occupier, mind you.

      fast forward to February, 2014. the Maidan protests had been going on for months, but there were productive talks that looked to be moving forward. then snipers triggered a massacre:

      Agreements between President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders on February 21, “guaranteed” by three foreign ministers of European Union countries, were quickly broken by the leaders of the Maidan (Independence Square) protests, which instead of a “division of power” won full control the next day.

      This continues to inflame passions in Ukraine and beyond. The deaths of Maidan activists and pro-Yanukovych policemen on the previous day had become a justification for what appeared to be a coup d’etat.

      that is the correct terminology, a coup. it’s not ridiculous to think this escalation surprised Putin. and it you think it was Russia behind the sniper-triggered massacre, you might want to take into consideration what the evidence points to:

      The most recent revelations about responsibility for the killings come from Ukrainian sources. Gennady Moskal, head of the Ukrainian parliamentary commission investigating the shootings on “Black Thursday” said the bullets found did not match firearms issued to the special anti-riot police unit Berkut, which, unlike most police units, was allowed to carry lethal weapons.

      Mr Moskal also said there was no forensic evidence linking the mass killings in Kiev on February 20 to the Berkut.

      These announcements contradicted the “official” version of the victors in the confrontation. This version was made public days after the coup by the new prosecutor general of Ukraine, Oleg Makhnitsky, a member of the far-right Svoboda party. Until 2004, this party was called the Social-National Party of Ukraine, with its echoes of the National Socialist German Workers’ – or Nazi – Party.

      I dunno, Turner, you may prefer to believe the Nazi version of what happened on Black Thursday. I certainly don’t.

      a year later, the BBC actually interviewed one of these snipers who was apparently groomed:

      “I was shooting downwards at their feet,” says a man we will call Sergei, who tells me he took up position in the Kiev Conservatory, a music academy on the south-west corner of the square.

      “Of course, I could have hit them in the arm or anywhere. But I didn’t shoot to kill.”

      Sergei says he had been a regular protester on the Maidan for more than a month, and that his shots at police on the square and on the roof of an underground shopping mall, caused them to retreat.

      to mitigate this awkward disclosure, one of the Maidan organizers tried depicting these snipers as spontaneous, aggrieved Ukrainians looking for payback:

      Parubiy says it is possible that a handful of protesters with weapons may have come to the Maidan as part of a spontaneous, unorganised response to violence from the security forces in the days running up to 20 February.

      “I did hear that, after the shootings on 18 February, there were guys who came to Maidan with hunting rifles. I was told that sometimes they were the relatives or parents of those people who were killed on the 18th. So I concede that it’s possible there were people with hunting rifles on Maidan. When the snipers began to kill our guys, one after another, I can imagine that those with the hunting rifles returned fire.”

      but the sniper’s story the BBC got doesn’t fit that cover story:

      Sergei, again, tells a different story. He says he was recruited as a potential shooter in late-January, by a man he describes only as a retired military officer. Sergei himself was a former soldier.

      “We got chatting, and he took me under his wing. He saw something in me that he liked. Officers are like psychologists, they can see who is capable. He kept me close.”

      The former officer dissuaded him from joining any of the more militant groups active on the Maidan.

      “‘Your time will come,’ he said.”

      Was he being prepared, psychologically, to take up arms?

      “Not that we sat down and worked out a plan. But we talked about it privately and he prepared me for it.”

      It is not clear who the man who apparently recruited Sergei was, or whether he belonged to any of the recognised groups active on the Maidan.

      And there is much else that we still do not know, such as who fired the first shots on 20 February.

      anyway, the situation in Ukraine is still persistently referred to as the result of Russian aggression.

      to believe this, though, you must remain willfully ignorant of what the evidence points to.

      do you wish to remain willfully ignorant, Turner?

    • JC

      Turner, there are quite a few journalists and observers who believe that Putin was distracted by the Sochi Olympics, as he was personally quite involved in the games, and attended them from beginning to end. The coup unfolded right after the games ended.

      I tend to think that Russia has pretty good SIGINT (signals intelligence). They trapped the phone call from the U.S. Undersecretary for State, Victoria Neuland, talking about the coup and its successors before it happened. They released the call to the public for a reason.

      So if Russian intelligence had this information, then the analysts and Putin himself needed to make the determination that the coup was forthcoming or not. There is a lot of noise with this sort of SIGINT, and it appears that a) Putin is being honest and their analysis didn’t point to the coup actually happening, thus the surprise element; or b) the Russians knew exactly what was unfolding, and Putin’s exclamations are just politics; or c) Putin’s comments are covering up the inadequacy of their intelligence (and his own personal failing, as he is a career intelligence officer).

      I tend to think “b” is the correct answer here. Be that as it may, to think that Putin had something to do with the coup is a bit of a stretch. To what end would Russia benefit from the deposing of Yanukovitch? None. And if Russia were in such control of the Ukrainian government before the coup, why would they have not stepped in, in some fashion and intervened? They didn’t.

      What happened in Crimea and the Donbass are just reactions to the coup. One needs to analyze the history of the chain of events leading up to the coup to understand what occurred, and what is currently happening. Taking Crimea and the Donbass out of context is to further the west’s propaganda: ignore the triggering events, focus on the blowback, and demonize Putin.

      • I think if you look at the timeline, Russian intervention in Syria had something to do with it too. The western powers were getting ready to close the trap door on Assad when the Russians intervened with a show of force. Not too long afterward, Ukraine blew up. From a geopolitical standpoint, Ukraine would then be a distraction and a threat to keep the Russians at home as they go about their terrorist attacks elsewhere.




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