Saturday, July 26, 2014

US Interference in Ukraine, Eurasia & Elsewhere

US Interference in Ukraine, Eurasia & Elsewhere

Ukraine Could End up Destroyed Like Iraq, Libya or Syria


US president Obama has accused Moscow of interfering in Ukraine .How funny and ridiculous ?! Let me quote US Empire historian, William Blum who noted that since the end of World War II, United States has:


Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected. 

Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.

Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

* Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries. 

* Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries, according to Chapter 18 of his book Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower.

US by far, is seen by the people of the world as "the greatest threat to peace in the world today" with 24% taking that view. Only 2% see Russia as such a threat, and 6% see China.


The number of those who consider US a threat to world peace would be higher but for Indians, whose prime minster had said that Indians loved George Bush Jr deeply and a Congress spokesman recommended that Bush must be given Bharat Ratna .Do you recall how honourable members of Parliament were climbing over each other to shake president Bill Clinton's hand when he visited the Indian Parliament.


The DNA of India's so called intelligentsia, brought up on the diet of white man's supremacy and knowledge of English has mutated into respect, servility and submission to north Atlanticists. Some change has been seen in recent times, fortunately.


For US led west, even after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR and its allies in East Europe, the COLD WAR never ended. US and the poodles continued to interfere in Eurasia. 


The author has written a number of articles about US led direct interference in East Europe and Eurasia .I call so-called Colour Revolutions US Franchised ( same procedures and ingredients as in Macdonald ,KFC and other US Franchises )


These articles were copied by dozens of websites all over the world.


Georgia in Turmoil; A gambit in Eurasian Great game

In Ukraine, a franchised revolution


After Non – Franchised Andijan Uprising, East Closes Ranks


Central Asian Backlash Against US Franchised Revolutions


Strategic Chess Moves Across Eurasia


BAKU-CEYHAN PIPELINE: Another West-East Fault Line


In fact emboldened after the collapse of the Soviet Union wrought by a naïve Gorbachev and dismantling and destruction of the Russian federation by Yeltsin, before Vladimir Putin could gather the pieces and revive the Russian people and the State, President George W. Bush had the temerity to patronizingly proclaim in 2001 "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy… I was able to get a sense of his soul." Because the US thought Putin would be Boris Yeltsin II. (That Bush of Mission Accomplished (in Iraq ;destroyed))


Russian Bear Growls at US Hypocrisy and Hegemony

After consolidating the Russian state , Putin underlined at the 43rd annual International Security Conference held in Munich on 10 February, 2007 on the importance of the role of United Nations, U.S. missile defense, NATO expansion, Iran's nuclear program and the Energy Charter. He accused Washington of provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defenses, undermining international institutions, trying to divide modern Europe and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.

Ever since Soviet leader Gorbachev ended the cold war in 1989, more out of naiveté than misplaced goodwill ,which after USSR's collapse the US ruling elite claimed as the victory of the capitalist West over Socialist Russia, this was the first blunt criticism of USA's unleashed rampant forces trying to coerce the whole world to its will for total domination while using brazen lies and illegal, brutal and inhuman means.

While calling a spade a spade Russian leader Putin was only articulating what a majority of peoples in the world thought and think of US policies. A BBC poll covering more than 26,000 people in 25 countries, including the U.S., held in November - January, found that 49 % believe U.S. playing "mainly negative" role in the world, compared to 32% who said it was "mainly positive." In 18 countries asked the same question earlier, which had called U.S. influence positive, it fell from 40 % in 2005, to 36 % last year, to 29 % in 2007. In Germany and Indonesia, nearly 3 out of 4 respondents had a mainly negative opinion of U.S. influence while it was 69 % in France and Turkey.

Nearly 73 % disapproved of Washington's role in the Iraq war. In Egypt, France, and Lebanon where more than 3 out of 4 respondents "strongly disapproved" , while more than 68 % said the U.S. military presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it prevents."

There is no need to repeat the incessant lies by western leaders , instruments of Western Jewish bankers, military-industry complex, energy and other corporate interests .


Let me go back to the Ukraine crisis and give you a back ground of what US led West did in Ukraine and elsewhere .How naïve to imagine that US led West will stop interfering around the world.


Ukraine elections confirm rollback of US hegemony

The Eurasian Great game; West loses a big Piece


13 February 2010;


The final round results from Ukraine's bitterly fought presidential elections on 7 February gave Victor Yanukovich , a pro-Russian former prime minister, a close win but the opponent, maverick prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko refuses  to concede defeat and demanded a recount. The Central Election Commission gave Yanukovich 48.95 percent of the vote, with 45.47 percent for Tymoshenko. Nearly 70% of the registered voters exercised their right in this critically important election in an ongoing strategic battle between the West and the East. The official results will be announced by February 17.


In an exclusive 9 February interview with CNN ( which indicates that Washington has acquiesced ) , Yanukovich called on Tymoshenko to accept defeat .Recalling the US franchised "Orange Revolution" in 2005 he said ;


"This country has been democratic for five years, and that's been proven again by this election," taking a dig he added that "Yulia Tymoshenko is betraying the principles of her Orange Revolution" by failing to acknowledge defeat."


A Yanukovich win is a remarkable comeback five years after he was ousted in a populist uprising , added CNN.( Except that the protests and December 2004 elections were financed and organized by US led west and their organizations and foundations and puppets in Eurasia.) The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which sent observers this time too hailed the process as "professional, transparent and honest," which should "serve as a solid foundation for a peaceful transition of power."


In a Kremlin statement of 9 February Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Yanukovich on the completion of the election campaign, which was highly rated by international observers, and the success achieved at the presidential election.

New York Times sarcastically commented that such an election has not been held in Russia since Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, and consolidated power. European election monitors praising the election as highly competitive, unpredictable and relatively fair called it an "impressive display" of democracy. "Ukraine " election, in other words, did not follow the Kremlin blueprint and, if anything, seemed to highlight the flaws in the system in Russia. As such, it presented a kind of alternative model for the former Soviet Union. ( What about George Bush election in 2000! )


"Tymoshenko helped spearhead the Orange Revolution, which first brought Western-style democracy to Ukraine. ( really –more later ) While her defeat might indicate a rejection of the revolution, the fact that the country carried out a contentious presidential election that was widely considered fair suggested that the Orange legacy had endured."


Olexiy Haran, professor of comparative politics at Kiev Mohyla University, said that many Ukrainians were disappointed in the Orange Revolution, "Ukrainians did not gain much of what they were promised in the social or economic spheres in 2004, but at the same time, they are enjoying democracy, "Haran said. "They can criticize, they can watch television political talk shows with enthusiasm. They have real choices."


"They would like order and stability, and they want strong leaders," he said. "But that does not mean that they are going to sacrifice their democratic freedoms for that. This is the difference with Russia."


Kiev was calm after the poll ( unlike end 2004) and there was no indication that the kind of mass street protests that broke out with the Orange Revolution would occur now.

US President Barack Obama also congratulated Yanukovich. A White House statement described  a " peaceful expression of the political will of Ukrainian voters as another positive step in strengthening democracy in Ukraine." It said that the two leaders agreed on the need to continue cooperation which " include expanding democracy and prosperity, protecting security and territorial integrity, strengthening the rule of law, promoting non-proliferation, and supporting reform in Ukraine's economic and energy sectors." "The strategic partnership between the United States and Ukraine is based on shared interests and values," it concluded


Outgoing President Yushchenko's bid to join NATO was strongly supported by the George Bush administration. But it was turned down at a 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest due to pressure from Germany and France, who did not want to antagonize Russia. NATO had expressed pious hope that Ukraine, along with fellow former Soviet republic Georgia, would join the alliance sometimes in the future.


"There is no question of Ukraine joining NATO," Yanukovich clarified in an interview with Russia's Channel One.


"Ukraine is interested today in the development of a project to create a system of collective European security. We are ready to take part in this and support the initiative of Russia President Dmitry Medvedev," he went on, in a clear indication that he was keen to restore ties with Russia, soured since 2004 over Yushchenko's pro-West policies.


Tymoshenko a politician with a steely ambition with little experience of coming second and described by the west the heroine of the so called 'Orange Revolution' remained in a state of denial and refused to concede defeat . She is perhaps trying to prove to her supporters that she remains a formidable force and persuade them to back her in waging future battles against Yanukovich.


"Tymoshenko is more of a revolutionary than a democrat," said Volodymr Fesenko, director of the Penta centre of political studies. She has "always shown bad habits. Like not being able to let go of power". In Ukraine's parliament, she could make life very difficult for Yanukovich whose Regions Party does not have a  majority. But deputies from her Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) are already reported to be in talks to switch to the Regions Party after her loss which could weaken her hand.

Yanukovych could dissolve the parliament and call elections but that would give a chance for Tymoshenko to launch an immediate comeback.


"For the moment, the most important thing for her is to be the person who fights Yanukovych in the eyes of the voters," said Fesenko.

"It's a long time since Tymoshenko lost. She is in shock," said Kost Bondarenko, Ukrainian political analyst.


"In Europe, recognizing the victory of the opponent is a sign of civilized behavior. For Tymoshenko, legitimizing Yanukovych would be a sign of weakness in the eyes of the voters," wrote Sergey Leshchenko, a journalist.


"She is going to try and get on Yanukovich's nerves and prevent him from enjoying his victory," said Dmytro Vydrin, political analyst and a former advisor to Tymoshenko. But challenging the results and creating a new political crisis is hardly likely to go down well with the European Union, where she has been such a favourite.


 "Tymoshenko tells Brussels that Ukraine is a European country but at home she behaves like a Byzantine," Vydrin said."If the Russians have 'sovereign democracy' then the Ukrainians have a kind of carnival where spectacle is more appreciated than substance," he added


In end 2003 Yanukovych was blamed for the vote-rigging that provoked the Orange Revolution and swept pro-Western politician Yushchenko to power in a repoll. But now it is Yanukovych who is calling on Tymoshenko to respect democracy by conceding after players like OSCE, EU and the USA all praised the conduct of the elections.


Following Yanukovich's defeat five years ago , Yushchenko went in for a confrontationist policy with Moscow to please his backers , USA ,UK and others at great harm and loss loss to the people . There were regular disputes with Moscow over price and supply of gas to central and west Europe from which Ukrainian people gained little .It provided Western propaganda organs like BBC and CNN handle to badmouth Russia , when Moscow wanted to charge market price to the gas sold to Ukraine , which stole gas or throttled gas supplies westwards .


Germany wants to have stable and beneficial economic relations with Russia to get the arrogant Washington off its back .  Berlin even guaranteed a cover 1 billion Euros of the Nord Stream project cost for the laying of a gas pipeline under the Baltic to avoid traversing Ukraine and other territories , with former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder accepting Gazprom's nomination for the post of the Chairman of the Board .The change in Kiev augurs well for the Ukrainians , who became a pawn in West East  strategic game.


Soon after the Yushchenko victory 5 years ago , American marines even turned up for naval exercises in Crimea ( a Russian territory which was transferred to Ukraine by Soviet strongmanNikita Khrushchev of Ukrainian origin ) where the Russian Black Sea Fleet remains anchored. The Russian speaking population protested and hounded out the Yanks to force a quick exit .


Ukraine Nov –Dec , 2004 presidential elections & the "Orange Revolution"


Do you remember the Ukraine presidential elections held on 21 November , 2004 and the aftermath. It was something like this ;


"In scenes reminiscent of the overthrow of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in November last year (see Georgia in the melting pot, in Dec 2003) and Slobodan Milosevich of Serbia in 2000, crowds opposing Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, the official winner of Ukraine's presidential polls on November 21, massed at the main door to parliament in support of his rival Viktor Yushchenko, a former premier too, who claimed that the polls were rigged.


"Parliament on Sunday annulled the results, which had given pro-Russian Yanukovich 49.46% of the votes against 46.61% for pro-West Yushchenko. But Roman Zvarych, a deputy and one of Yushchenko's close aides, said: "We are in legal limbo. Much of this we are making up as we go along." The Supreme Court, as of late seen as a neutral body, was due to sit for a third day Wednesday to examine allegations of systematic electoral fraud.


"These events are part of a major geopolitical battle being fought in Ukraine, with the United States and Europe trying to encroach on Russia's traditional strategic turf. With the latter resisting it, the situation is reminiscent of the Cold War era. Ukraine, despite so far evolving peacefully, is now teetering on the edge of an abyss, with the possibility of serious turmoil looming, which could have ramifications that affect post-Cold War equations."


From In Ukraine, a franchised revolution           2 December, 2004
By K Gajendra Singh

On an appeal citing irregularities by Yushchenko, the Ukrainian Supreme Court declared the result null and void .The legal action was reinforced by incredibly well organized sit ins and demonstrations in Ukrainian capital Kiev, which was called the "Orange revolution' with large scale financing by the West and help in training of thousands of Yushchenko supporters .Yushchenko was joined by Yulia Tymoshenko , who was to become prime minister .The re-poll held on 26 December gave pro-West Victor Yushchenko, 52% against 44% for Yanukovich, who also filed an appeal charging of irregularities running into 57 volumes . But finally Yanukovich threw in the towel.
The Parliament had also joined in the fray and set aside  the 21 November elections .It dismissed Yanukovich as Prime Minister, which the in situ President Leonid Kuchma did not ratify. The Parliament also changed the constitution to reduce incoming President's power and unanimously voted for the return of Ukrainian soldiers from Iraq. ( but the soldiers were not withdrawn ). Yushchenko supporters did not allow Yanukovich to hold a cabinet meeting and occupied government buildings in Kiev barring the latter's supporters from discharging their duties.

US Franchised revolutions

In November 2004 Ukraine poll outside supporters were vocal in support of their favoured candidate, but after the December re-polls the major powers with strategic interests ie, Russia, USA and EU were cautious. Adam Ereli of the US Department of State said "that the US administration had not rendered support to any of the candidates.". Putin who had hastily congratulated Yanukovich in November, said that he would work with Yushchenko, if he were elected.
Ukraine is not like Czech Republic or even Ukraine's neighbour Poland, which are now firmly in the European orbit. Ukraine was generally an integral part of the historical East and strategically vital for Russia in East West rivalry. The first seeds of Russian identity and nationalism had sprouted in Kiev, but the Ukrainian perception of its own national identity has been somewhat ambivalent. After the collapse of atheistic communism, Russia has reverted to orthodox Christianity and wants to be partner of European and western political and economic system, but still remains on the other side strategically. So the reactions from US led West and Russia mimicked the cold war utterances.
Soon after 26 December re-poll, Mikhail Saakashvili, West's poster boy of the "Rose revolution" of 
 Georgia, who studied in Kiev, and is thus fluent in Ukrainian, turned up to address a meeting of hundred thousand Yushchenko supporters in Kiev and proclaimed," This is the triumph of good over evil." After Kiev, Saakashvili studied law in USA, worked in a US law firm and has a Dutch wife. Yushchenko, is married to an American, who reportedly worked for US state department 

"Rose revolution" in Georgia 
On November 22, 2003, Saakashvili supporters had charged through the portals of the Georgian parliamentary building in Tbilisi, forced Shevardnadze, a fixture on the Georgian scene, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, who along with Gorbachev dismantled the USSR , to resign. Saakashvili then won the new poll by 90%, which looked suspiciously like Communist era results.
Many publications in the West like the Economist of London called the events in Georgia a "velvet" or "rose" revolution. "Proud Georgians will point to this non-violence to argue that their country is fundamentally different to its Caucasian neighbors, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Both of these held flawed elections earlier this year too."  That things in Georgia happened differently was "a tribute partly to the vibrancy of the democratic opposition there, and partly to the fact that the West's involvement - both in monitoring the elections and in speaking out about fraud afterwards - was much greater."  The reality was that elections in Azerbaijan and even Armenia ensured pro west leadership.

US had put up with Shevardnadze misrule and provided aid worth $1 billion, and other help to build Georgia as a bulwark against Russian interests in the region. Most of the money went into pockets of the ruling elite but in return, under Shevardnadze, Georgia fully toed the US line. Russian President Putin turned hostile to Shevardnadze because of his conviction that the latter was less than helpful in the war in Chechnya, across Georgia's northern border.

In 1999, outgoing president Boris Yeltsin phoned Shevardnadze and requested use of Georgian territory for a Russian attack on Chechnya rebels . US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott advised Shevardnadze to say no. With little heed for long-term consequences, as earlier in Afghanistan and now in Iraq, the US perhaps let Georgia overlook Chechens using its territory to establish international links, which were possibly behind the end 2003 Istanbul bombings against two synagogues, the British Consulate and HSBC Bank.


US Secretary of State Colin Powell who urged Shevardnadze for a bloodless departure, said in an interview: "An unstable Georgia automatically results in an unstable Caucasus." Shevardnadze was a good man. It was nice to cooperate with him, but his time was up. Reportedly Powell hinted that US ambassador Richard Miles was part of a plan to depose Shevardnadze. On November 29, an angry Shevardnadze told the Russian television that US multibillionaire George Soros was one of the major malefactors who led to the change of leadership in Georgia. Ambassador Miles was known to have been active in grooming Saakashvili. A series of senior US figures passed through Tbilisi earlier in 2003 to warn Shevardnadze that his days were numbered, including his old friend Jim Baker. "We would like to see stronger leadership," Miles told the Washington Post before Georgia elections.

Post 'Rose Revolution": 
Writing in International Herald Tribune soon after, Tinatin Khidasheli, Chairwoman of the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, a human rights group, and a fellow at the Yale University and who was an enthusiastic participant in the "Rose revolution" wrote that Saakashvili consolidated his power, initiating constitutional amendments which reduced the Parliament's powers, and granted him more powers than any elected president in any democratic state. As for freedom of speech in Georgia," dozens of media outlets were shut down, including three television stations. Even the more popular political talk shows were discontinued and replaced" and others labeled as traitors. Several critics have fared worse The editor of an independent newspaper, with no history of drug use, was arrested in the street for drug possession after criticizing a Saakashvili appointed regional governor. The home of a member of parliament was raided without warrant, "where police claimed to find a stockpile of arms in his children's wardrobe." So much for freedoms in Georgia.
West's Franchised revolutions:

"Elections are a moment of triumph," gloated
 USA Today. It added that " the potential is clear: Ukraine's Orange Revolution was fueled by young voters in Kiev, who created Web sites and wrote rap songs to inspire voters. They ate at the McDonald's off Independence Square and lined up at Coca-Cola kiosks for drinks. The Orange Revolution is the latest in what appears to be a slow trend toward more democracy among the former Soviet republics and satellite states, including Georgia in 2003, Serbia in 2000 and years earlier in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Yes, the same tactics were applied by the
 US triumphantly in Serbia in 2000 to topple Slobodan Milosevic. Michael Kozak, theUS ambassador in Minsk, then sought to emulate the success in elections in Belarus against the authoritarian Alexander Lukashenko, but failed.

There were many write ups in Guardian, Globalsearch and other websites which have documented western agencies' support to Yushchenko.  According to New Statesman Yushchenko was supported covertly by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Freedom House and George Soros' Open Society Institute, the very entities, which had helped oust Shevardnadze last year. The NED has four affiliate institutes: The International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS). They" provide technical assistance to aspiring democrats worldwide." 

 Ukraine, the NED and its constituent organizations funded Yushchenko's party Nasha Ukraina (Our Ukraine), as well as the Kiev Press Club. Freedom House, along with "The Independent Republican Institute (IRI) " were involved in assessing the "fairness of elections and their results". IRI had its staff in "poll watching" in 9 districts, and local staff in all 25 districts. "There are professionals outside election monitors from bodies such as   the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but the Ukrainian poll, like its predecessors, also featured thousands of local election monitors trained and paid by western groups. ... They also organised exit polls which gave Yushchenko an 11-point lead and set the agenda for much of what has followed."  
Of course, western media and governments are committed to the "Freedom of the Press".  They organize exit polls and then feed disinformation into the Western news chain, create and fund "pro-Western", "pro-reform" student groups, who then organize mass displays of civil disobedience. (Read Traynor, in Guardian) "In the
 Ukraine, the Pora Youth movement ("Its Time") funded by the Soros Open Society Institute is part of that process with more than 10,000 activists.  Supported by the Freedom of Choice Coalition of Ukrainian NGOs, Pora is modeled on Serbia's Otpor and Georgia's Kmara.  The Freedom of Choice Coalition acts as an Umbrella organization. It is directly supported by the US and British embassies in Kiev as well as by Germany, through the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (a foundation linked to the ruling Social Democrats).  

Victor Yushchenko 
The outgoing president Yushchenko as the head of the newly-formed National Bank of Ukraine enforced in 1993 IMF's usual shock therapy economic medicine which only impoverished its economy. As it had all over the world. He created a new Ukrainian national currency, which resulted in a dramatic plunge in real wages, with bread, electricity and transportation prices increasing by three, six and nine times respectively. The standard of living tumbled .

Yushchenko was appointed Prime Minister in 1999 because of loans which IMF had promised. In the now discredited IMF programmes, it closed down part of the country's manufacturing base. Yushchenko also tried to undermine bilateral trade in oil and natural gas with Russia and demanded that this trade be conducted in US dollars rather than in terms of commodity barter. In 2001, he was dismissed following a non-confidence vote in the parliament-"Viktor Yushchenko has fulfilled obligations to the IMF better and more accurately than his duties to citizens of his our country, Olena Markosyan, a Kharkiv-based analyst, opined in Ukrainian centrist daily Den" (BBC Monitoring, 16 Nov 2004)

Energy pipe lines and strategic games 
Georgia is being built up as a bulwark against Russia and would protect the $2.9 billion Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipe line that runs from Baku in Azerbaijan through Georgia to a new terminal at Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. It was financed by Western oil companies and would counter the present Russia monopoly of oil transport from the Caspian basin to the West. Similarly Western control over Ukraine throttled Russian plans to export its oil to Europe. Loss of control over Crimea, populated by ethnic Russians and Tatars would have made Russia's coastline restricted like Iraq's in the Gulf .Of course, Russia is selling oil to energy hungry China and Japan as are many central Asian republics, who also oppose US led western regime changes and closed ranks with Russia. It appears that EU has no clear policy and would suffer the most. Even tiny countries in EU talk of glory and influence, and harangue defiantly against Russia.
It is a crazy situation .Washington does not want
 Europe to take Russian gas or for that matter from Iran either .From where else they should get it . Europeans along with Turkey as transit point are ignoring alternate US plans which are unlikely to take off and are making their own arrangements .

Unfortunately in
 India , decision makers on pensions from Washington Consensus outfits have done little to make alternate arrangements and have even annoyed Iran , a likely source for oil and gas
Ukraine made several military agreements with NATO and Washington after the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
   Ukraine joined GUUAM, a military alliance between five former Soviet republics (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova). Its objective was to undermine the alliance between Russia and Belarus, signed between Moscow and Minsk in 1996.

Members of GUUAM lie strategically at the hub of the Caspian oil and gas reserves "with Moldova and the Ukraine offering [pipeline] export routes to the West" and thus excluding Russia from the Black Sea, and protect the Anglo-American pipeline routes out of Central Asia and the Caspian sea.


The East West rivalry is as old as history itself, beginning with the Indo-Europeans, Trojan and Greek-Persian and other wars ; Turks , Mongols, and later Russian Czars and Communists from the East moving on to the European heartland. The other points of East-West tectonic clash are now secular but  99% Muslim Turkey, which is reorienting itself eastwards .It is unlikely to enter an almost openly proclaimed Christian EU club. Cyprus remains divided among Christians and Muslims, and the Western implant Israel in the Arab heartland remains a keg of Uranium ready to explode. 

Russia was invaded by French Emperor Napoleon and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, making Ukraine a major battle field. Both failed miserably but Russian sufferings and destruction were immense. USA was not prepared to pay the price and open a front through Greece, to keep East Europe out of USSR orbit. The Nazi war machine was 80% destroyed by Russia, but Western propaganda and films paint a different picture. Escape from Dunkirk was perhaps the only remarkable British operation in WWII. American contempt for Field Marshal Montgomery and the British is made amply clear in Hollywood film on Gen Patton. Even in the 2003 invasion, of Iraq , a few days before the D-Day US defense secretary Don Rumsfeld even asked UK not to bother joining but the poodle did tag along for scraps from the loot .  

The power struggle in Eurasia and elsewhere is for strategic control, influence, and raw materials, the so called promotion of democracy and people's welfare by US led West is a sick joke. In Ukraine ,following implementation of IMF programs in Ukraine, trade liberalization (which was part of the economic package), allowed US grain surpluses and "food aid" to be dumped on the domestic market, contributing to destabilizing one of the World's largest and most productive wheat economies. By 1998, the deregulation of the grain market had resulted in a decline in the production of grain by 45 percent in relation to its 1986-90 level. The collapse in livestock production, poultry and dairy products was even more dramatic.
 The cumulative decline in Ukraine's GDP resulting from the IMF sponsored reforms was in excess of 60 percent (from 1992 to 1995). India knows too well the impact of IMF programs and wants rich nation's likeUSA and EU to remove agriculture subsidies for free trade. 

There is a similar pattern developing elsewhere in Eastern Europe with the nationalist card ( against Communism) being used by corrupt politicians to cover up their own misdeeds and corruption. The events in Serbia, Georgia and now Ukraine were an expression of people's frustration and helplessness. However, pro-West leadership is unlikely to deliver the goods either. Romania's GDP now equals what it was in 1989, when the communist regime was overthrown. Most of the GDP is now cornered by 10-15% of the top political and bureaucratic elite.

The masses - especially the older generation - suffer from daily privations and are withering away. The populations in most of the former communist states are declining fast.
  A study indicated that in the wake of  capitalism and globalization , a million extra deaths took place in Russia  .Up to a trillion dollars worth of Russian wealth or even more was transferred to the West by the charade of globalization creating seven oligarchs in Russia , six out of whom are Jews , some out of country on criminal charges and one who wanted to take over the Kremlin itself for the West is now languishing in a Siberian jail . But the Western media rarely write about the terrible impact of this so-called neo-liberal democracy, capitalism and globalization. Nor does west enslave corporate media of India .
After the Fall of the Berlin wall, western media joked that communism was the longest and the most tortuous way from capitalism to capitalism .( In the Mecca of 
 Capitalism ,US , the banks are now owned by public funds and ought to be nationalized but are managed by banksters , who control the administration and the Congress ) The route unfortunately first falls under mafia style authoritarian rulers and can be seen all over Eastern Europe, central Asia, Russia and elsewhere . It is no different in the US led West , where they control everything including the military-industry complex , the engine of western power and industry .The joke in Moscow in 1990s was that what the Communists said about Communism was all wrong but what they said about Capitalism was all correct.

The enforced collapse of the Berlin Wall failed to bring prosperity or lay foundations for European security. Hopes of millions of Europeans to see a better world order did not fructify. The wars and conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Macedonia, in former Yugoslavia, Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia in the Caucasus demonstrate that in a world without the stability, even armed one, sustained by the bipolar system there is no legally binding respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of countries. Without the basic principles, force by the West became the main arbiter in international relations.


However when US tried testing Russian resolve and inspired its puppet ruler in Georgia to invade disputed south Ossetia, Moscow gave a bloody thrashing and grabbed south Ossetia and Abkhazia in a riposte to US detaching Kosovo from Serbia and recognizing its independence. Georgia is unlikely to try again .Its ruler remains unpopular . It sent around a signal . So Azerbaijan is trying to somewhat distance itself away from USA.

After the collapse of
 USSR, USA went about methodically dismantling Russia further i.e. Chechnya and it's near abroad. Contrary to the self proclaimed congratulatory triumphalism of neo-liberals after the collapse of Communism and Socialism in end 1980s, celebrated from the house tops by the so called philosophers, think tanks and analysts with delusions of permanent world domination of Western financiers and corporate houses based on dubious theories like 'the Clash of Civilizations' and 'the End of History ' or even claims of Washington - the New Rome with absolute control planned via the 'Project for American Century ' by arrogant and historically ignorant Straussian neo-cons, Zeo-cons and their supporters , the situation on the ground has turned out to be quite adverse.

"Those whom the Gods wish to destroy they render mad first"

The 9/11 assaults on US symbols of power were exploited by the Bush administration to spread its tentacles to
 Afghanistan and beyond in central Asia. For USA the Cold War never really ended and all means were employed to push Western military arm NATO to encroach into and encircle and even enter Russian strategic space. In central Europe it was carried out by dismantling Yugoslavia, an Orthodox Christian Slav nation close to Russia and by aligning Georgia and Azerbaijan to Washington. US franchised street revolutions failed in Belarus but succeeded in Serbia and Georgia and partially in Ukraine. When USA tried the same in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Uzbek ruler Islam Karimov expelled the Americans from the air base and Kyrgyzstan placed new restrictions. The eastward movement of NATO has resulted in the upgrading of Shanghai Corporation Organization which now promotes military coordination and collaboration among its members to counter NATO.

K.Gajendra Singh 26 July,2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flight MH 17; Lying West Brings the World to Boil ;Remember 2013 False Charge of Syria Chemical Gas Attacks



Flight MH 17; Lying West Brings the World to Boil ;Remember 2013 False Charge of Syria Chemical Gas Attacks


If there was a Nobel Prize for falsehoods, United States and poodle British leaders will win them year after year. It makes little difference whether the US leader is white or otherwise and the British in the history have been lying since colonial days with Clive, Hastings, Curzon and Churchill, the recent contenders, hands down, would be Tony Blair, apart from George Bush Jr, Dick Cheney et al


It is understandable that the US and poodle British and even European media fall in line straightaway, but whatever goes by the name of the media in India has a deplorable record of repeating the lies of former and current overlords in the West.


President Barack Obama described the shooting down as "an outrage of unspeakable proportions" adding that there was increasing evidence that MH17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile launched from the area controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside Ukraine. While it was too early to go into detail about Russia's involvement, however he said the rebels would not be in the position they are in without the support of Russia.


"This will be a wake-up call to the world that there are consequences of an escalating conflict in east Ukraine," he threatened.


By now it is quite clear that Moscow had nothing to do and sooner or later, US led Western charge that anti-Ukraine, NTT Ukrainians fired at the aircraft are also not supportable. Reports are suggesting that a Ukrainian jet or two followed and MH17 till it was almost shot down .An unconfirmed report even suggests that an unmarked  Israel owned aircraft from Azerbaijan could be responsible for the catastrophe .


Europe: ECM Battle Over Poland Saved Putin's Life and ...

Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) Saved Putin's Life but Downed MH17

(As the first ever Indian Ambassador to Baku in Azerbaijan, when I visited the unusually big Israeli embassy being further enlarged and renovated, I remarked jokingly to the Israeli ambassador if they will house agents to infiltrate Iran from the North. (US) &Tel Aviv and Baku have very close relations. At that time, 1993, the Russian embassy was confined to a couple of rooms in a grade C in tourist Hotel.)

I had written in depth pieces on US organised franchised regime changes in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine etc failing In Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. I will request readers to read though and separate grains from western chaff being spread day in and day out.

I am reproducing at the end the following to articles;


Ambassador (Rtd) K Gajendra Singh. 23 July 2014.Mayur Vihar, Delhi



A chessboard drenched in blood
By Pepe Escobar

"The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Everyone remembers the Downing Street Memo, which unveiled the Bush/Blair "policy" in the run-up to the 2003 bombing/invasion/ occupation of Iraq. The "policy" was to get rid of Saddam Hussein via a lightning war. The justification was "terrorism" and (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which had "disappeared", mounted in trucks, deep into Syria. Forget about intelligence and facts. (Full article below)

2. Economic meltdown scenario piles pressure on Russia and the West the Guardian.London

Policymakers dread slump in Russia – from further sanctions by the west – would trigger another global economic meltdown

Larry Elliott economics editor


European politicians are under pressure to be wary of provoking Vladimir Putin into retaliation that rebounds on the west.

The Guardian , Tuesday 22 July 2014


Oil prices above $200 a barrel. Energy shortages in western Europe. The return of recession to the still-fragile global economy. A slump in Russia. That's the fear haunting policymakers as they contemplate how to respond to the shooting down of MH17 over eastern Ukraine last week.

The meltdown scenario can be easily sketched out. Every global downturn since 1973 has been associated with a sharp rise in the price of energy. Russia is one of the world's biggest energy suppliers and is responsible for about one-third of Europe's gas. America's economic recovery from the deep recession of 2008-09 has been weak by historic standards, while the European Union's has barely got going. From the car plants of Germany to the finance houses of the City of London and French defence firms, there has been pressure on politicians to be wary of provoking Vladimir Putin into retaliation that might rebound on the west.

US and CIA's wet dream

However, before that, let me quote extracts from an article by George Friedman from CIA's website Stratfor and by Lee from Asia Times, which bring up the fact that US led West unhappy at the staying power of Vladimir Putin and Russia's rising influence on its own and along with other Brics powers are worried and want to take out Putin.


George Friedman let the cat out in CIA's website Stratfor

Can Putin Survive?


--Meanwhile, Putin must consider the fate of his predecessors. Nikita Khrushchev returned from vacation in October 1964 to find himself replaced by his protégé, Leonid Brezhnev, and facing charges of, among other things, "harebrained scheming." Khrushchev had recently been humiliated in the Cuban missile crisis. This plus his failure to move the economy forward after about a decade in power saw his closest colleagues "retire" him. A massive setback in foreign affairs and economic failures had resulted in an apparently unassailable figure being deposed.

Russia's economic situation is nowhere near as catastrophic as it was under Khrushchev or Yeltsin, but it has deteriorated substantially recently, and perhaps more important, has failed to meet expectations. After recovering from the 2008 crisis, Russia has seen several years of declining gross domestic product growth rates, and its central bank is forecasting zero growth this year. Given current pressures, we would guess the Russian economy will slide into recession sometime in 2014. The debt levels of regional governments have doubled in the past four years, and several regions are close to bankruptcy. Moreover, some metals and mining firms are facing bankruptcy. The Ukrainian crisis has made things worse. Capital flight from Russia in the first six months stood at $76 billion, compared to $63 billion for all of 2013. Foreign direct investment fell 50 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. And all this happened in spite of oil prices remaining higher than $100 per barrel.


Putin's popularity at home soared after the successful Sochi Winter Olympics and after the Western media made him look like the aggressor in Crimea. He has, after all, built his reputation on being tough and aggressive. But as the reality of the situation in Ukraine becomes more obvious, the great victory will be seen as covering a retreat coming at a time of serious economic problems. For many leaders, the events in Ukraine would not represent such an immense challenge. But Putin has built his image on a tough foreign policy, and the economy meant his ratings were not very high before Ukraine.

Imagining Russia after Putin

In the sort of regime that Putin has helped craft, the democratic process may not be the key to understanding what will happen next. Putin has restored Soviet elements to the structure of the government, even using the term "Politburo" for his inner Cabinets. These are all men of his choosing, of course, and so one might assume they would be loyal to him. But in the Soviet-style Politburo, close colleagues were frequently the most feared.


The Politburo model is designed for a leader to build coalitions among factions. Putin has been very good at doing that, but then he has been very successful at all the things he has done until now. His ability to hold things together declines as trust in his abilities declines and various factions concerned about the consequences of remaining closely tied to a failing leader start to maneuver. Like Khrushchev, who was failing in economic and foreign policy, Putin could have his colleagues remove him.


It is difficult to know how a succession crisis would play out, given that the constitutional process of succession exists alongside the informal government Putin has created. From a democratic standpoint, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin are as popular as Putin is, and I suspect they both will become more popular in time. In a Soviet-style struggle, Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov and Security Council Chief Nicolai Patryushev would be possible contenders. But there are others. Who, after all, expected the emergence of Mikhail Gorbachev?



The charge of the Atlanticist Brigade Peter Lee (Jul 22, '14 Atimes)


No credible version of events points to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine as intentional mass murder or terrorism, and with international experts now getting access to the black box, there seems to be little the Atlanticist Brigade can use to point the finger at Moscow. Still, expect sanctions on Russia to follow, and for the reverberations to reach east all the way to China.


--The key evidence for the overall investigation will be the surveillance records of US and Russian satellites and radars, which should be able to identify where the missiles came from, as well as addressing accusations that Kiev fighters were shadowing the jet, etc. 


---outsider's impression is that the US foreign policy for Russia has been pretty much captured by doctrinaire anti-Russians in a diplomatic and military deep state that pretty much permeates and survives every incoming administration. The Russia desk has had a reasonably good run since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and I think today the prevailing idea is that oligarch anxieties about the sanctioning of their overseas assets will soon reach a tipping point (see this article about "horror of the oligarchs"), and the "Atlanticists", perhaps led by that nice Mr Medvedev, will club together against Putin's "Eurasianists" and pull the plug on his dreams of confronting the West as an equal and opposite force. 

Maybe Putin will need more of a shove - he's an ex-KGB guy with multiple assets in the Russian elite and his current approvals are running over 80% - but there's an app for that: intensified sanctions===. 

So sanctions, and more sanctions. Sanctions for Crimea, sanctions for succoring the separatist uprising, now sanctions related to the plane crash. Sanctions that will never go away, no matter what Putin does, as long as he stays in power. 

Best case, some combination of popular and elite revulsion pushes Putin from power and a new regime approaches the West as supplicant. Worst case, Russia = Venezuela, neutered by perpetual sanctions, vitriol, economic and political warfare, and subversion. 

The key point, at this stage, is for the US to get European buy-in - especially from Angela Merkel, who is demonstrably less than enthusiastic about having a constitutionally dysfunctional relationship with Russia (and not enamored of the continual political heat brought by revelations of US spying) - so that the US is isolating Russia, and not the other way around. 

My sense of the situation, especially from the Asian perspective, is that the US is in danger of overplaying its hand, indeed that it has a bad case of tunnel vision in which it is fixated on the goal of sticking it to Putin at the expense of US global interests. 

With its almost comical insistence that "the world" is uniting against Russia (which only counts if "the world" is defined as the Atlantic democracies and their close allies ;and China, India, et al are excluded) and, even more damagingly, the US insistence on peddling the Russia = the world's greatest monster story even as the United States condones the catastrophic and much more bloody Israel incursion into Gaza, the US is accelerating the natural trend toward disintermediation of America


A chessboard drenched in blood
By Pepe Escobar

"The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Everyone remembers the Downing Street Memo, which unveiled the Bush/Blair "policy" in the run-up to the 2003 bombing/invasion/occupation of Iraq. The "policy" was to get rid of Saddam Hussein via a lightning war. The justification was "terrorism" and (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which had "disappeared", mounted in trucks, deep into Syria. Forget about intelligence and facts. 

The tragedy of MH17 - turned, incidentally, into a WMD - might be seen as a warped rerun of imperial policy in Iraq. No need for a memo this time. The "policy" of the Empire of Chaos is clear, andmulti-pronged; diversify the "pivot to Asia" by establishing a beachhead in Ukraine to sabotage trade between Europe and Russia; expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Ukraine; break the Russia-China strategic partnership; prevent by all means the trade/economic integration of Eurasia, from the Russia-Germany partnership to the New Silk Roads converging from China to the Ruhr; keep Europe under US hegemony. 

The key reason why Russian President Vladimir Putin did not "invade" Eastern Ukraine - as much as he's been enticed to by Washington/NATO - to stop a US military adviser-facilitated running slaughter of civilians is that he does not want to antagonize the European Union, Russia's top trading partner. 

Crucially, Washington's intervention in Kosovo invoking R2P - Responsibility to Protect - was justified at the time for exactly the same reasons a Russian intervention in Donetsk and Luhansk could be totally justified now. Except that Moscow won't do it - because the Kremlin is playing a very long game.

The MH17 tragedy may have been a horrendous mistake. But it may also have been a desperate gambit by the Kiev minions of the Empire of Chaos. By now, Russian intel may have already mastered the key facts. Washington's predictable modus operandi was to shoot from the hip, igniting and in theory winning the spin war, and doubling down by releasing the proverbial army of "top officials" brimming with social media evidence. Moscow will take time to build a meticulous case, and only then lay it out in detail. 

Hegemony lost 
The Big Picture spells out the Empire of Chaos elites as extremely uneasy. Take Dr Zbigniew "The Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski, who as a former foreign policy mentor has the ears of the increasingly dejected White House paperboy. Dr Zbig was on CNN this Sunday challenging Europe's leaders to "stand up to Putin". He wonders if "Europe wants to become a satellite" and worries about "a moment of decisive significance for the future of the system - of the world system". 

And it's all Putin's fault, of course: "We're not starting the Cold War. He [Putin] has started it. But he has gotten himself into a horrendous jam. I strongly suspect that a lot of people in Russia, even not far away from him who are worried that Russia's status in the world is dramatically being undermined, that Russia's economically beginning to fail, that Russia's threatened by the prospect of becoming a satellite to China, that Russia's becoming self-isolated and discredited." 

Obviously Dr Zbig is blissfully unaware of the finer points of the Russia-China strategic partnership, as well as their concerted voice inside the BRICS, the G-20 and myriad other mechanisms. His trademark Russophobia in the end always gets the better of him. And to think that in his latest book, Strategic Vision (2012), Dr Zbig was in favor of an enlarged "West" annexing Turkey and Russia, with the Empire of Chaos posing as "promoter" and "guarantor" of broader unity in the West, and a "balancer" and "conciliator" between the major powers in the East. A quick look at the record since 2012 - Libya, Syria, Ukraine, encirclement of China - reveals the Empire of Chaos only as fomenter of, what else, chaos. 

Now compare a fearful Dr Zbig with Immanuel Wallerstein - who was a huge influence in my 2007 warped geopolitical travel bookGlobalistan. In this piece (in Spanish) Wallerstein argues that the Empire of Chaos simply can't accept its geopolitical decadence - and that's why it has become so dangerous. Restoring its hegemony in the world-system has become the supreme obsession; and that's where the whole "policy" that is an essential background to the MH17 tragedy reveals Ukraine as the definitive do or die battleground. 

In Europe, everything hinges on Germany. Especially after the National Security Agency scandal and its ramifications, the key debate raging in Berlin is how to position itself geopolitically bypassing the US. And the answer, as pressed by large swathes of German big business, lies in a strategic partnership with Russia. 

Show me the missile
slowly; with no hype and no spin, the Russian military are starting to deliver the goods. Here, courtesy of the Vineyard of The Saker blog is their key presentation so far. As The Saker put it, Russia had - and has - a "20/20 radar vision", or full spectrum surveillance, on everything going on in Ukraine. And so, arguably, does NATO. What the Russian Ministry of Defense is saying is as important as the clues it is laying out for experts to follow. 

The damaged MH17 starboard jet engine suggests a shape charge from an air-to-air missile - and not a Buk; that's consistent with the Russian Ministry of Defense presentation graphically highlighting an Ukrainian SU-25 shadowing MH17. Increasingly, the Buk scenario - hysterically peddled by the Empire of Chaos - is being discarded. Not to mention, again, that not a single eyewitness saw the very graphic, thick missile trace that would have been clearly visible had a Buk been used. 

Way beyond the established fact of a Ukrainian SU-25 trailing MH17, plenty of unanswered questions remain, some involving a murky security procedure at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport - where security is operated by ICTS, an Israeli company based in The Netherlands and founded by former officers from the Israeli Shin Bet intel agency. And then there is the unexplained presence of "foreign" advisors in Kiev's control tower.  

As much as Bashar al-Assad in Syria had absolutely no motive to "gas his own people" - as the hysterical narrative went at the time - the Eastern Ukraine federalists have no motive to down a civilian airliner. And as much as Washington doesn't give a damn about the current civilian slaughter in Gaza, it doesn't give a damn about the MH17 civilian deaths; the one and only obsession is to force Europeans to sanction Russia to death. Translation: break up Europe-Russia commercial and geopolitical integration. 

One week before the MH17 tragedy, the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies was already sounding the alarm concerning the Empire of Chaos's "policy" and its refusal to "adhere to the principles and norms of international law and the rules and spirit of the existing system of international relations". 

Moscow, in building its case on the MH17 tragedy, will bide its time to debunk Kiev's claims and maximize its own credibility. The game now moves to the black boxes and the cockpit voice recorder. Still Ukraine will remain the do or die battlefield - a chessboard drenched in blood. 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

He may be reached at

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)


Economic meltdown scenario piles pressure on Russia and the West

Policymakers dread slump in Russia – from further sanctions by the west – would trigger another global economic meltdown

Larry Elliott Economics editor the Guardian.


European politicians are under pressure to be wary of provoking Vladimir Putin into retaliation that rebounds on the west.

The Guardian , Tuesday 22 July 2014


Oil prices above $200 a barrel. Energy shortages in western Europe. The return of recession to the still-fragile global economy. A slump in Russia. That's the fear haunting policymakers as they contemplate how to respond to the shooting down of MH17 over eastern Ukraine last week.

The meltdown scenario can be easily sketched out. Every global downturn since 1973 has been associated with a sharp rise in the price of energy. Russia is one of the world's biggest energy suppliers and is responsible for about one-third of Europe's gas. America's economic recovery from the deep recession of 2008-09 has been weak by historic standards, while the European Union's has barely got going. From the car plants of Germany to the finance houses of the City of London and French defence firms, there has been pressure on politicians to be wary of provoking Vladimir Putin into retaliation that might rebound on the west.

"The possible involvement of Russian-backed separatists in the airliner's destruction has raised the risk of further sanctions against Russia by the international community," says Adam Slater, senior economist at Oxford Economics. "These would further damage Russia's economy. Russia's next moves remain uncertain but an escalation of the conflict is still a significant risk which would have potentially negative global spillovers in particular via the impact on global energy markets."

The extent of that economic damage depends on two factors: how tough the west gets and how Russia responds.

Given the public outrage at the loss of life on MH17 some increase in the severity of the sanctions looks inevitable. In Brussels on Tuesday, there was talk of imposing restrictions on capital movements from Russia and of curbs on exports of defence and energy technology. These measures would certainly increase the pain for Russia, and would run the risk that Putin would retaliate by choking off oil and gas exports to the west, looking instead to energy-hungry China as an alternative market. Slater estimates that UK growth next year would be 1% lower than expected were Russia to halt gas supplies through Ukraine, with the impact felt through higher energy prices, higher inflation, falling share prices and weaker consumer confidence. Closing the gas taps could then trigger the "phase three sanctions" being resisted by many EU countries, including Germany, France and Italy. These would target entire sectors of the Russian economy, blocking their exports to the west and preventing them doing business with companies in the European Union and North America.

It is this prospect that has prompted fears of rapidly rising oil prices. Slater calculates that Russian energy exports to the rest of the world could be cut by as much as 80%, with less than half the shortfall made up by the OPEC oil cartel. "In such a scenario, world oil prices could soar above $200 per barrel and gas prices would also rise steeply."

Julian Jessop at Capital Economics notes that the biggest losers from this would be Russia, already in recession. Other suppliers would have an incentive to keep prices low in order to grab Russia's energy customers. The west could draw down on strategic oil supplies to limit the impact of the loss of Russian supply.


It is the potential for Russia to damage the west and for the west to cause even more damage to Russia that explains the belief that the crisis will not escalate into a full-scale economic war. The European Union will talk tough but fall shy of imposing wide-ranging financial and trade sanctions as punishment for the Kremlin's alleged role in the attack on the Malaysia Airlines jet. Meanwhile, hopes that Putin is putting pressure on the separatists in Ukraine boosted share prices.

But events of a century ago show that the optimism of markets is not always to be trusted. It was only in the last week of July 1914 – once Austria-Hungary had delivered its ultimatum to Serbia – that bourses woke up to the fact that the assassination in Sarajevo had the potential to lead to a war involving all the great European powers. Up until then, the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was seen as merely a local affair and nothing to worry about. Similarly, the expectation now is that Europe will huff and puff but be wary of provoking Putin. For his part, the Russian president will be aware of the economic damage that even limited sanctions are doing and so be inclined to put quiet pressure on the rebels in the Ukraine to co-operate with the international investigation at the crash site. Russia's economy was already contracting before the west imposed its most recent set of sanctions in the spring. The fear now is that things could unravel quickly – just as they did in 1914.



Imports from Russia €38bn (£30bn) Exports to Russia €36bn Germany is by far Russia's largest trading partner in Europe, while 6,000 German firms have set up shop in the country. Business lobby groups anxious to protect the country's lucrative exports of machine tools, cars and chemicals have claimed Germany would suffer "irreparable damage", losing its dominant economic position to China if sanctions escalate. The Committee on Eastern European Relations estimates that German exports to Russia and Ukraine are on course to shrink by €6bn in 2014 and claims 25,000 people will lose their jobs if these companies do not find alternative export markets.



Imports €10.3bn Exports € 7.7bn

In 2008 the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, thrust himself into the centre of attempts to broker a peace between Russia and Georgia after a short war that saw Georgia crushed. Less than three years later, Sarkozy signed a contract to sell Russia two Mistral warships, below, that could have been used to defeat Georgia "in 40 minutes", according to a Russian naval commander. The €1.2bn deal – the Russian military's first major foreign arms purchase in modern history – supports 1,000 jobs in the French shipbuilding and defence industries, but France is now under heavy pressure not to deliver the second ship. French banks are also heavily exposed to Russia and could be vulnerable if Russian companies are unable to repay debts in the wake of tighter financial sanctions.



Imports €8bn Exports €4.6bn

Russian billionaires' love of London houses and English football clubs is well known, but the UK may be less affected by a freeze in economic relations with Russia than generally thought. Just 1% of the UK's £118bn exports in financial services – lawyers' and bankers' bills – go to Russia, although this figure understates the money cycled back through UK offshore centres, such as the British Virgin Islands. UK banks have also lent generously to Russian companies, with $19bn flowing to Russia in 2013. More than 50 Russian companies are listed the main London stock exchange, but the number of companies seeking a listing has dropped sharply since the 2008 financial crisis.



Imports €29bn Exports €8bn

The economically liberal Dutch are one of Russia's most important trading partners. Out of all the EU countries, the Netherlands has the largest trade deficit with Russia, although the effect may be overstated by goods arriving at Dutch ports. The Dutch conglomerates Unilever, Heineken and Shell are heavily involved in Russia. After a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in May, just weeks after the annexation of Crimea, Shell's chief executive, Ben van Beurden, declared that he was keen to expand oil and gas projects in Russia's far eastern territory.


Central Europe and the Baltics

Poland: Imports €18.6bn Exports €8.1bn

Energy dependency is the Achilles heel of countries in central and Eastern Europe, which are among the Kremlin's most vocal critics. Poland gets more than 80% of its gas from Russia, while the Baltic States and Finland are 100% dependent. These countries are most vulnerable if Russia retaliates against tougher sanctions by turning off its gas supplies. Hungary, which is 80% dependent on Russian gas, could find a controversial deal it signed with Russia in February to build two nuclear reactors coming under the spotlight.


Southern Europe

Italy: Imports €20bn Exports €10.8bn

Italy's economy minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, said on Tuesday that Europe's economy was weaker than expected and sanctions could be a problem for all sides. Italy's energy giant Eni is building the €17bn South Stream pipeline with Gazprom, a controversial project to send gas from the Black Sea to Austria and Italy. In May Italian company Pirelli sold a 13% stake to Gazprom, underscoring the economic ties between the two countries. Italy's luxury handbag makers are also expected to be hit, as Russia's super-rich close their wallets in response to a weaker Russian economy: luxury good sales to Russia are forecast to fall by up to 6% this year.