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Economic difficulties are growing in Ukraine and dissidents in the east are continuing to rally for annexation to Russia. Around 1,000 protested in the streets of Donetsk today, citing difficult economic conditions and demanding union with Russia. And the Russian Foreign Ministry reports getting letters from ethnic Russians in Ukraine asking for protection. And Tymchuk reports that Yanukovych is financing dissident activities in the east.

But Russian dissidents are turning the tables on Putin. In Smolensk, dissidents there are demanding reunion with Belarus.

Organizers have collected some 1500 signatures on an Internet petition calling for a referendum on the transfer of part of Russia’s Smolensk Region to neighboring Belarus, a step they say would correct an “historic injustice” because that area belonged to Belarus before World War II and one that echoes what Vladimir Putin did in Crimea.
Belarus, which Stalin moved westward at the end of World War II, is only the clearest case, but all the borders among the former Soviet republics are problematic in terms of ethnicity and history. Until Putin’s Crimean Anschluss, all sides had more or less agreed that calling for the transfer of territory from one to another would open a Pandora’s box and therefore restrained themselves.
Russia set the precedent with its annexation of Crimea. It is now only fair that they practice what they preach about international law and respect these peoples' right to self-determination. If this movement grows, it could strain relations between Russia and one of their few allies in the area in Belarus.

And Andrew Nagorski of Daily Beast reports that dissent is on the rise over Crimea despite the obvious risk of arrest and imprisonment.

Already, the anti-Putin demonstrators have outnumbered their pro-regime counterparts on the streets of Moscow, despite the risks of speaking out. Already, dissident intellectuals are drawing a clear distinction between how they see the country’s interests and the Putin regime’s aggressive actions. The fact that they are clearly in the minority now should be no comfort to the Kremlin.
Given Russia's tanking economy, he sees Crimea as an act of desperation on Putin's part.
First, it undercuts an already vulnerable, weakening economy. Second, it undoes more than two decades of efforts to establish new, constructive ties between Moscow, its former Soviet bloc subjects and the rest of Europe. And, third, it sends a clear message that Putin is so unnerved by the vision of a democratic movement toppling a highly corrupt, incompetent crony in Kiev that he is willing to sacrifice the dreams of his own people to stay in power.
In the long term, the greatest threat to the Russian economy is that its neighbors will find new energy sources elsewhere. By dramatically reviving fears of the Russian bear across Europe, Putin has triggered their first serious efforts to devise strategies to wean themselves off Russian natural gas and oil. He can wield energy as a weapon now, but it is already proving a double-edged sword.

Putin may not care because he sees himself as fighting a more immediate battle for political survival. Whatever his approval ratings, the Russian leader knows how ephemeral they can be. He only has to remind himself of the huge anti-government demonstrations triggered by his return to the presidency in 2012. Putin’s real motive for his behavior since the downfall of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych is his recognition of the example this could set for his own people.

If Putin does invade the rest of Ukraine, it will be sooner and not later. Time is not on his side given the growing dissent at home, the fact that Ukraine is scrambling to find alternative energy sources, the rise in separatism within Russia, and the rampant capital flight. And Interpreter reports that the EU is scrambling to fast-track Ukraine into the EU, meaning that there will be serious economic consequences if Russia were to follow through.
1. Fast-tracking the process that countries have to go through in order to join the EU. The idea here is that things are moving too slowly, giving Russia time to react. The idea is also to strengthen economic and political ties, speed up the dropping of visa restrictions and the issuing of loans… the efforts will help, in theory, bolster the new members’ economies while increasing good will towards Europe. All of this will make Russia think twice about bullying these countries such as Ukraine, Estonia, and Modlova.

2. Threaten to sanction Russia if it executes further aggression. Economics is a major deterrent, though so far Europe has been hesitant to take a firm stand with Russia over the EU’s deep economic ties there — especially in the energy sector.

3. Work with Russia to try to mitigate their downside to new nations joining the EU. If Russia feels like it is losing less by not acting, and if the EU can convince Russia it will lose more than it bargains for by acting, the theory is that further expansion can be prevented.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

    by Eternal Hope on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:04:25 PM PDT

  •  Yanukovych Says He Was ‘Wrong’ on Crimea > (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Did you see this story a few days ago?

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:16:34 PM PDT

    •  Sure, but: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, Louisiana 1976

      It's not enough merely to be sorry when you've just committed high treason against your own country by firing on your own people and by calling in the Russians.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:25:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He didn't say he was sorry. I asked if you saw it (0+ / 0-)

        because you say in this piece that he's financing dissident activities in the east. I don't know if he is or isn't.  How do you reconcile the apparent contradiction - - - saying he's sorry yet funding more of the same?  I think it's more likely the Russians are funding separatists in the east.  Just wondered if you noticed that it doesn't all add up and if you had an opinion on that/

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:45:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Guess he's not really sorry, then. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Louisiana 1976, mookins


          Interestingly enough, according to government information, Yanukovych finances separatists with the stolen and smuggled billions [from Ukraine]. He is definitely a fool. He should have used this dough to slip away from his FSB guardians, have plastic surgery in Shanghai and trade fake jewelry there. And instead, he spends it on Putin’s gambles.
          We know he looted the treasury, leaving Ukraine broke when he fled. Given that, he's just compounding his treason.

          "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

          by Eternal Hope on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:59:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Contradiction (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          As you say, he didn't say he's sorry.

          So there's no contradiction with him funding more of the same. If indeed he is. With our media, governments and vested interests, it's hard to know anything beyond our own personal experience. But at least we should get that straight.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:19:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "firing on your own people" (0+ / 0-)

        That's in fact a point of contention right now that Russia's FSB—latterly, KGB—was behind it. Indeed, there was good reason to consider this from the day the shootings occurred. But the new government in Ukraine is now claiming to have the evidence to prove it.

        The Russians have been spreading rumours that it was the work of Right Sector, the Ukranian far-right group that was very much involved at Maidan and is now sharing government.

        I think that's disinformation (the sort of projection much used by US Republicans and the like) and that it's more likely that it was FSB's doing. The shooters may well have been Ukranian, though not necessarily controlled by Yanukovych. Indeed, i don't think it's far-fetched that Putin saw the writing on the wall and FSB made the best of the situation, even helping along Yanukovych's downfall. Ukraine is in a weak position now, after all.

        All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

        by subtropolis on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 10:31:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cui Bono (0+ / 0-)

          What has been the effect on protestors all around the world for the last century when the state supposedly used targeted deadly force against a limited number of people in a street protest? I'm not talking about massive overwhelming violence from the state where it brings it's military to bear and completely crushes the opposition.

          The answer is that it escalates the conflict by creating even more opposition.

          You know it and I know it. Don't you think the government knows it?

    •  Contradicts other stories (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eternal Hope, Louisiana 1976

      There are also news reports that Yanokovych has become Putin's adviser on Ukranian issues.  That literally does constitute treason by the strict American standard.  So he cannot show his face in the country he once ran; even in the areas that supported him, he could be arrested by national police or troops and brought back to Kiev for prosecution.

      •  Putin has publicly stated that Yanokovych has no (3+ / 0-)

        political future and he only allowed him into the country to save his life.

        There are also news reports that Yanokovych has become Putin's adviser on Ukranian issues.
        Give a link to these news stories. Putin and Yanokovych are not buddies. Yanokovych has played Russia off the EU and vice versa for years. He would be the very last person to get advice on the Ukraine from. Just look at the backtracking he's now done in public. This kind of shit has defined Yanokovych's presidency.
    •  Yanukovych. (0+ / 0-)

      It seems like he sees an opening to return to lead Eastern Ukraine (delusional, perhaps...) should it split or need someone to rally behind in future elections or power struggles.  And, realizing that giving away Crimea might not be the best policy platform to be running on, he needs to start apologizing.

      In any case, it's a nearly irrelevant tangent to the whole incident. The letter bandied about by Russia at the UN was dated March 1st. Russia had already begun its special operations and paramilitary invasion of Crimea before then. The letter was a post hoc "legalization" after the invasion started, not something that actually "allowed" it.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:33:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  because he could hang if sent home (0+ / 0-)

      Yanukovych is no longer a useful puppet to Putin.

      All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

      by subtropolis on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:51:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks EH. (6+ / 0-)

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:18:54 PM PDT

  •  The wealthiest among us are the least ethical (3+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:47:34 PM PDT

  •  The Interpreter is a project of (4+ / 0-)

    the Institute of Modern Russia. The IMR is a federal tax-exempt Section 501(c)(3) public "charity", incorporated in New Jersey. It has offices in New York and Washington. It's a think-tank (propaganda mouthpiece) .

    Browse it's "news" stories. It's rabidly anti-Putin. The president of IMR is Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of Russian billionaire oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky who was jailed in Russia.

    Andrei Piontkovsky is one of it's advisers. Here he accuses Obama of having Muslim "roots". These guys want the US to attack Russia to get rid of Putin. Russian neocons if you will.

    Every new administration comes with the conviction handed down by the inertia of the election campaign that the U.S. foreign policy problems caused solely by the stupidity of their predecessors, and declares that it will build its relations with partners from scratch or - in the words of their computer literacy schegolnuvshy Vice President Joe Biden - by pressing the reset.

    This is typical for the Obama administration, which came to power on a wave of left-liberal diatribes bloody crimes of Bush-Cheney. Reload American foreign policy is not only and not so much the direction of Russia. Obama has already repent TV channel Al-Arabiya and the oppressed sheikhs mullahs East for all the crimes committed by U.S. imperialism in the last 20-30 years, while clearly emphasizing its Muslim roots that his team vehemently denied during the election campaign.

    •  I don't think you have to be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a propaganda machine to be rabidly anti-Putin - having common sense and a basic understanding of his politics is enough for that - but yeah, Piontkovsky in particular is a nutcase.  He's an all-or-nothing type aggressor when it comes to dealing with Russia on the international stage, and nothing is belligerent enough for him.

      That said, I think the diarist excerpts carefully enough from that Interpreter article to get the basic facts correct: these petitions are aimed at Russia's hypocrisy over a particularly messy post-WWII border history.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:56:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's all in the optics - perspective if you will (0+ / 0-)
        a propaganda machine to be rabidly anti-Putin - having common sense and a basic understanding of his politics is enough for that
        "Common sense and a basic understanding of his politics"? That's a nice hit job. Care to explain?

        Here's what the "rabidly anti-Putin" WaPo has to say:

        We treat him like he’s mad, but Vladimir Putin’s popularity has just hit a 3-year high

        Apparently in Russia, the perspective is rather different.

        In a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) last week, Putin's popularity level in Russia has reached 71.6 percent. That's a 9.7 percent increase since mid-February, which seems quite obviously linked to the Russian president's handling of Ukraine and the Sochi Olympics. As Ria Novosti notes, it means that Putin's popularity levels are now at a three-year high.

        You might want to put that down to the fact that the VTsIOM is state-run, but that argument doesn't really hold. The Levada Center, a well-respected independent polling center, has also found that Putin had a 72 percent approval rating, up 7 points from January and a recent record. To put that in context on a world stage, U.S. president Barack Obama is currently at 43 percent, according to Gallup, while 79 percent of the French say they don't approve of Francois Hollande's presidency. Putin isn't just popular, he's extraordinarily popular.

        Here's part of the reason Putin is so popular in Russia. Hundreds of billions of investment from western corporations have been invested in Russia. GM, Ford, Boeing, McDonald's, PepsiCo, the list goes on.
        Putin's first presidency

        Under the presidency of Vladimir Putin Russia's economy saw the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) double, climbing from 22nd to 11th largest in the world. The economy made real gains of an average 7% per year ( 1999: 6.5%, 2000: 10%, 2001: 5.7%, 2002: 4.9%, 2003: 7.3%, 2004: 7.2%, 2005: 6.4%, 2006: 8.2%, 2007: 8.5%, 2008: 5.2% ), making it the 6th largest economy in the world in GDP(PPP). In 2007, Russia's GDP exceeded that of 1990, meaning it has overcome the devastating consequences of the recession in the 1990s.[38]

        During Putin's eight years in office, the industry grew by 75%, investments increased by 125%,[38] and agricultural production and construction increased as well. Real incomes more than doubled and the average salary increased eightfold from $80 to $640.[39][40][41] The volume of consumer credit between 2000–2006 increased 45 times,[42][43] and during that same time period, the middle class grew from 8 million to 55 million, an increase of 7 times. The number of people living below the poverty line also decreased from 30% in 2000 to 14% in 2008.

        That said, I think the diarist excerpts carefully enough from that Interpreter article to get the basic facts correct: these petitions are aimed at Russia's hypocrisy over a particularly messy post-WWII border history.
        Basic "facts" from an online petition? 1,500 people out of a population of 326,000 voted to secede from Russia and join Belarus (less than 0.5%). That's a pitiful number of people. Compare to this petition by Alaskans to secede from the US and join Russia with 39,128 signatures out of a population of 735,132 (over 5%)

        we petition the obama administration to:
        Alaska back to Russia.

        Groups Siberian russians crossed the Isthmus (now the Bering Strait) 16-10 thousand years ago.

        Russian began to settle on the Arctic coast, Aleuts inhabited the Aleutian Archipelago.

        First visited Alaska August 21, 1732, members of the team boat "St. Gabriel »under the surveyor Gvozdev and assistant navigator I. Fedorov during the expedition Shestakov and DI Pavlutski 1729-1735 years

        Vote for secession of Alaska from the United States and joining Russia

        Not An April Fools' Joke: Russians Petition To Get Alaska Back
        April 01, 2014
        As for the Alaska secession petition drive, the Obama administration had no comment on its merit:

        "We're not in a position to comment on the substance of a response before it has been issued," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin M. Hayden told NPR.

        That won't happen unless the petition receives 100,000 signatures by April 20.

        •  Because I spend enough time in Russia (0+ / 0-)

          and I don't think his popularity should guide my opinion of him or his policies?  I think Reagan was a shit president, but guess how popular he is, still? (He came in third on the last big poll of 'Greatest US President', hoorah.)  I happen to think the majority of Americans are wrong on that issue! But I look forward to you researching a ton of articles to prove I'm mistaken about that, too.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 11:06:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Spending time in a country does not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

            give one a true sense of what the country is really like. If anything, such a restricted viewpoint could give less insight. Imagine if a foreigner visited friends in the US who were staunch tea party members or who were extremely wealthy or were extremely poor.

            I look forward to you researching a ton of articles
            Stop the pointless demonization of Putin

            American media coverage of Vladimir Putin, who today began his third term as Russia’s president and 13th year as its leader, has so demonized him that the result may be to endanger U.S. national security.

            For nearly 10 years, mainstream press reporting, editorials and op-ed articles have increasingly portrayed Putin as a czar-like “autocrat,” or alternatively a “KGB thug,” who imposed a “rollback of democratic reforms” under way in Russia when he succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president in 2000. He installed instead a “venal regime” that has permitted “corruptionism,” encouraged the assassination of a “growing number” of journalists and carried out the “killing of political opponents.” Not infrequently, Putin is compared to Saddam Hussein and even Stalin.
            In all of these regards, the relentless demonizing of Putin makes rational U.S. policymaking all the more difficult. Mitt Romney’s recent assertions that Russia is America’s “number one geopolitical foe” and that Moscow has made no “meaningful concessions” seem to reflect widespread ignorance or amnesia. Are U.S. policymakers aware of Putin’s extraordinary assistance to the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan after 9/11, his crucial help in supplying NATO troops now there or his support for harsher sanctions against Iran? Do they know that for these and other “pro-American” concessions he is viewed by many Russian national security officials as an “appeaser?”

            Many years ago, Will Rogers quipped: “Russia is a country that no matter what you say about it, it’s true.” Evidently, it is still true, but it’s no longer funny.

            •  One of the reasons I don't usually (0+ / 0-)

              throw down personal expertise on the site is that - since we're all pseudonyms here - it doesn't much matter.  Winning an argument here doesn't matter.  So I'll only say this once: I'm a near-native speaker of Russian, and it's my area of professional expertise - I'm involved in these discussions in real life, with colleagues, and I come here with information when I get a chance, because I can provide some insider perspective (trying to balance my own opinion with what I consider a fair perspective on Russia's contemporary problems... See here and here, for example.)

              I really don't care if that's enough for you, because you're just a virtual interlocutor to me: I have to live with the fallout from Putin's authoritarian, xenophobic, homophobic policies. That's more of a major concern for me, frankly.  As I understand the political leaning of this site, these are the kinds of policies that we're supposed to be speaking out against - and I won't compromise those values because you think they align with some kind of neocon view of international politics.  It's possible for there to be a concerted effort to demonize Putin and for Putin to be doing all the things that warrant the demonization.  You understand this, don't you?  Neocons didn't invent, say, Putin's passage of a bill this week to punish "internal sabotage", the kind of language that should make anyone of conscience shudder; doubly so his recent rhetorical shift toward the (ethnically) Russian people (русский народ) and away from civic status (российский). Whether neocons can use this as fodder doesn't change the fact that these things are happening.

              To that point, you didn't answer my question vis-a-vis Reagan.  Instead you did what you usually do: post an article unrelated to my questions.  Cohen's become a laughingstock, and I'll happily tell him that to his face.  It's telling you rely so heavily on him, since no one in the field (excepting, and only on one or two points, Rob English) is anywhere on the same page.  There's a lot of history here about why Cohen has been more aggressively pro-Putin than anyone else in the field, but it's bound up in knowing Cohen's work in the 80s, and his nostalgia for a failed plan on Russian development that he sees reverting in the worst ways.  But that's a long discussion.

              That's it from me.  I said before I was done engaging you, so it's my mistake to get sucked into this again.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 01:05:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Reagan's popularity increased after his death (0+ / 0-)

                due to right wing media hype and people like Palin praising his "family values".

                Actual polls during Reagan's presidency put him behind Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, George H.W. Bush and Clinton. There were even times when he was behind Carter. His average approval rating during the eight years that he was in office was about 52.

                Cohen's become a laughingstock, and I'll happily tell him that to his face.
                More ad hominem...

                I think he has a clearer view on Russia and Putin than many in the US.


                Steven Cohen on US/Russian relations after President Obama cancelled a summit with Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
                    Air Date 8/13/2013

  •  Thanks. That Smolensk petition is great. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope

    Earlier there were similar petitions from towns in Russia citing their own economic problems as reasons for "internal invasion", not unlike our country's occasional "why invade countries to build schools abroad when we need them here" movements.

    Nagorski is a bit more optimistic about Russia's dissidents than I am.  They've seen the number of available venues shrink considerably in the last year, and issues like Crimea actually divide the coalition that formed against Putin during the last election: the conservative side is gung-ho for the annexation.  There's always the risk that Putin pushes too hard an alienates a more moderate set of people, but with a few exceptions that doesn't seem to be happening.

    At any rate: thank you for continuing to write so much about this issue.  I had computer problems in the last few weeks so I've been pretty much absent, and it's encouraging to come back and see people still engaged with the material.  Thank you for continuing to follow it so closely.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:45:19 PM PDT

  •  So, we are good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac

    With Alaska rejoining Russia?

  •  Predicting dissenters will win is a risky game (0+ / 0-)

    The notion that some supposedly growing opposition to Putin's rule will eventually topple the autocratic regime is simply  delusional. Which is not to say that it's impossible, but the odds are long ones....really, really long odds.

    Most opposition movements do not produce significant change. Just look at how the Occupy movement has transformed our society and government. Occupy also didn't face a particularly repressive, security apparatus that threatened the lives of the protestors.

    When the regime is willing to use violence to repress dissent -- and when the regime has the wherewithal to control political debate -- the opposition faces even longer odds, no matter how fervent the dissenters may be. Look at what happened in Iran a few years ago. If the regime is willing to be brutal, without regard to international opprobrium, then you're more likely to see a lot of dead and broken dissenters than you will a fallen regime.

    It's a nice dream to imagine Russians rising up to overthrow a corrupt, autocratic regime, but they didn't do it during the seven decades of Bolshevik rule. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the new regime to go down. There has always been dissent there, and it's never been strong enough to overcome the totalitarian state security.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 09:09:02 AM PDT

    •  Yes, but: (0+ / 0-)

      Businesses are pulling out of Crimea and Russia in droves. Banks have pulled billions of dollars out already and McDonalds just pulled out of Crimea. Give it a year or two and conditions will be totally different.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 09:20:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  McDonald's did not pull out of Crimea (0+ / 0-)
        McDonald's Closes Shop In Russia's Crimea, While France Orders Russian Rockets

        What the U.S. taketh from the Russian economy, France giveth.

        Or, you win some you lose some.
        Friday was McDonald's turn.  The company said it has shut down three of its franchise fast food joints in Crimea.
        English: McDonald's restaurant in Simferopol, ...

        “Like many other multi-national companies, McDonald’s is currently evaluating potential business and regulatory implications which may result from the evolving situation in Crimea,” the company said on its website.  ”We believe it is prudent and responsible to sort through these details thoroughly. Additionally, due to the suspension of necessary financial and banking services, we have no option but to close our three restaurants in Crimea. It is important to note that this is strictly a business decision which has nothing to do with politics. We are taking numerous steps to support our employees during this time. We hope to reopen our restaurants soon so we can welcome back our loyal customers.
        For the most part, sanctions have been more rhetorical than actual.

        On Friday, French aerospace company Arianespace signed a contract with the Russian space agency Roscosmos for the delivery of seven Soyuz carrier rockets, the company said.  The Russian-built rockets have been sending satellites into space for several years as part of a 2003 agreement between Russia and France.  Arianespace said the new order allows it to fulfill private and governmental orders through 2018.

        Businesses are pulling out of Crimea and Russia in droves.
        Siemens chief says supports ties with Russian companies

        Russia's Rosneft says starts surveys in Arctic JV with Exxon

        Shell Venture Starts Fracking Giant Russian Shale Oil Formation

        UPDATE 1-France's Total gets rights to explore Russian shale oil

        PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Have Large Stakes in Russia, Ukraine

        PepsiCo Inc. has billions of dollars at stake in Russia, its second-largest market by revenue after the U.S. The Purchase, N.Y.-based snack and beverage giant would have a difficult time picking up and leaving: It had $7.89 billion in "long-lived" assets including property, plants and equipment in Russia alone last year, or 15% of its global assets, according to a regulatory filing by the company.

        Ukraine Tensions Could Create Problems for Boeing
        Escalating tensions over Ukraine could create headaches for Boeing Co.'s business in Russia, which is both a major supplier and a big market for the U.S. aerospace giant.

        Boeing's business illustrates how radically corporate ties between the U.S. and Russia have changed since the Cold War. Boeing, which is the top commercial jet manufacturer and one of the biggest U.S. defense contractors, has spent about $7 billion in Russia since it started doing significant business there in 1991. The company plans to increase that amount to $27 billion by 2021, according to its website, including $18 billion buying titanium.
        Michel Merluzeau, managing partner at G2 Solutions, an aviation consultancy, said it is "premature to be concerned" about any impact on U.S. aerospace from the current tensions.

        Unless relations between Russia and the U.S. and European Union worsen considerably, "it is going to be pretty much business as usual," he said, adding the Russians "want to make money as well."

        Give it a year or two and conditions will be totally different.
        The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
    •  How do you think the police in the US would have (0+ / 0-)

      responded to the violence in Maidan?

      Occupy also didn't face a particularly repressive, security apparatus that threatened the lives of the protestors.
      OWS faced the most organized, militarized and lethally armed police force in the world backed by the huge Homeland Security apparatus. The exceptionally strong response to even minor infractions such as not staying on the sidewalk, wearing masks, name calling, failure to immediately obey police commands, and even passive resistance were met by tear gas, stun grenades and arrest. There were numerous confirmed reports of police infiltration in these peaceful protest groups.
      It's a nice dream to imagine Russians rising up to overthrow a corrupt, autocratic regime
      Why does this "corrupt, autocratic regime" enjoy 72% approval rating in Russia. Do you not think that under Obama's "rule" (at 46% approval) the US government is any less corrupt and autocratic? In America it's called lobbying. In other countries it's called bribery. American oligarchs control the government just as other oligarchs do in most countries in the world.

      It's all in the framing and choice of words....

      •  I think you have it backwards (0+ / 0-)

        Basically, in the old Soviet states that are run as oligarchies now, it is the political leadership who decides policies and doles out the spoils to whomever it favors. That's very different from a system where an entrenched monied class  that influences policy and doles out economic bonuses to its favored choices for political leadership. Lobbying can be a very corrupt system, but in terms of where the locus of power resides, it's 180 degrees from what you find in Russia, where the "oligarchs" do the leader's bidding.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 03:33:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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