Can we do something similar for victims of communist oppressions and then find someone to pay reparations?
CATO’s Human Freedom Index
1. Hong Kong
This is probably deaths among regular army. From all the interviews of irregulars, it really seems like they’re cannon fodder and nobody’s counting.
Business Life (Delovaya Zhizn) reports on markets, finance, entrepreneurship, finance, and leisure, scarcely an outlet for sensational information. Its innocuously entitled “Increases in Pay for Military in 2015,” however, reveals what appear to be official figures on the number of Russian soldiers killed or made invalids “in eastern Ukraine.”
I know both Michael, and Nolan, the author. Also Jonas, mentioned later.
The story of Ukraine is the story of vanquished aristocracy, first by the Mongols, then the Muskovites, then the Bolsheviks.
Sevastopol marathon swimmer Oleg Sofyanik has decided to stay in mainland Ukraine after being summoned for questioning about another Ukrainian, Yury Ilchenko who is in detention, seemingly for an article opposing Russia’s occupation of Crimea. Sofyanik has also openly expressed his opposition and fears he will be arrested if he returns.
The 51-year-old swimmer is known beyond Ukraine and has taken part in many marathon swimming events. The 51-year-old was apparently a dissident in Soviet times and faced KGB persecution. Like Ilchenko, he made no secret of his opposition to Russia’s annexation of his native Crimea. Although facing FSB harassment, and FSB questioning as to why he didn’t take Russian citizenship, he had until recently managed to remain, He explained to Censor.net that he had been monitoring rights abuses in Crimea. This, he said, was needed as others who would normally be reporting abuses are either imprisoned or have left Crimea.
In some sense, I agree with him.
It was very, very important for Ukrainians to fight. They did.
Now, I would love to see a coordinated, planned withdrawal of US forces from Europe, so that Europeans stand up for themselves and become less cowardly.
I would also love to see a Baltic-Eastern European partnership as a solution to the Russian problem. NATO is too cumbersome and political. They should enable the countries directly threatened by Russian to act more boldly.
Also, give three nukes each to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Georgia.
Moreover, Ukraine is still the exclusive supplier for many of the heavy components, including engines and gears, for Russia’s warships — even the ones Russia builds in its northern shipyard. With the continuing tense stand-off, Kiev recently banned arms sales to Moscow.
Russia’s attempts to revitalize its domestic shipbuilding industry have not gone smoothly. In 2005, India inked a nearly $1-billion deal with Russia for a rebuilt Soviet-era small flattop. Russia’s work on Vikramaditya was so poor, however, that she suffered a near-total breakdown shortly after her purported completion in 2012.
India finally accepted Vikramaditya in 2014 — after the total cost of her refurbishment had nearly tripled to $2.3 billion. If Russia can’t even remodel an existing warship, imagine the difficulties it would face designing and building a big new ship from scratch.
Moscow knows its navy is in trouble. It seized on an extreme solution in 2011 — importing ships, technology and expertise from France. Russia signed a contract for two French Mistral-class helicopter carriers. Each ship costs more than $1 billion.
The plan was for Russian shipyards to help construct the vessels. “The purchase of Mistral shipbuilding technology will help Russia to grasp large-capacity shipbuilding,” Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky, chief of the navy at the time. “It is important for construction of ships like the future oceangoing class destroyer and later an aircraft carrier.”
Unsurprisingly, the Russian yards have proved incapable of handling intensive construction. In 2013, the Kremlin asked France to take over the bulk of the work. After Russia annexed Crimea, Paris suspended then ultimately canceled the ship deal.
But even if the deal had gone through, buying two ships from France would have done little to reform Russia’s shipbuilding industry, as Russian workers wouldn’t have been directly involved in building the vessels. Now deprived of the Ukrainian-made parts, Russia’s shipbuilding industry is in even worse shape than it was two years ago.
The White House’s message to Kiev was advice, not an order, U.S. and Ukrainian officials have recently told us, and was based on a variety of factors. There was a lack of clarity about what Russia was really doing on the ground. The Ukrainian military was in no shape to confront the Russian Spetsnaz (special operations) forces that were swarming on the Crimean peninsula. Moreover, the Ukrainian government in Kiev was only an interim administration until the country would vote in elections a few months later. Ukrainian officials told us that other European governments sent Kiev a similar message.
But the main concern was Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As U.S. officials told us recently, the White House feared that if the Ukrainian military fought in Crimea, it would give Putin justification to launch greater military intervention in Ukraine, using similar logic to what Moscow employed in 2008 when Putin invaded large parts of Georgia in response to a pre-emptive attack by the Tbilisi government. Russian forces occupy two Georgian provinces to this day.
Looking back today, many experts and officials point to the decision not to stand and fight in Crimea as the beginning of a Ukraine policy based on the assumption that avoiding conflict with Moscow would temper Putin’s aggression. But that was a miscalculation. Almost two years later, Crimea is all but forgotten, Russian-backed separatist forces are in control of two large Ukrainian provinces, and the shaky cease-fire between the two sides is in danger of collapsing.
“Part of the pattern we see in Russian behavior is to test and probe when not faced with pushback or opposition,” said Damon Wilson, the vice president for programming at the Atlantic Council. “Russia’s ambitions grow when they are not initially challenged. The way Crimea played out, Putin had a policy of deniability, there could have been a chance for Russia to walk away.”
It looks like Putin!
As reported previously, Russian media provided extensive coverage in December of the “perverted patriotism” in Ukraine where school children were being taught to kill the red-chested bullfinches because their coloring supposedly represents the imperial red colors of the USSR and its successor Russia.
However, posters in Ukrainian social media joked that the Russian propagandists had not done their homework since the real colors of the bullfinch are black and red — symbols, for example, of the Right Sector.
Ridiculous publicity stunt for consumption by Russians:
1) Life is better for people with government jobs. Pensions and government salaries really did increase and the increase outstrips food prices.
2) Life is worse for entrepreneurs and people employed by private companies. Corruption and bureaucracy posed a problem, plus prices have radically increased.
3) All the police were fired. “We don’t need traitors,” they were told. The police were replaced with police from Moscow and other parts of Russia.
4) There’s a huge influx of immigrants from other parts of Russia who prefer getting their pensions in Crimea than in Siberia.
5) My friend was a proud Ukrainian and disrespectful to the border guards. He refused to speak or write in Russian and called Crimea occupied territory. He guard was infuriated, but the officer respected him for him.