Why is Putin Escalating? (various perspectives)

The Kremlin claims its military escalation is owing to a March 24 presidential decree by Zelensky that outlines a military strategy to retake Crimea.

I think that is merely a smokescreen and a false pretext. Putin knows that Ukraine is incapable of anything like this.

I think there are two real reasons:

(1) In February, the Ukrainian government imposed sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk, Putin’s righthand man in Ukraine, and his three television news networks. These news networks were very effective in convincing Zelensky’s supporters to abandon his party to support the pro-Putin political party. And I was predicting at Concorde Capital (I left in January) that Medvedchuk and his party were on the path to retaking the parliament or the cabinet with enough time (because Medvedchuk was so effective in peeling off Zelensky’s supporters, most of whom voted for him to end the war in Donbas).

Without these three television networks, Medvedchuk and his party are severely crippled in retaking power. And the Kremlin understood this and was rather irate with Zelensky, who is a 100% puppet of the IMF (now that he has been cut off from his pimp Kolomoisky). And with the February sanctions, the Kremlin understands that it can never retake Ukraine through democratic means with its mass media outlets being censored. And the only means of taking Ukraine is by military warfare.

Of course, the Russians could be bluffing yet again in order to frighten the West. Putin knows occupying all of Ukraine is too expensive. But he can occupy certain strategic locations (Kherson water reservoirs, eastern military bases, eastern natural gas pipelines) and bomb others further west.

(2) The second reason is the increasing possibility of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline being derailed. Completion of the pipeline is of utmost concern to Putin, and the project’s derailment would be as great a defeat as losing Donbas and Crimea. By expanding his occupation of Ukraine, Putin would put a certain end to natural gas transit through Ukraine and force the Europeans to accept the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, with no other alternative.

Zenon Zawada, political analyst for Concorde Capital investment company in Kyiv between 2012 and 2020.

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The Russian government is escalating its confrontations with the West in order to test the Biden administration’s resolve.

Contrary to some assertions, however, we are not witnessing a second Cold War. The Cold War was essentially a stalemate until the Soviet empire imploded. Instead, President Vladimir Putin is engaged in an intimidating international offensive to regain world stature, reconstruct a Muscovite empire, and divide the West.

Russia is reinforcing its military deployments along Ukraine’s borders and raising the prospect of another invasion. It has increased its maritime presence in the Arctic and persistently provokes its Western adversaries through overflights of U.S. and NATO ships in the Baltic and Black seas and close to Alaskan airspace. Such actions have three main objectives: to demonstrate that Russia is a global power, to probe for soft spots in Western defenses, and to distract attention from growing internal turmoil in the Russian Federation. The danger is that Putin’s strategists and generals will miscalculate and precipitate an armed conflict that will rebound against Russia.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/a-less-cold-war-with-russia

Frozen Lake

There had been a huge blizzard in March that inconvenienced everybody for about two weeks, and then a long melting period, and a last gasp of winter in mid March.

After much encouragement, I convinced my son to go for a walk down to the lake to see the melting ice. I told him it was his last chance to see the fishermen sitting on their stools on the ice.

The wind had blown the ice and it broke in layers and rose up the edge of the concrete dam. Danny broke the ice with the badminton racket. It chipped off in long crystals and he put some in his pockets, and insisted I do the same even after I told him they’d just turn into water.

There were only three fishermen left on the ice sitting by the sluice gates, and another one on the other side of the lake who seemed to be checking a row of fishing lines in holes drilled far apart.

A perfect afternoon of Sledding

Last month, we had a perfect Sunday afternoon of sledding in Stryiskyi Park, with the afternoon sun slanting through the trees and live jazz music too.

Stryiskyi Park (Kilinski Park) is one of the oldest and most beautiful Parks in Lviv, a monument of landscape art of national importance. Located in Sofiyivka, Halytskyi district. It was considered the most beautiful park in interwar Poland.

White House Press Sec. Psaki Brushes Off Reporter Asking Why Hunter Biden Received $3.5 Million From the Mayor of Moscow’s Wife

Psaki brushed off the reporter’s question as if it was total nonsense with no documents to back up the claims.

“I am not familiar with that claim. It does not sound like it is backed up with a lot of evidence,” she said.

Last September the Senate Finance and Homeland Security Committees released a devastating report on the Biden crime family and backed up their claims with documents from the Treasury Department.

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/03/psaki-brushes-off-reporter-asking-hunter-biden-received-3-5-million-mayor-moscows-wife-video/

Polish Proposal to Fine Big Tech Companies $13.5 Million For Banning Users Over Ideological Reasons

Poland is pushing legislation that would fine social media platforms $13.5 million for censoring users over ideological differences.

Deputy Polish Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta – the man behind the law – says tech companies have targeted conservatives, Christianity and traditional values for “too long.”

“Freedom of speech is not something that anonymous moderators working for private companies should decide,” said Kaleta to Fox News Wednesday. “Instead, that is for the national body; duly elected officials and all industries, car, phones, finance — were unregulated till they grew too large — the same should happen with Big Tech.”

“We see that when Big Tech decides to remove content for political purposes, it’s mostly content which praises traditional values or praises conservatism,” Kaleta continued. “And it is deleted under their ‘hate speech policy’ when it has no legal right to do so.”

The new legislation hits any platform with a $13.5 million fine if a user is banned over content that is legal under Polish law.

Twitter’s recent banning of former President Trump set a dangerous precedent, Kaleta warned.

“It’s very disturbing because if Big Tech sees themselves as an organization empowered enough to ban a sitting president of the U.S., it sends a message to the world –that we can ban anyone, whenever we want,” said Kaleta.

https://www.newswars.com/poland-to-fine-big-tech-companies-13-5-million-for-banning-users-over-ideological-reasons/

Family Moments

My son and I often wrestle and clown around before I read him bed time stories to put him to sleep. Our not-yet-one-year-old daughter now recognized our routine, and loves watching. She smiles and laughs.

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Once my son and I were playing with bristle blocks. My wife had to run an errant, so our daughter was with us on a mattress on the floor. My son and I built planes and rockets and would pretend they’d fight in the air. After a few rounds, my daughter lifted a single block into the air and sputtered making a sound like an engine.

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An old friend of mine from Brazlilian Jiu Jitsu visited our apartment. Almost ten years ago, he and I founded the Lviv Grappling Club together. He’s a great young man — courageous, tough, honest fair. My daughter, who is usually cautious with strangers, pulled herself to her feet in her baby bed, and stood peering over the side and smiling. My wife and I were both surprised and amused. It seemed like she was trying to get attention. I hope this is a sign that she recognizes good men.

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Jealousy doesn’t seem to have been a problem with the kids. The few times I noticed Danny looking solemnly at us from a distance while my wife and I cooed at our daughter, I immediately brought him in with humor. I went over to him joking things like: “oh, look how quickly his hair has grown out,” “and teeth too. Look at those little teeth.” “Oh, and it seems he can already talk, that’s amazing,” “and walk too, look how well . . . and run. He can already run. Hey! Come back here!”

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My wife was bathing our daughter and my son was playing minecraft. I was upstairs working. First he called to me, asking how to say “parkan” in English. “Fence,” I answered. Then he asked me wife to write fence on the computer. (He was playing in creative mode where all items and materials are accessible.) My wife said she couldn’t because she was bathing our daughter. Our son suggested he hold her while my wife runs to the computer and types “fence.” He’d never done that before so it was somewhat of a bold idea, but he’s been pretty careful and protective of her. So he held her firmly by the shoulders in her little bath so that she would fall forward into the water, and my wife typed fence. Our daughter was, as usual, delighted by his attention.

Everything is taken care of! $10,000 each for the Holy Icon!

The corrupt late-mayor of Kharkiv, a city in Eastern Ukraine and once Ukraine’s capital, died in December. He spent the last few years of his life in a wheelchair after being shot in the back in a failed assassination attempt. One rumor is that the assassination attempt was revenge for failing to deliver Kharkiv into the hands of the Russians during the 2014 invasion, but he was involved in so much corruption that anything is possible.

Kernes was literally a three-card monty dealer at a bazaar earlier in his life. Yes, Ukrainians voted him in as mayor — multiple times, no less. There seems to be a preference for individual strong men, especially in the East.

I caught rumor of the following story that involved mayor Kernes:

Most of mayors of major Ukrainian cities gathered for the birthday of a president — I’m not sure if it was Poroshenko, or Yanukovych. As a gift, one mayor from a Western City brought expensive alcohol and an old, first edition book by a historical Ukrainian figure. Kernes was lively and outspoken as the mayors arrived. He only understood Russian, and spoke in this aggressive slang of Soviet strong men which is impossible to convey in English.

“Everything is take of,” announced Kernes in his Russian slang. “The gift will be this holy icon,” he explained waving it around. “$10,000 from each of you.”

After some consideration, the Western mayor gently explained that he hadn’t agreed to it, and that he already brought a gift.

“What are you talking about?” Demanded Kernes. “It has been blessed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Listen to me, I arranged everything. It will be $10,000.”

The western mayor politely refused, and for a while Kernes was sour, but then returned to his usual self.

Corruption Battle Between Oligarchs to Begin Building New Ukrainian Ski Resort

Here’s the story:

Ukrainian ski resort to undergo 500 mln Euro investment

A Carpathian resort town is due to undergo extensive investment and development to turn it into a major all year round destination.

The investment will be provided by Vitaly Antonov, owner of Galnaftogaz and the OKKO gas station network.

The town in question is Slavsk, located just over an hour away from Lviv city and easily accessible from its airport. Over 500 million Euros is due to be spent on Slavske and the surrounding resort villages to provide a modern rival to Bukovel.

Antonov has moved his business interests to the Skole District (the municipality in which Slavsk is located) and in an official announcement at the end of October, Skole District Council Leader Mikhail Luchinets stated that “ Since 1st January OKKO Group has registered in Slavske and are now taxpayers in the region contributing 3.2 million Dolalrs monthly. The plans laid out by OKKO include the construction of a summer-winter resort”.

According to Luchinets, OKKO’s corporation tax payments will go towards improvement of local infrastructure to help cope with the expansion of Slavsk and the surrounding villages.

https://www.uaproperty.com/news/ukrainian-ski-resort-to-undergo-500-mln-euro-investment/

Apparently there was a battle of corruption that demonstrates the realities of Ukraine’s corruption – but also lack of sophistication. I think corruption in the US is there too, but it’s more sophisticated and hidden.

Right now, there is only one big, modern ski resort in Ukraine – Bukovel – owned by the super-corrupt, and super-powerful Igor Kolomoiski. His people attempted to bribe both individual property owners, and local officials to prevent the construction of this new resort. Vitali Antonov’s people had a system of counter bribes — to both local property owners and local officials, and in the end they triumphed. I heard a rumor once that Vitali himself had made exasperated comments about the amount of time he spent in restaurants and saunas with local officials before they would finally trust him.

Lawyers are asking to transfer Sternenko to Kyiv: there are threats to life in the Odessa pre-trial detention center

Ukrainian activist Serhiy Sternenko was attacked by representatives of law enforcement agencies in Odessa. That is why Serhiy’s stay in the Odessa pre-trial detention center, where he was taken after the verdict was announced, poses a real threat to his life and health.”

Details : Sternenko’s lawyer Masi Nayem filed a statement addressed to the head of the Odessa pre-trial detention center Serhiy Chyshkala with a request to transfer Sternenko to Kyiv.

The law takes 3 days to consider the application. The defense hopes for an objective decision from the head of the Odessa pre-trial detention center as soon as possible.

What preceded : On February 23, the Odessa court for the abduction and torture of a man sentenced Serhiy Sternenko, an ex-leader of the Odessa Right Sector, and his colleague Ruslan Demchuk to 7 years and 3 months in prison with confiscation of half of their property.

The purpose of the attack, according to the prosecution, was to seize the property of the victim Serhiy Shcherbych – his bank card and telephone. The court found it an aggravating circumstance that the crime was allegedly committed “in connection with the victim’s performance of official duties” – Shcherbych was a deputy of the district council. The court also drew attention to the fact that Sternenko spoke about his negative attitude to the political views of the victim.

Both defendants completely denied their involvement in Shcherbych’s abduction. Even before the verdict was announced, Sternenko stated that he considered the court’s decision to be politically motivated. He assured that he would appeal the verdict.

Background :

In 2018, three attempts were made on Sternenko , during the third, on May 24, the attacker was killed . Police are investigating the attacker’s death as premeditated murder. Sternenko claims that he defended himself.

https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2021/02/23/7284460/

Nine Arrested in violent Paris attack which left 15-year-old Ukrainian in a coma

French authorities are investigating the violent assault of a 15-year-old Ukrainian schoolboy in Paris.

The victim, identified only as Yuriy, was left in a coma after the attack in the wealthy 15th arrondissement of the capital city on January 15.

A widely-shared video of the beating showed a dozen young people in hooded jackets kicking and beating the teenager to the ground, before abandoning him.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/25/yuriy-france-probes-violent-paris-attack-that-left-ukrainian-15-in-a-coma

The attack in a busy and well-heeled neighbourhood of Paris shocked residents, though police have noted violent disputes between rival bands of youths in the area.

The detained suspects — eight minors and one young adult — were being investigated for attempted murder, gang violence and theft, prosecutors said.

Nataliya Kruchenyk, mother of the 15-year-old victim named only as Yuriy, said this week he had emerged from a coma induced by doctors following the January 15 attack near a shopping centre in the 15th district.

Kruchenyk said her son had left school with friends when he was accosted by around a dozen people, a scene captured by a surveillance camera.

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210128-french-police-arrest-nine-over-15-year-old-boy-s-brutal-gang-beating-in-paris

Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki, formerly appeared in meeting with Russian FM wearing hammer and sickle hat

a 2014 image resurfaced featuring her posing with her then-boss, former Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova during her tenure as a State Department spokesperson.

Psaki is seen wearing a pink shapka, or fur hat, that bears the communist hammer-and-sickle logo as part of a gift exchange between herself and her Russian counterpart Zakharova.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/usa-today-fact-checking-jen-psaki-hammer-and-sickle-hat

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For Comparison: