Next question….

August 31, 2014

As the Russian military slowly begins to carve out a “Novorussiya” in the Donbas, and the Russian Academy of Sciences has been tasked with publishing a history of “Novorussiya” – and perhaps if ferreting around in historical documents of Catherine The Great, they may discover a map that will cover a region that The Kremlin feels if can not only carve out, but ultimately control and police thereafter, without too much difficulty.

Overextension would create unnecessary problems.  Thus the question arises – Just how much The Kremlin does believe it can effectively control and police amongst a Ukrainian population that no longer subscribes to the “one people” or mythical “Russian soul” rhetoric espoused by The Kremlin?

Can it effectively control and police more than the immediate strategic priorities of Mariupol, Volnovakha, Donetsk, Debaltsevo, Lisichansk/Rubezhnoye/Severodonetsk region and lastly Luhansk?

Can the Russian Academy of Sciences produce a map of “Novorussiya” that will match the real – rather than ideological – abilities of The Kremlin amongst what will generally be, and remain, a hostile Ukrainian society?

Will the Donbas become a consolidated bridgehead for a year or so, before pushing on into the rest of whatever any Russian Academy of Sciences history of “Novorussiya” will create?

When The Kremlin reaches the limits of what it considers its abilities to effectively control and police, there are questions thereafter for Ukraine and the West.

How to contain, and when ready, drive back a wholly false creation unrecognised by their respective governments and international institutions?

The West may decide to arm Ukraine, but that is a matter of bilateral foreign policy and nothing to do with the EU unless there are EU embargoes in place. Individual sovereign nations could already be arming Ukraine if they had the desire to do so.

Sanctions will stay – and grow. Damage over time to the Kremlin will accumulate. The fighting will continue, either legalised with the army and volunteer battalions, or via extralegal partisans (and there is no guarantee partisans will decide to continue to keep the fight solely on the Ukrainian side of the border with Russia when so much inviting infrastructure to go at in Russia).

The British are calling for Russia to be kicked out of the SWIFT banking system, which would have tremendous impact almost immediately on Russia. That said, it won’t fly with the all the other EU Members.

In short it is a public statement of extreme action by the UK that they know will never actually happen – no different from the strategic voting seen at the UN where nations are seen to vote seemingly against their own national interests in the full knowledge that a veto will be thrown down by somebody else, but they are seen to be doing the right thing, or do so to curry favour with others for voting that way.

Next week at the NATO Summit the UK will announce a Joint Expeditionary Force made up of the UK, the Baltics, Poland, Holland, Norway, Denmark and Canada – no USA – which would give the appearance of a “European theatre” coalition of the willing NATO group, within NATO.  However, whilst that may seem to be its orientation within the context of Baltic fears and the Ukrainian war, it has a distinctly “Arctic” look about it too – where Russia is becoming aggressive due to oil and gas claims. Clearly the UK and Holland are involved for their BP and Shell interests and others have direct claims on the Arctic.

Would such coalitions of the willing be extended to “partner nations” and will Ukraine become a “partner nation” once it sheds it official non-aligned status – something that quite possibly will occur in the imminent future?

Whilst all parties appear to have goals and tactics – there appear to be no strategies as yet.

Will any be formulated and effectively implemented by party?


  1. First… thank you for writing these posts and keeping up with this blog. I’ve been subscribed to it for some time thanks to my love of Ukraine and Odessa, in particular.

    You have a firm grasp of the political landscape and some insight into the workings of NATO that eludes me. I don’t watch the news and the news tends not to cover stories in detail that interest me.

    I agree that Russia will have a difficult time policing any areas that have been taken and I was talking with a friend in Kyiv last night about the war in general. He’s frustrated with the corruption and the fact that his comrades are fighting a war with old weapons against an army with somewhat more state of the art hardware. I pointed out that Ukraine was defending their homeland against an invading army as a regular army and that most wars of this type were won by the homeland only when they resorted to guerrilla warfare.

    One part of this post that stands out for me is your mention of the NATO Expeditianary Force and how it appears to be “Artic”… perhaps I’m missing something but it would explain some remarks that I’ve read from Canadians who stated that if the Russians were to invade their more arctic regions that they would be met with force. Am I thinking along the right lines here?

    Thanks again… Glory to Ukraine!… Glory to the Heros!

    • With regard to the Arctic and its vast oil and mineral wealth, then do not underestimate Kremlin determination there. They have already been planting flags there quite literally, including on the sea bed. A permanent and increasingly large Russian military presence in the Arctic is likely to be a very safe bet to make.

      Your friend’s frustration is understandable regarding old weaponry. However part of Kyiv’s problem – aside from money – is where to buy newer weaponry? Who will sell to Kyiv and effectively take an active, albeit proxy, side with Kyiv militarily? Pressure could be brought to bear on the US Congress and Senate regarding a pending bill making Ukraine a NATO partner State, and perhaps some form of Marshall plan. That however, outside Ukrainian diplomatic channels is something that perhaps should be championed by the Ukrainian diaspora in the US.

      For certain, with the overt and increasing Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine, those fighting them would benefit greatly from modern weaponry.

      • Yes, I’ve seen photos on vk of guys in the street with the exact same Czek made double barreled shotgun that I used to use to hunt pheasant here in the States as well as deer rifles. Of course, these probably weren’t military but militia or citizens in their former military garb.

        I know that John McCain had been frothing at the mouth back months ago hoping to get a crack at going toe to toe with the Russians. I’m sure that he along with many others who were in office during the Cold War are shaking their head in disbelief and wondering why the US sends aid and troops anymore since it used to be to help floundering democratic countries who were being oppressed.

        It does seem to me that Russia is attempting, bit by bit, to regain its former glory and expand its empire to what it used to be… Abkhazia, Crimea etc…

        I look forward to seeing how things play out when Poroshenko visits the US in Sept. In the meantime, it pains me to know that things continue on and the bloodshed continues for both sides… Russian boys being buried in unmarked graves and the mothers of these boys angered by this fact… or so I heard.

        My friend in Kyiv said that there are reports of continued corruption and misdirected funds into the pockets of politicians while young boys continue to fight in the East… and he feels that Poroshenko is more concerned with the state of his candy factories in Russia as well as his presidental campaign than with actually doing something to help Ukraine.

        I guess my Canadian friends might be taken to task then with the possibility of Russia blurring the lines and creating a presence in a part of the world that most people might think is useless and not worth fighting over. I never thought about this so thanks for bringing it to my attention.

        One thing that makes me think is, how powerful is Russia actually? At the end of the Cold War it was seen that Russia wasn’t actually the military threat that it was once thought to be. It almost seems like a new Cold War with Russia actually flexing its military muscles effectively for the first time in some time.

      • All of Poroshenko’s assets (less Channel 5 TV) but including his Roshen chocolates went up for sale 10 days ago via Rothchild’s. I don’t suppose he is that bothered about them, and will be even less so when sold.

        Both Poland and Romania have offered arms to Ukraine over the past 24 hours or so if asked. That request may come after Poroshenko attends the NATO Summit in Wales this coming week, but probably not before.

        How powerful is Russia? Not powerful enough to invade and subdue Ukraine, hence its demands for the federalisation of Ukraine, so it can be broken into bite-sized chunks that can be taken/eaten/devoured more easily and slowly should it choose to do so.

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