back to article Work in the tech industry? The Ukraine WAR is coming to YOU

Anyone in tech who thinks that the conflict in Ukraine - which has been smoldering since the end of 2013 - is not their business should think again. At the weekend Russia was given one week by European Union chiefs to reverse course in the Ukraine or face new sanctions. Russia has been accused of interfering in Ukraine, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's this market that could be jeopardised.

    and for what? For a mere few thousands dying people in a galaxy far, far away? Not on me doorstep! They would be dead anyway, PARTICULARLY if we let them run their ancient railway systems their own inefficient, overemployed way! We can't allow this to happen, comrades capitalists, we can't allow them to install bug-ridden Chinese spyware on their systems. We can't allow them to buy last-century Brasilian train sets! We have to fight for them contracts in Russia by hook or by the-usual-means. For the good of the people in them rickety trains! For democracy! For our ideals and values and stuff!

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    Country / company

    “We were gearing ourselves up on the basis Russia would become a full member of the WTO [World Trade Organisation], operating the way other companies operate but this is disappointing,"

    That's where we've been going wrong, we need a CEO, not a PM...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Country / company

      The way things are going the WTO will soon become the "Western Trade Organization" or maybe the "Dollar Zone And Imperial Gimps Organization". Then the others can build a fence around it and throw peanuts. Or nukes if there is any justice.

      1. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Country / company

        If there was justice, Putin, whose choice to needlessly wage wars of aggression without any justification against Georgia and the Ukraine has resulted in one or more deaths in each of these countries would meet the same fate as Hideiki Tojo.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Country / company

          You'd have to include Obama for his death from above that kills men, women and children indiscriminately which should extend to all the Five-Eyes national leaders as their data is included for the purpose of targeting. Hell, they gloat over the fact that they target using nothing more cell-phone metadata.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Country / company

      " gearing ourselves up on the basis Russia would become a full member of the WTO"

      Russia under Putin wants to write it's own rules and will not abide by those of any outsiders, whether it's trade laws or international / territorial treaties.

      " Russia – one of the world’s largest markets"

      erm... technically correct, 8th largest country in the world by GDP. However that is less than 3% of global GDP. Unless you're focused almost entirely on selling to Russia, no problem. For anyone who IS mostly focused on selling there, well, you should have known the inherent risks in dealing with the devil, and you probably made a mint while the going was good.

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Morals, ethics, principles...

    Yep, we've heard of them.

    It really shouldn't be necessary for governments to impose sanctions. Businesses should themselves stop trading with people and governments like Putin. There is more to life than making money wherever you can, from whoever you can, no matter who suffers.

    And it's not just a matter of deciding not to sell weapons to the Russians (because they may be used to invade other countries) - if they are invading other countries then we should have nothing to do with them - seal off the country: nothing goes in or out, aircraft and ships impounded, electronic transmissions cut off.

    If people are concerned that they'll lose business by not selling to the Russians, perhaps they could make it up by selling kit to the unIslamic nonState?

    After all, why should business suffer just because their customers are evil war-mongers who shoot down airliners. Surely their money is as good as anyone elses? (We've been here before - remember that IBM sold punched-card systems to the Nazis so they could keep track of the Jews and Gypsies...)

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

      You are mostly correct, just do not see why you are singling out Putin here. As in most civil war conflicts there is no right here - all are on the wrong side.

      If you think that some of the characters on the Ukrainian side are any different, I suggest you revisit your statement when the conflict ends and they turn their newly acquired weapons and training onto the local minorities. After all not all of Odessa has emigrated to New York and Tel Aviv. There is some left for them to practice on and remember my word - practice they will. Same as they did in WW2.

      Pogrom is a favourite past-time around that part of the world (in fact that is where the word comes from in the first place).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        I also find it interesting, that only now, when Russia does something that NATO/US/EU have been doing for at least 30 years (coups, rebel supporting, invasions, annexations, etc...), that people have a moral issue with it. I really dislike hypocrisy. Either all the big boys can do it, or none of them (as always, sucks for the little guy, as it has for all of history)

        I also don't like this trend of not doing business with companies from a country because you dislike their governments foreign policy. Don't mix business and politics, because If everyone thought that way, then nobody would ever do business outside their own borders. Countries have been geopolitically screwing each other over for centuries.

        1. Potemkine Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

          Please remind me what where the countries annexed by a EU or NATO member during the last 30 years?

          Not mixing business and politics is the usual motto of companies not afraid to make business with the worst b'stards on this planet (1 Godwin point for me)

          1. frobnicate
            Facepalm

            Please remind me what

            > where the countries annexed by a EU or NATO member during the last 30 years?

            This is exactly the point: NATO bombs remote nations from the Bronze Age back to the Stone Age *without* providing the inhabitants with health care and pension system, not to say about allowing them to freely move into invaders' own countries.

          2. Adam 37

            Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

            Kosovo.

            Either you can change borders at the barrel of a gun or you can't. We did. So others can. You know it was a sh*t idea when even Kissinger thought it was.

            & Now Kosovo is a NATO "protectorate"

            http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_48818.htm

            Look even a map to show who's running what.

            http://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/pdf_2014_09/20140901_140903-KFOR-Placemat-final.pdf

          3. Slobodan

            Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

            Serbia, European country, was attacked and was exposed to bombardment during four months by NATO in 1999 and as a result part of its territory is annexed.

            Bridge in my town looked like this:

            http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/file/show/Slika%207-%20Zezeljev%20most.jpg

            Many politicians from the west (winning part) built careers on this war and nowadays their family companies are contractors in infrustructure rebuildings over entire former balkan warzone..

      2. Lars Silver badge

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles

        "just do not see why you are singling out Putin here." I would say it's in fact because it's all about Putin.

      3. i1ya
        Flame

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        Dear "Voland's right hand", you are either a paid troll or a "useful idiot" (term that communists used to call their supporters in the Western countries). The only argument of advocates of Putin's actions in Ukraine is accusing Ukraininans in anti-semitism or fascism. That simply isn't true (escpecially in comparison to rise of personality cult, propaganda and militarism in Russia). And ethnic Jews along with ethnic Russians, Armenians, Georgians and other "local minorities", as you call them, are currently fighting side-by-side with ethnic Ukrainians to protect their land from Russian mercenaries and armed forces. And ones who are not on the front line, donate money to help army, give out their blood for transfusion or just help in the hospitals. One of Putin's most hated enemies, oligarch Igor Kolomoiskyi, who initiated formation of territorial defence squads consisting of armed volunteers, is president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine. So please stop telling about anti-semitism here.

      4. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        >all are on the wrong side.

        Bullshit!

        Bloody Ukrainians should know better than to carry out their own foreign policy. They are, after all, part of the Russian near-abroad, places where Russia has special interests. What's this about wanting to kow tow to Europe? What's this about protesting about corruption?

        And, darn right, 20-30% of ethnic Russians, moved there in the glorious heyday of the Soviet people's brotherhood, definitely can decide to secede when they feel like it. After all, Russia is a great power and the little fish surrounding it need to respect it.

        Latvia, Georgia, etc... take note.

        Send in the PzIIs into the Sudetenland, sorry T72s into Donetsk, to rescue our ethnic brothers!

    2. Titus Technophobe
      Thumb Up

      Re: Morals, ethics, principles... Yes ... I mean it is just another example of Russian Fascism.

      Just like in Afghanistan where Russia invaded illegally and the West was forced to support the resistance. After that the whole place didn't get really sorted out until the Russians left and we all invaded properly ... well it did didn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles... Yes ... I mean it is just another example of Russian Fascism.

        Ot where Al-Assad was the Prince of Darkness, but we are now having to kiss ass because in the grand scheme of things, he wasn't as bad as the shit storm we allowed to happen

    3. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

      It is insane to compare the Russian government with the Nazis. The Ukrainian conflict is rather complicated and it is not immediately apparent that one side is better than the other.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        @ Anonymous Coward 101; "It is insane to compare the Russian government with the Nazis."

        Indeed, it's transparently ludicrous to suggest any similarity between Putin's military support of ethnic Germans- sorry, I meant ethnic *Russians*- in the Ukrainian Sudetenland, and the Nazis.

        @Voland's Right Hand; "If you think that some of the characters on the Ukrainian side are any different, I suggest you revisit your statement when the conflict ends and they turn their newly acquired weapons and training onto the local minorities."

        I thought the pretext for aggression was that far-right Ukrainians were *already* attacking ethnic Russians with support from the illegitimate western-backed Ukrainian government.

        Never mind that those far right "Nazi" types used to scaremonger little old ethnic Russian ladies were a small number vastly played up by the Russian government and seperatists to justify their actions. Or that they were mainly opposed to any non-Ukrainian interference in their government, either from Russia *or* the West.

      2. Dan Paul

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        No, you are incorrect. The parallels between the early years of German WWII agression on the Sudetenland and Poland are EXACTLY on target. The Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine is NO DIFFERENT than the "repatriation" of adjoining countries during the war with Germany.

        Simply walking in (with FULL Russian support, equipment, weapons and armed services) and annexing your neighbors is an act of war on Ukraine regardless of how the local populace feels. Funny how none of the "Unrest" was a news item until the takeover. Any REAL protests and issues would have made it to the international news way earlier. Anything that happens after the fact is a case of Russian/Separatist PROPAGANDA.

        Shooting down airliners with long range missles SHOULD have resulted in FAR MORE than "Sanctions" against Russia. That's pretty damning evidence that can hardly be contraverted.

        1. Adam 37

          Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

          "Shooting down airliners with long range missles SHOULD have resulted in FAR MORE than "Sanctions" against Russia. That's pretty damning evidence that can hardly be contraverted."

          Much like the Vincennes shooting down that Iran Air airbus?

          Anyone stand trial..over that.....or.anything?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        "The Ukrainian conflict is rather complicated"

        Quite. A friend in a neighbouring state was telling me last year that the protesters were paid $50 a day - dollars, not euro or roubles - to keep the protests going. The start of this was by no means spontaneous. And in the UK, great justification for more military spending. Would be good to hear one voice looking to de-escalate this complex issue.

        1. eulampios

          Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

          >>A friend in a neighbouring state was telling me last year that the protesters were paid $50 a day - dollars, not euro or roubles - to keep the protests going.

          Ukraine don't use Roubles, their own currency is Grivna. How sure are you about this information btw?

          Disclaimer: being both part Russian and Ukrainian myself and a Russian patriot, I take this matter pretty close.

          Whether this is true or not about $50/day, it's not a good reason to annex territories from your neighbor, the state with ethnic, religious, genetic and cultural ties to your own being the closest. Calling a 40 million state fascists, nazis while spreading anti-Ukrainian and anti-Semitic, Anti-West propaganda at the same time is no good means for it either. Subsiding the very dire internal problems inside Russia, finding America and the West to be the gist of any issue, that is the current state of Russian affairs. Calling anyone in the opposition a Western collaborationist, harshly castigating anyone who questions the position of the government. Spreading provocative, misleading and often plain false information to set the neighboring state on fire, supporting separatism, while forgetting that this might turn back home in the future as it had during the Chechen wars. This is a the conspicuous double standards and hypocrisy in action.

          I'd call it national madness, insanity. This is almost all thanks to the propaganda and people's gullibility. If that would not be a personal matter, no loss of human life and no damage to the Russian prestige , I'd applaud the ingenuity of this PR campaign.

          The damage inflicted to the Russian interest and trust is tremendous as result of this PR without any immediate rectification in sight.

        2. Daniel B.
          Facepalm

          Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

          Quite. A friend in a neighbouring state was telling me last year that the protesters were paid $50 a day - dollars, not euro or roubles - to keep the protests going.

          See, this hits home. I've heard these arguments being passed on in my own country back in 2006. Barring the "paid in USD" stuff, most of the things said about protesters were the same. We were paid daily to keep the protests going. Said protests were calling for a recount, as some of the polling station numbers weren't matching what was being counted in the central system, and the candidate that had been most likely to win had lost by a 0.56% margin.

          My country's Mexico.

          The sad part of this story is that the same people who were protesting back then are drinking the Russian kool-aid this time because of the anti-US sentiment that permeates most left-leaning people (not like it is unwarranted. The US has been a really bad boy in most of Latin America.) Ukraine's Yankunovich could easily be equated with our own current president Peña-Nieto, down to the "evil party gets back into power" and "selling our asses out to [Russia/The US]".

          Go ask actual Ukranians on the situation. Chances are they're angry at both Russian and US/EU intervention and would very much like to be left alone. Some of the people who participated or supported the Maidan protests were former Spetsnaz and Afghanistan vets. Do you really think those guys would support "fascists" like the Russian media likes to brand all protesters?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

      "After all, why should business suffer just because their customers are evil war-mongers who shoot down airliners. "

      Well, that's a good question. The moment MH17 was down but still smoking, Western politicians were blaming Putin and the Ukrainian rebels. When Pan Am 103 came down it took weeks indeed months of intensive work to establish who really did it (and still the evidence is not wholly convincing).

      Since those early accusations over MH17, you'll have seen that no proof has been offered, that the makers of the accusations have quietly backed off and distanced themselves from the more vociferous complaints. The photos allegedly of "rebel held" AA missiles have been debunked, showing locations in far distant Kiev-controlled territories, and the US (despite having the technology to resolve the hairs on a Talibani's backside in Iraq from earth orbit) have failed to produce all the loudly and gladly anticipated evidence of a missile launch in rebel held territory.

      Ukraine is a backward, ill-governed, corrupt and undemocratic part of the world, with strong ethnic and national tensions. US-sponsored interference in Ukraine's primitive politics resulted in the Maidan uprising, which surprisingly then replaced an elected pro-Russian president (a dodgy crook, I'd accept) with a not-properly elected pro-US president who's also a dodgy crook, dependent upon extremist right wing militias and continued Western cash injections, triggering the not-so-latent tensions now playing out.

      So, who's the bad guy's here? And interestingly if we have a cold winter in Europe, who's on the hook for the Russian retaliation for ill-conceived sanctions? Germans. Initially their government tried to take a softly-softly line, but I daresay the population will be pleased at their government now bending over to US pressure.

      The US establishment have intervened all round the world over the past decade and more, and I can't think of one instance where the outcome has been good (particularly for the Americans themselves). Forced out of Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and leaving those countries more wretched than they were before whilst creating and arming new enemies. Now the fools are again dabbling with starting a hobby war in somebody else's back garden, with no legitimacy nor any public support at home.

      If there's a need for sanctions, it's sanctions on Washington (and perhaps London/NATO) to stop the madmen from their current spiral towards a new cold war.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        The Pan Am flight 103 evidence is fairly convincing, you just have to wade through pages and pages of analysis and results... and it happened in peace time, over civilian airspace not actively monitored for acts of aggression (that never happened anyway. And no, the WTC was not bombed by judeo-masonic Majestic-12 aligned grey aliens from Area 51 in 2001 either)

        As for MH17, overflying a warzone, where most western agencies are targetting with spysats, awacs, and other "national intelligence means", with a Nato/Ukraine/Russia mexican standoff going, with everyone explictly looking for anything to be able to understand what is happening and to then accuse the other party with evidence to hand), then I'm not totally surprised that someone somwhere has an radar, infrared,visible light or ultra violet recording of a missile getting launched and a large airborne bang happening not far from where a Boeing airliner fell out of the sky. Even though forensic evidence may be lacking, there is enough intelligence available to understand what happened...

      2. Passing Through

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        I'm beginning to realise that WE are the bad guys.

        NATO in particular seem to be a war waiting to happen.

        Must be watching to much RT.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...(Not effective in war)

        It's pretty obvious you don't like any Americans, Tom and seem to have a hardon for us, and it appears likely that you lost some business over the sanctions. Why can't you just say it like it is and stop hiding your real feelings? You must like the pictures of Putin riding horse with his shirt off.

        We "invaded" countries to stop the genocide of Bosnian Serbs, Kurds, Christians, removed certain dictators from power in Iraq, killed terrorists in all those countries (not invaded) you mentioned. Admittedly, some of those places weren't worth the blood of our and many other countries soldiers that fought against Islamic fundementalists that later became IS.

        Any Iranian uranium concentration centrifuge systems that were provided by Germany, through Russia with Siemens controls in flagrant violation of sanctions against Iran are fair game in my mind. Screw the Iranian "government".

        And we don't recognise any soveriegn power over the US by the ineffectual, completely compromised "United Nations" in any case. Those who do can kiss my ass.

        Do you really trust Putin? If so, I have some swampland in Florida you might be interested in.

        Putin is trying to restore the USSR to "glory" by annexing it's "neighbors".

        And really, is quoting scripture gonna help when the Soviet Army jackboots into Kiev? They are in East Ukraine NOW and Putin brags he "Can be in Kiev in two weeks".

        I don't think so.......Motes my ass!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        "I hope it's obvious that the USSR was an entirely different matter: a different nation, with a different ideology, and entirely different circumstances"

        You may grant them that get-out-of-jail-free card as being "obvious"- I don't. In hindsight it's clear that the Soviet Union was always about Russia's interests more than anyone else's and bordering on Russian imperialism masquerading as anti-nationalist communism.

        The fact that Putin- who quite blatantly *does* put Russia's interests above those of former Soviet states, to the extent of bullying and crushing the wishes of their non-ethnic-Russian populations-described the breakup of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century" strongly reinforces that the Soviet Union *was* to a large extent Greater Russia. It suppressed democracy in a large number of (non-Soviet) Eastern Bloc countries, purely for its own strategic self-interest.

        The "rights" that Putin talks about Russia having are nothing more than the self-entitlement of a country long-used to having a de facto empire having lost its self-perceived birthright and attempting to rebuild it.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. John Savard Silver badge

            Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

            I expect that you would put your own interests above those of other people. Which is quite legitimate when you are working hard and minding your own business. But that's not the same thing as having a license to bully other people or steal from them. Georgia and the Ukraine are sovereign states, and for Russia in any way shape or form whatever to use force to intimidate them from seeking, if they so choose, closer links to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the European Community is an act of aggression, analogous to the sort of behavior which would be criminally prosecuted if engaged in by a private individual in a civilized society.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

            Quoted Text: "Putin- who quite blatantly *does* put Russia's interests above those of former Soviet states..."

            Tom Welsh's Reply: "Thank goodness the rulers of our enlightened nations don't put our interests ahead of those of other countries. Oh wait a minute, that doesn't sound right does it?"

            I see what you did there! Where "what you did there" was to truncate what I said at a point that conveniently made it appear more like an easy-to-put-down double standard. The relevant part in full was:-

            "The fact that Putin- who quite blatantly *does* put Russia's interests above those of former Soviet states, to the extent of bullying and crushing the wishes of their non-ethnic-Russian populations"

            You said elsewhere- somewhat self-aggrandisingly- that "I just hate lies and injustice - perhaps my Scots-Irish blood." Speaking as a Scot myself, I don't consider disingenuousness- if not downright weaselishness- of this sort any better.

            And for someone that "just hates lies and injustice", if we take your reply in the context of what I actually said (rather than your selective quote), it sounds like you're endorsing Putin's right to interfere with, destabilise, bully, invade and annex other countries.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "This post has been deleted by its author."

              Speaking as the person who complained about Tom Welsh's misleadingly-truncated quoting of what I said earlier on, I note that the post of Tom's I was replying to- and another one I referenced- have both since been marked "deleted by its author" (both were adjacent above). I've confirmed the deleted posts where those of Tom's because the original posts were still in Bing's cache of the page (but not Google's) in those specific positions.

              Would Tom care to enlighten us as to why those were deleted?

              (I won't repost them or link to the cache here, as I don't know Register policy on attempting to intentionally "undelete"- by reposting- posts that someone else was permitted to delete. I suspect it would be frowned upon).

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        Ossetia was part of Georgia. Georgia had adopted a hands-off policy towards that area, but a Georgian policeman was murdered by shots fired from there, which made it necessary for Georgian forces to investigate.

        But this turned out to have been a staged provocation which Russia used as a pretext to annex that territory, with claims (that Russia itself admitted afterwards were false) of thousands of ethnic Russians being massacred by Georgians.

        Unlike some people, when I read the news, I pay attention, and remember what I had read.

        1. MrRoland

          Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

          I recall watching the same news, however reading up on what happened to the hero of the hour and Rose Revolution - Mikheil Saakashvili, is now hiding out in the USA as its a bit too hot for him to be at home where he would most likely stand trial. Makes you wonder if hes not the super nice hero guy the western media painted him out to be.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        >The rebels may have possessed a single BUK launcher, captured from government forces.

        Hmmm, Tom, do all the math you want about BUKs.

        I too agree that the immediate blaming of the rebels was a bit hasty, but... someone had to shoot down that plane.

        In all the frequent blames and name calling of the rebels by the Ukrainian authorities, generally playing up to whoever will listen the hardware used by the rebels, no one ever claimed the rebels were operating aircraft. Because, for one thing, aircraft are complex to operate and require airstrips. Russia might have chosen to operate them, but at that point was being discrete.

        Now, if you can, try to balance out your fairly justified doubt about who is telling the truth. Balance it out with a big question: if your enemies are not operating aircraft, why would you shoot anti-aircraft missiles? Why would you shoot a plane whose flight path is coming from your own territory? Which party had recently bragged about shooting down a bunch of aircraft, some of which were not that different in aspect from airliners?

        Now, that doesn't tell us who did it, it really doesn't. And, yes, the glee with which the Ukrainian government took PR advantage of it was distasteful.

        Occam's Razor does not much support your theories however.

        Ah, but I forget. Black flag operation, the answer to all questions.

      2. SundogUK

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        Good lord but that article is a crock of shit. Claiming the damage done to the cockpit was done by machine guns when all modern fighters use 20mm cannons minimum.

    7. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

      IBM disconnected itself from its German operations well before Pearl Harbor; the only thing it didn't do, because it couldn't, was physically haul its facilities out of the country. Since it couldn't get away with destroying them either, at least it didn't give them to Germany for free by abandoning them.

      1. Equitas

        Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

        WW 2, to almost everyone but American revisionists, started on September 1, 1939.

        The bombing of Pearl Harbor was on December 7, 1941, or December 8 Japanese time.

        So if IBM didn't cease supplying the Nazis by the end of August 1939, they must have been supplying the Nazis during WW 2.

  4. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Sanctions

    Everyone will be well advised to remember that the only possible effect of the economic sanctions is usually the strengthening of the regime they are applied against.

    Time and again the history proves it to be the case - Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Iran. There is no reason to believe that it may be different in the case of Russia. In fact, I know for a fact that the sanctions are considered by regular Russian people as an insult which must be resisted and retaliated against. That only serves to unite the population around Putin and his power structures, for a while at least.

    The question is - are the Western leaders so stupid as to not know and understand this or are they doing it on purpose and if the latter, what then that purpose might be?

    1. BlueGreen

      Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      It's a shitty situation caused by an arrogant prick (and it doesn't reflect well on the average russian IMO, if the prick Putin's getting more popular).

      > I know for a fact that the sanctions are considered by regular Russian people as an insult which must be resisted and retaliated against ... are the Western leaders so stupid as to not know and understand

      Of course they understand this. They aren't stupid. Let's lay out options:

      1) Russia is in the right, and the war on ukraine is just. We let russia get on with it

      or

      2) Russia is not in the right and we do nothing about it

      or

      3) Russia is not in the right and we do something about it, choose from the following

      3a) we impose sanctions

      3b) we do not impose sanctions but we:

      3b1) we go to war with russia

      3b2) err... something else?

      So, Victor, do we pick 1 or 2 or 3, and if 3 then which sub-option of 3?

      Because I don't have a better plan.

      1. BlueGreen

        Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        s/Victor/Vladimir/

        (sorry)

        1. Titus Technophobe

          Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov @BlueGreen

          4. Neither the Ukrainian nationalists, or separatists are right (or wrong). That said the associated Russian intervention is neither right or wrong ...

          4a) The West should be very cautious about intervening.

          I did hear a comment here that 'Russia had always considered Ukraine within it's sphere of influence, and their understanding of the place would be better than NATO's'.

          That said I suspect they took Crimea out of self interest since the black sea fleet is based there, which sort of begs the question why they ever gave the place to Ukraine in the first place.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov @BlueGreen

            I suspect they took Crimea out of self interest since the black sea fleet is based there, which sort of begs the question why they ever gave the place to Ukraine in the first place.

            Khrushchev, who grew up in Donbas, was drunk one day in the 50s, thought it might be funny and never considered that Ukraine would ever not be part of Russia.

            It's like putting your nuclear subs in Faslane, oh wait....

      2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        "It's a shitty situation caused by an arrogant prick (and it doesn't reflect well on the average russian IMO, if the prick Putin's getting more popular)."

        This may be a subject for a protracted philosophical discussion on the nature of humanity and how easily it often allows itself to be seduced by a combination of misplaced pride, sense of inferiority and interference by outsiders but that is our nature and it must be taken into account by the leaders if they want to claim their adequacy for the job.

        I only want to additionally note that the Western public is in no way immune to any of that and in my experience has grown much more susceptible to propaganda and manipulation than the Russians. The public in Russia may be currently drunk on the resurgence of the national idea but even so, they are generally able to tell propaganda when they see it much more readily than people in the West.

        "do we pick 1 or 2 or 3, and if 3 then which sub-option of 3?"

        About your multiple choice decision tree - I may obviously be biased due to my connections to both Russia and Ukraine but here is my reading of the situation:

        Russia suspects, for good reasons, that the coup in Ukraine has been influenced and sponsored by the West, mostly by the US. Ukraine is a highly corrupt country that never really built the proper state institutions since its formation after the exit from the USSR. You pays your moneys, you gets your votes - hence the US admitting spending over USD 5 billion on "democracy" in Ukraine is a bit of a giveaway.

        Russia's main concern, also well justified, is that Ukraine will be absorbed into NATO which will disrupt the whole Russian military structure and doctrine as it will suddenly bring an expansionist military alliance to its totally unprotected border with Ukraine.

        Ukraine is a deeply divided country with some Western regions formerly being parts of or aligned with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Poland etc and the East formerly being a part of Russia. There are cultural and religious divisions. Since the break up of the USSR the country was largely dominated by "oligarchs" from the East. With the Western support, the Western "oligarchy" will wage a business war of revenge (confiscating assets etc) on their Eastern rivals, which will possibly result in a protracted civil strife. Nobody wants that on their border, Russia being no exception.

        People in the West are all hung up on Putin but it needs to be understood that no Russian government (Putin, USSR, Czarist) would have sat on their hands simply watching the situation developing.

        Russia will not let go of Ukraine for the reasons I outlined and sanctions will not deter it, therefore, the only practical solution to this is for the government in Kiev to stop their "anti-terrorist operation" (which is a disgrace by all accounts) and negotiate with the East and with Russia a settlement. Quite what that might be I don't know, but it will consist of some concession on autonomous powers, some guarantee of retaining influence by the East-Ukrainian "oligarchs" and some undertakings to Russia that Ukraine will not be joining NATO.

        1. BlueGreen

          Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Very informative answer, points well made. Not in agreement (yet) but thanks nonetheless.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Russia will not let go of Ukraine for the reasons I outlined and sanctions will not deter it, therefore, the only practical solution to this is for the government in Kiev to stop their "anti-terrorist operation" (which is a disgrace by all accounts) and negotiate with the East and with Russia a settlement. Quite what that might be I don't know, but it will consist of some concession on autonomous powers, some guarantee of retaining influence by the East-Ukrainian "oligarchs" and some undertakings to Russia that Ukraine will not be joining NATO

          Vladimir Plouzhnikov,

          I disagree with quite a bit of your analysis, but see where you're coming from. However, Russia has lost Ukraine. It was a mess, with a tension between the pro-Russian and more pro-Western populations. By removing Crimea that population balance is now broken. How can there ever be a pro-Russian government again?

          Current Russian government policy is a disaster on its own terms. They've gained Crimea, and may gain the Eastern parts of Ukraine, although I don't think they want them. However the cost is enormous. Any possibility of partnership with the EU is now gone. The Russian economy needs lots of foreign investment. That's unlikely to happen for years. That's going to ruin Putin's narrative of being the strong-man who sorted out the economic chaos. The oligarchs taking most of the money will look a lot worse once ordinary people are struggling like the 90s again.

          Also, they already had Crimean bases. Ukraine would have agreed another lease, even if it took gas blackmail like before. Which I doubt it would. But with Ukraine as a weak state on the border still. I can't see Russia wanting to have to suppress 30m people by invading. So what's the remnant of Ukraine going to do now? Quietly hate Russia, and build up their army, while trying to get into NATO. Like Georgia I'm sure they won't be allowed more than a partnership agreement. But that will involve training and weapons sales. If Russia absorbs the rebel republics they'll have to worry about that security threat anyway. Whereas NATO would never have allowed Ukraine to join before either, so there'd have been no threat. Or at least not until they'd got a stable political system, and got some of the nastier ex-soviet elements out of the military and intelligence apparatus. If Russia doesn't absorb the rebels, but lets them form mini-states, then Ukraine may eventually re-invade. Autonomy is probably the best option, but have Russia given the rebels so much support that they'll refuse to agree to that? Then it's back to more fighting, Ukraine eventually getting the upper hand, and Russia having to recommit troops.

          It's a horrible mess. If Putin had left well enough alone, Ukrainian politics would have carried on as normal, another corrupt government would have come in, and nothing much would probably have changed.

          Or was his real fear not NATO. But an oligarch being overthrown, and maybe this time people getting organised to clean-up their politics? That might be too close to comfort for the current Russian system? I don't know, I still don't undersand what the plan was. Or what he's hoping to gain.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

            These are all valid concerns you list. I don't have definitive answers to that, except that there is still and still will be a lot of support for Russia (if not for Putin) among the general Ukrainian population and when the economic hardships will start to bite - will even Western support for the current government keep it from falling?

            "I still don't undersand what the plan was."

            You are not alone. But I actually think there wasn't a plan.

            The Crimea was probably an overreaction but who knows? By doing that, Russia may well have spared its 2 million or so population from the destruction that fell upon Donetsk and Lugansk.

            There I also don't think that Putin expected Kiev to shell the cities, I think he was confident they will negotiate once Poroshenko got through the elections. I thought so myself actually, or hoped.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

              These are all valid concerns you list. I don't have definitive answers to that, except that there is still and still will be a lot of support for Russia (if not for Putin) among the general Ukrainian population and when the economic hardships will start to bite - will even Western support for the current government keep it from falling?

              "I still don't undersand what the plan was."

              You are not alone. But I actually think there wasn't a plan.

              The Crimea was probably an overreaction but who knows? By doing that, Russia may well have spared its 2 million or so population from the destruction that fell upon Donetsk and Lugansk.

              Or started a civil war in Ukraine that otherwise might not have happened. Obviously there was going to be civil strife. Democracy is about the losers, not the winners. It only works when the losers of the election trust the winners to let them have a fair chance next time round - and not to completely destroy their interests in the meantime. And I guess one thing people had learned in Ukraine is that if you don't like the government, you can always try occupying some buildings, and see if you can get it to change.

              I've seen other suggestions that Crimea was a kneejerk reaction. A political tantrum almost. I can understand that. It was done quickly. In diplomatic terms it worked. Washington and London already distrusted the Russian government, but with a bit of diplomatic nicety, I'm sure Italy, Germany and France could have been kept onboard. But through stupidity and thuggishness, Russia has suffered massive diplomatic loss of trust and prestige.

              Taking the winnings of Crimea and quitting while you're ahead would have made sense. Going on into Eastern Ukraine didn't.

              Remember that in Syria Western governments agonised about giving shoulder launched SAMs to the rebels, and didn't arm them in the end. Even though they were getting bombed. Because those might turn up in dangerous hands. And yet Russia was sending full SAM systems to the rebels. Even if MH17 wasn't shot down by the rebels (and it looks pretty certain they did) there's been evidence of several of these things crossing the border at various times. That was almost bound to go wrong. And was massively irresponsible.

              There I also don't think that Putin expected Kiev to shell the cities, I think he was confident they will negotiate once Poroshenko got through the elections. I thought so myself actually, or hoped.

              I guess he may have over-estimated the Ukrainian government. Given how dysfunctional their politics have been since the collaps of the Soviet Union, I can't imagine why. Particularly as it seems to have been Russian policy to keep them that way.

              This one comes down to how much Russia supported the rebellion. Was Putin taken by surprise, and started helping it because he thought he had to? Or was it basically instigated by Russia? If the latter, then Putin and his team are idiots. If the former, then Russia is as tangled up in events as everyone else. And having played the nationalist card, it's then very hard to make the compromises required for peace. As China will find with all its maritime border disputes.

              It's too easy to blame Russia for the whole rebellion. But I find it hard to believe it was spontaneous, because of how fast and successful it was at taking territory, and because so many of the leaders turned out to be Russians. Suppsedly retired, intelligence types. And there were reports at the time of people in uniform helping out, who then disappeared again. It's the Crimea play-book all over again.

              Finally Angela Merkel said that she'd talked to Putin and he was disconnected from reality. It's probably what moved Germany from the ignore it and keep trading camp to the sanctions side.

              In that scenario I can see no peace. And you can't blame the Ukrainian government for trying to quickly chuck the Russian invaders out, before the crisis spirals totally out of control. Even if that does mean shelling their own cities. Not that this is something Putin would stop at. The Russians totally destroyed Grozny. It's endless war on the border, where Russia doesn't want to let Ukraine win, but doesn't want to take over the destroyed territory and spend money to rebuild. Given the Russian government is about to be a lot poorer, due to sanctions.

              1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

                I don't even disagree with you. It could all have been played differently by Russia, still on the brink but without crossing the diplomatic line. You know, pressure behind the scenes, covert threats, overt magnanimity and concessions etc.

                But the current Russian diplomatic corps seems to be unable to play these games by the Western standards. They just seem to be passing the message from "siloviki" as it is and those latter - their whole mindset is different. They are used to issuing orders which do not get questioned, they think if they paint over the stars on tanks, no one will be able to find out where they are from etc.

                Of course, that didn't fly with the lawyery kind of the Western diplomatic wrangling, which only further frustrated and pissed the "siloviki" off and made them more intransigent.

                "Was Putin taken by surprise, and started helping it because he thought he had to? Or was it basically instigated by Russia? If the latter, then Putin and his team are idiots. If the former, then Russia is as tangled up in events as everyone else."

                I think it's the former originally but then they started thinking in terms of tactical opportunities and building up the support of the rebels. Also, these kind of things, once they start you either have to push all-out to finish them quickly and the price be damned or they will turn into a never-ending partisan warfare which will infect all around it like in Syria.

                "And you can't blame the Ukrainian government for trying to quickly chuck the Russian invaders out, before the crisis spirals totally out of control."

                Oh, for this I can blame them alright. Only a complete moron would not have been able to see where it would all end up. Were they getting instructions from their US advisers? Quite possibly - I can see certain signatures - first call the protesters "terrorists", then "we don't negotiate with terrorists", then "conduct anti-terrorist operation".

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

                  > Oh, for this I can blame them alright. Only a complete moron would not have been able to see where it would all end up. Were they getting instructions from their US advisers? Quite possibly - I can see certain signatures - first call the protesters "terrorists", then "we don't negotiate with terrorists", then "conduct anti-terrorist operation".

                  <Sigh> Something bad happened and I KNOW it was the US and not the boogieman I tell you!

                  Every nation started using "terrorist" to describe anyone who is against the state after the US used it after 9/11. Look at China, as one example, and the troubles in the Xinjiang region. China calls them "terrorists", they skipped the negotiate part and went straight to "conduct anti-terrorist operation". Do you really think China has US advisers telling them how to conduct relations with any rebellious Uyghurs?

                  1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                    Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

                    I was only half-serious about it... :-)

                    But, look - Obama is already claiming credit for today's ceasefire agreement!

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

                      > But, look - Obama is already claiming credit for today's ceasefire agreement!

                      Provide sources.

                      I am no Obama fan but he isn't claiming credit for the ceasefire agreement. Obama claims that the sanctions against Russia are responsible for the ceasefire. Its amazing how people can interpret things differently by whatever colored lens they look through.

                      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                        Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

                        Yes, sanctions and he is the architect of sanctions and so he is the fracking hero.

                        Can't you see the problem with that?

                        It's simply a lie, can't you see that? I am really beginning to despair here.

                        Putin was saying "you must talk to the separatists" before they have even been branded "terrorists". Kiev said - "No, we will never talk to them". Putin repeated that several times.

                        Now, that Kiev's forces have been catastrophically defeated with hundreds of troops encircled and taken prisoner they agree a cease fire and you are still believing it has something to do with sanctions???

                        I'm sorry, it's Friday evening and maybe I've had a glass of wine too many but, FFS, man, give me a break.....

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

                          > Can't you see the problem with that?

                          I never said what my beliefs are about Obama's comments, I only stated what he claimed to refute the comment you claimed he made.

                          > I'm sorry, it's Friday evening and maybe I've had a glass of wine too many but, FFS, man, give me a break.....

                          Try reading my post when you have not had so much to drink...

                          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                            Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

                            And I refuted your refutation, albeit slightly emotionally :-)

                            Yes, Mr Obama said it was the sanctions wot did it but it implied that, really, we should thank him as he was the one who forced everyone into imposing the sanctions in the first place. He then spent a few hours walking about the Stonehenge taking selfies with strangers, no doubt, with the sense of fulfilled duty. Well, he was wrong, for the reasons I outlined.

                            But forget about that for a moment - see what I've found: a Jack Matlock's opinion piece on the situation in Ukraine, which is, I'm pleased to say, very similar to my own opinion as I posted in my reply to @BlueGreen.

                            Mr Matlock, a retired American career diplomat, was the last (in practical terms) US Ambassador to USSR, appointed by Reagan, so he is hardly expected to be a Putin's apologist, right?

                            1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                              Re: Sanctions @ Vladimir

                              Interesting to also look at the final comment to the Matlock's post, made by Jon Gundersen, also a diplomat, a current US DoS official, formerly posted to military-related positions in Ukraine, Russia, Estonia and Nordic countries and, notably, a former Senior Advisor for Iraqi Reconstruction (wow, how well did that one go!). A reply in the good traditions of Suslov-style Soviet ideologues...

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Sanctions

      @Vladimir as somebody who remembers the cold war at it's chilliest in the early 80s it dismays me to see us dismantling partnerships with Russia. But it certainly makes no sense selling them a helicopter carrier right now.

      I do think it will be interesting to see how keen we are on sanctions in the depth of winter. Think I might give the coal man a call.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanctions

        I would wish to point out that while sanctions, on the short term, might be "detrimental" to business, in the long run, oh boy, what a fantastic gravy train for all segments of economy, from the biggest and meanest players producing means to murder your opponents, to the smallest onesat the bottom of the pond, providing "related services".It works for both ponds,actually, if we're walking into a new cold war and a new (leaky) wall.

        On top of which, it's a fantastic opportunity for our masters (and theirs), to rally up the population AGAINST. A brilliant opportunity to tighten the reins justify "sacrifices" (personal liberties, wages, etc.).

        If I was a sign up to conspiracy theories, I would claim Putin's done a deal with our glorious leaders, to stir up things a little, to kick-start "progress" and "development" and oh-how-we-love-this-word - "growth".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sanctions

          "what a fantastic gravy train "

          Too true. I was able to watch from the sidelines during a time when I lived in a country under sanctions. They were utterly ineffective, as you could still et what you needed, but the middlemen who made it all possible got very rich in the process.

          It's also not very cloak and dagger. In South Africa under sanctions, IBM made a huge fuss about "divesting," and this took the form of everything remaining the same but being taken over by a company called "ISM". Yes, the replaced the B with an S. After sanctions were lifted, if you had a warehouse full of Bs and wanted to replace them with Ss, you were in the pound seats.

      2. MrRoland

        Re: Sanctions

        Indeed stupid, I have Russian friends and they have no quarrel with us. Just as many Brits were dismayed about invading / bombing Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and now Syria - many of my Russian friends and myself think the whole escalation is stupid. Its missed opportunity. Instead of working with these guys - improving things, gaining access to the vast mineral wealth of Russia (its 1/8 of all the worlds land mass after all) we are pushing them away.

        Long term this just makes Russia stronger. Sure, they loose some customers today, but oil and gas will still have a market in 50 yrs time when its around £1000 a barrel. The UK pumped most of its oil when it was <£30. Whos laughing now?

        1. Passing Through

          Re: Sanctions

          Long term this just makes Russia stronger. Sure, they loose some customers today, but oil and gas will still have a market in 50 yrs time when its around £1000 a barrel. The UK pumped most of its oil when it was <£30. Whos laughing now?

          That's what I think about sanctions preventing Iran selling its oil, as I see it the long term effect will be to make Iran richer in the future.

          Could well work for Russia too.

          As for Democracy relying on the losers trusting the victors, our government wasn't even elected but that's not holding them back from privatising the NHS.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sanctions

          >but oil and gas will still have a market in 50 yrs time when its around £1000 a barrel

          All it takes is one breakthrough in another energy source and Russia's GDP is gone. All your eggs in one basket and all that.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Sanctions

      Sanctions can work. Iran is negotiating over its nuclear program, because it wants access to Western finance and capital markets - and access to parts for its oil industry.

      I think, in general, sanctions can work over countries that aren't total dictatorships. Russia isn't a true democracy, given there's little media freedom, most media is government controlled, people are barred from elections on political grounds, the courts are only partially independent etc. But there is limited freedom and democracy isn't just a pretence. Public opinion does matter, and demonstrators aren't shot on sight. Russia is quite similar to Iran in some respects, there is a genuine democratic system, it's just very limited.

      If Russia's economy collapses, then Putin's whole narrative about how he restricted the peoples' freedom in exchange for stability and economic improvement might fall apart. Perhaps he can fall back on nationalism, and how it's OK to suffer for being powerful. Maybe that'll work, maybe it won't. Russians tend to be nationalist/patriotic (delete as you see fit), but does Putin want to take that risk for a bit of Ukraine with some outdated industry? Or the whole of Ukraine and a subject population of 30m odd, to buy off or crush militarily?

      The oil technology and capital that Russia needs is mostly going to come from Europe and the US. While Russia can source other products from elsewhere, and get round sanctions, they'll struggle with those two. As has Iran. Remember that even the Russian oligarchs don't trust the Russian legal system, so they keep their cash in the West. Why would anyone else invest in Russia when its own leaders don't? Which is why so much of their borrowing is done in Westerm markets, mainly London, under more trustworthy legal systems. There are plenty of countries with money to lend, but they also like not to have it stolen, which is why they often do their investing via London or New York.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Sanctions

        Or on the contrary view, sanctions are the best news for a country that doesn't do a massive amount of exports other than stuff like say oil that we aren't going to sanction, and they know we aren't going to sanction.

        Firstly, it's a PR coup to the rulers of said country (evil foreigners etc...) which increases the rulers popularity and allows local businesses to florish in an enviroment where otherwise they would be destroyed by external competition. (See Iran) IMO, if you really wanted to screw a country up you shouldn't do sanctions, but instead subserdise everything sold to the country by down to a level that puts every company in the country out of business (see chinese manufacturing effects on western countries)

        Once the businesses are gone, and the ability to rapid reconstitute them in the home country is dead due to the equipment having gone, the skillsets lost and the population being accustomed to severely reduced prices then you can actually do some damage to the country with sanctions or other effective methods of economic warfare. (warfare being an extension of politics by other means and all)

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Dan Paul

          Re: Sanctions (They are working)

          Just not in you're best interest. Yeah, and the "peaceful Iranian goverment" isn't trying to build nukes. Sure......Swampland?

          As my father used to say, Balls!

          Why would anyone sign a treaty when idiots don't remember any history? Everyone in the area has been trying to kill the Israeli's since the British put them there.

          If you feel that way, you should get it over with and go fight for Islamic State like you obviously want to.

      3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

        "Sanctions can work. Iran is negotiating over its nuclear program, because it wants access to Western finance and capital markets - and access to parts for its oil industry."

        Arguably, the Iranian sanctions roll-back is happening because the US has reached the end of the line with them. Their maneuvering space has shrunk to the choice between going to war with Iran or finding a way to lift the sanctions without losing the face.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

          <i"Arguably, the Iranian sanctions roll-back is happening because the US has reached the end of the line with them."</i>

          And because the Americans now find themselves in a bizarre, unannounced and undesired alliance with Assad and Iran to fight IS, because the US backed a thuggish crook to run Iraq, who then destabilised the place on ethnic lines, creating fertile territory for Sunni extremists. And to add further black humour to this situation, many of IS's more competent fighters were CIA trained and armed in Jordan, and are now using all that military kit the Yanks poured into Iraq, but couldn't be bothered to bring home. Separately the US is all cozy with the GCC states who have allowed funds and arms to flow to IS, and indeed spending serious money to "protect" these states against the alleged threat from Iran's antiquated military and thus pouring yet more advanced weapons into the volatile pot that is the Middle East.

          When I look at the foreign policies of the various major world countries, I can see what motivates most of them. Except the US, where they seem intent on repeating mistakes of very recent years, creating new enemies where none existed, and destabilising regions they want to see stable. The only logic of US foreign policy is that it persistently maintains high oil prices, and whilst the man on the Western street might feel he suffers from high oil prices, everybody else (including Western governments, financiers, traders, and oil companies with expensive to produce US oil resources) love high oil prices.

    4. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Sanctions

      "the only possible effect of the economic sanctions is usually the strengthening of the regime they are applied against."

      Yes, they strengthen the regime's INTERNAL hold on power, but it significantly weakens them with respect to the outside world, especially in smaller cases (Cuba, N korea) with limited local resources. Russia is a different case, they have huge supply sources of energy, food and raw materials

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Sanctions

        Yes, they strengthen the regime's INTERNAL hold on power, but it significantly weakens them with respect to the outside world, especially in smaller cases (Cuba, N korea) with limited local resources.

        And it's worked well in Cuba hasn't it? 50 years on, the US's crushing sanctions have.... done fuck all.

    5. eulampios

      Re: Sanctions

      >>The question is - are the Western leaders so stupid as to not know and understand this or are they doing it on purpose and if the latter, what then that purpose might be?

      What about the question if Putin is so stupid himself by not foreseeing all these repercussions following annexation of the territory of the neighboring sovereign state and kindling a civil war there? As well as getting immediate wins and popularity while losing big time in terms of strategic national interests and prestige?

    6. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Sanctions

      Cuba and North Korea are hardly examples of countries with strong economies. The sanctions against them have limited their military capabilities - although, in the case of North Korea, not enough to stop them from being a threat to South Korea.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Sanctions @John Savard

        "Cuba and North Korea are hardly examples of countries with strong economies."

        True. But they are examples of regimes propped up by sanctions. Both would have collapsed long time ago otherwise.

    7. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Sanctions

      >Time and again the history proves it to be the case

      Gee, you forgot South Africa and Myanmar.

    8. Lars Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Sanctions

      Sanctions will affect both parties, but the sanctions are also a reminder between businessmen in the west and Russia that something has gone very wrong, against their mutual interest. The only force left in Russia is the business. Putin, a former KGB agent, with a heart and a mindset in the old USSR cannot accept reality. With his inflated ego and demand to run Russia for the rest of history he has managed force the Russian people in a state, where on the other hand they have to be very nationalistic while on the other hand they are so damned fed up with all that old shit. To day Putin (like Hitler) meets with kids from the army, rather than with adults. Putin could have become something else too, he could have worked for democracy within Russia, for integration with the rest of the world, for prosperity in Russia, to become a guy, a bit like Gorbachev or Jeltsin, a man with both a hart and intelligence. But that did not happen, instead he turned out a self centered egoistic fart from the past. One of the deepest physiological problems Putin has is how those old puppets of his, those, the great Russia deliberated from the Nazi, show no great love for being occupied by the Russians shortly after. And that is amazing, never in history will you find a people content and happy being run by some other people, and that is very much the history of the USSR and what Putin dreams about.

      Those sanctions are like e-mails from business to business asking business if, perhaps, they could do something about the shit happening. Putin is a prick, and only Russian business is strong enough to get rid of him, eventually.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Sanctions

        USSR was simply a continuation of the Russian Empire. Every empire breaks up at some stage and that is always a painful process. Of all people, the Brits are in the best position to understand this as they have gone through that process themselves and not so long ago. It is also unfair, IMHO, to blame Russians for regretting the passing of their empire. But they will get over it eventually.

        Also, every empire leaves long lasting cultural and economic ties between former members after its breakup. This is also the case with the Russian Empire-USSR and the special ties between the former USSR countries will remain and the West won't be able to sever them.

        "Those sanctions are like e-mails from business to business asking business if, perhaps, they could do something about the shit happening. Putin is a prick, and only Russian business is strong enough to get rid of him, eventually."

        Yes, this is how the sanctions are being sold to the Western public (or at least the British one) but it's totally fanciful.

        Nobody in the Russian business has the power, individually or collectively, to dictate to or influence Putin. Only 3 or 4 people in the whole country can talk to him more or less as equals and they would not be affected by any sanctions.

  5. Charles Manning

    Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

    I grew up in South Africa during the sanctions. There were many things we could not get - in theory. Of course it was available at inflated prices so the richest and most powerful could still get everything they wanted. It was the others that lost out - regardless of race or political persuasion.

    Of course it makes everyone that imposes the sanctions feel very righteous.

    Many governments were still doing lots of business with South Africa behind closed doors because that still allowed you to get stuff done in Africa.

    My landlord (mid 1980s) was a multi-millionaire with a trucking business. He made a lot of money brokering food aid deals for various government releif organisaions (eg. Canadian govt). He openly told them he was from South Africa and how his operation worked: he would take products (eg. maize) in unmarked sacks to Botswana. From there his other fleet would take them to Zimbabwe and have Product of Zimbabwe labels applied, then send them off to whereever.

    At the end of the day, he got the most aid through to help the most people with a documented paper trail showing stuff actually got there. Dates, times, photgraphs of recipients. Sure he took a hefty cut, but it was way better outcome than if they had run through the normal channels of corruption, bribery etc.

    And being quiet, the Canadian public could still hold their heads high that they were not dealing with those terrible South Africans.

    No doubt this all plays out pretty much the same in Russia. The bootleggers will just profit while western citizens get to feel smug.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

      Sanctions might have a short-term effect in the case of Russia where there is such a nexus of money and power - i.e. the money-men can exert real pressure on the govt.

      In Apartheid S.A. the mostly English-speaking wealthy elite didn't have much pull with the Afrikaner power-elite. And of course after a while we found many ways around the sanctions and developed engineering capabilities that would otherwise have been bought-in.

      However in the end there was an effect - the 1960s Mirage fighters used by the SAAF could not contend against the more modern Russian aircraft used by Cuban forces in Angola, resulting in SA pulling out from that country.

      But IMO the real change is thanks to Mr Gorbachev and the end of the cold war.

      It is sad to think that the events that brought our conflict in SA to an end have just triggered new and equally senseless conflicts in the former USSR.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

      Various people have been thinking about sanctions, for years. As you say, they had limited effect on South Africa. And even less on Iraq, where Saddam didn't care about the effects on the population.

      But things have changed. The world economy is more tightly knit. Russia is more integrated with that economy. Russia's biggest single market is the EU.

      Also, Russia is reliant on its oil and gas industry. That's where most of its government revenues come from. I believe the standard calculation is that if the oil price (gas prices are linked to oil prices) drops below $100-$110 a barrel, then the Russian government goes into deficit. No problem, they've got huge reserves. But what if Europe stops buying their gas? Or Ukraine blows up the pipeline? Then government revenues collapse. Then it's either massive cuts, or massive tax rises. Calculated to make a government popular...

      Now add in the fact that Russia was already going into recession before the sanctions started. And that over the last 2 years it's lost a net $150 billlion in capital flight. That's accelerated since too.

      Now add in the fact that the Russian oil and gas industry needs massive investment and modernisation. Who's going to lend them the money? Who's going to sell them the kit. The global oil and gas companies are all Western.

      Russia can sell its gas to China. Once it's built a pipeline. Which will take 5 years. China agreed a price that was about a third less than what Europe is currently paying, and half what they now charge Ukraine.

      The other thing that has changed is the importance of global finance. I don't just mean speculation, but loans, insurance, transfers. I've seen two rujmours from the EU negotiations on the next round of sanctions. One that Cameron suggested kicking Russia off the SWIFT payment network. Done to Iran. Then Russian companies would struggle to pay their bills, and their banks would be buggered. This can be worked round, but would waste time and money. The second was that no EU firm/bank would be able to give more than 30 days credit to a Russian one. So Russian companies would struggle to get trade financing to buy. And finance for long-term investment, which mostly comes from Western sources. That way our companies would still be able to trade with them, and the disadvantages would be equal for any company they buy from, Western or otherwise.

      Of course Russia could then retaliate against Western companies. I guess they'd do that where they could get as good alternatives elsewhere.

      One query with the article. Saying sanctions have had little effect so far. According to the Telegraph, no Russian company has managed to issue a bond on the Russian bond market (or the European one) since the end of June! Apparently Russia's corporate finance needs are nearly $200bn this year, just to refinance maturing debt. And according to the German government exports to Russia in July were down 60% on last year.

      Finally the most developed financial markets are Europe and the US. But moving to far Eastern markets doesn't help much. The biggest banks in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore also operate in the US and EU. So have to comply with their laws. Is it worth Japanese and Singaporean banks cutting off their trade with the West, just to win some trade with Russia? Maybe some China-only banks might? But I doubt that gives Russia the cash it needs. And the terms would be awful.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

        "Apparently Russia's corporate finance needs are nearly $200bn this year, just to refinance maturing debt. And according to the German government exports to Russia in July were down 60% on last year."

        Well the Russian government can fix the debt rollover problem just the way the US, UK and ECB fixed their debt problems. You run the printing press.

        But that line about Germany, that's the nub. The effect of sanctions against Russia will hurt Germany above all (and London, but primarily in lost profits). Reduced exports to Russia are not a big deal, but if the Russians retaliate and interrupt winter gas flows then the effects will be, shall we say, interesting. Germany has a lot of gas storage, so there will be two options for Russia - token interruptions to make a point, knowing that storage will supply end users, or prolonged interruptions towards the end of winter to disrupt end users and inflict economic harm. And with the West having sucked up to Ukraine, what will Germany do if Ukrainian gas supplies are cut, and Kiev citizens are freezing to death? Will Germany sacrifice its gas reserves to keep Ukraine warm?

        I don't know the answers, but the whole mess in Ukraine is largely a Western caused mess with a Western policy response that must be the finniest thing Putin's ever seen.

        1. Irony Deficient

          Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

          Ledswinger, running the printing press is a possible solution for Russian corporate finance’s debt rollover if their debt is denominated in rubles. If their debt is denominated in euro, dollars, yen, &c., then they’d also need partners who would be willing to accept the inflated rubles in exchange for whichever currencies are required to discharge the debt.

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Ledswinger Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

          ".....what will Germany do if Ukrainian gas supplies are cut, and Kiev citizens are freezing to death?...." Pump American gas through the European network to replace the Russian gas.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

        @ I ain't Spartacus

        you say:

        But what if Europe stops buying their gas? Or Ukraine blows up the pipeline? Then government revenues collapse. Then it's either massive cuts, or massive tax rises. Calculated to make a government popular...

        you overlook, that _relative_ poverty, unlike in the West, does not turn the Russians against their government, which would then get the boot in the next elections. It rather plays into the Russian inferiority complex proving that their glorious leader is absolutely right - the evil West does want to destroy the oppressed Russia by funding those "ex-Soviet/Russian", now anti-Russian states like Georgia or Ukraine, and even refusing to buy from Russia natural resources. But then, we are the Russians, who look back to the glorious past. Haven't we survived far worse oppression? (inevitably siege of Leningrad is mentioned, followed by other moments of past glory). So we will pull together, we will show them, that the Russian people will not be broken! And you try to tell the Russians that, instead of basking in the past glory, they should do something about the now and the future! Then they will tell you that they'd love to do something, but the evil West bent on destroying Russia won't let them (here's a proof, Ukraine). But now their glorious leader has shown them that Russia will prevail, despite. Etc, etc.

        So I believe any hardships suffered by the Russian population is absolutely of no concern to the man at the top, because it just reinforces that feeling of being under siege - and showing "them" and we're with the government on this, etc. Yes, there would be a breaking point, but well by then Russia would will find other markets to ease off the shortage of Polish apples and French warships.

        That said, I do agree with sanctions, but not as they're sold to the public in the West, i.e. to "put pressure", as this is just an empty statement to show the western electorates that we "do something", but to send a message that we don't like to sit at a table with a country with bad table manners. This, naturally, would be a confirmation to the Russians, that their inferiority complex is, indeed, well-founded, and that they're really perceived in the West as "odd-balls" and "nekulturny". The irony is that such views on Russian "manners" are only re-kindled by the very Russian moves, such as those in Chechnya, Georgia or now, the Crimea and mainland Ukraine.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

          you overlook, that _relative_ poverty, unlike in the West, does not turn the Russians against their government

          For a bit. But Putin's whole schtick is that he's going to make the economy strong, and make Russia militarily/diplomatically strong again. Thumbing his nose at the West is good. That shows he's strong. Collapsing the economy shows he's incompetent. In the long term, I don't think he can survive that and remain popular. He can resort to massive repression to keep power, but that's not the same.

          At the moment he's playing Bismarck. Nationalist, and not a democrat, but definitely not a dictator, and both democratically elected and popular. It's a role he's been very successful at. The democracy may be extremely ropey, but I think it's pretty clear he's the legitimate leader the people of Russia want.

          It's a completely different kettle of fish when you have to start killing your opponents en masse. That's a huge hit to your own self-image, as well as that of your supporters. When you can no longer excuse the odd murdered journalist and arrested opponent as cracking down on hooliganism and protecting stability. Once you have snipers picking off demonstrators then you're turning into Assad. The Yanukovych government couldn't survive doing it. Could Putin's? He's got a lot more ex-KGB people on board. But they're the foreign intelligence types. The story the KGB sells is how they fought the Cold War but Gorbachev stabbed us in the back, and surrendered. But that KGB narrative rather neglects all the Russians that they arrested, tortured and killed. The story they tell themelves, and their public, is of being Cold Warriors. Good Russian spies fighting foreigner threats. It's a lot less fun and heroic being the murdering bastards who arrest and torture fellow Russians...

      3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: I ain't Spartacus Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

        ".....Finally the most developed financial markets are Europe and the US. But moving to far Eastern markets doesn't help much. The biggest banks in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore also operate in the US and EU. So have to comply with their laws. Is it worth Japanese and Singaporean banks cutting off their trade with the West, just to win some trade with Russia? Maybe some China-only banks might? But I doubt that gives Russia the cash it needs. And the terms would be awful." Why do you think Putin has gone running off to his chums in South Africa, China and South America to create the so-called 'BRIC' bank? Putin and his flunkies are desperate to try and engineer some sort of counter to Western financial might.

  6. BlueGreen

    Sanction regulations are meant to be impenetrable

    From what I've seen and heard, if you make it totally unclear where the borders between acceptable and unacceptable sales are, and refuse to say clearly something is exportable, a few brassnecked business people try it with something fairly innocuous which then gets declared dual-use so they get burnt, and the rest of the market is thereby frightened off. You get the effect of broad sanctions without too much explicit legal work. I know it's worked that way with a certain middle-east country.

    Looks like it's heading that way for russia, going by the article.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: BoringGreen Re: Sanction regulations are meant to be impenetrable

      "From what I've seen and heard, if you make it totally unclear where the borders between acceptable and unacceptable sales are, and refuse to say clearly something is exportable, a few brassnecked business people try it with something fairly innocuous which then gets declared dual-use so they get burnt....." You seem to have a very limited viewpoint then. When I have worked on projects where we have needed to select kit and software to go to countries which had US and/or UK sanctions applied I could get a definitive answer in 48 hours.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I run my UK-based IT business from here - Moscow - and do some local work under my UK business name.

    Am I technically breaking the law?

    Anon, for obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Sounds like you need a lawyer to help you, not a bunch of commentards.

      1. Titus Technophobe

        ?

        Edward Snowden ?

  8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Personal morality

    At the end of the day we must all do what we, personally, consider to be the right thing. If you are happy to support and trade with people like Putin then fine, that's your decision. But if you do, don't expect me to trade with you, because I DO have moral principles.

    "We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful. Because if we don't do the right thing, we'll be doing the wrong thing, and we will just be part of the disease, and not a part of the cure." Fritz Schumacher

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Personal morality

      You personally trade with Putin?

  9. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Hurting russia is easy

    Just stop buying their gas.

    Hello China? About those LFTRs? We'll take a dozen.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Hurting russia is easy

      What kind of weed are YOU smoking?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Hurting russia is easy

        There's a glut of liquid natural gas at the moment. And Europe has mothballed quite a few coal plants to meet green targets. As well as Germany turning off its nuclear plants. And the US starting to export shale gas. Europe can survive without Russian gas, it would hurt but it can be done.

        Russia can't sell that gas to anyone else, as it hasn't got the LNG infrastructure or pipelines to anywhere else yet. That's a huge chunk of its exports and government revenue at risk. It would cause a massive depression in their economy, which is already in recession.

        Were I the Ukraine government I'd think about mining the gas pipeline, Russia stopped delivering to them 2 months ago anyway. As well as threaten to blow up the Nordstream pipeline, which carries most of the rest. That would certainly piss off the EU, but they're not helping all that much, and it would certainly make Putin think.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: Hurting russia is easy

          "Russia can't sell that gas to anyone else, as it hasn't got the LNG infrastructure or pipelines to anywhere else yet. That's a huge chunk of its exports and government revenue at risk. It would cause a massive depression in their economy, which is already in recession."

          That is true but that is going to happen, sanctions or not. Russia let Gazprom be totally complacent and blind to the possible market risks and it will have to pay for this short-sightedness.

          "Were I the Ukraine government I'd think about mining the gas pipeline, Russia stopped delivering to them 2 months ago anyway. As well as threaten to blow up the Nordstream pipeline, which carries most of the rest."

          Well, if there is a sure way of getting Russian tanks rolling over Khreschatik Avenue in Kiev ASAP - that's certainly it.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Hurting russia is easy

            <blockquote.Well, if there is a sure way of getting Russian tanks rolling over Khreschatik Avenue in Kiev ASAP - that's certainly it.</blockquote>

            I agree. It's Ukraine's trump card. Not as powerful as the hand the Russians are holding, and massively hurts Ukraine, but could really screw Putin's plans up.

        2. BlueGreen

          Re: Hurting russia is easy

          I believe russia has some LNG terminals for ships. Don't know the capacity though.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hurting russia is easy

          in fact, the short-term "hurt" from the shortage of gas supplies from Russia might have a very long term benefit to the so-called humanity, as it might (let's be hopeful: may) stimulate progress in alternative energy sources. There's nothing to stimulate progress better than need, particularly urgent need. That said, sheer volume required to feed our energy "needs" seems to outstrip any alternatives available now or within the next few years. But hey, that's what inventions are for!

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg!

    The real concern is what happens next: Russia and Ukraine are now talking truce but the bullets have stopped flying before only to start again.

    I may want to remind the esteemed writer that any negotiations are taking place between the borderline ultra-right "government" of Ukraine and the rebels (whoever they are, but they sure are disgruntled). Russia is only mediating.

    Why the US has actually Obama's big black dong and General Breedlove (couldn't make up that name) in this kind of game is anyone's guess.

    Oh no, wait it is not ...

    Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?

    "The plan was even announced by U.S. neocons such as National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman who took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post nearly a year ago to call Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward eventually toppling Putin in Russia."

    Yep. Fight against "Putin".

    War is being prepared for Europe who still thinks the US is some kind of "friend".

    Instead, the US gets to kill four birds with one stone: Strenghten NATO, rustle the Bear's dick, get a new hunting ground for Big Oil in the East and paralyze Europe energy-wise and diplomatically. Great job.

    1. fandom

      Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg!

      What's the difference between the way Putin's government works and a "borderline ultra-right" government?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg!

        I dunno and I am not crazy enough to have a european war fought over finding out. Because I do not have a shelter maintained by presidental aides, I guess.

        But I _do_ know that western "responsibility to mess around" actions that transpire now are just the recipe for utter disaster.

        And training far-right activits in actual weapons and tactics? Yep, absolutely not gonna be a problem down the road, oh no sir.

        Expect the west to wring hands in utter anguish YET AGAIN when this particular chicken comes home to roost.

        Also:

        Ex US Intel Warn Merkel: Careful with Kiev & NATO's Dubious 'Evidence' on Russia

        Alarmed at the anti-Russian hysteria sweeping Washington, and the specter of a new Cold War, U.S. intelligence veterans one of whom is none other than William Binney, the former senior NSA crypto-mathematician who back in March 2012 blew the whistle on the NSA's spying programs more than a year before Edward Snowden, took the unusual step of sending the following memo dated August 30 to German Chancellor Merkel challenging the reliability of Ukrainian and U.S. media claims about a Russian "invasion."

        MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

        FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

        SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO

        We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5. ....

        1. fandom

          Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg!

          So, if you can't tell the difference, why do you frame your story calling the Ukraine government that?

          You enjoy being ignored?

    2. BlueGreen

      Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @Destroy All Monsters

      I don't buy your entire attitude (but for the first few lines the article was about the effect of sanctions, not a judgement on them or the de facto war, so "neocon talking points" is not warranted), still less do I buy your 'Russia is only mediating', however this and your other post is very interesting indeed.Thanks.

      (However I must say providing a link to RT as you did below wasn't so good, is hardly independent).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @Destroy All Monsters

          Frankly, RT may contain some lies and distortions - but if so, they are a great deal less obvious than those in the Western media.

          That's a ridiculous comment. I occasionally look at RT, and it has stuff that I've not seen since the days of the Cold War Soviet propaganda.

          Western media isn't perfect. Western politicians don't always tell the truth. But the UK media is free, and pretty mixed. With the Guardian, Torygraph, Indy and Times, as well as the Beeb, Private Eye and various others - there's usually a chance that the truth is out there somewhere. You have to be careful with sources. And sometimes you can't know the truth until a while afterwards, but there's almost always an indication to tell you if something's going on.

          Do the papers take an editorial line? Sure. But they're mostly open about it. And you know it when you read the news stories, so you can correct for bias. Do the UK media take government propaganda and run it under orders? No. They may report government information as fact, but then they also cover the scandal if the government have told porkies. They're also mostly good at telling you what's confirmed and by who, so you can make a judgement. You don't get that in RT.

          So I know that NATO says Russia has been sending weapons, and now troops into Ukraine. I also know that the Telegraph and Guardian have both had journalists on the ground who claim to have seen Russian military formations inside Ukraine. As well as the Ukrainian government. And Ukraine's rebels have admitted it in interviews too. And journalist from several sources have had interviews with residents and troops on the ground who say it.

          Agains that we have Russian denials. But then didn't they just deny invading Crimea. And then admit it three weeks later, and award medals to the troops involved. Oh yes, they did. Oops. Oh and the rebels have suddenly counter-attacked, and done amazingly well. But with no help? Hmm...

          Nah. I think I'll take the Western media, with a strong pinch of salt.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. BlueGreen

              Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @Destroy All Monsters @Tom Welsh

              Yes Tom, we get it, we're not stupid, we're not children, we do understand about self-censorship and the pressure governments and bring when they want their slant. TBH we've probably been around longer than you.

              But RT is bullshit and yes, the western press is better (and where it isn't, it's by choice not government control). Stop patronising us and equally, stop devaluing what we do have by pretending "it's all shit, maaan". Your easy cynicism is destructive. Western press aint great but it's surely better than many others.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. BlueGreen

                  Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @Destroy All Monsters @Tom Welsh

                  I regret saying that as I don't wish to give personal details here, with a few exceptions. So I don't wish to give my age. Consider that section retracted. However, in terms of doing stuff, I was the press contact for an independent science organisation, get involved in politics (I have next to me a letter from 10 downing street, delivered not two hours ago, carefully sidestepping my issues raised about injustices in gaza) and generally try to make a difference where I can (including basic stuff like drugs policy). Good enough?

                  So, what do you do to make the world a better place?

                  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                    WTF?

                    Re: BoringGreen Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @Destroy All Monsters @Tom Welsh

                    "....I was the press contact for an independent science organisation, get involved in politics...." Ah, that does explain a lot.

                    ".....issues raised about injustices in gaza....." Yeah, I just bet those 'issues' weren't about HAMAS summarily executing Gazans as 'Israeli spies', or their deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians. Mind you, it is amusing to see you getting all 'righteous' about Pootie - I would have though he was your poster child? Or is his 'Soviet 2.0' not acceptable to the old 'fellow travelers'?

                    ".....what do you do to make the world a better place?" OMG, the ego! You very obviously are (only) suited to a career in politics.

                  2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                    Happy

                    Re: BoringGreen Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @Destroy All Monsters @Tom Welsh

                    You are Caroline Lucas, MP (Green), and I claim my prize! I did have an amusing little proof to go with that assertion but El Mod's sense of humour deficit struck again.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @Tom Welsh

              Please take the blatant communism and kiss off.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. BlueGreen

          Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @Destroy All Monsters @Tom Welsh

          > If you believe that RT is any less independent, objective or trustworthy than the US and UK MSM, you have had the wool well and truly pulled over your eyes.

          If you are trying to equate national mouthpieces with the BBC and UK press, I guess you've been fooled worse. UK press is not great but better? Yep. Get a journo in russia to speak up and what might happen to them compared to the same situation in the UK. Not good, but better.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg!

      "Yep. Fight against "Putin".

      You mean someone who bypassed the two-term limit with an escamotage and wants to rule Russia for life? While, of course, ensuring nobody in Russia can tell anything bad about him. Someone who thinks that the fall of USSR was the most tragic event of the XX century?

      If Russia was not in the hands of a dangerous megalomaniac , there would be no need to "fight against him.

      Energy-wise, Europe will be always paralized as long as it depends on suppliers who can blackmail whenever they like. Ask yourself why Putin is going to sell gas to Chine at one third of the price he's selling to EU and half of the Ukraine one. Because blackmailing China is a bit more difficult?

      And how much Russia exploited Europeans if it can sell gas at that price and still get revenues? EU made the stupid move to depend too much on Russia before Russia became a reliable democracy.

      Putin has sent Russia one hundred year back in the past, just of his personal ambition.

      Look at how Germany became rich again after the its tragic fall - it did it this time working inside Europe, not trying to conquer it again.

      But people like Putin knows they can hold power only as long as they can yell at an external enemy. Without it, the finger they hide their thievery behind, will not work.

      1. BlueGreen

        Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg! @LDS

        > Ask yourself why Putin is going to sell gas to Chine at one third of the price he's selling to EU and half of the Ukraine one.

        Please provide a reference. I understood that the terms of this deal were not made public, especially the price of energy.

    4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Thanks for the neocon talking points, El Reg!

      the borderline ultra-right "government" of Ukraine

      Destroy all Monsters,

      Who says it's borderline ultra-right? The last government was mostly made up of Yanukvovyc's party. Just without him, as he'd buggered off.

      Sure there's some far-right elements in there. And also in the army, given that militias seem to be doing as much of the fighting as the regular army. The new president was only just elected, and as I understand it was a mainstream politician/oligarch before the crisis started. There hasn't been a parliamentary election yet. Given the country's just invaded, I expect that nationalists might do well at that election as well.

      But this, mostly ultra-right / nazi comment is straight out of the Putin narrative. It's a simplification in order to justify Russia's actions in Ukraine. I don't think Ukrainian politics are any different to Russia or Eastern European politics in general. There are still mainstream far-right parties and ex-communist ones, although mostly not in government, or getting more than 10% of the vote. Let's take the Russian example - Vladimir Zhirinovsky for example...

      Ukrainian politics are fucked up. Which is why the county was a virtual basket-case even before their government collapsed in an almost revolution, and then got invaded by Russia. Followed by what was either a spontaneous, or Russian-backed, insurgency and another Russian invasion of the non-Crimean bit of the country.

      Finally, your comment about war being prepared is rather silly. The US isn't planning a war. The US doesn't want a war. NATO could muster sufficient forces to defeat the Russian army, although I suspect there aren't the stocks of ammo and spares for a major war any more. But why would it? Russia has nukes. And what would it do with Russia once it had conquered it? Or is this a cunning plan to militarily defeat Russia just for the hell of it? It's just bizarre.

  11. Twilight Turtle

    On the flip side...

    ...Anyone who works in the IT security industry should have plenty of additional work.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: On the flip side...

      Yup, cyberwar gravy train.

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Sanctions against the US when?

    Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq?

    Ah no, wait. It's an ocean away in a country that they invaded previously. That probably makes it legit.

    The Toyotas were packed with what appeared to be bearded Western Special Operations Forces. I watched the trucks pass and saw for myself the crews inside them. They didn’t wear any identifying insignia but they were visibly Western and appeared to match all the visual characteristics of American special operations soldiers. Contacts in the Kurdish intelligence service and Peshmerga leadership confirmed what we saw. “Yes,” one commander replied to our questions. “German and American forces are on the ground here. “They are helping to support us in the attack.”

    They are OUR little green men.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Sanctions against the US when?

      Totally irrelevant if they're there with Iraqi government permission. The Iraqi government has asked for Western military assistance, so I'd actually be surprised if we didn't have special forces there.

      The point about Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that it's an invasion. Aimed (possibly?) at annexing territory. Of course, Russia denies this. But then didn't they just annex Crimea? After denying the wanted to. Oh yes. Funnily enough, they did almost the same thing in Georgia a couple of years ago. Probably best we don't mention Checheya.

      Did the US annex Iraq? Nope. Did US forces leave at the government's request? Yup. Are US forces leaving Afghanistan at the government's request? Yup. Did the US annex part of Afghanistan? Nope. Notice a difference?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Sanctions against the US when?

          Nice job of smuggling in the assertion you are trying to prove. You begin by talking about "Russia's invasion of Ukraine", which is logically similar to "the golden mountain" - something that does not exist.

          Tom Welsh,

          Last year Crimea was part of Ukraine. This year it's mysteriously part of Russia. After denying the intervention of Russian troops in these events, Mr Putin awarded them medals in a televised ceremoney 3 weeks later.

          Most of those troops may have started in Russian bases, allowed by treaty. But they weren't allowed by that treaty to surround the parliament building, besiege Ukrainian military bases, or administer an illegal referendum with 2 weeks notice.

          That is an invasion and annexation. It may have been the will of the people, although I doubt it. But nonetheless it was still an invasion.

          As for Russia having invaded the rest of Ukraine, that's harder to prove. Russia denies it, but they may be handing out medals in a few weeks... We've go reports from Russian media and social networks of troops in Ukraine and secret funerals. Western journalists on the ground saying they've seen Russian troops, as well as interviews with Ukrainians on both sides of the conflict. Statements from rebel commanders that they have holidaying Russian troops helping them. Quite a few of those commanders are ex (or maybe current?) Russian intelligence people. NATO saying it has satellite piccies of Russian armour heading into Ukraine. Oh and the Russian President changing his story of wanting negotiations to saying yesterday that he wanted an independent buffer state now, just after the Ukrainian offensive had mysteriously collapsed - amid fresh reports of massive Russian deployments in Ukraine.

          Crimea was an invasion. It's now proved, and admitted. The latest is almost certainly the same. If no conventional troops are there, the rebels are still receiving massive Russian support. That is proved and admitted.

          Now what was it you were saying about argument by assertion? Oh yes, using the word Junta for the Ukrainian government. Ah yes, that'll be it. I believe your next post talks about propaganda too. Shame on you.

          I shouldn't really argue with you about European politicans being bought, as it's irrelevant. Perhaps a deliberate distraction from the argument? Although you might want to provide some evidence. Particularly as Tony Blair, your example, was earning £200k a year as PM for 10 years, his wife was on £500k-£1m a year for a longer period, and they bought extensive properties in our bonkers housing market. Add in that he left Downing Street and started lecturing at £50-£100k a pop - and you shouldn't really be surprised if the guy's loaded.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sanctions against the US when?

            @ I ain't Spartacus

            So you're arguing that Russia is ignoring international law?

            Now let me think - who has been doing that for the last 20 years with absolutely no accountability...

            Oh I forgot, "might is right".

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Sanctions against the US when?

          Tom Welsh,

          Just a minute? That's the Iraqi government that won the election. Not perfect, but also not the one the US wanted. The US left because they couldn't get on with them. And the government that subsequently had closer relations with Iran than with the US. You'd have to be an idiot to think that was the outcome the US wanted.

          Plus they pulled their troops out. Because they were asked, but also because the US President made it part of his election strategy. They'd have left advisors, and wanted to, but couldn't come to a deal.

          So no, it clearly wasn't a puppet government. It was a crap government, which was too sectarian, hence Obama used the opportunity of the ISIS attack to say they wouldn't give help until Maliki resigned.

          But don't let facts get in the way of a good US-bashing. I make no claims that US and UK policy in Iraq has been perfect. Or worked. By whattabboutery that supposed Western special forces support for a government that asked for it is equivalent to an invasion of Ukraine is total bollocks.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanctions against@ IAS

        "Did the US annex Iraq? Nope. Did US forces leave at the government's request? Yup. Are US forces leaving Afghanistan at the government's request? Yup. Did the US annex part of Afghanistan? Nope. Notice a difference?"

        You're quire right, I do notice a couple of differences: Some people, in fact quite a lot of people in eastern Ukraine welcomed the very limited Russian involvement. As far as I can see NOBODY in Afghanisatan or Iraq welcomed the unjustified invasion of their countries, the dismantling of all institutions, destruction of infrastructure. And in Iraq and 'Stan there's been collectively hundreds of thousands of mostly civilian casualties.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Ledswinger Re: Sanctions against@ IAS

          Oh dear, facts seem to upset El Mod again! Here's a few links to help Ledswinger fill in the gaps in his knowledge.

          ".......As far as I can see NOBODY in Afghanisatan....." You mean apart from the Norther Alliance, who were fighting the Taliban, and represented the majority of Afghans? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Alliance

          "......or Iraq....." You could start with the Marsh Arabs - http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsh_Arabs - and a large chunk of the majority Shia Iraqis - http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zmjq9bCbcNw - and the Kurds - http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_Kurds.

  13. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    So when does Scargill get invited to number10?

    If we aren't buying Russian gas or coal anymore we better gets some pits opened fast if we don't want little-old-lady Icicles this winter.

    But sales of batteries should go up when the country's energy demands has to be met by 2 windmills in Cumbria.

  14. LDS Silver badge

    On the other end, lot of work for the tech industry aiming to protect your IT assets...

    ... from Russia and China... (and also the NSA)

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: 'Heads I win, tails you lose'... chuckles Uncle Sam

      Oh my god, please alright already go fight for ISIS if you feel that way. Then at least you're going to be far from the Internet....

      Please, I've never heard so much hot air, gas and Russki propaganda since the late '60's. Even the communists bought into capitalism in EVERY case. Who bankrupted the USSR? Oh yeah their military trying to rip off every weapon systems we never developed.

      The rest of the world will prevail with or without Russia. Russia is just backsliding into the abyss of self made isolationism, dictatorship and militarism.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Tom Welsh

    > Already Russia and China, historic enemies or at best cautiously neutral, are cooperating more than ever in living memory.

    As others have pointed out in the previous comments, I think to you but your comments are now deleted so I can't be sure, China bent Russia over the gas barrel and is paying much much less then the EU for Russian gas.

    Russia needed to show that they were not alone and so negotiated from a losing position. China came out as the big winner by still being neutral towards the Ukraine crisis, getting one hell of a good deal for much needed natural resources, looking like the good neighbor giving a helping hand to a struggling Russia, and other trade that Russia might take up with China to replace those items sanctioned from the EU (I hope for Russians sake that Russia doesn't start importing food items from China!)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019