Putin strikes back!(At his own people)

So the big news now is that the Kremlin has found another impotent, self-defeating way to “hit back” at the sanctions leveled against it for carrying on a losing proxy war. When I say “hit back” I mean “flail one’s arms in a wild and ineffective way until hitting oneself in the face.”  In this case the arm-flailing comes in the form of a presidential order to ban the importation of agricultural products and other foodstuffs from countries which have levied sanctions against Russia recently.

Now you’re basically going to see several things happen. The opposition panics, the mouth-breathing patriots dance for joy because they have no idea how economics works, and clever people take advantage of the situation to enrich themselves. Even if people’s worries are exaggerated, this kind of action creates instability and lowers trust. It could lead to hoarding and black market activities. But there is another major problem which will just add fuel to the fire.

Many businesses in Russia depend on those products, whether they are restaurants which use them in their kitchens, supermarkets who sell them, or just firms whose business consists of importing and transporting these goods. The failure of these businesses means more unemployment. Basically the government is transforming the country into a ramshackle, Perestroika-era Soviet Union with absolutely none of the benefits that society managed to guarantee.  But I’m sure it will all work out fine because…Russian soul or something.

I for one am shocked that a man who has achieved such a high rank in the discipline of Judo cannot seem to apply that philosophy to the world of politics. In that realm, the preferred technique for the moment seems to be the wild drunken haymaker. Look, Mr. President, you lost in Ukraine. Twice you have backed the wrong horse in that country and it turned people against Russia. Throwing a temper tantrum that hurts your own people isn’t going to solve anything. Sometimes it is better to lose with dignity. Learn from your mistakes, and correct them.

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16 thoughts on “Putin strikes back!(At his own people)

  1. Pat

    What was my last comment about choosing the stupidest path… ah as my poor Russian friend puts it “one more sanction and we will bomb one of our cities”

    And let’s not forget Medvedev’s last threat that “Russia was studying the possibility of introducing restrictions on the import of planes, navy vessels and cars, although the government would first make a realistic assessment of its own production capabilities.” That will teach people to sell THEM the military technology they desperately need. I’m cowed, how about you? On the plus side, they could get France out of that sticky spot with the Minstrel by refusing to take it. Nice of them…

    Reply
    1. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      Well it wasn’t an invasion, but you definitely called it when it comes to choosing the stupidest path. I’m really worried because I think the last rational guy in charge has totally lost touch with reality.

      Reply
  2. Estragon

    Speaking of judo, I’m reading comments by Facebook Putinists that sanctions are actually good news, because they will “force” Russia to cuddle up to Asia (specifically China) and kiss the West goodbye forever. It’s using your opponent’s strength against them. These folks have been promoting “the China turn” for a long time as a way to cement Russia’s power, but in my experience this is usually based on emotion rather than cold calculation (“Europe hates us, America hates us, China will love us”).

    Reply
    1. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      Yeah this is going to be hilarious a few years down the road when China delivers them a fait accompli annexation of territory in Siberia.

      But once again you have the typical pathological lying from Eurasianists. Historically they tended to be Sinophobic, probably residue from the Brezhnev-era. But of course whenever something bad happens to Russia, it’s actually GOOD, so now they embrace China.

      But unlike Americans and Russians, the Chinese have foresight that reaches far beyond a few minutes into the future.

      Reply
  3. panicattack

    wow – what a misguided article. By what logic is putin not supposed to respond? He gets sanctioned, he has to sanction back. He can get all the food he needs from brazil and other BRICS nations, and has more than enough land to increase local growth, which will help local business. Putin has been kicked out of the west because he stood up for russia in crimea (their only warm water base which was gifted to eukraine from kruchev in 1957 in a gift for being a soviet ally for the past 300 years), a piece of land that was his to begin with and needs in order to have a naval presense in the meditarranian. Its real politik. deal with it.

    But then again, you seem to think that ukraine’s coup had nothing to do with america, despite open regonition of 5 billion dollars specifically marked for the governments downfall, and john mccain showing up in the middle of the coup, in ukraine, to openly support the fascist party (svoboda and right sector) to take out a government that the west does not like.

    This article sounds more like something that belongs in the new york times, a newspaper read by the elderly generation on its way out and in need of a black and white enemy to hate.

    Reply
    1. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      Wow you hit every Kremlin talking point. Let me go ahead and debunk those for you.

      “He gets sanctioned, he has to sanction back.”

      No, he doesn’t. He can easily just stop supporting militant rebels who are fighting a lost cause and could also later turn out to be a major threat to his own regime. Second, the idea of sanctions is to punish the other side. So far Putin did what the West was unwilling to do- hurt his own people.

      See Putin couldn’t levy any sanctions in return which would actually cause problems for people in the US or EU because he CAN’T. His regime spent more time stealing than developing Russia’s industry and attracting more investment, ergo these governments all determined that they could do without Russia’s business. Whose fault is that?

      “He can get all the food he needs from brazil and other BRICS nations, and has more than enough land to increase local growth, which will help local business. ”

      HA HA! Keep thinking that. You’re obviously not living in Russia.

      “Putin has been kicked out of the west because he stood up for russia in crimea (their only warm water base which was gifted to eukraine from kruchev in 1957 in a gift for being a soviet ally for the past 300 years), a piece of land that was his to begin with and needs in order to have a naval presense in the meditarranian. ”

      God where do I start with this? Putin is being punished for invading and annexing part of a sovereign country, in violation of a valid treaty which Russia had signed(Budapest). There was no valid pretext for that invasion or annexation. Nobody was in danger. Second, the Crimea wasn’t “gifted” to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954(not 1957). It wasn’t part of the Russian empire until 1795 and prior to that it was never Russian or Slavic land. How the hell “eukraine” could be a “Soviet ally for 300 years” is beyond me, seeing as how the Soviet Union lasted from 1922-1991. The Cossack Hetmanate is one of the oldest “Ukrainian” states, but it was not always an ally of Moscow. In fact if you knew your 17th century history you’d know that Moscow was practically the last resort for the Cossack Sich.

      And you say that land was “his to begin with?” Huh? What? I’m sorry but Ukraine has been an independent sovereign nation since 1991. Is not Putin the guy always babbling about “national sovereignty” and not interfering in internal affairs? I’m not saying I’m against Assad, but if countries should have avoided interfering in Syria after 100,000 deaths, what justifies invading the Crimea after ZERO deaths? And saying that land was his to begin with is simply moronic. By that logic the UK has a better case for annexing the Irish Republic.

      “But then again, you seem to think that ukraine’s coup had nothing to do with america, despite open regonition of 5 billion dollars specifically marked for the governments downfall, and john mccain showing up in the middle of the coup, in ukraine, to openly support the fascist party (svoboda and right sector) to take out a government that the west does not like.”

      If you had actually spent some time reading this blog you would have found plenty of articles exposing and condemning Ukrainian nationalism, McCain’s involvement, US and EU funding of Maidan, and even McCain himself. Of course like a good Putinbot, you just come on here and spew the talking points.

      Here’s something to think about though- In the latter days of Maidan, many Western publications were coming around to exposing the problem of nationalism, Svoboda, and Praviy Sektor. The Guardian in particular and the BBC ran popular pieces about this. But then a certain country decided to invade Ukraine and start an insurgency and look what happened- all eyes focus on Russia. If Ukraine had been left alone, the Maidan movement as a whole would have been forced to put up or shut up, and the nationalists especially would have to deliver on their idiotic promises with no excuse to fall back on. Now when the government fails they’ll be able to point to Moscow once again. Brilliant strategy there.

      “This article sounds more like something that belongs in the new york times, a newspaper read by the elderly generation on its way out and in need of a black and white enemy to hate.”

      This just proves that you haven’t read anything on this blog besides this entry. It’s also ironic that you talk about black and white enemies because this blog was specifically designed to combat that kind of thinking. But you see criticism of Putin and BAM! Full attack!

      Reply
      1. panicattack

        “If you had actually spent some time reading this blog you would have found plenty of articles exposing and condemning Ukrainian nationalism, McCain’s involvement, US and EU funding of Maidan, and even McCain himself. Of course like a good Putinbot, you just come on here and spew the talking points. ”

        So you know ukraine is under western support, by a country known for punching itself in the face in order to start wars, yet still blame russia for whats happened and claim that putin is the evil behind the blood on the streets? Which one of us is the dilusional one again?

        I guess we are at an impasse with regards to our respective opinions.

        as for crimea? check out wikipedia on the matter: “The transfer of the Crimean Oblast to Ukraine has been described as a “symbolic gesture,” marking the 300th anniversary of Ukraine becoming a part of the Tsardom of Russia.”

        so ya, you got me on a semantic level – i should have said russia when I wrote “soviet”.

      2. Big Bill Haywood Post author

        I’m sorry but your first sentence doesn’t make sense. Putin tends to attract all the blame, but the fact is that these rebels who came into Ukraine were supported either directly or at least passively by his regime and he has had the power to stop it for some time. He still has that power and he can reverse things. Do you not remember that the Poroshenko government about a month ago called a unilateral ceasefire for an entire week, during which they offered negotiations and were willing to concede the demand for federalization which the original insurgents wanted? At no time during that week-long ceasefire did the rebels make any attempt to come to the table.

        And if Putin honestly can’t stop massive heavy weapons from rolling across his borders, what kind of leader is he anyway? I’d like to think that the Chancellor of Germany or the President of the United States could do something about tanks and SAM systems streaming across their borders.

        Also my points about the history of Ukraine are not “semantic” at all. After the revolution the Crimea was made an autonomous region, not part of the Ukrainian SSR or the RSFSR. After the deportation of the Crimean Tatars and other populations the area was resettled with mostly Russians(you know, kind of like this thing that happened in the Middle East in 1948). Again, that place was neither historically Russian nor Ukrainian. In 1946 it was included in the RSFSR, then transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954. So no, it’s not like this is some historic Russian holy land or something. Besides, who cares if Khruschev did that? What’s done is done.

        Lastly about your “real politik.” Having the base at Sevastopol does nothing for the Russian fleet. For one thing Turkey could just close the Dardanelles to Russian warships(wouldn’t be the first time). What’s Russia going to do then? Attack a NATO country? Nope. NATO could easily sink the entire Black Sea fleet in a couple of days and then what? Is Russia going to invade Romania and Bulgaria to get at Germany? Yeah good luck with that. Russia’s fleet would be safer in the new base in Novorossisk.

        Look I’m terribly sorry, but Russia just isn’t a great power. Unlike China, people weren’t concerned about building a strong economy and structures based on rule of law. They wanted a strong leader to come and give them an empire, as if that’s such a great thing. The idea that Russia could use its wealth to become like Canada or Norway and eventually join NATO or the EU was repugnant to them for reasons nobody can explain.

        That’s REAL realpolitik.

    2. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      Can I point out one more idiotic thing about what you wrote? You speak about the BRICS as though they are some kind of alliance. They aren’t. They are several developing countries which were characterized by rapid growth and development. Here’s a problem though- Russia’s own finance minister predicted that Russia was facing near 0% economic growth BEFORE any sanctions were aimed at Russia. Capital has been feeling Russia in massive amounts since last year, and that flow has picked up considerably for obvious reasons. Russia in 2009 forced its regions to finance their own debts, and now several Russian regions are severely underwater and in need of a federal bailout very soon.
      GDP growth will probably hit zero if it hasn’t already, and the ruble is at an all time low.

      So since BRICS implied massive investment and high growth rates, could realistically argue that it should be BICS. I can’t speak about South Africa, but India, Brazil, and China are all doing rather well. In any case they continue to attract foreign investment, possibly some of that capital that left Russia too.

      Welcome to the real world.

      Reply
    3. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      You know what, I’m not done yet. You read one fucking article and you say that this blog is like the NY Times and is “black and white.”

      Did you bother to look around and read this:

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/07/17/yes-this-is-still-a-thing/

      How about this?

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/05/22/no-debate/

      Or this?

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/05/21/another-hit-article/

      Or this?

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/05/20/another-source/

      Or this?

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/05/20/homework/

      Or how about this one about a Mark Ames piece?

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/05/16/killing-it/

      Or this?

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/05/12/what-double-standard/

      Or how about this piece making fun of ignorant Westerners on the Maidan bandwagon?

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/05/07/guest-column-megan-thomas-politically-savvy-freelance-journalistblogger/

      Yeah I don’t think you read any of those, and those are just a handful of the articles I have written on here exposing the Maidan movement.

      The only person thinking in black and white here is you. You think that Maidan’s fascists are a problem, while Russia’s aren’t. You think that Maidan only happened because the West paid for it, but you see nothing wrong with Russia invading sovereign countries. You’re nothing but a hypocrite who can only think in false binaries. Go back to Reddit and stay there.

      Reply
  4. panicattack

    ahh, now I understand your logic and where you come from based on your last reply. Im sorry I cannot reply to it directly, as there is no reply button under your comment.

    We can talk about 300 years ago if you want, but the era immediately after the soviet empire fell in the 90’s is a bit more relevant. Recall that the west promised russia “not one inch” of NATO expansion beyond germany. Then NATO broke the promise a few months after making it.

    Russia SHOULD be part of the euro system just by virtue of its location and its primary demographic. Instead the west has alienated it repeatedly, and now wants to make ukraine a nato brachhead to put missles on. So now putin is reacting to bald agression by bypassing the american dollar. Its either do something, or fall into the clutches of a western banking system that the entire world is currently enslaved to.

    We can PERSONALLY hate him if we want, but it is my view that he is one of the few players left on the planet with the capacity to actually deny the overt take over of a corrupt banking system the world is currently engaged in, in a bid to avoid literally what is happening in the whole of europe ever since they formed the EU. If NATO actually gets ukraine into its orbit, that means NATO’s missles are 20 minutes away from many of their targets, which would help eliminate any chance of a counter attack, thus forcing russia to either get destroyed by nukes or be a slave to the system.

    If a country spent 5 billion dollars to collapse the canadian government, then replaced it with a government favorable to them instead of america, how would america react? People say this is a bullshit comparison, but those people fail to recognize that like canada and america, russia and ukraine share both a people and a culture that unites them in ways greater than a simple military alliance.

    Reply
    1. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      First of all, where is evidence of this supposed “promise” of NATO? I know of no official treaty which was signed pledging no NATO expansion. This might have been a genuine wish, but probably the break up of Yugoslavia and violence in areas of the former Soviet Union created support for NATO. As for NATO expansion, the countries which joined NATO did so on their own accord. They were not invaded. This cannot compare to the Budapest treaty, which Russia signed, that guaranteed Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders.

      “We can PERSONALLY hate him if we want, but it is my view that he is one of the few players left on the planet with the capacity to actually deny the overt take over of a corrupt banking system the world is currently engaged in, in a bid to avoid literally what is happening in the whole of europe ever since they formed the EU. ”

      Well I’m not sure your view is informed by reality, especially considering how much more corrupt Russia and its banking system is than that of Europe. If your concern is corruption in banking, Russia isn’t your messiah I can tell you that. Even the government is aware of the problem as a few dozen banks had their licenses yanked late last year.

      Militarily Russia is impotent as well. The fact that the Russian-backed rebels are losing so rapidly in a purely defensive war against the Ukrainian army is pathetic when compared to say, the Syrian rebels who managed to nearly reach Damascus before Hizbollah intervened to push them back. They didn’t have any tanks or fancy SAM systems either. Russia’s conscript army now requires only one year of service, and non-combat arms troops barely fire any live rounds if any. Hazing is still a problem so many Russian youth bribe their way out of service.

      As for the issue of nukes, this is irrelevant. The US and other NATO countries have ICBMs that could do far more damage than any kind theatre ballistic missile system which could be launched from Ukraine. In fact I’m not even sure the US possesses any such weapons. The idea that the United States and NATO are just going to launch a nuclear first strike on Russia from anywhere, much less Ukraine, is unrealistic.

      Lastly about the issue of funding Maidan, all the money in the world wouldn’t get people out into the streets if it weren’t for the fact that Yanukovych ran an extremely corrupt regime. Unfortunately he associated himself with Russia and vice versa, ergo many people in Ukraine sided with the EU believing that this would get them out of Russia’s orbit, and of course Russia meant Yanukovych. This is what allowed the nationalists to manipulate the movement. Maidan supporters still have to answer for their tolerance of neo-Nazis and nationalists. They shouted their slogans and they denied all criticism about their presence in the movement. Still, Russia failed to influence any effective response to Maidan because it had nothing really attractive to the people. I watched how Russians reacted in the beginning and it was nothing but chauvinism and calling Europe “Gayropa.” People like myself had actual arguments against Maidan, but Russia didn’t. That was one of many missed opportunities for Maidan to be very different.

      Reply
  5. Big Bill Haywood Post author

    Also let me apologize for being so sharp earlier. Most of the effort I put into this blog is aimed at breaking down false dichotomies and binaries between Team Russia and Team West. Yes, as it happens I’ve done a lot of articles critical of Putin and Russia lately. I have good reason to do this. For one thing I live here and I have to deal with the consequences of his actions just like Russian citizens. Second, I feel that he screwed up Ukraine far worse than the nationalists had. I was angry about the Banderite victory at Maidan, but I saw people outside of Ukraine were waking up to the reality of their movement and the dangers they posed. I thought if they finally had the chance to get power and then fail miserably, it would be the end of Banderaism forever. I know this because I know how Ukrainian nationalists think.

    But then Russia came barging in and actually saved their ass. Now many people are afraid to publicly point out the issue of fascism in Ukraine because they don’t want to be associated with Putin and the fascists he sponsors. They’ll get to play the victims again.

    Reply

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