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Russian Sanctions against the West

2014 August 8
by Ian Welsh

Per Russia, from a speech by Medeved:

Russia has completely banned the importation of beef, pork, fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and the Kingdom of Norway.

He also noted that Russia is considering revoking or changing airspace rights over Russia’s Asia Pacific region or Siberia.  This is not a small matter, and would make many flights from airlines in the affected countries far more expensive (while allowing their competitors, in countries which  haven’t imposed sanctions on Russia to out-compete them.)

As zero-hedge points out, the agricultural ban will have a significant negative effect on the European economy, which is already sputtering, and will likely lead to more special monetary policy (giving money to the already rich).

Such policy is very good at pumping up stock markets, but as the US experience indicates, it does nothing for ordinary people, whose wages in the US have fallen (only the top 10% has seen increases).  I warned in 2009 that the policies of the Fed and Obama would lead to at least a generation of worse economy.  Special monetary policy is worse than doing nothing, and very quickly.

The continued pivot away from the West and towards BRICS and other nations is not a good thing for the West.  An integrated Russia is in the West’s best interest: a Russia in the arms of China, is not.  I still cannot imagine anything in the Ukraine that is worth this.

The line in most Western media is that this will hurt Russia more than it does the West and perhaps even cause protests in Russia due to rising food prices.  We’ll see, to be sure, in the short to medium term it will hurt Russia, but Russia does still have plenty of inefficiently utilized agricultural land, and the rest of the world will be happy to sell to Russia.  Note, however, that the US, Canada, and the EU are very cost-efficient agricultural producers and the alternative suppliers are in the southern hemisphere, as a rule.    This will cause a permanent rise in the cost of food in Russia, whether it will be offset by a rise in domestic production leading to higher incomes for farmers remains to be seen.  Such would take time, in any case.

I note, finally, that if you are going to go to war with someone, you should cut off your food dependency before you do. Certainly NATO may not intervene if Russia decides to help the rebel states in the Ukraine, but certainly sanctions would ratchet.  If Russia intends to invade the Eastern Ukraine, it might as well do this now and prepare its economy.

Interesting times.  Let us hope this isn’t another step towards the interesting experience of a nuclear exchange over a country most Americans couldn’t find on a map.


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35 Responses
  1. August 8, 2014

    Let them eat brioche.

  2. Ghostwheel permalink
    August 8, 2014

    So Ian, why do you think Putin isn’t worried that higher food prices—perhaps even with shortages and empty shelves in some places—won’t turn into popular hostility to his government? Can even an 83% approval rating last long among hungry Russians?

  3. Celsius 233 permalink
    August 8, 2014

    Interesting times indeed.
    True to his reputation, Putin does not threaten, he acts. The EU is as brainless/stupid as the U.S. and will likely feel the pain.
    The U.S. also just sailed a missile cruiser into the Black sea. I should think it is a sitting duck if hostilities were to break out.
    Due to a treaty it can remain for 21 days

  4. Ian Welsh permalink*
    August 8, 2014

    I assume they’ve done the numbers and found there won’t be actual food shortages. We’ll see.

  5. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    August 8, 2014

    Oh! so subtle, cunning even! What President Putin has gone and done is to open the floodgates for a tsunami of couch strategists. Taken together, these geo-political geniuses haven’t produced a single original thought amongst themselves, but, having encountered something somewhere are positively able to authoritatively report to the rest of the world, assuring their ascension to the firmament of the greatest thinkers ever.

    The resulting din, overwhelm any possibility that quiet observation of relevancy might be heard. Accomplishing such profundities, air-castles of conjecture and supposition are pro-offered with careless disregard to fact, knowledge or information; history and veracity are early victims to their fantasies and rationality cannot be found upon inspection. But doG, do they sound good.

  6. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    This is extremely clever. Non EU people probably don’t understand this but the political clout of their farming industry is extremely large, hence their insane subsidies.

    And (indirectly) encouraging greater Russia agricultural production is a very smart medium to long term strategy, given the on-going collapse of US agriculture.

    The Russian Govt is going to have to watch inflation, but I am sure they have a plan for that.

  7. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    August 8, 2014

    @ OldSkeptic

    Where President Putin was clever was removing the economic weapon of food from the table of those waging economic war on Russia. What would have been a supplemental or convenient food supply to Russia’s own food production, this comes from excess production elsewhere that is sold for supplemental marginal profit. When that disappears, that excess floods its original market and prices collapse, likely triggering further price collapse elsewhere in that market. The EU has placed itself in a precarious position as far as economic deflation is concerned and even more precarious position concerning the massive debts generated in covering financial manipulations of its economic elite. A year is a long time in economic warfare and these are interesting times.

  8. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    Also watching the Ukrainian junta collapse is fascinating.

    I suppose we, in the west, all underestimate the intelligence Russia has on the Ukraine. Including the all important ‘people in place’.

    I once speculated (somewhere, forgotten now) that Russia’s perfect solution to this crisis would be another coup in the Ukraine kicking out the Oligarchs and neo-nazis. I would expect them spending resources on trying to get some sort of outcome like that.

    I mean if the clumsy, often hopeless US can pull off stunts like that you’d expect some sort of Russian capacity being built after all the ‘colour’ revolutions.

    Plus you look at the mobilisation plans Ukraine has, some accounts put them at aiming at a million men under arms. A million? How could they arm, feed, pay, train, etc even half of that? The internal economic and social strains building up must be immense.

    If we can get through the next few months, which I see as a period of immense risk comparable (at least) to 1983, then I expect the risk level to slowly drop as economic logic (aided by winter) and other political actors and factors start to creep in.

    The US getting distracted in Iraq is a bit of a bonus actually, terrible as it is for the Iraqis. Though watching the US go through hoops intervening in Iraq to stop ISIS (Daash, whatever their name is this week) while still funding, arming and training them in Syria ….is amazing to behold. Was it Lewis Carrol: “I can believe in two impossible things at once”? US policy has now gone beyond incoherence into ‘Looking Glass’ country.

    Now, will Russia kill the Russian/Afghanistan ‘escape route’ for the US and NATO? They have the perfect excuse now that NATO has cancelled all ‘cooperation’ with Russia.

    That would hurt.

  9. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    I should add, watching the US Christian right wing/born again/etc falling over themselves to support Israel killing Gazans, while being very, very quiet over the killing and ethnic cleansing of Christians in Syria and Iraq is also fascinating. They really add the “H” to hypocrisy.

    I suppose only a Christian can really betray another Christian…..a very, very cynical comment based on the many hundreds of years of Christians slaughtering each other..all for god of course.

  10. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    August 8, 2014

    @ OldSkeptic

    Now, will Russia kill the Russian/Afghanistan ‘escape route’ for the US and NATO? They have the perfect excuse now that NATO has cancelled all ‘cooperation’ with Russia.
    That would hurt.

    I suspect that will not be known until it happens. It will go far beyond having one’s knickers in a twist and may approach having the family jewels caught in the wringer. Time to sit back and have that hot buttered popcorn, it’s going to get amusing.

  11. Celsius 233 permalink
    August 8, 2014

    Raul at AE has a very informative back-up to the general consensus here;
    http://www.theautomaticearth.com/debt-rattle-aug-7-2014-europe-teeters-on-the-edge/

    Another interesting source is RT; http://rt.com/news/
    The U.S. is fast alienating the world over the Gaza catastrophe which just went back into overdrive.
    There is now an App which helps identify if products are in any way connected to Israel.

    Back to Ukraine: The fascinating aspect is the west’s total mis-read of Putin. I hope the western leaders never play chess against him; they will, as now, lose. I guess in a way they are and getting throttled in the process.
    Got to hand it to Putin, he’s a player…

  12. Albion permalink
    August 8, 2014

    @Celsius 233
    App re Israel products?
    I need this, wot is the link please?

  13. Celsius 233 permalink
    August 8, 2014

    Albion
    August 8, 2014
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Here;
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4498997,00.html

    I’m already (and have been for years) boycotting Israeli products. I’m not a smartphone user, so no use to me.

  14. August 8, 2014

    Too bad. I grew up on Eastern Euro food, it’s one thing that was produced really well, in contrast to USSR/Russia (and not for lack of resources).

    I’m have a feeling though, that with a little creativity, the sanctions will be circumvented, and/or selectively enforced.

  15. scruff permalink
    August 8, 2014

    I think you have a typo Ian:

    [blockquote]The line in most Western media is that this will hurt the West more than it does Russia and perhaps even cause protests in Russia due to rising food prices.[/blockquote]

  16. Ian Welsh permalink*
    August 8, 2014

    Thanks Scruff.

  17. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    MFI…you were right (again), the ground swell in Germany against the US under the ‘under the carpet’ is a lot larger than most, including myself, thought.

    Now it is starting to show…very, very bluntly…this is a must read:

    German Handelsblatt Releases Stunning Anti-West Op-Ed, Asks If “West Rabble-Rousers Are On The Payroll Of The KGB”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-08/german-handelsblatt-releases-stunning-anti-west-op-ed-asks-if-west-rabble-rousers-ar (there is click through to the original source) .

    “That changed dramatically today when Gabor Steingart, the chief editor of Handelsblatt, Germany’s leading economic newspaper, came out with a stunning op-ed, in German, English and Russian, titled simply that “The West on the wrong path” in which the editor comes out very vocally against the autopilot mode German media has been on for the past several months and calls for an end to a strategy of sanctions and Russian confrontation that ultimately “harms German interests” and is a dead end. “

    Our purpose is to wipe off some of the foam that has formed on the debating mouths, to steal words from the mouths of both the rabble-rousers and the roused, and put new words there instead. One word that has become disused of late is this: realism.

    Love this, a real “tell me what you really think” statement:
    The American tendency to verbal and then also military escalation, the isolation, demonization, and attacking of enemies has not proven effective. The last successful major military action the US conducted was the Normandy landing*. Everything else – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan – was a clear failure.

    We cannot afford to look at Russia through the eyes of the American Tea Party.

    * And that was under a British General’s plan and control too (Montgomery).

  18. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    And in another headline, Washington has (obviously) just ordered the Ukraine to destroy itself, Russia and Europe. Must be getting impatient that the EU doesn’t voluntarily commit economic suicide and so has stepped up the pace by telling the Ukraine to do it for them.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-08/ukraine-prepares-impose-russian-gas-transit-ban-commit-economic-suicide

    Ukraine ready to impose sanctions against any transit via its territory, including air flights and gas supplies to Europe, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Friday. Ukraine’s Parliament will vote on the sanctions on Tuesday. Kiev has also prepared a list of 172 Russian citizens and 65 companies predominantly Russian to put under sanctions for “sponsoring terrorism, supporting the annexation of Crimea, and violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Yatsenyuk said at a briefing on Friday.

    Proposed sanctions include asset freezes, bans on certain enterprises, bans on privatizing state property, refusing to issue licenses, and a complete or partial ban on transit- both aviation and gas.

    Things are heating up quickly…or in the case of Europe….heading towards getting very cold.

  19. August 8, 2014

    I saw that remarkable Handelsblatt editorial, which is simultaneously published in English, Russian, an German. Unfortunately, the English version reads like the author translated it himself from German — very many typical Denglish turns of phrase. But a very interesting editorial.

  20. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    One of the great headlines of all time…lol.

    You wanna be Uncle Sam’s bitch? Pay the price!

    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/you-wanna-be-uncle-sams-bitch-pay-price.html

  21. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    On a more serious note though: Pepe Escobar Asia Times article:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-080814.html

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is desperate; it is itching for a war in battlefield Ukraine at any cost.

    Let’s start with Pentagon supremo, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has waxed lyrical over the Russian Bear’s “threat”: “When you see the build-up of Russian troops and the sophistication of those troops, the training of those troops, the heavy military equipment that’s being put along that border, of course it’s a reality, it’s a threat, it’s a possibility – absolutely.”

    Fogh of War gets antsy
    Right on cue, NATO secretary-general Anders “Fogh of War” Rasmussen arrived in Kiev practically foaming war in his mouth, ready to lay down the groundwork for NATO’s summit in Wales on September 4 when Ukraine, enthroned as a major non-NATO ally, could be projected to become, in lightning speed, fully NATO-weaponized. Moreover, NATO is about to seriously “build up” in Poland, Romania, the Baltics and even Turkey.

    ….

    With Fogh of War already fuming because “Russia won’t invade”, the pompously named “Secretary” of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, neo-Nazi Andrey Parubiy – who is the most likely candidate for having ordered the hit last month on the MH17 civilian aircraft – decided to step out; a certified rat abandoning a sinking ship move mostly provoked by the fact he did not get an extended ethnic cleansing overdrive in Eastern Ukraine, and had to endure a ceasefire. Poroshenko is not an idiot; after loads of bad PR, he knows his nationwide “support” is evaporating by the minute.


    Humanitarian crisis does not even begin to describe it; there’s no water, electricity, communication, fuel and medicine left in Luhansk. Kiev’s heavy artillery partially destroyed four hospitals and three clinics. Luhansk, in a nutshell, is the Ukrainian Gaza.

    In a sinister symmetry, just as it gave a free pass to Israel in Gaza, the Obama administration is giving a free pass to the butchers of Luhansk. And there’s even a diversion. Obama was mulling whether to bomb The Caliph’s Islamic State goons in Iraq, or maybe drop some humanitarian aid. He opted for (perhaps) “limited” bombing and arguably less limited food and water airdrops.

    So let’s be clear. For the US government, “there might be a humanitarian catastrophe” in Mount Sinjar in Iraq, involving 40,000 people. As for at least 730,000 eastern Ukrainians, they have the solemn right to be shelled, bombed, air-stricken and turned into refugees.

  22. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    Being Australian this is fascinating (and funny). Usual Guardian anti-Russian thing: “Russia is a bully, says Tony Abbott, as he warns of more Australian sanctions”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/08/russia-bully-tony-abbott-more-sanctions

    But read the comments (some are hysterical). I’d put it as 99% against Abbott.

    We are starting to see a complete disconnect from some populations and their media/politicians over this.

  23. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    The ever insightful Dimiti Orlov adds some extra and pertinent commentary to the Gabor Steingart article.

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/german-stunner-west-is-on-wrong-path_8.html

  24. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 8, 2014

    He also did a wonderfully snarky article about the Ukraine recently. Where you agree or disagree with his conclusions, the way it is written is wonderful and at points hysterically funny:

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/saving-face.html

    Some wonderful snippets that I treasure:

    “Prime minister Yatsenyuk (who had been hand-picked for the job and nicknamed “Yats” by Victoria Nuland of the US State Department) has resigned. [Update: he changed his mind and decided to stay: or did his American handlers change his mind for him?] President Piglet is still there, but it’s unclear what it is he is doing. In fact, it is becoming unclear whether there even is a Ukrainian government; of late, the officials in Donetsk have been receiving very strange, barely coherent missives from Kiev, obviously written in American English and clumsily translated, then signed and stamped by some Ukrainian monkey to make them look slightly more legit. If the Ukrainian translators run away too, then the American minders will be forced to resort to using Google Translate, making it the world’s first experiment in governance through word salad.”

    “The best that the US can do in this situation is to bug out of Ukraine while continuing to babble incoherently. This shouldn’t be hard; bugging out and babbling incoherently are two things that the Americans are clearly still very good at; just look at Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.”

  25. ghostdog permalink
    August 8, 2014

    3 things i would add

    1. russians band together and face hardships as a matter of civic duty when opposed from the outside world. russian women are tougher than most american men.

    2. food sanctions will hurt russia in short term, but it also creates angry european food producers who will punish their own politicians for their idiotic fealty to amerikkka. food is not like electronic goods. you can’t just store it in a warehouse looking for another buyer. if they don’t sell that food to somebody, it will rot.

    3. amerikkkans are escalators, whereas russians are containers. amerikkkans take events and incidents like 9/11, syria, libya etc. and react where they escalate the situation to the point it becomes out of control. russians, on the other hand, like to contain conflicts. russians learn from their mistakes, amerikkkans don’t.

  26. Dan H permalink
    August 8, 2014

    Didnt Russia get an extended lesson in backyard farming after the wall collapsed? I dont think this will be a big deal for most of their people.

  27. Trixie permalink
    August 9, 2014

    He also noted that Russia is considering revoking or changing airspace rights over Russia’s Asia Pacific region or Siberia. This is not a small matter, and would make many flights from airlines in the affected countries far more expensive …

    For once, I’m not trying to be intentionally stupid, but I wouldn’t trust ANY revoking/changing airspace rights at this point. And I don’t care what it does to your profit margin:

    Exclusive: Official Washington’s conventional wisdom on the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down blames Russian President Putin, but some U.S. intelligence analysts think Putin, whose plane was flying nearby, may have been the target of Ukrainian hardliners who hit the wrong plane, writes Robert Parry.

    No really, I’m not making this up. For once. Here’s the smoking gun, err, brand differentiation mishap:

    http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/putin-malaysia-planes.jpg

    If it’s an obvious conspiracy theory, then fine. I wouldn’t know. But even as far as conspiracy theories go, YOU CAN’T DO THAT. And maybe it’s just me way overthinking this, but if your intention is to assassinate Putin mid-air, I’d like to think your fancy technology is A LOT MORE SOPHISTICATED than an “adventure” pulled straight out of a Rocky and Bullwinkle episode.

    I will never look at the world the same way again. Thanks Ian.

  28. Lee Doran permalink
    August 9, 2014

    Thanks, folks, for the link to the Steingart editorial. It is sensible and enlightening and advancing the discussion with insight.

    However, even he appears to be stuck in this one-winner-take-all mentality that seems to dominate the comments here, as well.

    My friends, we live in the age of ecology. Diversity is one of the antifragile forces against the multiple chaoses that humans (mostly male) propagate so effectively. We need to get it on our side.

    We do not get diversity with any monolithic system, whether East or West or Superintelligent (robotic) or some other. We get diversity from diversity.

    If all of this results in the BRICs emergence as the Next Big Thing we are starting down the path of a truly diverse human world that might even be survivable. Present trends are not.

    Look at the cutting edge in the world of human sex/gender. All of a sudden we have gone from a world of 2 sexes (classical/biological) to one of 5 sexes (early feminist, 1970′s-80′s) to one of a spectrum of sexualities/genders where every single human being can mix and match to choose their own individual ‘brand’ of sex/gender — including none.

    That is one model for building a diverse world politically. We need to learn from the folks on the cutting edge of that development. I am reading two books which advance that agenda massively, thoughtfully and substantively.

    They are:

    1. Darling, you can’t do both : and other noise to ignore on your way up
    Kestin, Janet, author.
    Book, 2014. 320 pages.

    2.Gender failure
    Coyote, Ivan E. (Ivan Elizabeth), 1969-, author.
    Book, 2014. pages cm.

    Despite these citations that I have copied from the Toronto Public Library, both are written by two authors who write alternating chapters in each book — in itself a revelation.

    The first is two amazingly (conventionally) ‘successful’ ad execs from Toronto who broke all the rules (they co-lead their teams, etc) to rise, reluctantly, in a very traditional occupation.

    The second is two people of multiple sexualities/genders of a much younger generation exploring their lives in living the lives they decided to live. They explore varieties of trans-sex…

    Both are highly revealing of how far we have come on this front. Imagine when the (still mostly classically male) worlds of business and politics truly catch up to these leaders in their spheres.

    I have tried in my Curating Sex, Briefly (Kindle Select) as well to explain where all this came from — and how much today’s science knows, though reluctantly, because very few are putting it altogether.

    The bottom line for this discussion is that we need not simply to tolerate but to actively cultivate diversity in all areas of human existence if we have any hope of surviving ourselves.

    Thanks for listening, and cheers from here,

    L.

  29. August 9, 2014

    Albion & Celsius:
    I believe the app is called Buycott. It’s in the app store, if you have an iPhone. Don’t know about an Android.

  30. August 10, 2014

    “I saw that remarkable Handelsblatt editorial, which is simultaneously published in English, Russian, an German. Unfortunately, the English version reads like the author translated it himself from German — very many typical Denglish turns of phrase. But a very interesting editorial.”

    the German. pardon the expression, reads like church, not like diplomacy.

  31. DZhMM permalink
    August 11, 2014

    Bit of a typo there. I strongly doubt — and the linked article seems to back me up — that the block you quoted came from a talking bear (in Russian, ‘medved’). The politician’s last name is “Medvedev”.

  32. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 11, 2014

    Well, well, well. A UK mainstream newspaper writing about the neo-nazis in the Ukraine.

    Not the Guardian, or the Independent (who are both stuck in Foreign Office/State Dept memo re-printing mode) but the (usually right wing) Telegraph…..who would believe it.

    Good article though.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11025137/Ukraine-crisis-the-neo-Nazi-brigade-fighting-pro-Russian-separatists.html

  33. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 11, 2014

    In contrast the Gruniad is still ‘all the way with LBJ’. This is a masterful piece of propaganda and misinformation.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/11/russia-humanitarian-convoy-ukraine

    “Russia s sending a humanitarian convoy into Ukraine in cooperation with the Red Cross, the Kremlin has announced.

    All well and good, But…

    “Western leaders had previously warned Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, against using a humanitarian aid mission as a pretext for a military intervention in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. But Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the convoy would not include any armed personnel or soldiers.”

    Naturally we have to have the obligatory sabre rattling from the pygmies…
    “The European commission president, José Manuel Barroso, cautioned Putin against military intervention in Ukraine during a phone call on Monday. “President Barroso warned against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian,” the commission said in a statement.

    Earlier, the secretary general of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, compounded international tension over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, telling Reuters there was a “high probability” of a Russian military intervention.

    “We see the Russians developing the narrative and the pretext for such an operation under the guise of a humanitarian operation and we see a military buildup that could be used to conduct such illegal military operations in Ukraine,” he said.”

    Note the lack any description of the “volunteer battalions”.
    “Military troops and volunteer battalions had launched a four-pronged attack against rebel-held areas, national security council spokesman Lysenko said, cutting the link between the rebels’ two main strongholds, Donetsk and Luhansk/. He said Kiev forces were now “preparing for the final stage in the liberation of Donetsk”.”

    Kiev still calling unconditional surrender.
    “In a sign that their backs may be to the wall, the Donetsk rebels have changed leadership and said on Saturday they were ready for a ceasefire. Kiev rebuffed a truce offered by commander Alexander Zakharchenko, who replaced Russian citizen Alexander Borodai as PM of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic last week, saying the rebels must first surrender their arms.”

    Amazingly the Guardian actually says this, must have been a sub-editor slip up to let this through:
    “Ukrainian forces have bombarded Donetsk in recent weeks, and heavy shelling was reported across the city on Sunday, with periodic volleys continuing overnight and on Monday.”

    But gets back on track with this:
    “Lysenko blamed the rebels for shelling the prison colony, as well as residential areas in Donetsk and Luhansk, claiming that Russia was ordering the bombardment to justify the deployment of Russian peacekeeping troops. “

    Does add this though:
    “While both sides are known to have heavy artillery, including notoriously imprecise Grad rocket launchers, Human Rights Watch has said Ukrainian Grad strikes had killed civilians on the Donetsk outskirts.”

    But of course has to add the usual (probably backed by social media) anti-Russian claims (note the lovely term “anti-terrorist officials”):
    “The border service said Russian forces continue to shell Ukrainian territory, hitting two border posts overnight with artillery and mortar fire. It also accused Russia of violating Ukraine’s airspace with swarms of surveillance drones, reporting five such flights overnight.

    Photographs published on Sunday by anti-terrorist officials purported to show the aftermath of a Grad attack from Russian territory that destroyed the village of Stepanovka near the border. “This once flourishing settlement where more than 1,000 people lived, where children’s laughter could be heard, where weddings were celebrated, has now been completely destroyed by BM-21 Grad volleys,” the press servicea spokesperson said.”

    All in all, except for a few minor slip ups (no doubt hands will be smacked and told not to do it again) a solid piece of propaganda.

  34. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 11, 2014

    The ‘Independent’ did a similar piece, bit shorter but basically the same message as the Guardian.

    But for brilliant propaganda this BBC just can’t be beat. Subtle in some parts but gets the message across real well “Kiev good, ‘Rebels’ bad”. Take my hat off to them, they are still the best with a mix of disinformation, debunked claims, soft peddling, ignoring inconvenient facts, etc that is masterful in execution.

    Ukraine crisis: Key players in eastern unrest
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-27211501

    Does call the Kiev big boys ‘rich’ and even ‘oligarchs’, but manages to skate around that with total aplomb. But throws in the long debunked ‘rebel phone call’ about MH-17 beautifully. And even the, howled down with laughter and scorn at the time:
    “Phone intercepts have linked him to attempts to stop the Malaysia Airlines plane’s “black box” flight recorders getting into the hands of investigators. A voice said to be his says he is acting under orders from “our high-placed friends… in Moscow”.”

    Best bit?
    “Ihor Kolomoisky – Dnipropetrovsk governor.
    Despite the initial controversy surrounding the appointment, the 51-year-old is now widely credited with keeping the region with a large Russian-speaking population stable and largely violence-free.”

    Of course no mention of:
    “Kolomyski has used Privat’s “quasi-military forces” to enforce hostile takeovers of companies, sending a team of “hired rowdies armed with baseball bats, iron bars, gas and rubber bullet pistols and chainsaws” to forcibly take over a Kremenchuk steel plant in 2006,[22]“. Forbes 2013.

  35. OldSkeptic permalink
    August 14, 2014

    And over at laugh central (otherwise known as the British media) the Guardian and the Telegraph have breathlessly announced ‘proof’ that Russia is sending their military into the Ukraine.

    Yes their ‘journalists’ have seen it with their own eyes, honest.

    Guardian: Russian military vehicles enter Ukraine as aid convoy stops short of border.
    UK Telegraph: Russian armoured vehicles and military trucks cross border into Ukraine (though the Tele does a little CYA statement further down the article).
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11035401/Russian-armoured-vehicles-and-military-trucks-cross-border-into-Ukraine.html

    Of course no one mentions trying a simple credibility check of “Russia sending military forces into Ukraine right in front of western journalists?. Yeh right….”. And I have this nice little bridge here in Melbourne that you can buy from me for a song, just send me your credit card details.

    Expect this to be echo chambered all around the world and Obama announcing new sanctions……

    Zero Hedge has picked it up too….sigh.

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