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Posted to YouTube June 30, 2015.

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has prepared a dossier laying out evidence for what it calls “Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

The report alleges there are some 9,000 Russian troops deployed in Ukraine, forming 15 battalion tactical groups. The force includes about 200 tanks, more than 500 armored fighting vehicles, and some 150 artillery systems, according to the dossier.

Coalson, Robert.  “Who Are The Russian Generals That Ukraine Says Are Fighting In The Donbas?”  Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, July 3, 2015.

In today’s Washington Post, Jackson Diehl notes Russia’s suspension of gas deliveries to Ukraine and the west’s distractions with Greece and Iran, asking at the end of his piece “Will this be remembered as the summer when the West let Ukraine die?”

I won’t give away his answer.

My hope: I hope not.

Remember Yanukovych Leaks and the state-borne internal piracy that drove Ukrainians to give Putin’s stooge the boot.

Remember Putin’s $52 billion Sochi Winter Olympics, which obscene spending ignored and masked off the hundreds of thousands dead in Syria and the nearly 10 million displace while Putin-Assad-Khamenei fairly cultivated “The Terrorists” for Assad’s Big Political Theater and Khamenei’s teleological commitment to bringing forth the Great Shiite vs Sunni Battle.

Remember Yulia Marushveska — says Anna Nemtsova recently, “She’s a Beautiful, Passionate Voice for Ukraine, But That’s Not Enough” (The Daily Beast, June 28, 2015):

“I want you to know why thousands of people all over my country are on the streets,” she said to the global audience, her voice full of feeling. “There is only one reason: They want to be free from a dictatorship. … We are civilized people but our government are barbarians. This is not a Soviet Union.” The video has since been seen by more than 8.3 million people.

Remember “Syndicate Red Brown Green” and the smaller feudal and mafia-style relationships: Putin-Assad-Khamenei; Putin-Khamenei; Jobbik-Iran; Putin-Orban; Putin-Erdogan, which looks shaky today.

Remember how Assad nurtured Syria’s al-Qaeda Typicals.

Remember Milan Kundera’s famous statement about remembering: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”

The main purpose of keeping the Donbas conflict in a smoldering state is to let Putin remain in power. The Donbas war will distract the Russians and help Putin stay in power, the ex-FSB officer said.

Zik.  “Ex-FSB officer throws light on Putin’s games around Donbas.”  July 6, 2015.

The BackChannel’s term for what Putin (and Putin and Khamenei together) represent in contemporary political possibility: “21st Century Neo-Feudalism”.

Dzerzhinsky may be a Communist saint, but the symbolism of the prince’s statue is inescapable. It will celebrate the new Vladimir, not just the old one. This may be obvious, but the subject is avoided in polite conversation.

There are other topics — rising prices, the fighting in Ukraine, the shape of things to come — that people don’t like to think about, even though these subjects are at times unavoidable. The economy is entering “a full-fledged crisis,” former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told Parliament recently. He warned that Russia’s gross domestic product is forecast to be 4 percent lower this year than it was in 2014. Meanwhile, food prices are rising. Official figures indicate a 23 percent jump for the year ending in March, but an informal survey of grocers in my neighborhood suggests a 30 percent jump is more realistic.

Trudolyubov, Maxim.  “Russia’s Virtual Universe.”  The New York Times, July 5, 2015.

But Vyrypaev’s wider summing-up was admirably succinct: “This means that [the state] has the right to intervene, to control, direct, grow, regulate, monitor, and finally to develop the cultural process. It means that the state assumes the role of a kind of spiritual and educational shepherd for the people.”

Birchenough, Tom.  “theartsdesk in Moscow: Free thought vs cultural politics
How heavy is the official hand bearing down on Russian culture today?”  The Arts Desk, July 5, 2015.

While Obama has for the public paired Putin with Soviet revanche, it’s not the Soviet that Putin (and the KGB cum FSB organization) have brought to Russia: “feudalism”, “state capitalism”, “neo-feudalism” better describe what Putin has done — is doing —  to the Russians.

Related Reference

AP. “Land mine explosion in eastern Ukraine kills 5 soldiers, wounds 3 as fighting grinds on.”  Fox News, July 5, 2015.

Avedissian, Karena.  “The power of Electric Yerevan.”  Open Democracy, July 6, 2015: “The corruption and mismanagement of ENA reflect wider problems of governance and the political environment in Russia. When Russian state-owned companies (in which theft is not the exception but the norm) take over infrastructure in neighbouring countries, this is, in effect, ‘exporting corruption’.”

Batchelor, John.  “Obama’s ultimatums to Putin fall on deaf ears.”  Al Jazeera, July 3, 2015.

BBC.  “Nemtsov daughter condemns Russian media ‘propaganda’.”  June 9, 2015.

Castner, Jennifer.  “In Putin’s Russia, Environmentalists Face Stiff Repression.”  Earth Island Journal, June 30, 2015.

Center for Transatlantic Relations.  “This Week in Ukraine” (viewed as compiled July 2, 2015).

Connolly, Kate.  “Obama lambasts Putin: you’re wrecking Russia to recreate Soviet empire.”  The Guardian, June 8, 2015.

Gray, Rosie.  “Pro-Putin Think Tank Based in New York Shuts Down.”  BuzzFeed News, June 30 2015.

Gutterman, Steve.  “Russia blocks internet sites of Putin critics.”  Reuters, March 13, 2014.

Horvath, Ani.  “Hungary’s Viktor Orban antagonizes European Union with border fence, Russia embrace.”  The Washington Times, July 2, 2015.

Isachenkov, Vladimir.  “Putin: Russia is going to spend $400 billion upgrading its military.”  AP via Business Insider, June 26, 2015.

Popova, Polina.  “Freedom of speech under fire in Ukraine.”  The Hill, June 16, 2015.  (The story becomes convoluted as official Ukraine responds to the assault of Russian propaganda: writes Popova, “Some journalists fear that the ministry was actually created to muffle internal opposition, rather than tackling Russian propaganda. It’s not surprising that it has earned the Orwellian nickname “the Ministry of Truth”).

Not a few Russian intellectuals, depressed by the Orwellian state of Russian public discourse, have come to see Ukrainian cities as the hope for the future of Russian culture. In this light, the Russian invasion of Ukraine to protect freedom of speech in the Russian language is perhaps better compared to America invading Canada to save the welfare state or North Korea invading South Korea to protect capitalism.

Snyder, Timothy.  “Ukraine’s easy, misunderstood Babel.”  Politico, July 2-3, 2015.

The Chosunilbo.  “Russia Bans Internet Database Archive.”  July 6, 2015.  (The story concerns the “Wayback Machine” and, indeed, the suppression of questionable material).

Vasilyeva, Nataliya.  “Russian opposition star campaigns against apathy, but Kremlin media drowns him out.”  U.S. News & World Report, July 1, 2015.

Weiss, Michael.  “The Kremlin’s $220 Million Man: Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s deputy prime minister, is supposed to have the cleanest hands in the Kremlin. So where’d he get a quarter of a billion dollars?”  Foreign Policy, October 29, 2014.

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