Monthly Archives: April 2014

His name is Vladimir. A note on tricameral mind.

What is in Putin’s mind? What he’s going to de next? What motivates him?

Everyone tries to explain Putin, trying to get into his head and justify his reasons or rationalize distorted perceptions of reality. 

Let me try a schizophrenic approach to explain Putin by not comparing but by synthesising some of his contemporaries into colonel’s personality. Coincidently the three people I’ve chosen are named Vladimir.

trying to keep it where it is

Vladimir Son

Son of a KGB agent V. Pozner is Russian-American journalist known not only to the Russian public but also to wider world audience through his recent work on CNN – commenting on the Ukrainian crisis. Pozner shows the West to the Russians and presents Russia to the West. He’s taken on a role of a teacher, master of wit, the wise interlocutor advocating for dialogue between the ever increasingly distancing West and East. Being hopelessly soviet Mr. Pozner is responsible for convincing Russians of their difference. With high ratings and primetime shows he’s not suffering from the lack of followers.

Vladimir (right) transcribing soviet though on US TV

Vladimir Spirit

Spirits have always played a critical role in Russian armed forces diet. However, with trendy professionalisation and the cult of healthy might the free spirit of military talent is in fashion. General V. Shamanov is a heroic epitome of such ruthlessness, decisiveness, cold mindedness, and might makes right approach. An all rounded individual – a war hero, a war criminal, a governor, a defence minister candidate, the commander of Russian paratroopers – General Shamanov is the guiding mechanism in a Russian rocket aimed at whatever the Father points his finger at.

General and his colleagues

Vladimir Father 

Father Cyril who became the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church was named Vladimir at birth. His brilliant organizational skills and connections in St. Petersburg and Western Europe gave him respect and a clear career path up through the ranks (in church hierarchy as well). Cyril embodies the patronage system and devotion to duty in a world where a step from the Gods way means death and there’re plenty of envies trying to push you and trip you over. Kinship, God, Brotherhood are patriarch’s virtues.

listen

All three men are Putin. This picture doesn’t make things any clearer or explains anything. So don’t attempts of the expert community. I personally disapprove of the fact that Putin’s cortex is much different of any other human being. 

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gas! gas! gas! a note on gas

2014 is the year of WW1 and what else comes to mind when I think about the events at the beginning of  twentieth century? Gas.

you cannot see very well in a gas mask

Gas was used for the first time. Much to some people’s disappointment it is still in use. But then war is immoral and it is a tough, brutal world out there.

The take over of Crimea changed the prospects of modern world gas warfare. The South Stream pipeline that is due for completion in 2018 was first initiated by Russia in 2008, to provide gas for southern Europe and further establish itself as a major european gas supplier. The construction started two years ago with Gasprom chasing for 50% and Italians, French and Swiss jumping on board as well. Number of countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia) signed a deal with Putin and then Medvedev… and then Putin.

However, there was (as not is) a problem – Ukraine. The building of Nord Stream and South Stream would cut off Ukraine form venturing on transit of the blue gold to Central and Western Europe. In case of the South Stream the pipeline was supposed to go through Ukraine’s shelf/territorial waters.

There is always an option. The plan B is to just draw a line through Turkey’s waters, but Turkey is also planning on a thing of its own – the Nabucco Project – transiting gas form Azerbaijan and Central Asia to Europe. But as in any other business – who needs an extra agent in the chain? Who would put all the pipelines in one basket?

For now the South Stream project is in the air. So is Nabucco. Both projects’ future is at mercy of Russia’s european partners. Looking at sanctions taken agains Europe’s leading gas supplier South Stream has some prospects.

The biggest problem with using gas is wind change.

Some say…

Ukraine has become the ground for imaginative counterfactualist’s battles. It is such an attractive exercise, a chance given to as by history that the number of possible scenarios appearing in the press is fascinating me and demand to have a go as well. 

All sorts of pundits, diplomats, ex-diplomats, theoreticians, journalists, ex and serving officers, experts felt like they have a duty to inform the public on how, when and why Russia will invade Ukraine, and what the outcome will be. But the thing is, all these people are having it half way. There’s so may ifs and buts in the equation that it makes their stories lacking the plot, the detail and most importantly the horrors of war. Scenarios are lacking fiction, drama and realism. 

In order to fulfil the crave for predicting the future I’m going to draw attention to a book written by Gleb Bobrov – a well known russian journalist, writer, editor. Gleb was born and still lives in Ukraine. In 2007 he’s written a book called “Epoch of stillborn“. Back then he got it much better than many of contemporary ‘experts’. 

Here’s what the book is about:

After the revolution and followed breakup of the country, Ukraine is divided into Republic of Galicia (western Ukraine), Central Ukrainian Republic (Ukraine proper), Republic of Crimea and Eastern Confederation.

Obviously there’s a war going on were the Central Ukraine tries to retake the eastern territories. 

In the book the baddies are central Ukrainians backed by the NATO (with polish troops and equipment on the ground) and volunteers form Galicia. The Eastern Confederation is backed by the Russians – the goodies. Although Russians limit themselves only to providing air-defence, hence the Eastern Confederation can actually do some fighting and not being thrashed in the first few days of the war. 

The main hero is an ex-government official from the Eastern Confederation. After the coup that overthrew the local oligarchy/mafia bosses (hello Yanukovitch) the hero sends his family to Russia and takes on fighting. He’s commanding a platoon of confederate forces and goes through a few successful battles until being captured. 

The book actually starts  with hero’s interrogation before deportation to Nuremberg tribunal for war criminals. The book ends indecisively with the fighting still going on. Probably the author’s point is: solution resolving to violence is not a solution.

So here’s a scenario that is actually not too far away from what some pundits see coming with the current situation in Ukraine. However, what they are not talking about (and the book does) is horrors of war: lies, death, marauding, rape, lies, plunder, torture, lies, lost hopes and lies…

…the hero was actually captured by the russians. Nothing personal, just politics.