‘Russsian aggression’ does not seem to abate. New sanctions in spite of an agreement

Within a day after the announcement of a ceasefire between those in power in Kiev and the rebels in the east of Ukraine, the EU has made public new sanctions againsdt Russia. Apparently tension should not be allowed to decrease, not for a moment. There are already far too many critical voices questioning NATO’s role, we must keep the fear of ‘Putin’ alive!
Thus Seumas Milne in The Guardian (a newspaper that one should not miss for a day—at least, when Labour is in opposition) writes that NATO does not protect peace, but threatens it. But writing such things is not what we need!
(The picture shows Putin surveying his conquests since 1991).

Not to be outdone, our foreign secretary, Frans Timmermans, who was recently pronounced ‘a statesman’ and meanwhile has been named as an EU commissioner (we don’t yet know of what), also has ‘doubts’ concerning the agreement. A ‘statesman’ these days is one who toes the line, so no opinions of your own, better add your bit to the unrelenting war propaganda.

However, if things go well in Ukraine (and hence, ‘badly’ for NATO and the EU), we still have the Baltic states. Estonia, visited briefly by Obama prior to the NATO summit in Wales to declare the ‘unbreakable bonds’ etc., has rushed in to help with an incident that according to the Dutch daily, de Volkskrant, has thrown the small country with its one-third Russian-speaking minority (an inheritance of the Soviet past) ‘into a panic’.

The incident concerns an Estonian policeman in charge of cross-border crime between Russia and Estonia. According to initial reports, he was ‘kidnapped’ by Russians. His arrest was indeed confirmed by Russia, who claimed he was discovered on its territory in the possession of 5000 dollars and a firearm.

Both stories are possible, the one perhaps slightly more plausible than the other, but so be it. Luckily all doubt has been dispelled by the Estonian secretary of the interior, Ain Seppik, who spoke of ‘a targeted attack’.

He added that ‘in light of the current developments there is no reason to believe in coincidence’, and in fact referred, still according to the Dutch daily, to ‘the situation in Ukraine’. Well, that is just what I myself already suspected too.

Hardly has the ink of the Ukraine agreement dried, and the agreement holds (for the time being), or the Russians (‘Putin’) switch to a ‘targeted attack’ on Estonia. Of course this is part of a gigantic plan, because it is obviously in their interest that tensions keep rising, and that new sanctions are being imposed that lack any real grounds…?

Just recently Russia has announced new tax measures favouring the large oil and gas interests, but heralding difficult times for small and medium enterprise. 111 billionaires have divided the Soviet inheritance among themselves; Putin balances between these fellows and the 60 percent of voters, mainly elderly people and the hinterland, who elected him. In Le Monde Diplomatique of August last we can read how he supports the privatisation of state energy companies, even though the prospective owners have shown scant interest in keeping city heating systems going—another inheritance of the Soviet era and one in dire need of investment. So Putin (the real one) calls in the minister of energy and warns him, in front of the TV camera, that city heating must be kept going and should not come with tariff hikes. But calling off privatisation, no way—tax advantages!

The absurdity of the current world situation is that all around, countries that have never been exposed to wild-west capitalism, have converted to neoliberalism as propagated by the West. Russia under Yeltsin put everything up for a big sale, Assad privatised the telephone sector (whilst ensuring that the juiciest bits remain for his own family), and so on. Next, when social tensions arise and the leaders of such countries attempt to negotiate the different interests and keep themselves in the saddle by authoritarian policies (the new rich on the one hand, and the mass of the population on the other), we proclaim them (one after another) as the new great danger to world peace. Yet after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, we might begin to conclude that ‘our’ efforts to actually topple them, has not helped the countries in question (I intentionally express myself with care).

‘Putin’ thus was, first, the brute who incarcerated three innocent girls who merely sang a protest song against the president on the altar of an Orthodox church; next, he promulgated a law against advocacy of sex with minors, so against homosexuals—and hence, ‘statesmen’ from the West hurried to boycott Sochi. Next again, Ukraine (‘invasion’), ‘shooting down an airplane’ (I don’t know what will emerge from the investigation next week, although we have been told it will not identify the perpetrators—and yet I bet that the majority of the Dutch population knows it was ‘Putin’). And finally, the latest in the series, again of unprecedented brutality of course, a ‘targeted attack’ on Estonia! Will it never end?

Kees van der Pijl

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