In 2014, at the height of the Ukrainian crisis, I did virtually zero blogging, only posts on Facebook (I was was too busy with other matters). So for ease of reference, I have converted my most substantial FB posts from that period into blog posts.

Ukraine Predictions

Reprinted from Facebook (2017/12/31): Geopolitically, 2015 will be crunch time for the Poroshenko regime. Short of massive Western support, a fiscal crisis is virtually certain. How will Poroshenko deal with it? A new assault against Novorossiya can’t be excluded; military spending is rising to 5% of GDP. That’s higher than any industrialized nation bar Israel. […]

On the Crimean Sanctions

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): There can only be two “justifications” for it: (1) If the Crimean referendum was rigged and illegitimate, as Kiev and the West have repeatedly argued, on what grounds are ordinary Crimeans getting punished for what is in fact Russian aggression? Sounds rather whimsical and arbitrary, if that is so. (2) The Crimean referendum […]

Why Asia Won’t Sanction Russia for MH17

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): This map is instructive: Relations with China and India are excellent. China is fast becoming a semi-ally. Korea relations are fine. Relations with Japan are frosty, but even they are less enthusiastic about serious sanctions than the West. The main reason for this is Japan’s not unfounded fear that Russia will get too […]

Was MH17 Terrorism?

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): Let’s say that the SBU recordings are genuine and the NAF was directly responsible for shooting down MH77 on the mistaken impression that it was a (valid) military target. Should this then be classed as terrorism? Would it invoke NATO’s Article 5, as some of the most heated rhetoric is suggesting? (See http://www.spitsnieuws.nl/…/nederland-en-vs-bereiden-invasi…) Well, […]

The Fall of Slavyansk

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): 1) The fall of Slavyansk is mainly a political problem, not a military one. In military terms, it is, if anything, a success, with Strelkov managing to successfully exfiltrate the great bulk of his forces from encirclement. 2) Donetsk has almost ten times the population of (pre-war) Slavyansk. Having aquired the great bulk […]

Islamic State Rises

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): Admit I was surprised to see ISIS take over a major Iraqi city as the Iraqi Army fled. I realize the corruption there is gargantuan, but surely at least some of the $18 billion that it spends yearly on its military must have gone somewhere useful? Anyhow, while Mosul and Tikrit might have […]

On Ukraine/Syria

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): It struck me a while ago that what Russia is doing so far as the Ukrainian borders in the east are concerned is essentially the same as what Turkey and Jordan are doing in relation to Syria’s borders. Both Turkey and Jordan keep the borders open, allowing jihadists from across the world and […]

Russian Liberals and China

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): Russian liberals (Vladimir Milov this time) continue claiming the China gas deal is disastrous for Russia. His argument this time? That Japan pays $200/mcm more for gas than what China gave Russia. http://www.echo.msk.ru/blog/milov/1330024-echo/ He is either ignorant of or ignoring the fact that Japan imports gas as LNG, because it’s an island LOL. […]

The Donbass Referendum

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): Preliminary reports turnout is going to be high in Donetsk and Lugansk, with most people voting Yes to independence (though I’ve seen photos with a few No’s). I expected this (https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/465366857189310465) and it seems to have turned out correctly. Independence enjoyed 33% support in Donetsk and 25% support in Lugansk in opinion polls […]

Ukrainians on Federalism

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): Comprehensive, very important PEW poll on attitudes in Ukraine towards federalism, Russia, Crimea (after Crimean referendum, but before the Odessa massacre): http://www.pewglobal.org/…/despite-concerns-about-governan…/ Two critical points can be made: (1) There is virtually unanimous support in Crimea for recognizing the results of its own referendum (only 4% are against). This indicates that that referendum […]

Russia’s Game Plan in Donbass

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): Quick piece I scribbled off for RIA: First off, an elementary observation: Donbass is not Crimea. Crimea features prominently in Russia’s historical memory, having undergone two epic sieges over two centuries. It was only given over to Ukraine as a pure formality, to mark 300 years since the Treaty of Pereyaslav that was […]

My Advice to the Maidan

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): I’m not a Euromaidan supporter. But if I was, and was interested in the junta’s success and a smooth transition to an EU-orientated Poroshenko Presidency… –> First of all, it has to be realized that Ukraine is weakest precisely in the short-term. An election would give Poroshenko a democratic mandate to carry him […]

Was Crimea Worth It?

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): Was Crimea worth it? [editorial tone – neutral/objective] Pros * Secures major Black Sea naval base; Ukraine no longer able to link it to gas discounts. * Demonstration that Russia still counts to putsch leaders, pro-Russia elements in S/E Ukraine, and the West. From a realist, non-sentimental perspective, it’s better to be feared […]

Navalny and Sanctions

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): While Gorbachev supports Crimea’s return, Navalny is helping the EU to compile sanctions on those who made it possible (http://www.alde.eu/uploads/media/Crimea_list_FBK_ALDE.pdf). All ideology aside, I really do think that this marks the end of him as a serious politician. (Note that I say this as someone who unlike most pro-Putinists predicted he’d get a […]

What If?: Ukraine vs. Russia

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/14): I’m almost certain it won’t happen, but it’s always fun to consider these what-if military scenarios. Namely, Ukraine vs. Russia. In terms of numbers, it will be about 100K vs 150K – Russia has more, of course – 300K in the ground forces – but can only devote a certain percentage of its […]

Crimea Info

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): It’s very uncharacteristic of the Kremlin to blatantly violate international law (they typically make sure to follow its letter). So what explains the increasingly unequivocal signs of Russian military involvement in Crimea? The fact of the matter is that Russia has a legal right to military transit across Crimea SO LONG AS it […]

Revolution

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): From what I am observing on Twitter, things are rapidly spiraling beyond our usual frames of reference so far as Ukraine is concerned. Yanukovych, nowhere to be seen, is fast becoming something of an irrelevance so far as both sides are concerned. The new government is being formed without his input, and he […]

Argument for Libertarianism

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): Dear 23andMe Customers, I’m writing to update you on our conversation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and how it impacts you. If you are a customer whose kit was purchased before November 22, 2013, your 23andMe experience will not change. You will be able to access both ancestry and health-related information […]

Revealed Preference

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): Revealed preferences: The language settings on Vkontakte social network throughout Ukraine.

Premonitions

Reprinted from Facebook (2018/02/15): The reason the police were “barely in control” is that Yanukovych demoralized them by criticizing them for breaking up yesterday’s Maidan, in a bid to appease protesters who will not be appeased. Apparently, the ProFFesor believes balancing between two stools is a good strategy for Ukrainian domestic politics too. What other explanation can […]