Dedicated Russian thread

@Goldbricker, you queried whether Poland was an enemy .

The USSR and Germany had a non-aggression pact. Weeks after Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. They thus carved up Poland between them. Which means that yes, for the USSR in 1939, Poland was an enemy.
 
And Putin of course now has to defend Russian believers in Ukraine. Hmm:

Putin Vows to Defend Believers in Ukraine Church Dispute

I wonder when we heard that before, in 2014 I think:
The Economist sums it up rather neatly (as usual):
Moscow rages as an independent Ukrainian church becomes more likely

A great quote from the above piece, pulling the rug out from under the pretensions of Muscovy:
"In another challenge to Moscow, the Istanbul-based Patriarchate of Constantinople formally withdrew the 1686 decision which gave Moscow some authority over the metropolitan see of Kiev. That in effect signals that Constantinople does not regard Ukraine, even provisionally, as Moscow’s canonical territory. It also runs directly counter to the Muscovite version of church history. From Moscow’s point of view, the see of Constantinople is interfering in its historical territory."
 
@Goldbricker, you queried whether Poland was an enemy .

The USSR and Germany had a non-aggression pact. Weeks after Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. They thus carved up Poland between them. Which means that yes, for the USSR in 1939, Poland was an enemy.
Poland and the Soviets also fought a war in the early 1920s, which the Soviets lost. The Poles then annexed large chunks of Soviet territory.
 
@Goldbricker, you queried whether Poland was an enemy .

The USSR and Germany had a non-aggression pact. Weeks after Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. They thus carved up Poland between them. Which means that yes, for the USSR in 1939, Poland was an enemy.
@Goldbricker And for the Free Poles, the USSR remained an enemy until the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was born in London because my ancestral land (going back centuries) was brutally occupied by the Sovs in 1939 and my forebears survived the trials and tribulations of Soviet mass executions (e.g. at Katyn) and deportations to the Gulags and then with the Anders Army ended up in the West. There at the war's end they experienced the permanent loss of their homeland and the additional ignominy of not being allowed to take part in the Victory Parade as the craven Labour Government thought it better to appease the mass-murderering despot Stalin who demanded their exclusion, rather than at least honour the contribution of the Free Poles to the war effort. Having rooted out any Polish opposition to their annexation of the eastern Polish territories in 1939-40, the Soviets then proceeded to root out any Polish opposition to their occupation and subjugation of the rest of Poland in 1944-48.

My maternal grandfather who having been born in Tsarist occupied Poland in 1898, made sure that I knew how the Poles were treated under Russian occupation. Children caught speaking Polish at the primary school he attended were whipped. The Russians tried and failed to "Russianise" the Poles, just as the Prussians tried and failed to "Germanise" them in their relevant area of partitioned Poland prior to WW1.

A friend sent me this the other day:
Do not occupy Poland.jpg
 
Poland and the Soviets also fought a war in the early 1920s, which the Soviets lost. The Poles then annexed large chunks of Soviet territory.
A vast simplification:
The same territory had previously belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and had been annexed by Tsarist Russia in the partitions of Poland between 1772 and 1795 which were carried out together with Prussia and Austria. Post WW1 Pilsudski's plan was to try and recreate the territorial integrity of the old commonwealth as much as possible as a buffer against Moscow, it was known also by the name of "the Intermarium project". He failed to get the Lithuanians on board due to competing nationalisms and the Wilno/Vilnius question. He failed to get the Ukrainians on board again due to competing nationalisms and the fact that the Ukrainians were themselves very disunited. The Belarussians were not politically organised well enough for them to be a significant factor at the time. So he took the best deal he thought he could get at the treaty of Riga and retained the eastern territories which contained the most significant number of Poles (including my ancestral lands). This too is a very simplified summary.

The history of the lands between the Baltic and the Black Seas is very complicated and needs to be studied in depth in order to understand fully all the complications and animosities in the area.
 
Poland and the Soviets also fought a war in the early 1920s, which the Soviets lost* The Poles then annexed large chunks of Soviet territory.
*Inconclusive
Losses were about the same, the Russians sued for peace, Poland were in no position to carry on and were under pressure from the The League of Nations..

Score draw.
Back on topic...
 
*Inconclusive
Losses were about the same, the Russians sued for peace, Poland were in no position to carry on and were under pressure from the The League of Nations..

Score draw.
Back on topic...
Correct - though the reasons that the Russians sued for peace is that they had their arses handed to them on a plate by Pilsudski at the Battle of Warsaw in 1920. But it had been a very close run thing. The Poles called it the "Miracle on the Vistula".

Highly possible that had that battle been lost, the Red Army would have rallied the German and French Communists and ended up on the Channel.

A dramatised movie was recenty made based on these events:


Apologies but I needed to answer this thread drift a little further and it is historically relevant.
 
A vast simplification:
The same territory had previously belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and had been annexed by Tsarist Russia in the partitions of Poland between 1772 and 1795 which were carried out together with Prussia and Austria. Post WW1 Pilsudski's plan was to try and recreate the territorial integrity of the old commonwealth as much as possible as a buffer against Moscow, it was known also by the name of "the Intermarium project". He failed to get the Lithuanians on board due to competing nationalisms and the Wilno/Vilnius question. He failed to get the Ukrainians on board again due to competing nationalisms and the fact that the Ukrainians were themselves very disunited. The Belarussians were not politically organised well enough for them to be a significant factor at the time. So he took the best deal he thought he could get at the treaty of Riga and retained the eastern territories which contained the most significant number of Poles (including my ancestral lands). This too is a very simplified summary.

The history of the lands between the Baltic and the Black Seas is very complicated and needs to be studied in depth in order to understand fully all the complications and animosities in the area.
It was a simplification, but it was also a simple answer to the question of whether "Russia" (however defined) lost any wars in recent (20th century) history.

We've discussed the "Intermarium" plans before. My opinion is that in an age when Britain ruled over a colonial empire and commonwealth that encompassed a quarter of the globe and a quarter of humanity, and when most of the rest was under the direct or indirect rule of a handful of other colonial powers, Pilsudski had no reason to make apologies for his own empire building dreams. It was the done thing in those days and questions of morality revolved around how competent and benevolent your rule was, not whether the population agreed with it. He was a product of his time and must be judged in that context.

If Pilsudski had been successful in establishing his Intermarium Empire, I doubt that it would have lasted long. It would have suffered from the same internal problems that caused the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and it would have lacked the economic resources which could have allowed it to stand off both Germany and the Soviet Union. The eventual end result would have been the same even if the details changed.
 
It was a simplification, but it was also a simple answer to the question of whether "Russia" (however defined) lost any wars in recent (20th century) history.

We've discussed the "Intermarium" plans before. My opinion is that in an age when Britain ruled over a colonial empire and commonwealth that encompassed a quarter of the globe and a quarter of humanity, and when most of the rest was under the direct or indirect rule of a handful of other colonial powers, Pilsudski had no reason to make apologies for his own empire building dreams. It was the done thing in those days and questions of morality revolved around how competent and benevolent your rule was, not whether the population agreed with it. He was a product of his time and must be judged in that context.

If Pilsudski had been successful in establishing his Intermarium Empire, I doubt that it would have lasted long. It would have suffered from the same internal problems that caused the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and it would have lacked the economic resources which could have allowed it to stand off both Germany and the Soviet Union. The eventual end result would have been the same even if the details changed.
"Empire" is the wrong terminology. First and foremost the "Intermarium" was supposed to be a "Commonwealth" of associated peoples taken somewhat further in concept than the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Unfortunately it was a bit of utopian dream given the competing national agendas that had matured throughout the 19th Century and the fact that there was no great rush anywhere else in Europe to support such an avant-garde project to contain Bolshevism and Muscovite revanchism. Both these issues sealed the fate of the "Intermarium".

Hopefully the thread drift is now over.
 
"Empire" is the wrong terminology. First and foremost the "Intermarium" was supposed to be a "Commonwealth" of associated peoples taken somewhat further in concept than the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Unfortunately it was a bit of utopian dream given the competing national agendas that had matured throughout the 19th Century and the fact that there was no great rush anywhere else in Europe to support such an avant-garde project to contain Bolshevism and Muscovite revanchism. Both these issues sealed the fate of the "Intermarium".

Hopefully the thread drift is now over.
But before it's over, apologies for my own lack of detailed knowledge about Polish. Baltic and and "Eastern European" politics from an era which is really not that long ago.
 
How Russia moved into Central Africa | Reuters
Reuters have an article on the CAR and Russian involvement there. Interestingly, there's a lot of debate on Khashoggi, but not on the Russian journalists killed. Russia stopped France donating some seized weapons from Somalia and then provided some from their resources:
When Central African Republic (CAR) pleaded for help last year to fight marauding militias, former colonial ruler France offered guns it had seized off Somalia. But Russia objected and donated its own weapons instead.

By early February, Russia had sent nine planes with weapons along with dozens of contractors to train local soldiers and secure mining projects, marking the start of its highest-profile military foray in sub-Saharan Africa for decades.

Muscling in on a country dominated by France for years served as a statement of intent about Moscow’s renewed push for global prestige and influence, and is part of a wider campaign shaking up long-standing power dynamics on the continent.
Since the Crimean invasion and sanctions applied on Russia, they've apparently signed 19 military contracts with African states, including Ethiopia, Nigeria (UK's second largest oil provider) and Zimbabwe. These countries are turning to Russia for various reasons, principally because they oppose the west:
Since Western nations sanctioned Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014, Moscow has signed 19 military cooperation deals in sub-Saharan Africa, including with Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, according to its foreign and defence ministries and state media.

The continent’s 54 member states at the United Nations – three of which sit on the Security Council at any given time – form the organisation’s largest voting bloc and one of its most coherent, making them attractive allies for Russia.

“The West is not very much loved by many countries. And many (see) Russia as the country that will oppose the West,” said Dmitri Bondarenko, an anthropologist and historian at Russia’s Institute for African Studies.
The increased influence of the Russian MoD is helping these decisions with a 5 man team planned to be embedded in the CAR DefMin:
Besides sending arms and contractors to CAR, Russian national Valery Zakharov is a security adviser to President Faustin-Archange Touadera and Russia’s defence ministry said last week it planned to establish a five-person team at CAR’s defence ministry.

Russia’s moves come at a time when the defence ministry’s influence over Kremlin foreign policy is growing against a backdrop of heightened tension with the West.
Russia objected to the French provision of arms because they had been seized during a Somali arms embargo, saying you can't seize off one and then use those weapons to get roiund another, so the decision was taken for the Russian 'gift' to go ahead:
When CAR made its plea in 2017, there was recognition that a spike in ethnic fighting could turn into a far larger conflict and that its security forces were too weak to tackle myriad armed groups.

CAR has been under a U.N. arms embargo since 2013 so weapons shipments must be approved by the U.N. Security Council’s CAR sanctions committee, made up of the Council’s 15 members, including France and Russia. It operates by consensus.

France first offered to help CAR buy old weapons but the proposal was too expensive. France then offered 1,400 AK47 assault rifles it had seized off Somalia in 2016, according to a Security Council memo and four diplomats.

Russia objected on the grounds that weapons seized for breaching the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia could not be recycled for use in another country under embargo, two diplomats said.

But mindful of the need for a quick solution, the sanctions committee approved Moscow’s donation of AK47s, sniper rifles, machineguns and grenade launchers in December, according to committee documents and diplomats.

“We presented our problem and Russia offered to help us, subject to Security Council approval,” said Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, CAR’s presidential spokesman. “If peace is restored tomorrow in CAR, I think everyone will be happy.”
US interest in the region is waning and other countries are prepared to step up:
“Our actions on the diplomatic and military side have sent a huge signal to our partners that we’re not interested in Africa,” said Donald Bolduc, who commanded U.S. special forces across the continent until last year.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy said Washington’s commitment to Africa was unwavering but, “there is space for other countries to play a positive role in the region”.
Both Russia and china are increasing trade in the continent, signing trade and mineral deals. Russia's trade gre from $1.6Bn to $4.2Bn a year. China's from $37Bn to $165Bn:
But as in the Cold War, military deals can come alongside economic links, such as mining and energy agreements. Ethiopia signed its deal in April, a month after Lavrov visited to discuss nuclear energy, agriculture and transportation projects.

Russian firms have signed mineral deals in Sudan, which cooperates with Moscow in defence technology, and Russia is looking at diamond and platinum projects in Zimbabwe as well as energy projects in Chad.

Over the past decade, Russian trade with sub-Saharan Africa has increased fast, albeit from a low base. From 2010-2017, total trade rose to $4.2 billion a year from $1.6 billion, according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies www.csis.org.

During the same period, China’s total trade with sub-Saharan Africa nearly doubled to $165 billion while U.S. trade more than halved to $37 billion.
Wagner Group have between 250 and 1,000 Contractors working there apparently:
Estimates of the number of Russians in CAR vary widely, from 250 to 1,000. Touadera’s spokesman declined to provide details, nor say what activities the Russians were engaged in.

Yevgeny Shabayev, head of a chapter of a paramilitary Cossack organisation who has ties to Russian security contractors, said there could be 1,000 in CAR and 5,000 to 10,000 across Africa, including in Sudan, South Sudan and Libya.
The three journalists who were killed in country investigating Wagner could have helped find the answers, but the Russian state says Wagner don't work on their orders and have had no role in the journalists death:
One Russian private military contractor, the Wagner group, was thrust into the spotlight in July when three Russian journalists were killed in CAR while investigating its alleged presence there.

Reuters has been unable to confirm whether Wagner contractors are in CAR. People with ties to the group have told Reuters it has carried out clandestine combat missions on the Kremlin’s behalf in Ukraine and Syria.

Russian authorities deny Wagner contractors carry out their orders. They have denied any role in the journalists’ deaths.
 
Uh oh, bomb has gone off in Crimea. Terrorism suspected:

Bomb kills 10 in Crimea college - Russia

I wonder which of the usual suspects they'll wheel out.

ETA: Crimea Blast That Killed 10 May Be Terror Attack, Kremlin Says
The Guardian is reporting it as being several gunmen and a suicide bomber.
Crimea college hit by deadly bomb blast in terror attack
On local television, the head of the college described an armed rampage with attackers gunning down pupils and teachers, leaving bodies strewn throughout the building. At least one attacker blew himself or herself up, the school director said.
Personally, I would take the present descriptions with a grain of salt until something more solid comes in. The actual facts may be different from what some people thought they saw.
 
The Guardian is reporting it as being several gunmen and a suicide bomber.
Crimea college hit by deadly bomb blast in terror attack


Personally, I would take the present descriptions with a grain of salt until something more solid comes in. The actual facts may be different from what some people thought they saw.
Indeed. There seems to be conflicting reports. The Moscow Times article it mentions an initial report of the explosion being due to a gas canister.

I just can't help thinking that whatever the cause, it may be used as a pretext.
 
Indeed. There seems to be conflicting reports. The Moscow Times article it mentions an initial report of the explosion being due to a gas canister.

I just can't help thinking that whatever the cause, it may be used as a pretext.
It seems it was a disgruntled student:

Attack on Crimea college kills 17

RIP to those killed.

If 118 118 was commenting, I wonder if he'd go on about the inconsistencies and plot holes int the official story.
 
Indeed. There seems to be conflicting reports. The Moscow Times article it mentions an initial report of the explosion being due to a gas canister.

I just can't help thinking that whatever the cause, it may be used as a pretext.
Putin says it was because of "globalisation".
Apparently Russian inadequates with guns are following the decadent Yankee Columbine model of shooting up their school.
This is instead of the approved Russian model for sexual inadequates who are supposed to join the Russian army, shoot up neighbouring countries and rape anything they want to.

Putin objects on the grounds that globalisation is producing a generation of weaker, less malevolent Russian murderers and sex criminals.
 
Putin says it was because of "globalisation".
Apparently Russian inadequates with guns are following the decadent Yankee Columbine model of shooting up their school.
This is instead of the approved Russian model for sexual inadequates who are supposed to join the Russian army, shoot up neighbouring countries and rape anything they want to.

Putin objects on the grounds that globalisation is producing a generation of weaker, less malevolent Russian murderers and sex criminals.
Putin's losing his KGB credentials. Should have had a news blackout and all witnessess in the school and relatives thereof sent to Siberia.

Things like this don't happen in Russia, no sireeeee, albeit it's actually Ukrainian territory which has been invaded.
 

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