OLEG SENTSOV JAILED: WELL, WE ALL KNOW HOW IT IS..

Vladimir Putin has jailed a promising filmmaker, a Ukrainian, for protesting against his ‘illicit’ annexation of Crimea, a province that was part of Ukraine until last year.

Oleg Sontsov, 39, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for ‘plotting arson attacks/attacks’ on ‘Russian’ interests in Crimea.

Well, we all know how it is.

Sentsov, like many others protesting peacefully, in their own possible ways, amid a growing Russian interference in Crimea, were helping the Ukrainian establishment there.

It is immaterial whether the world knows who is Sentsov. What matters is Putinism has had no dents so far, after Russian started facing financial troubles. Incarceration and prosecution of people like Sentsov or members of Pussy Riot or Alexei Navalny or many others or expulsion of the likes of Mikhail Khodorkovsky – Vladimir Putin has, so far, effectively crushed the pro-democracy and anti-Putin voices.

And he has ruthless in his pursuit.

Russia or the central, focal entity of the erstwhile USSR, has been under firm grip of Vladimir Putin since 2000. And going by the years so far, Putin is not going to leave Russia. He was, first, President for two terms. Then he became the Russian Prime Minister, installing a puppet President, thus wielding the real power.

To perpetuate his grip further, he manipulated the Russian Constitution and returned as President again, with increased number of years to his tenure – ‘his’ tenure because Putinism looks set to rule Russia as long as Vladimir Putin is there.

Russia initially revelled with Putin. After all, he had taken the centre stage of Russian politics after a prolonged political unrest that made the country’s social-economic condition a mess. Putin brought order. Driven by strong supply of ‘oil and gas’ money, Russian thought, Putin pushed the country again to the league of forefront nations.

The source of that spirit started drying up with global economic recession. Falling ‘oil prices’ started straining Russian financial streams that gradually gripped the whole country.

And with it, Putinism started unveiling itself. The ‘liberator’ of the Russian population soon found ‘catalysts’ to shed his ‘revivalist’ tag. And today, Vladimir Putin, is a full-time dictator – strengthening his grip on Russia with each passing year – crushing protests – removing/suppressing voices. And oil prices remained muted all this while – dragging Russia in an economic situation where its ‘heavily energy export’ economy had no alternative plans to cushion itself.

Oil prices are still low, and in fact, are projected to slide down to historically low levels, with China slowing down.

But Putin is as busy in devising ways to scuttle voices back home – as he was always. He tries to buy them. He tries to co-opt them. He intimidates them. He silences them.

Annexing Crimea was an important ploy that diverted Russian population’s attention from growing economic failures of his model – a haphazard mess that failed to work beyond a point. By humiliating Ukraine with snatching Crimea from it, Putin bought some support back home.

But Putinism knows such measures are not long lasting, especially when Russia is facing sanctions again – coupled with already low oil prices.

So, he has to keep his fangs sharp always – employing tools to further his dictatorial rule. Sentencing of activists like Oleg Sentsov are just one from his stable.

And what emboldens him is the fact that Russia may not be a big economy now, but it remains among the few dreaded military powers of the world with a nuclear stockpile that can wipe out the entire world.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

PUTINISM ON A ROLL WITH A NUCLEAR TONGUE

Okay, Putinism was always on the roll, though with some rough patches intermittently.

But, it seems the 10 days of break from public life has recharged the world’s most powerful dictator to take on the world again, the world efficiently pressed under his boots and the world that he so eagerly wants to dominate, but is incapable of.

The time after his another stage managed coup to continue on top of everything in Russia has not been good, particularly with his deepening adventures in Ukraine.

Though his bravado, enveloped by his machismo, did earn Russia Crimea and pushed Ukraine to a sustained internal war with rebels, it cost Russia heavily as well.

The meekness of the western world, the European countries and the United States of America, allowed Ukraine to be torn apart, and to save their faces, they resorted to the routine of imposing sanctions.

But even this routine step is proving effective and Russia is reeling under its after-effects.

Russian economy is in bad shape and this derailment may prove out a worse nightmare for Putin than the bad days of ‘toned down economic blitzkrieg owing to the low energy prices’.

The world knows the Russian tiger was running fast fuelled by the oil money and Putinism’s genius had no role to play in it.

Oil prices continue to remain low. And with the Ukraine (mis)adventure, the Russian tiger is increasingly find itself in a quagmire with its pace nailed to a ground that is positioned to remain unstable.

Latest figures show the world a ‘rapid economic contraction’ in Russia, a Reuters report says. Rouble has taken a massive hit and domestic consumption is feeling the heat.

Though the Russian leaders say the ‘worst is over’, the same is not shared by the outside world.

The ‘Crimea Act’ had earned Putin and Putinism brownie points in Russia under the garb of patriotism and nationalism. It was after a long time that Putin enjoyed high popularity ratings and it was in the ‘aftermath’ of his Ukraine calculations.

But the continued downward economic spiral, adding to the bad days of the low oil prices, was a potential trigger to darken the prospects of this ‘patriotic’ Putin. To remain larger than life, Putin needs to push his ‘ultra-patriot macho’ image because this only can give him the leverage to blunt the edge of any potential voice against him in Russia.

Now, since he has crushed the political opposition in Russia, he would like to downplay any development that can give voice to the voiceless political opposition in the country.

But, the developments that can voice another round of political opposition as we saw during 2011-12, during his bid on re-election as the next Russian President (for the third term), are beyond his control – the oil prices and the economic sanctions.

The Russian economy is in shambles and Putin cannot do anything about it. But he can do to make it look normalizing. He needs to create the mirrors of diversions and his experience tells the ‘nationalism of a macho’ can handle it better.

So, after the break that gave rise to colourful conspiracy theories like from fathering a love child to ‘ being ousted in a silent coup by a group of powerful anti-Putinism generals’, he got back with a bang charging the world with his nuclear tongue.

After his ‘surfacing up’ act, he ‘warned’ the world that Russia was all set for a ‘nuclear war’ putting its nuclear forces on alert during Crimea annexation. For the first time, in a voice that would sound ‘heroic’ to the Russians, he admitted that Russian soldiers were in Crimea to take care of referendum and annexation.

Next, his ‘machismo’ found friends in many leaders (read autocrats and dictators, including Kim Jong-Un) to celebrate the 70th anniversary of World War II victory (to be celebrated next month, so time to build up further on the propaganda).

And yesterday, after reappearing act of March 16, Putin threatened Denmark. He threatened Denmark to nuke the ‘warships of the Danes’ if they joined the ‘missile defence shield’ of NATO.

!!

Putinism’s nuclear tongue is on a roll and expect more of his ‘ultra-patriotic-nationalistic-machismo’ speak to colour the pages of geopolitics as Putin’s Russia moves ahead with time trying to address it economic woes.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ISIS LED TERROR SURGE AND THE WORLD CUP HEAT: HUMANITY’S PARADOXES ON SWING

ISIS, Iraq Civil War and crisis, Ukraine crisis, Taliban spread, Al Qaeda resurgence and FIFA World Cup 2014 celebrations: Humanity’s paradoxes on swing with maximum display!!

Yes, it is.

Though the crisis hotbeds and the World Cup heat are two different and unrelated issues, the timing is the devil that pushes one to think on these lines, especially for someone who has much to do with the flow of news elements in the global media and thus come to know the developments mostly in the real time.

The information is always there, looking for you. There is bad information and good information. And there is information that is just given a pass. And there are elements that push you to think.

FIFA World Cup is an event having global fan base and is watched with rapt attention on TV broadcast across the world, even in the countries where Football is not a rage, like India.

And the biggest event on Earth is on. It is the time to celebrate its energy, motion and colours. And the fans are doing that.

But the fans in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Ukraine are forced to face a different heat – the heat of terrorism – with mounting toll of civilian deaths – as the global powers keep on deliberating on options to check the spread of the militants affiliated to some of the most terrorizing outfits.

ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/ al-Sham/ the Levant) has taken over the large parts of Northern Iraq including cities of Mosul (Iraq’s second largest city) and Tal Afar. They had also taken Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown (just 150 Kms from Baghdad) but reports say the Iraqi forces have retaken it. As reported, ISIS militants have killed scores of civilians and captured soldiers while moving ahead in Iraq. The run of brutal executions have been shown to the world by the ISIS propaganda videos.

It is said the jihadist ISIS has taken over the Syrian rebellion fighting against the Syrian defense forces. The Al Qaeda offshoot, notorious for its brutality (something that made even the Al Qaeda to disown it, as it is routinely said), has trained combatants among its ranks and their run is spreading fast into the neighbouring Syria.

The following lines from a CBC News report explain the horror ISIS is:

You only have to look at the ruined towns northeast of the Syrian city of Aleppo to understand what happened in Iraq’s Mosul. The names of “martyred” fighters line the walls, alongside invocations to obey Sharia law, through miles of crumpled buildings, rubble and unexploded ammunition. “These people use different names, so if one is defeated the other can claim victory,” says Col. Mohamed Saleh of the Syrian army as he surveys the wreckage of a factory in which 27 of his soldiers were killed. “They call themselves ISIL, al-Nusrah Front, Deach, but they are all the same.” These very same jihadis — which the Syrian forces have been defeating — are now surging towards Baghdad, some of them, perhaps, the very same men who fought Bashar al-Assad’s regime in northern Syria.
(CBC News, June 16, 2014)

Taliban is on surge again in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Taliban factions are challenging the Pakistan and Afghanistan governments with increased terror strikes as we have seen recently. Karachi airport terror strikes or attack on Indian consulate in Herat are just the front line much reported acts. They follow a stream of bloodbath that goes deep. The threatening video and audio messages have increased in frequency, sounding more chilling and menacing.

In Ukraine, dozens of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a separatist attack in the Eastern part of the country demanding secession from Ukraine. Though Russia denies – the mystery around ‘Russia sending tanks to aid Kremlin backed separatists’ remains (as the BBC reports). Yesterday, Russia cut off the Ukraine gas supply putting the nation even in more peril.

And amid all this, the World Cup soccer fever is catching up. Over half of the world’s population is projected to watch it unfolding over a month. The social media trends are rooting for it. And this sense of joy is real. Human psyche needs some free, relaxing moments and watching a challenging World Cup is a treat.

But this joy is clouded and eclipsed by the sudden spread of Humanity’s ruin in many parts of the world when your smartphone flashes the breaking news of a terror strike killing dozens while your favourite player is speeding ahead to score a beautiful goal!

Humanity’s paradoxes on full display!!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AFTER CRIMEA HAS FALLEN..NOW, VIOLENCE ESCALATES IN UKRAINE

PUTINISM ROUNDUP

Ukraine Forces and Pro-Russian Militants Battle Over Local Police Station – New York Times
US Tries to Help Ukraine, Reassure Allies Without Riling Russia – Wall Street Journal
NATO images purport to show Russia ‘ready for combat’ on Ukrainian border – Christian Science Monitor
Russia Plotting for Ukrainian Influence, Not Invasion, Analysts Say – New York Times

Putinism got Crimea delivered to Russia after six decades of a former Russian dictator ‘gifting’ the region to Ukraine.

And this ‘nationalist’ act of the self-serving ultranationalist Vladimir Putin was more than enough to surge his popularity. But as the international affairs analysts say – only delivering Crimea is not going to be helpful for Putin on the question of Ukraine and Russia’s interest in the country.

An active control over the politics of Ukraine is a must for Putinism if Putin wants to remain as popular, as he is now, something, that would be a lethal tool to silence the voice of his opponents in Russia.

A Western control of Ukraine including the European countries is a saleable and lucrative prospect to incite the nationalist feelings for Putinism. Also, strategically – the US looking into the courtyard of Russia – it would be a compromising position for Russia.

The masses’ desire of imperialist growth created Adolf Hitler. Putinism, too, harbours something like that, a Eurasian vision of a Russia centric geopolitical chunk.

Without Ukraine, that vision is as bogus as the claims of Russia being a democratic country.

And so, after taking over Crimea, as expected, Putinism is on the job to create situations to remain influential in Ukraine.

‘Russia looks ready for combat’, ‘pro-Russian Ukrainians seize buildings, violence grows’, or ‘Russian acts to increase or remain influential in Ukraine, but not aimed at invading the country’ – these points and counterpoints tell what was already in Putinism’s scheme of things when it started for Crimea.

And the spineless response the world community showed in handling the Crimean crisis was enough to push Putin to graduate to the next phase of his scheming immediately after the Crimea victory.

Putinism would do all to sabotage the Ukrainian Presidential elections due on May 25 and so, the violent clashes are going to increase in frequency and scale. Like a puppet government Ukraine had so far, Russia would do all to achieve that.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AFTER CRIMEA HAS FALLEN..

After Crimea has fallen: why Crimea and what next for Putin? – One of the most discussed issues of the global geopolitics these days – haunting the world leaders led by Barack Obama – and the analysts and experts!

While President Obama insisted again on Tuesday that the West would not recognize the annexation of Crimea, officials in the United States and Europe have privately concluded that Crimea is lost and that the real challenge is stopping Russia from further destabilizing Ukraine. – The New York Time, March 25, 2014

The global news media is full of such reports and analyses on the issue.

And every one realises the futility of the global response in the matter with ineffective steps like ‘kicking’ Russia out of the G8.

There has not been consensus on what should be the course of action. A military action was talked just in coded words, an option that never existed.

The most talked about option is (and was) placing economic sanctions given the Russia’s dependence on oil exports. But even here, the EU is (and was) not in favour of putting curbs on Russia’s oil exports as it depends largely on it for its energy needs.

Any economic sanction on Russia minus the measures to control the Russian energy flow out of its territories to Europe and Asia would be a damp squib. And exactly that happened.

And political and social sanctions have never deterred dictators history has shown us. They, instead, enjoy this isolation of the masses, something that enhances the efficiency of their propaganda machinery manifold.

Why Putinism can feel emboldened to spread beyond its Crimean coup has a valid rationale in the way the global community including its lone superpower and other major powers let Mr. Vladimir Putin annex Crimea. This bloodless coup is the perfect example of how spineless the global response can be as we have increasingly seen in recent days – be it in Syria or Bahrain or now in Crimea.

Vladimir Putin was already the ironman of Russia keeping the Russian voice firmly under his grip. Now, that he has virtually decimated every opposition in Russia after his latest stint as the Russian President that began in May 2012, extending his 12 years rule for another 6 years, he is looking for more, it seems.

Since the Year 2000 – it has been so, for the Russians ever since the world’s largest nation (geographically) came to know the President Putin and ever since 2008 when the Russians came to know that Mr. Putin planned to stay perpetually at the top of Russian politics and Russians’ lives.

After effectively routing the justified voices of dissent inside Russia, Putin emerged stronger and the dictator in him might have thought of raising its already fully expanded hood – going beyond Russia, in the name of the Russian pride (with USSR undercurrents) – after all, ultra-nationalism has been a proven tool of dictators to co-opt and buy out the dissenting voices back home.

Yes, there was opposition but he has effectively silenced them. Now he would be looking to consolidate it even further.

Russia saw some huge mass mobilizations against the latest bid of Presidency by Putin that he quelled using a mix of forces that left a deep undercurrent against him in the Russians’ psyche who were aspiring for change. Now, Crimea has given him the chance to win over even this. And he looks getting an upper edge here.

The Crimea trophy has increased his popularity like any thing making the life of his opponents, who still dare to take on him calling for political reforms and steps to introduce true democracies, very, very miserable.

The imperialist act of Putin in Crimea in the name of Russian nationalism has taken his popularity rating to over 70 percent, highest since he returned as the President in 2012.

Though we cannot say that the imperialist in Vladimir Putin is on the verge of getting maniacal, his twisted mind may be working on something like that, as the reports of his further interest in Ukraine say.

Russia, under Putin, has been adopting anti-global community view in cases of dictators. Its latest burning example is Syria. In the name of diplomacy and talks, he helped Bashar al-Assad continue with his repressive regime.

And like a seasoning dictator in the age of global economy, where Russia’s internal prosperity depends much on its oil and gas exports, the Putinims is getting more and more convoluted. He chose to expel his arch rival in the name of amnesty by releasing him from prison, a well thought propaganda exercise to show his ‘good human being’ side to world before the Sochi Winter Olympics. Otherwise the power Putin enjoys could have got Mikhail Khodorkovsky easily disappeared.

And this convoluted Putin is dangerous for humanity. He may be friendly for many countries including India, militarily and economically, but a dictator is always a mercenary for the humanity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CRIMEAN COUP: SCARY, ISN’T IT?

Ukraine crisis: Order breaks down ahead of Crimea vote – BBC
Ukraine leaders vow not to cede land; Russia tightens grip on Crimea – Los Angeles Times
Is Vladimir Putin acting like Hitler? – The Washington Post
Ukraine crisis: Merkel, US warn Putin of Crimea annexation – CBC News
Russian Forces Gain in Ukraine as Separatist Vote Looms – Bloomberg
Ukraine crisis: Chinese president Xi Jinping urges US to show restraint – The Guardian

The latest headlines on the crisis in Ukraine or on Russian act of aggression in Ukraine or the Crimean crisis – a crisis the fate of which looks increasingly settled down in favour of the aggressor

Imperialist expansionism (and the efforts thus – though thwarted) was never dead in global geopolitics. Border controversies and territorial claims have continued unabated. But such orchestrations by a dictator who is one of the most powerful persons in the world and who exercises absolute control over one of the mightiest security establishments with a nuclear arsenal that can wipe out the humanity multiple times from the face of the Earth!!

Scary, isn’t it?

Are we going to go back to the days of realignments of national allegiances and redrawing of nations’ boundaries as happened in the aftermaths of first and second World Wars or during the Cold War?

Yes, writing that is premature and certainly in a globalized world that runs on the borderless world of global economy, the conditions are not conducive for Mr. Putin (and the dictators like him) to practice expansionism as a policy tool.

But it is also equally true that nothing can stop the dictators on thinking and dreaming on such lines.

And when an incident like a hostile aggression of a sovereign nation’s territory ignoring the global outrage against it, like the case of Crimea is going to be, happens so easily, almost like a bloodless (or even if it goes violent – something that doesn’t look like even a distant possibility) coup (yes, it is a coup), it gives dictators wings to go to the next step of their expansionist dreams, irrespective of the ‘geopolitical feasibility’ of that next step.

Crimea is certainly in for Russia. How is it going to shape the Vladimir Putin of the future?

Finding answer to it becomes all the more important by his increasingly visible pro-tyranny, anti-democracy and ant-humanity stand as Russians are experiencing it, as the dying Syrians are witnessing it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

VLADIMIR PUTIN CAN’T DEFLECT HIS CRIMEA AGGRESSION PLOY BY PLAYING AROUND ‘LEGITIMACY’ DEBATE

COUNTERPOINT

Vladimir Putin – Tuesday, March 4, 2014

– While commenting on crisis in Ukraine and global community’s outrage over Russian act of militarily controlling Crimea, a small autonomous region of Ukraine with Russians forming almost 58 per cent of the population of Crimea

“We are often told our actions are illegitimate,” he said. “But when I ask, ‘Do you think everything you do is legitimate?’ they say yes. Our partners, especially in the United States, always clearly formulate their own geopolitical and state interests and follow them with persistence,” he said, making specific reference to U.S. actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. “Then, using the principle ‘You’re either with us or against us,’ they draw the whole world in. And those who do not join in get beaten until they do.”

– The Washington Post

Putin decries the US worldview of conducting the geopolitics, blames Uncle Sam for events in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq and elsewhere the US and its associates are involved, and blames the US and the affiliates of following and perpetuating the double standards.

True, there can be and there are agreeable points in these counterpoints of Mr. Putin. But what lacerate Mr. Putin’s arguments are the facts that none of them, to be blamed by him, are dictators like him, and none of the world powers, alleged by him, are sham democracies, like Russia has become under him.

What also punctures Mr. Putin’s argument here is – he is trying to justify his act of dictatorial aggression of a sovereign nation’s territory – that like his country Russia, is a member of the United Nations, the global body supposed to maintain the international order of peace and stability – by comparing it with the events (or the interventions led by the US and its associates) aimed at overthrowing dictators (like and unlike him) and terrorist regimes.

Yes, it has been a matter of concern that these international interventions couldn’t bring stability in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya but that can never be a pretext for Mr. Putin to justify his expansionist thoughts.

But, we all know, Mr. Putin doesn’t care. In fact, no dictator cares.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHAT CRIMEA COULD BECOME?

Crimea would be. Crimea would not be.

What Crimea could become.

Whether the tiny Ukrainian region with predominantly Russian ethnicity (58% Russian, 24% Ukrainian) becomes a flashpoint for a regional war or a precursor to a full blown global war theatre or an event that would herald a new era of cold war that will have camps dividing the world again, it’s all in the rapidly developing story around Putin and Putinism, now beyond Russia.

A flashpoint needs factors to be placed at different cornerstone loci to become inflicting in its damaging effects. While the placement of the factors is a must, no one can predict about the time-frame of its eruption.

What Crimea would become has its answers in the immediate future with the Crimean Parliament’s decision to join the Russian Federation emboldening Putinim to sharpen its fangs. Putin (and therefore, Russia) is all set to annex Crimea and the response by the concerned big and small daddies of the world order has failed to act as an effective deterrent.

The meek response of the global community including its major powers and superpower to the crude and strong military overtures of Putin militarily cordoning off Crimea taking its effective control even before the symbolic overtures of the Crimean Parliament vote or the proposed referendum on joining Russia on March 16 tells us Crimea could very well become the next distressing signal of the global geopolitical stability.

Because Putin is a strongheaded dictator who exercises his ruthless and unquestioned control over one of the strongest military and nuclear forces in the world.

First Syria, and now Crimea – Putinim can be much more demanding if left unchecked.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/