Streetwise Professor

May 12, 2014

Kabuki a la Sovok

Filed under: History,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 1:51 pm

The Kabuki dance in Donetsk goes on. The “separatists” announce they are holding a referendum on independence. Putin comes out and says, during a press conference with the head of the OSCE, that he wants them to delay it. The west breathes a sigh of relief. The markets rally.

But this call is not echoed by other Russian officials or on Russian media, and Putin does not repeat it. Separatists feign shock! shock! that Putin has betrayed them.

The referendum goes ahead and-brace yourself-the independence motion is adopted near unanimously with everybody voting. Sometimes more than once! To show how much they desire this, or something.

Within hours of the vote, the separatists ask for Russia to “absorb” the regions of Ukraine  that voted for independence. The Russians don’t come out and immediately say “I do”, but did make cooing noises:

“The preliminary results of the ballot counts convincingly show a real desire on the part of citizens of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for the right to independently make decisions about issues that are vitally important to them,” it said.

It stopped short of advocating independence for the regions or their absorption into Russia, saying: “We believe that the results of the referendum should be brought to life within the framework of dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk.”

But of course the play is not over. But this being Kabuki, the future acts are very predictable. There will be some incident in the Donbass that will mean that Russian lives are at risk, and that fraternal obligations require the Russian Federation to take the newly independent republics under its wing. Or the Russians will do this after the Kiev government refuses to negotiate with the new “people’s republics” (as Russia is sure that it will not, as it cannot): the Russians will rage at how the American dupe fascists are refusing to negotiate with the reasonable people of Donetsk and Lugansk, and that the Russian government is left with no choice but to protect these poor oppressed people from the criminal junta in Kiev and their American overlords.

And the last act-as always-will involve Merkel and Obama and Kerry harumphing and vituperating. And then doing nothing, because nothing is the thing they want to do more than anything. And Vlad will nod and move on to his next target. Transnistria. Or the rest of “Novarossiya”. Or both. The end.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Wow, that Putin is some kind of Machiavelli.

    Comment by So? — May 12, 2014 @ 6:33 pm

  2. Professor, let me ask your opinion about another area of the US vs. Russia conflict: Syria, where the Al Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL ultra-terrorists, backed by the USA, are fighting against the government, backed by Russia. Now that Homs has been liberated by the government forces, do you think the forces, backed by the USA, will diminish the number of murders and crucifications of Christians and Kurds? How committed is the American elite to the extermination of Christians, Kurds and Shiites in Syria?

    Christians ‘Crucified Again’ for Refusing Islam

    To the awe of its readership, a recent Daily Mail article reports that the “jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant [ISIL],” which is currently entrenched in Raqqa, Syria, “publicly crucified two Syrian rebels in northeastern Syria in revenge for a grenade attack on members of their group.”

    Consider the atrocities earlier committed in Ma‘loula, Syria, an ancient Christian village where the inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, the language of Christ.

    According to recent Arabic news media, “a Syrian nun testified to the Vatican news agency that some Christians in Ma‘loula were crucified for refusing to convert to Islam or pay jizya” (tribute subjugated Christians are required to pay to their Islamic conquerors in order to exist as Christians, per Koran 9:29).

    Genocide Watch

    Syria’s Civil War Comes to the Kurds
    19 August 2013

    Local authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan received a shock earlier this week when the normal flow of refugees from northern Syria suddenly spiked to 10,000 people crossing in a single day. Words like “unprecedented” are now being used to describe this surge of mostly Kurdish people escaping from Syria, and NGO and local government workers in Iraqi Kurdistan are struggling to cope with the numbers.

    There have been several reports of Islamist attacks on Kurdish towns and militias in the area. During one such attack this week, 17 people were killed in the strategic border town of Ras al-Ain. Other reports, such as a Russia Today article from August 9, detail a more comprehensive terror campaign by Islamists in the Kurdish-majority areas of northeastern Syria, one where targeted rapes, kidnappings, and murders are becoming commonplace. The article provides an individual’s account of an attack on a Kurdish town by brigades from the Free Syria Army, the al-Nusra Front, and perhaps most interestingly – the Islamic State of Iraq
    and the Levant (ISIL).

    One theory is that the Islamists are resentful of Syrian Kurds because they have largely remained on the sidelines of the fight against the al-Assad government. Adding to the credibility of this interpretation is the fact that the Syrian Kurds currently represent somewhat of an easy target, one that could potentially unite the disparate elements of the insurgency in the wake of a series of military defeats by the Syrian government.

    Syrian Kurds Flee War to Neighboring Iraq

    19 August 2013

    BEIRUT — An estimated 30,000 Syria refugees, most of them Kurds, have fled in the last three days to Kurdistan areas of Iraq or on the border waiting to be allowed access, according to United Nations aid officials.

    Syria: As Rebels Escalate Genocide Against Kurds, Obama Prepares Air Strikes to Bring Them to Power

    Kurds Under Brutal Attack by U.S. Backed Rebels


    To the anger of the American Republican Party, Obama decided NOT to bring the Islamic extremists to power in Syria last year. But how long can you and your fellow Republicans tolerate this situation, where some minor (by Republican standards) factors (such as not wanting to turn Syria into a terrorist haven and heaven and sentimental reticence towards a wholesale genocide against millions of Christians, Kurds and Shiites) prevent the USA from achieving its ubiquitous, overriding foreign policy goal: going to any length just to spite Russia? Do you pray that in 2016 the Republicans will regain the White House and finally facilitate the extermination of Christians and Kurds in order to spite Russia, and of Shiites in order to spite Iran?

    Comment by vladislav — May 13, 2014 @ 3:48 am

  3. Wow, that Putin is some kind of Machiavelli.

    How naive. All the best KGB guys are. You don’t rise to the top in a kleptocracy without those kinds of gangsta skillzzzz.

    Comment by Methinks — May 13, 2014 @ 5:43 am

  4. How would little Vova score on the Mach IV personality test. He is so duplicitous one would have to administer sodium pentothal before administering the test. By his standards The Prince was a bastion of honesty and ethics destined for Sainthood.

    MACH-IV (Test of Machiavellianism)
    To what extent do each of the following statements accurately describe you? Please indicate the degree to which you personally agree or disagree with each of the following statements by choosing a number from the scale below that reflects your opinion.

    1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=neutral, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree

    1) Never tell anyone the real reason you did something unless it is useful to do so.
    1 2 3 4 5
    2) The best way to handle people is to tell them what they want to hear.
    1 2 3 4 5
    3) One should take action only when sure it is morally right.
    1 2 3 4 5
    4) Most people are basically good and kind.
    1 2 3 4 5
    5) It is safest to assume that all people have a vicious streak and it will come out when they are given a chance.
    1 2 3 4 5
    6) Honesty is the best policy in all cases.
    1 2 3 4 5
    7) There is no excuse for lying to someone else.
    1 2 3 4 5
    8) Generally speaking, people won’t work hard unless they’re forced to do so.
    1 2 3 4 5
    9) All in all, it is better to be humble and honest than to be important and dishonest.
    1 2 3 4 5
    10) When you ask someone to do something for you, it is best to give the real reasons for wanting it rather than giving reasons which carry more weight.
    1 2 3 4 5
    11) Most people who get ahead in the world lead clean, moral lives.
    1 2 3 4 5
    12) Anyone who completely trusts anyone else is asking for trouble.
    1 2 3 4 5
    13) The biggest difference between most criminals and other people is that the criminals are stupid enough to get caught.
    1 2 3 4 5
    14) Most people are brave.
    1 2 3 4 5
    15) It is wise to flatter important people.
    1 2 3 4 5
    16) It is possible to be good in all respects.
    1 2 3 4 5
    17) P.T. Barnum was wrong when he said that there’s a sucker born every minute.
    1 2 3 4 5
    18) It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there.
    1 2 3 4 5
    19) People suffering from incurable diseases should have the choice of being put painlessly to death.
    1 2 3 4 5
    20) Most people forget more easily the death of their parents than the loss of their property.
    1 2 3 4 5

    Comment by pahoben — May 13, 2014 @ 5:58 am

  5. Vova exiles his wife to a monastery after he gets his young girl friend pregnant. His daughters hate him and he threatens to use Ukrainian women and children as human shields for Russian troops (Слушай внимательно he says in that odd clipped voice and we did). Machiavelli couldn’t imagine a politician as low as Vova.

    Comment by pahoben — May 13, 2014 @ 7:00 am

  6. No he couldn’t, only because a state that existed from funds on the resources exported had not been invented. I think it was Bernard Levin who stated no representation without taxation: that is the Russian state oil money and resources funding a kleptocracy that uses the disaster that is Russian history to divert the attention of the people. A Venezuelan President called Oil the Devil’s excrement: Putinism is the poisonous mushroom grown in it.

    Comment by Sotos — May 13, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

  7. Pahoben,

    That test is gold! However, self reporting is a scam, alas.

    Comment by So? — May 13, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

  8. P.S.
    Every state is a police state by definition. Otherwise it’s a failed state. Witness Ukraine.

    Comment by So? — May 13, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  9. @So

    I am not sure what the test designers were thinking. A self administered test for Machiavellians does have potential design issues. Kinda like asking a pathological liar if he is a pathological liar.

    Comment by pahoben — May 14, 2014 @ 4:23 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress