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Regional geopolitics

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  • Re: Regional geopolitics

    Originally posted by Vrej1915 View Post
    This story seems strange, if not impossible.
    This strange, vague, and rather dubious story originated in Greek newspaper reports and message boards last year.

    http://www.enet.gr/?i=issue.el.home&...-15&s=istorika

    Taking old newspaper clippings at face value is not research or investigation.



    Since Greece's economy became a basket-case, its population (on-line ones anyway) seems to have again started dreaming irredentist dreams of that lost Greater Greece. They are even borrowing and recycling old Armenian material. Look here: http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=385632 Vereshchagin's 1871 painting "Apotheosis of War", much beloved in Armenian propaganda produced in the 1920s to the 1950s as a photograph of real dead Armenians murdered by Turks, is here claimed to be real dead Greeks murdered by Ataturk.
    Last edited by bell-the-cat; 03-05-2014, 08:23 AM.
    Plenipotentiary meow!

    Comment


    • Re: Regional geopolitics

      Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
      Vrej countries do not join unions for short term economic gains. The Eurasion union is a long term project and has real benefits for Armenia in the long term. Sure Russia is dominant in our relations but this relationship is far better for Armenia than any of our alternatives. I teach economics so i do know a few things about it-the opportunity cost of us not going along with Russia's plan is much too high-Russia will make sure that we understand this if people like you have a hard time doing so now. As for Ukraine it seems this country will be split into pieces-it already is.
      So from what you said, the only "benefit" of joining is if we don't Russia "will make sure we understand"

      But can you explain what the benefits actually might be? And how those benefits outweigh the costs, which at this point are significant increase in inflation, and becoming entirely dependent on Russian goods, and given Russian producers essentially a monopoly on the Armenian market. You and others in favor of it, keep speaking of these benefits, whether short term or long term, but nobody, not even the Armenian Government can explain what they are. Meanwhile, the negatives of it are openly out there for all to see.

      And yes, not joining a union that increasing the prices of 75% of your goods seems to be a much better advantage than joining a union.
      <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>

      Comment


      • Re: Regional geopolitics

        Originally posted by Vrej1915 View Post
        Do these people have the right to leave out of Russian control? or is it forbidden, they are condemned to remain slaves?
        Exactly
        whether you believe what's happening in Ukraine is because of foreign meddling or not, the pro-Russia crowd needs to ask themselves a question: Is there any situation where you find it acceptable that Ukraine can have a government that wants to remain sovereign, and not be a puppet regime? Is it ever acceptable that Ukraine can have a foreign policy not aligned with Russia? Because I think a lot of the pro-Russia crowd deep down cannot comprehend such a reality, that if Ukraine ever wanted to be independent, it would unacceptable
        <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>

        Comment


        • Re: Regional geopolitics

          Mher you are under the impression that Ukraine is one country but pretty much everyone here and even the western media has pointed out that is it not. Different parts of the country people want different things. I do not think Ukraine will be able to be united after these events and it will either be divided between the powers fighting over it now or Russia will take the whole thing and still the country will be divided...What people like Vrej fail to understand is again the opportunity cost which means your alternative basically is costlier then the course Armenia has chosen. If we somehow move away from Russian orbit then what is the likely scenario (opportunity cost)? Well this is what seems to be the tripping point for peeps here who claim Armenia has other options.. well lets look at the other options shall we? Jump into bed with the west is one option..so lets look at the countries that did this and when we do we see that they have fallen prey to western imperial powers which have bankrupt them and destroyed their countries..look at Greece or any of the other eastern European countries who went to the west and are broke now..you think this is an accident..well no it is not, you see the west is a imperial format also and it preys on these smaller weaker countries and not just in europe but in middle east, Africa, Asia..They make the Russians look like humanitarians by comparison. Now add to this the fact that leaving Russian orbit means losing its protection thus now we are at the mercy of the either the Turk or Iran so now you see that leaving Russian orbit in no way implies freedom but instead it means subjugation by another imperial power...now ask yourself if being in Turky's or Iran's orbit is better than being in Russian orbit? Now we know full well what being ruled by the Turk is like(perhaps some have forgotten or were not taught) but i think the conensus is no and it should be hell no-now lets look at Iran which is a theocracy built on islam-while Iran is very hospitable compared to other muslim countries for Armenians, i do not see many picking it over Russia. This is what i mean by opportunity cost being too high..our alternatives are far worst. Thinking like Vrej is exactly what prompted the genocide..yes lets rebel and demand freedom while we have no way of either achieving it nor maintaining it..all this does is expose us as easy opportunity to be taken advantage of. You think the west will protect us..lol... they are waiting for the opportunity to feast on our corpses much like the article posted above. It is painfully obvious people like Vrej and many others have not learned the lessons of history. I do not advocate staying in the Russian orbit because i love Russia..i advocate it because it is our only rational option. As for the customs union here Armenia really does have strong opportunities in the long term. These opportunities stem from its Unique climate and topography when compared to other Custom union countries. We have both absolute and comparative advantages in some fields which will make us either the sole supplier of some goods(cogniac) or one of the very few suppliers of others(some electronic/software..) If you look at the most basic and the most true measure of opportunity which is a simple supply and demand chart you will understand that Armenia will be the sole or one of very few suppliers facing a huge market with a huge demand for its goods. This is no theory or hypothesis that i nor anyone else conjured up..it is a fact with precedent to soviet era. Now do you see how this can benefit Armenia? Yes i am a strong advocate for Armenia to remain in Russian orbit but this course of action i advocate only because it is in the best interest of Armenia to do so not as Vrej likes to babble about blind russophillia bs. Call names all you like ..the facts speak for themselves so long as you see them.
          Hayastan or Bust.

          Comment


          • Re: Regional geopolitics

            09:29 05/03/2014 » ANALYSIS
            Unelected power: Democracy on the retreat in Europe

            By Neil Clark
            From RT

            Genuine people’s power is on the retreat in Europe, and it's under attack from those who most loudly claim to be “democrats.”

            Last week we saw the unelected EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, meeting the new unelected Ukrainian “president,” Aleksandr Turchynov, who came to power following a violent overthrow of that country's democratically elected president – with the rebellion backed by the EU.

            The hailing of a foreign-backed coup d’état in a country where fresh elections were only 12 months away as a “victory for democracy” was truly Orwellian. The wishes of the 2 million people who marched against the Iraq war in London in February 2003 were arrogantly dismissed, but the protesters in Maidan, though far fewer in number, simply had to have their way.

            Ukraine, though a dramatic example, is not the only European country where democracy has been suspended in recent years.

            In February, Matteo Renzi became Italy's third successive unelected prime minister. You've actually got to back as far as 2008 for the last time an Italian prime minister was democratically chosen by the Italian people.

            From November 2011 until May 2012, Greece also had an unelected prime minister, Lucas Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank.

            In Hungary, the unelected businessman Gordon Bajnai was the country's prime minister from 2009 to 2010.

            You'd have thought there would have been a massive outcry about these undemocratic developments in three EU member states, but there wasn't – at least certainly not from the European elites.

            What's going on? Why is democracy now on life support in Europe, that's if it isn't dead already?

            The economic changes which have occurred in the last 30 years or so have played a major part.

            The era of neoliberalism has seen political power shifted from ordinary people to the 1 percent. Today, even in European countries where the prime minister has been elected, governments follow policies aimed to suit and please the all-powerful global financial elites, as they know that if they upset them, they are likely to be forced from power. The introduction of the Euro as a single currency has undoubtedly made things worse, but even outside it, for example in Britain, democracy has been adversely affected by the impact of turbo-globalization.

            The main parties of the left and right have become neoliberal and as friendly to capital as they possibly can. At elections we're faced with a choice between parties offering hard-core austerity and privatization, slightly less hard-core austerity and privatization and reasonably hard-core austerity and privatization. Yes, parties which offer real alternatives, such as George Galloway's Respect Party in Britain, do exist, but they are deliberately marginalized with their leaders branded as “extremists” and routinely smeared by establishment gatekeepers.

            The reality is that only parties which accept neoliberalism can be considered for government and only politicians who genuflect to big business and finance capital can be considered for prime minister. The links between big business and government keeps on getting closer and as a consequence democracy is smothered. We saw a clear example of that in Ukraine, where the new 'democratic' administration in Kiev announced the appointment of two billionaire oligarchs to govern industrial regions in the east of the country.

            It's all very different to how things were 40 and 50 years ago. Back then, western European voters had a real choice of alternatives: Socialism, De Gaulleism, social democracy, old-style Christian Democracy, communism, and traditional conservatism were all on the menu for us to choose from. Politics was interesting as there were real differences between the parties- and proper grown-up debate about important issues. Instead of bland technocrats in identikit suits, simply doing whatever keeps Goldman Sachs happy we had charismatic, conviction politicians who inspired their people with their visions for their country – the likes of De Gaulle, Kreisky and Palme. The trend was for greater democratization, not less: in the mid to late 70s, probably, the high water mark of democracy in western Europe, Spain, Portugal and Greece all returned to democracy after years of dictatorship.

            It's interesting to reflect on what was possible in the pre-neoliberal era.

            Forty years ago in Britain, voters elected a Labour government pledged to bring about “a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favor of working people and their families.” They succeeded in reducing the gap between rich and poor to its lowest in British history. The Labour governments of 1974-79 extended public ownership, put the top rate of income tax up to 83 percent and introduced a state earnings related second pension. If we compare the truly socialist Labour manifesto of February 1974 with the far from socialist one of 2010 we can see how much things have changed. (And we shouldn't expect the 2015 Labour manifesto to be much different either). As I mentioned in my last Op-Ed piece in the 1979 Austrian General Election, Socialist Chancellor Bruno Kreisky said he'd rather his government run up a deficit than people lose their jobs. As a result, the Socialists were re-elected with 51 percent of the vote.

            Of course, there were flaws even before the neoliberal era, but as a whole, governments reflected majority public opinion much more than they do today. This democratic age was a period of great advances for ordinary people, who saw their living standards rise by the fastest rate in history. In the famous words of British Conservative Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, people had “never had it so good.”

            Woe betide the European government today that dares to “do a Kreisky” and put the interests of its people ahead of bankers and foreign capital. Just look at the opprobrium heaped on Hungary, whose democratically-elected government has been trying to bring its energy sector back into public ownership to bring down prices. The Hungarian government received a letter from the EU attacking its policies in October. European Union energy spokesperson Marlene Holzner gave Hungary a lecture, warning that their plans to cut prices would deter foreign investors: If the consumer price fails to reflect the actual price businesses will likely not enter this market because of the expected low profit.

            Since the 1980s, and particularly in the last decade, European politics has become Americanized. Important topics like renationalization are deemed “off limits” but we are allowed – in fact encouraged – to talk and debate issues that in no way adversely affect the bankocracy or elite interests, such as same sex-marriage reform.

            As in America, we're persuaded by the elite to fight culture wars, so that we don't have the time and energy to fight the elite. We used to joke about how little difference there was between Democrats and Republicans, how they were just two wings of the same pro-big business party and be thankful that in Europe we did have more choice. Little did we think that one day European politics would be the same.

            The EU, for all its spiel about “promoting democracy” has, like the US's badly misnamed National Endowment for Democracy, played a key part in destroying genuine democracy. All over the continent people are protesting over Troika-imposed austerity programs, but there is no establishment support for the protestors in Western Europe, even though they have been much more peaceful than their Maidan counterparts.

            We saw a classic example of the EU's contempt for democracy when the people of the Republic of Ireland had the temerity to vote 'No' to the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum in June 2008. Ireland was pressurized to hold another vote, a year later. The EU approach is if you don't vote the 'right' way, ie the way we want, you have to keep on voting until you do. “Just look what happens when we vote No,” bemoaned anti-Lisbon campaigner Eugene Gorman, “They make us vote again!”

            Also note the attacks on democratic non-EU member Switzerland for having a referendum on immigration and voting for curbs. The European elite were furious. How dare a country in Europe ask its people directly what to do? “The Swiss have damaged themselves with this result. The fair cooperation we have had in the past with Switzerland also includes observing the central fundamental decisions taken by the EU,” warned German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned that the EU would have to review its relationship with Switzerland.

            The point about the Swiss referendum is not whether we agree with immigration curbs, but whether we believe countries have the right to make their own decisions on this and other issues. But today's European elite hates countries – and the people of those countries – deciding for themselves. In February EU Commission vice-president Viviane Reding questioned whether British people would be able to make an “informed decision” on EU membership.

            The greatest irony is that as Europe has become less democratic so European elites have become more vocal in lecturing others on democracy. “Democracy promotion” has been become a big business at a time when people power has been snuffed out at home.

            Only a radical reform of the EU, or its total abolition, together with the ditching of the neoliberal model which transfers political power from the ballet box to the wallet, can reverse the damaging trends. For if the organization which dominates Europe and the economic system under which the continent operates is fundamentally undemocratic, how on earth can genuine democracy exist?
            By panorama. Am

            Comment


            • Re: Regional geopolitics

              Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
              I do not advocate staying in the Russian orbit because i love Russia..i advocate it because it is our only rational option. As for the customs union here Armenia really does have strong opportunities in the long term. These opportunities stem from its Unique climate and topography when compared to other Custom union countries. We have both absolute and comparative advantages in some fields which will make us either the sole supplier of some goods(cogniac) or one of the very few suppliers of others(some electronic/software..) If you look at the most basic and the most true measure of opportunity which is a simple supply and demand chart you will understand that Armenia will be the sole or one of very few suppliers facing a huge market with a huge demand for its goods. This is no theory or hypothesis that i nor anyone else conjured up..it is a fact with precedent to soviet era. Now do you see how this can benefit Armenia? Yes i am a strong advocate for Armenia to remain in Russian orbit but this course of action i advocate only because it is in the best interest of Armenia to do so not as Vrej likes to babble about blind russophillia bs. Call names all you like ..the facts speak for themselves so long as you see them.
              Impressed by your flash back and marxist-leninist economy vision. Your students must be very lucky!
              Are you serious????
              Is your vision for 2014, or 1964 ???

              Let me ask you 2 questions, expecting 2 simple , short, but concrete answers, not blabla smokeskscreen about bads and wrongs of capitalism and liberalism:
              1- Why do we not export more cognac, than what we do today? Is it a problem of demand?
              2- How is Armenia supposed to be an electronics, high tech supplier for basically Russia: with who's technology, who's capital, and why this power is supposed to invest in Armenia, nowdays, not in 1970s??? If by any wild guess, this is supposed to be Russia: how comes, that MARS (the most valuable high tech asset of Armenia, inherited from the CCCP, and furnished by yet non out of date made in Japan installations, ceded for kopeks in a bargain of 100 Million debt against property to Russia a decade ago during Kocharian years), Russia acquired among other xxxells of our industry, is standing idlle since russian take-over, for a decade, loosing the small competitive value they may had.... contrary to all commitments and promises, Russia was supposed to implement??

              Comment


              • Re: Regional geopolitics

                Originally posted by Mher View Post
                Do you think there's a chance Putin gives up on his Eurasian Dream
                No.
                He must be forced to.
                The way he presents things, it would look as a disgrace for him.
                The importance here, is more the killing of the project's effective success (new empire, and loss and of our independence), rather than official burial ceremony.

                ------
                PS: not all success stories are real ones on a longer range:
                Exemples:

                Chetchnya:
                Seemingly, Russia won the game, and kept the region.
                On the ground, before 1989, all the plain, North of Grozny was inhabited by Russians and other Christian minorities, among others 15.000 Armenians. Russians alone made more than 30% of the population.
                Today, there are no more Christians left. The country is 99% muslim, and > 95% Chechen.
                Christian Orthodox Russia's state budget paid for hundred of brand new shining Bolis style blue mosques, and continues to do so. Extremist islamist nationalist Chechen guy is basically in power, sponsored by Putin. Today, He is under Putin Orders, he sents mercenery to Ossetia, but tomorrow....
                Most of Northern Caucasus was peacefull, today islamists are at the door of Sochi, Turkey talks of Genocide commited by Russia in the XIX cent officially, all day, from Aljazira... Makhatchkala is a far west of islamists, they do bomb Volgograds train station every now and then....
                Did Russia win on a long range, if you compare images of 1989 and 2014???

                Georgia:
                When Sahakashvili came to power, Russia tried to bribe him, basically offering (by betrayal of its local clients, relying on Russia's promises) Adjaria and Javakhk: flop...
                Then 888: what did he won at the end of the day? A hard to control, grey zone, failed state Georgia, but yet at his mercy, was exchanged against what he already had in his pocket: Abkhazia and S Ossetia, but the rest went directly, 100% in US hands.
                the net gain for Russia, today, compared to 7/8/8 must be less than 1000 Km2.... (Godor gorge in Abkhazia and territory arround Tskhinval, tamarashen...)
                Is it really such a big success??

                Ukrain:
                If at the end of the day, all what Russia must keep from Ukrain is Khrim.... will it be a success?
                In 1991, if only Yeltsin asked anybody, Ukrainians, or the West, for Khrim to accept the independance of Ukrain.... they would have gave him not only Khrim, but Kharkov and a big Thank You, with a smile....

                Comment


                • Re: Regional geopolitics

                  Originally posted by Vrej1915 View Post
                  No.
                  He must be forced to.
                  The way he presents things, it would look as a disgrace for him.
                  The importance here, is more the killing of the project's effective success (new empire, and loss and of our independence), rather than official burial ceremony.

                  ------
                  PS: not all success stories are real ones on a longer range:
                  Exemples:

                  Chetchnya:
                  Seemingly, Russia won the game, and kept the region.
                  On the ground, before 1989, all the plain, North of Grozny was inhabited by Russians and other Christian minorities, among others 15.000 Armenians. Russians alone made more than 30% of the population.
                  Today, there are no more Christians left. The country is 99% muslim, and > 95% Chechen.
                  Christian Orthodox Russia's state budget paid for hundred of brand new shining Bolis style blue mosques, and continues to do so. Extremist islamist nationalist Chechen guy is basically in power, sponsored by Putin. Today, He is under Putin Orders, he sents mercenery to Ossetia, but tomorrow....
                  Most of Northern Caucasus was peacefull, today islamists are at the door of Sochi, Turkey talks of Genocide commited by Russia in the XIX cent officially, all day, from Aljazira... Makhatchkala is a far west of islamists, they do bomb Volgograds train station every now and then....
                  Did Russia win on a long range, if you compare images of 1989 and 2014???

                  Georgia:
                  When Sahakashvili came to power, Russia tried to bribe him, basically offering (by betrayal of its local clients, relying on Russia's promises) Adjaria and Javakhk: flop...
                  Then 888: what did he won at the end of the day? A hard to control, grey zone, failed state Georgia, but yet at his mercy, was exchanged against what he already had in his pocket: Abkhazia and S Ossetia, but the rest went directly, 100% in US hands.
                  the net gain for Russia, today, compared to 7/8/8 must be less than 1000 Km2.... (Godor gorge in Abkhazia and territory arround Tskhinval, tamarashen...)
                  Is it really such a big success??

                  Ukrain:
                  If at the end of the day, all what Russia must keep from Ukrain is Khrim.... will it be a success?
                  In 1991, if only Yeltsin asked anybody, Ukrainians, or the West, for Khrim to accept the independance of Ukrain.... they would have gave him not only Khrim, but Kharkov and a big Thank You, with a smile....
                  You missed important points here Vrej. The hand of west in blackmailing and promoting muslim extremizm into russia. Trying to shatter russian territories to small pieces in order to weaken that country. The plan, to take controll of russian resurses. Demolish russian resistance to western advances.
                  If Yeltsin was still in charge and in power , muslim insurgency would be not in caucasus but in Krasnodar and into heartland.
                  Looking Into scenario, i can say that Armenia is one of the beneficiaries of Putin's containment of chechnia. Otherwise, Like the first Artsakh war shows, after controlling north caucasus, extremsts attention (yes the link you are talking about turkey/azerbaijan and chechen/muslim extremists is putting it mild) would turn on us.
                  You are missing on part of US provoking georgia -russia war by supplying and encuraging sahakashvilli. After Putin took Abkhazia the benefit to Armenian community there, who faught against geogian nationalism. Good job Putin LOL.
                  You seem to disregard (the western propaganda too) the desire of eastern ukrainians to be with russia. It's like Artsakh wanting to free itself from azerbaijan (going close to turkey) and to join Armenia.
                  You see, the format you try to measure whatever happened with russia in past 20 years has no value for russians. It has meaning only for western propaganda or locals like Igor Mouradian, but Putin couldnt care less.

                  Comment


                  • Re: Regional geopolitics

                    Originally posted by Hakob View Post
                    You missed important points here Vrej. The hand of west in blackmailing and promoting muslim extremizm into russia. Trying to shatter russian territories to small pieces in order to weaken that country. The plan, to take controll of russian resurses. Demolish russian resistance to western advances.
                    If Yeltsin was still in charge and in power , muslim insurgency would be not in caucasus but in Krasnodar and into heartland.
                    Looking Into scenario, i can say that Armenia is one of the beneficiaries of Putin's containment of chechnia. Otherwise, Like the first Artsakh war shows, after controlling north caucasus, extremsts attention (yes the link you are talking about turkey/azerbaijan and chechen/muslim extremists is putting it mild) would turn on us.
                    You are missing on part of US provoking georgia -russia war by supplying and encuraging sahakashvilli. After Putin took Abkhazia the benefit to Armenian community there, who faught against geogian nationalism. Good job Putin LOL.
                    You seem to disregard (the western propaganda too) the desire of eastern ukrainians to be with russia. It's like Artsakh wanting to free itself from azerbaijan (going close to turkey) and to join Armenia.
                    You see, the format you try to measure whatever happened with russia in past 20 years has no value for russians. It has meaning only for western propaganda or locals like Igor Mouradian, but Putin couldnt care less.
                    Dear,
                    You did not get my point.
                    Of course the West is reponsnible for the muslim extremism's expension.
                    It was the original plan, since the Iranian revolution of 79/Afkanistan, etc...

                    What I was saying, is that victories are sometimes not as shiny as propaganda may present.
                    Same is true for the Western victories in ME, etc....
                    The fact that the fire ignited in North Kavkaz needed to be dealt with is evident, no question about that.
                    The strategy employed leaves me perplex.
                    Wasn't there any other option, than Kadyrov's bunch of islamists?
                    On a medium term, the outcome will still be considered a success for Russia?

                    An other instance, on Khrim.
                    Russia (having all effective contol on the ground, even if nominally the peninsula is under Kiev's rule), with its short sighted need of brotherhood pretention with Turkey, did permit the return of Tatars in the peninsula (no talk of Ukrain, where they are ready to fire bullets in their own feet, provided it might hurt Russia, and anyway, Khrim being not their's....), on large scale, for the last 2 decades.
                    Result, from virtually nill, their proportinal share passed to 12-18% today, in less than 20 years.
                    If this policy goes, and natural growth trends well known, not hard to guess who will be relative majority in 2050...

                    Concerning the wider Russia/West confrontation and Western plots:
                    It is evident, that when you pretend to play superpower, you get the bill accordingly....
                    A lot might have changed, if turning the page of their supreme glory, the Russians do what the French, or Brits did, (without having lost the WWII for the Brits), admit a regional power status, rather than a super one...
                    While Russia did lost the Cold War....
                    It wasn't evident for the Brits, and some still love to think, they are the real masterminds of Anglo Saxia....

                    Empires Go up and down.
                    The US is already at the start of its own declining trend too...
                    The rising China will decline too one day...
                    But Russia's all might day is definitely over, at least for this cycle.
                    Sad for a Russian, but true.

                    Comment


                    • Re: Regional geopolitics

                      Originally posted by Vrej1915 View Post
                      Dear,
                      You did not get my point.
                      Of course the West is reponsnible for the muslim extremism's expension.
                      It was the original plan, since the Iranian revolution of 79/Afkanistan, etc...

                      What I was saying, is that victories are sometimes not as shiny as propaganda may present.
                      Same is true for the Western victories in ME, etc....
                      The fact that the fire ignited in North Kavkaz needed to be dealt with is evident, no question about that.
                      The strategy employed leaves me perplex.
                      Wasn't there any other option, than Kadyrov's bunch of islamists?
                      On a medium term, the outcome will still be considered a success for Russia?

                      An other instance, on Khrim.
                      Russia (having all effective contol on the ground, even if nominally the peninsula is under Kiev's rule), with its short sighted need of brotherhood pretention with Turkey, did permit the return of Tatars in the peninsula (no talk of Ukrain, where they are ready to fire bullets in their own feet, provided it might hurt Russia, and anyway, Khrim being not their's....), on large scale, for the last 2 decades.
                      Result, from virtually nill, their proportinal share passed to 12-18% today, in less than 20 years.
                      If this policy goes, and natural growth trends well known, not hard to guess who will be relative majority in 2050...

                      Concerning the wider Russia/West confrontation and Western plots:
                      It is evident, that when you pretend to play superpower, you get the bill accordingly....
                      A lot might have changed, if turning the page of their supreme glory, the Russians do what the French, or Brits did, (without having lost the WWII for the Brits), admit a regional power status, rather than a super one...
                      While Russia did lost the Cold War....
                      It wasn't evident for the Brits, and some still love to think, they are the real masterminds of Anglo Saxia....

                      Empires Go up and down.
                      The US is already at the start of its own declining trend too...
                      The rising China will decline too one day...
                      But Russia's all might day is definitely over, at least for this cycle.
                      Sad for a Russian, but true.
                      That is why russia has been compared to Bear. Crude, unorganized in a way, autocratic and in my opinion predictable.
                      I was much more uncomfortable with the fact of how we had high hopes on western support and justice for Armenia's future especially before scheduled signing of euroassociation agreements. At least sort of an understanding of how much dangers we would be facing in order to embrace west and at least giving some guarantees. But untill this day cannot see clear cut approach to future from west for our state and structure for us to depend in our straggles.
                      Even in Ukraine, the way west had been supporting euromaidan with money etc. As soon as russia stepped in, all you hear is "continue the fight, we are behind you". But you know russia, just like turkey, it knows how to show a thick hide to the world when grabbing what it wants.
                      Russia is not the superpower like USSR right. But at this moment every russian knows that it is still better power than czarist russia in any time compared to it's traditional foes.
                      Putins rude acts in my opinion serve to remind everybody that nobody can plan on russia's weakneses. There is a tinge of desperation there, but dont count on it.
                      Russians understand and know wests fine political culture since Peter's time. But unlike other countries that try to refine their diplomacies, russia is very comfortable with it's ways. Besides being proven for them, It feels safer. You probably have even seen this in the character of every ordinary russian. Culturaly very avanguard, educated, art and literature lover, but at times, when suited, more backward than somebody from africa.

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