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Putin & Russia

Discussion in 'Randomination' started by Rorschach, 25 Nov 2018.

  1. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    I doubt Putin was fully in the know about this, tbh. If only because it's now even easier for European and North American politicians to propose doing what should have been done the very next day after the MH17 shootdown happened in 2014 - reroute all short and medium-haul flights into Europe around Russia.

    Flights from Asia will probably have to use Russian airspace for at least portions of the trip for logistical reasons, but there's no reason transport from the ME hubs to the Nordic countries, for example, need to use Russian airspace. And that hurts Russia's bottom line, given that they extract significant royalty payments from the plethora of European airlines that currently access their airspace.

    So, anything that adds fuel to that fire is inconvenient for Moscow. That, and the fact that this bloke's girlfriend is Russian - the optics of Lukashenko taking a Russian citizen into custody aren't ideal, because of Moscow's complicated relationship with Lukashenko. Historically, he's been a Russian puppet, but between roughly 2016 and 2020, he started trying to distance Belarus from Moscow, going as far as toying with ending Russian basing rights. The pro-democracy protests left him with no choice but to run back to Moscow, but him flexing his muscles by taking both this blogger and his girlfriend into custody is another challenge to Russia - how do they respond to this challenge by their ostensible puppet?

    Another thing I'd suspect is that the Baltic Air Policing missions will be beefed up in response to this - if the Belarussians try this stunt with their Migs again, you're going to need CAP on standby to dissuade them from trying it outside their borders. Which, again, isn't ideal if you're Moscow and trying to limit NATO presence in the Baltic Sea just when Nord Stream 2 is coming to a head.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Moscow probably provided Lukashenko with intelligence on this blogger's flight schedule, but I suspect they'd rather not have these problems to deal with over one journalist and his girlfriend. Which makes me think this is more Lukashenko playing tinpot dictator than the Kremlin.
     
  2. Rorschach

    Rorschach Vivian Woodward

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    Zero chance Putin didn't know about and sanction this imo.
     
  3. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    I'm not convinced. Lukashenko's on-again, off-again dance of dependency on his Moscow overlords has been going on for a while now, and like I said, too many negatives in this for it to be worthwhile for Putin and Russia.

    Best case scenario for them is that the journalist is jailed for a few years based on a confession beaten out of him by Belarusian police, the girlfriend is released, and the international sanctions fall solely on Belarus and not them.

    Worst case scenario is that Washington uses this as a pretext to beef up the detachments sent on Baltic Air Policing duties, further pressures Berlin on Nord Stream 2, and the EU starts discussing rerouting flights around Russia as well as Belarus - which, incidentally, the Dutch have been advocating for a while now since MH17.

    And what do they gain? Pretty much nothing. In fact, what Lukashenko wants is for this to silence other critics of his regime - for Russia, by contrast, Lukashenko being under pressure and criticised is good, because it forces him to rely on them for support. They want Lukashenko to sweat a little - this has no benefit to them.

    This is a Belarusian job, imo.
     
  4. Rorschach

    Rorschach Vivian Woodward

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    Maybe, but I doubt it. As with anything Putin does there is a layer of deniability, Belarus in this case, to anything he is involved in. There is enough distance here that the blowback will be minimal if there is anything at all. NS2 will not be threatened by this as the sanctions whatever they might be will land on Belarus solely. Lukashenko is rocking up to Sochi to meet Putin in a week or two, so there is no chance he pulled a stunt like this without getting the nod from him.

    So why would Putin agree to this? It is a redrawing of the line of what is acceptable in terms of geopolitical fudgery to see the West's reaction. He has been redrawing this line over and over and this is more of the same in my opinion. Also, the slapdown on Belarus will push them closer to the Kremlin so another plus there, not a negative as you describe. And of course, there is further erosion of democracy that comes from silencing the free press, which is his usual bete noir. All IMO of course.
     
    Last edited: 24 May 2021
  5. Rorschach

    Rorschach Vivian Woodward

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    I see some of the Russia watchers I follow are seeing the troll farms ramp up the propaganda machine to assassinate the character of this journalist, and Russia state TV are having a ball with it. Yeah, they knew.
     
  6. DTA

    DTA Tim Sherwood

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    Yeah... the Belarusian president has only one significant ally. To think he would do this without Putin's ok is naive.
     
  7. Rorschach

    Rorschach Vivian Woodward

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  8. SpurMeUp

    SpurMeUp Andy Thompson

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    History will probably show that Russia had great success pushing back against the US and EU who were trying to encourage the old soviet nations away from Russia's sphere of influence. The Kremlin must have been laughing themselves silly. Seeding Trump, Brexit and probably other nefarious campaigns while the west caught up must have been far beyond their expectations. The west was caught cold.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...-show-putins-plot-to-put-trump-in-white-house
     
    Last edited: 15 Jul 2021
    Mikey10 likes this.
  9. SteveAWOL

    SteveAWOL Andy Thompson

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  10. Rorschach

    Rorschach Vivian Woodward

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  11. SteveAWOL

    SteveAWOL Andy Thompson

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  12. Trixster

    Trixster Erik Edman

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    I do find it funny in a way that NATO is falling over themselves to provide support to a non-member.
    (Ammunition, ground troops (pending), support aircraft into neighbouring countries so they're well positioned for cap.)

    When Georgia & Chechnya happened there was next to nothing, when Crimea was annexed there were strong words and sanctions (though the West fully understood why the annex took place) but nothing in the form of assistance to reclaim the peninsula. And yet now, all of a sudden, it is different.

    I wonder what would happen if Putin agreed with Cuba to reopen infrastructure there again and place weapon systems, how relaxed would the Yanks be :D
    (Which is Russia's beef about NATO and the strategic disadvantage it finds itself)

    Putin, and a lot of Russians, still view Ukraine as brothers and sisters - unfortunately the same cannot be said in reverse. I hope this sole reason keeps everything as it is, a game of chess or chicken - you pick your analogy.
     
  13. Lilbaz

    Lilbaz Simon Davies

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    Believe they have their black sea fleet located in crimea. They could be cut off from the med and the suez canal without it.
     
  14. scaramanga

    scaramanga Fanny Walden Staff Member

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    Nothing will come of this.

    When a dictator is propped up by people who are rich because they sell their oil and gas around the world, things end badly for them when they take actions that stop said people being able to sell their oil and gas.
     
  15. Trixster

    Trixster Erik Edman

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    They do yes, in Sevastopol, and that was the whole reason why they suddenly moved back in 2014 (was it now? seems an age ago)
    The base there allows them straight access through the Bosphorus Strait and out to the oceans.
     
    Lilbaz likes this.
  16. El Guepardo

    El Guepardo Christian Ziege

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    One thing that I find interesting is that the term ‘World War 3’ as a possible consequence is being stated a lot more than I remember it having previously been stated for other military conflicts. What with the political situation between Russia and Ukraine, and that between China and Taiwan, it definitely appears as if trouble is brewing.
    World War 3 is inevitable at some time. Will it happen now? I think people are talking it in to reality but I’m not convinced that it will happen.
     
  17. Trixster

    Trixster Erik Edman

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    I must confess I hadn't heard it used, least not over here anyway.
    There will always be talk of it through one reason or another, but I don't see the more stable despots doing anything to bring it to the table.
    (China may decide to do something via conventional means in Taiwan and likewise Russia with the Donbas region, but if either thought their incursions would trigger a non-conventional theatre I think they would hold back.)

    As you say, WW3 is inevitable at some point - hopefully it is a long way off.
    I think that more and more we will see or hear of Cyber attacks throughout, it would likely be one of these as a step to far that pushes it over the edge.
     
  18. Lilbaz

    Lilbaz Simon Davies

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    Wow germany. Sent 5000 helmets to ukraine.

     
  19. scaramanga

    scaramanga Fanny Walden Staff Member

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    Germany's economy relies on Russian gas, there's no way in hell they're helping here.
     
  20. Lilbaz

    Lilbaz Simon Davies

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    5000 helmets is a tinkletake though.
     
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