Home > Uncategorized > Should Ukraine be part the EU?

Should Ukraine be part the EU?

June 24, 2022

Ukraine applied for EU membership. The application has been accepted, the long journey towards membership has started. Good? Bad? Let’s first be honest about the EU. And the Russian empire – which of course is the main motivator behind the Ukrainian application.

We can be short about the Russian empire. It is large, resource rich, not exactly a failed state but governed by a closed self- enriching criminal gang of with fantasies about a Russian greatness which never existed. It’s also an economic dwarf, undemocratic, technological regressing, it has dismal demographics and a low life expectancy (especially for males). For the last twenty years of so, been extremely aggressive towards, especially, small neighbors. And its a stated aim of Putin to expand all this beyond the borders of Ukraine, whatever the means.

The EU is different. It’s not just an economic entity. It’s a military entity, too. According to the treaty:

If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States
shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in
accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific
character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.

Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation

Led by the USA it has been quite aggressive to a number of neighbors, too. Think of the horrible second Iraq war (even when France opted out), think of Libya. On the other hand – it has, generally, great health care, it is technological progressive, it’s an open society and even when wealth taxes should be increased (think: high inheritance taxes) and the Euro should be abolished it has managed a reasonable and even high level of prosperity for most of its inhabitants. Also, its inhabitants are allowed to work and retire everywhere in the EU, arguably a good thing and which would not be the case without the EU. At this moment, the reigning elite still has no real idea of the radical changes needed to attain a ‘high prosperity low emission’ economy but the prospects of the EU reaching this ideal are quite a bit better than the prospects of the Russian empire. It’s measuring the UN Sustainability Goals’s – and it’s not all bleak.

So, should Ukraine, a country at war, become part of the EU military alliance, therewith ‘exporting’ a war and an eternal enemy to the prosperous EU? That’s the wrong question. The truth: the EU already is already at war with the expanding Russian empire. This new European war is not a modern war. On the Russian side, Sixty year old tanks and sixty year old men are waging it, led by a 69 year old man. This old man sells the war as a deliberate attempt to revive the 100 old year corpse of the Russian empire. Sorry, not my opinion, it’s what he states. I happen to take such statements serious. He’s not trying revive something like the USSR with its rather sovereign Oblasts and Krai’s and Republics and a focus on progress, however botched and, environmentally, limited. The USSR communist party was, of course, much less decentralized but there is a reason why the USSR, once the communist party imploded, rapidly disintegrated – the USSR was, institutionally, less of a Union than the pre-2023 USA. The old man wants to change this as political decentralization is inconsistent with the essence of ‘Russian empire’. First, Russian power had to be established inside the borders of the imploded USSR. But by now, the aims have moved beyond borders (an endeavor which according to the old man does not stop at the borders of Ukraine). Of course, the NATO (read: the USA) does not like this. And yes, the NATO has been threatening. And indeed, the second war in Iraq and the ‘Special Operation’ in Lybia have been, aside from being totally daft, total disasters for everybody. But forget abut NATO. It does not rule the world, anymore. There is a reason why Estonia and Latvia and Lithuania and Poland and Bulgaria and Romania and the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Sweden and Finland are the EU nations most prominent in fighting the war with the Russian empire. in Ukraine and delivering loads of military equipment. Latest news: Romania will revive mass production of Soviet caliber shells and barrels to enable Ukraine to use Soviet era military equipment. Told you so: this is not a modern war. There are reasons why all these countries are afraid of the Russian empire: its stated aims, the unprecedented shelling, the murders, the rapes, the systematic devastation of cities, the onslaught on cultural and religious landmarks… You don’t really want this, in your country. Inside the EU, it also does not happen. Interestingly, in speeches the old man divides the world in sovereign states and colonies; none of the examples of sovereign states he mentions borders on Russia. Even Turkey is not mentioned.

To many EU countries, the Russian empire hence is a clear and present danger. They want peace and prosperity – not Russian empire. Again: believe what the old man states – he wants the Russian empire to be this clear and present danger – by all means!

In my view, this leaves few options. The EU clearly can’t trust the USA – a highly aggressive country which increasingly shows signs of being a failed stated and which, indeed, might soon fall apart (to my surprise an even older man, D. Trump, who will run for president, and even when he later tried to walk this back, praised Texan secessionists). Any kind of positive future for the EU, any kind of future which will enable progressive and socialist policies like much higher inheritance taxes, will not lie in teh west of in the east but in the EU itself. Hey, the discussion about the nefarious influence of the ICSID, an institute aimed at protecting the financial rights of owners of sunk assets, has already started. It should not be shy to become even larger than it already is.

There is also another argument. International supply chains of grains are nothing new. They’ve existed for many centuries (Rome already imported lots of grain from Egypt and North Africa). disrupting such supply chains, which is what the European war does, leads to starvation, death, hunger and disease. At this moment it aggravates an already dire situation in Kenya (multi year drought). Disrupting these chains is a crime against humanity and as such, in my view, a casus belli (the increase of grain production of exports of Russia as well as Ukraine in the ten years before the war shows that circumstances were good enough to pursue policies aimed at increasing prosperity. Forget pipedreams about the sanctity of backward empires. Go for decentralized and politically rather lame multi national hegemons like the EU. Welcome, Ukraine (and Albania, Georgia and daft mythologies abo – go for a rather decentralized hegemon like the EU. prosperity and even when there was hunger in Areas of Ukraine occupied by the Russian empire, like the Donbas). Welcome, Ukraine. Welcome, Georgia (he, retiring somewhere along the coast of the Black Sea is not too bad of a prospect…). Welcome, Western Balkans. Which leaves Turkey. I’ve always been against incorporating Turkey into the EU because of the Kurdish problem. You do not want to accept a country with a kind of civil war like situation within its borders. Ukraine is different because, as stated, we are at war already and the war has to be ended as fast as possible. I do not have a new opinion about Turkey, yet. Once, however, Russia proper might apply for membership.

  1. Andri Ksenofontov
    June 24, 2022 at 10:49 am

    I hope it will continue as a blog for empirical social science, not a cherry picking from the mainstream and social media memes.

    I understand the mood, the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war fowls my mood too, especially that Estonia, my home country, will be likely pushed next into the war theatre. I know what war is, the living memory of my family carries the experience of four wars, two of them WW I and WW II. I have done my compulsory two years military service in the Red Army and I am a civil engineer (retired). I have also done some cultural anthropological and historical research on Russia and the Soviet Union. Talking about this subject, I know what I mean, different from the author of this post.

    Nevertheless, this post rises an important question (even as it drowns it in prejudiced propaganda nonsense).

    First of all, the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war is a proxy war between the actors on the ground, their proxy masters and the allies and supporters of the proxy masters. These are the latter who actually profit most of the war.

    In the light of the MMT, especially Stephanie Kelton’s analysis of the eurozone crisis and Bill Mitchell’s “Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale”, this blog is informed about what the EU is. People here are also aware of what the Stability and Growth Pact does do its member states, including Estonia. Ukraine would be, already is, another subject of such neocolonial robbery. Somehow people continue repeating propaganda slogans of the leaders of the EU and pay less attention to such voices like represented by the yellow vests movement.

    What NATO is, we should also know, being members of it. One can read about all the NATO missions in the informed articles in Wikipedia. Which of these wars are defence wars? Which interests these military conflicts, maintained and managed by the coalitions of NATO countries, serve?

    We also know what is going on in the governance of Ukraine, about the ongoing civil war in Donbass since 2014 that is being kindled by the hardliners of the Ukrainian far right who have openly aligned themselves with the politics of Stepan Bandera, the collaborator and ally of the Nazis.

    Let us look at the opposite camp. As many analysts have pointed out, the Russo-Ukrainian war is a proxy conflict between the USA and Russia. For the USA it is a likely rehearsal for the looming Chinese-Taiwan military confrontation. China is the main economic and political challenger of the United States, not Russia, as the author of the comment points correctly out Russia’s relative economic weaknesses today. All in all, this is a conflict between the USA, the NATO and the EU and their Australian, Japanese and South-Korean allies on the one hand and the new world coalition that is emerging around China today, including Russia.

    One of the voices in the Chinese camp is Schiller Institute (that has little to do with the German poet). What is the alternative they suggest instead of the predatory neoliberal American and EU economic and fiscal practices? A different kind of austerity, based on gold standard. The success of petrodollars and gasroubles is used as a propaganda argument against fiat currency and in support of gold standard. Some cryptocurrency people are very enthusiastic about the actual outcome of the Russo-Ukrainian war. The false and derogatory image of money printing is spreading. Not that the Chinese camp officially supports such ideas, but the MSM and social media of this camp is promoting these under the cover of the obvious failures of the Western economic and military politics.

    Alright, maybe this blog is the right place to air one’s feelings. I respect human feelings and emotions when these are genuine, these need to be aired. But let us not unleash the school of red herrings and let us continue to follow the actual ongoing processes with a cool and objective eye. This is what I respect this blog for.

    • Meta Capitalism
      June 27, 2022 at 6:39 am

      First of all, the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war is a proxy war between the actors on the ground, their proxy masters and the allies and supporters of the proxy masters. These are the latter who actually profit most of the war. ~ Russian Propagandist Andri Ksenofonto

      This is a disingenuous twisted recall of the most recent history for the purpose of minimizing the fact that Russia amassed on Ukraine’s border, repeatedly lying to the world that it was not going to invade and then did just what US intelligence was telling the world Putin was going to do. So, I see the author of this post stating facts and this mouthpiece for Russian propaganda trying to skip the part where Russian brutally invades its neighbor, a sovereign nation, waging a brutal war of “unprecedented shelling, the murders, the rapes, the systematic devastation of cities, the onslaught on cultural and religious landmarks…” and much more, using grain and food held hostage to weaponize starvation. Stalin’s Ghost has Risen in Putin.

      (….) The collectivization drive was synchronized with the Soviet government’s first Five Year Plan, which was designed to industrialize in a hurry the hitherto predominantly rural country. An essential ingredient in the plan was the acquisition of foreign machines, patents, and experts. How were those imports to be paid for? At the time the only way for the Soviet Union to earn large quantities of foreign currency for the sinews of industrialization was through the exports of raw materials. Hence the increasing pressure on the already devastated and impoverished countryside to extract from it grain not only for the Soviet Union’s growing urban population, but also for export. In 1930, with the harvest of 83.5 million tons, the regime extracted from the peasants 22 million and exported 5.5. In the next year the country, largely for the reasons already adduced, produced 14 million tons less, but the regime squeezed out of the terrorized peasantry 22.8 million and exported 4.5. It did not take an agronomist to see that this was a path to disaster, yet the regime went on raising its quotas for compulsory deliveries. In 1932 there were portents of serious crop failures in large areas, including Ukraine, as early as the spring, and yet the state procurement plan was fixed at the highest amount yet, 29.5 million tons. By the end of the year people were already starving—the USSR exported 1.5 million tons of grain, an ample amount to feed the six to eight million people estimated to have perished from hunger in the course of 1932–33. (Dolot, Miron. Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition. )

      Such then is the background of the events described in Mr. Dolot’s book. When it became clear in the course of 1932 that the quota for state grain procurement could not physically be met, Stalin in his fury ordered all the available stocks to be seized, no matter what the consequences for the local population. It is not an anti-Communist refugee, but a Soviet author during the Khrushchev era when one could allude to such things, who wrote the following about the results of a visit by a lieutenant of Stalin’s to one of the afflicted areas: “All the grain without exception was requisitioned for the fulfillment of the Plan, including that set aside for sowing, fodder, and even that previously issued to the kolkhozniki as payment for their work.” And another Soviet source: “Many kolkhozy experienced great difficulties with provisionments. There were mass cases of people swelling up from hunger and dying.” These two sentences appear in the middle of a lengthy technical article which, in general, takes a very positive view of collectivization, even though, as it was the fashion under Khrushchev, it reprimands Stalin and his henchmen for their “errors.” Today, of course, in line with the partial rehabilitation of Stalin, it is unlikely that a Soviet author would be permitted to be so indiscreet about what really happened during those terrible years. (Dolot, Miron. Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition. )

      • Andri Ksenofontov
        June 28, 2022 at 3:32 pm

        Return of the cult of Stalin is macroeconomically relevant because certain economic approaches that were practiced under his rule get also promoted. Stalin himself was a political opportunist and his heritage is an equally good cover for the contemporary political and economic opportunists. Like those who want the world fiscal policy to return to gold standard.

        As the user under nickname Meta Capitalism attacked me personally by using argumentum ad hominem I would suggest that he will be banned from this blog. Andri Ksenofontov speaks his own mind under his real name.

      • Meta Capitalism
        July 1, 2022 at 4:31 am

        We also know what is going on in the governance of Ukraine, about the ongoing civil war in Donbass since 2014 that is being kindled by the hardliners of the Ukrainian far right who have openly aligned themselves with the politics of Stepan Bandera, the collaborator and ally of the Nazis. (Andri Ksenofontov, RWER, Parroting Russian Propaganda With Rumor Without Evidence, 6/24/2022)

        Whether knowingly or not I do not know, but what I do know this is a lie, a intellectual parroting of Russian propaganda on RWER that seeks to pass off falsehood as truth. Russian is spreading its lies and propaganda far and wide and apparently there are many willing to intellectually parrot Russians lies. RWER should hold a higher standard.

        By 5 July 2014 the Russians had withdrawn from Sloviansk. Six days later, on 11 July, the Russian army began to shell the Ukrainian army in the Donbas — from the territory of the Russian Federation. The next day Russian media distracted from both of these events with an outrageous lie. The most important channel on Russian television told an entirely invented story about a non-existent three-year-old Russian boy crucified by Ukrainian soldiers on Lenin Square in Sloviansk.

        This tale seems to have been the creation of the Russian fascist intellectual Alexander Dugin, who had published it on social media a few days earlier. Dugin is a believer in what he calls “archetypes,” foundational cultural constructs, can be deployed to allocate guilt and innocence. Thus the calculated choice of a defenseless small child as the victim and the crucifixion as the method of killing.

        Nothing about the story was true, and it was refuted by independent Russian journalists. There is no Lenin Square in Sloviansk. The image nevertheless quickly became established. Years later I was still asked about it in Europe and the United States.

        With the vivid fiction about Sloviansk, Russian television had staged, for a domestic audience, a classic reversal of perpetrator and victim. A horribly lethal series of artillery barrages from Russian territory were obscured. Not long after, the regular Russian army would enter Ukraine in force, establishing the Russian domination of parts of the Donbas that it controls to this day. Its soldiers referred specifically to the Sloviansk lie as their motivation. They said they were in Ukraine “for the children.” (Timothy Snyder, Substack, The sadness of Sloviansk: How lies bring wars, April 12, 2022)d


    • Meta Capitalism
      July 1, 2022 at 4:06 am

      What NATO is, we should also know, being members of it. One can read about all the NATO missions in the informed articles in Wikipedia. Which of these wars are defence wars? Which interests these military conflicts, maintained and managed by the coalitions of NATO countries, serve? (Andri Ksenofontov, RWER, Parroting Russian Propaganda With Rumor Without Evidence, 6/24/2022)

      To parrot Russian propaganda without a shred of evidence is, one would hope, beneath RWER’s editorial standards. It is a historical fact that the reasons for intervention were to stop a genocide. How convenient to leave out the truth and facts.

      Moscow apparently calculated in January 2014 that a more competent application of violence would break the protests and transform Yanukovych into a puppet. It did not enter into Russian calculations that Ukrainian citizens were on the Maidan for patriotic reasons of their own. When the Yanukovych regime introduced the Russian-style dictatorship laws of January 16, 2014, this suggested massive violence to come. Russian-style laws did not have the same consequences in Ukraine as in Russia. Ukrainian protestors saw them as offensive foreign implants. When those two protestors were shot on January 22, the Maidan grew as never before. Remote-control counterrevolution had failed. Moscow was unable to move Ukraine into Eurasia by helping Yanukovych to repress the opposition. It was time for a shift in strategy. By early February 2014, it appeared Moscow no longer aimed to maneuver Yanukovych and Ukraine into Eurasia. Instead, Yanukovych would be sacrificed in a campaign to provoke chaos throughout the country. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 135). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/7cmN8EZ )

      A major actor in the new policy was Igor Girkin, a colonel in Russian military intelligence (GRU) who was employed by Konstantin Malofeev. Known in Russia as the “Orthodox oligarch,” Malofeev was an anti-sodomy activist and an outspoken Russian imperialist. In his view, “Ukraine is part of Russia. I can’t consider the Ukrainian people as non-Russian.” Ukraine had to be saved by Russia from Europe because otherwise Ukrainian citizens “would have had to spread sodomy as a norm in traditional Ukrainian society.” This was not true in any factual sense. Malofeev was expressing the orientation of Russian policy: to present Europe as a civilizational enemy, homosexuality as the war, and Ukraine as the battleground. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 135). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/ev4wlzU )

      Malofeev’s employee Girkin was experienced in irregular warfare. He had fought as a Russian volunteer on the Serbian in the Yugoslav Wars, taking part in engagements in Bosnian towns and UN-declared “safe areas” where ethnic cleansing and mass rape took place. He had also fought in Russia’s wars in Transnistria and Chechnya, and had written about those experiences for media edited by the fascist Alexander Prokhanov. Girkin spent the days between January 22 and February 4, 2014, in Kyiv, and then, it seems, recommended to the Kremlin that Ukraine be invaded and dismembered. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 135). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/aEAq9uU )

      A memorandum that circulated in the Russian presidential administration in early February 2014, apparently based on the work of Girkin, anticipated the change in the course of Russian policy. It began from the premise that “the Yanukovych regime is utterly bankrupt. Its diplomatic, financial, and propaganda support by the Russian state no longer makes any sense.” Russian interests in Ukraine were defined as the military-industrial complex of Ukraine’s southeast and “control over the gas transport system” in the entire country. Russia’s main goal should be “the disintegration of the Ukrainian state.” The proposed tactic was to discredit both Yanukovych and the opposition by violence, while invading southern Ukraine and destabilizing the Ukrainian state. The memorandum included three propaganda strategies meant to provide cover for such a Russian intervention: (1) to demand that Ukraine federalize itself in the interests of a supposedly oppressed Russian minority, (2) to define opponents of the Russian invasion as fascists, and (3) to characterize the invasion as a civil war stoked by the West. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 136). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/etvVGoz )

      In a policy paper of February 13, 2014, the Izborsk Club repeated the contents of the confidential Kremlin memorandum. The Maidan might inspire Russians to act and was therefore intolerable; Yanukovych was finished; therefore Russia should invade Ukraine and take what it could. As with the presidential memorandum, the guiding concept of the Izborsk policy paper was that Russia should seize some Ukrainian territory and then wait for the state to collapse. The Izborsk Club also proposed that Russian television channels justify the intervention in Ukraine by the deliberate, premeditated fiction that ”a fascist coup is coming”; this would indeed be a major line of Russian propaganda once war began. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 136). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/7MvfCoL )

      On the day that the Izborsk Club was propagating this general idea, Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s propaganda genius, arrived in the south Ukrainian province of Crimea. The next day, Surkov flew from Crimea to Kyiv. Foreign Minister Lavrov chose that very day (February 14, 2014) to formalize the idea that Russian civilization was an innocent body defending itself from Western perversion. In the newspaper Kommersant, Lavrov repeated Ilyin’s idea that “society is a living organism” that had to be protected from Europe’s hedonistic “refusal of traditional values.” Lavrov presented the Ukrainians who were struggling, and by that point dying, for European ideas of law as the prey of European sexual politics. Even as Russian troops were mobilizing to invade Ukraine and overturn its government, Lavrov presented Russia as the victim. The true aggressors, according to Lavrov, were the international gay lobbyists who “propagated with missionary insistence both inside their own countries and in relations with neighbors.” Surkov left Kyiv on February 15. Live ammunition was distributed to the Ukrainian riot police on February 16. On February 18, Ukrainians waited while parliamentary deputies discussed a constitutional compromise. Instead, protestors on the Maidan were surprised by massive and lethal violence. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 136). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/i6u3dGd )

      Now European actors finally began to move. Although the protests had been pro-European from the beginning, they had not been meaningfully supported by the European Union, its member states, or any Western actor. European public opinion took little notice of the Maidan before the violence began. Politicians issued bland and interchangeable calls for both sides to avoid violence. Once the violence began, diplomats expressed official concern. Diplomatic discourse became a cause for mockery on the Maidan, as people who risked their lives found themselves alone and isolated. As violence increased, the mockery turned to pathos. Ukrainian protestors on the Maidan flew flags of an imagined “United States of Russia” to express their view that the great powers shared a common indifference or hostility. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 137). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/eJihMHP )

      The most significant initiative came from a European diplomat. Polish Foreign Minister Rados³aw Sikorski persuaded his French and German colleagues to join him in Kyiv for talks with Yanukovych on February 20the very day forty-four civilian protestors were shot and killed on the Maidan. A Russian diplomat joined the group. Over the course of a long and difficult day of negotiations, Yanukovych agreed to leave office at the end of 2014, before his term was over. As impressive as this diplomatic resolution might have seemed, it was outdated before it was signed. Russian authorities had already concluded that Yanukovych was doomed, and the Russian invasion force was already on the move. Signing the agreement allowed Russia to blame others for failing to fulfill its terms, even as the Russian invasion that followed four days later drastically changed the conditions under which it had been signed. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 137). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/1ak4S1h )

      The moment had passed when Ukrainian protestors might have accepted Yanukovych as president. Had there been any doubt that he had to resign on the morning of February 20, it had dissipated by the end of the day. On February 20, there was another Russian delegation in Kyiv, led by Vladislav Surkov, and including Sergei Beseda, a general of the FSB. These Russians were not there to negotiate. As others did so, snipers hidden near the Maidan shot and killed dozens of people, most of them protestors, a few of them Ukrainian riot policemen. It was unclear what (if any) part of the Ukrainian government was involved in these shootings.

      After the mass killing, Yanukovych was abandoned by the parliamentary deputies who had supported him and the policemen who had protected him. He fled his garish residence, leaving behind a trove of documentsincluding records of large cash payments to his advisor Paul Manafort, who two years later surfaced as the campaign manager of Donald Trump. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 138). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/1k7wzoh )

    • Meta Capitalism
      July 1, 2022 at 4:14 am

      We also know what is going on in the governance of Ukraine, about the ongoing civil war in Donbass since 2014 that is being kindled by the hardliners of the Ukrainian far right who have openly aligned themselves with the politics of Stepan Bandera, the collaborator and ally of the Nazis. (Andri Ksenofontov, RWER, Parroting Russian Propaganda With Rumor Without Evidence, 6/24/2022)

      Warmed over Russian propaganda is not merely a stale imitation of the original, but a fresh deposit that compounds the methodological faults of the original.

      The parliamentary deputy Tatiana Saenko cited Ilyin to claim that the annexation of Crimea meant the “resurrection and rebirth” of Russia. She claimed that Western objections to the Russian invasion of Ukraine were a matter of “double standards.” This common Russian argument made of law not a general principle but a cultural artifact located among non-Russian peoples. Because Western states do not always follow every law, it ran, law had no validity. Russia, too, might violate laws; but since Russia did not accept the rule of law, this was not hypocritical. Since Russia was not hypocritical, it was innocent. If there are no standards, went the reasoning, then there are no double standards. If Europeans or Americans mention international law during a time of such Russian innocence as the invasion of Ukraine, this makes them a spiritual threat. And so references to international law only demonstrated Western perfidy. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 143). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/4HxzgOQ )

      This was Ilyin’s politics of eternity: a cycle back to the past replaces the forward movement of time; law means what Russia’s leader says it means; Russia is repairing God’s failed world with violence. Putin was the redeemer from beyond history who emerged to alter time. Putin himself took up this theme on April 17, characterizing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a spiritual defense against a permanent Western attack: “The intention to split Russia and Ukraine, to separate what is essentially a single nation in many ways, has been an issue of international politics for centuries.” For Malofeev, the Russian invasion was a war against eternal evil: “for those who do battle there, the war looks like a war against hordes fighting under the banner of the anti-Christ with Satanic slogans.” What could be more eternal than the campaign against Sodom? (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 144). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/72UvIjk )

      The fall of Crimea encouraged Russian leaders to repeat the same scenario throughout southern and eastern Ukraine. On March 1, Glazyev telephoned confederates in the regional capitals of Ukraine’s southern and southeastern districts to help plan coups d’état. Putin’s Eurasia advisor ordered that the scenario of Crimea be repeated in other regions of Ukraine: a crowd would “storm the regional state administration building,” then some new assembly would be coerced to declare independence and ask for Russian help. In Kharkiv, a crowd of locals and Russian citizens (brought by bus from Russia) did indeed break into the regional state administration building, after first storming the opera house by mistake. These people beat and humiliated Ukrainian citizens who were seeking to protect the building. The Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan refused to kneel and had his skull broken. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 144). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/c74fgc0 )

      In April, Putin publicly recited the goals of Russian policy as outlined in the February memorandum. The idea was still the “disintegration” of the Ukrainian state in the interests of Russia. Dozens of Ukrainian state institutions and companies suddenly faced cyberattacks, as did the most important institutions of the EU. In the southeastern Ukrainian district of Donetsk, a Russian neo-Nazi named Pavel Gubarev proclaimed himself “people’s governor” on May 1, on the logic that “Ukraine never existed.” The duo of Malofeev employees sent to Crimea, Igor Girkin and Alexander Borodai, returned to Ukraine in April. Borodai would name himself prime minister of an imagined new people’s republic in southeastern Ukraine. His justification was similar: “There is no longer any Ukraine.” His friend Girkin proclaimed himself the minister of war, and asked Russia to invade the Donbas and establish military bases. (Snyder, Timothy. The Road to Unfreedom (p. 144). Crown. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/4JtVQCI )

  2. merijntknibbe
    June 24, 2022 at 11:17 am

    Thanks for the comment, I will reply to this a little later.

  3. June 24, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    I don’t know what is the “Russian Empire”.
    I only know Russian Federation.
    I TOTALLY desagre with this text, full of unfounded, or false, affirmations.
    More generally, as a founder of Post Autistic Review, I think that THIS REVIEW IS NOT THE PLACE to discuss this “political question”.Happily, you are the only one who don(t respect this rule. I hope it will be the last time. There are other places where you can give your (not only economical) point of vue.
    Do you want that this “review” degenerate in a political (propaganda) fight ?

    • merijntknibbe
      June 24, 2022 at 6:07 pm

      Dear Guerrien,

      A) You might want to read the speeches of Vladimir Putin. They changed my mind.
      B) I touch, from a clear anti-neoliberal perspective, quite some economic issues (food supply chains, capital taxes, abolishing the Euro, the ICSID)
      C) In my opinion, the present and quite sudden steps towards a future enlargement of the EU deserve attention in this blog. The question I pose in the title is a legit one.
      D) In my opinion, but here I might be wrong, the War in Europe already led to the quite sudden emergence of the EU as a geopolitical entity which will act more independent from the USA than before and which will have a (much) stronger focus on the Black Sea area. I mean – this already happened. There’s no going back.

      • Andri Ksenofontov
        June 25, 2022 at 11:02 am

        Thank you for highlighting the economic issues you raised in your post. I agree with the legitimacy of these and supported these in my previous comment. I also pointed out what looked like red herrings to me, in these terms I understand Guerrin’s critical response to your post.

        I have some critical remarks about your A) and D).

        A) You insist on the importance of a speech of a leader of a country. Let us stretch the topic a bit and let us consider that in a macroeconomic assessment it is important to take into account various cultural factors, including the political factors. Then it is important to focus on what kind of impact this particular event, this speech making, has on economy or economic decision making.

        Macroeconomy is macroeconomy because it takes the context into account, it does not focus on single things and events. I agree that this particular speech adds some new probabilities to the existing ones, but it does not cancel out the whole context.

        I, actually, agree that you have pointed at a certain valid macroeconomic factor in the EU economic decision making: Russophobia. From my personal observations, many neoliberal economic decisions in Estonia have been pushed through with the help of the enemy image of Russia. Estonians gave up their national currency because they were persuaded that it will strengthen their country. What I can say from my personal observations, for an average Estonian the strength of Estonia is primarily defined by its ability to hold its ground in a confrontation with Russia.

        Our agricultural cooperatives, designated in the Soviet Union with the term ‘collective farm’, ‘kolhoz’ in Russian and ‘kolhoos’ in Estonian, many of which had been originally founded already in the 1920, in the sovereign republic (then the term was ‘ühistu’), were expropriated and then privatised by various developers because people believed that the collective farms were the “communist”, “Russian”, bad things. The public and the media did not pay any attention to the fact that a collective farm was the property of its members (distinctly from a ‘soviet farm’ or ‘sovhoz’ or ‘sovhoos’ that was a state property). The collective farmers believed, I have talked to them, that the collective farms will be privatised to them like the living flats were privatised to their inhabitants who set up their house associations (cooperatives). But the developers were given the priority. The destruction of agriculture in Estonia in the early 90s was largely carried by the anti-communist and Russophobic ideological wave. Frequently, anti-communism and Russophobia can hardly be distinguished in the ideological environment of Estonians.

        These were only two examples.

        If Ukraine will be motivated by this speech to join the EU and, consequently, the Common Market, the eurozone and the Stability and Growth Pact, then this will make this kind of reaction to the speech macroeconomically relevant.

        D) I agree that the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war has created a lot of dissent in the Western camp. But there are also opposite tendencies of consolidation. Time will show which of these processes will take over. So far, from the beginning of the war until today, the EU as a geopolitical force has become only increasingly irrelevant. We are giving away initiative, we are hurting our own economies.

  4. merijntknibbe
    June 29, 2022 at 8:04 am

    1) We can all agree that this blog tries to carry on the proud anti-imperialist tradition of the ‘Left’, it seems.

    2) We can all agree that, while the distribution of ‘property’ is crucial to economic systems there are different systems of property and knowledge of these systems should be paramount in the mind of economists to prevent these events: “The public and the media did not pay any attention to the fact that a collective farm was the property of its members (distinctly from a ‘soviet farm’ or ‘sovhoz’ or ‘sovhoos’ that was a state property).” TIAA. There Is An Alternative. Or in fact: TAMA: There Are Many Alternatives.

    3) We do not all agree about the Russian Federation. More to come.

    • Andri Ksenofontov
      June 29, 2022 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you for your answer.

      About agreeing or disagreeing, a good way to start with is with descriptions. These cannot be ‘agreed’ or ‘disagreed’ about, descriptions would be correct or incorrect. Like we cannot ‘disagree’ with a thermometer, but we can get a correct or incorrect reading from it. After we have sorted out correct, valid descriptions then we can start to form assessments over the things and events that are described. In short: let us remain empirical.

      As this blog is about economy then, I think, it is important to focus on the description of economic phenomena and issues. Concerning descriptions of Russia one can find online, it is common that these start with descriptions of some events with strong triggering effect like Holodomor and then all other aspects of Russian society get coloured by it. Let us talk about Russian economy, or the EU or the Ukrainian economies, but, please, without red herrings.

      You seem to wish to discuss issues of imperialism. I find it an important and relevant issue, but let us talk in this blog about the economics of imperialism, about the economy of imperialism. Not only about Russian imperialism when or if it occurs because by definition imperialism involves more than one country or society.

      Not to rub it in, but to remind once more: a political speech is not a description of the speaker’s country.

      • Meta Capitalism
        June 29, 2022 at 10:02 pm

        Again, a little Russian propaganda thanks Andri calling a very real historical event, the Holodomor, a “triggering event” as though it isn’t a relevant that Putin is now today carrying out the same policy of wiping out via a rain of missiles Ukrainian identity and civilization out via a genocidal war of total scorched earth aggression aimed at the Ukrainian civilian population. Rather than speak to the real truth of what Putin and the Russian military aggression is doing Andri wants to whitewash it with sophistry. The OP is correct in his basic analysis; and he is also correct that Putin (Russian power elite) are using food (stealing Ukrainian grain and food) as a weapon of war. Now I have read RWER authors books raising issues of economics, capitalism, and democracy, and the threat such institutions are under. Well, nothing like a little Russian propagandist using sophistry to call “rue temperance is a bottle of claret with each meal and three double whiskies after dinner.”

        I always love that kind of argument. The contrary of a thing isn’t the contrary; oh, dear me, no! It’s the thing itself, but as it truly is. Ask any die-hard what conservatism is; he’ll tell you that it’s true socialism. And the brewers’ trade papers: they’re full of articles about the beauty of true temperance. Ordinary temperance is just gross refusal to drink; but true temperance, true temperance is something much more refined. True temperance is a bottle of claret with each meal and three double whiskies after dinner.

        Aldous Huxley, Eyeless in Gaza (London: Chatto and Windus, 1936) pp. 122–23.

        We have plenty of reliable evidence that not all the Russian population supports Putin’s war. So what? They are unable to stop Putin’s genocidal war, an outright act of aggression by all international laws and standards, and that fact doesn’t change a single fact cited by OP. Putin has told the world his intentions in his own words.

        It is pure sophistry to claim that recognizing the historical reality of Holodomor and the fact that Putin is repeating the same pattern Stalin did of trying to deny the Ukrainian people the right of political and national self-determination and democracy and national impendence and identity by means of waging genocidal war where entire civilian populations are the target and food is used as a weapon of war.

        RWER will put on record this very day its true colors I believe.

      • merijntknibbe
        June 30, 2022 at 10:47 am

        It’s interesting to quote Rosa Luxemburg (from the Junius Pamphlet): https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1913/accumulation-capital/ch32.htm

        “Two lines of development in recent history lead straight to the present war. One has its origin in the period when the so-called national states, i.e., the modern states, were first constituted, from the time of the Bismarckian war against France. The war of 1870, which, by the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, threw the French republic into the arms of Russia, split Europe into two opposing camps and opened up a period of insane competitive armament, first piled up the firebrands for the present world conflagration.

        Bismarck’s troops were still stationed in France when Marx wrote to the Braunschweiger Ausschuss:

        “He who is not deafened by the momentary clamour, and is not interested in deafening the German people, must see that the war of 1870 carries with it, of necessity, a war between Germany and Russia, just as the war of 1866 bore the war of 1870. 1 say of necessity, unless the unlikely should happen, unless a revolution breaks out in Russia before that time If this does not occur, a war between Germany and Russia may even now be regarded as un fait accompli. It depends entirely upon the attitude of the German victor to determine whether this war has been useful or dangerous. If they take Alsace-Lorraine, then France with Russia will arm against Germany. It is superfluous to point out the disastrous consequences.”

        At that time this prophecy was laughed down. The bonds which united Russia and Prussia seemed so strong that it was considered madness to believe in a union of autocratic Russia with republican France. Those who supported this conception were laughed at as madmen. And yet everything that Marx has prophesied has happened, to the last letter. “For that is,” says Auer in his Sedanfeier, “social democratic politics, seeing things clearly as they are, and differing therein from the day-by-day politics of the others, bowing blindly down before every momentary success.”

        This must not be misunderstood to mean that the desire for revenge for the robbery accomplished by Bismarck has driven the French into a war with Germany, that the kernel of the present war is to be found in the much discussed “revenge for Alsace-Lorraine.” This is the convenient nationalist legend of the German war agitator, who creates fables of a darkly-brooding France that “cannot forget” its defeat, just as the Bismarckian press-servants ranted of the dethroned Princess Austria who could not forget her erstwhile superiority over the charming Cinderella Prussia. As a matter of fact revenge for Alsace-Lorraine has become the theatrical property of a couple of patriotic clowns, the “Lion de Belfort” nothing more than an ancient survival.

        The annexation of Alsace-Lorraine long ago ceased to play a role in French politics, being superseded by new, more pressing cares; and neither the government nor any serious party in France thought of a war with Germany because of these territories. If, nevertheless, the Bismarck heritage has become the firebrand that started this world conflagration, it is rather in the sense of having driven Germany on the one hand, and France, and with it all of Europe, on the other, along the downward path of military competition, of having brought about the Franco-Russian alliance, of having united Austria with Germany as an inevitable consequence. This gave to Russian czarism a tremendous prestige as a factor in European politics. Germany and France have systematically fawned before Russia for her favour. At that time the links were forged that united Germany with Austria-Hungary, whose strength, as the words quoted from the White Book show, lie in their “brotherhood in arms,” in the present war.

        Thus the war of 1870 brought in its wake the outward political grouping of Europe about the axes of the Franco-German antagonism, and established the rule of militarism in the lives of the European peoples. Historical development has given to this ride and to this grouping an entirely new content. The second line that leads to the present world war, and which again brilliantly justifies Marx’s prophecy, has its origin in international occurrences that Marx did not live to see, in the imperialist development of the last twenty-five years.

        The growth of capitalism, spreading out rapidly over a reconstituted Europe after the war period of the sixties and seventies, particularly after the long period of depression that followed the inflation and the panic of the year 1873, reaching an unnatural zenith in the prosperity of the nineties opened up a new period of storm and danger among the nations of Europe. They were competing in their expansion toward the non-capitalist countries and zones of the world. As early as the eighties a strong tendency toward colonial expansion became apparent. England secured control of Egypt and created for itself, in South Africa, a powerful colonial empire, France took possession of Tunis in North Africa and Tonkin in East Asia; Italy gained a foothold in Abyssinia; Russia accomplished its conquests in Central Asia and pushed forward into Manchuria; Germany won its first colonies in Africa and in the South Sea, and the United States joined the circle when it procured the Philippines with “interests” in Eastern Asia. Ibis period of feverish conquests has brought on, beginning with the Chinese-Japanese War in 1895, a practically uninterrupted chain of bloody wars, reaching its height in the Great Chinese Invasion, and closing with the Russo-Japanese War of 1904.

        All these occurrences, coming blow upon blow, created new, extra-European antagonisms on all sides: between Italy and France in Northern Africa, between France and England in Egypt, between England and Russia in Central Asia, between Russia and Japan in Eastern Asia, between Japan and England in China, between the United States and Japan in the Pacific Ocean – a very restless ocean, full of sharp conflicts and temporary alliances, of tension and relaxation, threatening every few years to break out into a war between European powers. It was clear to everybody, therefore, (1) that the secret underhand war of each capitalist nation against every other, on the backs of Asiatic and African peoples must sooner or later lead to a general reckoning, that the wind that was sown in Africa and Asia would return to Europe as a terrific storm, the more certainly since increased armament of the European states was the constant associate of these Asiatic and African occurrences; (2) that the European world war would have to come to an outbreak as soon as the partial and changing conflicts between the imperialist states found a centralised axis, a conflict of sufficient magnitude to group them, for the time being, into large, opposing factions. This situation was created by the appearance of German imperialism.

        In Germany one may study the development of Imperialism, crowded as it was into the shortest possible space of time, in concrete form. The unprecedented rapidity of German industrial and commercial development since the foundation of the empire brought out during the eighties two characteristically peculiar forms of capitalist accumulation: the most pronounced growth of monopoly in Europe and the best developed and most concentrated banking system in the whole world. The monopolies have organised the steel and iron industry, i.e., the branch of capitalist endeavour most interested in government orders, in militaristic equipment and in imperialistic undertakings (railroad building, the exploitation of mines, etc.) into the most influential factor in the nation. The latter has cemented the money interests into a firmly organised whole, with the greatest, most virile energy, creating a power that autocratically rules the industry, commerce and credit of the nation, dominant in private as well as public affairs, boundless in its powers of expansion, ever hungry for profit and activity, impersonal, and therefore, liberal-minded, reckless and unscrupulous, international by its very nature, ordained by its capacities to use the world as its stage.

        Germany is under a personal regime, with strong initiative and spasmodic activity, with the weakest kind of parliamentarism, incapable of opposition, uniting all capitalist strata in the sharpest opposition to the working class. It is obvious that this live, unhampered imperialism, coming upon the world stage at a time when the world was practically divided up, with gigantic appetites, soon became an irresponsible factor of general unrest.

        This was already foreshadowed by the radical upheaval that took place in the military policies of the empire at the end of the nineties. At that time two naval budgets were introduced which doubled the naval power of Germany and provided for a naval program covering almost two decades. This meant a sweeping change in the financial and trade policy of the nation. In the first place, it involved a striking change in the foreign policy of the empire. The policy of Bismarck was founded upon the principle that the empire is and must remain a land power, that the German fleet, at best, is but a very dispensable requisite for coastal defence. Even the secretary of state, Hollmann, declared in March 1897, in the Budget Commission of the Reichstag: “We need no navy for coastal defence. Our coasts protect themselves.”

        With the two naval bills an entirely new program was promulgated: on land and sea, Germany first This marks the change from Bismarckian continental policies to Weltpolitik, from the defensive to the offensive as the end and aim of Germany’s military program. The language of these facts was so unmistakable that the Reichstag itself furnished the necessary commentary. Lieber, the leader of the Center at that time, spoke on the eleventh of March, 1896, after a famous speech of the emperor on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the German empire, which had developed the new program as a forerunner to the naval bills, In which he mentioned “shoreless naval planer against which Germany must be prepared to enter Into active opposition. Another Center leader, Schadler, cried out in the Reichstag on March 23, 1898, when the first naval bill was under discussion, “The nation believes that we cannot be first on land and first on sea. You answer, gentlemen, that is not what we want! Nevertheless, gentlemen, you are at the beginning of such a conception, at a very strong beginning.”

        When the second bill came, the same Schadler declared in the Reichstag on the fifth of February, 1900, referring to previous promises that there would be no further naval bills, “and today comes this bill, which means nothing more and nothing less than the inauguration of a world fleet, as a basis of support for world policies, by doubling our navy and binding the next two decades by our demands.” As a matter of fact the government openly defended the political program of its new course of action. On December 11, 1899, von Bülow, at that time state secretary of the foreign office, in a defence of the second naval bill stated,

        “When the English speak of ‘a greater Britain,’ when the French talk of ‘The New France,’ when the Russians open up Asia for themselves, we too have a right to aspire to a greater Germany. If we do not create a navy sufficient to protect our trade, our natives in foreign lands, our missions and the safety of our shores, we are threatening the most vital interests of our nation. In the coming century the German people will be either the hammer or the anvil.”

        Strip this of its coastal defence ornamentation, and there remains the colossal program: greater Germany, as the hammer upon other nations.

        It is not difficult to determine the direction toward which these provocations, in the main, were directed. Germany was to become the rival of the world’s great naval force – England. And England did not fail to understand. The naval reform bills, and the speeches that ushered them in, created a lively unrest in England, an unrest that has never again subsided. In March 1910, Lord Robert Cecil said in the House of Commons during a naval debate: “I challenge any man to give me a plausible reason for the tremendous navy that Germany is building up, other than to take up the fight against England.” The fight for supremacy on the ocean that lasted for one and a half decades on both sides and culminated in the feverish building of dreadnoughts and superdreadnoughts, was, in effect, the war between Germany and England. The naval bill of December 11, 1899, was a declaration of war by Germany, which England answered on August 4, 1914.

        It should be noted that this fight for naval supremacy had nothing in common with the economic rivalry for the world market. The English “monopoly of the world market” which ostensibly hampered German industrial development, so much discussed at the present time, really belongs to the sphere of those war legends of which the ever green French “revenge” is the most useful. This “monopoly” had become an old time fairy tale, to the lasting regret of the English capitalists. The industrial development of France, Belgium, Italy, Russia, India and Japan, and above all, of Germany and America, had put an end to this monopoly of the first half of the nineteenth century. Side by side with England, one nation after another stepped into the world market, capitalism developed automatically, and with gigantic strides, into world economy.”

  5. Meta Capitalism
    June 30, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    Estonia went through a war, and occupations—first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany—so devastating, and so violent, that nearly a quarter of the population had fled, disappeared, or been killed by the end of it. The population declined from 1,136,000 people to 854,000. Nor did the violence end with peace: the terror and repression continued in the second Soviet occupation. The mass deportation from the countryside in March 1949 was timed to weaken resistance to the planned forced collectivisation. My collective farm, encompassing some twenty villages and most of the land on the peninsula of Noarootsi, was formed shortly after the deportations. It was officially closed down in February 1993, following a vote by all the members in which just one person voted for its continued existence. (Rausing, Sigrid. Everything Is Wonderful: Memories of a Collective Farm in Estonia (p. 2). Grove Atlantic. Kindle Edition. https://a.co/gbL2a8S )

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