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Ukraine: Kiev Cuts Off Europe’s Gas, Azavstol, Inflation, Geostrategy UK/Russia

I wonder if the EU is going to sue? Clearly a strong arm tactic to encourage the EU to fall in line on sanctions.

Ukraine to suspend key Russia gas transit point to Europe

Kyiv says it will suspend the flow of gas through a transit point which it says delivers almost a third of Russian fuel to Europe via Ukraine. The country’s gas grid operator said it would stop shipments via the Sokhranivka route from Wednesday.

No civilians in Azavastol:

Despite what ever claims might be made by Kiev. Those that wanted to leave have had ample opportunity to do so. Those that choose to stay are fighters. Foreign and otherwise.

The Ukrainazi’s have released a bunch of images of themselves as an SOS.

The Vatican and Nazis: History Repeats?

Pope Francis met the wives of two officers from Ukraine’s Azov battalion that is trapped inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant.

Claimed History: The Ratlines-

Record Breaking Inflation Began Well Before Russia/Ukraine Conflict

However, inflation has risen steadily since Biden took office, starting at 1.4% the month he was sworn in, reaching 5% by May, 7% by November, and now 8.5%. Gas prices, which Russia sanctions most directly affect due to the country’s status as a major oil exporter, were also high ahead of the invasion.

In case the above analysis is too partisan for you?
Bloomberg and the Original headline: Inflation was deepening even before Russia/Ukraine- What’s coming now..

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-03-11/inflation-was-deepening-even-before-ukraine-what-s-coming-now-over-to-the-fed

Data released Thursday on consumer price inflation and wage rises in the U.S. predate Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The key read-through is that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not going to force central banks off their course. (Interest rate hikes)

Russia’s separatist ‘empire’: long term challenges

The view from the Britain’s world.

https://i0.wp.com/www.geostrategy.org.uk/app/uploads/2021/03/Hero-Banner-Primary-7.jpg?resize=484%2C226&ssl=1

Russia has stoked, managed and supported many pro-Russian separatist conflicts in the post-Soviet space. Although having ethnic aspects, these conflicts are in fact geopolitical in nature and utilised by Moscow to prevent the Euro-Atlantic integration of countries to its west and south, notably Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia. The leveraging of these separatist conflicts for geopolitical gain has become a key element of Moscow’s strategic calculus.

Russia’s policy towards these conflicts has been conditioned by various factors, such as the influence of regional powers, particularly Turkey and Iran, military calculations, and fluctuating bilateral ties with states neighbouring Russia (Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan). Although it is difficult to see the emergence of a clear Russian strategy in the 1990s and early 2000s towards these conflicts, by early 2022 (as evidenced by Russia officially recognising[↗] the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR] and Luhansk People’s Republic [LPR] as a prelude to its renewed offensive against Ukraine), it is clear that the stoking and management of them has turned into a key part of Russia’s grand strategy.


Short term successes

Russia’s strategy is intrinsically linked to this contest between Russia and free and open nations – particularly those of Europe – over the political, economic, and military future of these territories that border Russia to its west and south. As many of these states seek membership into the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Russia endeavours to pull them back under its influence by deterring their membership through military coercion and the instigation of separatism, whilst simultaneously attempting to expand regional groupings where it has power to incorporate them, such as the Eurasian Economic Union.

So far, this strategy has produced tangible results through stalling the enlargement of the EU and NATO into the wider Black Sea region, notably Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. However, Russia is now facing a range of long-term challenges in managing the various seperatist conflicts and territories it helped establish – its seperatist ‘empire’. These stem from geographic factors, Russia’s economic support to them, the international legitimacy of these territories, and the continued aspiration for greater Euro-Atlantic integration evident in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.


Long term challenges

First is the challenge posed by geography. In the early years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia only had to oversee separatist conflicts in small and impoverished Georgia and Moldova. Now, however, the Kremlin has to manage a range of geographically dispersed territories from Transnistria to Nagorno-Karabakh that rely heavily on Russia for stability, particularly through its military presence. These territories are often difficult to reach, and their societies politically unstable. Transnistria has been an especially interesting case since 2014, when Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea created logistical issues that made it increasingly difficult to reach the territory.

Ukraine created the blockade of Transnistria- Crimea’s request to rejoin Russia would have made passage to Transnistria easier without Kiev’s move to block)

Second is the economic woes, in which Russia has failed to come up with a long-term strategy to address. Creating a single economic union with the separatist territories is not possible, and real economic benefits are hard to foster in societies so unstable and consumed by armed conflict. The poor financial infrastructure of these territories further hinders Russia’s financial involvement. (If we don’t think in terms of the silk road initiative)

Furthermore, there is inherent fragility in the economic relationship between Russia and the separatist territories it supports due to their economic over-reliance on Russia. The effect of Covid-19 on the territory of Abkhazia encapsulates this well. The tourist industry – which accounts[↗] for nearly one-third of gross domestic product and is dominated by Russian visitors – was decimated, and Abkhaz leaders found it harder to extract necessary finances from their superiors in the Kremlin, who were also trying to manage the ramifications of a global pandemic. This has led to a budgetary crisis and the rekindling[↗] of conversations in Abkhazia about possible economic rapprochement with Tbilisi.

Then there is the effect of the sanctions imposed[↗] on Russia following its renewed invasion of Ukraine. Although not bringing the war to a halt in the short-term, the sanctions will hinder Russia’s economic and industrial potential in the long-term. Indeed, its economy is set to see its biggest contraction[↗] in decades (???) and the apparent stability of the ruble has been cautioned as illusory[↗]. (???) This will have a significant impact on the separatist territories’ ability to build a viable economy and retain a semblance of economic independence from Russia.

Another problem for Moscow and its separatist ‘empire’ is the lack of international legitimacy afforded to these territories. In the case of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, only Russia, Syria, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru have given them formal recognition. Other states will now be even less likely to recognise them, as well as the DPR, LPR and Transnistria, as a result of Russia’s tarnished image stemming from its renewed aggression against Ukraine. The legality and legitimacy of these territories that Russia has previously stressed is now in shambles.

So, you’re getting the idea that this is written with a particular world view/slant? Sort of that self congratulatory, we’ve got this all sorted out attitude that’s not addressing the reality. Rather it’s describing a specific world view- Britain’s view.


Conclusion

Taking a long term view, it seems that Russia’s strategy to stop the Euro-Atlantic integration of the post-Soviet space has not yielded the expected results. While it is true that Moscow has deterred some of its neighbours from joining the EU and NATO, its gamble that fuelling and supporting pro-Russian separatist conflicts would undermine the pro-European resolve of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine has largely failed. As the required finances and military support becomes ever more demanding, Moscow may find itself overstretched, and its separatist ‘empire’ collapsing.

Emil Avdaliani is a professor at European University and the Director of Middle East Studies at Georgian think-tank, Geocase.

We shall see if the conclusion matches what ever is yet to occur real world?

hattippin’ BMan!

I like it.

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