Ukraine War Day #210: Kherson Puts On Weight, Ukraine Gets Skinnier

Dear Readers:

I won’t bother to re-relay all the exciting news which I am sure readers have seen on other sites; Putin’s talks with Erdoğan and other peers at the Uzbekistan summit; the decision to go ahead with the referendums; the partial mobilization of the Russian armed forces; it’s all connected, like a chain-link fence. All I can say about that, is to repeat what I have heard other smart analysts say and seems to be very plausible: namely, that Putin’s whirlwind diplomacy achieved its objective: to get an understanding from his peers; a sort of “we’re on board, go ahead and do what you need to do to finish this mess. Just do it quickly, please.” And a tacit wink and nod about the upcoming referendums and annexations.

This is the main thing, in my view, which has untied Putin’s hands. Pro-NATO types can spin the summit however they like. For example, on his nightly youtube show, the odious Mark Feigin and his glibly fascist guest, Alexei Arestovich, were going hee-hee-hee and making fun of this photo, which shows Putin sitting on a couch in between Lukashenko and some other leader. Erdoğan (the Alpha male) appears to be dominating them, sitting higher and talking/gesturing, while the others (Betas) listen and smile. Pro-NATO types like Feigin/Arestovich interpret reality in the American (Anglo-Saxon) manner: Somebody must be boss, calling all the shots, the Capo di Capo, who roams the room whacking people with a baseball bat, while everybody else salutes and grovels. They don’t understand the Eastern world, where the realities of power are somewhat more subtle than that crude model.

Putin sitting comfortably with his peers.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Feigin/Arestovich spin this as: Putin’s ultimate debasement, loss of face and status. No longer the Russian Tsar/Caesar Emperor; demoted to the child’s table, sitting in between two other guys. “The King is naked!” Arestovich declares. Naked? Really? To my view, everybody is wearing nice suits. Erdoğan is probably telling some amusing story, which the nice-looking woman lurking to his left, translates into Russian.

A comfortable and relaxed Putin sitting among men whom he considers to be his peers and equals; people he likes and trusts (more or less); relaxing on the “cool kids” couch; satisfied with the success of his trip, especially now that he knows that they have all reached a mutual understanding; and now that his hands are untied, so that, after he returns home, he can finally go medieval on the Ukrainian army and finish this awful war.

It is up to my readers to decide, which interpretation is correct, or maybe a combination of the two. Putin is not all-powerful, but neither is he powerless, as the odious Feigin fantasizes. Putin is a European man by nature, but he also dwells within the Eastern world, where people know how to wheel and deal; and how to conclude mutually beneficial bargains. Putin being such a cautious and legal-minded man; I would not imagine that he would proceed in what now looks to be a more radical direction unless he knew that he had the backing (even if tacit) of these other powerful men with whom he is sharing these snacks.

The Result: Let The Referendums Begin

Moving on to our piece de review, the reporter is Vera Basilaya. This big news, of course, is the referendums themselves, and that they are going to happen very soon. Here we discuss just a minor detail of the Kherson referendum.

Kirill Stremousov is a man whom we have met many times before, on this blog. He is the Deputy Head of Administration for the Kherson Oblast. Kirill recently discovered that his Oblast is going to be putting on a little weight, and this is what he had to say about that:

Kirill Stremousov: “The people are excited.”

“We will conduct our voting within our administrative boundaries, but we have recently acquired two new entities: the village of Alexandrovka and the city of Snegirevka. They were added as two administrative centers, even though [technically they belong to the Nikolaev Oblast]. What happened is that yesterday they submitted an appeal to the Head of our Oblast, requesting to be included in the Kherson Oblast. And thus they will have a chance to vote in our election.”

Stremousov is happy that Putin finally came out and said it, dispelling all the doubts and worries: “He will not give up the Kherson Oblast, we will be incorporated as a subject of the Russian Federation. All the pieces of the puzzle [yalensis: пазл – another American borrowing, egads!] have finally come together. All the threats and attacks from the Nazis, had the opposite effect from what they intended: If at first only 27% of the people here wanted to take part in a referendum, now that has grown, in the past month, to 80% of people who want to vote to join the Russian Federation. The Khersonites are very excited, you can see the people out on the streets.”

Kirill added that voting stations will be opened in Crimea as well, since many Khersonites had re-located to Crimea, especially those who lived in dangerous buffer zones.

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18 Responses to Ukraine War Day #210: Kherson Puts On Weight, Ukraine Gets Skinnier

  1. Montmorency says:

    Is there a country in the whole world that can say “we can survive with exclusively our means”? Yes, and the answer is Russia.
    Natural resources, technology, industrial base, military, social cohesion, everything is there. Plus the largest nuclear arsenal.
    But they also have plenty that others need, like cereals, gas and oil, minerals…
    Putin, as president of Russia, is first among equals. Only Xi Jinping comes close to this dimension.

    Like

  2. Liborio Guaso says:

    It is curious how difficult it is to overthrow the ucronazis by the support of the West. Let us remember that when the Westerners decided on the safari against the Muslims in 2001, they executed it, killed several million and made several million others emigrate and still occupy those lands as if they were their yard. And where is the UN? A cashing his check at a bank in Manhattan.
    That is the world we need to change.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. peter moritz says:

    “that has grown, in the past month, to 80% of people who want to vote to join the Russian Federation. ”

    This is typical of how the “dictator” Putin operates. Like in Crimea, and in many cases when he peruses his agenda of internal affairs, he relies on surveys of the public mood. He did not accede to the demands by Lugansk and Donbas for joining in 2014 because the referendum at the time was hastily implemented, and the outcome was barely over 50% in favour. Crimean surveys however indicated a 70% pro vote, so he had Crimea proceed with the voting process.
    The same here, I doubt that he would have supported (or suggested) the holding of a referendum, had surveys not indicated the majority of the population to be in favour.

    The question Europeans have to ask themselves, how in actuality a president, who gauges constantly the mood and desires of the population, and usually does not act unless he is sure he has the backing of the populace in most cases, can be called an autocrat (or even a dictator, by those who are especially clueless or propagandists).

    He also needs the approval of Parliament, and overall the system has as many checks and balances as any other democracy who claims to be representing the population, but more often than not truly represent only the will of a small financial and industrial elite: see the EU and its constituent Nations and the actual and not idealized power structure in the USA

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Charlie says:

    I’ve always hated getting the kitchen chair at family gatherings. The fat ars cousins and their fat ars wives would always hog the couch leaving everyone else to the ars aching chairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beluga says:

    Way back at the beginning of the SMO, I was reading about the ethnicity split in the Donbass between Russian and Ukrainian. Of course, I used that fount of all wisdom, Wikipedia. And it seemed that the cities were majority Russian and the rurals predominantly Ukrainian. Nevertheless only 40% in total were ethnic Russian in 2001 in both Donetz and Luhansk. However, Russian was the language used by 70%.

    Since then, a lot of people of both Ukrainian and Russian ethnicity have fled the region. But more Ukrainians left than Russians. And the Ukrainian army has shelled the Donbass cities continually for eight years as we all know, but our Western newsreaders for some reason do not. No wonder the two oblasts wanted to be independent republics. Now it’s all become serious enough during the SMO they want to join Russia proper and the referendums will show that. But see below.

    So, the big uptick over in Kherson oblast recently from 27% to 80% who want a referendum about joining the RF is likely driven by a reading of the situation by regular people there. Who wants Zelensky as boss? Nobody with a brain.

    However, all is not wine and roses. We had a referendum in Canada in 1995 concerning Quebec leaving Canada. It was very narrowly defeated, 50.4% voting to remain. Subsequent rulings by our Supreme Court found that it was illegal for Quebec to unilaterally secede no matter the result of a referendum. And they also said that international law agreed on that matter:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reference_Re_Secession_of_Quebec

    So, all these soon-to-be referenda and the one held in Crimea are illegal under international law if they lead to actual unilateral change. That’s why the West carps on the matter. Apparently people have to stay and put up with a vicious government as they see it, legally-speaking. Putin professes to follow international law, but not on this matter, I guess. What excuses can he bring up, one wonders.

    Don’t throttle the messenger. I just researched this today, and was surprised that Russia is actually in the wrong on this. Even if it seems totally unfair as in this case. The law doesn’t allow one to pick and choose, or, I suppose every Tom, Dick and Harry town could vote to secede from a country when they felt like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yalensis says:

      Well, if you asked Zakharova about this, I reckon she would reply to that talking point in a single word: “Kosovo!”

      Like

      • Beluga says:

        Well I’ve been reading further and I presume the principle of self-determination of peoples is also a part of international law, to be interpreted by the UN. Talk about loosey-goosy on interpretation of what is a people and a dozen other things, though. Ripe for “interpretation” by anyone with imagination. But it could be argued as Putin does that it would hold sway in this DPR/LPR and two region situation.

        Canada managed to not read its own Supreme Court ruling on Quebec when it recognized Kosovo in 2008. Not the first time it has bent to US pressure, so I suppose this self-determination principle was chosen to explain it. Strange how the secessionists in Quebec didn’t beat that self-determination drum back in the ’90s. They had some real rabble-rousers in the Parti Quebecois.

        Anyway, talk about a load of total rubbish spouted in condemnation of Putin at the UN today. Never heard such a load of concentrated outright horse manure, except for the past six months of equal propgandish horse manure. I forced myself to listen to the coverage, and damn near had a heart attack at the insanity of it.

        We were also told that people are fleeing Russia at $10K an airline ticket, and that thousands of protesters were arrested across the RF and thrown in jail. More sanctions wuffed the West, that’ll do it. Putin doubling down on failure, no command and control exist in the Russian armed forces, logistics failures of supply, blah blah, blah. These idiots just lie outright. Oh well, we in the West seem to have decided to ignore reality by 180 degrees, and so if Europe freezes this winter, I shall laugh my ass off rather than fake concern. You asked for it, you got it.

        Like

    • Roland says:

      “I just researched this today”. Of course you did. You read 1 or 2 articles in some funny western piece of ‘quality journalism’, hmm?

      Want to talk legalese?
      State sovereignty has been the predominant principle in international affairs until about the mid 2000s, when the world decided that the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ was a worthwile other principle that one state’s sovereignty had to be weighed against (under original Russian protest by the way). Ever heard about Kosovo, where the poor Albanians in the south of Serbia had to be protected from abuse by the Serbians (allegedly), no matter what the sovereign state of Serbia thought about that?

      Russia is claiming that the Ukrainians are commiting genocide against the Russian minority in Ukraine, which would trigger that ‘Responsibility to Protect’ . I’m not sure that Ukraine killing around 10000 separatists through artillery fire and border skirmishes reaches the threshold for genocide, one could debate that, but ‘crimes against humanity’ are mentioned there as well and you can probably find some of these in the actions of Ukraine against their own people.

      Even if you don’t think any of this is relevant here: The Minsk agreements (where Ukraine actually guarantees the separatist republics a right of self-government within Ukraine) are certainly part of international law because the parties involved signed an agreement under international mediation, and Ukraine violated these explicitly by trying to just subjugate the republics by simply treating every differing opinion there as terrorism that needs to be eradicated with more artillery fire. Poroshenko later even admitted that the Ukrainian Government from the start never intended to follow up on the Minsk agreements and that all of it was just a ruse to buy time.

      But the most despicable aspect of guys in the ‘West’ talking about international law isn’t even that Russia has some actual legal arguments on its side (at least potentially). Most despicable is that practically no one in the West gives a rat’s ass about international law, while touting it nevertheless when it suits them.

      So please, next time maybe read up some more about the actual law involved here before pulling out of thin air that “Russia is actually in the wrong on this”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beluga says:

        Thanks very much for the detailed response. Did you read the link I provided to the decision about Quebec? Obviously not. And your bona fides are what, exactly?

        I responded to yalensis before I read your response, because I got no email notification of your comment. So calm down.

        Like

        • BM says:

          You mean the “Wikiliar” link? Since when would Wikiliar be worthy of relying on? It is well-known as the prime propaganda medium of empire for propagating fake news and twisting reality.

          According to international law, a region cannot secceed UNLESS a majority of the population is in favour. If Wikiliar says the reverse then Wikiliar is lying – nothing unusual about that, though their lies are generally not quite so stupid or so easily debunked. A free and fair referendum is a universally recognised method of indicating the will of the population.

          Kosovo DID NOT, however, hold a referendum. It’s secession was determined entirely by an armed minority together with NATO. Therefore under international law it is held up as a prime example of an invalid sessession under international law – under international law Kosovo is still under sovereignty of Serbia.

          [Congratulations, though, for being the first person to get the plural of “referendum” correct: you win the Awful Avalanche Literary Prize].

          Like

          • yalensis says:

            Logic problem, which of these statements is true:

            wikiliar: “Everything that I say is a lie!”
            wikiliar: “I am lying right now!”
            wikiliar: “A region may only secede if a minority of the population votes for the secession.”

            Like

        • Roland says:

          Yeah sorry for the heated response.
          There are just so many people out there claiming that “the law” has been violated without looking into anything. It’s not just the hipocrisy that’s aggravating. This approach of legalism (“the law says”) is misguided in the first place I’d say, because international law is less institutionalized and relies far more on aspects of mediation. As somebody below commented, the far more accurate approach is to recognize that ‘it’s complicated’.

          Again, sorry if you’re not among those people. I just perceived it to be the case.

          Like

    • Mark Chapman says:

      Does a national constitution override international law? I think you will find that it does not. And the freedom to choose one’s political associations and to change one’s nationality is enshrined in the UN Charter.

      https://internationallaw.uslegal.com/international-human-rights/universal-human-rights-instruments/the-right-of-self-determination/

      Please note , the right of a people to self-determination is absolute.

      Article 1 in both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) read: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

      The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 15 states that everyone has the right to a nationality and that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of a nationality or denied the right to change nationality.

      Of course, as the reference points out, many domestic constitutions contain a clause which forbids secession of a constituent state. But how else is an entity within the nation expected to exercise self-determination? Act like an asshole until the federal government orders you to leave? I don’t think so. That’s one for the legal scholars. But as Yalensis suggests, NATO was over the moon about Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, and backed it to the hilt although the national government was loudly and obviously against it. And NATO has instigated pro-independence movements in the territories of many of its enemies. Why bother, if the national government can simply stand on the constitution?

      Like

      • Beluga says:

        Thank you for your response. Self-determination proclamations even from within a nation are all very well, but who’s going to wander in and enforce a UN principle if the town of Pembroke ON decides to unilaterally secede from Canada?

        I’m the last one to defend the West on its two-faced approach to international relations and recognition of self-proclaimed newly-independent nations like Kosovo of which they approve. The unilateral invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the CIA-inspired colour revolutions of the middle East I abhor to the hilt.

        I said nothing about national constitutions overriding international law, either. In the case of Quebec, the Supreme Court of Canada said that since international law agreed with Canadian law, it decided to make no opinion over which law had precedence. That’s one of the reasons why I provided the link. Also, I lived through that secessionist era in my country, and it was zero fun with bullsh!t flying thick and fast.

        “The court addressed the three questions in order. First, they stated that, under the Canadian Constitution (and with Quebec being a party to it since its inception), unilateral secession was not legal. However, should a referendum decide in favour of independence, the rest of Canada “would have no basis to deny the right of the government of Quebec to pursue secession.” Read the rest of the opinion to learn something.

        This self-determination principle is fine as it stands, but is as loosey goosey as can be imagined about details from what I read.
        And details matter. As does might. So the four referenda about to be held in “Ukraine” have the backing of Russia, and like the US backing Kosovo, who’s going to argue the toss in anything but words?

        Like

      • peter moritz says:

        Aside from the blatant hypocrisy of the NATO nations, accusing Russia of violating international law that they themselves replaced with a rules-based order not recognized by anyone else but themselves, the situation is complicated and a matter of interpretation, and political willingness.

        “Please note, the right of a people to self-determination is absolute.”
        Its complicated.
        https://pesd.princeton.edu/node/511

        The relatively straightforward language of the first paragraph, in particular, is commonly cited as evidence of the universality of the right to self-determination, although its formulation does little to make the scope of the right more precise. Nevertheless, both the reference to “all” peoples and the fact that the article is found in human rights treaties intended to have universal applicability suggest a scope beyond that of decolonization.

        United Nations and state practice up to the 1990s provides evidence that the international community thus far has recognized only a very limited right to self-determination which includes 1) freedom from a former colonial power, and, once independence has been achieved, 2) freedom of the whole state’s population from foreign intervention or undue influence..

        Whether in the context of decolonization (e.g., Katanga, Biafra) or subsequent to independence, there is no legal support for the proposition that the right to self-determination encompasses a right of a region of a state to secede from that state.

        On the other hand, by its actions over the last 8 years Kiev violated clearly the human rights of the people of Donbas, and should have severely been taken to task for that, aside from having ignored the Minsk accord it had signed up to implement. It violated the obligations towards its citizens in the now new republics, but apparently, no one aside from Russia was willing to act.

        https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights
        Article 3
        Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
        Article 5
        No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
        Article 8
        Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
        Article 22
        Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
        etc, etc, pp

        Like

        • yalensis says:

          Thank you everybody, for an excellent and intelligent discussion on the various issues involved, regarding nations right to self-determination, etc.
          You raise many interesting and important issues, in this complicated debate.

          I am so blessed that I have these kinds of smart readers, and not the dumb ones who would just type something stupid like, “Hey, how’s the weather in Moscow today, Comrade?”

          (haha)

          Like

        • Beluga says:

          Brilliant comment, in my view. Covers all the bases that are of interest to me, anyway.

          Following the ridiculous pronouncements made yesterday by Western talking head at the UN, where reality was straight-faced turned on its head for broadcast to an apparently gullible public, one wonders how the spin machine will respond when something happens that cannot be explained away by glib lies. No doubt we’ll find out in a month or so.

          By then, I also hope that the two notorious fence-sitter nations, Turkey and India, always on the lookout for a free or discount lunch, will have contemplated their repective navels in enough detail to come to a solid conclusion one way or the other on which side to support.

          Like

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