Category Archives: Stratediplo

The Man Who Must Be Tsar, By STRATEDIPLO

When he signed “the boy who would be tsar”, the old artist Andreï Andreïevich Romanov (also known as Andrew Andreyevich Romanoff) was, surprisingly, third in the lately chaotic succession line of Russia, although earlier in life he would never have guessed that his cousins Nicholas and Dimitri, of the same generation, would both stay childless. The twenty years-long head of the Romanov house Nicholas died in september 2014, followed by his brother Dimitri on december 31, 2016. Actually Dimitri headed the imperial house just long enough to receive the state invitation to come back to Russia, and he died on the exact eve of this milestone year 2017.

The official invitation launched in june 2015, for the millennial of the death of Saint Vladimir the baptist of Russia, was also extended to Maria Vladimirovna, the self-calling “grand-duchess” (a title exclusively reserved to children and grandchildren of a reigning emperor) who claims the Tsarhood of Kiril, the 1924 self-proclaimed “tsar” never recognised by the Zemski Sobor nor the imperial house (and never reigning). Understandably, the current government cannot interfer in dynastic disputes, but it has to bring and give to Russia what the orphan country needs. Since, according to the antiquated and imperfect “Pauline” succession rules (that only an emperor in function can amend) nobody is formally eligible, the first (next) person to represent the imperial inheritage within the state can only be installed per exception. Providence will then settle the case and seal the transition. But it is impossible to embody a ghost, or a would-be in absentia (abroad). Russia needs a Romanov in Russia.

Among the most obvious advantages of any hereditary system of succession is that, since nobody choses the one (who ideally cannot refuse his duty), he is totally independent from pressure powers. But fate does sometimes do really well. An anointment of the old childless Nicholas or Dimitri would not have prevented a succession contest to appear, from the Kiril branch, at the death of Dimitri. An anointment of Andreï Andreïevich means an automatic succession by his son Alexis Andreïevich, born in 1953, bringing therefore a stability expectancy of (according to the three precedents) about thirty years, largely enough to secure and normalise the position before the question of his own succession. Providence did provide. Now men (Andreï and Alexis) must comply with their call to duty. They will be fed there.

In June 2015, while the Leningrad Region proposed to officially host the invited returnees in an imperial residency in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Petrov proposed also the Livadia palace in Crimea, therefore obviously speaking in behalf of the presidency of the Federation. The protocolar position would be to represent and in body the dynasty and the nation, and was then compared to the position of the king or queen in nowadays United Kingdom and Netherlands. Of course the government could only pass the authority it has, meaning constitutional. From a constitutional law point of view, and alike an emperor, an institutionally recognised embodiment of the imperial history (which is the position currently proposed by the Russian government) cannot be promoted above by any body of lower hierarchy, therefore to go further Russia will need to resort to the only bodies that have more historical and social legitimacy than the current constitutional state, that is the Church and the civil society. This could come later, the Russian peoples realising again that a big country cannot rely on the good will of temporary elected fill-in volunteers but needs a stable institution providing a long-term direction regardless of the merits, competencies and longevity of individuals.

As for now, the Russian government is ready to give, within the state, a permanent institutional status to the imperial family before the commemorations of the revolution and the assassinations. Russia urgently needs to attribute the honorary presidency of the 2017 re-conciliatory celebrations. Further events belong to future History.

May Dimitri rest in peace. May Andreï and Alexis move on now.

www.stratediplo.blogspot.com

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The US provokes with a permanent presence in the Black Sea, by Stratediplo

Source: Stratediplo

blacksea

At the opportunity of the Sea Breeze naval exercise, vice-admiral James Foggo, commanding officer of the USA Sixth Fleet, declared on September 2 that the USA will tend to maintain a presence as permanent as possible in the Black Sea, which the US naval magazine Navy Times calls, nicely enough, “to wave its flag at Russia’s front door”.

It is actually a provocation.

The USA have been running yearly joint maneuvers with the Ukraine for years, without so far considering a permanent presence. Last year they have been reminded the existence of the Montreux Convention. And on the other hand they realised the vulnerability of their navy, first thanks to the Russian Sukhoï 24 that really blinded, desarmed and paralysed the Donald Cook in the very Black Sea (april 2014), and then thanks to the French attack submarine Saphir which virtually (during an exercise) destroyed half of the naval group of the Theodore Roosevelt, included that aircraft carrier just recently modernised, in Florida (february 2015); without any budgetary constraint, the USA do equip their armed forces with their best technology, but their technology is not the most advanced. These two warnings, therefore, could have incited them to a lower profile on global seas, but it seems that tactical superiority (the ability to win a confrontation) doesn’t interest them as much as the assertion of their omnipresence, at sea as well as on land where, for example, they violate every day the Minsk agreements prohibiting the presence of foreign troops in ex-Ukraine (in Malorussia as well as in Novorussia).

Therefore, the intention of a permanent US presence in the Black Sea must be considered as a new and determined policy. The USA may have not signed the Montreux Convention, but they accept it while crossing the Straits, since it was conceived, by the Black Sea bordering countries, as the condition for the opening of this sea to non-bordering countries who don’t have anything do do there since it is a locked sea and not a passing way like the Malacca strait or the English Channel. They are not totally right when pretending that these are international waters where transit is free, since they are multinational waters opened to non-bordering states under certain conditions. The Black Sea is not a navigation corridor, even if the Montreux Convention makes a favour to commercial fleets, that only underlines the specific regime of military vessels, which are precisely the ones that the USA, not geographically prone to Bulgaro-Romanian commerce, intend to deploy permanently… and if the bordering countries were to offer them an exception to the Convention, the next US step would, with no doubt, be the Azov sea, “international” since it is bordered by Russia and the ex-Ukrainian Malorussia (and now Novorussia too).

Indeed the USA are putting  their allies in a difficult position, on one hand Turkey which is obliged, by the Convention, to control the straits (otherwise they would not have been left to Turkey), and on the other hand France which is obliged, by the same Convention, to warn all bordering countries in case a non-bordering power infringes the text, that is, either lets a military vessel for more than 21 days, or introduces (what Turkey is supposed to prevent) a total tonnage above 30000 tonnes.

Since the USA, who already violated this rule last year, are now announcing their intention of a permanent installation, although they know that their fleet is vulnerable and that this announcement puts their allies in a difficult position, it can only be a provocation, like all the ones seen for already a year and a half in Europe, as for example the multiplication of aerial missions likely to provoke incidents.

If the systematic disregard of the Montreux Convention by the USA was to become permanent, and if the partners of Russia were to refuse to play their role in the application of the Convention, it would be difficult not to see there a direct provocation and, in the current state of declared war, an invitation to Russia to adopt the Just Cause solution applied by the USA to the Panama Canal in 1989.

Delenda Carthago.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The Minsk Complex dismantles the Minsk Memorandum, by Stratediplo

On September 5, 2014, the trilateral contact group on Ukraine (OSCE, Russia and Ukraine) signed a Protocol to “implement president Poroshenko’s peace plan and president Putin’s initiative”; then on September 19 the same contact group signed a Memorandum, supposedly to precise its practical application, but actually to correct it and make it both viable and useful. After the failure of the general military offensive launched by the Ukranian government in January, president Hollandd, president Putin and chancellor Merkel called the contact group to prepare a new document, the Complex “of measures about the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, issued on February 12, 2015. As the two previous ones, this document was then presented to two top leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk de facto republics (in the meanwhile elected chiefs of government), who acknowledged having read it by signing after the trilateral contact group, in their sole personal names since they were not asked to state any public mandate or commit any community.

The 13 clauses of the Complex are commented hereafter.

1. Immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.

This clause just repeats the first clause of the Protocol and the first clause of the Memorandum, and ignores the third clause of the Memorandum, burrying the distinction between offensive fire, especially against civilian population, and defensive counter-battery fire, aimed at putting an end to any shelling of the civilian population. For months the OSCE has been able to identify and report which side was firing at the population (even after the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum) and which side was restraining to defensive counter-battery, but the trilateral contact group doesn’t want any more to single out offensive operations and to put a specific blame on the offender, should the same anti-cities pattern occur again.

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THE UNITED STATES PREPARES TO END PRECIOUS METALS TRADING AND SET THE DOLLAR’S VALUE OFFICIALLY, by Stratediplo

Source: The French Saker

Translation: Jack & Robin

December 22, 2014

Starting today, December 22, 2014, fluctuations in precious metal prices, which were not truly free of manipulation, will be strictly regulated in US markets. The dollar’s value in terms of gold will be an officially set constant amount and will in no way be representative of any inability to buy an ounce of gold, even for an astronomical amount of dollars.

cme-group

On December 11, the futures market regulator announced new rules for the two main markets, the Comex (Commodity Exchange) and the Nymex (New York Mercantile Exchange), based on rule no. 589, Special Price Fluctuation Limits.[1] The spirit of this maneuver is adroitly buried in technical complexities summed up in a clever grid of permitted fluctuations in absolute values (not percentages), with price ranges that differ from one metal to another, since obviously the same absolute value (e.g., $100) does not in any way represent the same percentage of the value of an ounce of a given metal, such as copper or platinum.

appendixC

It will not be said that the maximum fluctuation is 20% for all metals. But a careful reading of the grid shows, for example, that if the last price of gold was less than $1,000, the maximum fluctuation allowed (upward or downward) is $100, and if the last price was in the range of $1,000 to $2,000, the allowable fluctuation is $200, with the maximum range for gold in the grid being $3,000 to $4,000 (there is no open-ended range of, say, “$4,000 or more”).

With this new rule, the reader of the grid can only imagine what will happen when the price of gold reaches $4,000 (barely more than twice its price on 6 September 2011) – will it be unlimited free fluctuations or a definitive closure of the markets? – unless the regulatory authorities of the world’s leading marketplace believe, and expect everyone else to believe, that it is inconceivable that the price of gold in dollars could double from the price freely determined by supply and demand before the outrageous manipulations of September 2011.

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The Depreciation of the Euro, by Stratediplo

Economists say that the euro is falling. Since currencies are no more measured in gold terms but in comparison to other currencies, they mean that the euro is depreciating compared to the dollar.

It cannot be explained by Greece, which gross domestic product represents 1,9% of the euro area GDP (242 out of 12750 billion dollars in 2013): even the total closing down of Greek economy would not reduce Eurozone economy by more than 2%. It cannot be explained by rumors of intended projects of “quantitative easing” (money printing), in comparison to a dollar that did see a real active policy multiplying its monetary base by five (+400%) since 2008, representing a doubling of the monetary base every three years: it is almost impossible to print enough euros to match the amount of dollars printed in the last six years, let alone increasing the euro monetary base faster than the dollar one. In other terms, every year there are much more dollars in circulation for each euro than the year before. It cannot be explained by a possible future deflation that would not strike the USA less than the Eurozone. None of these explanations presented by economists can justify a serious loss of value ot the euro against the dollar, and when studied carefully they would rather advocate for a devaluation of the dollar against the euro. All arithmetical data are in favor of the euro compared to the dollar.
The only explanation is the strong renewed anti-euro propaganda waged by the USA, which will increase in the next two months, in order to deflect attention from the USA declaration of insolvability, total loss of debt-control and giving up on any restraint, that will (discreetly) come in March, by the definitive lifting of their famous “debt ceiling”.
If the euro goes further down against the dollar, it will not be for economic reasons but for political ones: the incapacity (or the lack of will) of European authorities to explain real figures and fight back the communication war. Because it is a war, as the one against Russia, that destroys more goods than the French bombing of Libya in 2011. And this war will intensify.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.
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the Minsk Memorandum is back: it corrects the Minsk Protocol, by Stratediplo

Written end of September, this note was not intended for publication but for internal OSCE use. The renewed interest for the Minsk process, and the possible beginning of implementation after this announced “day of silence”, brings the opportunity to clearly expose the reason why Kiev didn’t respect the Memorandum: it was totally reversing the Protocol. This note sticks to the texts as they were published (only in Russian) since the author didn’t have access to the meetings and discussions, and his opinion (“prospects”) is clearly separated from the analysis.

On September 5, 2014, the trilateral contact group on Ukraine (OSCE, Russia and Ukraine) signed a Protocol to “implement president Poroshenko’s peace plan and president Putin’s initiative”; then on September 19 the same contact group signed a memorandum to precise its practical application. Both documents were also presented for signature to two top leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk de facto republics, who signed it in no official capacity. This note intends to clarify the origin and content of the Protocol, to present how the Memorandum completes and corrects it, and to draw some practical conclusions.

A- The Minsk Protocol was essentially Poroshenko’s peace plan

On June 20 Ukrainian president Poroshenko had published a 15-points “peace plan”, assorted with a one-week ceasefire for the insurgents to leave the country (Lavrov read it as an ultimatum), which he announced again end of August. On September 3 Russian president Putin drafted a 7-points proposal for a cease-fire. Ukrainian regular and paramilitary forces having recently been defeated, their rulers agreed to submit Putin’s proposal to the contact group, but the Protocol signed two days later appeared to be rather inspired by Poroshenko’s plan (that the contact group had discussed for two months) than by Putin’s proposal. The 12 points of the Protocol are commented hereafter.

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Donetsk, Lugansk and Novorussia, by Stratediplo

Whatever one may think about the referendum on sovereignty held on May 11 in the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk in reaction to their exclusion by the new regime born from the coup d’état of February 22 in Kiev, its declaration of war and the sending of Ukrainian armed forces on April 12 to expell their populations, its result was widely confirmed by the turnout rate at the elections of November 2.

By the way this rates sharply contrasts with the electoral desinterest shown by the population of the areas controled by the new Kievian regime, in the Western regions (Transcarpathia and Galicia) that proclaimed their independence as well as in the Eastern regions (Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk and Zaporozhie) and the Southern ones (Odessa and Kherson) that consider themselves as occupied, and even in the Central-North (Kiev) where nevertheless an important part of the population supports the pro-germanic and anti-slavic policy, even though it doesn’t really sympathise with the new regime that conducts it. In short, the abstention rate on October 26 in the regions of ex-Ukraine controlled by the BandeReich looks like the desinterest rate of Uniopean parlementary elections.

On the contrary, the turnout at the parlementary and presidential elections in Donetsk and Lugansk on November 2, certified by foreign observers, confirmed the pertinence of the new republics and the interest of their citizens to confer them an optimal legitimacy. As for the results, which from a politologic point of view are less important than the participation rate, they demonstrated the gratefulness and confidence of two thirds of the voting people towards the current authorities, not only institutions but also persons.

These elections were not necessary, first because of the situation of exception under which these regions live (institutional construction on the way, external military aggression and heavy humanitarian crisis) as we wrote on September 10, and second because of their total geographic inclusion in a military operations zone as Strelkov said on October 4. In some circumstances democracy is a luxury even for European educated peoples. Furthermore the elections were a risk because Kievian armed forces, which systematically destroyed life-supporting infrastructure (water potabilisation, electricity production and distribution, hospitals…) and then industrial installations (chimical plants) and managed to aim precisely at schools on the first day of school year, could have launched, since they did not apply the Minsk memorandum demanding the withdrawal of artillery and missiles away from their practical range, a general or punctual bombing in order to totally forbid, or at least partially invalidate, the voting; the reason why they didn’t do so is unknown but may be the consequence of firm Russian threats.

In any case these elections are not all. Although they confirm the popular legitimacy and affirm the democratic legality of Donetsk and Lugansk, now doted with elected parliaments and executive powers, they let Novorussia, until now only embodied in an acclaimed governor and an union of parliaments, in a political and institutional undefined zone.

Since they decided, with success despite the circumstances, an institutional construction, the governments of Donetsk and Lugansk republics must now define the respective status of said republics and Novorussia (obviously a confederation), decide the nomination mode of its representatives (elected mandatary, commission extracted from the parliaments or secretary office appointed by the governments for example), and most importantly declare where sits the sovereignty and who is the subject of international law (republics or confederation).

Novorussia, one or united, exists and demonstrated its legitimacy. It now needs to define itself and get recognised.

www.stratediplo.blogspot.com

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Lessons from Minsk: international and national sovereignty, by Stratediplo

1- International sovereignty

The Minsk affair stressed the urgency, for Novorussia, to define its international status.

All Novorussia actors agreed that from now on, they must never sign any agreement within the Ukrainian legal frame and constitutional order (if there is one). Therefore, any new agreement will necessarily be international.

The contact group summit, by the way, was supposed to be international, and the theme of the meeting, if it was the project announced two days earlier by Putin, was definitely an international matter, precisely a ceasefire (an inadequate term for internal public order), proposing, among other things, an all-for-all exchange of prisoners, something that is only conceivable in an equal-to-equal relationship: same status for the prisoners of each pack and same legal capacity for the two actors holding and exchanging them. Nevertheless even a simple temporary ceasefire, even limited in space (to one sole front of the theater) is an international treaty contracted between two sides equally capable of signing an agreement, like an armistice that doesn’t name any victor. Even a capitulation, where one of the warring parties recognises its defeat, can only be signed between existing and reciprocally recognised authorities; for example, the last Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) signed such an act in 1999, which is obviously impossible when any state entity has been destroyed in the defeated country, as for example in Iraq in 2003 (unlike 1991) or in Libya in 2011.

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Kuchma-Zurabov protocol: Concession or Treason ? , By Stratediplo

The OSCE published yesterday the text of the protocol of agreement signed on Friday, September 5 in Minsk. One cannot guess what happened but if it is true that Poroshenko promised he would order his troops to cease fire in case Putin’s seven-points project was signed, it’s easy to understand that he finally abstained from ordering this ceasefire since the signed document doesn’t correspond at all to the Putin project (which would never have considered, for example, the creation of a demilitarised zone in Russia).

On the contrary, it is almost word for word the 14-point “peace plan” proclaimed by Poroshenko himself on June 20, delivering to the resistance to the coup d’état a one-week ultimatum to drop its weapons and go into exile, which a lot of analysts interpreted as the announcement of ethnic cleansing. This is actually what the near future could confirm with the destruction of Slaviansk and Kramatorsk, the expulsion of more than a million civilians and the besieging of three million people in two urban areas in which life-sustaining infrastructure (drinking water and electricity) would be systematically destroyed, humanitarian and media access denied, and a massacre undertaken not only by intensive anti-urban strategic bombing (including the use of prohibited weapons) but also by the bombing of chemical plants.

It’s difficult to resist the temptation to comment each of these 12 points of an agreement obviously imposed on Novorussia.

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Continue reading Kuchma-Zurabov protocol: Concession or Treason ? , By Stratediplo

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