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It’s not about Ukraine. It’s about Putin.


Dylan Matthews talks with Mark Galeotti (@MarkGaleotti), director of Mayak Intelligence, about what’s going on in Ukraine. They discuss in depth the historical tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Russia’s NATO problem, and the calculations and motivations behind President Vladimir Putin’s moves.


Today, Explained’s episode about Ukraine's pipeline problem 

Vox’s Jen Kirby wrote an explainer about Russia-Ukraine tensions

Adam Tooze on Russia as a petro-state

An excellent 2019 episode from NPR’s Throughline about the rise of Putin

The Weaponisation of Everything: A Field Guide to the New Way of War, by Mark Galeotti 


Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox


Sofi LaLonde, producer and engineer

Libby Nelson, editorial adviser

Amber Hall, deputy editorial director of talk podcasts

Sign up for The Weeds newsletter each Friday: vox.com/weedsletter 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hello and welcomes you another episode of the weeds, I'm your hosting Matthews, and today we are talking about a different kind of U S: policy for in all our countries by the? U S and we're going to talk about it so stay here going global to talk about what's going on with Russia and Ukraine in recent months, the russian military has a mass troops near the border to Ukraine as well as in Crimea. The ukrainian Ray that Russia seized and twenty forty in and in Belarus Close rush. Now I to the north of Ukraine, the russian forces have artillery and tanks and anti aircraft systems and the amount of effort required for the sort of mobility and is making a lot of observers worry that russian invasion of eastern Ukraine could becoming so. I
Wednesday. Morning of this week, President Biden ordered an additional two thousand troops to Poland, Germany and one thousand to Romania. move was meant to reassure NATO allies, as tensions in the region are growing and well. Ukraine is not part of NATO and of joy that support to emphasise here. It has been vocal about wanting to join and that his inferior it advised mere Putin and the russian regime to no end. So it's a massively complexion- nation, with a really deep history behind it into instead of having me bought it about it. I thought I'd call. An expert mortality is the director May I can talents of London based consultancy, firm and is an expert on russian security in politics. He is an honorary, prefer her at the University College, London School of Slavonic in east european studies and seniors. it fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, Mark welcome to the shop but to be here So, let's start with the actual situation on the ground right now. So what has Russia been? Do
in recent months militarily and is what it's doing for different from things it's done in the past. It is different, humming bodies, seen is a pretty huge, build up of material around Ukraine's borders. Festival, It's a lot more than we ve seen in the past. There was of another big build up last spring, which some people thinking. Oh my gosh was about to start an escalation anyway This time, though, it's it's much more substantial and other people talking about like a hundred and twenty two hundred and thirty thousand troops, that's not entirely accurate, certainly as we speak in that. Actually what we have is there are a troops there, but also in some ways. It's the kit for these troops, so it's the tanks, Z, Ahmed fighting vehicles and so forth, because the point his once you got them. It's much easier to then send in the guys and just have them getting the tanks and and drive off. So it's might say it's the skeleton of a force of a hundred thirty thousand.
but also what we ve seen that is different from in past such shall build. Ups is this, although we might think of as the backup means of soldiers to whet the teeth in the town, last time it was essentially all teeth, no tail! So yes Oh very scary, though they were trained, some guns there, but they weren't they. The field hospitals, they weren't. The fuel bows is the big stocks of ammunition all the stuff. You actually need to have a real offensive. This time they have all that which means either they are absolutely planning for a definite military operation. All they might plan military operation that giving themselves the option or they realise that when they tried to bluff the last time, people precisely pointed to the lack of August backup and said: ah ha, that's. What's a blue and then just making damn sure this times can be a really good bluff where their needs. precipitating actions on Ukraine's part that seem took to provoke this.
Asking that is observed. This is Ukraine's Papa was, were there any sort of spring actions on green inside that that might explain why Russia's doing this what it comes down to. Is it's not the less a particular specific, oh baby, that they said that nickel is follows its more the wing viewed from Moscow? First of all, the ukrainian president than in king. When he was first elected. I think the Russians thought okay, you someone. We might be able to find some common ground with an undue deals with well Asia. Linsky got set up with the Russians for some very understandable reasons, but also he got squeezed by his own nationalist flank, so he felt it couldn't really make any concessions and quite the opposite. He then turned against various public figures. Politicians who were I dont, say promo scope, that's making them sounded as their quisling, but much more inclined towards reaching some kind of an agreement with Moscow starting in the russian quantity decided. Ok, there's
there's no way. We can do anything any business with this guy and then more generally. There is a sense that the West is in something of disarray. You have an american leadership that really is desperate to pivot, too mystic issues, but also China. You have a year start thoroughly divided with with breaks it with the end of the week and say the right in the era of Angela Merkel in Germany, who is very much the kind of pivotal figure who held it altogether and with France. Is President Mackrel soda spread to basically assume the mantle all the number one statesmen of Europe that frankly, he is quite divisive, he's into in some way trying to put a bit about a break between Europe and the United States. So I think for all those reasons is that since a well, we can start. This stalemate for eight years now. Maybe this is a good chance to give it a good push
and just see if we can shake out some kind of concessions from Ukraine and from the West ones of timing grudgingly had this as an American is, it seems like from twelve seventeen to twenty twenty one. Putin had the most sympathetic America present. You could possibly hope for, and it's a one through timing question I had this is why do this now? What is the percentage in doing this? Under a? U dot, s president has more hostile to him that he had a little over a year ago. Well, this is pointless, probably about half of your entire audience, but will come to hate me. I did I did it look my experience with IRAN shoes and certainly with a lot of conversations in Moscow, including the people in the Foreign ministry and so forth, is they really did not feel that they benefited from the Trump era we fissile. They never thought. Trunk was going to be elected this. This is this is classic mirror imaging. Russia is a quote: unquote: democracy in
Yes, there are elections, there are people putting them little pieces of paper ballot boxes, but Ultimately, the system works out what results gonna be, and although I mean they knew that it wasn't quite the same in the state But there was an assumption that actually, american democracy was also pretty well managed, a member once a guy from the russian Foreign Ministry, before trumps election, saying the american establishment will not allow a trump to be elected, while famous last words when Trump came in here I mean he had this kind of weird San Boyishness, towards every single dictator. He met not just Putin, but the point is that never actually manifested itself in into policy, not least because basically, Congo took over Russia policy, and the irony is that by the time Trump left office. U S policy towards Russia was,
for a more hostile than it had been at any point since the end of the cold war, there was a sense with Biden that, first of all bulletins, Russia policy really was to have as little bandwidth possible spent on Russia, and he really didn't whites wanted Russia not be a problem because he had other things you wanted to concentrate on, but there is also a sense in the Russians. Little Biden has grown up, he someone with which we can make deals with, and those deals will actually be followed through. So again, I think they miss red american policy, just as they have no four years. Miss Reggie ring, but from their point of view this was a good time because I saw look. Surely America is not really going to care about Ukraine. My understanding also is in important context fur or why Europe is reacting to this. This build up. The way that it is now is that there is a huge serve european oil and gas.
Reliance on Russia in a complex relationship having to do with that and also their feelings of obligations. Ukraine can t explain why. Why saves chancellor shawls and in Germany in and Mccrone in France are particularly worried about this, perhaps more than than even Americans are. What what we got. His situation is, first of all, the European Union, whatever its strengths and successes when it comes to can old fashioned hard security issues is absolutely no where they have no real capacity. They have no unity that have no sense of where they are. There are individual european militaries which are relatively capable. Really I mean now the Britain has gone essentially, the french military is is, is the primary one? One time comes She's, with with a person from the french Ministry, defense was actually quite bothered about bricks. It and losing Britain should not something usually expect to hear in Paris, but this view was present,
savings one once the Brits go than any european military operations will be kind of dreamt up in Brussels, blessed by Berlin and fought by the French. So this is a real problem that she, Europe, doesn't really have much of a sort of security capabilities it sang. Secondly, as you say, there is a very heavy dependence, not in everywhere, but but through most of Europe on particular russian gas and even countries that don't actually by russian gas, they are dependent on the overall gas price So all of a sudden the gas pipelines get switched off. Then everyone's prices skyrocket. and then this also deep deep divide. And within Europe about quite of where Russia fits cause. You got countries like Poland, very, very hawkish. And who essentially see Russia as an existential threat. This ravening bear who, given any chance, will come and Tron chump its way through Europe, which is a point of your most me. I find hard to credit myself
you go countries like Germany which, having a pretty much encoded into their dna, now a reluctance to get involved in anything military and police and military force, doesnt actually solve problems, and therefore wanting anyway, to try to negotiate their way through this. You have France, which, as I said, is really looking. This is an opportunity to show leadership within Europe, and then you have countries like ITALY and Spain from thinking was season is certainly a problem for us in their much more worried about, for example, the threat of migrants coming from North Africa and the stars, their consent, that's where real security threat to Europe comes so I think that the fact that there is no real capacity and there is no real unity, which is why, in some ways, Europe is not really speaking with a single voice and what's happening as individual countries are instead pushing their own policies with with Britain, also taking a very hawkish line at the moment in terms of support of Ukraine,
I would put and want to do this, what what is in it for for Russia in a military invasion of of Ukraine or alternate we a faint of a military invasion of Ukraine that is sufficiently serious that people have to respond to it. Well, the thing is we're not talking about Russia scene, sinking. If you look at the opinion polls, not only are Russians themselves in no enthusiasm for any kind of a war, Mentioning Crimea was a particular chunk of territory, but as far as pretty much every Russian, whether they level hate Putin thought was rightfully russian and it was russian until the nineteen fifties when it was transferred to two ukrainian control, but that that was a one off. Everyone thought that was that was right and proper. That was done and, frankly, most ukrainian most chromium sorry actually genuinely want to become part of Russia. This is totally different dumbass isn't special for them, and instead they do see the Ukrainians as their. I dunno cousins kind of that pop
the family and the idea of seeing Ukraine cities burn is really not not something that people enthusiastic about. There's not about Russia, it's about Putin and it's about the sort of small circle of people around him who dominate this tree, and if you look at them they are essentially all the kind of last gasp of homeless. Of yet of that, the people who didn't just have their early kind of childhood and education in this getting times, but also the early career experiences there. All members of the soviet elite they'd made it that they thought based exactly that they were made there All they knew the way their life was gonna, be and then all of a sudden, the whole thing collapsed and end of empire is hard. It's hard for nations. I mean one can question whether Britain's really fully internalize the end of empire- and this is after what fifty Oddy is France. Likewise and probably soon enough
work is going to have to go through this in a different way. You know we shouldn't be surprised that its difficult with travellers for this particular generation- these increase- We paranoid old men, gone through its metal to sized from what are we lost two who took it from us, and these are p who genuinely believe the West is hostile? Who Jenny We believe that the West is denying Russia its proper place in the world. They tonic, hold Russia down and trying to undermine the regime when we support, for example, in an anti corruption activists that the opposition beta Alexei, avowedly, whom Putin had poisoned and then putting and they don't see that as US citizens for standing up for what we think of us just natural human rights, they see that as a sign. the West is trying to use this to undermine the regime in this is when you are a corrupt, kleptocratic authoritarianism, then precisely support for anti corruption activists, support for free press. All of that does does subvert the racing
so they see the Stacey themselves is actually defending. They see what they think they're defending Russia and when it comes to Ukraine pushing is a product of his ear. He doesn't really think that Ukraine is a different country, there's an interesting kind of notion of an alot of Russians feel it is almost like. This is gonna slavic family, this the bill, Russians as Russians and the Ukrainians and the Vienna Russians a likeness, the slavic Scandinavians. there in a little bit less emotional little bit, cooler, very efficient and so forth, where Ukrainians, ah, but the slavic Italians good food and so forth, very excitable, very passionate, but also deeply incompetent, but none the less part of the family. I think, from his point of view, this sense of what Ukraine isn't real
country. Of course, it can't go, but also there is a sense of if Ukraine goes westwards. He still got this old cold war mentality that, if, if its lost to us is gained by the other, and you know he chooses himself- he is worried about the thought of NATO forces being based in Ukraine of two missiles that talks about welding missiles, not near the city of cocky, could hit Moscow in five minutes. That kind of thing in. In reality, these are very, very implausible, sooner But the point is this is a view of a bunch of old men who are still kind of can't quite get over. The fact that they no longer running a superpower and who also are increasingly surrounded by people who basically tell them what they want they want to hear. This is one of the movement of the scary. Things with Putin system is put himself either, is irrational, eighties, irrational human being. Not a nice one, but a rational one, but the trouble is if we
he's being told is misleading and inaccurate. He can make some really stupid and dangerous decisions, even while being rational about its. I think this is having on its very long answer, but I think the numbers you really got it from crawl into the deep dark into disease of putting the brain to try and understand why it seems to make sense- and a final point is: we know that Putin is obsessed by his historical legacy. History is one of the few things rates when he meets historians. He asks them how even they can be writing about me in a hundred years time which festival what deeply uncomfortable questioned. The asked by the desperate. your country, a man who has people poisoned or put in prison, but certainly gives us a sense of where his head his at, and I think, from his point of view, sixty nine. He can rule for some many used come politically, but peace, probably getting old and getting tired. I think it's very obvious that he is tired and bored with much of the job. Last thing he wants
is for his legacy in the history books to the guy who basically lost Ukraine. the guy who rolled over and let NATO and the West have their way This is also about him feeding. This is maybe own sakes last chance, but one of his last chances to stand up for Russia and make so the rush hour asserts its real place in the world forces to acknowledge that the process, that's what what gets him into you know. So the means and the history she's a chapter rather than just her a paragraph we're getting a quick break, but we're we're gonna stay talking about the history books, and and placing them in them and ask mark a bit more about some. The history that's motivating both Russia and Ukraine's actions here, stay with US Looking for a fresh, convenient and, most importantly, super tasty mule kid delivery service. You need to try hell of a fresh delivers proportions and
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well dot, org, to read more about the research or duty to any of the recommended charities again had to. Well dot org and make sure you entered the weeds at check out. So they know we thank you and we're back so We ve related to this a lot so far, but but obviously the russian and ukrainian garments and had a very complex, often hostile, sometimes captured relationship since Ukraine declared independence and engine any one, and I went to cover as much as we can, but there's a lot to cover so when a break down so first, you woke me through a bit what Russia in Ukraine's relationship was like before Putin took power, so in the Alps, in error in the nineties and the immediate post soviet period. What were the pass russian Ukraine we're taking in and how the days were defer interact with each other? when the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of ninety ninety one. Well, I'm in each summit collapse adjusted in the Congo
solve the last soviet president, just literally signed it out of existence realising that bank. Frankly, it's time was over. Ain't nobody just how these countries suddenly formed. I won't tended to happen, is existing elites simply refashioned themselves. A lot of them were frank. The old communist party, Who said? No, no, I'm a convinced Democrat do vote for me. I'm because tend to have the money and the connections and the political machines they tend to win, and this is what we want. We saw the initially in Ukraine, just as we saw in Russia, they didn't you, you had this new country called Ukraine, but is that the soviet system have been one in which the economy is in all the system. Tat had so thoroughly interconnected. So, actually, the ukrainian economy, which has strengths as well as some weaknesses,
was used to being totally interconnected with us, Russia, above all, but also the other post soviet states. So it was always gonna, be quite difficult. I mean, on the one hand, you had a very, very passionate sense of ukrainian nationalism, but on the other hand, you had a whole load of really very deeply pact ideas about well? Okay, but if you going to have an economy that is going to be so hard for a functioning new, we have to be working closely with the Russians. Many black people have families across the border. And in some ways, what's really interesting is frankly. Ukraine went through a whole series of attempted and failed attempts to really try and create a common sense of ukrainian this, I mean it was. It was impressive in that, although many, though not all The leaders who are elected turned out to be deeply corrupt and or incompetent, but the point is they had elections, they had a pretty much
We ll elections little bit a manipulation but which country doesn't. But the point is that when, when people lost elections they handed over power again I mean that there are other countries where weight with leaders who lose elections could could learn a few lessons from that. She also. What kind of rolling along, but now it was always that sense. So this is a country still in potential and the I only is, if I can just kind of drank, is back to Putin. I mean in many ways letting me Putin is the is the patron saint of Modern Ukraine because by annexing Crimea and then interfering in the dumbass, he created national backlash, which, for the first time, truly knitted together all these different communities and increase that common sense of where Ukraine is and where it wants to be, which is more in a westward. Looking and women looks, for example, at the election of Zeeland scheme.
whereas in the past you can look at leaders and generally they they either drew their power base from Ukrainian speaking west of the country or the russian speaking EAST students can you had someone who's appeal, actually transcended those boundaries and suggested exactly. There was something you zoo, had a vision really came to the fore in the two thousand for election in Ukraine and in that of the least as an outside observer, make their work. The bigger bluffs before that, but seemed like a moment where were Putin's attitude towards Ukraine really came to the fore. What led to that election being so divisive and leading to serve the poisonings and and mass protests? the characterized it again. I think in some ways the answer is much less to be founded, Ukraine and money and what we found in Russia. I think it was more than by that point Putin in a he. He had come to power in nineteen nineteen
in two thousand and his first years he was busy basically trying to keep the oligarchs in his own country. Down and and them in their place and reassert the role of the state and so forth, and he was also fighting the second Chechen war in a very vicious small internal war against are knocking at the people who want to rise up against Moscow and then so by the time two thousand four came along. he's beginning to feel more comfortable in his position and You need to look beyond Russia's immediate borders and towards its fear of influence, and in that just happens, unfortunately coincide with an election in which you have. Candidate. You should go, who, who is clearly a very fiery, passionate charismatic, but also westward, looking figure and again from promote his point of view Who does it sent? No? No? No! No! No! You don't get to make that particular choice. Negative
not a man who actually wants to rebuild czarist Empyreal rebuild a Soviet union knows if he wants to occupy these countries run them, but it does have a very clear sense of spheres. Florence didn't in a post soviet states, with the exception of the Baltic States, These are on NASH. These are ours, and therefore this idea that that someone can just come along and just just because he gets Elected- thinks he can actually reorient you No, that's not gonna happen. So in some ways in two thousand and four were something that in hindsight we can actually, say should should have tipped us off about what would happen when Ukraine seriously tried to reorient itself towards the west an interesting to recapture the basic events, effort for people who may not be as familiar with that election. What what did Putin actually duty to intervene in the election,
While the main thing is precisely that the opposition candidate, you should call actually was poisoned, as you mentioned, which was intended to seem to be intended to try and kill him, but rather in it, it Biddy, disfigured him, and TIM I'm in aid of sea very ill, but also having his face. Looking looking very thorough, ravaged and again, think it. It says something about the kind of the Russians that the use of poison, in particular, is usually as much as anything else shows a theatrical event. It's not just simply meant to kill someone on on them out it's meant to actually do so also have an effect that he's gonna have a much wider political impact. Then the sea time we saw a lot of russian propaganda and a lot of russian covert money that there is a russian term shortly. A castle black account another.
Sort of secret funds going to that of the traditional Russia looking political party and that in the so called me, is called at the dawn bass, mafia. It's not really not Matthew innocence. We! think of it most of the time, it's more just simply the color of the bosses, the big business The political manages off of Eastern Ukraine, but again they were the people that Moscow felt comfortable working with, and Moscow did everything it could to ensure that they actually what we are in a position to fight a strong political battle. So and this is the thing that, from that point of view, you have a combination of interfere through manipulation, money and dissimulation and a direct attack against the opposition candidate and
This is it it's it's a kind of very much what we think of a soviet style. What what's with KGB, used, call active measures in terms of covert political operations, so do doesnt, for we have this incredibly painful and violent intrigue filled election in Ukraine, a pro western as Russia, skeptical president takes office, and then in twenty four team, everything seems took to blow up again walkest ruse or that have. Obviously a lot happened from two thousand for the twenty fourteen. But how do you go from from one? kind of entire russian street revolution to another. A decade later. At that time, ukrainian politics was still very formless. Ukraine was poor, equal, Ukraine is still poorer than in Russia in terms of gdp per capita other various indices. There was a considerable degree dissatisfaction and therefore people are quite
program to listen to whoever comes along next and says I can solve all your problems, so you have these people like Young Kovich, the guy who's in charge of that point, but they're always can be quite weekly bay state. They don't have really strong traditional ties. You don't have that kind of Electra. That says, I have always been a yellow Kovac man. I will tell my kids that's who they should support anything like that. You in the dirt there isn't a strong party structures and that kind of thing, so you have this quite quite volatile political base and you also have a clear desire from Ukrainians either to orient towards the west for culture. and political reasons able to travel a lot of Ukrainians after all, are in fact working and had migrated in into Europe. And also just- and we have a very pragmatic view- will- where is the money at the moment? And the answer is it's in Europe, not not in Russia. So there
Is this agreement to have what's called an association agreement with the European Union? which is not membership, but, on the other hand it it could be one only step on the way towards eventual membership, but the one is that it was it was about to lose. My trade about travel is what will be sings. Actually, the European Union does quite well. The thing is that no no one had really appreciated. At the time and member I mean this agreement is a massive thick, so agreement which is drawn up international law is not people who are detailed and have detailed knowledge and are not steeped in in the politics of the region, an angel of late summer. Twenty thirteen you suddenly started getting some Russians who, up to that point, had been quite relaxed actually about this agreement, because I thought look ultimately it's fine
But if Ukraine is double need our gas and will still soak grain to us and so forth, people something hang on a minute. This agreement precludes Ukraine, being part of China Putin Zone equivalent to the European Union, which is the Eurasian Economic Union, and that's when things begin to get problematic. Because again, I think, from the point of view of the Kremlin, what they thought was just some kind of political economic deal. They suddenly think. No. This is an EU gambit. This is the West's trying to steal Ukraine from us now, yellow for which knew that the hidden people wanted to discriminate and at first he was still committed to signing it until basically the Russians on the one and threatened him. Some people actually suggested that they threatened him intensive. Now we ve already poisoned one ukrainian politicians. Do you want us to make that too? Literally, I've heard that some have suggested
but at the same time accede. The Russians offered a massive economic deal to buy by Ukraine back and- on college was was willing to deal ukrainian people were not and that what triggered the Euro maiden Revolution, but again this is it because the commission, a covert, didn't really have any strong political base of his own yeah? He could bringing thugs from his home district and such like. But essentially this is truly pivotal moment. When to install felt to ukrainian site. That was gonna, be a once in a generation decision, whether you look east or west, so yeah, but The maiden rebellion in TWAIN Fourteen seems since incredibly important year, so you get Vienna who was also we didn't mention this before, but was with the other candidate in two thousand for us that there or more pro russian candidate for he's toppled? How do we get to Putin respond
bein by indexing, Crimea and and supporting militias in Dunbar's. How does that become his strategy? Loan at first frankly, the Russians have clearly deeply taken aback. They didn't think that the article which regime For you know, Yanukovych seem to have control of all the various leave as a power, the army, the police and protestors. What I got luggage bunch of young hippies in the main squaring keep so they didn't expect the regime to full when it did. Came as this are horrifying shock to them and that they. Suddenly nice hang on Crimea because think about Crimea was a low. It was ukrainian territory, the headquarters of the Black Sea fleet. Arguably, Russia's most important fleet, is on Crimea and because it is they that we had a deal with Ukraine allowed him to basically rent tunnel. long term basis territory for them naval base is near barracks and so forth, but there
was a real sense. Actually, this new regime might simply say where we're not bound by the old old treaties. So there is a sense they thought they could be kicked out There was a belief that one could then see NATO naval base is either in Crimea or elsewhere. On the ukrainian Coast and so there was a sense. Actually, the Crimea is precisely it's really a russian territory, a lot of black Sea fleet offices when they retire. they would retire and then go on living Crimea because it's got a lovely climates and it's all very senior consumption. so there is actually does a lot of russian passport holders in Crimea as well, and it seems we at that point that that pudding decided ok do we can have the Crimea. Probably also with the knowledge that it would do his domestic popularity, no harm whatsoever, the injured.
thing is there was no thought about also then moving into the dumbass or anything like that to me. When that operations carried out, it was just about Crimea, and it was one has to be clear about this, a textbook opera That was so easy that it created the kind of momentum huh. Well, if you this this easily. Could we do, but certainly am I mean. I think that the more one looks at what happened in the past, the more clear that it wasn't that the Russians She doesn't beset right, we're not gonna destabilize this, this region, its that there are a whole bunch of other acts. is nationalists. All kind of adventurers who thought seeing there also in a lot of protests against the new regime in Kiev in the dont Basque, as this has been a part of this agenda banana covert, she's parties old stronghold, so that all people who really quite worried and thinking yes, they were extremists and the work that they were. A monk see the gene when democratic figures within the mai-
and there were some unpleasant neo nazi types as well, and they thought well. Well, we can't go in there and we can help them out to Mcguinness or basically fundamental. You actually had this whole sort of movement of people in and most goes thinking just might be useful. This might not. That just see how it goes and as it looks first there is going to be a genuine rising when the russian so well look at my little they help willing when a country, people will send some weapons their way, because this could be useful, not because they ever cared about the dumbass. This is a big tragedy. The don by some in this is a region which is too large extent in its post industrial. It's an ex. Now Steve Smokestack coal and iron and steel industries now have no real for economic future. So it's not actually, if Moscow's thinking- oh yes, we want Us- I was a bit of that, but it was always seen as a lever again
the new regime and keep it was a way of basically showing them that we can mess things up for you. Don't think that you can just break away from our control that we can cause. You trouble they got sought in. This was never meant to be a major deployment. This was never meant to be anything long term, and it was never about the dumbass, but bit by bit. They got in and they once did. The ukrainian government new ukrainian governments are getting its act together and it looked as if it was gonna be a reimpose, its control on the dumbass. They thought well. By this point it was July we look pretty stupid if we just pulled out now, so we better double down. They searched in troops, smash the Ukraine.
forces and in a way, really do battle lines of moved. It's been stuck since then we're going to get one more break, then Mark Marijuana talk a bit about where the situation goes from its current depressing reality and what, if anything, can be done to deter an invasion we'll be back in a sack. Here's something you might not now. Life insurance typically gets more expensive as you age, so smart to get a policy sooner rather than later policy gene This is here to help you're, so it works over the policy genius dot com to answer a few questions about yourself minutes, you can work out much life insurance coverage- you need compare personalized, quotes to find your best price, it's a fifty percent or more on life insurance by comparing quotes with policy genius Licensed experts will help you understand your options and apply for a policy. The greeting is
the policy genius team works for you, not the insurance companies. You can trust them too. For unbiased help. An advocate for you at every step, until your covered plus policy, This doesn't add on extra fees and they don't sell your info to third parties. Twenty fourteen pulsing genius has helped over thirty million people shot for insurance and placed a hundred and twenty billion dollars and coverage had to pay, see genius dot com to get your free life insurance closed and see how much you could save a fax. I'm had a cocksucker and I'm Joanne Freeman, where the hosts of now and then a weekly podcast, looks to the American Pass to make sense of our current political and cultural climate there's been a wave of headlines recently about book bands. School boards and state governments are trying to outlaw the teaching of books that they find objectionable
arts people means mouse to Tony Morrison's, the bluest. I this way on now and then we're releasing the first episode of a three part series. The series will dive deep into past book. Panics explore Why public school so often become ideological battle grounds and dissect? The interplay between book bands and political bullying join us as we can to make sense of the role that bans have played in our national culture and explain why we're seeing so many bands today listen for free on Apple cafe that or wherever you get your podcast and we're back so this is. This is kind of a unfair question to ask since predict this is kind of tough, but where things are today, how likely,
you feeling an actual russian incursion into ukrainian territory has now entered by that I mean, obviously not for me a bit but an actual russian troops immaterial going into ukrainian land that they have an army Seized me, I'm still optimistic. This pinterest interesting kind of of division that takes place. The the military monks are very pessimists, they think it's almost certain that they will be an invasion. The political wants tend to be much more optimistic, Ami I've. I reckon it's about thirty percent aged absolutely a possibility, but it's I don't Putin's planet, it's his plan b or his plans see some kind of milk. escalation if he can't get what he wants or enough of what he wants by political rien me
including a century, the intimidating presence of a large number of russian troops and heavy metal on Ukraine's border. Let's talk about some of those strategies that are being used right now to try to to avert conflict. So if Russia is partially doing this to try to extract concessions, what are the kind of concessions they seem to want? It is there that a deal that can be made with with Ukraine and and with the United States that would satisfy them in and avert conflict here The only honest answer I could possibly give is. I don't know, however, given that that would pretty much closed down this The social. Let me say that I can tell you what I think is it. duration. The reason why is worth stressing that is because, precisely we're in a situation where whist trying to devising pitchings real goals and, above all, his appetite for it.
SK, I mean he's trying to put the give impression that he has his voice. maximum this list of demands, and he basically what he wants, is Ukraine to be forced into a state of neutrality, which means that it will always be vulnerable to to rush. Guarantees that he'll never join NATO, even though backing two thousand and nine NATO would promise that Ukraine and Georgia would become members, and also he wants NATO basically rolled back to where it was ninety. Ninety seven, so in other words, countries which already become members of NATO, would either be kicked out or more likely would become something. Second class makes it member also something now. My view is that he must know that he's not gonna get that now to some people. That proves that war will definitely happen, that they feel that he made this week carelessly over the top ask because then he knows he's not gonna get it, and you can say what tried, but because
you're. Not give me what I want. I have no option but to escalate. I think that we should all a bit to elaborate that having given all the talks been taking place in my view, is that he is like, like any goods of street corner trader. If you know you're going into a process of haggling, you start with a ridiculously high, I ask because you know that you're gonna be hanging down. That thing is in. Why there's? This is too angles to access of what he looking for. One is about Ukraine and the other one is about the broader issues of european security. Architecture nature, because, as far as he is concerned, there actually connected, I mean the reason why Ukraine State, as is so important, is precisely because he doesn't trust NATO and this whole NATO exe
action is fancies concerned has been not only against Russia, but also actually was part of a con many times in late, soviet and indeed in early posts, yet times russian statesmen, including Gorbachev, were pro it's that NATO would not expand the thing is eat a verbal promises revolution position, where not unease actually very helpful leak of officials. In response is well. You know you never had a piece of paper. You never had a treaty or document. So what you complaining about The trouble, is in like russian political, but also business culture, that, since, if like the deals and deals a great and a handshake. three matter a lot more And when we say well yeah, we might have said it, but because we didn't give you a piece of paper, it doesn't count. What, for someone like putting, he is
is don't trust, anything we say, because we will just like you and then in a ignore, ignore what we promised So as far as he is concerned, this is this is this is a long term issue, and then he mistrust NATO that they took NATO. No way we can tell him that his negative defence alliance, our lives blue in the face so think it's question of trying to work out how we can we can essentially risk all Russia without first. I stay giving away things that that we shouldn't be giving away. We can't, for example, actually say Ukraine will no longer be allowed to join NATO, even though, if we honest Ukraine is not gonna join NATO for at least another decade, probably, wouldn't let me be dead before that could happen anyway. Best will in the world. Maybe what we can do is say we're. Ok, you know it's gonna. Take time anyway. We will guarantee that we will not put NATO troops or security architecture on on ukrainian soil, so you could might come under the NATO's umbrella of defence, but in peacetime at least
You don't have to worry about that so this year, this ways are trying to package things that are actually relatively reasonable. The thing is exactly: we will not really be given very much, but what would probably gonna have to do is what little we give, which often just be things that are just realistic and then happen anyway. We're gonna have to pack the mutton nicely in really big flowery wrapping paper with a nice Silva Bow, because Pushings gonna have to both feel that he made some kind of advances, and also have to be able to tell his own people that he has triumphed. My big concern is that we in the West get so caught up in I see the deal that sense of not wanting to give away anything we don't have to is that effectively we face Putin with a sense where he feels he has a choice between escalation and copy
should, I should add, if he absolutely fails he's in that place, he will escalate because in a deteriorating wait, wait we ve just had recently the thirtyth anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet. You and if one looks at his writings and speeches about this period, its clear that he very much blames Mikhail Gorbachev, the reformist soviet leader, and he thinks that it was because Gorbachev was weak. He was weak to his own people and he was weak to the west and that's what brought down the Soviet Union. The superpower and he's clearly determined he's, not gonna, be that weak himself, as was made my one in about making a deal in. It does seem preferable to two warring in almost every circumstance, but I think there is a fear that if Putin feels he can't trust us, there's a fear, we can transport, and so, if we offer him a concession this time she will do us somewhere. Ramp
or attacks Georgia again or other wise, serve lash out in ways that they try to extract additional concession. Is there a way to avoid it becoming a sort of like a blackmail cycle, as opposed to serve a lasting settlement? Is a third point? Nothing. Anyone suddenly see answer is tat. There is there is a strange and perverse, legalism to Putin again this. This is a man who absolutely is willing to lie. Cheat blackmail and murder, I'm not personally, but have people do it. On the other hand, this is a man who does the need to observe the forms you he may rigged, but he will hold. Elections He won't just simply declare that he will change the constitution to allow him to to stay in power. They will have to be a constitutional process and debates in a referendum and and so forth
I find it interesting that he's demand at the moment is precisely he once pieces of paper. He wants formal written guarantees precisely because he doesn't trust the west will. This gives us the opportunity also to look for form guarantees from putting an honor Oh I'm in this debate about some of these are aspects I mean, I'm not saying he was always observed stretches he has broken them, including when, when he he went and install bits of Ukraine, he was breaking something called the Budapest member, but nonetheless I mean- I think that that does give us some kind of of security. Secondly, there is the fact that, if putting doesn't really, I mean get some thing, but not that much from from this it probably will demonstrate that, in fact, the west is not quite as weak and uncertain easily seldom possible around, as he fears
but also it might demonstrate that the west isn't quite as implacably hostile as he believes and looked. The third point is there is a degree to which the honest answer is. We can t have to with it as button line is, if it about war. What do we tell them about what we are talking about? Ukrainians fighting Russians? There is, after all, no sort of? U S or NATO forces fighting in Ukraine to help defend ukrainians, who we may that already explicitly clear will give them weapons will give them support. Will cheer lead from from the sidelines, but ultimately we would be fighting a war for our own set of sense of integrity and moral duty to the last Ukrainian, which is, I think, a fairly indefensible position for a start. Secondly, look the honest answer is that actually our leaders on Putin are quite limited. Big talk about sanctions. Frankly,
Putin, has spent the last seven and a half years to in Russia into as sanction proof and economy as he can manage, and they got a pretty good job of it. They have massive financial reserves in the west. We talk about them. Debt, Russia has huge foreign reserves, they has big war chest. They made a decision to in a way go forth security over economic growth, so essentially, the russian economy is pretty stag but on the other hand, it also really hard to knock over the way we were getting. Sums are loose talk about in a devastating impact and so forth. No conduit the real thing that we could do would absolutely devil. Though the russian economy is not by any russian gas or oil, which is I accept that it would mean massive increases in prices and, just frankly, also massive shortages, particularly of gas in Europe, its winter Europe. I wish to say on publicity happy for Grannie to freeze to death.
so long as I show that Nasty Mr Putin, what I think of his policies towards Ukraine, there is a point where we have to be realistic. We can do harm to put an absolutely and if he, escalates we can, and we should but, on the other hand, if he is absolutely willing to take that hit well mister, We can do the reason why he probably won't escalate in Ukraine is not so much because western sanctions, because the Ukrainians will fight Ukraine, Tree is stronger than it has ever been it's one area of Ukraine which is reformed more dramatically than any other, and it's not just ukrainian soldiers, yes on the battlefield the Russians will win, but if they're gonna try and occupy a territory in particular go into Citys, they face a nation up in arms against them. and the only then to parallel that the Russians would absolutely hate, but the only
We'll peril I can draw is what happened in Ukraine during World WAR, two when the Germans invaded and they face This massive mobilise partisan resistance, locate, ischemia slightly different war, different age and so forth, but nonetheless that's the kind challenge and, frankly hundred twenty one hundred and thirty thousand troops hundred fifty thousand troops enough to break the ukrainian Army on the battlefield. It's not enough to break the will of the ukrainian people and certain not enough to pacify them. That is what is really going to keep putting out of Ukraine. there's always hours and hours more to say about the situation, but but I think that should never my invitation to an academic. We can fulfil hours and hours with the sound of voices. As a journalist who has to keep to word and or sound counts. I'm gonna cut you off here, but thank you so much for for coming on. It's been a pleasure to have you been my patients from
thank you so much to mark Ellie for coming on the show our producers, two will on living organisms. Real adviser in Bhopal. Is the deputy editorial director for Papa casts and I'm your post, Dylan Matthies will be back in your feeds, nuts, Tuesday. We will see you, then the weeds pray, the box media pockets.
Transcript generated on 2022-02-11.