Vladimir Putin

Putin’s 2016 Year-End Press Conference, Donald Trump, and Concluding Commentary on Donbass

Putin Slams US Democratic Party As “Shameless Losers”,
Says Russia Alone Believed In Trump’s Victory
By Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge

December 23, 2016
With Concluding Commentary on Donbass by Karl Pomeroy
Quemado Institute
December 23, 2016
Last edit January 2, 2017

Vladimir Putin, Year-End Press Conference, December 23, 2016

Vladimir Putin, Year-End Press Conference, December 23, 2016

Covering numerous topics, from foreign politics to the Russian budget, the price of oil, sports doping allegations as well as the US election during his annual end-of-year news conference (click here for full transcript) Russian president Vladimir Putin slammed the US Democratic party saying “the party that is called the Democrats has clearly forgotten the original meaning of that name” and added that “the use of administrative resources (by the Democrats) is absolutely shameless.”

He continued the rout saying “outstanding figures in American history from the ranks of the Democratic Party would likely be turning in their graves. Roosevelt certainly would be. They (the Democrats) are losing on all fronts and looking elsewhere for things to blame. In my view this, how shall I say it, degrades their own dignity. You have to know how to lose with dignity.”

Continuing his barrage against the Democratic Party, Putin said it is “losing on all fronts” and that it is wrongly trying to blame President-elect Donald Trump’s victory on external factors. “You need to learn how to lose gracefully,” he said. He added that “losers always look for someone to blame, but they should first of all look at themselves.

Putin then said that “the most important thing is what was revealed. It’s not like people invented this information – what they reported is true. It showed how the Democratic Party manipulated the system against Bernie Sanders. Instead of apologizing, they began to look for people to blame.”

Putin added that the question of who hacked the U.S. Democratic party was not important, but that the hacks revealed that public opinion in the United States was being manipulated.

Putin also mocked the “archaic” U.S. electoral system, which he said “is a problem” and that it’s up to U.S. people to sort it out, however he conceded that the “U.S. is great country, will draw conclusions from vote.”

Putin also spoke about Trump, lauding the President-elect for his win, and said it was no surprise. “Right up to the end, nobody believed he would win — except us.” He credited Trump’s victory to his ability to keep his “finger on the pulse of the mood of society” adding that Trump “went all the way, even though no one believed that he would win, apart from you and me.”

Putin arrives at Press Conference

Putin arrives at Press Conference

The Russian president said on Friday he wanted constructive relations with the United States under President-elect Donald Trump.

Putin also acknowledged his own rising support among Republican voters in the US: “I don’t put it down to me, the fact that a large part of Republican voters support the Russian president,” he said. “It means that a large part of the American people have the same idea of how the world should be, of our common dangers and problems.”

Additionally, Putin addressed Trump’s comments about the need to boost the U.S. nuclear arsenal, saying they were perfectly normal. Trump’s comments, made in a tweet on Thursday, seemingly in response to Putin’s own comments earlier in the day. But Putin said he was surprised by the fuss Trump’s tweet had caused and how it had been linked to his own statements about Russia’s plans to modernize its own nuclear arsenal.

Putin said on Thursday Russia’s military was “stronger than any potential aggressor”. He made clear on Friday he did not regard the United States as a potential aggressor.

“I was a bit surprised by the statements from some representatives of the current U.S. administration who for some reason started to prove that the U.S. military was the most powerful in the world,” said Putin. “Nobody is arguing with that.”

Other highlights from the Putin press conference via Reuters:

On Donald Trump and the Military

“In the course of his election campaign he (Trump) spoke about the necessity of strengthening the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and strengthening the armed forces. There’s nothing unusual here. To be honest, I’m a bit surprised by the words of certain other official representatives of the current administration who have for some reason set about proving that the armed forces of the United States are the most powerful in the world. No-one disputed that.”

“If anyone is unleashing an arms race it’s not us … We will never spend resources on an arms race that we can’t afford.”

On Participation in Elections in 2018

“When the time is ripe (I’ll say). I will look at what is happening in the country and in the world, and based on the results of what we have done and what we can do the decision will be made on whether I will participate in upcoming elections for the Russian president.”

[…]

On Ukraine and Crimea

“I am sure that sooner or later there will be a normalization of relations with Ukraine, and it (a bridge between Russian and Crimea) will be very beneficial to the development of Russia-Ukraine relations and future commercial and humanitarian links.”

[…]

On Aleppo

“The president of Turkey and the leaders of Iran (also) played a huge role in this (managing the situation around Aleppo). I don’t know if this will sound immodest, but without our participation it would have been impossible.”

Quemado Institute Editor’s note: More updates may appear at Zero Hedge. A complete transcript of Putin’s 2016 annual press conference is avalailable here.

 

Quemado Institute Conclusion: Commentary on Donbass
By Karl Pomeroy

Putin and Trump: Prospects for Peace

Donald Trump (--wrbctv.com)

Donald Trump (–wrbctv.com)

I believe Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will make a powerful team in the endeavor to resolve international crises. Both are brilliant, pragmatic men. No conflict should lie beyond their ability to resolve. It is heartening that Putin not only sees this potential, but is forthright enough to say so.

In fact, most global clashes today have been caused by the policies of the U.S. and European New World Order faction, particularly during the terms of George W. Bush and his successor, although previous American presidents have also contributed to U.S. foreign aggression. Since many of the world’s conflicts are products of neocon delusion, rather than arising out of the genuine needs of nations, they can easily be corrected by clear-thinking leaders.

Putin and The Donbass War

That said, I cannot extend unqualified praise to Vladimir Putin’s policies. In particular, Putin has not taken an integral stance on the Ukraine war and the fight for independence in Donbass. He has betrayed the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (also called Novorossiya) in the following ways:

Donbass Independence Referendum, May 11, 2014

Donbass Independence Referendum, May 11, 2014

1) After adopting Crimea to save its population from the illegal coup government in Kiev, Putin failed to make it clear to Donbass that he would not do the same for them. He discouraged the Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts from holding their independence referendum of May 11, 2014 until the Ukrainian elections of May 25, 2014. But he failed to announce that a vote for independence was not a vote to join Russia. That it was a vote to join Russia was a misconception shared by the residents of Donbass and many foreign observers.

Putin thus led the people of Donbass on, allowing them to believe he would adopt them as he did Crimea. It was a logical assumption, and to have failed to correct it was misleading. In this deception by omission, Putin seemed to be playing all sides of the conflict. Is that diplomacy? Or hypocrisy?

2) In the weeks between the Maidan coup and Poroshenko’s June 2014 inauguration as Ukraine’s President, the brutally militant Oleksandr Turchynov was acting Ukraine President. After the referendum, Turchynov began bombing the civilian population of the Donetsk Oblast, mainly near the health resort of Slavyansk. Igor Strelkov, who was not an agent of the Russian government, but an acting volunteer, led the battle of the Donbass militias against Turchynov’s Ukrainian Army. During the initial defence, Strelkov believed, along with many observers, that Russian troops were on the way. Putin did not bother to dispel this illusion. As a result, Strelkov overextended his forces in Slavyansk, waiting for Putin’s armies to arrive.

Acting Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov (R), March 31, 2014

Acting Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov (R), March 31, 2014

They never came, forcing Strelkov’s infamous retreat with a huge loss of Novorossiya territory. That Strelkov was unaware Russian troops were never coming is, incidentally, proof he was not sent by the Kremlin. Again Putin, by omission, led the Donbass militias on, allowing them to believe he would come to the rescue. Was this a blunder, a betrayal, or a devious way to encourage them to fight while avoiding personal blame?

3) Although Poroshenko’s election was unconstitutional, in that it followed an illegal violent coup that left ousted Viktor Yanukovich as the technically legal Ukraine President, Vladimir Putin immediately announced his recognition of Poroshenko as Ukraine’s President. What is worse, Putin began speaking of Poroshenko as a partner, and extended offers of cooperation. It would be a stretch to call these actions “diplomacy”, when they in fact represented a betrayal of the massacred citizens of Donbass in favor of an illegal war criminal. Putin, at no cost to himself or Russia, could have refused to recognize Poroshenko and recognized the Donass republics instead. That he failed to do so is a sign of hypocrisy, deviousness, cowardice or all three.

Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Minsk, Belarus (--BelleNews.com)

Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Minsk, Belarus (–BelleNews.com)

4) That Putin was a guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, which ostensibly require Donbass citizens to reunite with their killers in Ukraine, could be considered a reasonable act of diplomacy except for the following fact. Putin not only supported the Minsk Agreements, he also sent Kremlin agents—including Russian military generals as participants of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC)—into Donetsk and Lugansk to strong-arm leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky into no longer defending their borders.

This was called a “good will” gesture, apparently to glorify Putin’s enforcement of Minsk, and was partly a response to Western accusations of Russian troop presence in Donbass, as well as to Angela Merkel’s demand that Putin “use his considerable influence” to control the “pro-Russian rebels”. Whatever Putin’s rationale, the results were a loss of territory for the two Donbass Republics, increased Ukrainian aggression against which Donbass was not allowed to defend itself, and the isolation and marginalization of citizens left in undefended “grey zones” on the contact line. Putin could have ignored Merkel’s demand along with Western propaganda, at no loss to himself or Russia, and let Novorossiya make its own decisions.

A Request to Putin on Donbass

I criticize the Russian President, a leader admired by many, because I believe public pressure is necessary to help him realize Donbass needs and deserves its independence. To be forced to reunite with their murderers is unthinkable for the people of Donetsk and Lugansk.

If Putin refuses to help militarily, and makes only token gestures to help diplomatically, then at least he should leave Donbass alone and let the Republics govern themselves. Meddling by the Kremlin has particularly eroded the power of Zakharchenko, who supports independence for Novorossiya, but has been reduced to a figurehead in the foreign arena by pressure from Moscow.

Putin should keep his hands off and not compound this tragedy.

Is there a bright note?

Admittedly, the Russian President has been one man standing against the whole Western world. He has had to defend the Russian sphere not only against U.S. and European neocon propaganda as well as real external threats from NATO’s buildup at his borders, but also against infiltration of the Kremlin by New World Order Atlanticists. It is hard to imagine any leader doing a better job.

The hope is that soon-to-be President Donald Trump will take the pressure off of Putin, enabling him to stand more strongly for the independence of Donbass.

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