European soccer chief “fed up” with calls to boycott World Cup 2018 in Russia

Michel Platini, the head of the European soccer organization UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), said yesterday he was “fed up” with civil and human rights advocates who think it’s a mistake to hold the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

You know who else is fed up? Russia’s victims.

You know who else is fed up?

These Russian high school kids were beaten up by a mob of thugs the other day simply because they were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and some of them were wearing kilts, so the thugs assumed they were gay, and needed to be bashed.  They’re fed up.


This Ukrainian TV star, who was brutally kidnapped and mentally tortured on camera by a Russian neo-Nazi gang that has the tacit, and now public, approval of the Putin regime – abducted because he’s presumed gay.  He’s fed up.

Ukrainian TV star abducted and tortured by Russian neo-Nazi Maxim Martsinkevich. Photos then posted on

Ukrainian TV star abducted and tortured by Russian neo-Nazi Maxim Martsinkevich. Photos then posted on

This trans woman, who was brutally kicked and thrown around a public park in Russia simply because she’s different – she’s fed up.

Trans woman brutally beaten by Russian vigilantes, who filmed the attack and then posted it online.

Trans woman brutally beaten by Russian vigilantes, who filmed the attack and then posted it online.

This young South African student, studying in Russia, who was brutally abducted, beaten, and then had a watermelon shoved in his face because he’s black – he’s fed up.

A young gay South African is attacked by Russian vigilantes, who filmed it and posted the video online.

A young gay South African is attacked by Russian vigilantes, who filmed it and posted the video online.

This 15-year-old boy, kidnapped, interrogated on camera, and outed to the world, after having urine poured on his head, simply because his attackers assumed he was gay. He’s fed up.

15 year old gay Russian boy kidnapped, and tortured, by anti-gay vigilantes that the Russian government refused to arrest. His captors later attempted to make him drink urine to "cure" him from being gay.

15 year old gay Russian boy kidnapped, and tortured, by anti-gay vigilantes that the Russian government refused to arrest. His captors later attempted to make him drink urine to “cure” him from being gay.

This boy, named Dima, who lost an eye to anti-gay thugs who barged into a community center in St. Petersburg, beat people, and then shot him in the eye – an eye he may very likely now lose. He’s fed up.

“First they shut us up with their laws so we cannot say anything in our defense, and then they say we are similar to murderers and perverts. If it’s constantly drilled into people that we are murderers, scum and perverts, I understand why these guys shot at me.”


And finally, you know who else is fed up?

46 million Ukrainians who are about to be invaded by Russia.

They’re fed up too.

Ukraine, via Shutterstock

Ukraine, via Shutterstock

If you’re fed up, then share this article on Facebook, Twitter and all over social media. Our stories only get big, get read, and make a difference when you help share them online. So please do. And thanks, JOHN

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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95 Responses to “European soccer chief “fed up” with calls to boycott World Cup 2018 in Russia”

  1. Mighty says:

    Just movie it. They have obviously had it elsewhere before. Sheeeesh its not that hard.

  2. Badgerite says:

    Americans tend to be like that. We can’t imagine what it would be like to not freely express our views. Free speech. The best thing since sliced bread.

  3. Badgerite says:

    The EU not requiring the current Ukrainian government to recognize non discrimination against LBGT in their laws in order to get aid does not necessarily mean that Ukrainian laws will go in that direction. That is an assumption. At the very least, they have freer speech and probably a freer press. And I think that will continue. Putin is back home wondering if Obama is going to reverse himself and start actively supporting the rebels in Syria with heavy arms shipments. Something he hasn’t done before now.
    Russia has managed to revive fears in Eastern Europe and sour his relations with countries that are his neighbors and probably put a big surge of energy into an old defensive alliance. Have some vodka. There’s probably more available since there are now a lot of people in the west boycotting it.

  4. Badgerite says:

    We have refrained from sending any serious arms to the rebels up to this point. Just as John McCain. Or the rebels for the matter. Whoever you think represents them. But there are regional players involved who do not want Iran’s influence to be enhanced in the region. Saudi Arabia for instance. And they have also criticized the US for not being more supportive of the rebels there. But, of course, the rebels there are now infiltrated with Al Qaeda. They love to poach unstable situations like that one. Just as they tried to exploit the slaughter going on in Europe when Yugoslavia fell apart.
    The administration’s stance on this may be changing, however, due to Putin’s actions in the Ukraine.

  5. wearing out my F key says:

    gonna have to leave it there. Great argument, though. lotsa fun. we’ll do it again sometime. enjoy the weekend!

  6. wearing out my F key says:

    Maybe if we didn’t arm the rebels, the fighting would be over by now.

    Anyways, I’d like to keep going, but I gotta get going. This was fun, love to get into a nice old fashion flame war, especially with, sharp, fiesty people like you. Have a good weekend, and maybe we can get into it again sometime.

  7. Badgerite says:

    Yanukovych fled for a reason. He fled because he was the one who ordered the shootings. He didn’t stay and order an ‘investigation’. There were snipers in uniforms, well trained, obviously, not ‘rabble’ on roofs. Snipers.
    Yanukovych has never denied that he ordered it, that I am aware of.
    And his flight to Russia rather indicates that he did and that Russia was fine with it.

  8. Badgerite says:

    Oh. Did we poison Yushchenko too? There was an eruption after the 70 people who were protesters were killed. The crowd was incensed and attacked the police. There were videos all over the news. That is when Yanukovych fled.

  9. Badgerite says:

    Maybe if we had had more ‘influence’ in Syria that country wouldn’t be in quite the humanitarian mess it is in now. Putin, and Russia, has been involved in that one up to their eyeballs.

  10. Badgerite says:

    So Russia is communist? No, I think they are back to just being Russian. But they are clearly looking for something to define them nationally. And Putin is clearly looking for a way to separate Russia from the west as some kind of bad influence. I think this is quite the wrong way for Russia to go. But I’m not Russian. I see this from the perspective of an American who takes such things as free speech and a free press for granted. As a given. As a right.

  11. wearing out my F key says:

    there’s some debate about who was doing the shooting.

  12. Badgerite says:

    Our ambassador was talking about ongoing demonstrations in Kiev and protests that insisted that the government of Yanukovych hold immediate elections or just flat out resign. People were fed up. This is the country she was stationed in. Just as the ambassador in Syria, before the country became too violent and he was pulled out, went out among the people of Syria to show support for what were at the time, demonstrations. The demonstrations were met with a violent response and what might have been settled by negotiations turned into the human catastrophe we have now. Maybe you want to thank Putin for that one. And Iran.

  13. Badgerite says:
    “While the Sellstrom report concludes that poison gas was likely used in
    five of seven cases, including the August 21 attack in Ghouta, the mission’s mandate was not to determine who used it.”
    Another words, someone else is filling in that conclusion and it is not the UN inspectors who were sent there.
    Oddly enough, since Syria has agreed to destroy their stockpile, no such attacks have occurred. That I’m aware of, at least.

  14. Mark_in_MN says:

    Oh, the great crime of hanging out cookies!! (It is kind of weird, but really, is it something to pay much of any attention to at all? I think not.)

    And citizens of the Ukraine are “the rabble”? Really? But the powerful, corrupt puppet of Putin is simply “democratically elected” and somehow not to be criticized, opposed, or judged, either internally or by other people and governments?

    You like to pretend to have the moral high ground, but leave much out that is inconvenient to supporting the pro-Putin position you’ve been arguing. You call out American invasions (yea, those stink and were unworthy of support), as a way to say that the invasion that Putin has carried out doesn’t matter. This isn’t the moral high ground. It’s opportunistic and dishonest rhetoric.

    Meanwhile, I’ve never said that US or European actions were good or even justified, except to note one interest that Europe and the US might well have for good or for ill. My point all along has been that your positions are very one sided, often false or falling upon false equivalencies, and decidedly pro-Russia and pro-Putin.

  15. wearing out my F key says:

    “Five years ago, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians chanted Viktor
    Yushchenko’s name on Kyiv’s Independence Square during mass protests
    prompted by widespread anger over his defeat in a rigged presidential
    Corruption flourished under Yushchenko”

    “Yushchenko stirred controversy again last month by bestowing the title
    Hero of Ukraine on an insurgent army leader who fought against the
    Soviets before his assassination by the KGB in Munich in 1959.

    many in eastern Ukraine denounce Stepan Bandera for collaborating with
    the Nazis during World War II. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a U.S.
    Jewish human rights group, criticized Yushchenko, saying Bandera’s
    followers were linked to the deaths of thousands of Jews”

  16. Mark_in_MN says:

    This is just ridiculous, and has nothing to do with the comment you are responding to.

  17. Badgerite says:

    And what Yushchenko did not do was attempt to poison any political opponents or order troops to shoot on Ukrainian citizenry who were engaged in peaceful protest.

  18. Badgerite says:

    I hope not, but we’ll see. I certainly would not take Putin’s word for anything on that score. Unless or until he demonstrates some good faith by actions.

  19. wearing out my F key says:

    The Ukraine crisis was never humanitarian, it was always economic. And the government that we influenced/appointed/support, however you want to look at that, doesn’t support human rights. That’s not about Russia, they’re back home celebrating their win. This is our problem now, for some reason.

  20. Badgerite says:

    No. Actually I did bring it up. And I will. What’s more the election following his being poisoned by what was left of the KGB was declared void by the Ukrainian Supreme Court due to electoral fraud. And as to taking the Ukraine for all it is worth. You must be kidding. The people of the Ukraine and frankly most people who saw the pictures of Yanukovych’s estates were gobsmacked by the opulence that he managed to afford on a modest salary.
    He was and is a two bit crook. Bought and paid. Putin had the higher big AND the Russian army. That was the basis of his decisions.
    Reagan laid a wreath at the cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, where SS were buried. What’s your point? That is not quite the same as sharing their ideology or being an SS yourself. now is it. Or do you think RR was sympathetic to the SS.

  21. Mark_in_MN says:

    So, if Russia wants to play the bully, and Putin wants to be a hegemon for the region, that’s well and good? And when the former government starts to create laws that crack down on protest and dissent in ways that trample on basic human and political rights, we should have nothing to say about that?

    Maybe we should have stayed entirely out of it. Maybe not. But to give a moral and political cover, or at least a free pass, to either Putin’s or Yanukovych’s governments is hardly neutrality.

  22. wearing out my F key says:

    Ukraine spends the same percent of their budget as we do on defense and discretionary spending. since we seem to be adopting this mess, where are we going to come up with the money/fuel to meet their needs, while at same the EU looks to replace the 1/3rd of the energy they get from Russia?
    that’s a great question!

  23. Badgerite says:

    Not if he starts ordering snipers to shoot and kill peaceful protesters who were protesting such a deal.

  24. Badgerite says:

    We aren’t sending ‘Neo Nazis’ in the Ukraine a couple of billion dollars in aid, either. We are sending it, if and when they actually get around to it, a couple of billion of aid to the people of Ukraine as represented by their government.
    But you are right. There are clearly ‘neo-nazi’ types in Russia and they are currently being supported by the law and therefore the government there.
    Free speech and a free press no longer exist there. Whatever name you want to give it. And that is why the Ukraine wants to maintain some level of independence, economically and legally, from Russia. I don’t blame them.

  25. wearing out my F key says:

    and that’s not their prerogative? or the prerogative of the Ukrainian government to take the much better Russian deal?

  26. wearing out my F key says:

    What is our ambassador doing talking about who takes over after a coup of a democratically elected government? and why is she handing out cookies to the rabble? why are we sending billions in aid to a country that is corrupt as it is bankrupt? Why are there so many nazis in the government of our new-found friends, and is that going to come back to haunt us? why does it matter to us what happens to Crimea, especially considering our country’s history of unilateral invasion?

    These are questions that we should be asking… among others.

  27. wearing out my F key says:

    am i now, or have i ever been a member of the communist party? talk about muddy rhetoric.

  28. wearing out my F key says:

    while we don’t know who was behind the snipers, the Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet says the snipers killed people on both sides of the protests.

    Call me cynical, but something tells me that if the Russians were behind it, we would have had an investigation.

  29. Mark_in_MN says:

    Maybe it was a terrible deal, maybe it wasn’t. But the deal was one that the former government had negotiated and initially agreed to. It turned it down after Russia turned up the heat on them. Putin didn’t want to loose power over the Ukraine.

  30. Mark_in_MN says:

    Conflict is not necessarily avoidable, and if one want to protect one’s own interests, conflict is often necessary. Of course, there are many ways that conflict can be play out out. You seem to be raising a desire to stay out of war, while muddying the rhetoric (intentionally?). I think we should avoid war, too. I don’t support military conflict in this. I don’t even support contemplating armed or military conflict over the Ukraine.

    But the stance you’re been taking, and the line you’re arguing, isn’t simply about avoiding unnecessary conflict (be it war or in other forms). One could simply argue, for example, that this isn’t our issue; that we should stay out of the matter. But instead you’ve parroted the Russian line about the Crimea, you’ve claimed that there isn’t an invasion or aggression, nor intention toward such. This claim has been made contrary to what has already taken place and what is taking place now. You’ve insinuated that there is something illegitimate with the Ukraine seeking closer ties with Europe, in alignment with Russia’s desire to keep the Ukraine in it’s own sphere. Your whole argument has been pro-Russia and, especially, pro-Putin. It hasn’t been an argument for neutrality, for simply staying out of conflict.

  31. wearing out my F key says:

    or, maybe we just want our people in place, and call it a democracy for appearances sake. That is how things are shaping up in Egypt.

    The primary reason that the former government turned down the EU deal was because it was a terrible deal. What the motives of the rabble is not entirely clear, or at least it seems to me. But I do know there was an agreement in place that would have made everyone happy… then snipers showed up. Sure would be nice to know who was behind that, but… the new government isn’t investigating.

  32. Mark_in_MN says:

    Or, maybe, US diplomats simply have a good understanding of who the parties are and what is in play, and thus who the leaders are and who to pay attention to. Something you’d kind of expect since that’s a big part of the job of diplomats.

    But why might the United States have some influence. You might have noticed that the Euromaidan protests were primarily sparked by the issue of closer ties to Europe. Europe and the United States are close allies with many overlapping interests and mutual influence on one another. If part of what one wants is closer ties with Europe (or the West generally), it makes sense that one would engage with, listen to, even hope to please Europe, the United States and others who can help you further your goals of those closer ties.

  33. wearing out my F key says:

    I think staying out of unnecessary conflict is a perfectly acceptable interest for the average American. In fact, I think its an opinion shared by the majority of the american people.

  34. Mark_in_MN says:

    Go back and reread the thread, F Key. I suggested one possible interest for Europe and the US, namely access to energy resources and a desire to make sure that one of those sources isn’t a puppet regime of Putin/Russia. There might be other interests as well, some not necessarily directly related to Ukraine.

    But, to tell the truth, since everything you’e said has been from a pro-Russian stance, I don’t think you’re really interested in what interests we or Europe might have. You’re more interested in deflecting from any matter that doesn’t align with your pro-Russian view.

  35. wearing out my F key says:

    And here’s a question- We are obviously trying to acheive something here.. a geopolitical goal, like you say. What goal is that? It’s not “makin’ people free”, because that calls for a much more hands off approach. It isn’t to support democracy, because, if it were, we wouldn’t be cheering the overthrow of a democratically elected government. I don’t think the EU needs another insolvent country to austerity back to life. If we have any interests i the area, I don’t know what they are.

    Aren’t we just poking the bear?

  36. wearing out my F key says:

    He’s not a hero, but he’s not a cartoon villain. There are a lot of things not to like, but here are three things I do like- 1. Putin negotiated the US away from a military misadventure in Syria 2. Putin gave Edward Snowden asylum 3. Putin warned us about Iraq, the Boston Bombers, and is generally a reliable partner in terror issues.

  37. wearing out my F key says:

    oh, i see. not picking and choosing the interim government, just talking about influencing those decisions? well, we must have had some decent amount of influence, because the people they were taking about are now in power.

  38. wearing out my F key says:

    we aren’t sending the neo-nazis in Russia a couple of billion in aid.

  39. wearing out my F key says:

    “I could bring up.. Viktor Yushchenko…. But I won’t.”

    Is that because when the issue of election fraud were brought up, suddenly there were rioters in the streets, and Yushchenko became president because of the fear that those mobs inspired? or, because after Yushchenko took Ukraine for all that it was worth, and after he was trounced at the polls in his reelection bid, he turned out to be a huge fan of Stepan Bandera?

    is that why you don’t want to bring it up?

  40. Mark_in_MN says:

    More Putin the hero? More Putin the brave?

    Putin is neither hero nor brave. He’s a egomaniac and a megalomaniac. Putin is a thug and a bully.

  41. wearing out my F key says:

    It is worth it for Crimea, so they did. It isn’t for Ukraine, so they won’t.

  42. Mark_in_MN says:

    The Ukraine had a president who had become (if he hadn’t always been) a puppet of Putin who seems bent on at least returning Russia (which really means Putin) to its status as puppet master over as much of the region over which it once practice hegemony, if not direct control. That was a president who once reached out for closer ties with the EU and the West (something seen as have at least some mutual benefit) but pulled away under Russian pressure. That was a president who had clearly upset a great many people in his own country (including, it turned out, some of the people who were once his supporters). The tape of that phone call (almost certainly tapped and released by Russian government sources or their Ukrainian allies for their own propagandistic purposes in the geopolitical chess game) doesn’t give any evidence that the US was picking and choosing who would be in an interim government, but discussions about how they would like to influence those decisions. In geopolitics, purity of politics isn’t always (in fact can hardly ever be) a primary factor when there is a goal one seeks to achieve or where one seeks influence in outcomes.

    As far as Russian aggression and and an invasion into the Ukraine. Pretending that isn’t what’s happening is just plain laughable. It’s delusional. It’s what’s already happened. Crimea was a legal part of Ukraine. It hadn’t been part of the Russian empire until 1783. It was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR in 1954 and remained when Ukraine become independent in 1991. Russian invaded Crimea, which is/was part of Ukraine. Ukraine has already been invaded by Russia. Then there are the increase in Russian troops along the Ukrainian boarder. And you suggest that aggression and invasion “clearly isn’t what’s happening on the ground?” What color is the sky in your universe?

  43. wearing out my F key says:

    That’s one hell of a propaganda campaign, since the UN agreed that the rebels used chemical weapons.

    But whatever. All that matters is we stayed out of it. If you feel better hanging up the “Mission Accomplished!” banner, it’s fine by me.

  44. Badgerite says:

    No I don’t. Quite frankly. The Russian practice of invading territories on the theory that Russian Ethnics need protection there when the area was quite quiet and Russian Ethnics were in the majority seems to rather lend itself to the idea that NATO should be invigorated as it is clearly necessary to the prevention of Russia relapsing into old practices of invading neighboring states that the Soviet Union engaged in back in the day.
    I could bring up the fact that 10 years ago the Ukrainian presidential candidate,
    Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned during the campaign and barely survived.
    His wife was an American. He advocated closer ties to the Europe.
    That the election, which Yanukovych won, was overturned by the Ukrainian Supreme Court due to electoral fraud. But I won’t. And I won’t mention the Russian dissident who fled to London and ended up poisoned by polonium 20.
    The ISS is the INTERNATIONAL Space Station. If the Russians wish to withdraw from that endeavor. So be it. Other means of transport will be found, I’m sure. Private businesses are already working in that vein. But I can’t imagine why they would want to withdraw from that endeavor. But that would be up to them.

  45. Badgerite says:

    Because there would be bloodshed. And there will be a response as there was when he annexed the Crimea. It will be economic and diplomatic. And it will hurt Russia. As you say, we work with Russia on a whole range of issues and that cooperative framework has and will be harmed. Is it really worth it to Russia, just to grab back a little territory? Yanukovych is problem enough, I would think. He’s their problem now.

  46. wearing out my F key says:

    Why doesn’t he take it then? Ukrainian troops fold faster than superman on laundry day. The EU might want to send troops, but of course those would be our troops. And the American people want none of that. It’s not above our leaders to use force against the wishes of the American people, but… well, it’s an election year. SO.. if he wants it, nobody would stop him. But why would he want it? Ukraine is an albatross, as we are soon to find out. Crimea matters, Ukraine doesn’t.

  47. Badgerite says:

    Putin stepped in because if he hadn’t, Assad’s forces would have been hit and hit hard. As Obama said, the US military does not do pin pricks.
    The rebels would surely have taken advantage of those strikes and Assad would be gone. Period. That is why Putin “stepped in”. It surely wasn’t his idea. It was his last option to save Assad. What MADE him step up, as it were, and talk turkey with Assad, was the fact that if he didn’t, all the Russian support for Assad remaining in power would have been for not.
    The “all guns ablazing” is what made that happen. Certainly Putin had no problem with Assad’s holding or use of chemical weapons prior to that.
    In fact, he engaged in quite the propaganda campaign insisting, even after there was a UN report confirming that it was Assad’s forces that used chemical weapons, that it was not Assad but was rather the rebels who had used chemical weapons on themselves.

  48. wearing out my F key says:

    NATO found a way to keep themselves busy, mostly by adding former Soviet states. Seems kind of odd that NATO would still exist, three decades after the total collapse of the Soviet Union, doncha think? Maybe we’re the ones who are having trouble getting over the cold war.

    As far as the space station is concerned, I don’t know that we could get our own shuttle going, because our federal government is so completely dysfunctional. This being an election year, it’s common knowledge that neither side is even trying to accomplish anything. We’re just treading water til November, so space will have to wait.

  49. wearing out my F key says:

    I recall a tidal wave of opposition to the idea of military intervention in syria, so much so that congress had to table a resolution for military force.

    I recall that the Obama made every indication that we would go ahead with military strikes anyhow.

    I recall our feckless Secretary of State making an offhand comment about, if Assad were to give up his chemical weapons, military intervention could be prevented…but that would never happen.

    I recall Putin stepping in and making that happen.

    I recall the Administration trotting out some dog and pony show about the use of force was the reason Assad agreed to the deal.

    But I’m pretty sure Putin played a fairly large part in the process as well, and ultimately made it possible to prevent the US from going into another middle east civil war, all guns a blazin’.

    I recall being very happy about that.

  50. Badgerite says:

    He has a lot of troops on the border with Eastern Ukraine for someone who doesn’t intend to do anything. He may not be ‘coy’ but I would certainly not call him forthcoming as to his long term plans. He once invoked, admiringly, the philosophy of Richard Nixon, by saying, “Never tell anyone what you really intend to do.”

  51. Badgerite says:

    Yes we do. And all that Putin has achieved with this ridiculous maneuver in the Crimea is to reactive a military alliance (NATO) formed for mutual protection against the old Soviet Union , that had all but fallen dormant.
    If we have to, of course, I’m sure the US could, indeed, revive its own programs to provide transportation to the space station. But space is not earth. There are no borders. Up there you are just human. I think that approach should remain and I can’t think of why any border disputes here on Earth should change that.
    Not to mention, there will come a time when independent companies will be able to provide transportation of cargo and humans to the ISS. I believe they have already successful tests a cargo flight.

  52. Badgerite says:

    Oh please. do you seriously think there are not a lot of ‘neo nazi’ types in the Russian government. One cannot help but notice the Russian propensity these days for putting videos of themselves ( I suppose you could call them skinheads) beating up on gays and suspected gays on YouTube. There are right wingers all over the world. Labeling the ones in Kiev as Neo-Nazi is just intended to undercut a movement basically to determine their own commercial interests as opposed to having them dictated to them by Putin.

  53. Badgerite says:

    No more so then the Crimean government. The Ukrainian Parliament convened on February 27, 2014 and voted in support of the new government led by Yatsentyuk. After the fact vote vs after the fact vote.
    The difference in the Ukraine is that there had been protests in the square in Kiev for months in opposition to Yanukovych’s caving to Russian pressure with respect to their proposed trade agreement with the EU.
    And finally, Yanukovych, reportedly under pressure from Putin, had snipers open fire on the protesters. This is what precipitated the crisis in the first place. Putin, by immediately sending troops into Crimea and annexing it has changed the narrative from the grieving people and memorials in the square in Kiev to stories of abused Russians. No one in their right mind thinks that Russia is actually afraid of a few guys with baseball bats who took it upon themselves to ‘patrol’ Kiev in the chaos after Yanukovych fled. And by the way, Yanukovych fled to Russia and thereby deprived the Parliament of any opportunity to impeach him. I’m sure they would be happy to impeach him in absentia but I imagine Putin would object to that also.

  54. Badgerite says:

    No. That was not on Putin’s agenda. You have Obama and perhaps Iran to thank for that. Your F key missed a few things.
    Obama was threatening an attack on Assad’s forces which would have been devastating to his military position and perhaps his survival. Putin may have brokered the deal but the alternative would have been the military overthrow of Assad and the victory of rebel factions in Syria. Something Putin has been trying for years to prevent in conjunction with Iran. Iran had its own problems with Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Prior to Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria, they had been the only victims of chemical weapons in war in the latter half of the 20th century. To be allied so closely with someone using chemical weaponry on his own citizenry was a touchy subject in Iran.
    It was not a touchy subject with Putin. He was fine with it. He went along with the bargain because Assad’s chances of survival were higher without an American airstrike than they would have been with one.

  55. Badgerite says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I think the world is afraid of ‘pushing’ Russia into a corner and bringing out a defensive response that is in no one’s interest. But I think that may be the wrong approach. Europe doesn’t want to go backwards. But I think Putin does.

  56. wearing out my F key says:

    Is it careful and cautious for the US to champion the overthrow of a democratically elected government? To have our Assistant Secretary of State to be caught on tape discussing who will be included in the interim government, and telling the EU to F themselves? To include far right and neo-nazi elements in that government? To give billions in aid to that government, despite their questionable elements, and the country’s reputation for corruption? To talk about Russian aggression and an invasion into Ukraine when that clearly isn’t what’s happening on the ground?

    Does that build trust with Russia, the country who supports our efforts in Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan? The country who warned us about the Boston marathon bombers, and who tried to warn us away from invading Iraq? The country who has been a reliable trading partner with both the US and the EU? The country we work with, and will work with again for the foreseeable future?

    Are we being careful and cautious? Are we earning anybody’s trust?

  57. Mark_in_MN says:

    I said nothing about sanctions, locking down, or cutting off Russia. That’s a very bad idea. One can still have relations, trade, even cooperate on the International Space Station while also holding them at arms length and being very careful and cautions. Russia haven’t inspired trust, and doesn’t deserve to be trusted at this time. Trust must be earned, continually. Russia isn’t earning it now.

  58. Mark_in_MN says:

    We are a bit dependent on them for that, true. Yet that is very much self-inflicted. We ended the Space Shuttle program prematurely and delayed a replacement and then made the poor decision to cancel the Constellation program.

  59. wearing out my F key says:

    Neither the US or the EU have shown any serious interest in doing so, probably because we work with Russia in a lot of ways, but for argument’s sake, let’s say we do lock down on Russia with sanctions and cutting off trade. Do you think Russia is going to crumble? No. They’ll just go work with China. That doesn’t sound so fantastic to me.

  60. wearing out my F key says:

    Well, then should we be flying to the space station with the cosmonauts? And that’s just one example. We work with Russia all the time.

  61. Mark_in_MN says:

    There is really no reason to trust Russia, especially with Putin in control. Indeed, there is plenty of reason to actively distrust them and hold them at arms length. We’d do well to connect to other nations, and keep them from falling under Russian control (directly or indirectly).

  62. wearing out my F key says:

    I went for the low hanging fruit first.
    The interim Ukraine government could be considered illegitimate for various reasons. But they’re open for business, and if the EU is more than welcome to do so. But why are we involved in this? A working relationship with Russia is much more important to us than anything any Ukraine government could offer.

  63. Mark_in_MN says:

    Sure, the US has invaded nations quite a number of times, but in the last century or so we haven’t incorporated the territory into ours, except for some small Pacific islands we controlled in the aftermath of WWII.

    Russia’s actions were quite simply the result of a leader who is a dictator and a bully who wasn’t getting exactly what he wanted. Having a major natural gas source in the region that is closer to the EU than to Russia is definitely in the interests of Europe. An Europe with improved energy stability, and without as much singular dependence on Russia and Putin (or states that are essentially satellite states), is in the interest of the United States.

  64. wearing out my F key says:

    As far as the unilateral invasion- it certainly isn’t the first time something like this has happened. The U.S. has done it plenty of times. Russia has a vested interest in Crimea. They moved to protect their interests, and they took it. I understand that. What Im having trouble understanding is why are we sending billions to a completely insolvent and thoroughly corrupted country? How is this in our interests?

  65. Mark_in_MN says:

    Deflect instead of respond. Just like you never really said why closer ties between the EU and Ukraine could be regarded as illegitimate. The implication you originally made was about the agreement itself not about the who and when of signing.

  66. wearing out my F key says:

    Oh, yeah. Russin propaganda. Congress should start a committee to figure out where everybody stands!

  67. Mark_in_MN says:

    The Ukraine hasn’t joined the European Union, and was never invited to do so. It has signed part of an agreement to associate with the EU in various ways. I understand that ratification by various parties is still necessary and trade provision remain on hold. That agreement was initially drafted under President Yanukovych. Russia was reportedly putting much pressure on the Ukraine to to sign the agreement with the EU, including changes in customs regulations from August 2013. The protest movement that lead to the change in government started when the agreement for closer relations with the EU started falling apart. However much the Euromaidan protests, supportive of the EU ties, may have been supported and egged on by European and US sources and interests, the agreement with the EU was something the former president had sought some time ago, and which he eventually abandoned with no small bit of Russian influence.

    In other words, the whole situation is far more complex, and not merely about European and US manipulation, than your comments would suggest. Your selection of points and the interpretation you give suggests the influence of Russian interests and propaganda, and seeks to muddy the waters over the unilateral Russian invasion and takeover of Crimea, a part of Ukrainian territory.

  68. wearing out my F key says:

    We have President Putin to thank for that. If not for his clear and steady leadership, we would be up to our neck in another middle east civil war… A conflict that the american people very clearly showed no interest in being in. So, I think Putin deserves some credit for that, and for leading the way on Syria’s chemical weapons.
    I think that is one of the most interesting things- people are just going straight for the Hitler card. But nobody wants to send troops. Nobody! What would history say about that?

  69. kurtsteinbach says:

    Assad’s chemical weapons will soon be gone and have been for several weeks. They are being disposed of by US. It will likely be completed by the end of the year. BTW, Hitler said he had no intention of invading Austria either, yet it was annexed by Germany in 1938. Have to good sense to recognize when history may actually repeat itself. Putin may have been elected, but he is now a dictator who is refusing to leave power. He is not the leader of Russia. The leader of Russia is the PM, but Putin seized that power. The presidency in Russia, unlike the U.S is that of a ceremonial head of state, not the head of government.

  70. kurtsteinbach says:

    I’m tired of the sports, the athletes, and the sponsors giving in. I have read and heard the complaints from athletes who were mistreated at the Olympic Games from last month, and that was from heterosexual athletes. The LGBTQ athletes’ problems were much worse. The U.S. and European nations and athletes should have insisted the games be moved. When that didn’t work, they should have insisted their nations boycott the games. The only thing the world remembers about the 1980 Olympic Games is that the U.S. wasn’t there. The games were considered unsuccessful. The nations should have done like the U.S. did and not sent their leaders. Finally, the athletes should have boycotted. It would have looked and been much worse than it did if half or more of the scheduled athletes simply hadn’t shown up. Move the 2018 World Cup. If they do not, nations and athletes need to boycott….

  71. wearing out my F key says:

    Well, the Ukraine government that joined the EU wasn’t elected. The interim government was picked by the west, rather famously by Victoria nuland.
    The Crimea parliament was in place before, during, and now after the referendum to join Russia.
    Both moves could be considered questionable because of the influence of the foreign powers that were in a position to manipulate the outcome. But it doesn’t much matter now, since Ukraine is with the EU and Crimea has joined Russia.

  72. kurtsteinbach says:

    No, you’d be shot. they’re importing bullets again….

  73. Mark_in_MN says:

    Sports are important, you see. Not like gay people or the sovereignty of another nation or political, civil, and human rights for minorities, people with different political positions than a nation’s leader, or whatever. That’s just some trivial little thing that comes and goes that shouldn’t interfere with grown men kicking inflated orbs around a rectangle of grass. And changing plans would mean having to undo contracts, agreements, and other arrangements, would mean having to select a new site and make new new arrangements, contracts, etc. would be a terrible inconvenience to Mr. Platini and his staff, and probably cost money. Trifling matters like these issues with Russia don’t really matter when changing plans would mean all those things.

  74. Mark_in_MN says:

    “Oh, sorry. I’ll expand on my point. Russia says they have no intention to invade Ukraine, and, considering what a mess the eastern part of Ukraine is, it makes sense that the Russians would stay on their side of the line. However you want to characterize Crimea, the referendum to join with Russia is at least as legitimate as Ukraine joining the EU. (A deal that does not require Ukraine to protect lgtb rights, BTW)”

    This makes about as much sense as British troops quietly moving into Ireland’s County Monaghan, taking control, staging a referendum where the choices are “join the UK now” and “join the UK in a month” (possibly making sure that the reported result is a majority for “now”), and then claiming that the UK has no intention of invading the Republic of Ireland.

    Your comparison between the Crimea referendum and the Ukraine joining the European Union implies that there is something at least questionable about both apart from wether its a good and beneficial move. The referendum in Crimea has at least questionable and debatable legitimacy. What’s possibly illegitimate about the Ukraine becoming a part of the European Union?

  75. 4th Turning says:

    Keep those histrionic articles rolling in. Histrionics have saved redwoods, given us dolphin-free tuna,
    no-kill animal shelters-my list is endless… Meanwhile a snapshot back to the future reprise

    Stalin is dead and things have begun to lighten up a bit relatively speaking. An old couple live in an apartment in Moscow and she sends him down to buy some meat for supper. After queueing for the obligatory three hours he gets to the counter and the woman says ‘No more meat, meat finished’. He cracks and starts raving ‘I fought in the Revolution, I fought for Lenin in the First World War and for Stalin in the Second World War and we are still in this shit?’ One of the leather-jacketed brigade takes him on one side and says ‘Look old man you know you can’t talk like this. Just think, a few years ago you would have been shot for saying these things.’ The old man trudges home. His wife seeing him empty-handed says ‘Run out of meat again have they?’ He says: ‘It’s worse than that, they’ve run out of bullets.’

  76. kingstonbears says:

    Just tell him to take his over inflated balls and go home.

  77. jomicur says:

    Well, I am “fed up” with money-grubbing scum who make fortunes off goddamn dumbfucking sports and think that’s more important than human lives, rights and dignity. So there, Michel.

  78. jomicur says:

    Excuse me, but I just have to correct you. The word is “imaginery.”

  79. Doug Watkins says:

    The Olympics showed us that, and now it is the World Cup

  80. 2karmanot says:

    RIP (Russkie Imaginary Princess)

  81. Doug Watkins says:

    Boo Hoo! Its really a sad indictment of our society that sports are placed higher than basic human rights and international norms. The US does not go invading its neighbors. Yes the Iraq war was a travesty(among other US mistakes), but there is pushback and a free debate about the government’s actions. Try that in Putin’s Russia and you have earned yourself a one way trip to the gulag.

  82. BeccaM says:

    This blog is just one of millions of destinations on the Internet.

    The imaginary door is right over there. Feel free to use it on your way out.

  83. wearing out my F key says:

    Whatever else Putin is, he isn’t coy. If he was going to take Ukraine, he would have no problem saying so. I suspect the whole “invade Ukraine” thing is more for the western audience than anything. By standing firmly against something Russia has no intention of doing, then the administration can claim some small victory. I guess. It seems like, considering the senate is very much in play this fall, democrats could find better ways to spend their time complaining about the meanie Russians and sending billions in aid to a hole in the ground.

  84. StraightGrandmother says:

    This really pisses me off. It really does.
    Well we know what to do, right?
    We go after the sponsors.

  85. FLL says:

    The eastern part of Ukraine is an unmanageable mess at the moment, all though it has potential for better. As far as Putin’s future plans, I’ll repeat what I said in my first reply and say that I hope you’re right now and continue to be right. The current status quo is workable.

    It’s too bad that Ukraine isn’t being required to protect LGBT rights like the other members of the European Union. All three of the former Baltic republics of the Soviet Union are now part of the EU, and in all three, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is banned; Lithuania and Estonia also have laws prohibiting anti-gay hate speech. The government of Georgia has expressed a desire to become a member of the EU, and Georgia also has laws prohibiting anti-gay discrimination and prosecuting hate crimes as such. And what did the former Yanukovych government in Ukraine have to offer? Joining the Eurasian customs unions between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (here’s the link from April, 2013). As far as the three-country Eurasian customs union and its record on LGBT rights, it’s openly homophobic laws, it’s arrest and torture of gay people. Um… that three-country customs union is a real bag of snakes. And that’s what you think is on par with Ukraine joining the EU? Really? You might want to think it through again.

  86. 4th Turning says:

    (CNN) — While President Barack Obama has made promoting rights for gays and lesbians worldwide a key foreign policy goal, that is little comfort to Ali Asseri, a former Saudi diplomat who is gay.

    Asseri is fighting a years-long battle for asylum in the United States, convinced his life will be in danger if he is forced to return home.

    The case presents a dilemma for the Obama administration as the President travels to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah amid a time of strained relations between the close allies.

    Saudi Arabia’s radical form of Islam mandates the death penalty for same-sex relations.

  87. 4th Turning says:

    Rohrabacher told colleagues from the House floor that the people of Crimea “obviously want to be part of Russia. This is not a power grab. This is defending their right for self determination.”

    The congressman was the only House member to vote “present” on an earlier resolution “condemning the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity by military forces of the Russian Federation.”

    Most California representatives supported Thursday’s measure, but four did not vote: Republicans John Campbell of Irvine and Gary Miller of Rancho Cucamonga and Democrats Mike Honda of San Jose and Gloria Negrete McLeod of Chino.

    Rohrabacher and Putin have a history. Back in the 1990s, the congressman says, they drunkenly arm-wrestled to settle a debate. “He put me down in a millisecond,” Rohrabacher recalled in a recent interview.”,0,3229059.story#ixzz2xH0y3KwA

  88. wearing out my F key says:

    Oh, sorry. I’ll expand on my point. Russia says they have no intention to invade Ukraine, and, considering what a mess the eastern part of Ukraine is, it makes sense that the Russians would stay on their side of the line.
    However you want to characterize Crimea, the referendum to join with Russia is at least as legitimate as Ukraine joining the EU. (A deal that does not require Ukraine to protect lgtb rights, BTW)

    And outside of a few petty sanctions and a lot of ridiculous talk, nobody is interested in doing anything about it. Or at least not interested in sending troops, which is the only way Russia is letting go of Crimea.

    In the meantime, the Russians delivered our astronaut to the space station this morning. In Syria, where the rebel forces are clearly losing, we need work with the Russians to remove Assad’s chemical weapons. Russia works with us in negotiations with Iran, and in our misadventures in Afghanistan. We work with the Russians all the time, and it makes no sense to screw that up for no good reason.

  89. FLL says:

    If you mean that Russia isn’t invading the eastern provinces of Ukraine at the moment, I hope you’re right and continue to be right. If you mean that Russia isn’t invading Crimea, then I would have to say that Crimea is a part of Ukraine that Russia has already invaded. You’ll forgive most readers for not being quite sure what you mean. But I suppose some people think of that intentional opaqueness as a little dash of fun in your writing style.

  90. Badgerite says:

    What does he mean, fed up with calls to boycott? Is he saying that he prefers the Russian model of free speech? Which, of course, would be NOT free speech. Some speech being more equal than others. Some speech not being allowed at all. To boycott or not to boycott is a personal and organizational choice. But to call for a boycott in support of human rights is just free speech.
    So, he is “fed up” with free speech? Hmmmm. Yes, democracy can be irritating as hell and difficult.
    So what? Even more irritating as hell and difficult would be being attacked on the street or kidnapped and subjected to beatings and assaults for no reason. Terrorized, in a word.

  91. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I understand what you are saying, and that’s probably due to the fact that I have taught many ESOL classes. Are gays attacked it the U.S.A.? Yes they are. Do the police stand by and just watch? No they don’t, they actually try to break up the attacks. There are many pictures of the the Russian police not helping the gay person.

    If you are fed up with these articles, why do you search for them?

  92. Lawerence Collins says:

    Sounds like you’d be happy in Putins, Russia! Who’s he going to turn against next!?
    He’s already got his thugs saying, the Jews brought the holocaust on themselves! Facts aren’t imaginary.

  93. wearing out my F key says:

    Russia isn’t invading Ukraine.

  94. victoria says:

    i am so fed up with these histrionic articles. not only in russia people have similar problems, not only these bad thinkgs we have in russia. dont go histeric and dont feed your little imaginery, unipolar world.

  95. caphillprof says:

    Money vs morality. Money always wins.