Putin Launches Military Drill In Western, Central Russia; Ruble Drops To Lowest Since 2009

Tyler Durden's picture

Lest it be confused that Russia has somehow forgotten about the Ukraine coup, and that it no longer concerns the bread basket (and key gas pipeline hub) of Europe a core strategic resource, moments ago Russian wire services blasted the following diplomatic summary of Russian bullish grace in a china store:


Bloomberg adds the following:

  • President Vladimir Putin issued orders to conduct immediate check of combat-readiness of central, western military districts, test of air defense, airborne troops, aviation, Interfax reports, citing Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
  • Test began at 2pm local time today: IFX
  • Exercise to be conducted Feb. 26-March 3 in 2 stages
  • Commander-in-chief ordered test of military capability to react to “crisis situations, posing a danger to the country’s military security,” Shoigu is cited as saying
  • Second test phase will include tactical exercises involving Northern, Baltic Fleets

Reuters adds:

President Vladimir Putin ordered an urgent drill to test the combat readiness of the armed forces across western Russia on Wednesday, news agencies reported, flexing Moscow's military muscle amid tension with the West over Ukraine.


"In accordance with an order from the president of the Russian Federation, forces of the Western Military District were put on alert at 1400 (0500 ET) today," Interfax quoted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.


Putin has ordered several such surprise drills in various parts of Russia since he returned to the presidency in 2012, saying the military must be kept on its toes, but the geopolitical overtones could hardly have been clearer this time.


The western district borders Ukraine, which lies between NATO nations and Russia. Shoigu said the drill would be conducted in two stages, ending on March 3, and also involved some forces in central Russia.


Putin has made no public comment on Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovich was driven from power over the weekend after months of political turmoil sparked by his decision to spurn deals with the European Union and improve ties with Russia.


The United States and European nations have warned Russia against military intervention in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that Putin has called a "brother nation" and wants to be part of a Eurasian Union he is building in the region.


Russian officials have said Moscow will not interfere in Ukraine, while accusing the West of doing so, and Interfax cited the speaker of the upper parliament house, Valentina Matviyenko, as saying on Wednesday it would not use force.


But Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Russia's interests and its citizens in Ukraine were under threat, language reminiscent of statements justifying Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008, when he was president.

In short, not only has the Russian bear woken from hibernation but is rather angry. Incidentally, Russia's ever-louder war footing rumblings have not been lost on investors who sent the USD/RUB to the highest level since March 2009, just north of 36.

As for the Ukraine Hryvnia, don't ask.

And now back to watching your regularly scheduled S&P500 all time high melt up. Becuase there is nothing at all concerning in the world.

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GetZeeGold's picture



.....with kitty cat at his side.

MythicalFish's picture

Trending today: "Birds with arms". Yes, its quite literal. Thanks to the feature on the BBC app.




And now Russians with arms? Ewwwww....

Headbanger's picture

What do you mooks expect??   We stirred up the shit in the Ukraine and now Vlad is going to flush it down the drain while Obozo twirls around in the Oval Office like a nit wit!

Is it all just a game to get Russia into another massive arms race to justify increasing our own military spending and perhaps to make them go broke again?

Watch for a return of Civil Defense drills and shelters here soon.

PR Guy's picture


Send lawyers, guns and money - the shit has hit the fan!

Just replace 'Syria' with 'Ukraine' in the following cartoon:




Pure Evil's picture

Wow, more contrived bad news to drive US stock markets up to all time highs.

Who would've thunk it.

What's next in the program, nuclear war so we can finally reach the all important 36,000 on the Dow?

jbvtme's picture

Vlad's affraid that he and Muammar are going to be bookends...

libertus's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SEhIkMhNQU This is what is going to happen to Obama's administration after Ivan get him. Rocky is us...he knows that playing this game is stupid.  

Truthseeker2's picture



"With Putin at the helm, Russia is much more likely to plot a much more aggressive course.  He maintains the posture of a Zen warrior who knows how to wield his samurai sword when necessary.  Hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia, he also likes a great game of chess.  It is on this regional geo-political chessboard of eastern Asia that his largely Anglo-American opponents will face formidable challenges in the very near future.  Just as the Russia Empire and the British Empire squared off against each other seeking supremacy in Central Asia during the first half of the 19th century."


Flakmeister's picture

Your guys understanding of geopolitics and diplomacy is almost comical...

Take Syria....

Syria is complete and utter shitshow, a Shia-Sunni cage match to the death. The perfect magnet for militant muslims of every stripe. Not even W. would think it wise to try "nationbuilding" there... Obama has basicially said, kill each other to your hearts content as we can't really stop you but chemical weapons are off the table. What actaully happened? Obama/Kerry got Putin to acquiese to Assad giving up his chemical weapons. That is pretty sharp diplomacy...

Next, the Ukraine...

Wow, how did an allegedly complete asshat like Obama pull off the most impressive US geopolitical coup d'main in 25 years?

Maybe he didn't and Putin simply fell asleep at the wheel...  My take is that is the people of the Ukraine are saying no mas...

And Barry and the Boys know just to sit back and watch "the chess player" try to finaggle his way out of this one...

My take is that if Putin is offered an easy way out that allows him to save face he will.

Say, Western Ukraine secedes, Eastern Ukr. merges with Russia via some sham plebiscite. The Crimea obviously stays in Russian hands...

And Vladimir Sese  Seko Putin goes home makes some more money...

As for the South Pars field, the Qataris don't need to export more gas for while, they are more than willing to the play the long game. The world will still be burning NG in 2060....


Don't fall into the fallacy of believing that events with tremendous reprecussions must be due to great actions of great men...An avalanche may be started by the tiniest of peebles falling...

doctor10's picture

The bankers and the Fed "needed" Syria to go down last fal. Puty-Poo got in their way.

Payback is a bitch!!!!

Flakmeister's picture


Stupid is as stupid does...

yrbmegr's picture

I agree about 70%.  Obama will try to broker a deal of some sort.  East Ukraine may change to West Russia (possible Syria sweetener), in exchange for tangible support from Russia as the TPP deals with China (maybe Russia will join?).  Will have to keep a lid on the Kuril Islands controversy.

Flakmeister's picture

Syria is a black hole and will be for the foreseeable future.  Western policy is currently all about containment of the damage. 

Think about it? Why remove Assad when what you will have is a power vacuum with nothing but wild cards and lunatics in place to fill it? There is noone that the West can credibly tap on the shoulder and say, we got your back but you have to hold this shitshow together...

I have no doubt that SA and other Sunni Gulf States would love to to be able to build a pipeline through there. But that is what is know as projection in these circles...

Hell, look the lesson from Iraq on the difficulty of building/maintaining hydrocarbon flows....

TheMeatTrapper's picture

How are the people of Alabama, Nevada or Michigan safer and more secure because the Federal government took our money and gave it to start a war in Syria by funding people who hate us?

Please explain it to me. 

Flakmeister's picture

Did if occur to you that you premises may be completely wrong?

I suggest you start learning a little Syrian history...

A good place to start is with Daddy Assad and what an Alawite is:




Next you should read up on a little place called Hama


and this "footnote"


You should be able to start putting the pieces together with that as an outline...


Syria is a basically a proxy war for the 1400 year old struggle between the Shia and Sunni forms of Islam...

Freddie's picture

Flak is a little govt shill. Obam lover and probably a clerk at the State Dept.

Disenchanted's picture

Reminds me of the chindit.__ character...

Flakmeister's picture

Freddie do you have anything intelligent to say or add?

I realize that the level of discourse is way beyond that exhibited in your usual Fox talking points inspired posts, but the adults are trying to have a discussion here....

Flakmeister's picture

Now that would be really rich given my avatar...

And assuming that I was, which I am not, what fucking difference would that make?

Freddie's picture

I do not watch TV.  You obviously do.


Flakmeister's picture

For some that doesn't you show do sound like...

It must be that you get the Fox talking points in a daily e-mail...

earnyermoney's picture

"... containment of the damage."   LOL. Damage that was facilitated by the US via it's Sunni proxy army.

"Think about it? Why remove Assad ...lunatics to fill it?"  LOL. Ask Barry why he removed QDaffi and created a power vacumn in Libya? Remember the response of Barry's administration? "We came, We saw, He died!" Look at the inferno in Libya. Barry used the Libyan template for Syria with similar results. "Mission Accomplished" because Barry's a phenominal nth degree chess player. LOL 



Flakmeister's picture

So what is it?

Is BHO some kind of geopolitical mastermind capable of removing dictators that have ruled with a iron fist for many years?

Or is he a bumbling clown getting out manuevered at every turn?

So who is Barry's stooge in Libya? Can you name him for us? How about Syria?


Edit: ~1 hour later still <crickets>  pretty much as I expected...

Hephaestus's picture

More like an incompetent idiot who just happens to be at the helm of the worlds most powerful army and propoganda machines. If Putin had acces to the same mechanical and computer firepower he would be ruling the world in a month. The fact that Our govt keeps getting spanked by Russia is real proof that superior firepower without the intellect to use it correctly is worthless. I wouldnt be surprised at all if Russia uses this to grow a little or a lot!


Flakmeister's picture

Spanked?? When did the US get spanked? Was it when Putin told Assad, get rid of the chemical weapons?

Putin allegedly already holds all the cards because of oil and gas? What happened?

Putin has the makings of a shitshow on his hands and while nobody denies that he could steamroll into the Ukraine, he could very likely end up the equivalent of "Kabul on the Dnieper"....

And if he doesn't keep the cheques flowing to the his equivalent of the 47% he could find things warming up a little closer to home. The Russian fiscal situation is not strong and Vlad can't print to satisfy his IOUs....

Ironically, if Russia starts dumping gold to pay the bills, the gold bugs here are going to take it up the ass....

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Your guys understanding of geopolitics and diplomacy is almost comical...

Your faith in the official narrative is almost contemptible...

Johnny Cocknballs's picture

While Putin certainly stopped more significant and overt NATO involvement  {pretty much no one but idiots like Flake doubt this} thus helped Assad, rather than the by now mostly foreign jihadis, remain the dominant power, Flake is right about it being an Obama victory in one sense:

The "rebels" did not give up their chemical weapons.  Despite having used them on civilians.


Something to really be proud of, Flake.  Dumb cunt.

Flakmeister's picture

Is that all you got...

To simply dodge issues and call me a cunt? 

I suggest you look in the mirror...

Flakmeister's picture

The "official" narrative is Assad has no chemical weapons and the Ukraine looks about to split like a ripe melon and nary a drop of American blood has been spilt nor a penny of treasure spent...

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


nor a penny of treasure spent...

Five billion dollars is certainly not a penny, I'll grant you that.

Flakmeister's picture

Wow, 5 billion dollars over 23 years...

Assuming that what this person is saying is correct, you are telling me that the US State Dept. was able to incite a Ukrainian revolution by spending an average of $5 a year per Ukrainian?

Wow, I never knew pulling the levers in the global Game of Thrones  could be so cheap....

Hephaestus's picture

In the US 535 congressmen + 100 senators  + 1 president Rule over 300 million. YES 5 billion dollars is enough to start some trouble!

That would be 5,000,000,000/636 = 7,861,635 per represetative in the US.

Lets see about Ukraine

Legislative branch 450 seats.

Judicial branch 95 judges.

Chief of state 1 president.

5,000,000,000/546 = 9,157,509 per representative.

All you have to do is buy the government what the slaves think just doesnt matter.....until it does :)





Flakmeister's picture

This is so naive as to be beneath a serious response....

Was it the Ukrainian Duma that was marching in the streets?


Frostfan1's picture

Interesting point Flak.  Part of the Putin legacy going forward will be Lenin statues getting toppled by their neighbors. 

Flakmeister's picture

Yes, Putin knows he has to play his cards very well, as you know, this things have a way of spiriling out of hand. They are a lot of Russians that are fed up as well...

A heavy crackdown could backfire on him...

falak pema's picture

Spot on, the tiny pebble in 1914 was Gabriel Princeps. The question then is do the so called "great men" jump on the bandwagon to start their "great game of Armageddon"?... In 1914 they did.

Yesterday the pebble in MENA was the MURDER of Q-daffy behind Putin's back. And he said "I won't let you do that to Assad, 'cos he is part of my great game." Putin managed to change the West's agenda to make Assad the fall guy in the divide and rule "shia/sunni" standoff that had spilled over from GWB Iraq/Lebanon plays of old now to Syria under Bandar Sultan's and Qatar's Sunnite impulsion. This dirt pile of Pax Americana dystopia (to protect hegemonic control of THE oil patch) has been festering since 60 years.

Today the pebble is the Mafia style generalised Yanukovitch corruption trail now blatantly apparent, that knee jerked Meidan Square into eruption all the while Putin sang "Sochi Sochi".  Now Putin has to do damage control NOT ONLY for Ukraine's sake BUT ALSO to make sure that Meidan Square frolick does not come to St Petersburg or Moscow. DOn't underestimate the seething back lash amongst the young Russian generation against the Putin "neo stalinist" state and great Euroasian dream that is killing the economy of Russia. 

Yes some avalanches are overdue and all it takes is a pebble to start the stampede. 


Flakmeister's picture

You clearly understand the great game and you certainly do have a way with words...

I do think you gave Putin way too much credit though: If he could keep skimming Gazprom cash flows while not being forced to lose face he would.  Barry and the Boys gave him a chance to look like statesman while achieving thier goal and he jumped at it...

John Wilmot's picture

Why does the Russian government SEEM more corrupt than the US government?

(1) The Russians practice old-fashioned corruption, cash in brown paper bags type corruption, whereas the cunt politicians in Washington are more sophisticated, most of their corruption is voted on by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President, so we don't call it corruption.

(2) In Russia, the political class and the ruling class are one and the same, so you see Russian politicians getting enormously rich while in office. This doesn't happen as often in the US, not because US politicians are less corrupt, but because in the US the political class is not the ruling class. American politicians loot just as much as their Russian counterparts, but the proceeds don't end up in their own bank accounts, they end up in the bank accounts of Raytheon, Boeing, JP Morgan, etc. 

...there's equal corruption in both countries, it just takes different forms.

Flakmeister's picture

That is not the issue....

What people here are incapable of understading is that I do not project my desired worldview in my posts. I only try to call it as I see it.  I pass no judgement and merely try call an evenhanded play-by-play...

Seems people have a hard time with that...

John Wilmot's picture

"Syria is complete and utter shitshow, a Shia-Sunni cage match to the death. The perfect magnet for militant muslims of every stripe. Not even W. would think it wise to try "nationbuilding" there... Obama has basicially said, kill each other to your hearts content as we can't really stop you but chemical weapons are off the table." -- Not at all, Obama and the war party in the US government WANTED to intervene in Syria. They could care less about chemical weapons, except insofar as they provide a politically correct casus belli. But the Russians and (more importantly) the American public put a stop to their plans, thank god.

"My take is that is the people of the Ukraine are saying no mas.." -- With more than a little help from from the US government's Revolutions-R-US: the complex of taxpayer funded "pro-democracy" NGOs, along with official State department programs, and unofficial CIA programs, that fabricate "popular" uprisings to topple anti-American regimes like it's their job (O wait, it is their job). THAT SAID, the Russians are playing the same game from the other side, using all the "soft power" in their arsenal to support pro-Russian factions in Ukraine. Always remember: this is not a parable, there are no "good guys," just ruthless rational actors pursuing their various interests.

Flakmeister's picture

How do you know that O wanted to directly intervene re: Assad?

Are you privy to Cabinent meetings? You ain't and I ain't so you simply don't know...

Everybody has an agenda and plays the propaganda card. I do not doubt that the Hawks wanted to intervene. That is what makes them Hawks....

Russia did no such thing. And O got what he wanted, chemical weapons off the table and Putin acquiesed....

And as I alluded to above, do you really think $5 billion over 23 years is going to topple the Ukraine? Really?

I agree, there are no obvious good guys, this is a real life Game of Thrones and it is played for keeps...

And the American people demand the US keep winning....

Once again, I only pass on my observations....

John Wilmot's picture

No one knows for sure what Obama intended except Obama. But we confront the same problem whenever we try to guess anyone's motives. All we can do is infer motive based on behavior, and to my eyes it looked like Obama (read: those behind him who actually make policy, O doesn't control anything), were serious about war.

As for chemical weapons, if you believe the regime's high-minded humanitarian talk about WMDs, I've got some semi-dry land in Florida to sell you. No state EVER acts on humanitarian motives. That's only ever a pretext (think Yugoslavia). I think it's clear that the regime was using WMDs as an excuse to intervene (think Iraq and soon Iran), but when intervention became politically impossible, they settled for a face-saving deal about removing the chemical weapons. Again, we can't know their motives for sure, but that's how I see it.

THINK ABOUT IT THIS WAY: the stated goal of the US vis a vis Syria for YEARS has been the removal of Assad, right? Now, how does taking his chemical weapons help achieve that goal? ...answer, it doesn't. He's still in power because of his conventional weapons, not his chemical weapons. So, why would the US care? ...answer, they didn't, it was an excuse.

Flakmeister's picture

You are entitled to your opinion and you express it a helluva better than most here. Doesn;t mean I have to agree though....


Out of curiousity, how do think it would play out if in in the chaos of the Syrian civil war, someone started lobbing gas shells into Isreal?  Do you really want to find out what goodies the Isrealis really have? Do you have any doubt that they would not go Old Testament on whomever the deemed responsible?

So when I say that containment of chemical weapons was an important factor in all this, I wasn't making shit up....


Could you point me to the document where the stated goal of the US was to remove Assad? Now, if you want to say the obvious that if the US had their druthers, someone other than Assad would be in power, then yes I would tend to agree...

John Wilmot's picture

"Out of curiousity, how do think it would play out if in in the chaos of the Syrian civil war, someone started lobbing gas shells into Isreal?  Do you really want to find out what goodies the Isrealis really have? Do you have any doubt that they would not go Old Testament on whomever the deemed responsible?"

First, chemical weapons should not be called "weapons of mass destruction," not unless we're going to give the same designation to most conventional weapons, in which case the term loses all meaning. Artillery shells filled with mustard gas should not be classed with nuclear warheads or global pandemic-inducing biological agents. The kind of damage you can inflict with chemical weapons is (at best) comparable to the kind of damage you can inflict with conventional weapons. If Assad could lob gas-filled shells into Israel, he can lob high-explosive shells into Israel -- does it really matter whether the targets choke to death or explode? The point being, taking his chemical weapons didn't much alter his ability to harm Israel (or anyone else). SECOND, call me a cynic, but I think the US would love if it Assad attacked Israel (with chemical weapons or otherwise), as that would provide a pretext for intervention: which is also precisely why Assad would never attack Israel (or use chemical weapons on anyone).

"Could you point me to the document where the stated goal of the US was to remove Assad?"


"President Obama and European leaders called Thursday for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign, after months of his violent crackdown on protesters. The rhetorical escalation was backed by new U.S. sanctions designed to undermine Assad’s ability to finance his military operation.

“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way,” Obama said in a written statement. “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

...there have been dozens of similar statements made since the civil war began.

Flakmeister's picture

Did I refer to chemical weapons as WMD? At any time? Ever?

If you think that the US wants Israel to nuke Damascus or something similar, you have not thought very carefully about it...

That is a scenario to no ones benefit, unless you sure you are on the inside track for front row seats at the End of Days revival starring the Son of God...

And do you doubt for a moment that the Isrealis would not nuke any one using chemical weapons on them? Would you want to risk it? I for one wouldn't...

Assad know this as well and he wouldn't be the one lobbing the gas shells in any event. He doesn;t strike me as a man with a deathwish..


BTW, calling for a guy to resign is political fluff, no matter how hard the table is thumped... That is a far cry from removing... 

Lest you think I am naive, sure the CIA and what not have field agents and what not in every goddam country of consequence...

It is all part of the game...I don't like the game, maybe one day, we as a species won't feel the need to play it. But untill then  it is naive to live in denial about the basic human condition....

Manthong's picture

They are not the one's that will go broke this time around.