Monday, March 17, 2014

Crimea Election Updates For March 17 , 2014 ....... The Day Afterwards Crimea Names Ruble Currency; Applies To Join Russia, Expects To Become Region Of Russian Federation By Thursday .......

Sanctions from US / EU Russia and assorted tactics in the aftermath from the Crimea vote....

Putin Strikes Back: Russia's Sanctions List Said To Include US Senators, High Ranking Administration Officials

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Ever since the theatrical announcement of asset freezes and other related sanctions of various Putin aides, Russian military and pro-Russia Ukrainian leaders earlier today by both the US president and the EU, the nagging question was when and how would Vladimir Vladimirovich retaliate, with tomorrow's Putin address to the joint session of Parliament seeming as a probable time and place. It now appears that Putin's personal retaliation has been leaked in advance, and according to the Daily Beast's Josh Rogin, it will involve an in kind response where various US senators and highly placed officials will be banned from visiting Russia, and likely also see their particular assets - if any- in Russian custody promptly frozen.
From the Beast:
U.S. senators, congressmen and top Obama administration officials are sure to be on Vladimir Putin’s sanctions list; a response to the Obama Administration’s announcement on Monday that 7 Russian officials and 4 Ukrainian officials would be barred from holding assets or traveling to the United States.

Putin is expected to release his retaliation list as early as Tuesday and while the final list is still being crafted, it will include top Obama administration officials and high profile U.S. senators, in an effort to roughly mirror the U.S. sanctions against Russian officials and lawmakers, according to diplomatic sources. At the top of the list in Congress is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who recently co-authored a resolution criticizing Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Durbin’s inclusion on Putin’s list would mirror Obama’s naming of Valentina Matvienko, the head of the upper chamber of the Russian Duma. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are not expected to be on the Russian sanctions list.
Another person who will most certainly appears on the list is perpetual war hawk, and the person who responded to Putin's own Syrian near-war Op-Ed, John McCain.
"You think I’m not going to be on it?” McCain said. “I would be honored to be on that list.” McCain said he would not be impacted financially by being subject to a visa ban and asset freeze in the Russian Federation. "I guess I’m going to have to try to withdraw my money from my secret account in St. Petersburg,” he joked.
His sentiment mirrors that of Putin aide Surkov who earlier claimed to "being proud to be on U.S. black list" according to Interfax. Paradoxically, it is rapidly becoming a badge of honor to be named on the opposing nation's sanctions list, which instead of hurting those politicians - and as McCain said he hardly has a St. Petersburg account - it will raise their status in the eyes of the general public.
Of course, if and when the sanctions expand to include various oligarchs and/or mega corporations on either side of the border, the fallout would be far more dramatic should Russian billionaire owners of New York City penthouses or Los Angeles mansions be forced to liquidate their holdings, or if E&P companies in Russia suddenly find their assets partially nationalized. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.
Who else.
Other names that could be on the Russian sanctions list, although not confirmed, include Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-TN), the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who are leading the sanctions drive in the Senate, and Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, who has been heavily involved in working with the Ukrainian opposition that ousted the Yanokovich government.
Where it gets far more surreal is that the Beast reports that "one U.S. official who can rest easy is White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who will not be on Putin’s sanctions list. It's been an ongoing rumor in administration circles that Carney is quietly lobbying to replace former Ambassador Mike McFaul as the next U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, who will also not be on the list." Well if the US really wants to accelerate WWIII, it would indeed be best served by sending Carney to Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8.
To be sure, the initial round of escalations achieves nothing besides merely antagonizing the two sides further. In this case the Beast is correct when it says that "the tit for tat sanctions are not likely to convince either side to back down from their position over the Russian invasion of Crimea, McCain said.“If we acquiesced to that, that would be a green light for him to go for Moldova, where there are also Russian troops,” said McCain. “That’s the problem with this appeasement policy.”
So what could next steps look like?
McCain is advocating for a series of more serious steps, which include the immediate arming of the Ukrainian military, which the administration has rejected for now, promising to help the Ukrainian military develop over the long term, rethinking U.S. approaches to Putin, and restarting U.S. missile defense projects in Eastern Europe.

There are signs that Putin is preparing a scenario ahead of a possible invasion of Eastern Ukraine, including sending Russian intelligence agents inside Ukraine to stir up unrest as a pretext for a possible expansion of the invasion.

“I’m not sure about Eastern Ukraine, but Putin has put everything in place for a de facto partition of Eastern Ukraine,” he said. “Will he do it? I don’t know. But I don’t think he can be discouraged from that by these limited actions by the United States… We must commit to the ultimate return of Crimea to Ukraine, just as we promised to the so called captive that they would eventually be free of Soviet domination.”
Short of the nuclear option, literally, which would be to plant more anti-ballistic missiles in NATO countries bordering the former USSR states, there is one almost as serious alternative:
“Our actions today demonstrate our firm commitment to holding those responsible accountable for undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement. “We are thoroughly prepared to take increasing and responsive steps that would impose further political and economic costs.  At the same time, we want to be clear that a path of de-escalation remains available to the Russians, should they choose to use it."
And just as likely is Russia willing to take steps which would result in the complete liquidation of its $130 or so billion in US Treasurys and announcing it would transact in all currencies but the dollar going forward. Up to and including gold of course.
One thing is certain: while the Crimea referendum's outcome was priced in well in advance, we are now in completely uncharted waters, and the only question is which side will push the other just that extra inch too far, forcing disproportionate retaliation. Because if one thing has been made clear by now, it is that a crash in foreigner-owned Russian stocks, and not to mention the S&P, will hurt Obama far more than his Russian opponent.

Putin Responds To US, European Sanctions: Signs Order Recognizing Crimea As Sovereign State

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So much for de-escalating. From the Kremlin:
Vladimir Putin signed a decree "On the recognition of the Republic of Crimea."Full text of the Decree:

1. Given the will of the people of the Crimea on the referendum held on March 16, 2014, to recognize the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status, as a sovereign and independent state.

2. This Decree shall enter into force on the date of its signing.
Surely this will precede Putin's own executive order recognizing Crimea as the latest member of the Russian Federation. And as for those "crippling" sanctions, via the FT, here is the locals reall think and why the Russian stock market is soaring as we reported earlier.

Moscow investment banker on US sanctions: "It's as innocuous as we'd hoped"

EU / US sanctions......

European Union Joins Obama, Sanctions 21 Russian, Crimean Officials

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Just a few short hours after Obama issued an executive order declaring sanctions against a select group of Russians and Ukrainians, here comes the EU, whose unelected leaders have just slammed not only those Crimeans and pro-Russian Ukrainians who dared to organize and execute the Crimean referendum vote in which the population overwhelmingly voted to support becoming part of Russia, but in keeping with the US, also launched a salvo making it quite clear that neither Russian politicians nor various Russian military commanders are welcome to park their assets, or buy houses in the EU as of this moment. Needless to say, one person, Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, is already dreading what the Russian response to this latest escalation will be, and grudgingly stated that "RUSSIA FORCED EU'S HAND WITH CRIMEA BALLOT." Perhaps, and perhaps Russia will be "forced" to if not freeze German gas exports as a result of this diplomatic move, then just happen to pull an Amazon Prime, and hike prices by a few dozen percent. We will find out shortly.
Here is the full list:
The Crimeans/pro-Russian Ukrainians:
Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov; d.o.b. 26.11.1972
Aksyonov was elected “Prime Minister of Crimea” in the Crimean Verkhovna Rada on 27 February 2014 in the presence of pro-Russian gunmen. His “election” was decreed unconstitutional by Oleksandr Turchynov on 1 March. He actively lobbied for the “referendum” of 16 March 2014.
Vladimir Andreevich Konstantinov; d.o.b. 19.03.1967
As speaker of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Konstantinov played a relevant role in the decisions taken by the Verkhovna Rada concerning the “referendum” against territorial integrity of Ukraine and called on voters to cast votes in favour of Crimean Independence.
Rustam Ilmirovich Temirgaliev; d.o.b. 15.08.1976
As Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea, Temirgaliev played a relevant role in the decisions taken by the Verkhovna Rada concerning the “referendum” against territorial integrity of Ukraine. He lobbied actively for integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation.
Deniz Valentinovich Berezovskiy; d.o.b. 15.07.1974
Berezovskiy was appointed commander of the Ukrainian Navy on 1 March 2014 and swore an oath to the Crimean armed force, thereby breaking his oath. The Prosecutor-General’s Office of Ukraine launched an investigation against him for high treason.
Aleksei Mikhailovich Chaliy; d.o.b. 13.06.1961
Chaliy became “Mayor of Sevastopol” by popular acclamation on 23 February 2014 and accepted this “vote”. He actively campaigned for Sevastopol to become a separate entity of the Russian Federation following a referendum on 16 March 2014.
Pyotr Anatoliyovych Zima
Zima was appointed as the new head of the Crimean Security Service (SBU) on 3 March 2014 by “Prime Minister” Aksyonov and accepted this appointment. He has given relevant information including a database to the Russian Intelligence Service (SBU). This included information on Euro- Maidan activists and human rights defenders of Crimea. He played a relevant role in preventing Ukraine’s authorities from controlling the territory of Crimea. On 11 March 2014 the formation of an independent Security Service of Crimea has been proclaimed by former SBU officers of Crimea
Yuriy Zherebtsov
Counsellor of the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, one of the leading organizers of the 16 March 2014 “referendum” against Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Sergey Pavlovych Tsekov; d.o.b. 28.03.1953
Vice Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada; Tsekov initiated together with Sergey Aksyonov the unlawful dismissal of the government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC). He drew into this endeavour Vladimir Konstantinov, threatening him with his dismissal. He publicly recognized that the MPs from Crimea were the initiators of inviting Russian soldiers to take over Verkhovna Rada of Crimea. He was one of the first Crimean Leaders to ask in public for annexation of Crimea to Russia.

The Russian politicians and Putin aides:
Ozerov, Viktor Alekseevich; d.o.b. 5.1.1958 in Abakan, Khakassia
Chairman of the Security and Defense Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. On 1 March 2014 Ozerov, on behalf of the Security and Defense Committee of the Federation Council, publicly supported in the Federation Council the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine.
Dzhabarov, Vladimir Michailovich; d.o.b. 29.9.1952
First Deputy-Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. On 1 March 2014 Dzhabarov, on behalf of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, publicly supported in the Federation Council the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine.
Klishas, Andrei Aleksandrovich; d.o.b. 9.11.1972 in Sverdlovsk
Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Law of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. On 1 March 2014 Klishas publicly supported in the Federation Council the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine. In public statements Klishas sought to justify a Russian military intervention in Ukraine by claiming that “the Ukrainian President supports the appeal of the Crimean authorities to the President of the Russian Federation on landing an all-encompassing assistance in defense of the citizens of Crimea”.
Ryzhkov, Nikolai Ivanovich; d.o.b. 28.9.1929 in Duleevka, Donetsk region, Ukrainian SSR
Member of the Committee for federal issues, regional politics and the North of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. On 1 March 2014 Ryzhkov publicly supported in the Federation Council the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine.
Bushmin, Evgeni Viktorovich; d.o.b. 4.10.1958 in Lopatino, Sergachiisky region, RSFSR
Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. On 1 March 2014 Bushmin publicly supported in the Federation Council the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine.
Totoonov, Aleksandr Borisovich; d.o.b. 3.3.1957 in Ordzhonikidze, North Ossetia
Member of the Committee on culture, science, and information of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. On 1 March 2014 Totoonov publicly supported in the Federation Council the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine.
Panteleev, Oleg Evgenevich; d.o.b. 21.7.1952 in Zhitnikovskoe, Kurgan region
First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Parliamentary Issues. On 1 March 2014 Panteleev publicly supported in the Federation Council the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine.
Mironov, Sergei Mikhailovich; d.o.b. 14.2.1953 in Pushkin, Leningrad region
Member of the Council of the State Duma; Leader of Fair Russia faction in the Duma of the Russian Federation. Initiator of the bill allowing Russian Federation to admit in its composition, under the pretext of protection of Russian citizens, territories of a foreign country without a consent of that country or of an international treaty.
Zheleznyak, Sergei Vladimirovich; d.o.b. 30.7.1970 in St Petersburg (former Leningrad)
Deputy Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Actively supporting use of Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. He led personally the demonstration in support of the use of Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine.
Slutski, Leonid Eduardovich; d.o.b. 4.01.1968 in ??scow
Chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation (member of the LDPR). Actively supporting use of Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

And the Russian military leaders:
Vitko, Aleksandr Viktorovich; d.o.b. 13.9.1961 in Vitebsk (Belarusian SSR)
Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Vice-Admiral. Responsible for commanding Russian forces that have occupied Ukrainian sovereign territory.
Sidorov, Anatoliy Alekseevich
Commander, Russia's Western Military District, units of which are deployed in Crimea. Commander of Russia's Western Military District, units of which are deployed in Crimea. He is responsible for part of the Russian military presence in Crimea which is undermining the sovereignty of the Ukraine and assisted the Crimean authorities in preventing public demonstrations against moves towards a referendum and incorporation into Russia.
Galkin, Aleksandr
Russia's Southern Military District, forces of which are in Crimea; the Black Sea Fleet comes under Galkin's command; much of the force movement into Crimea has come through the Southern Military District. Commander of Russia's Southern Military District ("SMD"). SMD forces are deployed in Crimea. He is responsible for part of the Russian military presence in Crimea which is undermining the sovereignty of the Ukraine and assisted the Crimean authorities in preventing public demonstrations against moves towards a referendum and incorporation into Russia. Additionally the Black Sea Fleet falls within the District's control.

* * *
And the full EU statement:

Russia Hints It May Force Ukraine Into Default, "May Ask Ukraine For Its $20 Billion Share For Ex-Soviet Debt"

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Rook to G7, check.
Pidgeon playing checkers response time.
the Ukraine owes $3 billion to Russia in bonds that have been issued under UK law. One of the stipulations of the bonds is that if the Ukraine's debt-to-GDP ratio should exceed 60%, the bonds will become immediately callable.

Once the Ukraine gets funding from the IMF,  this is of course going to happen right away – its debt-to-GDP ratio will then most definitely exceed 60%, so the first $3 billion of any aid the Ukraine receives in the form of loans will right away flow into Russia's coffers.

Of course there may be litigation first, but as Greek bondholders have found out, all those who held bonds issued under UK law were actually paid in full, while everybody else had to accept the 'PSI' and could basically go pound sand.

Obama Issues Executive Order Freezing Assets Of Seven Putin Aides

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As was largely expected, the first retaliation by Obama has arrived, courtesy of a just issued Executive Order by the president, in which he has blocked and frozen "all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person" (i.e. assets) of not only the pre-coup Ukraine president Yanukovich and the Crimean leader Aksyonov, including all Russians that operate in the Russian arms industry, but most notably seven Putin aides. Not Putin himself of course - that would be too "escalatory"...
From the White House:
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, hereby expand the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660 of March 6, 2014, finding that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine -- including the recent deployment of Russian Federation military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine -- undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Accordingly, I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in...
The people impacted:
  • Vladislav Surkov
Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov (born 21 September 1964)[1] is a Russian businessman and politician. He was First Deputy of the Chief of the Russian Presidential Administration from 1999 to 2011, during which time he was widely seen as the main ideologist of the Kremlin. Allegedly he contributed greatly to the electoral victory of President Vladimir Putin in 2004. Surkov is seen as the main architect of the current Russian political system, often described as "sovereign" or "managed" democracy.
From December 2011 until 8 May 2013 he served as the Russian Federation's Deputy Prime Minister. While his resignation was described as voluntary, presidential spokesman Peskov linked the resignation with the government's failure to carry out decrees by President Putin., in the late 1980s he started as a businessman as the government lifted the ban against private businesses. He became a head of the advertisement department of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's businesses. During the 1990s he held key managerial positions in advertisement and PR departments of Khodorkovsky's Bank Menatep (1991 – April 1996) and Rosprom (March 1996 – February 1997) and Fridman's Alfa-Bank (since February 1997).
In September 2004 Surkov was elected president of the board of directors of the oil products transportation company Transnefteproduct, but was instructed by Russia's PM Mikhail Fradkov to give up the position in February 2006.
Sergey Yurievich Glazyev is a Russian politician and economist, Full Member of Russian Academy of Science since 2008. He was a minister in 1993, a member of the State Duma in 1993-2007, and ran for President of Russia in 2004. Glazyev was a co-founder of the Rodina party. Glazyev announced his retirement from politics in March 2007, and said that he did not intend to seek a further term in the Duma, arguing that Vladimir Putin's rule had crowded out all forms of political opposition and debate in the country.
In July 2012, Putin appointed Glazyev as presidential aide for the coordination of the work of federal agencies in developing the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Glazyev has authored more than forty books and hundreds of pamphlets and research papers. One of his books has been published in English translation by the LaRouche movement's Executive Intelligence Review as Genocide: Russia and the New World Order (ISBN 0-943235-16-2). In 1995 he was awarded with the Gold Kondratieff Medal by the International N. D. Kondratieff Foundation and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RAEN).
In August 2013 Glazyev claimed that stating that all Ukrainians favor Ukraine to integrate in the European Union "is some kind of sick self-delusion".[3] Because, according to him, "sociological surveys by Ukrainian sociological services say something different: 35% of people prefer the European Union and 40% the Customs Union". He blamed "numerous political scientists and experts, who have fed on European and American grants for 20 years, and a whole generation of diplomats and bureaucrats that has appeared after the years of the ‘orange’ hysteria, who are carrying out an anti-Russian agenda" and "who are too far from the economy and real life, don’t really know their country’s history and are divorced from its spiritual traditions" for creating "an effect that Ukraine doesn’t want".[3] Ukrainian opinion polls that polled support in Ukraine for European Union membership did indicate that at the time of Mr Glazyev's statements Ukrainians preferred joining the European Union rather than the Customs Union.
  • Leonid Slutsky
Leonid Eduardovich Slutskii is a member of the State Duma of Russia, a member of the LDPR party. Currently he is the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the "Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian Integration and links with compatriots". Slutsky as been a First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma's Committee on International Affairs. He is dean of the international relations department at the Moscow State University of Economics, Information and Statistics. He has held senior banking positions and was an advisor to the mayor of Moscow. Slutsky also reported to a directorate of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. He holds an economics degree from the Moscow Economic-Statistical Institute
  • Andrei Klishas
Dr. Andrey A. Klishas served as Vice President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Interros Company since June 2008. Dr. Klishas is a visiting Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law Faculty and an Assistant Professor of Constitutional and Municipal Department (Legal Department) of Russian Peoples Friendship University. Dr. Klishas is an Assistant Professor of constitutional and municipal department of Moscow University for the Russian Ministry of Domestic Affairs. From June 1998 to October 2001, he was the Legal Matters Director and Deputy General Director of Interros Company. From October 2001, Dr. Klishas served as the General Director of Interros and from December 2001, he was the Chairman of the Management Board. From January 2004, Dr. Klishas was a Member of the Board of Directors of the firm. He held different posts at Russian Federal Property Fund from 1995 to 1997 and at UNEXIM Bank, where he was the Deputy Head of Legal Department from August 1997 to June 1998. On July 2007, Dr. Klishas was elected the President of Federation of Hunting Dog Breeding.
Currently, he is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Polyus Gold since June 26, 2008 and Open Investments company and a Member of the Board of Agros Group and Polyus CJSC. Dr. Klishas serves as a General Director at KM Invest Private Joint Stock Company. He has been Director of MMC Norilsk Nickel since December 2008.
  • Valentina Matviyenko
Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko is the highest-ranking female politician in Russia, the former governor of Saint Petersburg and the current Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. Born in the Ukrainian SSR, Matviyenko started her political career in the 1980s in Saint Petersburg (then called Leningrad) and was the First Secretary of the Krasnogvardeysky District CPSU of the city from 1984 to 1986. In the 1990s she served as Russian ambassador to Malta (1991–1995) and Greece (1997–1998). Between 1998–2003 Matviyenko was Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Welfare, and briefly the Presidential Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District in 2003. By that time she firmly allied herself with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an alliance which secured her a victory in the governor elections in Saint Petersburg, Putin's native city.
On 19 May 2007, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation announced that on 16 May it had detained several members of an undisclosed youth religious group allegedly preparing an assassination attempt on Valentina Matviyenko’s life using hand grenades and plastic explosive. On 23 May FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev announced that the prevented attempt had been scheduled for June.
Controversial businessman Vitaly Arkhangelsky accused Matviyenko in corporate raiding and corruption. According to him Matvieyenko is the real owner of the bank "Saint Petersburg" that staged a corporate raid on the property of his company, OMG that included Vyborg Port and Western Terminal of Saint Petersburg port using falsified documents with forged signature of Arkhangelsy. The lawyers of bank "Saint Petersburg" insist on exclusion materials of Matviyenko's involvement from the criminal case in London court.
  • Dmitry Rogozin
Dmitryi Olegovich Rogozin  is a Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in charge of defense industry. In January 2008, he became Russia's ambassador to NATO, until December 2011. He was a leader of the Rodina (Motherland) party until it merged with other similar Russian parties to form the Fair Russia party.He speaks 4 languages and holds a doctor's degree.
On 18 February 2011 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Dmitry Rogozin as a Special Representative on anti-missile defence and negotiations with NATO countries on this issue. On 23 December 2011 Dmitry Rogozin was appointed deputy premier of Russian Government in charge of defense and space industry. As responsible for the defense industry he leads the creation of the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry (Russian DARPA).
In 2008 he was appointed a Russian ambassador to NATO. As Russia's NATO envoy he was heavily opposed to Ukraine and Georgia becoming members of NATO. After the two countries were denied membership of the NATO Membership Action Plan he claimed that: "They will not invite these bankrupt scandalous regimes to join NATO...more so as important partnerships with Russia are at stake.". For such words he was criticized by some Ukrainian and Georgian officials. Former Ukraine's envoy to NATO Ihor Sahach said: "In my opinion, he is merely used as one of cogs in the informational war waged against Ukraine. Sooner or later, I think, it should be stopped". The envoy also expressed a surprise with Rogozin's slang words. "It was for the first time that I heard such a higher official as envoy using this, I don't even know how to describe it, whether it was a slang or language of criminal circles… I understand Russian, but, I'm sorry, I don't know what his words meant".The Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko stated that he did not regard the statement as serious.
  • Yelena Mizulina
Yelena Mizulina is a Russian politician serving as a member of the Russian Parliament between 1995 and 2003 and again since 2007. Since 2012, she has been the center of attention in regard to a set of controversial laws concerning the rights of the LGBT community in Russia and the adoption of Russian orphan children by foreigners. She is currently Chairman of the Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs. She has changed her political affiliation several times, having served public office on behalf of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the liberal Yabloko and Union of Right Forces parties and is currently representing the region of Omsk in the Duma as a representative of the social democratic A Just Russia party.

Morning items......

Crimea Names Ruble Currency; Applies To Join Russia, Expects To Become Region Of Russian Federation By Thursday

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First, for those who have missed this weekend's developing story surrounding events in Crimea, here is the 30 second summary, courtesy of Bloomberg:
  • U.S., EU warn Russia not to annex Crimea after 95.5% of voters backed leaving Ukraine to join Russia in referendum.
  • Ukrainian govt, EU, U.S. consider vote illegal
  • Russia said vote  “fully met international norms”
  • Russia deployed about 60,000 troops along Ukrainian border, Ukrainian government said yday; Ukraine closed border crossings and will mobilize as many as 15,000 volunteers in next 15 days
  • Obama spoke with Putin, said referendum would never be recognized by intl community; U.S. prepared to impose “additional costs” on Russia for its actions
  • Putin told Obama Kiev regime unable to curb radical, ultra- nationalists groups that are destabilizing situation, terrorizing peaceful residents
  • EU ministers meet today to discuss sanctions that target Russian individuals rather than businesses; EU leaders to meet March 20-21 in Brussels to discuss further measures
  • “We are all reluctant to impose sanctions because Russia will probably respond and we’ll all suffer as a result,” Poland Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on CNN. “But Russia is leaving us with no choice.”
  • Russian lawmakers to consider bill on March 21 that would allow Russia to incorporate parts of countries where residents want to secede, says a Kremlin adviser
  • Russia vetoed UN Security Council resolution declaring referendum illegal; China abstained from voting
  • Crimeans celebrate vote
And here is the latest : just hours ago, Crimea's parliament officially applied to become part of Russia. The parliament "made a proposal to the Russian Federation to admit the Republic of Crimea as a new subject with the status of a republic," according to a statement on its website. A Crimean parliamentary delegation was expected to arrive in Moscow on Monday to discuss the procedures required for the Black Sea peninsula to become part of the Russian Federation.
"If everything’s signed we’ll become a fully fledged region of the Russian Federation Wednesday or Thursday,”First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Termigaliyev says in interview at govt headquarters in Simferopol. Termigaliyev added that Crimea will promptly get $1b aid from Russia in near-term, and that Hryvnia reserves enough for 10 days, then Crimea will switch to ruble. April pensions “most likely” to be paid in rubles. Crimea can be self-sufficient in natural gas after today’s nationalization of Chernomoreneftegaz. Crimea risks 150,000 hectares being left without water if Ukraine shuts off supply, though that’s “not critical,”  says Termigaliyev.
In other news, the west continues dithering and considering just how best to telegraph to the world that it is completely helpless in stopping the annexation of Crimea, which is now a fact, and that it is praying that Putin does nothing to annex any of the other Pro-Russian cities in east Ukraine in the coming days, as once again, it has absolutely no stopping power with Putin continuing to hold all the chips.
Want to know more? then you will have to wait until tomorrow, when Putin will address a joint session of parliament on Crimea on Tuesday, the Kremlin's representative to the lower house said.
The Kremlin press service did not immediately confirm Putin would address the session of the State Duma lower house and the Federation Council upper chamber.
But Garry Minkh, the Kremlin's representative in the State Duma, told reporters the president would deliver a speech to the joint session following Sunday's referendum in which Ukraine's Crimea region voted to join Russia.

Congress May Impose Sanctions On Russia... When It Comes Back From Vacation On March 24

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If one listens to the endless rhetoric of hollow threats and escalating war of words between Russia and DC, one thing should be clear by now: with the passage of the Crimean referendum, accepted (not to mention planned) as perfectly normal by Moscow and blasted as illegal by the West (since it is the former whose troops are in the Crimea, not the latter) then Putin has certainly crossed the Rubicon this time especially since as it was reported earlier, Crimea will formally apply to join Russia tomorrow. Surely, if nothing else, than at least the, drumroll, sanctions must be coming - after all if there is no forceful response now when Putin has called the Western bluff, the West may as well not bother. Well they very well may be... in about a week. The reason: Congress is now in vacation until March 24, so there will be at least one week before any response to the formal Russian annexation can be debated, let alone enacted into law.
 But once Congress is back from recess it certainly will unleash very harsh and truly "costly" sanction fury and what not. For real this time.
From the WSJ:
The U.S. and European Union must move quickly to exert economic pressure on Russian President Vladmir Putin for his attempt to seize a part of Ukraine, senators who recently returned from the embattled nation said Sunday.

The Senate’s first order of business when lawmakers return to Washington on March 24 will be legislation to impose sanctions against Russia and provide aid to Ukraine, said Sen. John Hoeven (R., N.D.), who was part of a bipartisan group of eight senators to visit Ukraine.  “I believe that Congress will pass that bill,” he said.
The strategy in a nutshell: "We need to move forward and put these things in place,” then wait to see how Russia reacts, Mr. Hoeven said in an interview Sunday. “They can be effective against the Russian ruling class. If we do that in a concerted way with our allies, we can make this painful to Russia.”"
The same ruling class that only cares if commodities go up, and is even happier if the oligarchs that are the traditional foil to the Kremlin face margin class, that one? Because for a second there we though it was Russia that had the upper hand when it steamrolled through every single instance of verbal diarrhea and game of checkers the west could throw at Russia's chess grandmasters.
Meanwhile, the ongoing appeasement - in all but name - continues:
If Russia deescalates the situation, the actions proposed by the U.S. and its allies could be adjusted accordingly, Mr. Hoeven said.
The justification?
Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) said Mr. Putin may have miscalculated how the U.S. and Europe will respond to his actions. “I think he marched into Crimea because he didn’t believe that the United States and Europe would actually take a chunk of flesh out of his economy,” Mr. Murphy said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Or, perhaps, Mr. Putin calculated perfectlyto the third decimal place, that should the military conflict in Ukraine escalate to all out war, while it will crush the Micex which already is in a bear market (and yet people in Russia continue to survive even if the wealth effect has been cut by over 20%), the next stock market to take it in the face will be none other than the S&P500 - the same manipulated, artificial indicator of US economic "stability" sustained by the Fed's balance sheet at a time when every other hard data-based metric is screaming recession. Maybe the impact on the US' economy should Russia push on will be far more tangible than anything that could happen to Russia, the bulk of whose trade is with China anyway, and whose commodity exports keep Europe's precarious economy from tumbling into a re-depressionary abyss. And let's not mention what happens to Russia's current account (and Gazprom's bottom line) if the price of crude or nat gas explodes as a result of a Ukraine war.
What about simply freezing Russian assets in the west? "Mr. Hoeven and other lawmakers said the U.S. and Europe would be watching Mr. Putin’s next move closely following Sunday’s referendum, designed to set the stage for Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region.... The proposed sanctions include diplomatic and economic penalties, such as travel restrictions targeting Russian and Ukrainian officials viewed as overseeing or complicit in the Kremlin’s efforts to annex Crimea."
Sure that would work... if Russian oligarchs had not already pulled material amounts of their western-bank parked holdings out as was reported on Friday, just as they did before the Cypriot deposit confiscation, whose one year anniversary incidentally was today. Quite an amusing way for Russia to celebrate said "blueprint" anniversary one would say.
Finally, in lieu of actually doing something, the western experts are proposing sliding scales and staggered sanctions:
Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said the level of sanctions will depend on Russia. “The bigger question is, where does Russia go and does Putin do?” said Mr. Pifer, now with the Brookings Institution think tank.
Sanctions would be imposed on a sliding scale of severity depending on Russia’s response, he said. Already, the threat has led economic forecasters at Goldman Sachs to downgrade their expectations for Russia’s economic growth this year to 1% from 3%.

Mr. Pifer sees three possible roads ahead: One is to recognize Crimea as an independent state, which is unlikely. The second is for Russia to formally make the Crimea region part of Russia. The third step is to take no action, leaving Crimea “in limbo” and using it as a negotiation tool to turn Ukraine away from joining the E.U. with the promise that Crimea’s status can be adjusted in a way that’s favorable to Ukraine.

Eugene Rumer, director of Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said even sanctions come with complications.
Like being unable to buy the S&P at the all time highs? Or maybe the "costs" Obama has been speaking about for so long had precisely the "BTFATH mentality" in mind?