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Economic nationalist view on civil war in Ukraine

News Color revolutions Recommended Links Debt slavery Ukraine debt enslavement Nulandgate Predator state
Disaster capitalism The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Suppression of Russian language and culture in Ukraine Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism as a stage of development of Neoliberalism New American Militarism
EuroMaidan101 Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Diplomacy by deception Ukraine's oligarchs Fifth column Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions
Events of November 30 and aftermath SBU raid on Kiev Batkivshchina office Revolt of diplomats EU-brokered agreement on ending crisis To whom EuroMaydan Sharp-shooters belong?   Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17 ?
Forming Provisional government Accession of Crimea to Russia Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014 Mariupol, May 9 events Presidential Elections of May 25. 2014   Poroshenko presidency
Russian Ukrainian Gas wars Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Russian sanctions Demonization of Putin Ukrainian orange revolution   Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few
Delegitimization of Ruling Party Compradors Opposition as a way to get rid of feeling of inferiority Human right activists or globalism fifth column Exploiting "Revolutionary Romantics" as polit-technology   Disaster capitalism
Neoliberal Propaganda The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Fighting Russophobia Foreign Agents Registration Act Russian Fifth column Humor   Etc
 

 


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. … Is there no other way the world may live?

Dwight D. Eisenhower - Wikiquote

"War is simply the continuation of political intercourse with the addition of other means. We deliberately use the phrase 'with the addition of other means' because we also want to make it clear that war in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different. In essentials that intercourse continues, irrespective of the means it employs. The main lines along which military events progress, and to which they are restricted, are political lines that continue throughout the war into the subsequent peace."[17]

Carl von Clausewitz - Wikipedia


Introduction

As "economic nationalist" I oppose both "ethnic nationalism" and neoliberalism. And in my view EuroMaydan victory in 2014 in some way is similar to victory of Trump in 2016: it confirmed that the far-right can serve as a fifth column, an emergency reserve for decaying neoliberalism, betraying the majority of population and plunging them in poverty despite their lofty political slogans.

In Ukraine this "revenge of neoliberalism"  turned into really tragic situation, with pensioners on the edge of starvation (with many beyond the edge; I really do not understand how they are able to survive on 1000 grivna a month (around $36 at exchange rate of 28 per dollar ) pension in cities). While I understand the tragic nature of the current situation I have no recipes, or proposal for the improvement. The key weakness of my position is that  I do not understand what is emerging as the alternative to neoliberalism, if anything at all. This is distinct weakness of this introductory article. 

In a way Ukraine is a victim to tectonic shifts in geopolitical map, shift caused by forces that no small country can resist and which revised the results on WWII and Yalta conference. Although mistakes and greed of the Ukraine neoliberal elite played an important and continuing role. Paradoxically Ukraine is still unable to produce a real Nationalist leader, who would try to improve the life of ordinary Ukrainians along the economic demands of NSDAP program of 1920.  Which included such economic demands as:

The 25-point Program of the NSDAP
… … …
7.  We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
9. All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:
11.
Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
12. In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13. We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
14. We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
… … …
21.The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

Poroshenko is clearly a neoliberal oligarch, as was Yanukovich before him. Yushchenko was a weakling without any substantial political talent, but also a neoliberal. Kuchma was the creator of oligarchic model that in now dominant ion Ukraine. Timoshenko who probably will replace hated by the most population Poroshenko is also a neoliberal.

It is necessary to defend Ukrainian economic interests both against West and East;
nobody care about Ukrainian people

Even without this latest controversy over religion, it is clear that Ukrainians make the choice (or more correctly the USA made it for them). Many Ukrainians still believe that the West is in love with them.  Let me clear something for them: The west (its elites) are not in the business of love. They are in the business of exploiting loser 80% of population. Which means that they don't love even their own people, let alone the Ukrainians. Probably 10% of people (for example working in retail and getting less then $10 per hour, or $1200 a month, if they have 40 hours working week -- many do not -- 36 or less is common) in the USA live in such poverty that they can't find extra expense of $500 in case of emergency.  They essentially can't afford to live along and need to rent an apartment with somebody else.  And that's the richest country of the West. So ignoring economics in favor of politic is what I call degeneracy.

Both in Ukraine and the USA we see conversion from "classic neoliberalism" to "national neoliberalism" (In Ukraine along with converting the country into debt-slave of the West).  Ukraine is a unique county which signifies the possibility of alliance of neoliberals and far right nationalists in domestic policies, and further neoliberalization of Ukrainian economics,  the alliance which would be anathema for nationalists in 1920th-1930th. 

Similar to the opposition to Trump in the USA, EuroMaydan faced a strong resistance, as well as external interference, and in case of Ukraine eventually led to a civil war. Like Trump, Ukrainian nationalists, who came to power after EuroMaydan are betraying economic interests of their key constituency due to which they came to power:

Astute observers saw this betrayal coming. The argument that Trump would somehow overturn America’s neoliberal economic order myopically focused on Trump’s trade policy. In doing so, it both misunderstood what Trump represented and the ideological framework of neoliberalism. Trump’s fever pitch agonizing over the United States’ trade deficit with China and Mexico are both the wallowing of an economic idiot and the maneuvering of a political savant. The issue was always economically inane. A trade deficit in-and-of-itself reveals very little about the overall health of an economy.

Whether a nation should strive for or against a trade deficit is more dependent on that nation’s strategic position within the global economy, and not necessarily an indicator of the health of domestic markets. But, trade proved to be a salient issue for symbolic purposes.

Stagnation and automation have compelled American middle and lower classes to accept an economic torpor. Making trade deficits a central campaign tenant provided these people with an outlet for their class anxieties without having to question the nature of class itself. Lethargic economic growth was blamed on Mexicans and the Chinese. The insinuation was for average Americans to take back what was rightfully theirs by engaging in a new round of economic bargaining with these two nations, if not an open trade war. 

In case of EuroMaydan the economic alliance with EU was sold as a panacea for all economic devastation of people on Ukraine after economic rape by West in 1991-1994 (common for all xUSSR countries; trillions of dollars floated to the West then assents built during the USSR period were bought for penny on a dollar)  and after President Leonid Kuchma (in power from 1994 to 2005) installed oligarchic neoliberal regime with several major regional clans of oligarchs (Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kiev) having all the political power in the country. And which remained intact (sliding to more corruption) under Yushchenko despite the fact that the first Maydan was fought also under "anti-corruption" slogans. 

And Yanukovich and Russians was blamed for all ills of his two predecessors. Which is similar to the way Trump blamed Mexicans and Chinese for economic devastation of the US middle class under neoliberalism. But instead of trade war with China like is happening in the USA under Trump, a Donbass civil emerged as the major side effect of transitioning to "national neoliberalism" ("externality" in neoliberal economics speak ). Steep deterioration of economic performance and hyperinflation followed. The latter resulted in approximately 300% depreciation of the currency in three year (2014-2017),  or 100% a year. Which put pensioners at the edge of beyond the starvation.

In covering such  events as civil wars and uprisings it is difficult to agree on common narrative. We will cover the event from the view that the supreme duty of the national state is not it s own existence at all costs ("classic nationalism"), but the well-being of its people and building the prosperous economy ("economic nationalism"). Of course those goals are interconnected, but one should not be scarified to another. And unleashing of a civil war under pressure from foreign country which pursue its own economic and geopolitical interests a sure path to misery. As General Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “there is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.” Positioning  Ukraine as the bitter enemy of Russia does not benefit Ukrainians, but does benefit both the USA and EU.  More flexible approach might be a better deal, but currently is impossible. Ukraine might benefit from more tolerance and commitment to compromise.  Even selling some territories might be a better deal for straggling population of Ukraine then the prolonged warfare for the preservation of borders of the Ukrainian state established under Bolsheviks.  Buying the US weaponry is not the best use of Ukrainian money, at least not for the majority of the Ukrainian  population.  And it does not change the balance of forces on Ukrainian border, although defeated armies learn  really fast and the Ukrainian army of 2018 is qualitatively different and better than the army that suffered defeat from separatists before that. Just imagine that Canada leave NATO, doubles or triples its military budget and tried to confront imperial ambitions of the USA.  The same actually is true for Russian people, which now suffer under the burden of Putin's military budget, which makes total rearmament of Russia the top national priority.  And even the US people under Trump with his enormous military budget. .

This position has its weaknesses, as interests of people and the national elite under neoliberalism typically diverge and generally can't be reconciled.  And it is common people not the elite who die and receive grave injuries in those wars. The neoliberal elite often acts as occupying force of the country (comprador elite) acting in the interests of a foreign state... 

Economic nationalism should be understood as a set of practices to create, bolster and protect national economies in the context of globalized markets by returning in some areas to protectionism and regulation of big business, especially multinationals, while easing regulation of small and medium businesses and strengthening social security net.  In case of Ukraine EuroMaydan events forced Russian big business to leave Ukraine, but the tragedy is that the vacuum was filled with no less predatory "new partners".  The rise and institutionalization of economic nationalism was a product of the crisis of neoliberalism starting from 2008, which revitalized ethno-nationalist movements in many European countries including Baltic republics, Hungary, Poland, and Ukraine. As Bannon have said Steve Bannon on white nationalism, Donald Trump agenda - CBS News

“I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,” Bannon told the news outlet earlier this week. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over.”

Some economists like Richard Wolf view Trump as the last, desperate attempt to save "classic neoliberalism" (The Coming Collapse of the American Economic System with Richard Wolff - YouTube). In Ukraine, EuroMaydan might be viewed as the desperate attempt to save oligarchic version of neoliberalism established by Kuchma.

I see Ukraine as a victim of policies of neoliberal globalization and the efforts to create global, led by the USA neoliberal empire (which by extension requires weakening and possibly neutering Russia and China). Simplifying, we can say that one of the most effective "disaster capitalism" scheme for establishing neocolonial control over the country is the transition of the country to debt slavery is unleashing a civil war. In this regard, a simple formula:

 "Color revolution" + "Civil war" ->  "Debt slavery".

works perfectly well. Around 11K people have been killed in the Ukraine between April 2014 and May 2017.  Around 1.6 million people have been internally displaced (mostly to central region of Ukraine and southern regions of Russia). European future dream proclaimed by EuroMaydan turned into Middle Eastern civil war nightmare with crimes committed against the civilian population.

It is interesting to note that the carrot of "European future" proved to work extremely well in post-Communist countries, especially for students and regions that depend on labor migrants for survival (Western Ukraine). Promising Ukrainian population "European future" was a very effective, albeit almost obvious move.

And outside well qualified professionals and entrepreneurs, or the top 10% of the population Ukrainian population is not needed (or wanted) in Europe. For lower 80% this "European future" is a future of low paid service personnel and prostitutes in Western cities. The status of a low paid gastarbeiters is the grim reality of the employment situation in most EU countries. Still this carrot proved to be an extremely effective way to fool the population into actions which destroyed their achieved standard of living, as low as it was in comparison with major countries of Western Europe such as France and Germany. 

People generally hate and do not trust a local neoliberal government (and Yanukovich government was clearly a neoliberal government), so it, by definition, any such government is a low hanging fruit for a color revolution which typically installs even more rabid neoliberal and more cruel government.  such a Catch 22 on geopolitical scheme (with neoliberal regime instead of US army fighting in Europe ;-).  With a rather small financial infusion people from Western Ukraine (and not only Western Ukraine) were easily recruited to participate in mass protest actions with the goal to depose the government. This was proven during EuroMaydan in Ukraine and actually is true for all xUSSR countries.  For example, in Russia there were significant demonstrations of this type in 2011-2012.

First of all people are sick and tied of sliding and very low standard of living. As such they are highly susceptible to any agitation that promise "better future for them and their children".  Delegitimization of the ruling neoliberal elite (aka "Yanukovich gang") via controlled by "color revolutionaries" MSM  typically is presented via a more narrow term -- corruption --  created revolutionary situation that just waited to be exploited.  Actually corruption became the code work for staging a color revolution in many countries.  The fact the none of them managed to eliminate corruption which is endemic for any neoliberal regime ("Greed is good") including the USA ( for example "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry ) does not matter. What matter is people  perception of the issue as unfair and the current government as corrupt.  The idea the the next government can be even more corrupt does not enter the mental picture.

Secondly because Western Europe that they knew only from TV or, at best, saw just its "tourist facade".  Few people know the reality of living in Western Europe. Which definitely has a higher standard of living even if it was substantially weakened by neoliberalism, and also weakened (but still strong in comparison with the USA) social security mechanisms. But it is very far from "worker paradise."  The real situation can be understood only after working in the particular country for three or more years and I doubt that those people came to EuroMaydan.

But it was relatively easy to use far right nationalists as a ram to depose Yanukovich (a "no brainer" as some observers put it). This is done by rallying against the government a large part of the disaffected population. In case of EuroMaydan, students and small entrepreneurs took active part, because they were among social groups oligarchic regime of Yanukovich really oppressed; add to that media of a couple of oppressed by and thus hostile to Yanukovich oligarchs, such  as Ihor Kolomoyskyi . It generally talked about a decade for people to forget how they were deceived in the past. So the memory about the promises of the  "bright future" in early 1990th and the grim reality that followed already evaporated. Another problem is that young people who were born after the first Ukrainian Great Depression that followed obtaining independence are not interested in a real history of this period.  This consideration suggests that in any xUSSR country you can stage a color revolution each 20 years or so.

It is also very easy for MSM to channel objective process of impoverishment of population under neoliberalism into the charge of corruption of the government. Which was definitely corrupt, especially Yanukovich himself,  but no more corrupt the previous (Kuchma, late Yushchenko) or subsequent Ukrainian governments (Provisional Government, Poroshenko).   In this sense the civil war in Donbass and its wide-range consequences is one of  the most important "externalities" of EuroMaydan (along with the loss of Crimea), the price of change of the government via violent uprising instead of regular election mechanisms.  

Both EuroMaydan and the civil war in Ukraine are related to (or even stem from) efforts of the USA to encircle Russia as a new geopolitical rival on one hand, as well as  the desire of the EU to get a resource base at the East and expand its market into yet another  country cutting Russia (plus Russophobia of elites of several countries including Poland and Sweden).  On the EU part, the "Economic Anschluss" of Ukraine can be viewed as a more gentle variant of "Drang nach Osten" -- a drive to enlarge its (mostly German) economic space by absorbing all Eastern European countries under the EU economic space umbrella.  

Contrary to statements about pro-Ukrainian bias of the USA policies in the region, the US efforts were not pro, but clearly anti-Ukrainian. Ukraine was viewed by the USA just as an important pawn in geopolitical chess game against Russia.  And this game is mainly directed by the goals of encircling, weakening and, if possible, dismembering of Russia.  In this respect Ukrainian national interests, especially economic interests,  were never a consideration.  At the core of events was Obama administration pushback against Russian opposition to American dominance and the EU and NATO expansion into Eastern Europe.

In this sense EuroMaydan was a logical continuation of a failed attempt to stage color revolution in Russia in 2011-2012; continuation of the same policy. This time the USA manage to inflict huge economic and political losses to Russia as EuroMaydan not only broke economic cooperation of Russia and Ukraine, but was followed by damaging Russian economic sanctions, as well as (naturally occurring, or artificially created) slump in oil prices which last  three and a half years (mid 2014 - 2018).  It also created an enemy from previously friendly or at least neutral state.  And another hostile to Russia state on its borders is the last thing that Russia needs.

This EU Anschluss  agreement (in the writing of which, at least formally,  participated functionaries from Yanukovich government, so, in some ways, it was a joint effort) also included such disastrous measures as adoption of EU standards in areas were Ukraine can't compete with the EU companies and thus de-facto replacement of local production with imported.  The process which in 2018 is very visible of the shelves of supermarkets. Such a pro-Russian president ;-)  “We want to move closer to the EU in our day-to-day work,” he used to say.  He wanted to sign it, but just wanted to bargain a little bit more. And he managed to get 3 billion loan from Russia on a really good terms. But by not signing the agreement in November 2013 he sealed his political fate (EuroMaidan - Wikipedia) and endanger his life, as neither EU, nor the USA take "no" for an answer. And they did unleashed a color revolution against him:

The demonstrations began on the night of 21 November 2013, when protests erupted in the capital, Kiev, after the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement with the European Union, to seek closer economic relations with Russia

This attempt to demonstrate some degree of independence was a fatal political mistake because Ukraine was already under firm control of pro-EU/pro-US forces.  Previous Yushchenko government was essentially a vassal of the West and his appointees were deeply entrenched in all critical government structures including  security services; media was also controlled by neoliberal forces and hostile to Russia; the US NGO were extremely influential in Ukraine and influenced  the media landscape (Gromadske TV, etc) with NGO officers enjoying diplomatic immunity due to a special agreement, signed, I think, by Kuchma government. Which is a clear sign of sliding of the country to colonial status ( imagine this for a sovereign country, say for the Great Britain).

While from  imperial standpoint such policy is logical as Russia is one of the main threat to the US-led global neoliberal empire and the second largest nuclear power,  is sows "dragon's teeth". As such it is dangerous to the USA too. But after the USA became the only world superpower, Washington never played favorable for them situation strategically and patiently. They became a real global bully. That's why we have this "F*ck EU" coupe d'état and the attempt to kill Yanukovich in February 2014. While removing Yanukovich was "slam dunk" thing, as he was widely hated by the Ukrainian population (which is actually typical for any neoliberal president in xUSSR area with no exceptions) subsequent side effects of his removal did not played for the USA so well. They really antagonized Russia, which from this point started to view the USA as the enemy, not as a dominant economic power and the competitor in xUSSR space. This led to informal military and economic alliance to China which was the danger the Kissinger warned against.

Another nasty externality of this coup d'état  is that it eventually led to an uprising in some parts of the Eastern Ukraine against Western Ukrainian attempt to colonize it, and eliminate Russian language and Russian culture, which are native to the region (which might be one of the USA geopolitical goals, as it further weakens  Russia and make it n easy target for sanctions; which actually started before with Magnitsky Act, which was adopted in 2012 and was the fiorst robin int his area). BTW adopted on completely false premises as recent Nekrasov's documentary reveals (with a strong possibility of Browder being connected to MI6)

So it really created an artificial ethnic conflict in the country which basically was free of it.  My impression is that before EuroMaydan most Russian-speaking Ukrainians did not too closely associate themselves with Russia, viewing Moscow with some degree of suspicion. Especially strong in "intelligencia" circles (which from Soviet time resents the role of "smaller brother" and some level of discrimination). In other words, they viewed Russia much like Canadians view the USA ("two countries separated by common language"). But now, at least in Donbass region, and probably in several other Eastern regions, the attitudes drastically changed.  As well as the attitude toward Western Ukrainian nationalists (which were never viewed too favorably in Eastern regions of Ukraine to begin with.) In this sense Odessa fire was a precursor to Donbass civil war.

For the country where the majority of population speaks the same language as people in Russia and have many family level and cultural ties breaking such ties in the name of establishing a new national identity is a very tricky political move. BTW most Canadians do not like the USA for its Imperial Ambitions and (by-and-large successful) attempt to convert Canada into de-factor colony of the USA ("two countries separated by common language")

But imagine that Quebec nationalists came to power in Canada and outlawed the English language.  And introduction of Ukrainian language repeats that story of reintroduction of national language in Baltic countries (or enforcement of Hebrew in Israel) and in view of dominance of English language does not have any real significance culturally (as the cultural life is now completely dominated by Western players and filmmakers in any case) and might  have slightly detrimental effect on education and science.

I would be first to admit that it was a good time to replace Russian textbooks at universities with English language textbooks: previously Ukrainian universities (with the exception of Lvov and couple of other cities) typically used Russian textbooks for natural sciences, which now is politically incorrect. But they can't switch to English textbooks (potentially better for natural sciences and very cheap if bought used or reprints from India).

The move which would instantly raise the level on knowledge of English language in the country, especially among educated middle class. As such would diminish Russian cultural influence and, as such, strengthen the level of independence of the country from Russia.  Although increase in intensity and quality of study of English language is definitely one of the few positive effects of EuroMaydan.

Yanukovich was a rather weak and deeply corrupt President, which was not favorably viewed in Russia (which refused to create and support the government  in exile after he fled the country). Paradoxically he has no real friends ( other then Joe Biden, who backstabbed him  ;-). Politically at the  beginning of 2015 he was completely isolated due to his sling into authoritarianism. Now it became known that several members of his government (for example Lyovochkin) were covertly working for "EuroMaydan".

One can also wander about  Russia position in this area. Russia professes limited version of economic nationalism, while remaining by-and-large a neoliberal country (which create a big weakness in Putin position, as you can't be  half-pregnant; if you profess neoliberalism  inside the country, you should profess neoliberal globalization and by extension accept the role of Washington as the center of global neoliberal empire).  In other words, Russia invented Trumpism before Trump ;-).

So Russian neocolonialism is the fact of life (as long as Russia remains neoliberal country) and Russia does want to keep the xUSSR states as its sphere of influence,  but on reality while it has definitely unequal terms  might be more benign toward Ukraine than EU neo-colonial expansion into Ukrainian space.  Those predators can really devour the country. And the first effect, is conversion of the country into the debt slave. The second, if we view Baltic states as a example, is deindustrialization.

I suspect that there is no good guys in this drama.

EuroMaydan disrupted and accelerated the natural process of distancing from former metropolia

After  getting an independence (and even before that during last years of the USSR) there was a process of distancing of Ukrainian population from Russia and Russian people. This process naturally was accelerated after independence and typical attributes of a European nation (separate language, culture, often  separate church) became "a must" to obtain for the new Ukrainian elite.

The key problem with forceful "Ukrainization" is that Ukrainian culture currently can't complete with Russian culture as the latter is much richer than any of its nab ours (and that includes Baltic republic, Poland, Ukraine, Finland, etc). Actually rich culture is one of the  attributes of metropolia (for example China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain).

At the same time there are multiple countries which are independent  and still share the same language (Canada is one close example as its naibour is the USA with distinct imperial ambitions).  As Bernard Show quipped about the USA and GB are "two nations divided by a common language"

Another important  factor is the quality of the elite. Without knowledge of English it is difficult to have high quality elite those days. The level of deterioration  of Soviet elite (which usually spoke only Russian; few members from the  Soviet elite studied in Western universities) was one of the decisive factors in the collapse of the USSR. When leaders became a joke, the legitimacy of the Soviet Union was severely undermined and nationalist sentiments encouraged.  Also deep provinciality of Soviet politician -- clearly visible in Gorbachov and Yeltsin to name a few was also a native factor which allowed "economic rape of Russia" in 1991-2000.  The same was even more true for Ukraine and other former soviet republics.  Some years in Ukraine after 1991 (I think 1992-1996 until introduction of grivna) was absolutely desperate with rampant inflation (up to 10% a month) and the standard of living of population in single digits from previously level achieved during the USSR years.  While of course a large part of this were "tectonic shifts" -- global economic processes (ascendance of neoliberalism; in this respect the USSR chose to dissolve in the worse time possible). neoliberalism smash weaker countries converting them into debt slaves. But the provincialism (and greed which is related) of Russian and Ukrainian elite also played a role.

BTW there is an influential strata of Russian intelligentsia (so called "Zapandniki") who consider Russian culture inferior to some European cultures such  and French and German.  And there was a long  period in Russian history when the aristocracy spoke French and Russian was relegated to "common people". During the Peritotic War of 1812 (Napoleon invasion of Russia) the officer corps of two armies spoke the same language.  russia was generally very lenient  to usage of foreign languages with German being "trade language" for centuries.

I think that now only English now can "painlessly" replace Russian in Ukraine and that "forced "Ukrainization" will work against Western Ukrainian nationalists, although Donbass war proved to be a very influential factor which tremendously helped to overcome the resistance of the population (as were switching  of schools to Ukrainian  language).  My impression is that the language situation in Kiev changes noticeably in just four years (2014-2018). While part of it is connected with the influx of Western Ukrainian (which have a higher birth rate than other regions of Ukraine), much of it I would attribute to patriotic sentiment among the population which is connected with sentiments created by Donbass war.

But the danger here is "provinciality" and it should be underestimated.  BTW Ukrainian is not a native language for a considerable portion of Ukrainian elite (especially in Eastern and Southern regions) and they support it only from the "sovereignty" standpoint, if at all. 

Created by Kuchma oligarchic neoliberalism survived EuroMaydan

Like with any uprising the goals were noble. But they the net results are far from the initial aspirations.  If we view EuroMaydan as an upraising against  Kuchma's oligarchic neoliberalism, it proved to be a dismal failure.  It became more cruel and more entrenched.

Despite all this rhetoric about "corruption", oligarchic neoliberalism survived and the cost of uprising and dislocation the followed it were offloaded on the bottom 80% of population.  In you compare NSDAP program on 1928 and the program of far right forces in Ukraine it is clear that the latter are devoid of any positive economic program of redistribution of wealth down

Here is a sample from which it is clear that NSDAP program (never fully implemented) includes several radical positions (which are anathema to neoliberals) such as "Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery." (p11) as well as "We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts)":

... ... ...

7.We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens

9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.

10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to productively work mentally or physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:

11.Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.

12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13.We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).

14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.

15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.

18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

21.The state is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

22.We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

23.We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press.

24.We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race...

But nationalists the come to power as the result of EuroMaydan just wanted to kick the neoliberal can down the road with the only difference that Russian oligarchs should be kicked out, economic ties with Russia severed,  and the EU and US oligarchs brought in.  The fact that their leaders are personally less corrupt does not matter.  They just served as a Trojan horse to let in EU and the USA oligarchs and multinationals. And that was the net result of  EuroMaydan. 

What really happened in Ukraine due to EuroMaydan was the transition from classic neoliberal social system created by Kuchma which was typical for post-Soviet space and pioneered by Yeltsin clan in Russia  (oligarchic capitalism)  to the military plutocracy.  This is the same process that is under way in the USA since 9/11 (when the country was converted from democratic oligarchic capitalism into national security state)  and is typical for any neoliberal country as the net effect of neoliberalism is increase of the debt (debt fuelled growth model). With high level of debt democratic mechanisms  of control of population stop working. So after the level of debt ( and poverty/unemployment) reached certain threshold the switch to national security state model ("militarized plutocracy") is the only way for the neoliberal elite to preserve its dominant position in the society.

I would like to stress that this is the same process of evolution of neoliberalism that started in the USA after 9/11. The elections are now more tightly manipulated by media owners. Existence of a convenient scapegoat make opposition by-and-large fruitless task ("war" mentality: who are not with us, is against us ).  So replacement of the leaders are now allowed only within the narrow circle of the ruling neoliberal elite which deposed both Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk oligarchic clans which ruled under Yanukovich umbrella  (or at least part of them). In this sense Poroshenko election was exactly what would happen in  the USA in similar circumstances. 

Strangely, the showdown between Timoshenko and Yanukovich was probably the first and the last Ukrainian election, where the neoliberal establishment didn't get their (wo)man. Yanukovich was also neoliberal and as such a second choice of the elite, but not the most desirable candidate.  Timoshenko seemed scared a few powerful people - she is too ruthless and had too many of her own "hungry people"  who wanted to enrich themselves as fast as possible at the expense of existing oligarchs (the sin which Yanukovich clan actually shared with her and that was a key part of his undoing).

Some key establishment players switched sides, allowing Yanukovich to win. The USA did not object as Yanukovich was no less controllable then Timoshenko and in some areas was even preferable (with Joe Biden as a very capable mentor ;-).

But this attitude apparently hanged when he started to demonstrate some level of independence and tried to balance between EU/USA and Russia. Disobedience to Washington Obcom  for which he paid the price.  It was no brainer to organize several oligarchs who were "suppressed" by Yanukovich oligarchic mafia into "resistance movement" and use Ukrainian nationalists (which Yanukovich supported) as the brute force to initiate the "regime change"  As Victoria Nuland famously said "F*ck EU which while it has a different meaning, can also be interpreted as "F*ck EU [aspirations of Ukrainians]" -- the net result of EuroMaydan European aspirations.  The winner was the USA, not EU or Ukrainian people. That was probably the most important geopolitical victory of Obama administration.

What were the triggers of this civil war

Interestingly, it was farther of liberalism John Locke, who  provided a philosophical justification for overthrowing the government when it acts against the interests of its citizens. What Locke did not understand is that the next government can be worse. Much worse, if the "revolution" was supported by powerful players who pursue their own geopolitical goals at the expense of the citizens of a particular country.  In many such cases creation of internal civil conflict is a hidden or at least desirable goal as it greatly simplifies the conversion of the country into the debt slave (this tactics is called "disaster capitalism"). 

It is difficult to talk about a single factor that created Donbass conflict, which later turned into civil war. There were multiple factors that created preconditions to civil war in Ukraine:

  1. Direct pressure from the USA which tried to exploit the  possibility of direct or indirect armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia for their geopolitical interests. So the pressure on Provisional Government to use military force in Donbass probably was immense.  From this point of view Ukraine Civil war can be viewed as textbook case of  "disaster capitalism" in action.  Neoliberals in general, and neoliberal countries in particular (read G7), are ready to use shocks and violence to implement their policies of creating neocolonial states (aka Washington consensus). The most powerful states practice neoliberalization and debt enslavement of the weaker countries.
     
  2. A side effect of the neoliberalization of the country after Kuchma and "fast track" to EU Anschluss adopted by Yanukovich government.  As Wikipedia states "In 2002 Kuchma stated that Ukraine wanted to sign an association agreement with the European Union (EU) by 2003–2004 and that Ukraine would meet all EU membership requirements by 2007–2011.[17] He also hoped for a free-trade treaty with the EU.[17]"  So Yanukovich actions  were essentially continuation of the same policy.  

    An interesting nuance here is that economic difficulties for the ordinary people, including mass unemployment and redistribution of wealth up inherent under any neoliberal or semi-neoliberal regime (and which can be easily amplified by external actions) can also be used for unleashing color revolution against the "corrupt [neoliberal] regime" (as if the next will be less corrupt). Of course this can be done under noble slogans of democratization, "fighting with corruption" (which is endemic  under neoliberalism including the USA and other G7 countries) and "better life promises", which creates a mass support base for the "neoliberal revolutionaries". 

    Essentially this means conversion of Ukraine into "EU village", a resource base of cheap commodities and a very cheap workforce. Starting the same the process that is now fairly advanced in Baltic republics, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece, as well as other central European countries.
     
  3. The slide of Ukraine toward more nationalist government was also facilitated by the global crisis of neoliberalism of 2008. In this respect Ukraine is not that different  from, say, Hungary, or Poland, which also expense a resurgence of nationalist parties.  So the rise of far right nationalism in not exclusively Ukrainian phenomenon, but a global trend caused by the crisis of neoliberalism both as an ideology and as a social system after 2008. So not only EU and the USA machination plus Yanukovich corruption and criminality caused EuroMaydan. It looks like Ukraine just is repeating the political trajectory of Baltic Republics, but  with 23 years delay.  And probably inevitably destined to repeat the mistakes the Baltic countries, especially Latvia, made on this path.
     
  4. The natural result of obtaining independence and subsequent rise of political importance and power (as guarantors of independence from Russia) of Western Ukrainian nationalists Parties and organizations,  previously completely decimated and eliminated as a political force. They were resurrected with the full and enthusiastic support of the Ukrainian State, Ukrainian, especially Canadian and the USA, diaspora (which, like any diaspora, are more radicalized and nationalistic  then people living in Ukraine; in this sense the existence of strong diaspora can be curse for a particular country).  As well as some neoliberal NGO such as Soros foundation, which openly promoted nationalism as a tool to blow off the Soviet Empire. The undisputable fact is that Yanukovich himself did quite a lot for resurrection of Svoboda as a viable political party. Usually this fact is swiped under the carpet by Western MSM, which incorrectly (with complete contempt for evidence) proclaiming him being a pro-Russian political figure. While in reality he was a moderate Ukrainian nationalist, who tried to extract some concession both from Russia and West trying to perform a delicate dance of balancing between them (he failed). In a sense Yanukovich brand of nationalism was not that different from the bran of nationalism which emerged in Dnepropetrovsk and which was represented by Kuchma and later Kolomoiski. The fact that with Svoboda Yanukovich brought into the nest a cuckoo egg escaped this mediocre and corrupt politician (who by the way was under heavy USA influence, with such names as Biden and Manafort and  as mentors and political consultant respectively) .  Luckily he managed to escape the attempt to kill him after the coup. It is kind of unsetting that a politician who used Joe Biden as a political mentor can be attested as pro-Russian.  Which smells with postmodernism "multiple truths" paradigm.
     
  5. Oligarchic republics has their own  dynamic of development and such a development in Ukraine led to the loss of political power of "Donetsk elite". The contributing factors were internal frictions within Donetsk oligarchic clan and the fact that Dnepropetrovsk oligarchs (and first of all Kolomoski) openly sided with nationalists. In other words nationalists were used as the brute force in oligarchic clans struggle to remove Yanukovich as a threat to other oligarchic groups and weaken the Donestk oligarch clan. Ukraine was and still is an oligarchic republic -- owners of big businesses  have a decisive impact on the politics and economic policies of the government of the country. The Ukrainian oligarchic republic emerged during Leonid Kuchma’s presidency (1994–2004). There were several oligarchic clans in Ukraine with two most important being Donetsk clan (personalized by Akhmetov) and  Dnepropetrovsk clan (personalized by Timoshenko). They were the cornerstones of the Ukrainian oligarchic democracy. Yanukovich, who represented the Donetsk clan and was closely linked to Akhmetov, was not a satisfactory President for other oligarchic groups. Yanukovich attempt to create "the family" as a new  oligarchic group consisting of his sons and loyal politicians were also viewed with great suspicion by other oligarchic groups (see osw.waw.pl for more information)
  6. A "blowback" of the efforts of the USA led global neoliberal empire (of which EU states are vassals) to contain and encircle Russia. We can also view Ukraine as the latest victim of US geopolitics, which is directed on encircling, weakening and/or possible dismembering of Russia as well as German geopolitics with the kind of neoliberal version of "Drang nach Osten"

    Drang nach Osten, (German: “Drive to the East”), German policy or disposition to colonize the Slavic lands east of Germany. The term originally referred to the eastward movement of German settlers in the 12th and 13th centuries but was resurrected by Adolf Hitler in the 20th century to describe his plans for acquiring Lebensraum (“living space”) for Germans.

    Under neoliberalism we are talking not about direct occupation but by opening and dominating Ukrainian market and displacing Russians from this market.

I would like to stress again that EuroMaydan coup d'état represents the greatest success of the US diplomacy (and personally President Obama) in this direction (and an important step in the defense of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA) since the dissolution of the USSR.

The USA managed to turn a large, strategically positioned county into hostile to Russia entity for a tiny sum of around five billion dollars invested in organizing this color revolution (which exploited real dissatisfaction with neoliberalism of Ukrainian population), spinet via multiple years via NGO, MSM and embassies.   Please note that Israel in one year gets more. Later that led to forming in March 2018 of anti-Russian alliance of Geordia-Moldova-Ukraine -- another severe knockdown for Russian diplomacy in the region.  Donbass civil war can be viewed as externality of those geopolitical efforts.  Or desirable, if slightly unexpected,  result.

There were also other contributing  factors such as internal and external pressure on the Provisional Government (and euphoria from Maydan success); the side effect of Putin "overextending" his promises to Donbass residents after Crimea referendum. 

The latter and subsequent betrayal of those "Referendum => Ascendance to Russia" promises were especially tragic.  In other words Putin shares the responsibility for the Donbass civil war.

The inherent political instability of neoliberal governments in post Soviet republics

Looks like deposing the elected government with the hands of disgruntled (and agitated with controlled by NGO "opposition" MSMs) citizens and few financial injections into opposition (with one stash of cash confiscated from Batkivshchyna offices) is a "sure thing". Just a matter of time and skills of more or less competent intelligences agencies operatives of any G7 country.  This way it is possible to change the government  in any xUSSR country with some even rudimentary democratic structures, which experience slide in the standard of living of population and/or financial difficulties with payments of external debts. Neoliberalism caused gradual sliding of standard of living of population and mass discontent. Which creates political instability even in the USA.  And thus opportunity to install a more pro-western government with minimal spending of money and resources by any more powerful economically country, which is ready to spend money for such a revolution. Kind of beating the person, who already fall on its knees.  

If this results in a subsequent civil conflict, that OK and does not interfere (actually can greatly help) with getting control over strategic resources that happen to be in this country. Which is all that matter in the large scheme of neoliberal expansion into the country.  So, paradoxically a civil was is even desirable outcome for neoliberal conquistadors (which are no longer persons, but multinationals).  This is the essence of what is called "Disaster Capitalism".

While there are regional variations most of post-Soviet republics are oligarchic republics. As such  they have problem both with the  legitimacy of the ruling elite and withstand pressure form major  western countries (where oligarchs  store their assets).  See

It might well be that only "brutal dictatorships" can mount some resistance to such color revolution attempts and "democracy" (the rule of neoliberal elite) is a very bad  idea for a country is low standard of living.

Was this conflict inevitable?

As similar tensions exists in Baltic republics, Moldavia and Kazakhstan it looks like t some state of development of post Soviet republics with large Russian speaking minority involves some sort of conflict, as this population generally is not inclined to accept more provincial culture and language of the republic in which they are now citizens or permanent  residents (Latvia discriminates against Russian minority).  But whether such a conflict results in the armed struggle and separation of some territory depends on additional circumstances, which might ne present or not.

Long before Donetsk separatism,  we have a similar situation in Moldavia in the part of the country with dominant Russian speaking population. It  also formed de-facto independent republic (Transnistria - Wikipedia). In Ukraine itself there were tensions due to attempt of "forceful Ukrainization" of  Crimea as to a lesser extent other  Eastern regions (closure of Russian schools, etc). Even in Kiev population which generally is probably more nationalistic than the countryside resented forceful Ukrainization. Especially on the level of university education where it hit the wall of low quality or complete absence  of textbooks, the necessity of inventing "Ukrainian terminology" for technical subjects (instead of switching to English; which would instantly solve most of those problems) and low pay of professors, when those who has some value of the marketplace "en mass" moved to private industries. 

what Ukraine showed us again is that the distance from such tensions to armed conflict can be crosses very quickly even with the complete absence of ethnic tensions, if foreign pressure is applied and favorite conditions  arise. That's why sudden appearance of  the scene a government with a couple of mediocre and rather reckless politicians (Yatsenyuk and Turchinov) that  (especially the latter) behaves like a bull in a china store was enough. You can imagine  the situation if Quebec  nationalists came to power and declared French language the only official language of Canada in order to diminish/eliminate  cultural and political influence of the USA on Canada (which is an imperial power and generally is resented in Canada ;-).

The net losers were bottom 80% of Ukrainian population (especially in the area of armed conflict and those who were drafted). Standard of living for whom deteriorated two to three times  in one year after EuroMaydan. The phrase "My zdobuli" (with the meaning "We achieved the victory/independence" and approximate translation "we obtained") now has sarcastic meaning in Ukrainian language.

So the fact that Provisional government come to power in Kiev and in euphoria from their victory started to push Ukrainization further down the road proved to be  powerful enough trigger to light a civil war. Stupid and reckless actions when they encountered some resistance only help further to ignite this conflict.  It would be much wiser adding Russian as a state language but also introducing English as a new official language and requiring police and courts to accept it. Ass well as switch to teaching some subjects in English at high school and universities.

The Donbass region as an arena of this conflict was probably more or less accidental. There were no notable ethnic tensions to justify it. Just a mild resentment to forceful Ukrainization on one hand and mild anti-Russian sentiments on another (Russia was and still is one of the most popular destination for Western Ukrainian Gastarbeiters) .  Only later two groups of population ("vatniki" vs. "banderovtsi") became bitterly involved in this conflict and started killing each other. After several years of fighting and several thousands of civilians killed, million or more displaced (with widespread looting or vacant houses and apartments on both sides)  re-integration of this territory into Ukraine looks like a very difficult, if not impossible task. Which requires huge investment and superhuman patience.

So Minsk accords, which proposes as a solution to the conflict federalizing Ukraine and granting Donbass the status similar to Crimea autonomy as well as general amnesty ( in return for putting down all arms) are probably by-and-large dead and can be used only for political games.  Even conversion of Ukraine into federative republic and granting Donbass the status of autonomy of a type formerly enjoyed by Crimean now is not enough for Donbass residents and represent too big concession for Kiev. Partially because as economic situation deteriorates,  other parts of Ukraine, especially TransCarpatian region might want the same status.

Economic consequences of Donbass conflict: The Ukrainian Second Great Depression

The  most important effect of the EuroMaydan along with dropping of the standard of living of population is an almost complete and long-term breakup of economic and cultural relations with Russia. The process which already started since 1991 and way well under way under Yanukovich. The civil war in Donbass only accelerated and deepened those "pre-existing" trends.

We can view post EuroMaydan event as a Second Great Depression  for Ukrainian population (the  first was after the dissolution of the USSR). Ukrainian GDP dropped considerably after EuroMaydan, although exact figures are difficult to come buy ( see Ukraine GDP 1987-2018). Probably at least 50% in comparison with the level achieved in 2013. So it looks like another Great Depression in Ukraine. Also the fact that it is now under umbrella of EU will might eventually kill some Ukrainian  high tech industries and most of machinery manufacturing including auto industry. Without cooperation with Russia aviation industry is already dead (Ukraine has large Antonov factory in Kiev which produced transport planes and couple of other less important factories in Kharkov). Without Russia cooperation they are mostly gone (some can still service Soviet aircraft but how long it will last ?.  Even advice manufacturing like manufacturing of engines (Motorsich) experience huge difficulties as they lost Russia as a customer and did nit have a replacement or compensation for those lost orders. That was, of course a huge hit for Russia too, as to create the replacement requires time and money.  This is the same process of de-industrialization that we observed in Baltic republics. But it probably will have higher impact on Ukraine as this is a larger country and the loss of Russian market is more critical and is not compensated by EU in any form.

Resulting economic chaos and civil war destroyed the standard of living of the majorly of Ukrainian population and created more then a million of refugees.  Please take into account that one of the driving forces of EuroMaydan was a high unemployment rate in Western Ukraine, where the growth of population was fastest (Uniate religion is close to Catholicism and does not encourage birth control). 

Now the majority of Ukrainian live of less then $2 a day and will do so for many, many years, if not decades.  And that's what makes the whole EuroMaydan and subsequent Donbass conflict especially tragic, as most people who protested Yanukovich government were striving for better life, for lower unemployment  and better economic opportunities for themselves and their children.  And BTW all Donbass residents initially wanted was just a small degree of cultural autonomy and adoption of Russian language as the second state language.  That was all.

Now due to deterioration of economics and flow of refugees both to in central regions of Ukraine (especially Kiev region)  and to Russia we have zugzwang situation both for Ukraine and Donbass. Only external forces can benefit from the continuation of the war, but the common ground to bring parties to the negotiation table was lost.

In other word the net losers of those geopolitical games that created EuroMaydan is, unsurprisingly, the Ukrainian population and, first of all, the population of the Donetsk region.  Common Ukrainians were forced into abject poverty as the result of  a sophisticated geopolitical game played on them with visa free travel and ability to work in EU as a carrot. After EuroMaydan far right nationalism was unleashed to dull the pain of economic rape as some kind of "opium for the masses". It allowed to project the ills brought by more deep neoliberalization of Ukraine and conversion it into a debt slave nation on Russia. As the result the majority of Ukrainian population now is more hostile to Russia.  Of course, Ukrainians were not the first, and they are not the last among the victim of the color revolution for the installation of a "hardcore" neoliberal regime which started with the election of Reagan.  Arab countries such as Libya fared even worse.

It is surprising how resilient Ukrainians proved in such conditions. This was (and is) simply amazing to watch, despite the tragic nature of the situation.  Of course, in a typical development known since WWII Kiev became an even larger sex shop for rich Western tourists and pensioners, than under Yanukovich, but this is also typical for other countries in xUSSR space. Still there were no complete economic collapse after EuroMaydan and most of infrastructure continued to function although in decrepit state and there is no money for its modernization. Railways state is especially tragic. But trains are still running.

How Ukrainians survive food prices that approach the USA prices on their salaries is a question that I cannot answer. Probably some local markets have lower prices and self-grown vegetables help a lot (many Ukrainians has so called "dachas" from Soviet time, typically a plot 600 sq meters (around 6500 sq feet)  where you can grow fruits and vegetables. But transportation costs now bite hard (public transport in Kiev is now around $.20 per ticket.)

Meat consumption for the majority of population is now severely restricted and all poor people can probably afford are just eggs, milk and some pork fat.  Price of chicken meat is almost on the USA level and for a typical pensioner income represents a luxury.

I would like to stress that the process of cultural and economic separation of Ukraine from Russia was well under way since obtaining independence as the result of dissolution of the USSR in 1991 and would occur anyway, but probably will less economic losses for both Ukrainians and Russians.  Those US propaganda tales about Yanukovich government being pro-Russian are just what they are -- fairy tales for badly informed, or brainwashed. No Ukrainian government since independence was pro-Russian. The only variable was the level of anti-Russian sentiments (with Yushchenko Presidency being the most anti-Russian, which is what you can expect from a Western Ukrainian nationalist in power).  Moreover "pro-Russian" Yanukovich  actually supported creation of Western Ukrainian training camps which serve as indoctrination tool of Western Ukrainian youth into anti-Russian mindset.  He also supported Svoboda hoping to beat it in the elections. But they beat him on the barricades playing "divide and conquer" card.

Now Ukraine started the process the results of which we can see in Baltic states: the elimination of Russian culture and language and almost complete economic isolation from Russia (while Russia still remains the largest economic partner), as well as opening the market to Western Europe and the USA on conditions dictated by EU and the USA respectively  (which are clearly neo-colonial conditions).  The key problem with the Ukrainian elite and the population in general is dismal level of knowledge of English language, which prevents receiving many benefits of such an association.  The association remains one way street with EU multinationals  getting the Ukrainian market, and Ukrainians getting nothing in return although "free intellectual property" goods are definitely available and some of them quite valuable.  For example, high quality textbooks for universities (older university textbooks used in the USA before "political correctness" are definitely of higher quality then corresponding Russian textbooks)

In Baltic republics the pain of deindustrialization was smoothed by financial transfers from EU. Ukraine faces full economic consequences of breaking of economic ties with Russia and subsequent gradual elimination of whole sectors of manufacturing which can't compete with EU (which is the most manufacturing sectors and large part of chemical industry; they probably will soon be bought by transnationals) without any compensation and under pressure.  This de-industrialization process already started.  As well as residential building boom which probably can create a bubble in real estate market with the subsequent crash and corresponding consequences.

All economic hopes of EuroMaydan revolution -- higher salaries, more and better jobs, lower prices" were dashed very quickly as grivna was devaluated from 8 per dollar to around over 20 per dollar (currently over 28 per dollar).  And with it the standard of living of the population (although not to the same extent, as food prices were increasing more slowly then devaluation of grivna), but still dramatically.  But it was the  "liberalization" of gas prices for population which let to dramatic jump of the cost of heating of houses and apartments, which in many cases exceeded the size of pensions of people living in those apartments. For many the only way to survive was not to pay.  And still is.  Payment in winter for a modest one bedroom (two rooms and a kitchen) apartment of say 35-40 sq meters exceeds average pension. 

As the result of neoliberal policies pursued by new Provisional government and then Poroshenko government the price of hydrocarbons for consumers (and first of all natural gas which is widely used in heating homes and for cooking) in Ukraine skyrocketed and the cost of heating in winter became a huge problem in many regions and even large cities like Kiev (where salaries are probably 30%-50% higher then at the periphery).   Economic promises of EuroMaydan now can be viewed only a big hoax and Poroshenko can be reelected only via military hysteria and fuelling "Russian threat".  Otherwise he is fully cooked and Timoshenko will be the next President.

The cost of heating on one bedroom apartment (say 35 square meters; around 350 square feet) the last winter exceeded the half of the average monthly salary (or full average pension).  And that's a very modest  apartment  for a family.  See  Cost of Living in Kiev. Updated Prices May 2017 for the current costs. Please note that average salary in Ukraine is around 3000 grivna (higher in Kiev, probably twice higher) or $110 a month (with minimal 1000 grivna or $35 a month which is close to $1 a day -- an absolute, dismal, central African level of poverty; see Average Monthly Salary In Ukraine - Poltava Travel).

With food priced jumped and now in many categories reached the level of the USA (especially for meat; vegetables, especially tomatoes, potato, are probably twice or three times cheaper and are of higher quality). Ukrainians  can only thank IMF for their extreme generosity and valiant efforts in converting them into debt slaves. But that's the nature of neoliberal world order and we can do nothing about it.

Unlike far right forces in Hungary and Poland, Ukrainian far right in this case also proved as close to the neoliberal economics platform as one can get, real neoliberal stooges, which proved to be a really toxic combination.

If Russia cuts supplies of gas via Ukraine (for which Ukraine gets transit fees), or break economic ties with Ukraine, the country might soon be bankrupt. Trump is not willing to compensate for lost revenue and is generally adverse to economic aid. All he wants countries to buy as much the US weapon systems as they can afford and pay for them. His concern is the USA economics , not Ukrainian.  And rightly so. He did sold Ukraine coal to substitute for higher quality Donbass coal at double prices (the process that started under Obama I think; also South African coal was bought, which is cheaper, but of lesser quality).  Now he wants to sell Ukraine modern weapon systems with their exorbitant prices, such as Patriot missiles and helicopters.  Which is completely within the framework of the "The Art of the Deal".

The USA now also supply fuel for the Ukraine nuclear stations, displacing Russia (with some technological risk, associated with the change of the suppler), locomotives and several other types of heavy equipment.  If the developments in Ukraine after EuroMaydan mirror  the same in Eastern European counties Ukrainian energy sector will soon be controlled by foreign multinationals, which will extract "a peace of flesh"  from the population, no matter what. Trump administration also is weighting selling Ukraine advanced weapon, for which Ukraine will need to pay, depraving population of basic needs and fuelling Donbass war (Poroshenko government is locked into "Guns instead of butter policy" and can't change it )

Poroshenko regime, like Yanukovich regime before,  is essentially a (neo)colonial neoliberal administration; only worse

While population hoped for changes of their economic conditions to the better and that was the main reason (along  with typical for color revolutions propaganda about corruption) gave nationalists power, they proved to be a part of compradors. And Ukrainian wealth continued to be plundered just with a little bit different team of players. The terms of trade are very unequal and structure of export from Ukraine significantly deteriorated. The standard of living of population, especially pensioners is simply horrible. As I mentioned before I simply can' t understand how pensioners  can survive in Ukraine.  With typical pension around 1.5K grivna and exchange rate around 28 that comes to $54 a month. Pension of retired professor of the university is around 4K grivna or $142 a month.  That's why Poroshenko regime lost legitimacy and he like used condom will be replaced with another comprador (most probably with Yulia Timoshenko). The level of emigration from Ukraine  the last years is around 1 million people a year is not surprising.

Nationalists proved to be impotent and unable to run the country and instead the country got another neoliberal regime, only worse. Much worse.

As James Petras noted about US LA colonies, "Neo-liberal regimes take power with loud Wall Street cheers and collapse with barely a whimper." Latin America- Rightwing Interlude and the Death Rattle of Neoliberalism (Sept 4, 2018). The conclusions of his article which I highly recommend to read, because methods used in Ukraine  are then same as in Latin America are well worth repeating here:

While financial journalists and private investment consultants express surprise and attribute the ensuring crises to regime 'mistakes' and 'mismanagement', the real reasons for the predictable failure of neo-liberal regimes is a result of fundamental flaws.

De-regulation undermines local industries which cannot compete with Asian, US and EU manufacturers. Increases in the costs of utilities bankrupt small and medium producers. Privatization deprives the state of revenues for public financing. Austerity programs lower deficits, undermining domestic consumption and eliminate fiscal financing.

Capital flight and rising interest rates increases the cost of borrowing and devalues the currency.

Devaluations and capital flight deepen the recession and increase inflation. Finance ministers raid reserves to avoid a financial crash.

Austerity, stagnation, unemployment and social regression provokes labor interest and public-sector strikes. Consumer discontent, bankruptcies lead to deep decline of regime popularity.

As the crises unfolds, the regime reshuffles ministers, increases repression and seeks salvation with IMF financing.

Financiers balk sending good money after bad. The neo-liberal regimes enter in a terminal crisis.

While current neo-liberal regimes appear moribund, they still retain state power, a modicum of elite influence and a capacity to exploit internal divisions among their adversaries.

The anti-neoliberal opposition demonstrates its strength in challenging socio-economic policies but have difficulty in formulating an alternative political economic strategy for state power.Financial editors worry that pressure is building for a social explosion –a reply of Argentina 2001,when the President fled in a helicopter.

 

Economic and political consequences for Russia

Russia also suffered greatly from breaking ties with Ukraine, but this was Washington geopolitical design. This was kind of knockdown for Putin, his major geopolitical defeat. That standard of living of Russian population achieved at the end of 2013 did not return for the next 5 years and even in 2018 is still lower. Like Ukraine already did,  Russia plans to raise pension age in a typical neoliberal fashion -- without any compensation. 

Economic ties hit Russia directly as export to Ukraine was by-and-large eliminated. Russian multinationals were kicked out in some case their property was confiscated. Relations of Naftogas and Gasprom are commonly called "gas war" (in which Ukraine plays the role of foot soldier of the USA).  Import of strategically important equipment from Ukraine was also gradually eliminated. Export was either eliminated or curtained. The volume of Ukrainian export remain high but it became by-and-large  "colonial export" -- mostly commodities and food. Ukrainians were kicked out from Russian transportation sector with losses for both sides. Now Ukraine import uranium rods for its nuclear electric stations from the USA, and recently started to import coal form the USA too. Paying probably twice more that comparable supplies from Russia. I think that it is only a matter of time when the  national energy companies will change hands. Ukraine also started to buy the US arms and all cooperation in arms industry with Russia stopped.   

The level of hostility to Russia which was present even under previous Ukrainian governments (especially Yushchenko), dramatically increased due to civil war in Donbass. For which Russia carry partial blame: when first they encouraged people uprising against Ukrainian nationalists who took power in Kiev via a coup, and then abandoned them limiting themselves to supply of weapons and volunteers despite implicit promises of repeating Crimea scenario, if population vote so in a referendum.  This is a personal fault of Mr. Putin. Donbass occurred on one hand because Putin irresponsible promise that Referendum would be treated just like in Crimea, but then by even more irresponsible behavior of junta (pushed by the USA which pursued their own geopolitical goal in the region in which Ukraine played the role of the patsy the only role of which is to weaken Russia as severely as possible). Far right junta moved army forces to pacify essentially minor conflict which started because of their overzealous application of the language law. There were no even minor ethnic conflict in this region with the rest of the county, which make this civil war and this breakaway region somewhat unique.

Russian now has a huge and long-term problem with Ukraine. This is now a hostile country on the border, another Poland. But even more unpredictable and hostile. And sharing the language means that Ukrainian intelligence agencies represent a huge threat for Russia. Exactly like Washington wanted them to be.  As one member of Obama administration Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia and Ukraine, Evelyn Farkas  (Who the hell is Evelyn Farkas)  boasted "We have very good intelligence on Russia." Which is not bad from the point of preventing WWIII, but also opens the door for various false flag operations under Russian flag, like Russiagate. 

Moreover it now is a perfect opportunity for EU to demonstrate its usual level of Russophobia. As Beckow  aptly observer  (June 17, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT )

...EU wants cheap, reliable energy from Russia and to export to Russia as much as possible without interference from US. That is pure business. But the dominant political forces in EU are anti-Russia, some because they are fed by the security-military-academic spending, some because they 'studied' and were politically formed in US or UK. Some because that's just the way they are.

There is a strong, EU domestic anti-Russian population based on hundreds of years of history, resentment over losses (Germany, Poland, Sweden, Finland), self-brainwashing about perceived abuse (Poland, Baltics, eastern Europeans in general), hatred and contempt towards anything 'eastern', and the traditional Anglo anti-Russian policies. Recently new emotional hatreds have been added with endless demonizing Russia about xenophobia, hooligans, gays, stray dogs, anything the creative propagandists can push. Most Europeans turn out on reflection to be quite gullible and stupid.

There are a few minor exceptions and some Latin nations are more level headed. There is also a minority view in the German world, mostly based on their business realism that is neutral toward Russia, but not pro-Russian. There will be no political rapprochement between EU and Russia. There will be better business relations because water flows downhill and EU-Russia economic ties are such an obvious fit. The cultural hatred and political hostility will go on.

After WWII it took most Europeans less than a generation to revert to the traditional anti-Russian attitudes. In some cases, nations that were literally saved from extermination were more resentful than grateful. In Poland it took less than a year, in Czech Republic 20 years, but the old visceral hatreds emerged again.

My advise to Russia would be to mind its own business and not try to sacrifice for the others or to help them. It has always backfired because the cultural milieu in Europe is naturally resentful of Russia and the east in general. Business doesn't change that.

In other words the Ukrainian civil war triggered resurgence of pre-existing anti-Russian forces in Europe. Contrary to a widespread myth, European business interests do not represent a powerful anti-Russophobic force. The cancellation of SouthStream and Russian troubles with NorthStream II clearly attest that. While anti-Russian sanctions have cost Europe billions, there is no countervailing force that  can stop sanctions. Also the US influence is way to big for most European governments even try. This is why for years now various EU politicians and public figures have made some noises about lifting the sanctions, but when it came to the vote – they all voted as told by the real bosses.

But this major  geopolitical victory of the Obama administration may eventually turn into Pyrrhic victory as it facilitated re-rapprochement of Russia and China. With some signs of an economic and military union. Still Obama managed first to state color revolution in Russia (which failed, but was  no small feat) and  then to inflict real and substantial economic and political damages to Russia via Ukrainian civil war.

The Ukrainian  civil war disrupted many vital supply lines from Ukraine which were inherited from the USSR times.  Replacing them with native production, or other foreign sources takes both time and money.  Even Russian military-industrial complex was slightly disrupted as some types of engines were produced only in Ukraine (but Russians got the signal that supplies from Ukraine for Russian military industrial complex will be in 2005 with the election of Yushchenko, so they have has a decade to prepare for such a move). But the damage in "leaking vital technologies" still was done -- in the USSR years Ukraine (unlike Baltic republics) was treated like almost equal partner and now at the moment of dissolution had many critical USSR military technologies available.  Which now probably found new homes outside Ukraine, as Ukraine was always desperate for money and sold everything that can find a foreign buyer, including a large part of the military arsenal inherited from the USSR. 

In turn Ukrainian civil war also led to growth of anti-Americanism within normally pro-American part of Russian population. And some cooling of normally very friendly relations with Ukrainian industrialists and gastarbeiters. Of course, Russian wave of anti-Americanism never reached even one tenth of the Neo-McCarthyism witch hunt current in the USA. Where a simple contact with the Russian ambassador is as close to the treason as one can get ;-). Russian elite generally tries to cool down hot heads, understanding the key role of the USA as the major country in Western block as well as the technological powerhouse.  And the fact is that after Yeltsin years of economic rape of Russia it remains weak economically and depends on the West in major technologies.

But still growing anti-Ukrainian and anti-American sentiments  in Russia represent  an important political factor... and probably like growing hostility of Ukrainian population toward Russia is also a long time factor. Which will survive when Putin leaves that political scene, and might even be amplified.

First of all this  factor almost completely eliminated political influence of Russian neoliberals (aka "Liberasts") for probably a decade or more. They now are not  visible politically; just look at the most recent Russian Presidential elections. Unlike in 2012, where they were very active and enjoyed support of US NGO (now kicked out of the country) and financial support from Western embassies, during the last Presidential election they were a sad joke. Even for such a major player in Russian politics as USA embassy support of neoliberal fifth column become more difficult and requires more inventive schemes, especially in transferring  funds.  Now Russian neoliberals (including former cabinet members such as Kudrin) are viewed by population even less charitable than lobbyists of the foreign interest in Russia (aka fifth column) and more like traitors.

Paradoxically Russia did not block Ukrainian gastarbeiters, despite rather high level of unemployment and economic recession. Generally in economic relations with Ukraine  Russia  tried not to rock the boat. Which just allowed full freedom to rock it by Ukrainian side as if cutting economic relations with the largest neighbor and dominant in the region country is something that might be economically beneficial to Ukraine in a long run, outside plain political revenge motives. 

In any case, even without open military confrontation,  this civil war in Donbass guarantees that economic relations of Ukraine with Russia will continue to be in the deep freeze for the foreseeable future. While state relations now are marketed by open hostility on the part of Ukrainian State and  attempt to undermine Russia where they can.

 And Ukrainian  security services do have an opportunity to inflict a damage on Russia. although fear of retaliation might keep them in check. Still they provides great help the USA neocons, supplying all kind of damaging information, which helps to  turn Russia into the enemy of choice once again (despite Russia being yet another neoliberal country), much like the USSR once was during the Cold War. So it is a part of Cold War II.

Far right nationalists as patsies on neoliberals

It is interesting and pretty surprising that that ethno-linguistic nationalism proved to be not always an opponent of neoliberal globalization. Especially in emigrant/diaspora communities. For example Canadian Ukrainian nationalists (which are more radical nationalists and more Russia-hating than most Ukrainians) played far from constructive role in Ukrainian political life. Emigration breeds political extremism and combination of inflow of political extremists with economic adventurists seeking "make money fast" ventures proved to be really toxic for Ukraine. Theoretically Ukrainian nationalism should know the lessons from being a neighbor of a powerful nation with the large territory (the USA) and the problems with the sovereignty that such an "oversized" neighbor creates (As   noted  Washington treats Canada like a vassal, though most Canadians don’t seem to care). And they should be voice of reason in relations between Ukraine and Russia. But this was not the case. Canadian nationalists most put gasoline on nationalistic fire which started in Ukraine with the obtaining independence.  Geography is a destiny in some way. It is sad that they like to fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian, excluding themselves and their families.  It is the same problem as female chickenhawks in the US government: female neocons are even more militaristic and chauvinistic then their male counterparts (look at Victoria Nuland, or Hillary Clinton).

Far right  nationalists were quickly sidelined by hard core neoliberals led by Yatsenyuk and lost any influence on economic policy.  Like Germans say "The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go".  And Yatsenyuk was a neoliberal who only pretended to be nationalist (much like his former boss Yulia Timoshenko). 

While Yatsenyuk was a fake nationalist, he was forced to act as the real one: Provisional government did send the army to fight and die in Donbass region. As a result we have what we have: neoliberalization, conversion of the country into a debt slave, loss of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass region in a country with no ethnic conflicts before EuroMaydan.  And Poroshenko government has even less sovereignty then the corrupt Yanukovich regime.  It's completely subservient to the USA and IMF. While Ukraine now is full member of "debt slave" club (Yanukovich government actually managed to shrink national debt a little bit; at least not to enlarge it).

But an important fact is that all such color revolutions, being part of "disaster capitalism" games bring more poverty and sufferings (often with the possibility of civil war) to the population. So they are essentially a counter-revolution, or more precisely revolutions by financial oligarchy against people. But that becomes evident to agitated population only when it is too late (and  now many Ukrainians are longing for the return of the times  of "corrupt Yanukovich regime").   The Yanukovich story proves that it is really dangerous to by a "half-neoliberal" and only "half of a dictator" (actually Yanukovich proved to be a despicable coward, who only accidentally, by pure luck,  escaped the destiny of colonel Kaddafi.).  As unforgettable Bush II used to say You're either with us, or against us.

Due to civil war Ukraine lost probably up to a hundred thousand people and a couple of millions were displaced.  It also lost several hundred billion dollars as economic consequences of the war. Some found refuge in Russia, some in central and western regions of Ukraine, but their social status and well-being were severely affected by this displacement.  Tiny percentage managed to emigrate the western countries, which are not that eagerly accepting a stream of Ukrainian refugees.  Which they essentially created (making the situation very similar with Syria).  Please note that there was no ethnic or religious tensions in Donbass under previous governments, which can at least partially justify this civil war. It really is an 100% artificial creation, driven by the USA and EU geopolitical moves in the region as well as Russia counter moves.  

Ukrainian nationalists also played pretty destructive role facilitating the abrupt and compete cut of economic relations with Russia, ignoring devastating economic consequences of such a move.  If Russia reciprocated by prohibiting Ukrainian nationals to work in Russia and cutting the supply of gas via Ukraine, that might well lead to the bankruptcy of the country and splitting it into several independent statelets with Western Ukraine probably being the first,  or the second.  So much for "Shche ne vmerla Ukraina".  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

When Poroshenko became a legitimate President via nationwide election (Yanukovich formally remained the legitimate president until this moment, because he was alive and did not abdicate his post) he became the hostage of old policies of Provisional government and the USA puppet, despite having initial reservations about both.  Some oligarchs clearly decided to pour more kerosene on fire, especially Ihor Kolomoyskyi

New troubles for nationalist government in Kiev are on horizon as Trump administration might not willing to pay Ukraine the money which were flowing to the country as low percent loans under Obama administration. As the same time they are encouraging the Ukrainian government to buy as much of US arms and other goods (trains, coal, fuel for nuclear stations, etc) as possible. They will sell it even natural gas, if possible. At double prices. 

As the result a severe pension crisis might loom on the horizon even taking into account miserable level of pensions in Ukraine.  In case the EU does not come to the rescue, many Ukrainian pensioners will simply starve. 

Transition from semi-independent state to "debt slave"

In no way Yanukovich's Ukraine should be viewed as a sovereign state. At best I would call it "semi-independent". The USA actually has a big, if not decisive, influence on Ukrainian foreign policy. From this point of view EuroMaydan changed very little. After Kuchma Ukraine was already in semi-colonial state with most important decisions dictated by "Washington Obcom" (Joe Biden was a big friend and mentor of Yanukovich until he put a knife into his back; Manafort was a US political operative who managed Yanukovich election campaign; both names are hardly Russian).   And Marafort was probably closely connected to the US intelligence agencies and did pressed Yanukovich to pursue pro-US policies especially economic cooperation with EU.  The Mueller Indictments Still Don’t Add Up to Collusion The Nation:

There is widespread supposition that Manafort's dealings in Ukraine make him a prime candidate for collusion with Moscow. But that stems from the mistaken belief that Manafort promoted Kremlin interests during his time in Kiev. The opposite appears to be the case. The New York Times recounts that Manafort "pressed [then–Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor] Yanukovych to sign an agreement with the European Union that would link the country closer to the West -- and lobbied for the Americans to support Ukraine's membership."

If that picture is accurate, then Manafort's activities in Ukraine during the period for which he has been indicted were diametrically opposed to the Kremlin's agenda.

He also was deeply unpopular and posed to be defeated in the next Presidential elections.

In a way this new geopolitical arrangement represent the reversal of the result of WWII and partial accomplishment of the goals of Nazi Germany as for Slavic people in Ukraine and Russia. The net result is close -- abysmal poverty of the majority of population. But without planned by Nazi Germany extermination of Slavic population to make space for German colonists (essentially Hitler plan was a plagiarism from the USA colonial past; with Slavonic nations instead of Indians). Remember General Plan Ost ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost):

German Plan Ost to exterminate ” inferior races ”

Percentages of ethnic groups to be destroyed and/or deported to Siberia by Nazi Germany from future settlement areas.[15][16][3]

Ethnic group/Nationality Population percent subject to removal

Russians[17][16]           50–60% to be physically eliminated and another 15% to be sent to Western Siberia
Estonians[3][18]            almost 50%
Latvians[3]                    50%
Czechs[16]                   50%
Ukrainians[16]              65%
Belarusians[16]            75%
Poles[16]                     20 million, or 80–85%
Lithuanians[3]              85%
Latgalians[3]                100%

Country was forcefully  converted into the debt slave without any chances to get out, another "neo-colony" with formal sovereignty as a fig leaf and nationalism as "opium for the people".   Neoliberal colony controlled via financial instruments and local fifth column of compradors instead of occupation army. Ukraine now repeats the history of Latin America: borrow billions of dollars from foreign banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back to foreign banks, and let the ordinary people pay back the principal and interest.

The EU desire to increase the pace of colonizing Ukraine played a very important role in unleashing this civil war. EU along with  the USA was instrumental in bringing far right junta to power  as they correctly assumed that being in economics ersatz-nationalists they will suite EU economic interests better then Yanukovich government.   EU Anschluss  agreement turns Ukraine into market for EU goods and  source of  cheap raw materials. It is undeniable that under the slogans of democratization EU played a sinister, neo-colonial role in EuroMaydan color revolution. Especially such countries as Poland, Sweden and Germany. Which encouraged and participated in financing of the coup against the corrupt Yanukovich regime clearly understanding that the next regime might be even worse, equally incompetent and no less corrupt, but were pursuing their own regional interests, which at the time coincided with the USA geopolitical interests and have had a distinct anti-Russian angle (especially for Poland and Sweden). At the expense of ordinary Ukrainians who became pawns in a bigger geo-political game. That reminds me  XIX century colonial policies of European powers.  Just on a new level.

EU honchos correctly assumed that weakened after 1991 Russia with not cease supplying hydrocarbons to EU as the result of the coup and the Russian sanctions, if any, will be minor (they were limited to food items so far) and Russia can't stop importing high technology goods and machinery from the EU and the USA.  Poland economics also depends on Russian gas and transit fees and that cut would be a serious economic hit, although not to the extent of the same for Ukrainian economics, but Poland government decided to take this risk and won.  Also the level of hate of Russia of Polish elite traditionally is one of the highest in Europe (although it is not yet shared by most of Polish population). Just looks as such figure as former minister of foreign affairs in Tusk government Radoslaw Sikorski who was instrumental in forcing Yanukovich into complete capitulation (masked as an agreement with opposition leaders about peaceful transition of power via forthcoming Presidential elections (which Yanukovich would definitely lose), but which opposition did not intended to obey and used to depose him as police was withdrawn and did not defend government quarters (unlike President Salvador Allende, who was one of the first victims of neoliberal coup d'état, Yanukovich proved to be despicable coward, but  that's another story).  According  to Wikipedia:

Sikorski was involved in the events of the winter 2014 Ukraine Euromaidan protests at the international level. He signed on 21 February along with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders Vitaly Klitchko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Oleg Tyagnibok as well as the Foreign Ministers of Russia, France and Germany a memorandum of understanding to promote peaceful changes in Ukrainian power.[60]

In other words there are no good guys in this story, Yanukovich, Russia, the USA, the EU, provisional government and Poroshenko all were essentially hostile to the interests of the Ukrainian population and were instrumental in driving the population to a really abject, African level poverty. They all conspired to inflict hardships on Ukrainian population.  Ukrainian neoliberal oligarchy proved to be pretty destructive to the country, which reminds me the situation in Greece. And the country now is the same debt slave as Greece.  With the only difference that there is no civil war in Greece.

Shadow of Transdnistia

Trnasdnistia is a region of Moldavia which became informally independent after the dissolution of the USSR (Transnistria - Wikipedia )

After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between Moldova and the breakaway Transnistrian territory escalated into a military conflict that started in March 1992 and was concluded by a ceasefire in July of the same year. As part of that agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarised zone, comprising twenty localities on both sides of the river. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory's political status remains unresolved: Transnistria is an unrecognized but de facto independent semi-presidential republic with its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, currency and vehicle registration.[11][12][13][14] Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, national anthem, and coat of arms. It is the only country still using the hammer and sickle on its flag.

The problem of Donbass became frozen and with so much blood spilled by both sides re-incorporation of the region into Ukraine became exceedingly difficult task which need huge amount of money, money that neither the EU which facilitated this crisis, not the US who fanned insurgency against Yanukovich regime pursuing its own geopolitical interests are willing to pay. Shelling by Ukrainian side also does not help to resolve tension (and reciprocated by shelling  from separatists side) with people killed on the both sides.  Idea of conquering Donbass by military force might  succeed at great cost at blood and treasure, but also might end the same way as attempt for Georgia to conquer Abkhazia.

Attempts to solve the conflict by military means first by Provisional government (which was pretty stupid move, as initially the conflict was minor and could be solve by minor concessions) and then by Poroshenko administration (which inherited the problem from nationalistic hawks from Provisional government) put Ukrainian economics into a bigger and bigger hole.  and remember the initial issue was just a status of Russian language in the region. nothing else.  That reminds me medieval religious wars. So far the net result is loss of Crimea, destroyed industrial region and several millions of displaced population. The initial attempt to crush Donbass by Yatsenyuk-Turchinov Provisional government (which was pushed by the USA) failed dismally.

Here is how PaulR analyzed the situation if his article A question of attitude (Aug 24, 2018):

A couple of Ukraine-related items caught my attention this week.

The first is a report by Baylor University professor Serhiy Kudelia which discusses how to bring peace to Donbass. Kudelia starts by saying that Western states have regarded the resolution of the war in Donbass as being dependent on changing Russian behaviour. This is insufficient, he says, for 'the successful reintegration of Donbas into Ukraine rests on designing a new institutional framework that can provide long-term guarantees to civilians and separatist insurgents.' Kudelia says that academic literature on conflict resolution would suggest four elements to such a framework:

  1. Autonomy for Donbass within Ukraine. Such autonomy would come with risks, by entrenching local rulers with patronage networks outside of central control and with the means to challenge central authority. To reduce these risks, Kudelia suggests giving autonomy not just to the territories currently controlled by the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR & LPR), but to the whole of Donbass, thereby bringing within the autonomous region some more pro-Ukrainian elements of the population as well as groups not connected to the DPR/LPR power structures. He also suggests devolution of power within the autonomous region to weaken the potentially disruptive consequences of hostile elements controlling the region's government.
  2. Transformation of the rebel state and military structures into political parties. Experience in other countries suggests that when this happens, the prospects of a successful transition increase substantially.
  3. Comprehensive and unconditional amnesty for everyone involved in the war. For obvious reasons, rebel leaders won't agree to the first two proposals without an amnesty. Past experience speaks to the necessity of this measure.
  4. No elections in Donbass for two to three years. Kudelia notes that, 'Holding elections in a volatile post-conflict environment creates ample opportunities for voter intimidation, electoral fraud, and disinformation campaigns that could build on conflict-related divisions.' Kudelia doesn't say who would rule Donbass in the meantime. I would have to assume that it would mean that the existing authorities would remain in place. That could be problematic.

With the exception of that last point, these are sensible suggestions. But when boiled down to their essentials, they don't differ significantly from what is demanded in the Minsk agreements -- i.e. special status for Donbass and an amnesty. As such, while I don't think that the leadership of the DPR and LPR would like these proposals, my instincts tell me that they would be quite acceptable to the Russian government, which would probably be able to coax the DPR and LPR into agreeing to them. If implemented, the results would be something Moscow could portray as a success of sorts.

And there's the rub. For that very reason, I can't see Kiev agreeing to any of this. Kudelia's argument is founded on the idea that there's more going on in Donbass than Russian aggression. Accepting that something has to be done to 'provide long-term guarantees to civilians and separatist insurgents' means accepting that there are civilians and insurgents who need reassuring, not just Russian troops and mercenaries. And that means changing the entire narrative which Kiev has adopted about the war. So while Kudelia's proposals make sense (after all, what's the alternative? How could Donbass be reintegrated into Ukraine without autonomy and an amnesty?), what's lacking is any sense of how to get there.

A large part of the problem, it seems, is the attitude in Kiev. This becomes very clear in the second item which caught my attention -- an article on the website Coda entitled 'Now Healthcare is a Weapon of War in Ukraine.' The article describes how the DPR and LPR are encouraging Ukrainians to come to rebel territory to receive free medical treatment, and then using this as propaganda to win support for their cause. This is despite the fact, as the article shows, that the medical facilities in the two rebel republics are in a very poor state. Author Lily Hyde isn't able to confirm how many Ukrainians have taken up the rebel offer of free medical aid, but does repeat a claim by the rebel authorities that 1,200 people have done so.

What interests me here is not the sensationalist headlines about healthcare being weaponized, but the question of why Ukrainians might feel it necessary to go to the effort of crossing the front lines to get treatment. And the article provides an answer, namely that parts of Donbass 'are trapped in a precarious limbo, still under Ukrainian government control but cut off from key services like healthcare.' The war destroyed much of the healthcare system in Donbass, but 'Ukraine provides no financial or other incentives for medics to work in frontline areas', and has done little to repair shattered infrastructure. Healthcare seems to be a lower priority than fighting 'terrorism'.

While the DPR and LPR use healthcare as a 'weapon' by providing it to people, Kiev has 'weaponized' health in another way -- by depriving people of it. As the article reports:

Kiev has not outlawed receiving medical treatment in occupied Donetsk or Luhnaks. But collaborating with the separatists -- or supporting their propaganda efforts -- is illegal. How exactly such charges are defined is not clear, but past experience has taught both individuals and organizations to be wary of such accusations. The Ukrainian authorities have investigated non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Ukraine who have provided foreign-funded medicines and other supplies to occupied Donetsk and Luhansk. NGOs working there have been banned by the de fact authorities [of the DPR and LPR] on similar charges. Doctors have found themselves placed on blacklists by both Ukrainian officials and the separatists, accused of being 'terrorist collaborators' by one side, or of being spies by the other.

Hyde contrasts the Ukrainian government's policies towards the DPR and LPR with that of Georgia, where:

The government offers free healthcare for people from Abkhazia, a breakaway territory it still claims which is now under de facto Russian occupation. The government is building a modern hospital in the nearest town to the boundary line, aimed at people from Abkhazia.

Essentially, says Hyde, it's 'a question of attitude'. She cites Georgy Tuka, Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories -- '"There's a wish to punish people," Tuka acknowledged.'

That's quite an admission from a government minister.

Even if the details need fleshing out, the institutional framework required to reintegrate Donbass into Ukraine has been pretty obvious for a long time now. The problem has been getting people to accept it. It is indeed, therefore, 'a question of attitude'. Sadly, the prevailing attitude stands firmly in the way of the institutional changes required for peace. The desire seems to be to punish people, not to reach agreement with them in order to promote reintegration and reconciliation. The issue, then, is whether this attitude can be changed (and if so, how) or whether it is now so firmly entrenched that there is nothing which can be done. Sadly, I fear that it may be the latter.

 

Can anything be done about this situation?

Economically the situation for Ukrainian population is really grim. No question about it.

To preserve the political stability of Ukraine and to start climbing out of the debt  hole (or at least stop digging it deeper) the slide in the standard of living of population needs to be stopped. It is easy to say but very difficult to accomplish. The status of "debt slave" leave very little space for maneuvering. It also makes more difficult taming the political influence of oligarchs, halting  the war and cutting military expenses. Those three might be  steps in the right direction.

The restoration of the standard  of living of population at least to the level achieved under Yanukovich would be the best revenge (before oil prices collapse, I saw figures that suggested that Russia has had the highest standard of living among xUSSR countries, above $1K a month (close to 2K in Moscow) with free university education and basic medical care and a large paid vacation for full time workers.

I do not know much about Russia but after oil prices collapse officially median salary dropped to say 23500/50=$470  or approximately 50% (Зарплаты в России — Русский эксперт) a month in 2016;  they gradually rose in 2017 and 2018 due to growth of oil prices are still nowhere close to 2013 level ($23K a year).  And purchasing power of $500 in Russia is probably around $1K-1.5K in comparison with the USA or two to three times higher then in the USA (the same is true in Ukraine). This might be the benchmark to strive for.

From the other point  of view, the transfer of Ukraine to a colony of EU is probably the event that should have been expected after the dissolution of the USSR and now needs to be played with cool head and skilled hands.  There is some small space for maneuvering even if this dismal colonial situation too. The task of extracting maximum benefits from this status and minimizing the damage is difficult, but not impossible. But this needs talented politicians and cooperation of different  political parties, who areas in which Ukraine currently is severely lacking.

NOTE: In Eastern Europe there are very few regions which does not changed hands several times in the last, say, 300 years. And as balance of power after the dissolution of the USSR dramatically changed in favor of EU it is natural that it started absorbing the countries of the former Warsaw block and some former Soviet republics. For example, Baltic countries are only nominally sovereign and are by-and-large ruled from what is called "Brussels Obcom." With the current wave of neo-colonialism I would say that this EU might well continue this process with Moldavia, Belorussia, and Armenia, as another possible "associated states" after Ukraine (Georgia actually is already in EU orbit). Getting EU into "stans" might provoke a strong reaction from China, so EU probably with tread more carefully in this space. 

 


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[Nov 16, 2018] Food scarcity and malnutrition of children under the age of 5, places the Ukraine in percentage terms lower than Pakistan, Ethiopia, Libya, Iraq

Nov 16, 2018 | thesaker.is

PeterP on November 12, 2018 , · at 9:06 pm EST/EDT

Food scarcity and malnutrition of children under the age of 5, places the Ukraine in percentage terms lower than Pakistan, Ethiopia, Libya, Iraq .the Ukraine welcomes the Cookie Monster (stats National Geographic)

[Nov 16, 2018] The Meaning Of A Multipolar World

Nov 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The Meaning Of A Multipolar World

by Tyler Durden Fri, 11/16/2018 - 00:05 4 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Saker Blog,

Right now, we live in a monopolar world.

Here is how U.S. President Barack Obama proudly, even imperially, described it when delivering the Commencement address to America's future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014 :

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation . [Every other nation is therefore 'dispensable'; we therefore now have "Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt".] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will...

Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China's economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future U.S. military leaders that they are to fight for the U.S. aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.] ...

In Ukraine, Russia's recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn't the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. [He was proud of the U.S. Government's effectiveness at propaganda, just as Hitler was proud of the German Government's propaganda-effectiveness under Joseph Goebbels.] Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine's economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.

Actually, his - Obama's - regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup , and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there. It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine. What remains of Ukraine after the U.S. conquest is a nazi mess and a destroyed nation in hock to Western taxpayers and banks .

Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush's term about Saddam Hussein) "regime-change" in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the U.N. asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it. Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate against bombing by Syria's Government and by Syria's ally Russia, while the U.S. bombed Syria's army , which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to "regime-change" Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to "regime-change" Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the "U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This Is Insane." And Obama's successor Trump continues Obama's policies in this regard. And, of course, the U.S. and its ally UK invaded Iraq in 2003, likewise on the basis of lies to the effect that Iraq was the aggressor . (Even Germany called Poland the aggressor when invading Poland in 1939.)

No other nation regularly invades other nations that never had invaded it. This is international aggression. It is the international crime of "War of Aggression" ; and the only nations which do it nowadays are America and its allies, such as the Sauds, Israel, France, and UK, which often join in America's aggressions (or, in the case of the Sauds' invasion of Yemen, the ally initiates an invasion, which the U.S. then joins). America's generals are taught this aggression, and not only by Obama. Ever since at least George W. Bush, it has been solid U.S. policy. (Bush even kicked out the U.N.'s weapons-inspectors, so as to bomb Iraq in 2003.)

In other words: a mono-polar world is a world in which one nation stands above international law, and that nation's participation in an invasion immunizes also each of its allies who join in the invasion, protecting it too from prosecution, so that a mono-polar world is one in which the United Nations can't even possibly impose international law impartially, but can impose it only against nations that aren't allied with the mono-polar power, which in this case is the United States. Furthermore, because the U.S. regime reigns supreme over the entire world, as it does, any nations -- such as Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador -- that the U.S. regime (which has itself been scientifically proven to be a dictatorship ) chooses to treat as an enemy, is especially disadvantaged internationally. Russia and China, however, are among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and therefore possess a degree of international protection that America's other chosen enemies do not. And the people who choose which nations to identify as America's 'enemies' are America's super-rich and not the entire American population, because the U.S. Government is controlled by the super-rich and not by the public .

So, that's the existing mono-polar world: it is a world that's controlled by one nation, and this one nation is, in turn, controlled by its aristocracy, its super-rich .

If one of the five permanent members of the Security Council would table at the U.N. a proposal to eliminate the immunity that the U.S. regime has, from investigation and prosecution for any future War of Aggression that it might perpetrate, then, of course, the U.S. and any of its allies on the Security Council would veto that, but if the proposing nation would then constantly call to the international public's attention that the U.S. and its allies had blocked passage of such a crucially needed "procedure to amend the UN charter" , and that this fact means that the U.S. and its allies constitute fascist regimes as was understood and applied against Germany's fascist regime, at the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945, then possibly some members of the U.S.-led gang (the NATO portion of it, at least) would quit that gang, and the U.S. global dictatorship might end, so that there would then become a multi-polar world, in which democracy could actually thrive.

Democracy can only shrivel in a mono-polar world, because all other nations then are simply vassal nations, which accept Obama's often-repeated dictum that all other nations are "dispensable" and that only the U.S. is not. Even the UK would actually gain in freedom, and in democracy, by breaking away from the U.S., because it would no longer be under the U.S. thumb -- the thumb of the global aggressor-nation.

Only one global poll has ever been taken of the question "Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?" and it found that, overwhelmingly, by a three-to-one ratio above the second-most-often named country, the United States was identified as being precisely that, the top threat to world-peace . But then, a few years later, another (though less-comprehensive) poll was taken on a similar question, and it produced similar results . Apparently, despite the effectiveness of America's propagandists, people in other lands recognize quite well that today's America is a more successful and longer-reigning version of Hitler's Germany. Although modern America's propaganda-operation is far more sophisticated than Nazi Germany's was, it's not entirely successful. America's invasions are now too common, all based on lies, just like Hitler's were.

On November 9th, Russian Television headlined "'Very insulting': Trump bashes Macron's idea of European army for protection from Russia, China & US" and reported that "US President Donald Trump has unloaded on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, calling the French president's idea of a 'real European army,' independent from Washington, an insult." On the one hand, Trump constantly criticizes France and other European nations for allegedly not paying enough for America's NATO military alliance, but he now is denigrating France for proposing to other NATO members a decreasing reliance upon NATO, and increasing reliance, instead, upon the Permanent Structured Cooperation (or PESCO) European military alliance , which was begun on 11 December 2017, and which currently has "25 EU Member States participating: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden." Those are the European nations that are now on the path to eventually quitting NATO.

Once NATO is ended, the U.S. regime will find far more difficult any invasions such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2016-, and maybe even such as America's bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected Government of Ukraine and installed a racist-fascist or nazi anti-Russian regime there in 2014 . All of these U.S. invasions (and coup) brought to Europe millions of refugees and enormously increased burdens upon European taxpayers. Plus, America's economic sanctions against both Russia and Iran have hurt European companies (and the U.S. does almost no business with either country, so is immune to that, also). Consequently, today's America is clearly Europe's actual main enemy. The continuation of NATO is actually toxic to the peoples of Europe. Communism and the Soviet Union and its NATO-mirroring Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended peacefully in 1991, but the U.S. regime has secretly continued the Cold War, now against Russia , and is increasingly focusing its "regime-change" propaganda against Russia's popular democratic leader, Vladimir Putin, even though this U.S. aggression against Russia could mean a world-annihilating nuclear war.

On November 11th, RT bannered "'Good for multipolar world': Putin positive on Macron's 'European army' plan bashed by Trump (VIDEO)" , and opened:

Europe's desire to create its own army and stop relying on Washington for defense is not only understandable, but would be "positive" for the multipolar world, Vladimir Putin said days after Donald Trump ripped into it.

" Europe is a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and sovereign in the field of defense and security," Putin told RT in Paris where world leader gathered to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.

He also described the potential creation of a European army "a positive process," adding that it would "strengthen the multipolar world." The Russian leader even expressed his support to French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently championed this idea by saying that Russia's stance on the issue "is aligned with that of France" to some extent.

Macron recently revived the ambitious plans of creating a combined EU military force by saying that it is essential for the security of Europe. He also said that the EU must become independent from its key ally on the other side of the Atlantic, provoking an angry reaction from Washington.

Once NATO has shrunk to include only the pro-aggression and outright nazi European nations, such as Ukraine (after the U.S. gang accepts Ukraine into NATO, as it almost certainly then would do), the EU will have a degree of freedom and of democracy that it can only dream of today, and there will then be a multi-polar world, in which the leaders of the U.S. will no longer enjoy the type of immunity from investigation and possible prosecution, for their invasions, that they do today. The result of this will, however, be catastrophic for the top 100 U.S. 'defense' contractors , such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, because then all of those firms' foreign sales except to the Sauds, Israel and a few other feudal and fascist regimes, will greatly decline. Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep the Sauds to the agreements he reached with them back in 2017 to buy $404 billion of U.S. weaponry over the following 10 years . If, in addition, those firms lose some of their European sales, then the U.S. economic boom thus far in Trump's Presidency will be seriously endangered. So, the U.S. regime, which is run by the owners of its 'defense'-contractors , will do all it can to prevent this from happening.

* * *

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .

[Nov 06, 2018] US-British Threats Against Russia Have a Long History by T.J. Coles – Matthew Alford

Notable quotes:
"... Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy ..."
"... There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale? ..."
"... What about military threats? ..."
"... So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply. ..."
"... Brexit White Paper ..."
"... T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books. ..."
"... Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is ..."
"... The Rise and Fall of the British Empire ..."
"... Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition ..."
"... Power without Responsibility ..."
"... Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot ..."
"... Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community ..."
"... Vision for 2020 ..."
"... Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future ..."
"... The New Atlanticist ..."
"... The United Kingdom's relations with Russia ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

In their new book Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy (Até Books), doctors T.J. Coles and Matthew Alford debate the rationale of Anglo-American policy towards Russia.

Alford: There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale?

Coles: There's no consensus, except among European and American elites. Europe and America are not the world.

There are a lot of issues to consider with regards to Russia. Is it a threat? If so to whom? What kind of threat is Russia? So let's consider these questions carefully. As far as the British establishment is concerned, Russia is an ideological threat because it is a major power with a substantial population. It's also self-reliant where oil and gas is concerned, unlike Britain. So there's lots of potential for Russian political ideology to undermine Britain's status. In fact, there are European Council on Foreign Relations papers saying that Putin's Russia presents an "ideological alternative" to the EU. [i] And that's dangerous.

Britain, or more accurately its policymaking elites, have considered Russia a significant enemy for over a century. Under the Tsar, the so-called Great Game was a battle for strategic resources, trading routes, and so on. The historian Lawrence James calls this period the first Cold War, which went "hot" with the Crimean War (1853-56). [ii] Britain had a mixed relationship with the Tsars because, on the one hand, theirs' were repressive regimes and Britain tended to favour repressive regimes, hence their brief alliance with Russia's enemy, the Ottomans. On the other hand, Russia was a strategic threat to Britain's imperial interests, and thus the Crimean War (1853-56).

When the Bolsheviks took over Russia, beginning 1917, the relationship became much less ambiguous – Russians, and especially Bolsheviks, were clearly the enemy. Their ideology posed a threat internally. So Winston Churchill, who began as a Liberal and became a Conservative, considered the Labour Party, which was formed in 1900, as basically a front for Bolsheviks. [iii] That shows the level of paranoia among elites. The Labour Party, at least at the beginning, was a genuine, working man's political organisation – women couldn't vote then, remember. So by associating this progressive, grassroots party representing the working classes as an ideological ally or even puppet of the brutal Bolshevik regime, the Tories had an excuse to undermine the power of organised, working people. So you had the Zinoviev letter in 1924, which we now know was a literal conspiracy between the secret services and elements of the Tory party to fabricate a link between Labour and Moscow. And it famously cost Labour the general election, since the right-wing, privately-owned media ran with the story as though it was real. It's an early example of fake news. [iv]

That's the ideological threat that Russia has posed, historically. But where there's a threat, there's an opportunity. The British elites exploited the "threat" then and as they do today by associating organised labour with evil Bolshevism and, in doing so, alienate the lower classes from their own political interests. Suddenly, we've all got to be scared of Russia, just like in 1917. And let's not forget that Britain used chemical weapons – M-Devices, which induced vomiting – against the Bolsheviks. Chemical weapons were "the right medicine for the Bolshevist," in Churchill's words. This was in 1919, as part of the Allied invasion of Russia in support of the White Army. [v]

So if we're talking about the historical balance of forces and cause and effect, Britain not Russia initiated the use of chemical weapons against others. But this history is typically inverted to say that Russia poses a threat to the West, hence all the talk about Novichok, the Skripals, and Dawn Sturgess, the civilian who supposedly came into contact with Novichok and died in hospital a few days later.

The next question: What sort of threat is Russia? According to the US Army War College, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and since pro-US, pro-"free market" President Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999, Russia has pursued so-called economic nationalism. And the US doesn't like this because markets suddenly get closed and taxes are raised against US corporations. [vi] That's the real threat. But you can't tell the public that: that we hate Russia because they aren't doing what we say. If you look through the military documents, you can find almost nothing about security threats against the US in terms of Russian expansion, except in the sense that "security" means operational freedom. You can find references to Russia's nuclear weapons, though, which are described as defensive, designed "to counter US forces and weapons systems." [vii] Try finding that on the BBC. I should mention that even "defensive" nukes can be launched accidentally.

The real goal with regards to Russia is maintaining US economic hegemony and the culture of open "free markets" that goes with it, while at the same time being protectionist in real life. (US protectionism didn't start under Trump, by the way.) Liberal media like the New York Times run sarcastic articles about Russian state oil and gas being a front for Putin and his cronies. And yes, that may be true. But what threat is Russia to the US if it has a corrupt government? The threat is closing its markets to the US. The US is committed to what its military calls Full Spectrum Dominance. So the world needs to be run in a US-led neoliberal order, in the words of the US military, "to protect US interests and investment." [viii] But this cannot be done if you have "economic nationalism," like China had until the "reforms" of the '70s and '80s, and still has today to some extent. Russia and China aren't military threats. The global population on the whole knows this, even though the domestic US and British media say the opposite.

Alford: What about military threats?

Coles: The best sources you can get are the US military records. Straight from the horse's mouth. The military plans for war and defence. They have contingencies for when political situations change. So they know what they're talking about. There's a massive divide between reality, as understood from the military records, and media and political rhetoric. Assessments by the US Army War College, for instance, said years ago that any moves by NATO to support a Western-backed government in Ukraine would provoke Russia into annexing Crimea. They don't talk about Russia spontaneously invading Ukraine and annexing it, which is the image we get from the media. The documents talk about Russia reacting to NATO provocation. [ix]

If you look at a map, you see Russia surrounded by hostile NATO forces. The media don't discuss this dangerous and provocative situation, except the occasional mention of, say, US-British-Polish war-gaming on the border with Russia. When they do mention it, they say it's for "containment," the containment of Russia. But to contain something, the given thing has to be expanding. But the US military – like the annual threat assessments to Congress – say that Russia's not expanding, except when provoked. So at the moment as part of its NATO mission, the UK is training Polish and Ukrainian armed forces, has deployed troops in Poland and Estonia, and is conducting military exercises with them. [x]

Imagine if Scotland ceded from the UK and the Russians were on our border conducting military exercises, supposedly to deter a British invasion of Scotland. That's what we're doing in Ukraine. Britain's moves are extremely dangerous. In the 1980s, the UK as part of NATO conducted the exercise, Operation Able Archer, which envisaged troop build-ups between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. Now-declassified records show that the Russians briefly mistook this exercise for a real-world scenario. That could have escalated into nuclear war. This is very serious. [xi]

But the biggest player is the USA. It's using the threat of force and a global architecture of hi-tech militarism to shape a neoliberal order. Britain is slavishly following its lead. I doubt that Britain would position forces near Russia were it not for the USA. Successive US administrations have or are building a missile system in Europe and Turkey. They say it's to deter Iran from firing Scud missiles at Europe. But it's pointed at Russia. It's a radar system based in Romania and Turkey, with a battery of Patriot missiles based in Poland. The stationing of missiles there provoked Russia into moving its mobile nuclear weapons up to the border in its Kaliningrad exclave, as it warned it would do in 2008. [xii] Try to find any coverage of that in the media, except for a few articles in the print media here or there. If Western media were interested in survival, there would be regular headlines: "NATO provoking Russia."

But the situation in Ukraine is really the tipping point. Consider the equivalent. Imagine if Russia was conducting military exercises with Canada or Mexico, and building bases there. How would the US react? It would be considered an extreme threat, a violation of the UN Charter, which prohibits threats against sovereign states.

Alford: So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply.

Coles: There's no morality involved. States are abstract, amorphous entities comprised of dominant minorities and subjugated majorities who are conditioned to believe that they are relatively free and prosperous. The elites of those states act both in their self-interests – career, peer-pressure, kickbacks, and so on – and in the interests of their class, which is of course tied to international relations because their class thrives on profiting from resource exploitation. So you can't talk about morality in this context. Only individuals can behave morally. The state is made up of individuals, of course, but they're acting against the interests of the majority. As we speak, they are acting immorally – or at least amorally – but creating the geopolitical conditions that imperil each and every one of us.

As for invasion, we're not going to invade Russia. This isn't 1918. Russia has nuclear weapons and can deter an invasion. But that's not the point. Do we want to de-escalate an already tense geopolitical situation or make it worse to the point where an accident happens? So while it's not about invading Russia directly, the issue is about attacking what are called Russia's "national interests." Russia's "national interests" are the same as the elites' of the UK. National interest doesn't mean the interests of the public. It means the interests of the policymaking establishment and the corporations. For example, the Theresa May government sacrificed its own credibility to ensure that its Brexit White Paper (2018) appeased both the interests of the food and manufacturing industries that want a soft Brexit – easy trade with the EU – and the financial services sector which wants a hard Brexit – freedom from EU regulation. Everyone else be damned. That's the "national interest."

So for its real "national interest," Russia wants to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence because its oil and gas to Europe pass through Ukraine. About 80% of Russia's export economy is in the oil and gas sector. It's already had serious political tensions with Ukraine, which on several occasions hasn't paid its energy bills, so Russia has cut supplies. If Europe can bump Ukraine into its own sphere of influence it has more leverage over Russia. This is practically admitted in Parliamentary discussions by Foreign Office ministers, and so forth. [xiii] Again, omitted by the media. Also, remember that plenty of ethnic Russians live in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russia has a naval base in Crimea. That's not to excuse its illegal action in annexing Ukraine, it's to highlight the realpolitik missing in the media's coverage of the situation.

T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books.

Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is Union Jackboot (Até Books).

SOURCES

[i] Mark Leonard and Nicu Popescu (2007) 'A Power Audit of EU-Russia Relations' European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Paper, p. 1 http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR-02_A_POWER_AUDIT_OF_EU-RUSSIA_RELATIONS.pdf .

[ii] 'Anglo-Russian relations were severely strained; what was in effect a cold war lasted from the late 1820s to the beginning of the next century'. The Crimean War seems to have set a precedent for today. James writes:

[It] was an imperial war, the only one fought by Britain against a European power during the nineteenth century, although some would have regarded Russia as essentially an Asiatic power. No territory was at stake; the war was undertaken solely to guarantee British naval supremacy in the Mediterranean and, indirectly, to forestall any threat to India which might have followed Russia replacing Britain as the dominant power in the Middle East.

Lawrence James (1997) The Rise and Fall of the British Empire London: Abacus, pp. 180-82.

[iii] Churchill said in 1920:

All these strikes and rumours of strikes and threats of strikes and loss and suffering caused by them; all this talk of revolution and "direct action" have deeply offended most of the British people. There is a growing feeling that a considerable section of organized Labour is trying to tyrannize over the whole public and to bully them into submission, not by argument, not by recognized political measures, but by brute force

But if we can do little for Russia [under the Bolsheviks], we can do much for Britain. We do not want any of these experiments here

Whether it is the Irish murder gang or the Egyptian vengeance society, or the seditious extremists in India, or the arch-traitors we have at home, they will feel the weight of the British arm.

Winston Churchill (1920) Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition . Speech to United Wards Club. London: The International Churchill Society https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1915-1929-nadir-and-recovery/bolshevism-and-imperial-sedition/ .

[iv] The fake letter says:

A settlement of relations between the two countries [UK and Russia] will assist in the revolutionising of the international and British proletariat, [and] make it possible for us to extend and develop the propaganda and ideas of Leninism in England and the colonies.

It also says that 'British workmen' have 'inclinations to compromise' and that rapprochement will eventually lead to domestic '[a]rmed warfare'. It was leaked by the services to the Conservative party and then to the media. Richard Norton-Taylor (1999) 'Zinoviev letter was dirty trick by MI6' Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/politics/1999/feb/04/uk.politicalnews6 and Louise Jury (1999) 'Official Zinoviev letter was forged' Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/official-zinoviev-letter-was-forged-1068600.html . For media coverage at the time, see James Curran and Jean Seaton (1997) Power without Responsibility London: Routledge, p. 52.

[v] Paul F. Walker (2017) 'A Century of Chemical Warfare: Building a World Free of Chemical Weapons' Conference: One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences pp. 379-400 and Giles Milton (2013) Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot London: Hodder, eBook.

[vi] 'The Russian Federation has shown repeatedly that common values play almost no role in its consideration of its trading partners', meaning the US and EU. 'It often builds relationships with countries that most openly thwart Western values of free markets and democracy', notably Iran and Venezuela. 'In this regard, the Russian Federation behaves like "Russia Incorporated." It uses its re-nationalized industries to further its wealth and influence, the latter often at the expense of the EU and the U.S.'. Colonel Richard J. Anderson (2008) 'A History of President Putin's Campaign to Re-Nationalize Industry and the Implications for Russian Reform and Foreign Policy' Senior Service College, US Army War College, Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 52.

[vii] Daniel R. Coats (2017) Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Washington, DC: Office of the Director of

National Intelligence, pp. 18-19 https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/SSCI%20Unclassified%20SFR%20-%20Final.pdf .

[viii] US Space Command (1997) Vision for 2020 Colorado: Peterson Air Force Base https://ia802705.us.archive.org/10/items/pdfy-j6U3MFw1cGmC-yob/U.S.%20Space%20Command%20Vision%20For%202020.pdf .

[ix] The document also says: 'a replay of the West-sponsored coup against pro-Russian elites could result in a split, or indeed multiple splits, of the failed Ukraine, which would open a door for NATO intervention'.Pavel K. Baev (2011) 'Russia's security relations with the United States: Futures planned and unplanned' in Stephen J. Blank (ed.) Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future Strategic Studies Institute Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 170, www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1087.pdf.

[x] Forces Network (2016) 'British troops to deploy to Poland' https://www.forces.net/news/tri-service/british-troops-deploy-poland .

[xi] For example, Nate Jones, Thomas Blanton and Christian F. Ostermann (2016) 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History' Nuclear Proliferation International History Project Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/able-archer-83-the-secret-history .

[xii] It was reported in the ultra-right, neo-con press at the time that:

[Russian] President Dmitri Medvedev announced in his first state-of-the-nation address plans to deploy the short-range SS-26 ("Iskander") missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad if the U.S. goes ahead with its European Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Medvedev told parliament that the deployment would "neutralize" U.S. plans for a missile defense shield based in Poland and the Czech Republic [now in Romania), which the U.S. claims as vital in defending against missile attacks from 'rogue states' such as Iran.

Neil Leslie (2008) 'The Kaliningrad Missile Crisis' The New Atlanticist , available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/the-kaliningrad-missile-crisis.

[xiii] For example, a Parliamentary inquiry into British-Russian relations says of the newly-imposed US-British ally in Ukraine:

President Poroshenko's Government is more openly committed to economic reform and anti-corruption than any previous Ukrainian Administration. The reform agenda has made considerable progress and has enjoyed some successes including police reform, liberalisation of the energy market and the launch of an online platform for government procurement

The annexation of Crimea also resulted in a ban on importing products from Crimea, on investing in or providing services linked to tourism and on exporting certain goods for use in the transport, telecoms and energy sectors.

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (2017) The United Kingdom's relations with Russia Seventh report of session 2016-17, HC 120 London: Stationary Office, pp. 28, 31 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/120/120.pdf

[Nov 01, 2018] Ukraine s depopulation crisis by Jason Melanovski

This is the net result of neoliberalism enforced debt slavery for the country. And there is no chances for Ukrainians to climb back from this debt hole.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukraine's SSS has acknowledged that so far this year, the population has already decreased by 122,000. ..."
"... While the country's low birth rate of approximately 1 birth for 1.5 deaths is a contributing factor to the country's depopulation, emigration is by far the biggest factor. ..."
"... Between 2002 and 2017, an estimated 6.3 million Ukrainians emigrated with no plans to return. ..."
"... Through 2015 and 2017, as a result of the ongoing war in the Donbass region and the plunging value of the Ukrainian hryvnia, migration increased notably: 507,000 people went to Poland; 147,000 to Italy; 122,000 to the Czech Republic; 23,000 to the United States; and 365,000 to Russia or Belarus. ..."
"... The easing of visa-free travel by the European Union (EU) in September 2017 only increased the flow of Ukrainians to countries such as Poland, which is facing its own demographic crisis and in need of workers. In 2018 alone, more than 3 million Ukrainians applied for passports that would allow them to work in Poland. Poland is the only EU country that allows Ukrainians to obtain seasonal work visas with just a passport. Ukrainians have received 81.7% of all work visas issued in Poland this year. ..."
"... Between 1 and 2 million Ukrainian workers now reside in Poland, where they are often forced to take jobs "under the table," are easily exploited by employers, and work in dangerous conditions. Many Ukrainian laborers are recruited to Poland by scam offers of employment, only to then find themselves stranded and forced to work for whatever wage they can get. ..."
"... While Russia is constantly demonized in the Ukrainian and Western press as the eternal enemy of Ukraine, 2 million Ukrainian citizens now live or work in Russia. According to Olga Kirilova, between 2014 and 2017, 312,000 Ukrainians were granted Russian citizenship and Ukrainians make up the vast majority of immigrants to Russia. ..."
"... The migration of Ukrainian workers abroad has reached such a level that remittances from migrants now constitute 3 to 4 percent of the country's GDP. They exceed the amount of foreign investment in Ukraine. Nonetheless, such transfers are not nearly enough to make up for the negative impact of the currency's falling value, inflation, and the disappearance of skilled workers. ..."
"... The Ukrainian ruling class acknowledges that the country is in serious trouble. "One of the main risks of the current scenario is the continuation of the outflow of labor from Ukraine, which will create a further increase in the imbalance between demand and supply in the labor market," noted a report from the country's national bank. ..."
"... The Corrupt, extreme right wing government of Poroshenko, that has driven large proportions of the Ukrainian population into poverty and despair has only been able to take power and remain I office thanks to US imperialism and Angela Merkel's scheming and regime change program. ..."
"... Popular support for the "maidan" in the Ukraine was based on misleading and dishonest claims by pro EU and Pro US opportunistic political operators that such "regime change" would lead to total integration with Europe and open borders.... ..."
"... One of the most horrific consequences of the dismantling of the Soviet Union was the explosion of sex trafficking and very large numbers of Ukrainian women were caught up in this horrific exploitation and continue to be. ..."
"... Oh the benefits of US installed dictatorships. ..."
"... "Welcome to Europe, Ukraine. Here are your rubber gloves and toilet cleaning brush. Oh, you're a young woman? The red light district is three blocks that way". ..."
"... In Baltic states after being "freed from communism and Soviet occupation" the population decline is also very prominent, the same reasons as in Ukraine too. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.wsws.org

As fascist far-right nationalist groups regularly parade through the country demanding "Ukraine for Ukrainians," Ukraine faces a massive depopulation crisis. Millions of people of all ethnicities are leaving the country, fleeing poverty and war.

Since the restoration of capitalism in 1991, the overall population of Ukraine has declined from just over 52 million to approximately 42 million today, a decrease of nearly 20 percent. If the separatist-controlled provinces of the Donbass region and Crimea are excluded, it is estimated that just 35 million people now live in the area controlled by the government of Petro Porosehnko.

Ukrainian governments, including the current one, have been loath to carry out an official census, as it is widely believed that the population estimates reported by the country's State Statistics Service (SSS) are inflated by including deceased individuals. One aim of this is to rig elections. An official country-wide census has not been held since 2001. In late 2015, the Poroshenko government postponed the 2016 census until 2020.

Despite the lack of reliable official numbers, all independent reports point to a sharp reduction in the population. According to Ukraine's Institute of Demography at the Academy of Sciences, by 2050 only 32 million people will live in the country. The World Health Organization has estimated that the population of the country will drop even further, to just 30 million people.

Ukraine's SSS has acknowledged that so far this year, the population has already decreased by 122,000.

Such data are a testament to the monumental failure of capitalism to provide a standard of living that matches, much less exceeds, that which existed during the Soviet period over 25 years ago.

While the country's low birth rate of approximately 1 birth for 1.5 deaths is a contributing factor to the country's depopulation, emigration is by far the biggest factor.

Between 2002 and 2017, an estimated 6.3 million Ukrainians emigrated with no plans to return.

Facing poor employment prospects, deteriorating social and medical services, marauding far-right gangs, and the ever-present prospect of a full-scale war with Russia, Ukrainian workers are fleeing the country in great numbers, either permanently or as temporary labor migrants.

According to a report from the Center for Economic Strategy (CES), almost 4 million people, or up to 16% of the working-age population, are labor migrants. Despite having Ukrainian citizenship and still technically living in Ukraine, they actually reside and work elsewhere. Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put the number of Ukrainian migrant workers even higher, at 5 million.

Through 2015 and 2017, as a result of the ongoing war in the Donbass region and the plunging value of the Ukrainian hryvnia, migration increased notably: 507,000 people went to Poland; 147,000 to Italy; 122,000 to the Czech Republic; 23,000 to the United States; and 365,000 to Russia or Belarus.

The easing of visa-free travel by the European Union (EU) in September 2017 only increased the flow of Ukrainians to countries such as Poland, which is facing its own demographic crisis and in need of workers. In 2018 alone, more than 3 million Ukrainians applied for passports that would allow them to work in Poland. Poland is the only EU country that allows Ukrainians to obtain seasonal work visas with just a passport. Ukrainians have received 81.7% of all work visas issued in Poland this year.

Between 1 and 2 million Ukrainian workers now reside in Poland, where they are often forced to take jobs "under the table," are easily exploited by employers, and work in dangerous conditions. Many Ukrainian laborers are recruited to Poland by scam offers of employment, only to then find themselves stranded and forced to work for whatever wage they can get.

While migrant workers in Poland are constantly subjected to anti-immigrant rhetoric from the right-wing PiS government in Warsaw, the Polish state classifies Ukrainian laborers as "refugees" in order to comply with EU quotas and reject refugees from Syria and elsewhere.

According to polls of Ukrainian migrants in Poland, over half are planning to move to Germany if the labor market there is ever open to them.

While Russia is constantly demonized in the Ukrainian and Western press as the eternal enemy of Ukraine, 2 million Ukrainian citizens now live or work in Russia. According to Olga Kirilova, between 2014 and 2017, 312,000 Ukrainians were granted Russian citizenship and Ukrainians make up the vast majority of immigrants to Russia.

The dearth of a working-age population in Ukraine is putting further strain on an already struggling pension system. According to Ukraine's SSS, as a result of widespread labor migration, only 17.8 million out of 42 million Ukrainians are economically active and paying into the pension system.

The migration of Ukrainian workers abroad has reached such a level that remittances from migrants now constitute 3 to 4 percent of the country's GDP. They exceed the amount of foreign investment in Ukraine. Nonetheless, such transfers are not nearly enough to make up for the negative impact of the currency's falling value, inflation, and the disappearance of skilled workers.

The Ukrainian ruling class acknowledges that the country is in serious trouble. "One of the main risks of the current scenario is the continuation of the outflow of labor from Ukraine, which will create a further increase in the imbalance between demand and supply in the labor market," noted a report from the country's national bank.

However, the government can do nothing to slow the mass emigration, as it is thoroughly under the control of international finance capital and committed to implementing the austerity programs demanded by Western states and banks.

Despite assurances from the Poroshenko regime that the economy will improve, the emigration and emptying of the country shows no signs of slowing.


John Upton • 5 hours ago

The Corrupt, extreme right wing government of Poroshenko, that has driven large proportions of the Ukrainian population into poverty and despair has only been able to take power and remain I office thanks to US imperialism and Angela Merkel's scheming and regime change program.

Without the working class intervening the only ones remaining in Ukraine will be those unable to leave and those that have their noses in the trough.

Kalen7 hours ago
Another excellent report of decaying of artificial entity of Ukraine (and capitalism specializes in collapsing societies) that never even existed before 1992 in European history and was resurrected ( from brief self declared by Bandera racist state status in 1941) and funded by Germany, Canada and US only to nurture their Fascist and actual Nazi traditions starting from Doncov to Bandera terror of hundreds of thousands dead 1941-1948 of OUN-B, UPA and Ukrainian SS, all against Russia, as Ukrainian "Country" was and is used as a Trojan horse to push Putin to submit to the west even more than he does now.

Pain and suffering of Ukrainian people is enormous as only 5% of population of Ukrainian Nazi thugs terrorist nation like like Hitler street thugs in 1932-1934. It is tragedy that capitalism instigated, exasperated and augmented and should be a lesson for the left what nationalism does, divides working class that was rendered powerless in Ukraine as Ukrainian industry tied to Russia collapsed and forces massive migration and de-cohesion of communities, divisions of working class and eradication of any real leftist leadership via murder, intimidation and exile.

Just a note. All that anti Russia hoopla after 2014 and ensuing NATO belligerence and warmongering and sanctions all were focused on so called annexation of Crimea to Russia which was nothing but reunification of land under control of Russia since 1754.

I was shocked watching an episode of Columbo, crime series in 1970s when one of characters proudly referred to California joining in US 1845 as annexation from Mexico, with no shame or condemnation like hinting that it was international aggression of US as Alta California was never part of US before that.

Well, it was before 1984 and Orwellian newspeak.

Note that Crimea remained autonomous region, not a part of Russia but part of Russian Federation.

solerso8 hours ago
Popular support for the "maidan" in the Ukraine was based on misleading and dishonest claims by pro EU and Pro US opportunistic political operators that such "regime change" would lead to total integration with Europe and open borders.... That would have allowed (so the misconception went) Ukrainians to flee the country much more openly with less red tape and hassle at the borders. So, far from being politically or ideologically supportive of Europe or the US or opportunist/nationalist Ukrainian politicians, the vast majority of Ukrainians only wanted to be allowed to flee, as they experience it, a social shipwreck
Charles8 hours ago
One of the most horrific consequences of the dismantling of the Soviet Union was the explosion of sex trafficking and very large numbers of Ukrainian women were caught up in this horrific exploitation and continue to be.
John Upton • 9 hours ago
Victoria Newland and Geoffrey Pyatt, both US officials, were recorded at the time of the right wing and fascist led coup that overthrew Russian backed Yanakovic, boasting that Washington had poured $5 billion into Ukraine ensuring that their man, an ex World Bank executive, was elected.

Since then the most rabid anti working class/ anti Russian governments have ruled the roost. Only those unable to flee this hell- hole and those whose snout is in the trough will soon be left there. Oh the benefits of US installed dictatorships.

Warren Duzak13 hours ago
In addition to emigration, Ukraine's decreasing population is a result of a higher infant mortality rate than surrounding countries. High infant mortality rates always indicate economic and social stress.
According to The World Bank 2017 figures for infant mortality in that region, the rate per 1,000 births in Ukraine is 7.5 compared to the following rates in surrounding countries:
Poland - 4.0
Romania - 6.6
Russia - 6.5
Belarus - 2.8
Hungary -3.8
Slovak Republic - 4.6
Only poor Moldova is higher at 13.3
Terry Lawrence15 hours ago
Kinda shot themselves in the foot with their "Revolution of Dignity" fascist coup. "Welcome to Europe, Ukraine. Here are your rubber gloves and toilet cleaning brush. Oh, you're a young woman? The red light district is three blocks that way".

Life in Crimea must be looking pretty good to them now.

Richard Mod • 16 hours ago
including the deceased in the population statistics brings to mind Gogol's "Dead Souls"!
erika16 hours ago
This is an important update on developments in the Ukraine.
Raycomeau17 hours ago
The puppet of the USA, Poroshenko , needs to go, and the USA should get the hell out of the Ukraine plus NATO has no business being on the borders of Russia. This is all the fault of the USA, And, the current immigration problem world wide is because the USA bombs countries eviscerating them yet the USA refuses to admit refugees which are fleeing from the USA wars.
Terry Lawrence Raycomeau5 hours ago
NATO has no business even existing, Ray.
manchegauche18 hours ago
Very illuminating article - great topic to choose. NIce one
лидия19 hours ago
In Baltic states after being "freed from communism and Soviet occupation" the population decline is also very prominent, the same reasons as in Ukraine too.
Human6 лидия5 hours ago
These same right-wing, fascist Ukrainian Banderovitzes love to yell and scream about the bogus "Holodomor" hoax (which has been debunked by serious scholars such as Pers Anders Rudling, and others, as well as Thottle). They falsely claim that the USSR tried to "depopulate" Ukrainians, when they are the ones who have depopulated Ukraine.

They are such shameless, low down, dirty liars.

[Nov 01, 2018] Trade between Russia and Ukraine hit a low of $10.26 Billion in 2016, but struggled back up to $12.9 Billion last year. Pre Maidan it was more than $50 Billion annually.

Nov 01, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman November 1, 2018 at 11:48 am

Speaking of Ukraine, the Russian sanctions against Ukraine have been announced. Predictably, Poroshenko considers them to be 'an award', or so he says. I don't know why he feels qualified to speak for those so honoured, since he was not on the list.

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1N6564

Trade between Russia and Ukraine hit a low of $10.26 Billion in 2016, but struggled back up to $12.9 Billion last year. Mind you, pre-glorious-Maidan it was more than $50 Billion annually. Never mind; I'm sure Yurrup will pick up the slack, just like it did after the glorious Maidan. Amazingly, the New York Times is still referring to Poroshenko as a 'chocolate tycoon', in the same sentence in which it calls Viktor Pinchuk an oligarch.

[Oct 25, 2018] Entrepreneurs of political violence: the varied interests and strategies of the far-right in Ukraine

Oct 25, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

UKRAINE. " Entrepreneurs of political violence: the varied interests and strategies of the far-right in Ukraine" In Open Democracy no less.

Bit by bit the word is seeping out. IMF rates Ukraine the poorest country in Europe .

This piece gives a summary of its problems with Hungary, Poland and Belarus .

[Oct 20, 2018] According to Global Wealth Report by the personal wealth of the population Ukraine is in the 123rd place (out of 140 countries ranked).

Oct 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

AP says: October 18, 2018 at 9:58 pm GMT 100 Words @Gerard2

This months gas tariff for "Ukrainians" increases by 24%!!

The context is that Ukrainian consumers have the lowest gas rate in Europe. Moldovan households pay more for gas than do Ukrainian ones. Even with a 24% price increase Ukraine will still have the cheapest gas in Europe for its consumers:

https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Natural_gas_price_statistics

AP says: October 19, 2018 at 12:46 am GMT @Gerard2

The price increase will go past 40% in May

Which will make gas prices for Ukrainian consumers more or less tied with those in Moldova as the cheapest in Europe.

For whatever reason IMF wanted Ukrainian consumers not be subsidized as much as they have been.

AnonFromTN , says: October 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT

@Anon According to Global Wealth Report ( https://www.credit-suisse.com/corporate/en/articles/news-and-expertise/global-wealth-report-2018-us-and-china-in-the-lead-201810.html ), by the personal wealth of the population Ukraine is in the 123rd place (out of 140 countries ranked).
By this measure Ukraine is behind Nepal, Cameroon, Kenia, Bangladesh, and Lesotho, just ahead of Zambia. But there are 135 people in Ukraine with personal wealth greater than $50 million.

A huge line for free food at the charity kitchen in Kiev can be seen here: http://rusvesna.su/news/1539952343 (those who read Russian can find details in the accompanying news item).

I guess all of this is a great achievement of Maidan. Ukies, please comment.

[Oct 19, 2018] This is about spreading our liberal values" (translation: the American people don't need to be informed about the region are changes are non-negotiable).

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kadath , Oct 18, 2018 5:49:18 PM | link

just watched the Atlantic council's Championing the Frontlines of Freedom: Erasing the "Grey Zone", only interesting thing to come out of the conference was Kurt Volker's (US Special Representative for Ukraine) comments;

  1. Escalating sanctions vs Russia every 1-2 months there will be new & expanded sanctions on Russia.
  2. Stable borders should not be a requirement to be a part of NATO, "Occupied" states can be taken into NATO and receive support from NATO to liberate themselves (he stressed that the US would not be escalate the conflict, but how the hell could anyone guarantee that).
  3. Opposition to Russia is now bipartisan, regardless of the Nov elections, US Senate & Congress are unified against Russia
  4. when asked how "We" (the Atlantic council) can make political elites care about Baltic states (plus Ukraine/Georgia), WITHOUT knowing the historical and political details of these states he, unsurprisingly answered "this is about spreading our liberal values" (translation: the American people don't need to be informed about the region are changes are non-negotiable). the long and the short of the 3 hour conference was the new cold war vs Russia will continue indefinitely, I would say this is the start of another generation conflict that will last 10-20 years at least

Mark2 , Oct 18, 2018 5:55:03 PM | link

Ok i'l stick my neck out !
It's over for America ! That's my assessment their day is d d d done ! Am basing my view on the worldwide picture politically, the mind set of the general public I talk to, the many sites I visit on the net left and right. Plus overall wisdom and overstanding (a Rasta thing) Empires fall, this one has more than had its day. If it was a buseness what does it produce ? And at what cost? It just robs other peoples hard earned resources and assets! For all it's wealth it treats it's own public like dirt milking them dry. It's intelligent public it curupt's. Nature abbor's greed, and wil correct that imbalance.

I think Putin understands this, and understands as I do 'desperate people do desperate things' hence his speech.
Censoring the truth on a massive network like the internet is truly impossible and plainly desperate !!!

[Sep 16, 2018] US goal was to take Ukraine into the future that it deserves. Now with grivna devaluation of over 300% we see what they meant

Notable quotes
... "What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that."
... From article: He [Clegg] also argued that the country should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Russian troops allegedly downed the civilian airliner Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July. Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned.
..."I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media -- who seem to have a daily axe to grind against the Russian state, but who say nothing about the warmongering actions of the US. I imagine I would have the same opinion of you if I was to uncritically swallow such toxic rubbish."
..."The only way to effectively block people from other regions (blanket censor them, in other words) would be to positively identify the source. All that you would likely achieve is blocking actual individual commentators and letting through the government astroturfers.
Why you would want to resort to such tactics is worth asking. The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer. Repeated debunked claims in our media are also going to be far more damaging than anything similar in Russia. The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting.
Notable quotes:
"... But it's very suspect when you say things like "Putin's created a criminal war in East Ukraine" when it was Kiev which started the violence in reaction to the Russian Ukrainians voting for Federalization in response to the coup in Kiev. It means that everything else you write has to be treated as suspect. ..."
"... alpamysh ... you've merely regurgitated the standard NeoCon list of justifications for why a democratically-elected leader needed to be overthrown ..."
"... The article isn't worth the headline really. The new cold war is on and obviously they'll be barring each other. ..."
"... On the other hand the EU has also put an entry ban on leading Russian politicians, among which are the chairman of the Federation council, politicians from the state Duma and also close advisors to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is not anticipated that either side will lift the entry bans in the near future. (Excerpt and rough translation from German) ..."
"... "In December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," by which she meant into the West's orbit and away from Russia's. ..."
"... But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine's economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych's decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country's western and more pro-European region. ..."
"... By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government. ..."
"... "Yats is the guy," Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. "He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy you know." By "Yats," Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister - and who was committed to harsh austerity. ..."
"... Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned. ..."
"... "Putin wants sanctions" ... what a bunch of silly conjecture. As for "Putin style rule" and "Tzar" .. you presumably know that Russia held democratic elections which Putin won. ..."
"... let me guess, The list probably contains politicians whose real loyalty maybe is with the US? Judge from the 2 names mentioned, Malcolm Riffkind is Co-Vice Chair of the Global Panel Foundation – America – with Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, the former U.S Under-Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Armed Forces. ..."
"... your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll ..."
"... What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that. ..."
"... I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media - ..."
"... We're the global overlords, and so second-rate nations aren't allowed to reciprocate our petulant actions. When they do so it causes some people to question the assumed status of the 'Western' hegemony (and our claimed system of morally superior 'values'). We can't allow that sort of thing, Popeyes. ..."
"... The Guardian has a clear pro-EU/USA position on the new cold war against Russia. ..."
"... The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer. ..."
"... The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting. ..."
May 31, 2015 | The Guardian

JordanFromLondon -> Havingalavrov 31 May 2015 12:26

"Look at the Moscow apartment bombings"... look at any number of CIA false flag operations. As for "most of the national T.V is Putin press." ... Murdoch has a controlling interest in printed press and a large share of TV news in Australia and the UK. Maybe you are one of the CIA-employed agitators against Russia, or maybe you have a chip on your shoulder about a failed relationship with a Russia bride. I can't be sure from your comments.

But it's very suspect when you say things like "Putin's created a criminal war in East Ukraine" when it was Kiev which started the violence in reaction to the Russian Ukrainians voting for Federalization in response to the coup in Kiev. It means that everything else you write has to be treated as suspect.

Huo Fu Yan 31 May 2015 12:24

I don't see a big issue with that list. If some people from that list travel anywhere, it will be considered wasting tax payer money anyways. They aren't even embraced by a majority in their own countries, some of them belonging to totally irrelevant weird initiative, shouting and crying about this and that.

For others on that list, being linked to military organisations, the should be banned naturally. As for vacation, I don't think Russia was on those guys list either

JordanFromLondon -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 12:14

alpamysh ... you've merely regurgitated the standard NeoCon list of justifications for why a democratically-elected leader needed to be overthrown (e.g. Egypt's Morsi). If we take your "Hitler was elected" argument, we can apply that one to any election outcome. If you won your high school "class monitor" election ... we'll Hitler won an election too. It's nothing more than a lazy smear by association. If we take your "rigs the right of the opposition" argument, well there goes Israel's claims to democracy. They arrest/ban viable Arab opposition figures to prevent them standing in elections. Also, we have to eliminate Ukraine, who have assassinated about 12 of Yanukovich's inner circle since the coup.

uzzername 31 May 2015 12:09

The article isn't worth the headline really. The new cold war is on and obviously they'll be barring each other.

Russia, along with the rest of BRICS is an emerging economy. While in the developed economies big corporations scramble for every penny they rip off off the consumers, the BRICS are a goldmine for adventurous capitalists as you can score quite a bit of dope in one scoop if you invest enough in it.

That's why some of them suits on the list are pissed off. Obvs not because their summer holiday in Siberia has gone into smithereens.

umweltAT2100 31 May 2015 12:04

According to a report in ARD (German state media) the entry ban is a reaction / retaliation in response to the entry ban imposed on Russians in connection with the Crimea annexation. Approximately 200 people are on the Russian black list. The largest number are from the USA, with the Republican John McCain declared "persona non grata", followed by Canadian politicians.

On the other hand the EU has also put an entry ban on leading Russian politicians, among which are the chairman of the Federation council, politicians from the state Duma and also close advisors to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is not anticipated that either side will lift the entry bans in the near future. (Excerpt and rough translation from German)

Russian entry ban for dozens of politicians – Moscow's black list is out. (Hermann Krause, ARD Radio studio, Moscow, 30.05.2015)

Russische Einreiseverbote für Dutzende Politiker Moskaus "schwarze Liste" ist raus. Von Hermann Krause, ARD-Hörfunkstudio Moskau, 30.05.2015

http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/russland-einreiseverbot-103.html

Danish5666 -> dralion 31 May 2015 12:03

Victoria Nuland and the neocons to be more precise,

"In December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," by which she meant into the West's orbit and away from Russia's.

But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine's economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych's decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country's western and more pro-European region.

Nuland was soon at work planning for "regime change," encouraging disruptive street protests by personally passing out cookies to the anti-government demonstrators. She didn't seem to notice or mind that the protesters in Kiev's Maidan square had hoisted a large banner honoring Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.

By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government.

"Yats is the guy," Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. "He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy you know." By "Yats," Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister - and who was committed to harsh austerity.

As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera's anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World War II.

With the crisis escalating and scores of people killed in the street fighting, Yanukovych agreed to a E.U.-brokered deal that called for moving up scheduled elections and having the police stand down. The neo-Nazi storm troopers then seized the opening to occupy government buildings and force Yanukovych and many of his aides to flee for their lives."
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/

JordanFromLondon -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 11:53

What proof do you have that the Russian elections were phony ? The results were in line with independent opinion polls. Which referendums was phony ? The first Iraqi election after Sadam was toppled was certainly phony. The US military whisked away the ballot boxes for a week after voting was completed before announcing that the Shia (60% of Iraqis) had failed to get a majority (despite the 20% Bathist Sunni boycotting the election so only the 20% Kurds voted against the 60% Shia).

geedeesee -> SnarkyGrumpkin 31 May 2015 11:50

From article: He [Clegg] also argued that the country should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Russian troops allegedly downed the civilian airliner Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July.

Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned.

JordanFromLondon -> Havingalavrov 31 May 2015 11:45

"Putin wants sanctions" ... what a bunch of silly conjecture. As for "Putin style rule" and "Tzar" .. you presumably know that Russia held democratic elections which Putin won. That's more than many of the US/UK allies can say (take your pick of the Gulf state leaders). Don't buy into the mindless anti-Russian propaganda doing the rounds. I suspect that it's intended to soften public opnion for anti-Russian attrocities committed in our name to come.

Huo Fu Yan -> David Port 31 May 2015 11:36

It's true, 1/3 the list are politicians and military leader from Poland and baltics with no intend to enter Russia anyways. The rest are merely people engaged in military organisations (should be banned naturally) or weird political groups and initiatives.

Furthermore, there are a few irrelevant politicians on the list for whatever reason. To be frank, a few people from that list you wouldt want in your own country either.

meewaan 31 May 2015 11:07

let me guess, The list probably contains politicians whose real loyalty maybe is with the US? Judge from the 2 names mentioned, Malcolm Riffkind is Co-Vice Chair of the Global Panel Foundation – America – with Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, the former U.S Under-Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Armed Forces.

Not sure about banning Nick Clegg, - has his wife remunerated by her work for companies linked to the US? Take, for example, Mrs Clegg's firm's advertisement (again, on its website) of the fact it makes considerable sums from helping rich people avoid inheritance tax, saying that it offers 'personal estate planning advice and financial and tax-planning services to high net worth individuals'.

'We combine sophisticated estate planning skills with international resources . . . We help U.S. and non-U.S. trustees and beneficiaries transfer wealth efficiently through lifetime and testamentary trusts designed to minimise tax exposure.'

SuchindranathAiyer 31 May 2015 10:35

It required a "Tit for Tat" to establish that sanctions are working? Here is the geo-political back drop:

Reigan and Gorby arrived at certain agreements and understandings which Clinton (the husband) violated. He pulled Poland and others into NATO and bombed Russian ally Belgrade, violating international law, while a helpless Russia fumed, for 84 days to given Islam its first ethnically cleansed enclaves (Bosnia and Kosovo) after 1489.

Bush (the son), declared the "Star Wars" missile shield in direct violation of the Regan-Gorbachev agreements while Russia continued to fume, but began to re arm and prepare itself for war. Apart from, of course, violating International Law and invading Russian ally Iraq to distract anger over 9/11 from Saudi Arabia and its Nuclear-Terrorist sword arm Pakistan and threw thriving communities of Jews, Christians, Yazidis, discos and bars that the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis resented into the maws of Islam.

Russia fumed and continued to rearm and began to rally around Putin's nationalism. The US commenced "regime change" operations in Russian (and Iraqi) Secular ally Syria, throwing even more Jews, Christians, Yazidis and Kurds into the maws of Islam. US was to weakened by Iraq to wage war unilaterally in Syria. China and Russia blocked the US at the UN. Putin wrote an open letter to Obama on Syria in the NY Times which gained traction with the American Citizens, bending Obama's nose and driving the US regime change operation in Syria further under ground (covert). Prince Bandar (what an appropriate name!) head of Saudi intelligence went ot Moscow to bribe Putin to back the putsch in Syria. Putin refused and told Bandar that if Islam tried a Beslan at Sochi, he would bomb the Q'aba. This bent the Saudi nose. So the US commenced operation regime change in Ukraine. This sparked the secession of Crime to Russia. The US fumed and fretted because its more develoed and intelligent NATO allies (France and Germany) would not back the US backed fascist regime in Ukraine. The US shot down MH-17 in a false flag operation and started a canard against Russia to revive NATO. There is a NATO now imposing US-Saudi conceived sanctions on Russia. We are now in the Second Cold War so NATO won't go away. Russia and China will ally because, Clinton to Obama, the US has demonstrated the dangers of a unipolar world, particularly as Islamic Petro Dollars own the decision and opinion makers of the West and have used the US military to further the Islamic agenda as much as carry on with the old anti-Communist prejudices. (While Russia is not Totalitarian, China is. India is really the last Soviet franchise in the World with its "Animal Farm" totalitarian Constitution and thinking which is why the US is an ally of Pakistan and as hostile to India as to Russia. Consider that as recently as 2012, the man who lolls in Lutyen's drawing room today moved "retrospective" legislation in the same Parliament that nationalized 20% of private (non minority) education and removed the truth from Govt approved History text books, in the highest traditions of Nehru, Ambedkar and Indira Gandhi.)

wilpost37 -> AbsolutelyFapulous 31 May 2015 10:33

Absolutely/Goman

Almost all the tourists of Crimea were Ukrainians before 2014. They stopped coming, and likely are spending their vacation elsewhere.

Crimea is rebuilding its infrastructures (Kiev had neglected them for 22 years), and its tourist base.

It expects to have over 4 million visitors in 2015 and 5 million in 2016, because many Russians are no longer going to EU countries, and are going to Crimea, Sochi, etc., instead. It will take time, but Crimea is a beautiful area.

Crimea became part of the Russian Empire by conquest over the Tartars in 1793.

The Tartars had been kidnapping nearby people (several million over many decades) and selling them to the Turks. Catherine the Great put an end to that.

Khrushev was stupid to give it to Ukraine in 1954.

After the CIA/FBI-assisted coup of Kiev, the Crimean people, 67% Russian, feared for their future, as did the Donbas people.

SHappens 31 May 2015 10:24

"Just one thing remains unclear: did our European co-workers want these lists to minimise inconveniences for potential 'denied persons' or to stage a political show?"

It is pretty clear that it turned out to be another media circus.

Socraticus -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 10:12

Lesson 1 - everyone on this site is a guest, you included
Lesson 2 - the majority of posters herein are actually westerners, not 'Russian trolls'
Lesson 3 - all politicians lie to advance their own social/economic/political agendas
Lesson 4 - all MSM distort/suppress the truth to support governmental narratives
Lesson 5 - many of us westerners actually bother to investigate the true facts
Lesson 6 - if a leader's being demonized its because they won't capitulate to the US
Lesson 7 - every illicit invasion is preceded by demonization of a leader/country
Lesson 8 - your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll
Lesson 9 - you can educate yourself or remain blind to facts - your choice
Lesson 10 - you will learn the consequences of your choices

UnsleepingMind -> EssoBlue 31 May 2015 10:12

You realise that Russia is one the most important members of the BRICS and that they group has recently established a development bank? That's hardly the sign that the other BRICS nations are not reading from the same hymn sheet as Russia...

http://www.scmp.com/comment/article/1580523/brics-development-bank-should-challenge-washington-consensus

Russia has also joined China's Asian Infrastructure Bank. Another clear sign that it is strengthening its relations with other BRICS members.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/29/russia-joins-chinas-asian-infrastructure-bank-but-doubts-its-power-against-imf/

44theorderofknights 31 May 2015 09:57

What did anyone expect flowers from russia from the unfair treatment it's getting. The west paying for Ukraine part nazi government and creating a coup in a democratically ekected president last february. Then sanctioning the Russian people expecting them to turn in yheir president. The west should be ashamed of what they accomplished that being fronting a proxy war against Russia.

Vijay Raghavan -> Huo Fu Yan 31 May 2015 09:54

Developing all-round military-to-military relations. China's armed forces will further their exchanges and cooperation with the Russian military within the framework of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia, and foster a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable framework to promote military relations in more fields and at more levels

http://eng.mod.gov.cn/Database/WhitePapers/2015-05/26/content_4586715.htm

They made that statement in their white paper issued last week.Offcourse Guardian or BBC will not keep up with such "Breaking News".

UnsleepingMind -> EssoBlue 31 May 2015 09:49

1) Yes, the BRICS countries are very much behind Russia.

2) Russia, unlike the US, has tabled a resolution to condemn Nazism and Nazi movements in the highest forum possible (the UN). The US, along with Canada, and its puppet government in Ukraine, voted against it (in defiance of most of the world's nations).

[1] http://russia-insider.com/en/de-dollarization-du-jour-russia-backs-brics-alternative-swift/ri7566
[2] http://rt.com/news/207899-un-anti-nazism-resolution/

UnsleepingMind -> Tom20000 31 May 2015 09:43

You would think, with all the technology at the disposal of the US security state, that it might (just might) be able to provide us with real, irrefutable evidence of a ground invasion. You know, perhaps some high resolution satellite imagery, the odd photo of a modern Russian tank moving over the Ukrainian border, some chatter from the wires between embassy officials and security personnel, etc., etc.

But of course we have nothing of the sort. What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that.

UnsleepingMind -> ponott 31 May 2015 09:34

I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media -- who seem to have a daily axe to grind against the Russian state, but who say nothing about the warmongering actions of the US. I imagine I would have the same opinion of you if I was to uncritically swallow such toxic rubbish.

UnsleepingMind -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 09:30

'Because we have the right to ban people who invade other countries'.

That's why we've recently arrested George Bush (who, with the help of Tony Blair invaded Iraq and Afghanistan), Barack Obama (who bombed Libya, engineered coups in Honduras and Ukraine, and is now funding Islamic extremists in Syria)...

We reserve the right to ban, but we use that 'right' to ban official enemies (i.e. anyone daring to follow a geopolitical game plan that is distinctly at odds with our own).

Also, your suggestion that Putin's Russia has invaded 'other countries' is preposterous. The western media has been spewing this nonsense for months now and yet there is not a shred of real evidence (including hi-res satellite imagery) to back it up. And if you are referring to Crimea, let me say this: Russia troops have been staged in Crimea for many, many years; moreover, the people of Crimea voted to break with Ukraine in a recent referendum (not that that squares with your hectoring rhetoric).

PyrrhicVictory 31 May 2015 09:27

The doors of the gravy train for politicians like Clegg are fast closing. When we exit the EU, then the Brussels gravy train will also be beyond him. He might, just might, having to start behaving like an honest politician for once and earn a decent wage based on truth not lies.

johnsmith44 -> NegativeCamber 31 May 2015 09:25

Why dont you go spread democracy to some oil-producing Third World country, together with your poodles the brits? And make sure you do it properly, so that monstrosities like ISIS are guaranteed?

more democracy exporting: http://multipletext.com/2011/images/3-22-US-democracy.jpg

and more: https://syrianfreepress.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/we-will-help-the-syrian-people-to-achieve-democracy-20140603.jpg

and more: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/76/31/c0/7631c0787ae47cfc74cd8488390cc5d5.jpg

johnsmith44 -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 09:21

1) Google for "Operation Northwoods", that is, CIA's proposal to Kennedy to shoot down a passenger jet over Cuba.

2) Read here: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/29/obama-should-release-ukraine-evidence/

ex-CIA personnel openly describing their involvement in the dowining of Korean Airlines passenger flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983 and I believe it becomes apparent who downed MH-17.

Jerome Fryer -> Popeyes 31 May 2015 09:11

We're the global overlords, and so second-rate nations aren't allowed to reciprocate our petulant actions. When they do so it causes some people to question the assumed status of the 'Western' hegemony (and our claimed system of morally superior 'values'). We can't allow that sort of thing, Popeyes.

davidncldl 31 May 2015 09:10

The Guardian has a clear pro-EU/USA position on the new cold war against Russia. Mr Putin is their democratically elected leader and he is enormously popular. Only an imbecile would be surprised or indignant about Russia retaliating for unjust EU/US sanctions. What do the globalisers and bankers' friends at the Guardian expect? I imagine you think that the ruination of the Venezuelan and Russian economies by the manipulation of the oil price is just "free market" activity.

Hass Castorp 31 May 2015 09:07

"More than 6,200 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists."

This is a language of propaganda, Guardian. Last i checked Guardian advertised to be a newspaper, not a bulletin of The Ministry of Truth.

My reformulation; "More than 6200 (in some estimates up to 50.000) have been killed and up to 1 million civilians displaced (who mostly fled to Russia) by Ukrainian government troops and private terrorist kommandos of Ukrainian oligarchs."

Jerome Fryer -> henry919 31 May 2015 09:03

The only way to effectively block people from other regions (blanket censor them, in other words) would be to positively identify the source. All that you would likely achieve is blocking actual individual commentators and letting through the government astroturfers.

Why you would want to resort to such tactics is worth asking. The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer.

Repeated debunked claims in our media are also going to be far more damaging than anything similar in Russia. The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting.

(If your argument must be protected against criticism then it is a weak argument.)

[Sep 10, 2018] Washington Quietly Increases Lethal Weapons to Ukraine

Continuation of this civil war is important tool for Washington in destabilizing Russia.
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Secretary of Defense James Mattis acknowledges that U.S. instructors are training Ukrainian military units at a base in western Ukraine. Washington also has approved two important arms sales to Kiev's ground forces in just the past nine months. The first transaction in December 2017 was limited to small arms that at least could be portrayed as purely defensive weapons. That agreement included the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories, a sale valued at $41.5 million.

A transaction in April 2018 was more serious. Not only was it larger ($47 million) , it included far more lethal weaponry, particularly 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles -- the kind of weapons that Barack Obama's administration had declined to give Kiev.

Needless to say, the Kremlin was not pleased about either sale. Moreover, Congress soon passed legislation in May that authorized $250 million in military assistance, including lethal weaponry, to Ukraine in 2019. Congress had twice voted for military support on a similar scale during the last years of Obama's administration, but the White House blocked implementation. The Trump administration cleared that obstacle out of the way in December 2017 at the same time that it approved the initial small-weapons sale. The passage of the May 2018 legislation means that the path is now open for a dramatic escalation of U.S. military backing for Kiev.

On September 1, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker disclosed during an interview with The Guardian that Washington's future military aid to Kiev would likely involve weapons sales to Ukraine's air force and navy as well as the army. "The Javelins are mainly symbolic and it's not clear if they would ever be used," Aric Toler, a research scholar at the Atlantic Council, asserted . One could well dispute his sanguine conclusion, but even Toler conceded: "Support for the Ukrainian navy and air defence would be a big deal. That would be far more significant."

Volker's cavalier attitude about U.S. arms sales to a government locked in a crisis with Russia epitomizes the arrogance and tone-deaf nature of the views that too many U.S. foreign policy officials exhibit regarding the sensitive Ukraine issue. "We can have a conversation with Ukraine like we would with any other country about what do they need. I think that there's going to be some discussion about naval capability because as you know their navy was basically taken by Russia [when the Soviet Union dissolved]. And so they need to rebuild a navy and they have very limited air capability as well. I think we'll have to look at air defence."

One suspects that Americans would be incensed at comparable actions by Moscow if the geo-strategic situations were reversed. Imagine if Russia (even a democratic Russia) had emerged from the wreckage of the Cold War as the undisputed global superpower, and a weakened United States had to watch as the Kremlin expanded a powerful, Russian-led military alliance to America's borders, conducted alliance war games within sight of U.S. territory, interfered in Canada's internal political affairs to oust a democratically elected pro-American government, and then pursued growing military ties with the new, anti-U.S. government in Ottawa. Yet that would be disturbingly similar to what Washington has done regarding NATO policy and U.S. relations with Ukraine.

The Much Diminished Russian Bear Let's See Who's Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians

Moreover, although Kiev's cheerleaders in the Western (especially U.S.) media like to portray Ukraine as a beleaguered democracy that plays the role of David to Russia's evil Goliath, the reality is far murkier. Putin's government overstates matters when it alleges that Ukraine's 2014 Maidan revolution was a U.S.-orchestrated coup that brought outright fascists to power in Kiev. Nevertheless, that version contains more than a little truth. Prominent, powerful U.S. figures, most notably the late Senator John McCain and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, openly sided with demonstrators seeking to unseat Ukraine's elected government. Indeed, Nuland was caught on tape with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt scheming about the desired composition of a new government in Kiev.

It is unfair to portray Ukraine's current administration led by President Petro Poroshenko as a neo-fascist regime. Post-revolution elections appear to have been reasonably free and fair, and there are major factions that are committed to genuine democratic values. But Ukraine also is hardly a model of Western-style democracy. Not only is it afflicted with extensive graft and corruption, but some extreme nationalist and even neo-Nazi groups play a significant role in the "new" Ukraine. The notoriously fascist Azov Battalion, for example, continues to occupy a prominent position in Kiev's efforts to defeat separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region. Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic in the pro-Russia rebel-occupied city of Donetsk, was assassinated on September 1 and officials there and in Russia are blaming Kiev. The Ukrainian government has denied involvement.

Other ultranationalist factions act as domestic militias that attempt to intimidate more moderate Ukrainians. Even the Poroshenko government itself has adopted troubling censorship measures and other autocratic policies. Officials in both the Obama and Trump administration have taken a much too casual attitude toward U.S. cooperation with extremist elements and a deeply flawed Ukrainian government.

Both the danger of stoking tensions with Moscow and becoming too close to a regime in Kiev that exhibits disturbing features should caution the Trump administration against boosting military aid to Ukraine. It is an unwise policy on strategic as well as moral grounds. Trump administration officials should refuse to be intimidated or stampeded into forging a risky and unsavory alliance with Kiev out of fear of being portrayed as excessively "soft" toward Russia. Instead, the president and his advisers need to spurn efforts to increase U.S. support for Ukraine. A good place to start would be to restore the Obama administration's refusal to approve arms sales to Kiev. Washington must not pour gasoline on a geo-strategic fire that could lead to a full-blown crisis between the United States and Russia.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at TAC , is the author of 10 books, the contributing editor of 10 books, and the author of more than 700 articles on international affairs .

[Sep 08, 2018] The West must acknowledge its responsibility in the making of the original crisis in Kiev, which equals if not exceeds that of Moscow's in deepening the crisis in Crimea and Donbass by Gordon M. Hahn

Notable quotes:
"... The crisis in Ukraine is a direct result of the two policies of NATO expansion and EU enlargement, which led NATO to declare Ukraine (and Georgia) will be NATO members at numerous NATO summits and in other fora, led the EU to push too hard and too early for an association agreement with the corrupt Viktor Yanukovych government, and led the West, especially Washington, to lend opposition-promotion assistance to revolutionaries and endorse a clearly illegal oligarch-ultranationalist revolt in February 2014 despite an agreement that essentially ensured Yanukovych's departure from the presidency in ten months. In Syria, Putin's Russia has won. Regime change is over. ..."
Sep 08, 2018 | gordonhahn.com

Rather than dealing with secondary issues, those which are easiest to resolve, or those in which we have common interests, contacts must address the core problems in the inter-state US-Russian or larger Western-Russian relationship. Those issues are NATO expansion, EU expansion, U.S. missile defense, Ukraine, Syria, and interference in each other's domestic politics.

Rather, than expanding Western institutions in complete disregard of Russian interests, the West must work closely with Moscow. The West must acknowledge its responsibility in the making of the original crisis in Kiev, which equals if not exceeds that of Moscow's in deepening the crisis in Crimea and Donbass.

The crisis in Ukraine is a direct result of the two policies of NATO expansion and EU enlargement, which led NATO to declare Ukraine (and Georgia) will be NATO members at numerous NATO summits and in other fora, led the EU to push too hard and too early for an association agreement with the corrupt Viktor Yanukovych government, and led the West, especially Washington, to lend opposition-promotion assistance to revolutionaries and endorse a clearly illegal oligarch-ultranationalist revolt in February 2014 despite an agreement that essentially ensured Yanukovych's departure from the presidency in ten months. In Syria, Putin's Russia has won. Regime change is over.

The U.S. in its hubris miscalculated in going a bridge too far. Ambition led to supply weapons either intentionally or accidentally -- and in denial of the obvious -- to Islamists and jihadists. This was a direct consequence of US President Barak Obama's haste to carry forth his gravely misguided Muslim Brotherhood-based regime change strategy in the Islamic world. Syria's longstanding ties to Moscow and the presence of North Caucasus-based mujahedin within the ranks first of the Al Qa`ida-affiliated 'Jabhat al-Nusra' jihadi group and then of the Islamic State or ISIS prompted Putin's limited and strategically successful intervention.

More globally, the West has been and remains the 'champion' when it comes to interference in the politics of other states. For financial reasons alone, Russia cannot hold a candle to US efforts in this regard, no less those of the entire West. Rather than seeking to dominate or willfully 'transforming' Eurasia in the Western image, the West should more gently propose democratization and work on strengthening its own democratic order to serve as a model for non- and less democratic states to emulate.

Those living in non- or less democratic states who want change have access to all the information they need on the Internet, except in the most authoritarian countries. Even in the latter, access is possible if more difficult. The native population and opposition leaders understand the intricacies of their nation's culture far better than outsiders do and can therefore better fashion a peaceful, stable regime transformation. If this is not what they want, then they are unlikely to establish a democratic order when they seize power.

Change the Goal and Strategy

The core problem in Western-Russian relations has been Western, especially, NATO expansion. NATO expansion, carried forth on the back of EU expansion, effectively 'militarized' Western democracy-promotion and EU expansion, insulting Russian 'honor' and trust in the West in the wake of Cold War-ending Western promises that NATO would not expand beyond reunified Germany and turning Russia away from democracy. Washington and Brussels must discard, therefore, its basic goal of expanding the community of democracies in brinksmanship-like fashion–everywhere and immediately, regardless of those expansions' effects on the Russian and Chinese geostrategic calculation. This means abandoning the strategy of achieving that goal: NATO and EU expansion. These two prongs of the main strategy, especially NATO expansion, have added greater cost of driving Russia into China's increasingly powerful arms, as I predicted a quarter of a century ago.

New Goal and Strategy

Regarding security, the West should seek to integrate Europe and Eurasia first in the area of negotiating ongoing conflicts and preventing new conflicts by reinvigorating the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as the main multilateral forum for Western-Eurasian relations. It should also become the locus of negotiations between NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on building a new European security architecture (NESA). During the life of the NESA negotiations, the West should institute an openly declared moratorium on NATO expansion. After such the NESA is in place negotiations might begin with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on a Eurasia-wide security architecture. Similarly, the European Union should learn from its misbegotten unilateral expansionism and 'Eastern Partnership' and seek to negotiate a gradual integration of the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

... ... ...

There is very likely to be some agreement towards extending the START nuclear arms treaty by executive order as well as negotiating a replacement treaty to be signed at the end of the first or beginning of a second Trump term.

For the Ukrainian crisis, Trump might propose the creation of a US-Russian working group to assist the Minsk process. Should Trump be convinced that only US involvement can resolve the issue, perhaps the group could be incorporated into the Minsk process. He might also hint that in return for some Moscow concessions on Ukraine, such as backing a more expanded version of the proposed peacekeeping mission beyond the line of contact, he might be willing to put pressure on Kiev to finally fulfill its Minsk agreement obligation to engage a dialogue with the Donbass rebel regions' representatives:

(1) on the modalities related to conducting elections in the Donbass,

(2) on a Ukrainian law to be adopted according to Minsk-2 'On the temporary order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions,' or

(3) 'with respect to the future operation of these areas on the basis of the Law,' or, for that matter,

(4) on any other subject related to the crisis. Washington pressure on Kiev to talk directly with the rebels may be possible now that four years too late some of the Washington institutions that supported the Maidan revolt and illegal overthrow of Yanukovych such as the Atlantic Council and Freedom House, are waking up to the neofascist threat on the edges of the Maidan regime and in society.

About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California, www.cetisresearch.org .

Dr. Hahn is the author of Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the 'New Cold War (McFarland Publishers, 2017) and three previously and well-received books: Russia's Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction Publishers, 2002); Russia's Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007); and The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia's North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014).He has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media and has served as a consultant and provided expert testimony to the U.S. government.

Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. He has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Kennan Institute in Washington DC as well as the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Lyttenburgh, July 7, 2018 at 6:25 am

"and agreed to meet in neighboring Sweden"

Finland.

"This suggests the level of distrust Putin has towards Washington, his low expectations for a successful summit, and the high price he is likely to demand for concessions on his part."

It suggests nothing of the sort. You are too dramatic.

"[T]he approach of dealing with issues that are easiest to resolve or where we have common interests alone is insufficient and a non-starter as far as putting the relationship where it should be. By definition, an approach that seeks to avoid areas where there are disagreements will not resolve a deeply troubled relationship that is putting international security and peace at risk. Only addressing the core differences complicating relations can a qualitatively new relationship be forged."

Finally someone is willing to admit that! You can't willy-nilly go and ask your neighbor to borrow some sugar after you wrecked his fence and expect him to "cooperate" on such small issue out of sheer goodness.

"It also means abandoning the approach of designing policies from hubris rooted in the sense that Western democracy is morally superior to authoritarianism. Although the latter is true"

In what way? I (and quite a lot of people) see particular Western "democracy" as morally bankrupt compared to what it seemingly randomly calls "authoritarianism"

"In Syria, Putin's Russia has won."

And that writes a man who detest the term, devoting so much ink and time to show to the ignorant that, no – it's Russia's Putin. Why not say Russia, or Moscow, or even "Pro-Assad coalition"?

"Rather than seeking to dominate or willfully 'transforming' Eurasia in the Western image, the West should more gently propose democratization and work on strengthening its own democratic order to serve as a model for non- and less democratic states to emulate."

What, you forgot the immortal words of Paul Wolfowitz so soon? For, you see, "We Are An Empire Now". Crawling back in the shell won't help to solve the domestic very partisan issues – finding a common enemy does that. Your tactics are good for a neutered housecat of a nation – not for the mighty Great Again (And Forever) lion which both the elite and the commoners of the West consider their Republic.

" and turning Russia away from democracy."

Wrong. It turned Russia away from liberalism – not democracy. You know the difference, right? Because your following analysis suggests otherwise:

"Washington and Brussels must discard, therefore, its basic goal of expanding the community of democracies"

"Putin's Russia" is democracy. As well as Poland under PiS, Hungary under Orban and Turkey under Erdogan. Hell, even Ukraine is democracy! Democracy is just a mode of rule.

"driving Russia into China's increasingly powerful arms"

Yeah, that's bad for the US. For the rest – not so.

"During the life of the NESA negotiations, the West should institute an openly declared moratorium on NATO expansion."

Absolutely meaningless and easily revertible promise that runs directly against the West self-identification as the only Empire on the planet.

The list of topics of your Grand Design that follows is too far fetch, unrealistic and abstract that they are basically the equivalent of "charming" Russian naïve natives with the glass beads. As for your fanatical support of the free trade – it's era has gone. Again. If you fail to grasp that it was precisely Russian objections of EU version of free trade coming to the Ukraine which lead to 2013-14 conflict on Maidan – well, nothing can help you.

"Non-Western partners must also be willing to sacrifice some of their present interests for the sake of the benefits of stability and cooperation that will accrue in future. "

Like I said – land for the glass beads.

"In Ukraine, the U.S. must get more involved in the Minsk 2 negotiating process."

No, they shouldn't.

"Without a clear signal from Trump that Washington is not interested in expanding NATO to Ukraine or using the crisis to isolate Moscow through sanctions and the like and intends to lead the search for a solution, Moscow is unlikely to make any meaningful concessions."

You don't see it, do you? It's Kiev for whom the conflict is more beneficial. It allows all sort of, yes, authoritarian things and policies without fear of the "real war". You can silence all your critics with – "but Putin might attack us!" or "are you a secret separ?!". Kiev has no other viable strategy but to commit an ethnic cleansing of DNR or LNR should they be returned to it. Simple as that.

BTW – have you read Minsk II accords? How about Kiev fulfils its part first?

"Washington could be able to convince Moscow to abandon its support for the elements of the Iran presence in Syria and Lebanon that arrived in the context of the Syrian civil war."

Nothing of the sort will happen. Sowing division among potential USA rivals is a viable tactic – but don't take everyone for an idiot.

"There is very likely to be some agreement towards extending the START nuclear arms treaty"

Wanna bet, that there won't be? Also – nothing of the Ukraine, nothing on NATO. A little something on Syria (officially) with, maybe, an unofficial concession of the defeat of the West-backed "unicorns".

Tl;dr. This is not about coming Trump-Putin summit. You are just venting off your fantasy about Bright Future. You present solely pro-US perspective of the summit, enumerating things that Trump must "ask", nay, "demand" either for free or some minor concessions on his part. Have you ever tried to think what Russia might want of the summit instead?

Salsibury Watchdog, July 11, 2018 at 2:19 am

"It also means abandoning the approach of designing policies from hubris rooted in the sense that Western democracy is morally superior to authoritarianism. Although the latter is true"

Mr. Khan, if what Western elites are doing to other sovereign nations is 'a democracy' why is it done so covertly: through murky slash funds, secrets coups and illegal bombings?

I've never seen a referendum asking people in the US whether they wanted to fund another war. Had they been asked, people would've chosen affordable healthcare, housing and access to education instead, and you know it as well I do.

Yet you're still talking about 'Western democracy'?

Get real.

[Sep 06, 2018] A question of attitude by PaulR

Notable quotes:
"... Autonomy for Donbass within Ukraine. ..."
"... Transformation of the rebel state and military structures into political parties . ..."
"... Comprehensive and unconditional amnesty for everyone involved in the war. ..."
"... No elections in Donbass for two to three years. ..."
Aug 24, 2018 | irrussianality.wordpress.com

A couple of Ukraine-related items caught my attention this week.

The first is a report by Baylor University professor Serhiy Kudelia which discusses how to bring peace to Donbass. Kudelia starts by saying that Western states have regarded the resolution of the war in Donbass as being dependent on changing Russian behaviour. This is insufficient, he says, for 'the successful reintegration of Donbas into Ukraine rests on designing a new institutional framework that can provide long-term guarantees to civilians and separatist insurgents.' Kudelia says that academic literature on conflict resolution would suggest four elements to such a framework:

  1. Autonomy for Donbass within Ukraine. Such autonomy would come with risks, by entrenching local rulers with patronage networks outside of central control and with the means to challenge central authority. To reduce these risks, Kudelia suggests giving autonomy not just to the territories currently controlled by the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR & LPR), but to the whole of Donbass, thereby bringing within the autonomous region some more pro-Ukrainian elements of the population as well as groups not connected to the DPR/LPR power structures. He also suggests devolution of power within the autonomous region to weaken the potentially disruptive consequences of hostile elements controlling the region's government.
  2. Transformation of the rebel state and military structures into political parties. Experience in other countries suggests that when this happens, the prospects of a successful transition increase substantially.
  3. Comprehensive and unconditional amnesty for everyone involved in the war. For obvious reasons, rebel leaders won't agree to the first two proposals without an amnesty. Past experience speaks to the necessity of this measure.
  4. No elections in Donbass for two to three years. Kudelia notes that, 'Holding elections in a volatile post-conflict environment creates ample opportunities for voter intimidation, electoral fraud, and disinformation campaigns that could build on conflict-related divisions.' Kudelia doesn't say who would rule Donbass in the meantime. I would have to assume that it would mean that the existing authorities would remain in place. That could be problematic.

With the exception of that last point, these are sensible suggestions. But when boiled down to their essentials, they don't differ significantly from what is demanded in the Minsk agreements -- i.e. special status for Donbass and an amnesty. As such, while I don't think that the leadership of the DPR and LPR would like these proposals, my instincts tell me that they would be quite acceptable to the Russian government, which would probably be able to coax the DPR and LPR into agreeing to them. If implemented, the results would be something Moscow could portray as a success of sorts.

And there's the rub. For that very reason, I can't see Kiev agreeing to any of this. Kudelia's argument is founded on the idea that there's more going on in Donbass than Russian aggression. Accepting that something has to be done to 'provide long-term guarantees to civilians and separatist insurgents' means accepting that there are civilians and insurgents who need reassuring, not just Russian troops and mercenaries. And that means changing the entire narrative which Kiev has adopted about the war. So while Kudelia's proposals make sense (after all, what's the alternative? How could Donbass be reintegrated into Ukraine without autonomy and an amnesty?), what's lacking is any sense of how to get there.

A large part of the problem, it seems, is the attitude in Kiev. This becomes very clear in the second item which caught my attention -- an article on the website Coda entitled 'Now Healthcare is a Weapon of War in Ukraine.' The article describes how the DPR and LPR are encouraging Ukrainians to come to rebel territory to receive free medical treatment, and then using this as propaganda to win support for their cause. This is despite the fact, as the article shows, that the medical facilities in the two rebel republics are in a very poor state. Author Lily Hyde isn't able to confirm how many Ukrainians have taken up the rebel offer of free medical aid, but does repeat a claim by the rebel authorities that 1,200 people have done so.

What interests me here is not the sensationalist headlines about healthcare being weaponized, but the question of why Ukrainians might feel it necessary to go to the effort of crossing the front lines to get treatment. And the article provides an answer, namely that parts of Donbass 'are trapped in a precarious limbo, still under Ukrainian government control but cut off from key services like healthcare.' The war destroyed much of the healthcare system in Donbass, but 'Ukraine provides no financial or other incentives for medics to work in frontline areas', and has done little to repair shattered infrastructure. Healthcare seems to be a lower priority than fighting 'terrorism'.

While the DPR and LPR use healthcare as a 'weapon' by providing it to people, Kiev has 'weaponized' health in another way -- by depriving people of it. As the article reports:

Kiev has not outlawed receiving medical treatment in occupied Donetsk or Luhnaks. But collaborating with the separatists -- or supporting their propaganda efforts -- is illegal. How exactly such charges are defined is not clear, but past experience has taught both individuals and organizations to be wary of such accusations. The Ukrainian authorities have investigated non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Ukraine who have provided foreign-funded medicines and other supplies to occupied Donetsk and Luhansk. NGOs working there have been banned by the de fact authorities [of the DPR and LPR] on similar charges. Doctors have found themselves placed on blacklists by both Ukrainian officials and the separatists, accused of being 'terrorist collaborators' by one side, or of being spies by the other.

Hyde contrasts the Ukrainian government's policies towards the DPR and LPR with that of Georgia, where:

The government offers free healthcare for people from Abkhazia, a breakaway territory it still claims which is now under de facto Russian occupation. The government is building a modern hospital in the nearest town to the boundary line, aimed at people from Abkhazia.

Essentially, says Hyde, it's 'a question of attitude'. She cites Georgy Tuka, Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories -- '"There's a wish to punish people," Tuka acknowledged.'

That's quite an admission from a government minister.

Even if the details need fleshing out, the institutional framework required to reintegrate Donbass into Ukraine has been pretty obvious for a long time now. The problem has been getting people to accept it. It is indeed, therefore, 'a question of attitude'. Sadly, the prevailing attitude stands firmly in the way of the institutional changes required for peace. The desire seems to be to punish people, not to reach agreement with them in order to promote reintegration and reconciliation. The issue, then, is whether this attitude can be changed (and if so, how) or whether it is now so firmly entrenched that there is nothing which can be done. Sadly, I fear that it may be the latter.

Guest says: August 25, 2018 at 1:14 pm
It's too late for the reintegration of Donbas into Ukraine, there will be no implementation of any agreement.

-- Ukraine have gone full neo-Nazi
-- language law is offensive to all minorities not just Russian speakers
-- Russophobia is rampant
-- attacks on the orthodox church

Why would anyone in DPR/LPR want to be part of this.

Aslangeo says: August 26, 2018 at 4:20 am
I agree with the other commentators integration of the Donbass into an aggressive nationalist Ukraine which is not capable of respecting minority rights is not possible. A more sensible option would be for Ukraine to divide into a nationalist part and a rusdophone part, this may be in a confederation like Belgium. As you say the Kiev government wants complete victory rather than a peace based on reconciliation the conflict will continue at low level if the Kiev regime believes that they cannot win but will ignite into another major war if they believe that they can. What should Russia do ? In my opinion provide suitable aid to the people of the Donbass to ensure their survival and build institutions, a stable and peaceful Pridnistrovye type situation is the best that can be achieved in the foreseeable future
Guest says: August 31, 2018 at 1:42 pm
Sad news from Donbas

Zakharchenko was killed by a bomb in a cafe

The article is called a question of attitude – We see the attitude of the Kiev regime in this action of killing one of the signatories of Minsk 2.

Lyttenburgh says: September 1, 2018 at 2:58 am
Just a direct quote from prof. S Kudelia "Peace plan" linked above:

" Rebel Disarmament, Demobilization, and Conversion

Reaching an agreement on power-sharing is one precondition for beginning to disarm and demobilize combatants in civil wars. Another component is the inclusion of former rebels in the competitive political process through "rebel-to-party transformations Integration of the party tied to former rebel groups can eliminate potential spoilers, develop stakeholding in the new system, provide non-violent means of conflict resolution, make them more accountable to their constituency, and increase legitimacy of the election process and new authority structures. However, some of the positive effects from rebel conversion depend on the prior organizational structure of separatist groups and their political wings. Groups with a highly integrated political and military structure are the least likely to undergo a successful transformation into an exclusively political force . This points to major challenges in achieving rebel conversion in Donbas.

The leaders of the armed groups in Donbas have already established their own political organizations, which participate in separatist-administered elections, control local councils throughout the conflict region, and engage with residents. They have turned into what a security analyst Benedetta Berti calls "hybrid politico-military organizations" tightly linking political activities and armed struggle. In both "republics" military and political wings are subordinated to a single leader

However, an integrated political-military structure also presents three important challenges for successful transition into the political arena. First, in contrast to political wings of rebel forces in other countries, these organizations emerged as key tools for separatist governance in DPR and LPR. Their ideological program promotes independence for these regions and would be incompatible with participation in Ukraine's institutional politics. Their reintegration would require a major revision of their principles and goals with an emphasis on accommodation with the Ukrainian state and acceptance of its jurisdiction over the entire region . Otherwise, their inclusion in the political process risks deepening the war-based dividing lines and hampering reconciliation. Second, the centrality of the leaders of these groups in organizing an armed struggle against Ukrainian forces and their direct involvement in the fighting delegitimizes them in Ukrainian public opinion and with the central government . The recently adopted law on "temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts" describes the ruling structure of the "republics" as an "occupational administration of the Russian Federation." This further complicates their post-conflict acceptance as legitimate regional representatives. Hence, leadership turnover in separatist groups is a crucial precondition for the beginning of their direct talks with the Ukrainian authorities . Finally, the current control that DPR/LPR leaders exercise over the separatist military apparatus means that even following disarmament and demobilization they would maintain some influence over local law enforcement. This, in turn, would allow these leaders to rely on an informal personal militia after demobilization or revive the military component of their organizations if they sensed a threat to their power status.

The conversion of rebel groups into recognized political organizations could be one of the most complex and contested elements of the transition."

Full stop. Now, ask yourself – Qui bono?

[Sep 03, 2018] Ukraine conflict- Blast kills top Donetsk rebel Zakharchenko - BBC News

Sep 03, 2018 | bbc.co.uk

Ukraine conflict: Blast kills top Donetsk rebel Zakharchenko

Related Topics
Alexander Zakharchenko Image copyright REUTERS
Image caption Alexander Zakharchenko in a 2017 photo

A leader of Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko, has been killed in an explosion at a cafe in Donetsk city.

"The head of the DNR [Donetsk People's Republic]... has died as the result of a terrorist attack," Zakharchenko's spokeswoman told AFP news agency.

Russia's foreign ministry said it suspected Ukraine of organising the latest killing.

The Ukrainian government has denied any involvement.

Some observers have attributed previous deaths of rebel leaders in Donetsk to infighting among the rebels, or moves by Moscow to eliminate inconvenient separatist leaders.

What are the two sides saying?

Rebel and Russian news reports say the separatists' "finance minister" Alexander Timofeyev was wounded in the blast at the Separ cafe that killed Zakharchenko.

Ukrainians suspected of being behind the blast were arrested nearby, a security source was quoted as saying.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said "there is every reason to believe that the Kiev regime is behind the murder".

She said the Kiev "party of war" was "violating its pledges about peace and has decided on a bloodbath".

However, recent reports suggested that Zakharchenko had fallen out of favour with Russia.

A spokeswoman for Ukraine's state security service, Yelena Gitlyanskaya, rejected Moscow's accusations.

She said the killing was a result of "internal fighting... between the terrorists and their Russian sponsors".

What is happening in eastern Ukraine?

Heavily armed rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk regions refuse to recognise the Ukrainian government in Kiev.

The rebels seized large swathes of territory there in an uprising in April 2014. Since then, thousands of people have died in fighting between the rebels and Ukrainian government forces.

Ukraine map - rebel-held territory

Moscow denies sending regular troops and heavy weapons to the separatists, but admits that Russian "volunteers" are helping the rebels.

The frontline between them and Ukrainian government troops has remained largely static for months, but skirmishes continue despite a fragile ceasefire deal.

There has been shooting on the frontline despite a "back-to-school truce" that was supposed to take effect on Wednesday. International monitors reported 70 ceasefire violations on that day alone.

Who was Alexander Zakharchenko?

He played a key role in the Russian-backed separatist military operation from its very beginning.

In early 2014, soon after Ukraine's pro-Russian government was toppled by the Maidan revolution, he took part in the seizure of the Donetsk regional administration building by people saying they were protesting against the new pro-Western authorities.

Later that year, he was chosen as the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic by its parliament, the "Supreme Council".

He had been in the role ever since, assuming the title of president, and was among the signatories of the stalled Minsk peace agreement.

He was wounded twice in combat, and survived a car bomb blast in August 2014.

Who else has been assassinated in Donetsk?

[Sep 03, 2018] Ambassador Kurt Volker- US To Drastically Expand Military Assistance To Ukraine

Expensive weapon systems for export is Trump administration official policy, his Military Keyseanism stance.
Notable quotes:
"... The US is to render substantial military assistance to a country with an economy in the doldrums , reforms that have foundered , a democracy that is in question , and corruption that is widespread . ..."
Sep 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

... Kurt Volker , US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, said in an interview with the Guardian published on September 1 that "Washington is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country's naval and air defense forces in the face of continuing Russian support for eastern separatists ." According to him, the Trump administration was "absolutely" prepared to go further in supplying lethal weaponry to Ukrainian forces than the anti-tank missiles it delivered in April .

" They need lethal assistance," he emphasized.

Mr. Volker explained that "[t]hey need to rebuild a navy and they have very limited air capability as well. I think we'll have to look at air defense."

The diplomat believes Ukraine needs unmanned aerial vehicles, counter-battery radar systems, and anti-sniper systems. The issue of lethal arms purchases has been discussed at the highest level.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 allocated $250m in military assistance to Ukraine, including lethal arms. The US has delivered Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Kiev but this time the ambassador talked about an incomparably larger deal. Former President Barack Obama had been unconvinced that granting Ukraine lethal defensive weapons would be the right decision, in view of the widespread corruption there. This policy has changed under President Trump, who - among other things - approved deliveries of anti-tank missiles to Kiev last December.

Ukraine has officially requested US air-defense systems. According to Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, the Ukrainian military wants to purchase at least three air-defense systems. The cost of the deal is expected to exceed $2 billion, or about $750 million apiece. The system in question was not specified, but it's generally believed to be the Patriot.

Volker's statement was made at a time of rising tensions in the Sea of Azov, which is legally shared by Ukraine and Russia. It is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait. The rhetoric has heated up and ships have been placed under arrest as this territorial dispute turns the area into a flashpoint. Russia has slammed the US for backing Ukraine's violations of international law in the area. According to a 2003 treaty, the Sea of Azov is a jointly controlled territory that both countries are allowed to use freely.

The US military already runs a maritime operations center located within Ukraine's Ochakov naval base. The facility is an operational-level warfare command-and-control organization that is designed to deliver flexible maritime support throughout the full range of military operations. Hundreds of US and Canadian military instructors are training Ukrainian personnel at the Yavorov firing range.

NATO has granted Ukraine the status of an aspirant country - a step that is openly provocative toward Russia. Macedonia, Georgia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina are also aspirant nations. Last year, Ukraine's parliament adopted a resolution recognizing full membership in NATO as a foreign policy goal. In 2008, NATO agreed that Ukraine along with Georgia should become a full-fledged member. In March, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia announced the formation of an alliance to oppose Russia.

The US is to render substantial military assistance to a country with an economy in the doldrums, reforms that have foundered, a democracy that is in question, and corruption that is widespread. It will be no surprise if those weapons fall into the wrong hands and are used against the US military somewhere outside of Europe. lIt was the US State Department itself that issued a report this year slamming Ukraine's human-rights record. The UN human-rights commissioner tells the same story. So do human-rights monitors all over the world.

[Sep 02, 2018] A few are beginning to wake up to the reality that snatching Ukraine away from Russia was never about prosperity and security for its people, and all about destabilizing Russia by MARK CHAPMAN

Notable quotes:
"... Washington – does not give a fuck about the economic well-being of Ukrainians, does not have even the brotherly connection of being of the same ethnic group, and for so long as Ukraine is willing to suffer being poor in silence, for that long it will not be a problem for its new 'partners'. ..."
Sep 02, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN August 30, 2018 at 8:05 am

A few are beginning to wake up to the reality that snatching Ukraine away from Russia was never about prosperity and security for its people, and all about destabilizing what the west perceived as the quickening of an unwelcome regional influence, and curbing it. The EU – and its string-puller, Washington – does not give a fuck about the economic well-being of Ukrainians, does not have even the brotherly connection of being of the same ethnic group, and for so long as Ukraine is willing to suffer being poor in silence, for that long it will not be a problem for its new 'partners'.

Nationalist Nazi nutjobs are always proposing the border be sealed ever-tighter, if it were feasible to build a stainless-steel wall between Ukraine and Russia which reached to low earth orbit, they would vote for it. But the Great Wall Of Yatsenyuk never materialized, he's enjoying his Florida condo, and there is no practical way to limit commerce between the two countries while the people are increasingly motivated toward its continuing.

Ukraine is on the edge of collapse, and I don't think any force on earth can prevent its sliding over the edge. The west is not going to pony up the $170 Billion or so it would take to rescue it; if it did so, Porky and his minions would steal most of it for themselves, and Russia is unlikely to ever permit again the degree of fraternal closeness that existed between the two countries, since it is clear it would take only another western intervention to render it once again an untrustworthy spoiler. Once Nord Stream II is built, Ukraine will have lost its leverage and will be of no further significant value to the western purveyors of destabilization.

More such core realization is necessary to prevent Ukraine from officially blaming its collapse on anyone but itself. The government will try that course, naturally, and you don't need to be able to see very far into the future to know that it is Russia who will be blamed, despite plenty of empirical evidence that Russian investors and Ukrainian refugees working in Russia were all that kept it alive before the end. But in order that Ukrainians know in their heart of hearts that their government stepped on its own dick over and over, and that they passively failed to correct it, there needs to be more such public confession. I can show you plenty of analysis, in English, published before things went pear-shaped in the dying moments of 2013, which proposed that severing trade relationships with Russia as the nationalists insisted would cost Ukraine just about exactly what the Rada now says will happen, years too late. But they got one thing right – Ukraine and Russia cannot be brothers, not even friends, for so long as Ukraine harbours that nutty nationalist element.

Give western Ukraine to Poland, and encourage all the nationalists to go to the new paradise, and ensure that happens. They can bore the Poles with their raptures about Kievan Rus. Then maybe some relationship could be salvaged.

[Sep 02, 2018] Zakharchenko was a soldier and knew the risks, many others are ready to take his place

This war is tremendous waste of resources on both sides with no clear victory in sight. Killing of individual commanders does not change the strategic situation. It just invites retaliation.
Although the war did increase the coherence of the Ukrainian society (like any war does) the price is way too high.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Aaron Hillel -> johngaltfla Fri, 08/31/2018 - 22:41 Permalink

No, they wont.

Zakharchenko was a soldier and knew the risks, many others are ready to take his place.

VV Putin could have occupied the whole so-called ukraine in the same manner he occupied Crimea, even better, he could've sent volunteers to shoot CIA and Mossad agents during the maidan events.Lots of volunteers.

He didnt.

Please consider that ukraine project is an infinite black hole sucking money and resources (agents, weapons, influence) from the Hegemon, at the same time bringing him absolutely nothing.

Especially the Debaltsevo cauldron was painful, as lots of modern artillery control gear was lost in pristine state and sent directly to Moscow.Without considering the humiliation of German and Canadian mercenaries being caught and released for indeterminate price.

In exchange the Hegemon learned that Russian artillery is still as dangerous as in '45, at Saur Mogila whole battalions of Ukrainian army disappeared literally in minutes when caught by Buratino fire.

Perhaps some remember the shellshocked Ukrainian infantry lieutenant, when interviewed by CNN freshly out of Ilovaisk, screaming into the mic that *two meters, you must dig two meters, or you die!* , well-intentioned American female reporter decidedly confused.

The show will go on until Hegemon decides that he had enough, and gives green light to the ukrainian army to coup the govt, exterminate the nazi battalions, and begin a very slow and painful ascension back into a semblance of normality first, then re-unification with the Motherland next.

As usual, the most vulnerable, old people, women, workers will suffer the most, and the guilty will go unpunished.

Ace006 -> Aaron Hillel Sat, 09/01/2018 - 02:57 Permalink

The Russians didn't "occupy" Crimea. They were already there. It's not like they needed to subdue a hostile local populace.

Aaron Hillel -> Ace006 Sat, 09/01/2018 - 08:22 Permalink

I meant *occupy* in military sense, as in denying a sector to the enemy.

[Aug 31, 2018] A few are beginning to wake up to the reality that snatching Ukraine away from Russia was never about prosperity and security for its people

Aug 31, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MOSCOW EXILE August 29, 2018 at 9:50 pm

" it is under $500 million and is likely mostly money from Ukrainians working in Russia. I do not see any corporate level investment happening in the current climate. "

The above linked RBK article goes on to read:

According to the presented data, during the period from January to June, the Ukraine received $1,259 billion, of which $436 million came from Russia. In second place was Cyprus, which invested $219 million and in third place amongst the largest investors was the Netherlands ($207.7 million).

In addition, contributions were made to the Ukraine economy by Austria ($58.7 million), Poland ($54.1), France ($46.9) and the UK ($43.4).

The report says that almost 60% of these funds ($750 million) were invested in the financial and insurance sphere; 9.6% of of the funds were invested by the Ukrainian authorities into the wholesale and retail trade; 8.2% into industry and 7.9 per cent. into information and telecommunications.

In mid-August, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said that Russia had been the main trading partner of the Ukraine since 2014 and because of this the return of the Crimea and the resolution of the conflict in the Donbass were becoming impossible. "There is no plan for victory in this state. Because you are not behaving like people who want a victory. You are already slaves", he said.

In response to Yushchenko's statement, the ex-head of the Ukrainian Ministry of the Economy, Viktor Suslov, said that the words of the former Ukrainian leader were "absurd" and considered any damage to Kiev caused by breaking off trade with Russia as being "colossal".

Doesn't sound like all of this money sloely consists of that sent off to "Independent" Ukraine by economic migrants from that country who are eking out a living in the Evil Empire.

MOSCOW EXILE August 29, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Verkhovna Rada Deputy Vadym Rabinovich on air of TV channel "112 Ukraine" said that the termination of trade with Russia will destroy Ukrainian economy.

According to him, Russia remains the largest trading partner of the Ukraine, as trade turnover between the two countries is growing every month.

"The trade balance with Russia is growing every month for one simple reason: the free economic zone with Europe has brought us only losses", said Rabinovich.

He noted that the interruption of trade between Moscow and Kiev is fraught with the loss, of "approximately one third of the gross national product".

"With all of the stupidity that you have done in the country, then with another unbalanced step you'll destroy the economy", summed up the Rada deputy.

Earlier, former head of the Main Department of the Ukrainian security Service, Vasily Vovk, proposed that the border with Russia be completely blocked and that ties with her be cut.

Source: В Раде рассказали о последствиях отказа от торговли с Россией

In the Rada they have been speaking about the consequences of refusing to trade with Russia

MARK CHAPMAN August 30, 2018 at 8:05 am

A few are beginning to wake up to the reality that snatching Ukraine away from Russia was never about prosperity and security for its people, and all about destabilizing what the west perceived as the quickening of an unwelcome regional influence, and curbing it. The EU – and its string-puller, Washington – does not give a fuck about the economic well-being of Ukrainians, does not have even the brotherly connection of being of the same ethnic group, and for so long as Ukraine is willing to suffer being poor in silence, for that long it will not be a problem for its new 'partners'.

Nationalist Nazi nutjobs are always proposing the border be sealed ever-tighter, if it were feasible to build a stainless-steel wall between Ukraine and Russia which reached to low earth orbit, they would vote for it. But the Great Wall Of Yatsenyuk never materialized, he's enjoying his Florida condo, and there is no practical way to limit commerce between the two countries while the people are increasingly motivated toward its continuing.

Ukraine is on the edge of collapse, and I don't think any force on earth can prevent its sliding over the edge. The west is not going to pony up the $170 Billion or so it would take to rescue it; if it did so, Porky and his minions would steal most of it for themselves, and Russia is unlikely to ever permit again the degree of fraternal closeness that existed between the two countries, since it is clear it would take only another western intervention to render it once again an untrustworthy spoiler. Once Nord Stream II is built, Ukraine will have lost its leverage and will be of no further significant value to the western purveyors of destabilization.

More such core realization is necessary to prevent Ukraine from officially blaming its collapse on anyone but itself. The government will try that course, naturally, and you don't need to be able to see very far into the future to know that it is Russia who will be blamed, despite plenty of empirical evidence that Russian investors and Ukrainian refugees working in Russia were all that kept it alive before the end. But in order that Ukrainians know in their heart of hearts that their government stepped on its own dick over and over, and that they passively failed to correct it, there needs to be more such public confession. I can show you plenty of analysis, in English, published before things went pear-shaped in the dying moments of 2013, which proposed that severing trade relationships with Russia as the nationalists insisted would cost Ukraine just about exactly what the Rada now says will happen, years too late. But they got one thing right – Ukraine and Russia cannot be brothers, not even friends, for so long as Ukraine harbours that nutty nationalist element. Give western Ukraine to Poland, and encourage all the nationalists to go to the new paradise, and ensure that happens. They can bore the Poles with their raptures about Kievan Rus. Then maybe some relationship could be salvaged.

[Aug 27, 2018] Ukraine and NATO

Aug 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

Cagey Beast , says: July 23, 2018 at 11:00 am GMT

@Peter Akuleyev

In the alt-right/far left scenario, we are supposed to dismiss the actual wishes of Ukrainians, Estonians, Poles, Georgians and other peoples who hate Russia (and love the US) as being simply irrelevant. Or, worse backed by shadowy Western forces.

Or how about we wish these East European countries well but we choose not to take their side in whatever feud they have going with Russia? Maybe the people who "love the US" love the worst aspects of America? Maybe a lot of them come across as greasy little hustlers on the make? Ever think of that?

Anyone who has spent time in Ukraine knows how deep hatred of Russia goes, especially in Western Ukraine.

And that's precisely why countries like Ukraine, the Baltic states and Poland shouldn't be in NATO. We should never have included countries with deep resentments against, and hazy borders with Russia. The geniuses running the West should have encouraged the creation of a lots of neutral states -- like Finland and Austria -- rather than expand NATO eastward.

EugeneGur , says: July 23, 2018 at 9:30 pm GMT
@Peter Akuleyev

who has spent time in Ukraine knows how deep hatred of Russia goes

I don't know where is Ukraine you spent your time and in what company, but this is complete BS. The South-Eastern Ukraine hates the Western Ukrainian "banderovtsi" as much as the Russians do if not more -- after all, the followers of Bandera operated mostly on the Ukrainian soil. There are deranged individuals in every country, of course, and Ukraine has been subjected lately to intense hate propaganda as well as repressions, but there is no hatred of Russia. This is contradicted by both sociology and everyday behavior of Ukrainian, which move to Russia in droves, spend time in Russia, support Russian sport teams, etc.

we are supposed to dismiss the actual wishes of Ukrainians, Estonians, Poles, Georgians and other peoples who hate Russia (and love the US)

Nobody is asking about what the real Ukrainians, Estonians, Georgians or even Poles actually think, least of all the US. There are almost as many Georgians living in Russia as there are in Georgia, and they show no desire to move back. In 2008 during the conflict, their biggest fear was that they'd be deported.

The Ukraine's Maidan was a violent coup, where a few thousand militants armed and trained abroad overthrew a government elected by the entire country. Protests that immediately started all over the country were suppressed with force -- the one in Donbass still is.

How could anyone with an access to Internet remain unaware of these facts is beyond me.

peterAUS , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:25 pm GMT
@EugeneGur

That's an interesting point. Even if true, doesn't matter. One could wonder ..who are the people populating Ukrainian Armed Forces? Or who are the guys, in Ukrainian Armed Forces, presently engaged against Donbass? All of them. Including those is logistics/maintenance depots far away from the (current) line of separation?

The will to fight against "Russia" ranges from a deep hate to simply not wishing to go against the (current) Ukrainian government. The former are in those "shock" battalions. The later are manning the logistics train. And everything in between.

Now .if/when a real shooting starts, as soon as Russia, as expected (and desired) by the most of readers here, starts delivering ordnance into operational depth of Donbass enemy, the ratio hate/don't care shall shift, hard and fast. Not in Russian favor, I suspect.

Vojkan , says: July 24, 2018 at 8:25 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev

Why should anyone freaking care and put his ass in the line of fire because you bunch of primitives hate Russia? Between having a nuclear cataclysm because you pathetic dwarfs of nations are frustrated to have a neighbour you can't bully and Russia obliterating you, I say let Russia obliterate you, thus we won't have to suffer the ear-hurting dissonnance of your incessant whining any more. Though I doubt Russia would stomp on you. When you see shit, you don't stomp on it, you don't want you don't want your shoes to stink, you just walk around it.

EugeneGur , says: July 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Or who are the guys, in Ukrainian Armed Forces, presently engaged against Donbass?

Besides those in "volunteer battalions", which tend to be nationalistic with distinct Nazi overtones, people in the regular Armed Forces are there for the money. There are very few paying jobs in today's Ukraine, so men enlist and hope for the best.

the ratio hate/don't care shall shift, hard and fast. Not in Russian favor, I suspect.

That could've been the case in 2014. Today I very much doubt it. Even the Right Sector people are fed up with the current power in Kiev, and even the dumbest nationalists are beginning to realize what a deep hole the country is in. Normal people all over the South-East are hoping and praying for the Russians to come. The problem is the Russians aren't coming.

[Aug 27, 2018] The brutal neoliberal experiment has ended for the boiled frog Greece - what we should be expecting next

This is Ukrainian future, unless the government neoliberal policies change...
Notable quotes:
"... The fact that Brussels euroclowns celebrated in triumph the exit of Greece from the memorandum agreement, should be taken only as a huge farce. ..."
"... Greece entered the bailout program with national debt at 120% of GDP. Now, the debt remains close to 180% of GDP! Unemployment remains at record levels. Public property has been sold-off for pennies to foreign 'investors'. Labor rights almost vanished, the situation resembles the Middle Ages. Social state and benefits severely damaged. This is the Troika 'success story'. ..."
"... This contradiction could be explained by the fact that the neoliberal regime apparatus wants to send a warning sign to Tsipras administration not to take any action without permission. It is more than certain that the tight scrutiny will be continued and Tsipras must prove to the Western neocolonialists that he will not even think to implement any anti-austerity policies. ..."
"... Without a bailout program, Greece will be left alone now to swim with the bloodthirsty sharks of the global financial mafia in the wild sea of the supposedly 'free markets'. ..."
"... Either way, the debt colony will deliver to the predators every single asset that has been left untouched. ..."
Aug 27, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

The fact that Brussels euroclowns celebrated in triumph the exit of Greece from the memorandum agreement, should be taken only as a huge farce.

The Troika (ECB, European Commission, IMF) bailout program has officially ended and the result is a scenery of disaster. If you still believe that this program has been implemented to save the Greek economy and not the Franco-German banks , take a look at the situation today.

Greece entered the bailout program with national debt at 120% of GDP. Now, the debt remains close to 180% of GDP! Unemployment remains at record levels. Public property has been sold-off for pennies to foreign 'investors'. Labor rights almost vanished, the situation resembles the Middle Ages. Social state and benefits severely damaged. This is the Troika 'success story'.

So, in reality, the experiment was indeed successful for the goals of the international capitalist predators who transformed the country into a debt colony. For more than eight years, they boiled the frog slowly with the help of Troika, and now it's impossible to escape from the hot water.

While the clowns in Brussels had to present a 'success story' to cover their huge failure and slow down the centrifugal forces against eurozone's existence and unity, the mainstream media didn't exactly celebrate. Most of the headlines were quite moderate and even alarming for the future of the Greek economy.

This contradiction could be explained by the fact that the neoliberal regime apparatus wants to send a warning sign to Tsipras administration not to take any action without permission. It is more than certain that the tight scrutiny will be continued and Tsipras must prove to the Western neocolonialists that he will not even think to implement any anti-austerity policies.

It is worth to mention that most of the neutral/pessimistic headlines came from the Anglo-American mainstream media. This could be also considered another indication about the level of deterioration in the relations between the Anglo-American axis and the Brussels-Berlin axis, inside the Western camp.

Without a bailout program, Greece will be left alone now to swim with the bloodthirsty sharks of the global financial mafia in the wild sea of the supposedly 'free markets'. The fear of the Greek government in front of such a perspective became quite evident when Greece 'decided' to expel two Russian diplomats in order to take a small gift by Standard and Poor's .

Greece will have to give much more to the Western neoliberal predators. Otherwise, the rating agencies will be ordered to attack again and force the ruined Greek economy into another round of disastrous bailouts.

Either way, the debt colony will deliver to the predators every single asset that has been left untouched.

[Aug 23, 2018] The Greece Bailout s Legacy of Immiseration by James K. Galbraith

Aug 20, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

The Greece Bailout's Legacy of Immiseration | by James K. Galbraith 22/08/2018

Note from the author : As friends have quickly pointed out, the situation is even worse than described here. Quarterly reviews by the troika will continue. The German Bundestag will still vote on any debt deferrals, and -- as I do stress -- the crushing austerity will continue indefinitely. A nightmare.

2010 to 2018 will go down in Greek history as an epic period of colonization; of asset stripping and privatization; of unfunded health and education; of bankruptcies, foreclosures, homelessness, and impoverishment; of unemployment, emigration, and suicide. These were the years of the three memoranda, or "financial-assistance programs" accompanied by "structural reforms," enacted supposedly to promote Greek "recovery" from the slump and credit crunch of 2010. They were, in fact, a fraud perpetrated on Greece and Europe, a jumble of bad policies based on crude morality tales that catered to right-wing politics to cover up unpayable debts.

This was a bailout? The word reeks of indulgence and implied disapproval. As it was often said, "The Greeks had their party and now they must pay." Yes, there was a party -- for oligarchs with ships and London homes and Swiss bank accounts, for the military, for engineering and construction and armaments companies from Germany and France and the United States. And yes, there was a bailout. It came from Europe's taxpayers, and went to the troubled banks of France and Germany. Greece was merely the pass-through, and the Greeks who paid dearly with their livelihoods were just the patsies in the deal. The third "memorandum of understanding" expires today.

With Greece's completion of a three-year, 61.9-billion-euro eurozone emergency-loan package, it can once again borrow at market rates. The expiration of the memorandum also ends, for now, the direct control by Europe's "troika" -- the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank -- over the Greek government. But its conditions, constraints, and consequences will endure. Read also: Conference of the modern Left in Iceland: learning from each other

Back in 2010, Greece, along with Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy, was definitely in trouble. The Great Financial Crisis crashed into all of Europe, but it hit the weaker countries hardest -- and Greece was the weakest of them all. Its economy shrunk by a quarter, and youth unemployment rose to roughly 50 percent. The memorandum was, for all concerned, the easy way out. It started a game of "extend and pretend" on the Greek debt, based on optimistic forecasts and on policies of reform that had no basis in the reality of Greek economic conditions.

The policies came from the IMF -- its standard repertory of austerity and "reform." But its staff and directors knew from the beginning that these measures would not suffice. IMF executive directors from Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, and China voiced objections. Channels were therefore bypassed, objections ignored. The Fund was nearly out of work and money because of the failures of its programs -- and the relative success of countries that ignored them -- all over the world. And its managing director at the time wished to be the next president of France. So Greece, which is to say its creditors -- especially French and German banks -- received the largest loan in IMF history (relative to its ownership share). And that 289-billion-euro loan came largely from U.S. taxpayers.

In Athens, teams of functionaries from the Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission came to Greece, where they stayed in fancy hotels at Greek expense and were escorted by uniformed police from ministry to ministry to dictate policy in detail. (Such a nice gig, in a warm and sunny place, so close to the sea.) In 2015, they were lodged for a time in a four-star hotel, deprived of their convoys, and given protection by elite forces dressed in plain clothes. They didn't like that at all, and their bosses, Mario Draghi and Christine Lagarde, complained loudly on their behalf.

Read also: Berlin goes on with self-defeating policies. Now they encourage Scotland to secede!

And what of the policies? Public assets were to be dumped en masse at fire-sale prices, but only if they were already profitable. (Regional airports making losses, for example, stayed with the state.) Dutch dairies and German drug companies were taken care of. Labor markets were deregulated while collective bargaining was wiped out -- an unethical experiment on an untenable premise. Neither German nor Chinese industry was moving to Greece even if the Greeks worked for free. The value-added tax was raised, pensions were cut, and hundreds of thousands of civil servants were sacked. Ministries lost cleaning ladies, who set up camp, bless them, in front of the Ministry of Finance. The Greeks rebelled in 2015, as they were right to do. But the European Central Bank held the high card: It could shut the banks and confiscate deposits, forcing Greece out of the euro and perhaps out of the European Union. The government, undermined from within, capitulated. The third memorandum was signed, and Syriza, the left-wing coalition that had swept into power in January, by that July had become the model prisoner of the European elites.

The irony is that in 2012 Greece's debts were already postponed, so that from late 2015 to 2022 there would be a grace period with relatively few major payments due. Now there is a primary-budget surplus and the markets need not be tested. So the memorandum can end, but austerity will not; the debt still looms in the long term, so the commitment to surplus extends for more than 40 years. In any event, the Greeks' will to resistance appears to have been broken, so it seems safe enough to leave them alone. For now.

But the damage done extends far beyond Greece. The cynicism and brutality of what happened there is for everyone to see. The fact that Europe imposed a policy of privation on one of its weakest members -- not for its own sake, and not with any expectation of economic success, but to intimidate the Italians and the French, as the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble conceded to the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis privately in 2015 -- was not lost on British voters who chose Brexit in 2016. The Greek debacle helped to turn the French left against Europe, and fueled the inchoate coalition now in power in Italy. The German and east European far right is surely not motivated by sympathy -- on the contrary, they despise the Greeks. But they do resent the supposed "solidarity" -- a fiction if ever there was one -- that Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and her allies invoked to sell their parliaments and voters on the idea of the Greek loans.

Read also: The IMF wants to appoint Prime Ministers. They want a Greek Macron in Athens

Europe is therefore rotting Hat both ends. Its economy must remain unified, but it is coming apart at its political seams. It needs institutions and policies of social stabilization, financial reform, and full employment -- a dramatic change in ideas and action at the continental level to thwart the rising tide of nationalist reaction. There is therefore a growing sense, among those who are watching closely, that a major democratic reform -- a New Deal for Europe -- is the only way to hold it together in the long run.

* James K. Galbraith is author of Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe . In 2015 he served as an informal assistant to the finance minister of Greece.

;

[Aug 19, 2018] Ukrainian external debt reached 83 percent of the GDP

Notable quotes:
"... In this version of 21st century slavery, all these disadvantages have been eliminated! Slaves stay in their homecountry: there is no need to bring them from there, no need to live amongst them and to feed them! Slaves are forced to work hard in the hope of paying off their debt, so they are motivated and hardworking. And most importantly, no civil war in the USA! ..."
Aug 19, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile,

This year, the Ukraine Prime Minister Groisman said that the external debt is 83% of the GDP. And by the end of the year, having been pressurized by the IMF, it will reach 90%. In order to service its external debts, the Ukraine spends $4.8 billion a year.

This is real slavery - only a new, improved version of it. From the 17th to the 19 centuries, slavery in [the North American British colonies and then - ME] the United States had a number of serious deficiencies: slaves had to be brought all the way from Africa; slaves were not extremely industrious; Americans themselves had to live amongst the slaves; and, most unpleasantly, all this led to civil war in the United States.

In this version of 21st century slavery, all these disadvantages have been eliminated! Slaves stay in their homecountry: there is no need to bring them from there, no need to live amongst them and to feed them! Slaves are forced to work hard in the hope of paying off their debt, so they are motivated and hardworking. And most importantly, no civil war in the USA!

Draw your own conclusions.

[Aug 15, 2018] While the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the financial problems it faces, Russia might decline this offer

Ukraine has huge problems because far right nationalists while hate corruption, do not control economics and oligarchs who control it do not intent to share their profits with the population, who is on the edge of starvation.
Breaking economic ties with Russia helped to relegate Ukraine to semi-colonial status as without cooperation with Russian industries and access to Russian market (which they know very well) many Ukrainian manufacturing industries are less viable..
Ukraine was already converted into debt-slave, and it is extremely difficult to climb out of this hole without default. At the same time it serves are powerful anti-Russian force in the region and as such will be semi-supported by both the USA and EU. for example attacks on Ukrainian currency probably will be avoided.
This is a variant of " don't cry for me Argentina" situation.
Notable quotes:
"... Notably that while the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the problem, the warning signs are there that Russia has no intention of bailing out an exhausted Ukraine, and that this time it is going to be allowed to fail all the way down. The west should be warned that nobody is riding to the rescue and pouring their resources into stabilizing Ukraine – if the west cannot do it, the alternative is collapse and draining emergency work to keep the population from starvation. Prosperity is an impossible dream now, and the people – I think – would be pretty happy to be back where they were before the glorious Maidan. ..."
"... Interestingly, something that was not touched upon in the 'Necessary' section was the elimination of the oligarchy in Kiev and other major cities. I will declare frankly that I have no idea how this might be achieved – as discussed before several times, the Ukrainian oligarchs control something in the order of 70% of Ukrainian GDP, and are not about to gift any of it back to the Ukrainian state. ..."
"... You'll know there's no more money in Ukraine when the oligarchs leave, and I see no sign of that so far, while it is evident they intend to be a big part of any future rebuilding. They've already successfully stolen most of the IMF money, and plainly think an even bigger payday is still in the offing. ..."
"... Eventually, if the USA is unsuccessful in forcing the outbreak of another world war, the west will get around to either asking Russia to help, or trying to dump Ukraine on Russia. ..."
"... Whatever happens, the dream of Ukrainian nationalists to forge a great and powerful ... nation of Ukraine is always going to remain that – a dream. They're happy enough at present scampering about in the ruins and glorying in their imagination of great power, but they are kings of the dungheap without any clue of nation-building. ..."
"... The few who both hated Russia and honestly aspired to a Great Ukraine – free of corruption and able to pay its way through judicious management of its undeniable resources and casting off the peasant mentality – have no influence, and operate at the pleasure of the power-brokers; they are allowed to dabble at anti-corruption until their probing becomes uncomfortable, and then they are discredited and fired, if not charged with the crimes they say they are investigating. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes August 10, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Last post time, but a goodie (I think):

http://thesaker.is/whats-destructive-constructive-and-necessary-in-ukrainian-politics/

No intention to comment- read for yourselves.

Mark Chapman August 11, 2018 at 6:41 am
That is indeed an interesting piece – generally speaking, we most enjoy writing with which we agree, and I mostly agree with it and feel the ring of familiarity, because some of it is what we have been saying here for a couple of years. Notably that while the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the problem, the warning signs are there that Russia has no intention of bailing out an exhausted Ukraine, and that this time it is going to be allowed to fail all the way down. The west should be warned that nobody is riding to the rescue and pouring their resources into stabilizing Ukraine – if the west cannot do it, the alternative is collapse and draining emergency work to keep the population from starvation. Prosperity is an impossible dream now, and the people – I think – would be pretty happy to be back where they were before the glorious Maidan.

Interestingly, something that was not touched upon in the 'Necessary' section was the elimination of the oligarchy in Kiev and other major cities. I will declare frankly that I have no idea how this might be achieved – as discussed before several times, the Ukrainian oligarchs control something in the order of 70% of Ukrainian GDP, and are not about to gift any of it back to the Ukrainian state.

But for so long as Ukraine continues to elect one oligarch after another to the office of President, the oligarch of the moment will be far more occupied with increasing his/her personal wealth and power, and settling scores with rivals, than with governance and accountability. At the same time, there is no use hoping the President will be a poor man or woman, because they generally do not have the worldly education to grasp the problem and envision solutions while being simultaneously beset from all sides by the oligarchy, seeking to retain its power and influence.

You'll know there's no more money in Ukraine when the oligarchs leave, and I see no sign of that so far, while it is evident they intend to be a big part of any future rebuilding. They've already successfully stolen most of the IMF money, and plainly think an even bigger payday is still in the offing.

The United States has largely forgotten Ukraine, as it was only ever a pretext for a full-court press against Russia anyway, and it now has enough Russophobia sustainment in its ditzy population to press forward without the need to invoke sympathy for Ukraine. Europe is still quite interested in a resolution, but only because of its fear that it is going to get stuck with the booby prize, and be made to assume responsibility for getting Ukraine on its feet somehow, perhaps even absorbing it. Eventually, if the USA is unsuccessful in forcing the outbreak of another world war, the west will get around to either asking Russia to help, or trying to dump Ukraine on Russia.

Whatever happens, the dream of Ukrainian nationalists to forge a great and powerful ... nation of Ukraine is always going to remain that – a dream. They're happy enough at present scampering about in the ruins and glorying in their imagination of great power, but they are kings of the dungheap without any clue of nation-building.

The few who both hated Russia and honestly aspired to a Great Ukraine – free of corruption and able to pay its way through judicious management of its undeniable resources and casting off the peasant mentality – have no influence, and operate at the pleasure of the power-brokers; they are allowed to dabble at anti-corruption until their probing becomes uncomfortable, and then they are discredited and fired, if not charged with the crimes they say they are investigating.

Patient Observer August 11, 2018 at 8:17 am
Well said. Presumably, the Donbass will pull away from Ukraine and vote to joint Russia and Russia will approve for any number of reasons but certainly including humanitarian, ethnic/cultural connections and military considerations. Other regions such as Odessa could jump aboard as well.

There may be a mass exodus from what is left – the grifter to the West and those seeking a better life to the east. The Nazis will remain behind and may serve some purpose such as providing a pool of mercenaries for CIA projects.

I, for one, do not think the Donbass will be an overwhelming economic burden in the long run. The population has shown resolve and resilience. Given leadership and material aid, they can rebuild fairly quickly I think.

[Aug 15, 2018] Canadian sniper rifles expected to be in the hands of Ukrainian military by fall, MP says

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Well Canada has rather upset the apple cart, hasn't it? On the one hand, western moralizing and sermonizing other states about what they should do used to be only restricted to mostly enemy states, preferably much less rich ones, on the other hand values only mean something if you actually are willing to pay a literal price in either money, blood or both.

The financial papers are saying that this will damage SA's the confidence of foreign investors, precisely those SA is trying to attract so that it can start to diversify its economy away from petroleum based products, but we have yet to see if this will have a noticeable effect, rather than just a wish effect.

The US has said Sweet FA, along with the rest of the sermonizing weapon selling west, so Canada has very little support from its allies. So far. Germany should be an obvious supporter but if pissing of the Saudis makes it more dependent on Russia ergo there are plenty of reasons that can be wheeled out to keep treading lightly.

It looks to me as just another sign of the existing order breaking down, whether or not Canada back tracks or not. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.

As for the so-called free and democratic media, well they only further discredit themselves publicly.

Meanwhile, I just checked out the Canada headlines and this jumped out:

National Post: Canadian sniper rifles expected to be in the hands of Ukrainian military by fall, MP says
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-sniper-rifles-expected-to-be-in-the-hands-of-ukrainian-military-by-fall-mp-says

Global Affairs Canada would not say whether Canadian taxpayers are financing the sale, and would not provide any other details about the arms deal

Few details are available about the proposed sale of weapons, as the Canadian government says such information is commercially sensitive. It has declined to name the company selling the guns or indicate how many rifles would be sent to Ukraine. However Conservative MP James Bezan, who has been in contact with the Canadian company that has the agreement to supply the rifles to Ukraine, confirmed the deal's likely timeline. He declined to name the firm since the sale still has to be finalized.

Nicolas Moquin, a spokesman for the Canadian Joint Operations Command Headquarters, said the Canadian military has been providing sniper and counter-sniper training to Ukraine's security forces since September 2015. He said Canada is not looking at this time of providing additional sniper training to coincide with the delivery of new weapons .
####

Freeland will be doing her grandfather justice!

Canadian sniper rifle manufacturers:

PGW Defense Technologies – C14 Timberwolf (CAF current rifle)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C14_Timberwolf

Parker-Hale C3, C3A1 and M82

Where as this old NP article fingers Colt Canada chasing sales to the Ukraine, though this seems to be for assault rifles rather than sniper rifles:

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-arms-manufacturer-hopes-to-sell-assault-rifles-to-ukraine-military

OR, is this just Canada selling sniper rifles that are not necessarily of Canadian origin?

According the the video below with Canadian MP James Barazan, he says there are large numbers of weapons such as assault rifles, sniper systems, mortar systems, counter battery radar etc. sitting in warehouses in Jordan (& Toronto) that were supposed to go to Kurdistan.

Patient Observer August 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm
Yes,, the world order is falling apart. For some reason, this state of affairs reminds me of the observation that married couples who are heading toward divorce are on that path not because of a lack of communications but because they are now communicating for the first time.
Mark Chapman August 8, 2018 at 4:48 pm
Ukraine is awash in small arms – they could give them out with a box of tea at the supermarket as a promotion, and it would still take months to work through their supply. The last thing they need is more rifles. On the other hand, new ones will probably fetch a good price on e-Bay.
Hor August 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm
Maybe the hryvnia no longer holds any value and the new currency is sniper rifles.

[Aug 15, 2018] Ukraine has more or less lost its case before the WTO, in which it wept that Russia s unfair imposition of an embargo on its railway cars and rolling stock constituted a violation which cost Ukraine $3.2 Billion in annual sales

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 1, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Oh, dear; Ukraine has more or less lost its case before the WTO, in which it wept that Russia's unfair imposition of an embargo on its railway cars and rolling stock constituted a violation which caused a former $3.2 Billion in annual sales – more than it realizes from transit fees for carrying Russian gas to Europe – to collapse to $150 Million. The WTO bought the Russian rationale that Russian inspectors going to Ukraine to ensure the product conformed to Russian standards would be in fear of their lives.

But the WTO ruled that the security situation was such that Russian inspectors sent to check that Ukraine's exports complied with Russian standards would have been risking their lives, and Russia was therefore justified in not sending them to Ukraine.

"The panel fully agreed with Russia's position and recognized that there was no systematic restriction of imports of Ukrainian equipment by Russia," Russia's Ministry of Trade and Economy said in a statement.

The WTO did go on to say Russia could have carried out the inspections outside Ukraine, but therein lies a sandbag to the head that Ukraine probably spotted already – if Russian inspectors found shoddy work or any other reason to refuse the offered goods, to say nothing of the probability that no contracting position between the two countries even exists any more, then Ukraine would be out the sale plus whatever costs it incurred to ship the goods outside Ukraine.

https://m.investing.com/news/economy-news/wto-ruling-derails-bulk-of-ukrainian-trade-dispute-against-russia-1551279?ampMode=1

Gosh! Is Ukraine's Russophobia beginning to blow up in its face?

[Aug 14, 2018] Creating problems in Ukriane is one of the few ways Russia could impose tangible costs on USA

Looks like the aim of US sanctions is to ratchet the hostility up with Russia to the level of a full blown cold war. Ukraine can be a victim.
Notable quotes:
"... Meanwhile, you'll get bogged down in Ukraine. You'll face tough choices (sanctions will get North Korea-style quickly, and even Chinese sympathy will get questionable), like should you spend your scarce resources on modern weaponry or a large security force to keep Ukraine pacified? ..."
"... Very few people in Russia would want Ukraine now. The consensus is: "good riddance". In Ukraine, on the other hand, there are people who want Russia to invade. Some are waiting for someone else to liberate them from Nazis (they apparently are not familiar with Protestant wisdom that God helps those who help themselves), some pray for a pretext to invite NATO/US (as if anyone is willing to die for them). ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

@reiner Tor


We'll need an anti-sanctions law regardless of whether or not we are going to invade.
Well, I'd say it's a precondition to invading Ukraine. If you're incapable of making such a simple law, you're sure as hell incapable of invading Ukraine. And you do need the law if you want to avoid the sanctions creating the perverse incentives inside Russia, like the biggest banks not having branches in the Crimea. Decoupling from the US dollar is no help, since US sanctions are extraterritorial, if you didn't notice, so they affect euro or even Chinese yuan denominated transactions, too.
Eastern Europeans will never mobilise. What would mass mobilisation even look like in a country like Hungary? Instead, they'll petition USA to station more of its troops in Eastern Europe. A lot more, like hundreds of thousands more.
Within living memory, Hungary had armed forces of 150,000 troops and 1,500 main battle tanks (admittedly, the majority were somewhat obsolete), with hundreds of fighter and light bomber jets (MiG-21s and Su-22s etc.), and we were the slackers in the Eastern Bloc, not spending on defense as much as other neighbors of us. Increasing defense spending to 2% of GDP is what's the plan. If you invaded and occupied the whole of Ukraine, it could easily go up to 4-5%.

Of course, the Americans might come in numbers, too. But you're delusional here:

Doing so will impose costs on the USA. Actually, this is one of the few ways Russia could impose tangible costs on USA: by stoking tensions in Eastern Europe.
We have no military industry to speak of. Most of our neighbors do have some, but even they are nowhere near self-sufficiency. You can guess who we'll buy our weapons from. Poland recently offered to pay for an American base on its soil. So it won't be much of a cost for the US, it might actually be quite beneficial.

Meanwhile, you'll get bogged down in Ukraine. You'll face tough choices (sanctions will get North Korea-style quickly, and even Chinese sympathy will get questionable), like should you spend your scarce resources on modern weaponry or a large security force to keep Ukraine pacified?

Mass deportations is the best part about occupying the Ukraine!
Stalin's USSR at the height of its power only deported much smaller populations. You'd need a lot of people to achieve that. But let's assume you'll manage to do that. It will, of course, create a huge backlash against Russia: popular opinion will get united against Russians. (Defense spending quickly up to 5% of GDP or higher.) The Ukrainians in our countries will of course enter the workforce and join anti-Russian ragtag militias to control the border.
Instead they would have to contend with an insurgency in Eastern Poland
So the people ethnically cleansed from their homes will rise up against NATO in support of Russia. This is a seriously dumb idea.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 7:04 pm GMT

Very few people in Russia would want Ukraine now. The consensus is: "good riddance". In Ukraine, on the other hand, there are people who want Russia to invade. Some are waiting for someone else to liberate them from Nazis (they apparently are not familiar with Protestant wisdom that God helps those who help themselves), some pray for a pretext to invite NATO/US (as if anyone is willing to die for them).

This reminds me of an old Russian joke.

An old hag sits on the bench and screams: "Help! They are raping me!"
Another one passes by and asks: "Have you gone completely mad?"
The first one answers: "Everyone is entitled to a pleasant dream!"

Cyrano , August 13, 2018 at 6:15 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Don't worry about my IQ woes – they are non-existent. I am a stable genius – just like Donald Trump. Your IQ issues are – on the other hand – very easy to fix. All you have to do is admit that you are Russian and you immediately gain 20-30 IQ points. Of course, this will come at the expense of Russia, but then again. everything you've ever done in your history came at the expense of Russia. All the Russians ever wanted was to have a brotherly nation in Ukraine. They have a brother all right, unfortunately that brother has a Down syndrome.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Okechukwu

Any Russian ruler who tries to return Crimea will be overthrown in no time. As Russia gradually disengages from the US-dominated financial system, the costs will go down. Russia has already created its own payment system similar to that of Visa and Mastercard, as well as its own money transfer system similar to SWIFT. On the other hand, if Russia fails to disengage from dollar-dominated system, the losses would be much greater than Crimea. It might even turn into a shithole, like Ukraine.

Insurance is more often a scam than not: Lehman Brothers enjoyed pretty high ratings until their crash. What's more, banks were insured against the risks of sub-prime mortgages they held. Remember what happened in 2008?

As to the future, nobody has the crystal ball. Can you tell how much a Big Mac will cost in the US five or ten years from now? $4? $40? $400? $4,000? Your guess is as good as mine. Ponzi schemes have a habit of crashing and nobody worked out a way of predicting when exactly the crash will occur.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT
@DaveE

This might be in the cards. The US sanctions actually squeezed Russian comprador (5th column) oligarchs, who were always subservient to the West, sent their families there, and are siphoning off their money offshore, more than anything. If Putin uses this to expropriate their stolen riches, which he might do (98% of Russian population would be cheering; they'd cheer even more if Putin hangs those bastards, but that's unlikely), these sanctions would be yet another example of the US shooting itself in the foot. The US is getting pretty good at that lately, always screaming that it hurts afterwards.

[Aug 02, 2018] This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Conclusion is that accommodation with Putin will be very difficult

Events in Ukraine after EuroMaidan are notoriously difficult to understand.
The book is fairly recent and as such might be a useful introduction for a Western reader who is interested in Ukrainian event, but the material should be taken with a grain of salt. The author is way too simplistic and his views on geopolitical problems are incorrect. The idea that " Putin's Munich speech as a declaration of war" is nonsense. Also most of the readers probably know State Department talking points and can recognize them in the text.
. In some areas the author is clearly incompetent as the quote "In 2016, France blocked 24,000 cyber attacks targeting its military. Ukraine experienced 24, 000 cyber attacks in only the last two months of 2016" suggests.
The author views of Russia are typical of the US-based Ukrainian diaspora. As it is pretty much radicalized, it can be argued that it brings to Ukraine more harm then good. In short his views on Russia can be defined as cocktail of a 40% proof Russophobia with pure Neoconservatism. So while author analysis of "Post-Maydan" Ukrainian elite has its value, his view on Russia should probably be discarded.
For those who also bough McFaul book it is interesting to see correlation in views as well as differences (especially McFaul laments from page 429 to the end of the book) . McFaul was the co-architect of the 2011-2012 color revolution in Russia; and as an Ambassador became ostracized by Russian and later removed by Obama. For his role in "White color revolution of 2012" McFaul was put on the travel ban list by Russians and is not allowed to travel to the country. Both represent neoconservative stance on the events, but there are some subtle and rather interesting differences ;-)
Some Amazon reviews as one reproduced below are actually as valuable as the book itself and can serve as a valuable addition.
Aug 02, 2018 | www.amazon.com
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham H. Seibert TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 17, 2017
This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Conclusion is that accommodation with Putin will be very difficult.

This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Kuzio provides the conclusion to the book as the conclusion to his introduction. It is somber, but realistic:

"There cannot be a conclusion to the book because the Donbas is an unresolved conflict that is on-going. There will be no closure of the Ukraine-Russia crisis as long as Putin is Russian president which will be as long as he remains alive. To fully implement the Minsk-2 Accords would mean jettisoning the DNR-LNR which Putin will not do and therefore, a political resolution to the Donbas conflict is difficult to envisage."

Having lived in Kyiv for ten years, I was witness to the latter chapters of the drama that Kuzio describes. His account jibes with what I witnessed, and provides a coherent explanation of the events as they unfolded. The animus against Yanukovych was universal. His blatant theft was visible to all. Every merchant I dealt with lived in fear of his tax police. We saw, or more often read accounts about, the depredations of the titushki on a daily basis.

One of my key questions in 2014 was whether it might have been better to endure Yanukovych for another couple of years, until the elections. The Ukrainian people answered for me -- they had had enough. It wasn't exactly a coup, because the opposition was not well organized and because Yanukovych fled before he could be overthrown. But the will of the people was clear. He had to go. Kuzio makes a strong case that if it had not happened then, Yanukovych might have had time to secure his dictatorship in such a way that he could not be dislodged through democratic means.

Kuzio provides the most thorough and accurate description of the language situation I have ever read. A fact he often repeats is that a majority of the soldiers fighting against the Russians are themselves Russian speakers. Putin's claim that he is protecting a persecuted linguistic minority is absolute nonsense. Kuzio makes the very useful analogy between the use of English in Ireland and that of Russian in Ukraine. It is a matter of history and convenience.

Ukrainian is not a dialect of Russian. They are very distinct languages. Speaking Spanish, I was able to learn Portuguese quite easily. Speaking Russian has not enabled me to master Ukrainian. They have different alphabets and even different grammars. As a resident of Kyiv for 10 years I have not been forced to, and almost not been in a position to speak Ukrainian. Everybody I interact with is exactly as Kuzio describes – ardently Ukrainian, but nevertheless Russian speaking.

A question Kuzio does not raise is the utility of a language. For better or worse, Russian is a world language. There is a significant body of scientific literature, fiction and poetry written in Russian. It is, or was until recently, the lingua franca of the former USSR.

A lot of information about Kuzio himself is packed in the brief lead into his chapter entitled Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism: "Ukraine is in the hands of homosexuals and Jewish oligarchs. Aleksandr Dugin"

Russian philosopher Dugin is one of Kuzio's major bête noire's. Kuzio's book makes it clear that Dugin is as much of an activist as he is a philosopher. Dugin seems to have a hand in most things anti-Ukrainian. As a philosopher he is nothing – his book The Fourth Political Theory is the subject of the most savage pan I have ever written. Nonetheless, he is taken seriously by the resurgent Russian nationalists and Putin himself.

Dugin's claim that Ukraine is in the hands of homosexuals is absurd. Homosexuals are tolerated here, but they are discrete. Most Ukrainians, though they have no love whatsoever for Russia, are largely in sympathy with Russia's stand against the flaunting of homosexuality. The college-educated twentysomethings whom I know seem unaware that they even know homosexuals, though it appears to this San Franciscan that some people in our circles must be gay.

The claim that Ukraine is in the hand of Jewish oligarchs is quite another matter. Kuzio gives quite rational explanations for anti-Ukrainian, anti-Belarusian and anti-Russian sentiment, a great deal of which he manifests himself. He somehow looks at anti-Semitism as a phenomenon that is beyond explanation. I would contend that it should be regarded just as the other anti- concepts. Especially in the former USSR, where the Jews were regarded as a separate people in the same way as Ukrainians.

He writes about the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Fraud or hoax might be a better word. Internet sources name the author as a certain Russian Professor S. Nilus writing in 1901. The attractiveness of the fraud is that it coincides quite neatly with widely held opinions about the Jews, many of which have some substance.

Going to substance, Kuzio mentions some of the major Jewish oligarchs, Kolomoisky and Taruta, and some of the Jewish participants and Ukrainian politics: Yatsenyuk and Groisman. He discounts the notion that President Poroshenko's father, born Valtzman, was Jewish. I had never heard this account questioned. Other prominent Jews in Ukrainian politics/oligarchy who come immediately to mind include Feldman and Rabinowitz. It is not that there is anything wrong with Jews occupying dominant positions, but "simple Ivan" is not so stupid as to fail to notice them. It is also widely perceived that the Jewish oligarchs are no better or worse than the others, in that they put their personal interests ahead of that of the people who elected them. Poroshenko has been a major disappointment. Kuzio writes of Kolomoisky's support of the volunteer battalions in Donbas. True – but it was totally in line with his business interests.

The fact that six of the seven billionaires to emerge after the collapse of the USSR were Jewish belies Kuzio's claims that they were radically disadvantaged in the USSR. More balanced accounts of Soviet Judaism have been written by Robert Wistrich , Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Yuri Slezkine .

Even a paranoid has enemies. American Jewish neocons, especially Victoria Nuland and husband Robert Kagan, actively involved in Ukrainian politics, were strongly anti-Russian. Though Kuzio is absolutely correct that the animus of the Ukrainian people for Yanukovych was more than enough to power the Maidan uprising, it is also probably true that the CIA was covertly abetting the protesters.

Kuzio's history of the Donbas and Crimea provides a very useful background to the conflict. After the Welsh engineer John Hughes discovered coal around Donetsk in the 1880s there was a rush to exploit it. The sparse population of Ukrainian farmers was not interested in working the mines. The Russians brought in men from all over the Empire. A large number were criminals who earned early release by promising to work there. Others were simply soldiers of fortune.

Mining is dirty, dangerous and very masculine work. Kuzio reports that the history of the Donbas always mirrored the miners themselves. Politically, it sat in the middle between the Russians and the Ukrainians, respecting neither very much and casting its lot with whoever appeared at the moment to be most generous to them, more often Moscow than Kyiv.

Kuzio relates that Lenin included the Donbas within the Ukrainian SSR as a built-in fifth column, as a lever to control all of Ukraine. It remained after independence in 1991. The Donbas' unique culture and clannishness protected its politicians from probing inquiries into their dark pasts, such as Yanukovych' two prison terms. They would overlook his depredations and send him to Kyiv with the idea that "he's a crook, but he's our crook."

Crimea's history is even more convoluted, but the bottom line is that it has always been Russian speaking and did not identify greatly with Ukraine.

Kuzio reports, seemingly approvingly, that fellow author Alexander Motyl believes that Ukraine would be better off without these insubordinate, intransigent ingrates.

In the end, Kuzio sums the origins of the crisis up very well, "The roots of the Ukraine-Russia crisis do not lie in EU and NATO enlargement and democracy promotion, as left-wing scholars and realists would have us believe, but in two factors. The first is Russia's and specifically Putin's unwillingness to accept Ukrainians are a separate people and Ukraine is an independent state with a sovereign right to determine its geopolitical alliances. The second is Yanukovych and the Donetsk clan's penchant for the monopolization of power, state capture, corporate raiding of the state and willingness to accommodate practically every demand made by Moscow that culminated in treason on a grand scale. This was coupled with a shift to Sovietophile and Ukrainophobic nationality policies and return to Soviet style treatment of political opponents. Taken together, these policies made popular protests inevitable in the 2015 elections but they came a year earlier after Yanukovych bowed to Russian pressure to back away from the EU Association Agreement. These protests, in turn, became violent and nationalistic in response to the Party of Regions and KPU's destruction of Ukraine's democracy through the passing of draconian legislation, the president's refusal to compromise and his use of vigilantes and police spetsnaz for political repression, torture, and murders of protestors."

The question facing Ukraine at the moment is how to resolve the war in Donbas and how to prevent Russia from making further incursions. Kuzio shares some very useful insights in this regard.

Even in 2014, Russia simply did not have the resources to conquer Ukraine even if it had had the desire. Kuzio repeatedly makes the point that the Russian doctrine of hybrid war depends on a sympathetic or at least indifferent local populace. Even in the Donbass the Russians have not been welcomed by a majority.

Time and again, Putin proves himself too smart by half. In his desire to maintain deniability, he employed Chechens, Don Cossacks and "political tourists," thugs from all over Russia to infiltrate the Donbass as separatists. Criminals are simply not suited for either civil administration or organized warfare. After three months it was clear to Putin that he had to use Russian troops and administrators, pushing the separatists aside. Not mentioned in the book is the fact that a great many of the separatist leaders died mysteriously. Although Russia attempted to frame Ukraine for "Motorola's" death, it appears to have been done by Russian agents. Russia's trecherous duplicity neither won the war for them no fooled anybody for very long.

Russia has thus had several handicaps in capturing and holding even the small, Russophone and previously Russophile enclaves in Lugansk and Donetsk. The LPR and DPR would not survive without ongoing Russian support. They have not won the hearts and minds of the people.

This calls to mind Custine's Penguin Classics Letters From Russia on the fact that Russian duplicity and deceit made it impossible for them ever to subvert the West. Alexandr Zinoviev summed it up exquisitely in his satirical Homo Sovieticus :

"Even though the West seems chaotic, frivolous and defenseless, all the same Moscow will never achieve worldwide supremacy. Moscow can defend itself against any opponent. Moscow can deliver a knockout blow on the west. Moscow has the wherewithal to mess up the whole planet. But it has no chance of becoming the ruler of the world. To rule the world one must have at one's disposal a sufficiently great nation. That nation must feel itself to be a nation of rulers. And when it comes to it, one that can rule in reality. In the Soviet Union the Russians are the only people who might be suited to that role. They are the foundation and the bulwark of the Empire. But they don't possess the qualities of a ruling nation. And in the Soviet empire their situation is more like that of being a colony for all the other peoples in it."

This is the bottom line, something for the warmongers in Washington to keep in mind. Ukraine and NATO cannot defeat Russia on its own doorstep, but Russia can certainly defeat itself. For NATO to arm Ukraine, as the west did Georgia, or continue to crowd it as they are doing in the Baltics, is counterproductive. It would be quite possible, but also quite stupid for Russia to roll over its neighbors. The adventure in Ukraine has already been expensive, and holding Crimea and Donbas will only become more so. Conversely, for the west to arm countries against the Russians, as the US did in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Nicaragua, proved quite deadly for these supposed friends. Ukraine and the west should wait Putin out just as they waited out the USSR.

I have a couple of quibbles with the book. Kuzio uses the word "Fascist" to characterize various Russian nationalist groups that support Putin and attack Ukrainians. Fascism died with Hitler, 72 years ago. There should be a better term. This is especially true as Putin terms Ukrainians as "Fascists." The word is inappropriate, old and clichéd.

Kuzio goes on to paint the rising nationalist movements in Europe as Fascist, or extreme right wing. He excoriates Marine le Pen for taking Putin's money. There is a strong case to be made that anti-democrats, supported by mainstream parties, have seized the European Parliament and strongly suppressed free speech, open debate and the ability of such nationalists to find funding. Their national banks are prejudicially closed to Farage, Wilders, Orban, le Pen and the others. Kuzio should be more accommodating to the nationalists. Ukraine may soon find itself forced to work with them. Moreover, they have many good points. Generation Identity provides a succinct summary. It is a book of the millennial generation, the nationalists' strongest base, outlining their case against their elders, the boomers.

Ukraine is a conservative country. It is not wise to push the west's liberal agendas with regard to immigration, homosexuality, feminism and civil rights for the Roma and at the same time steel Ukraine for its fight against Russia. Even joining the battle against corruption smells of hypocrisy, as evidence of political corruption emerges all over the west. It is better to recognize the simple facts, as Kuzio does, and have a bit of faith. Ukraine managed against stiffer odds in 2014. It will survive.

[Jul 27, 2018] What Has Happened to Ukraine. Inertial Scenario for Ukraine's National and Political Identity by Alexei V. Popov

The author provides some interesting observations... He ignores the role of economics though.
Looks like a replay of events in Baltic republics. Might increase emigration and "provisialization" of Ukraine because Russian is suppressed but English did not became the second language (which is probably impossible without switching education into English language). Dominance of EU might be more harsh regime, then most of the supporters of Eurointergation assume, especially in economic sphere -- the status of semi-colony and debt slave are given, but it can be worse.
Economic suffering of population and pauperization of Ukraine are immense...
Notable quotes:
"... Yet, at least half of the population of all eight administrative regions of mainland South-East Ukraine viewed the Euromaidan as a coup, because, according to a survey conducted in early April 2014 by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, only a third of respondents in these regions (the survey was not conducted in Crimea and Sevastopol) considered Yatsenyuk and Turchinov legitimate heads of government and state, while half of respondents considered them illegitimate (Kiev International Institute of Sociology, 2014c). ..."
"... The conformism of the South-East elite, which only recently was at the head of the anti-Maidan movement, surpassed the conformism of society many times over, because this elite had much to lose. ..."
"... The situation with Crimea was another factor that objectively strengthened Kiev's position in the South-East. ..."
"... This predictably could not increase pro-Russian sentiments in the rest of Ukraine. ..."
"... anti-Russian forces took an increasingly tough position, describing all talk of federalization as separatism. ..."
"... the winners of the Euromaidan Crimea was not a reason but a pretext for starting a policy of de-Russification. However, these events influenced the political swamp, that is, citizens without a clear position, and strengthened the base of the current regime, as evidenced by the results of public opinion polls and elections. ..."
"... the Europeans played up to Kiev in criminalizing the notion 'federation,' because for the West the Ukrainian problem is part of the Russian problem ..."
"... The West views them as paramilitary organizations which established power in those regions with external help and imposed themselves on the population. ..."
"... This position of the West strengthened the attitude of the pro-Western liberal public in Ukraine towards people in the South-East as sovok ..."
"... the "discursive violence of the Ukrainian media" in late February-early April 2014 paved the way for the "brutality of the antiterrorist operation" by creating a negative image of people of the South-East. ..."
"... Ukrayinska Pravda, Livyi Bereg, ..."
"... At the same time, Ukrainian radical nationalism objectively was an instrument which Ukrainian [neo]liberals used to achieve victory. ..."
"... However, positive dynamics for either party to the conflict is not only measured by territories they seize -- it is seen in the fact that actions, formerly deemed impossible, turn out to be possible and not having obvious negative consequences. For example, the implementation of the political part of the Minsk Agreement (which both Kiev and the West consider imposed on Ukraine from the outside) now seems to be a much more illusory goal than it seemed in 2014-2015. ..."
"... In particular, Kiev has rescinded a bill on constitutional amendments regarding decentralization; an economic blockade of Donbass has been introduced; and several laws have been passed and measures taken to combat the Russian World, both inside and outside the country. ..."
"... The law on the reintegration of Donbass, passed by the Verkhovna Rada this January, was a logical development and a new stage of this policy. Its purpose is not so much to recognize the territories beyond Kiev's control as occupied by Russia. What is more important is that the law recognizes this state de facto without a formal recognition of the war with Russia de jure. ..."
"... This positive dynamics creates a situation where a critical mass of society thinks that at least Ukraine will not find itself in the same difficult situation as in the spring of 2014 and that, at best, it will restore full control over Donbass on its terms: Russia will not withstand the sanctions and will stop supporting the uncontrolled territories. The policy of the West does not contradict these expectations: the sanctions continue, there is almost no public criticism of Kiev's actions in Donbass at the state level, except for minor issues, and the U.S. has decided to supply Javelin antitank missiles to Ukraine, which is largely a symbolic gesture fitting perfectly into the aforementioned pattern of positive dynamics. ..."
"... Of course, very many of the above-mentioned elements of the positive (for Kiev) dynamics also have a great negative effect. For example, the existing format of the conflict in Donbass involves great military expenditures and leads to reduced ties with Russia, which is a significant burden for the Ukrainian economy. ..."
"... The present scale of losses of the Ukrainian army is not a factor that may spark a mass antiwar movement in the country, similar to the antiwar movement in the United States in the late 1960s, because the ratio of casualties to population in Ukraine is much smaller than that in the U.S. during the Vietnam War. ..."
"... Naturally, the economic situation in Ukraine is much less stable than that of the U.S. during the Vietnam War. However, in the public consciousness, the war is only one factor behind the economic problems (along with corruption, incompetence of the authorities, etc.). ..."
"... The war has advantages, too. Of course, they would have disappeared in the event of a full-scale conflict, but Kiev is confident that this will never happen. In a situation like this, it finds it simpler to mobilize society, convince it to put up with difficulties and, most importantly, format the political and information space in an advantageous way. Beneficiaries of this reformatting include not only the government but also a wide range of parties and politicians who supported the Euromaidan. ..."
"... So, the current format of the conflict strengthens the political regime in Ukraine, which is actually the closest to regimes of limited political competition, such as those that existed in some countries of Central and Eastern Europe during the interwar period in the 20th century, or some Latin American countries (Brazil and Guatemala) after the Second World War. There is formal pluralism and a real possibility of succession of power there, yet real power can be contested only by forces from one political spectrum, whereas forces that are beyond this spectrum are restrained and can only aspire to seats in parliament. ..."
"... support is limited -- the West will not fight for Ukraine and will not provide aid on a scale comparable to the Marshall Plan. ..."
"... Already now, due to migration, the population of the territory now controlled by Kiev is less than 30 million people (judging by bread consumption statistics). ..."
"... This means it has decreased by more than 40 percent since 1991. ..."
"... As regards Ukraine's admission to NATO, many Western European countries oppose this option. On the other hand, they have not proposed any detailed plan for Ukraine's non-aligned status. Objectively, such status would be best guaranteed by the specifics of the state's internal structure, when accession to a military alliance would require a consensus of the regions. ..."
"... If this state collapses due to external factors, the identity of a large part of its present population may change very quickly, as evidenced by the experience of the 17th century and recent decades. ..."
Jul 27, 2018 | eng.globalaffairs.ru

In Ukraine, however, the switching of sides takes place on a larger scale. For example, President Kuchma and Prime Minister Yanukovich had a majority in the Verkhovna Rada elected in 2002, which decreased somewhat in the last few months before the 2004 elections. Yet, newly elected President Yushchenko did not have any problems with the same parliament. The Ukrainian parliament elected in 2007 supported Prime Minister Timoshenko, but after Yanukovich won a presidential election in February 2010 he had a solid majority in it until the next election. Yanukovich also had a majority in parliament elected in 2012 until the last days of the Euromaidan. However, after the victory of the Euromaidan, a coalition was formed in parliament that supported the new authorities. It united factions and groups of 235 deputies in the 450-seat parliament, of whom 69 did not belong to pro-Euromaidan parties. Also, 371 deputies, including almost all deputies from the Party of Regions, voted to appoint Yatsenyuk as prime minister.

Can these figures serve as grounds to classify the Euromaidan as a coup d'état and accuse the new regime of failing to build a government of national accord, provided for by the agreement between Yanukovich and the opposition? A coup d'état presupposes suspending and resetting the functioning of government institutions, whereas this agreement did not specify what a national accord government should look like. On the other hand, the essence of such governments is to unite people of different political views, rather than make their members and supporters give up their former beliefs.

Yet, at least half of the population of all eight administrative regions of mainland South-East Ukraine viewed the Euromaidan as a coup, because, according to a survey conducted in early April 2014 by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, only a third of respondents in these regions (the survey was not conducted in Crimea and Sevastopol) considered Yatsenyuk and Turchinov legitimate heads of government and state, while half of respondents considered them illegitimate (Kiev International Institute of Sociology, 2014c). However, the elite of the South-East did not question the legitimacy of the new government. The most it was ready to do was consider this government undesirable and due to be replaced at the next election.

The conformism of the South-East elite, which only recently was at the head of the anti-Maidan movement, surpassed the conformism of society many times over, because this elite had much to lose. But in this situation, the masses of protesters who considered the Euromaidan a coup found themselves without their usual leaders. New leaders emerged spontaneously from among protesters and were not viewed as authoritative by those who did not take part in the protests. The depth of the gap between the masses and the elites can be seen from the following fact: There is the émigré Ukraine Salvation Committee in Moscow, headed by former Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov, which positions itself as almost a government in exile. The Committee considers the hostilities in Donbass a civil war and, therefore, does not view the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics as occupation administrations. Yet, it has no contact with the leaders of these republics, which also consider themselves an alternative Ukraine.

Although there was less conformism among the masses than among the elites, it still made the protests in the South-East less widespread than they might have been if there had been a sign of dual power, for example, if Yanukovich and the part of the elite, including parliament deputies, who did not recognize the new regime had tried to create alternative government institutions. This conformism made many people accept on faith the assurances of the new government about broad decentralization, including the humanitarian sphere.

The situation with Crimea was another factor that objectively strengthened Kiev's position in the South-East. Beginning in March, Crimea and Sevastopol, which could have been at the vanguard of protests for reformatting Ukraine, withdrew from the political field of the country by joining Russia. This predictably could not increase pro-Russian sentiments in the rest of Ukraine. Formerly, public opinion polls had invariably showed a good attitude of the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians towards Russia. However, during the conflicts over Tuzla in 2003 and the gas dispute of 2009 their attitude deteriorated significantly. Now it happened again, only this time the conflict was much more serious. Attempts by the state which annexed part of Ukrainian territory to act as an arbiter and, at the same time, pressure Kiev to reformat Ukraine into a federation, in which the voice of the South-East should be heard, were predictably doomed to failure. Even potential supporters of Russia doubted the impartiality of such arbitration, and anti-Russian forces took an increasingly tough position, describing all talk of federalization as separatism.

True, Ukrainians who were firmly pro-Russian did not become more hostile to Russia because of Crimea, while for the winners of the Euromaidan Crimea was not a reason but a pretext for starting a policy of de-Russification. However, these events influenced the political swamp, that is, citizens without a clear position, and strengthened the base of the current regime, as evidenced by the results of public opinion polls and elections. EUROPEAN INTEGRATION VS COMPROMISE

On the other hand, it would be legitimate to ask whether the victory of the Euromaidan necessarily had to lead to a war, and whether a compromise could have been reached with the masses of the discontented in the South-East at an early stage. My answer is "no."

The short history of independent Ukraine developed, on the one hand, as a history of steady integration into European and world (but Western-controlled) organizations, and on the other hand, as a history of crises which became increasingly explosive and which ended in increasingly imperfect compromises. For some time, the relationship between these processes could be easily overlooked, but now it is much more difficult not to notice it. The February 2014 agreement on the settlement of the crisis, for the first time achieved with the participation of European guarantors, was also the first world agreement in the history of Ukraine that was not fulfilled. It was after the signing of the economic part of the Association Agreement that an anti-terrorist operation began in the East, and immediately after the political part of this agreement was signed (June 27, 2014), this operation entered into its largest-scale and bloodiest phase.

Of course, the West needed to put an end to Kiev's multi-vector policy and achieve unambiguous certainty for it. Hence its position on the language issue and the territorial structure of the country, which was most vividly realized in the April 2014 PACE resolution, which spoke of the inadmissibility of any mention of Ukraine's federalization (Parliamentary Assembly, 2014).

Obviously, the real problem was not in the word but in an optimal distribution of powers (for example, Spanish autonomous communities have more powers than Austrian federal lands), but the Europeans played up to Kiev in criminalizing the notion 'federation,' because for the West the Ukrainian problem is part of the Russian problem . Its attitude to the protests in the South-East and then the war in Donbass differed fundamentally from its attitude to an overwhelming majority of internal conflicts around the globe.

In the cases of Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh, ethnic Serbs in Croatia and Kosovo, Aceh in Indonesia, FARC in Colombia, etc., the West considered the leaders of separatists or insurgents legitimate representatives of certain ethnic or social groups who had taken over powers not provided for by the laws of their country. Their right to be a party to negotiations was not questioned. But the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics are in no way seen as self-proclaimed republics that reflect the views of their populations, even though illegitimately from the point of view of Ukrainian legislation. The West views them as paramilitary organizations which established power in those regions with external help and imposed themselves on the population.

This position of the West strengthened the attitude of the pro-Western liberal public in Ukraine towards people in the South-East as sovok (homo Sovieticus) and vatnik (bigots), whose opinion could be ignored. A recent study (Baysha, 2017) convincingly shows how the "discursive violence of the Ukrainian media" in late February-early April 2014 paved the way for the "brutality of the antiterrorist operation" by creating a negative image of people of the South-East. Importantly, these were not state-run, oligarchic or party nationalist media, although they did the same. These were popular websites, which are thought to be mouthpieces for liberal civil society ( Ukrayinska Pravda, Livyi Bereg, and Gordon ).

In other words, the conflict was a logical consequence of Westernization, rather than the rise of nationalism. Welcoming the successes of the Ukrainian army in July 2014, the European Parliament thus made it clear that this Westernization on the civilizational borders of Europe may not resemble the practices of major European countries. At the same time, Ukrainian radical nationalism objectively was an instrument which Ukrainian [neo]liberals used to achieve victory. True, it is not willing to play this role and wants to be something more than just an instrument. But behind the talk of the Banderization of Ukraine is a confusion of the notions of customer and contractor.

WAR IN AN ACCEPTABLE FORMAT

Of course, many of those who took part in the Euromaidan did not fight there for renaming Vatutin Avenue in Kiev as Shukhevich Avenue, or for banning the import of Russian books, including memoirs of Princess Yekaterina Dashkova, or for banning songs by Russian singers Vladimir Vysotsky and Victor Tsoi described as "tentacles of the Russian World" which leeched onto Ukrainians (definition by Vladimir Vyatrovich, the head of the Institute of National Memory, the most Euro-integrated organization of the Ukrainian government, which consistently advocates the idea of a nationalist "recoding" of Ukrainians). The voices of people who do not agree with this (for example, the poet and culturologist Evgenia Bilchenko) are sometimes heard in the media space, but the problem is whether these voices, together with the voices of those who were against the Euromaidan from the very beginning, can become a political factor.

I think this is almost ruled out under the most likely, inertial, scenario which provides for the development of tendencies that emerged after the victory of the Euromaidan and the preservation by Russia and the West of their behavioral models which have developed over recent years.

When assessing this scenario, one should bear in mind that the armed conflict in Donbass has over the last three years entered into a format that is the most advantageous (of all really possible ones) for Ukraine -- a low-intensity smoldering conflict.

This situation objectively predisposes one to see dynamics, positive for Kiev, in the conflict that began in 2014. At first, Ukraine surrendered Crimea to Russia and pro-Russian forces without a fight. At the next stage, however, it localized the offensive of the Russian World to Donbass, although it failed to take full control over the region. The result of this phase of the fight can be regarded as a draw, or Ukraine's defeat on points. But Crimea was lost through a knockout. After that, a defeat on points is still a better outcome.

The next, longest phase of the conflict has been going on without changes on the frontline. However, positive dynamics for either party to the conflict is not only measured by territories they seize -- it is seen in the fact that actions, formerly deemed impossible, turn out to be possible and not having obvious negative consequences. For example, the implementation of the political part of the Minsk Agreement (which both Kiev and the West consider imposed on Ukraine from the outside) now seems to be a much more illusory goal than it seemed in 2014-2015.

In particular, Kiev has rescinded a bill on constitutional amendments regarding decentralization; an economic blockade of Donbass has been introduced; and several laws have been passed and measures taken to combat the Russian World, both inside and outside the country. The latter include the termination of air service, a ban on remittances, restrictions on the import of Russian books, a ban on performances by some Russian entertainers, the actual abolition of the law "On the Basic Principles of the Language Policy," restrictions on the use of the Russian language on the Ukrainian radio and television and its abolition in education (with the exception of primary school), de-Russification of geographical names, and the removal of monuments.

Kiev views all these measures as non-military blows to the enemy, and the scale of such actions increases with every year.

The law on the reintegration of Donbass, passed by the Verkhovna Rada this January, was a logical development and a new stage of this policy. Its purpose is not so much to recognize the territories beyond Kiev's control as occupied by Russia. What is more important is that the law recognizes this state de facto without a formal recognition of the war with Russia de jure.

This positive dynamics creates a situation where a critical mass of society thinks that at least Ukraine will not find itself in the same difficult situation as in the spring of 2014 and that, at best, it will restore full control over Donbass on its terms: Russia will not withstand the sanctions and will stop supporting the uncontrolled territories. The policy of the West does not contradict these expectations: the sanctions continue, there is almost no public criticism of Kiev's actions in Donbass at the state level, except for minor issues, and the U.S. has decided to supply Javelin antitank missiles to Ukraine, which is largely a symbolic gesture fitting perfectly into the aforementioned pattern of positive dynamics.

For the reasons mentioned above, the West does not advocate a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donetsk/Lugansk, but considers the existing level of conflict with more and more victims an obviously lesser evil than a possible strengthening of the self-proclaimed republics. This clearly follows from the statement of German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel about the inadmissibility of Russia's proposal on a UN peacekeeping mission, which provides for the separation of the warring parties by peacekeepers, to be deployed along the frontline, and the protection of the OSCE mission, because that would only mean freezing the conflict. (A meeting between Vladislav Surkov and Kurt Volker, which took place in Dubai during the writing of this article, showed that the Americans are nevertheless ready to accept the Russian format as the first phase of a peacekeeping mission; yet its practical implementation is still far off.)

Of course, very many of the above-mentioned elements of the positive (for Kiev) dynamics also have a great negative effect. For example, the existing format of the conflict in Donbass involves great military expenditures and leads to reduced ties with Russia, which is a significant burden for the Ukrainian economy. However, it is important to understand a balance between positive and negative aspects from Kiev's point of view.

Of course, the mobilization was a straining factor for society, because it could affect almost every family. But since the end of 2016, when all people mobilized a year before returned home, only contract soldiers and professional officers have taken part in the conflict from the Ukrainian side -- that is, only those who have made this choice voluntarily or who have chosen military service as their lifetime career. This is the main reason why the format of hostilities can be considered acceptable or, at least, not too burdensome for Ukrainian society.

The present scale of losses of the Ukrainian army is not a factor that may spark a mass antiwar movement in the country, similar to the antiwar movement in the United States in the late 1960s, because the ratio of casualties to population in Ukraine is much smaller than that in the U.S. during the Vietnam War.

Naturally, the economic situation in Ukraine is much less stable than that of the U.S. during the Vietnam War. However, in the public consciousness, the war is only one factor behind the economic problems (along with corruption, incompetence of the authorities, etc.).

The unpopularity of the idea of peace at any cost not only shows the specific character of the Ukrainian regime but, above all, it shows that society does not view the crisis as a catastrophe, which means that the conflict has acquired a format convenient for Kiev.

This format means, in particular, that, to paraphrase Trotsky, Ukraine is in a state of both peace and war with Russia, taking advantage of each of these states. For example, over the first 11 months of 2017, Ukrainian exports to Russia grew by 12 percent and brought Ukraine U.S. $360 million more than a year before. Two-thirds of Ukrainian coal imports come from Russia, including 80 percent of anthracite, which has become scarce due to the blockade of Donbass.

The war has advantages, too. Of course, they would have disappeared in the event of a full-scale conflict, but Kiev is confident that this will never happen. In a situation like this, it finds it simpler to mobilize society, convince it to put up with difficulties and, most importantly, format the political and information space in an advantageous way. Beneficiaries of this reformatting include not only the government but also a wide range of parties and politicians who supported the Euromaidan. For example, there is a segment among supporters of the Batkivshchina Party, led by Yulia Timoshenko, and the Radical Party, led by Oleg Lyashko, who, judging by public opinion polls, do not support either a confrontation with Russia or the current policy of historical memory. Obviously, these are former supporters of the Party of Regions and communists, who have realized that the successors to these parties will not be allowed to win anyway and that power can be contested only by pro-Euromaidan parties. Therefore, they side with forces that are close to their own ideological position, guided by their social slogans and disregarding their greater geopolitical and humanitarian radicalism in comparison with the current authorities. But such a choice can be made only if one is confident that this radicalism will not lead to a great war and catastrophe.

So, the current format of the conflict strengthens the political regime in Ukraine, which is actually the closest to regimes of limited political competition, such as those that existed in some countries of Central and Eastern Europe during the interwar period in the 20th century, or some Latin American countries (Brazil and Guatemala) after the Second World War. There is formal pluralism and a real possibility of succession of power there, yet real power can be contested only by forces from one political spectrum, whereas forces that are beyond this spectrum are restrained and can only aspire to seats in parliament.

History shows that such regimes can exist for a very long time, especially with external support, which Kiev certainly has, if we mean support for its geopolitical policy, rather than concrete persons in power. It is another thing that such support is limited -- the West will not fight for Ukraine and will not provide aid on a scale comparable to the Marshall Plan.

The Georgian scenario for changing this regime is theoretically possible but unlikely, because several factors prevent the success of a would-be Ukrainian Ivanishvili. The conflict in Ukraine is felt more sharply because in 2014 it lost territories that it had controlled all the years of independence, while Georgia lost control over Abkhazia in 1993 and over South Ossetia even earlier. The August 2008 war only showed the impossibility of regaining these territories. But the most important thing is that, whereas Georgia was an obvious loser in that war, Ukraine has some positive dynamics, which was discussed above. In addition, differences between Georgians and Russians have always been obvious, whereas for Kiev the current conflict is a way to recode a large part of the population and form the nation on the basis of the thesis that "Ukraine is different from Russia." Finally, the evolution of Georgia should not be exaggerated. Diplomatic relations between Tbilisi and Moscow have not been restored, while relations between Kiev and Moscow have never been broken off. Although Georgia has toned down its anti-Russian rhetoric, it keeps moving towards the Euro-Atlantic structures.

Ukraine is moving in the same direction. Its problems will obviously grow in the near future. Already now, due to migration, the population of the territory now controlled by Kiev is less than 30 million people (judging by bread consumption statistics).

This means it has decreased by more than 40 percent since 1991. In addition, the largest, postwar, generation is now entering the mortality age, while the generation of newborns is the smallest over the years of independence. Yet, the territory of the country has retained its geopolitical value and, regardless of whether Ukraine is granted formal NATO membership or not, American troops can be permanently deployed in its territory during the current Cold War -- or, more precisely, their presence can be broadened, because several thousand NATO troops, half of them Americans, have been involved in military exercises permanently held at the Yavorovo test range since the spring of 2015.

As regards Ukraine's admission to NATO, many Western European countries oppose this option. On the other hand, they have not proposed any detailed plan for Ukraine's non-aligned status. Objectively, such status would be best guaranteed by the specifics of the state's internal structure, when accession to a military alliance would require a consensus of the regions. In an interview with the Atlantic magazine in November 2016, Henry Kissinger echoed this idea: "I favor an independent Ukraine that is militarily non-aligned. If you remove the two Donbass regions from eastern Ukraine, you guarantee that Ukraine is permanently hostile to Russia, since it becomes dominated by its Western part, which only joined Russia in the 1940s. The solution, then, is to find a way to give these units a degree of autonomy that gives them a voice in military entanglements, but otherwise keeps them under the governance of Ukraine." (Goldberg, 2016)

But since this voice remains solitary, the negative attitude of Western European countries to Ukraine's accession to NATO is only a short-term tactical choice which may change later.

It is also unlikely that the implementation of the Minsk Agreement will help create the model described by Kissinger, because a "voice in military entanglements" is a trait of a confederation. Meanwhile, the status of individual Donbass regions, as defined by the above agreement, is far even from that provided for in a federation. Rather, it is similar to the limited autonomy of ethnic Serbs in Croatia, which they received under the Erdut agreement.

Therefore, even if the Minsk Agreement is implemented, which is unlikely, the existing political regime in Ukraine will hardly change.

As regards Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians, in a situation where they cannot change this regime through elections, they will try to adapt to the existing reality, at least outwardly.

The described inertial scenario is basic and most probable. However, it is not the only possible one due to the weakness of the Ukrainian state (in particular, due to the growing influence of right-wing radicals who may obtain parallel power), the unstable situation in the world, and the unpredictability of Russia's policy in the long term, as Moscow may decide that Kiev has crossed certain red lines established by it. If this state collapses due to external factors, the identity of a large part of its present population may change very quickly, as evidenced by the experience of the 17th century and recent decades.

Alexei V. Popov is an expert with the Kiev Center of Political Studies and Conflictology

[Jul 27, 2018] Ukraine over the Edge Russia, the West and the New Cold War by Gordon M. Hahn

Notable quotes:
"... an essential warning against a continuation of the frivolous and dangerous policies of regime change adopted by the West after the end of the Cold War ..."
"... The result is both a sophisticated, multilevel analysis of how and why Ukraine emerged as the key hotspot in East-West relations, and an indispensable guide for those wishing to understand the origins of the New Cold War. ..."
"... Gordon M. Hahn challenges simplistic and often misleading narratives by the media and politicians and provides a corroboration that the Maidan massacre was a false flag mass killing ..."
"... They show Maidan's quasi-revolution was driven by international geopolitics, supporting counterposed Western and Russian "civilizationist" beliefs, and deep divisions within Ukrainian society itself, not a wellspring of widespread aspiration to Western-style democracy. ..."
Jul 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Review "Ukraine's 2013-2014 revolution, its civil war, and Russia's annexation of the Crimea have been succeeded by newer crises, but political analyst Hahn uses detailed reportage and geopolitical theory to argue for their long-term significance, presenting Ukraine as a troubling turning point in Russo-American relations and a case study of how democratization efforts can go awry...with Russia atop American headlines to an extent not seen since the end of the Cold War, [this book] will be a strong addition to global studies collections" -- Booklist

"It was not only Ukraine that went over the edge in 2014, but the whole European security system disintegrated, while a 'new cold war' chills relations between the great powers. In this masterful study, Gordon Hahn examines how Ukraine's internal divisions combined with external lines of fragmentation to create an explosive mix, which in turn intensified domestic conflicts. The result is an internationalized civil conflict, with catastrophic consequences for Ukraine and the world. Hahn is one of the few scholars with the knowledge and discernment to make sense of it all. His impressively well-researched and well-written book is essential reading."--Richard Sakwa, University of Kent

"This impressively researched and strongly argued book is an essential corrective to the myths that have been generated concerning the crisis in Ukraine, and an essential warning against a continuation of the frivolous and dangerous policies of regime change adopted by the West after the end of the Cold War ." --Anatol Lieven, Professor, Georgetown University in Qatar and author of Ukraine and Russia, A Fraternal Rivalry

Ukraine Over the Edge is a rigorous analysis of the cultural, historical, and intellectual origins of the Ukrainian crisis. While stressing that blame for the latest phase of this crisis is shared all around, Hahn traces its domestic origins to the militancy of the opposition to president Yanukovych, and its international origins to NATO expansion, which he regards as militarized democracy-promotion. The result is both a sophisticated, multilevel analysis of how and why Ukraine emerged as the key hotspot in East-West relations, and an indispensable guide for those wishing to understand the origins of the New Cold War. "--Nicolai N. Petro, Silvia-Chandley Professor of Peace Studies and Nonviolence, University of Rhode Island

" Ukraine Over the Edge is a very useful contribution to understanding origins and key developments of the crisis in this important European and post-Soviet country. Gordon M. Hahn challenges simplistic and often misleading narratives by the media and politicians and provides a corroboration that the Maidan massacre was a false flag mass killing ." --Ivan Katchanovski, University of Ottawa About the Author Gordon M. Hahn is an advisory board member at Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, and at the American Institute of Geostrategy (AIGEO), Los Angeles; a contributing expert for Russia Direct, and a senior researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), San Jose, California. He lives in Mountain View, California.

Preface

As I read, listened and watched Western sources on the events surrounding the mass demonstrations on central square in Kiev during winter 2013-2014, a sense of deja vu became undeniable. Having studied the nature of terrorism in Russia's North Caucasus, the causes and course of the August 2008 Georgian-Russian war, and other events involving Russia, I had seen a pattern of misrepresentation of these events by most Western, especially American, media, academia and government sources. There was a clear sense that this pattern was being repeated with regard to the events on the Maidan. Hence, I decided to investigate matters for myself and have come to a distinctly different conclusion regarding them than that imparted to the Western public.

Two years after the Maidan "revolution of dignity," it was already clear that the Western-backed overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was not entirely a revolution and was ultimately in vain regardless of how one conceptualizes the events surrounding the fall-winter 2013-2014 demonstrations and violence on Kiev's Maidan. The movement was based initially on middle class opposition to corruption and soft authoritarianism and support for European integration. Ultimately, the nascent pro-democratic revolution was hijacked by neofascist elements that infiltrated the Maidan protests, overthrew the government, and then were themselves superseded by several key oligarchs, who always have thrived under the post-Soviet ancient regime. Thus, corruption and criminality have increased rather than decreased, European integration has stalled, and authoritarianism is not just in the corridors of power but on the streets under the yoke of roaming bands of neofascist groups seeking to foment a second, truly "national revolution."

Despite the all-too-numerous adepts of democratization and democratic transition, this is not the first, nor is it likely to be the last time when the West has misunderstood processes it has hoped for, encouraged, and often funded and helped to organize. The "Arab Spring" is only the most recent set of cases in point. Predictably, that spring's various revolutions became an Islamist winter spread across parts of the Middle East and North Africa, except in Egypt -- where a counterrevolution returned the status quo ante.

Similarly, in 1991 the adepts of democratic transitions or "transitology" got it wrong. Few post-Soviet states became democracies because the "democratic revolution" that overthrew the reformist late Soviet regime of Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika was assumed to be a "revolution from below" led by societal opposition forces bent on living in a democracy. This was true in the Baltic republics, but in most cases the elements of democratic revolution from below were subsumed by a mix of less civil state bureaucrat-led revolutions from above and nationalist-led revolutions from below. In Russia, the revolution was largely one led from above by the Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian state apparatus against the partially reformed but crumbling central Soviet state and regime. In Central Asia and elsewhere, there was simply a change of signboards, rebranding for still very authoritarian regimes. The partial exception is Kyrgyzstan's tulip revolutions and counterrevolutions, which also had strong elements from above. Thus, it is no surprise that both Ukraine's 2004 Orange revolution, as 1 noted at the time, and the 2013-2014 Maidan "revolution of dignity," as I predicted, proved to be something less than the democratic revolutions "transitologists" hailed.

In addition to elements of revolution from below, the Maidan revolt also has elements of revolution from above led by some state officials and state-tied oligarchs. Moreover, the revolution from below was under considerable influence from national chauvinist, ultranationalist, and neofascist groups. The Maidan ultranationalist-oligarchic regime now has little popular support and few accomplishments in democratization, and is little different from the previous, except for a marked increase in western Ukrainian neofascism (both in the corridors of power and on the streets) and a near catastrophic economy. Revolutions are indeed unwieldy things, not very manageable once unleashed.

The international geopolitical consequences have been even more deleterious. A deepening Russian-Western confrontation over Ukraine risks recreating a bipolar "world split apart," with Russia more inclined than ever to forge alliances with regimes opposed to American and Western power.

This book is dedicated to clarifying these events and their consequences, something that is imperative given the misleading government and media characterizations of them. This study is based on Western, Ukrainian and Russian sources, including media reports, reliable primary and secondary Internet sources, and official documents of governments and international organizations.

They show Maidan's quasi-revolution was driven by international geopolitics, supporting counterposed Western and Russian "civilizationist" beliefs, and deep divisions within Ukrainian society itself, not a wellspring of widespread aspiration to Western-style democracy.

[Jul 09, 2018] Why Was Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 Shot Down, by Kees van der Pijl

Notable quotes:
"... Today, Western imperialism projects its global power, as far as capital is concerned, primarily from the perspective of speculative, financial asset investment. Long gone are the days of class and international compromise forced upon it after World War Two. Instead, the predatory instincts of dominant financial capital require forcibly opening up all states for commodification and exploitation. Given the global spread of product and commodity chains, the continued flow of profits to the West cannot be taken for granted as long as effective state sovereignty elsewhere persists. For the liberal, Anglophone heartland of capital, 'defence' is therefore not merely, or even primarily, a matter of upholding the territorial integrity of the states constituting it, but keeping open the arterial system of the global economy and maintaining the centrality of the West. Regime change is a logical corollary, and from this perspective we must view the coup in Ukraine in February 2014 and all ensuing events, including the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. ..."
"... Russia under Yeltsin had effectively surrendered its sovereignty to transnational capital and the West and as a result was left a social and economic disaster zone. ..."
"... The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq on a false pretext made abundantly clear that the West was abandoning the rules of the post-war international order. 'Democracy promotion' intended to prevent national sovereignty from being mobilised against Western global governance, was now made a priority. The 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia in 2003 and the 'Orange Revolution' a year later in Ukraine, marked the lengths to which the United States was willing to go. ..."
"... To ensure that countries incorporated into the US-NATO sphere of influence, really became neoliberal client states, Pascual and Krasner devised a strategy for preventive intervention with a rulebook listing the measures by which 'market democracy' was to be established. Ukraine was a key target and battleground, because by now, Russia was beginning to contest Western forward pressure. ..."
"... The economic mismanagement and infighting of the different oligarchic clans in Ukraine led to payment arrears and repeated shutdowns of the gas supply from Russia, and Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, early on began to look for ways to bypass the Ukrainian grid. ..."
"... If Russia takes Ukraine, Belarus will join the Eurasian Union, and, presto, the Soviet Union (in another name) will be back. ..."
"... Far easier to [hold] the line now, in Ukraine than elsewhere, later ..."
"... weekend of 13 to 14 April, CIA Director John Brennan was in the Ukrainian capital. ..."
"... Parubiy sent out a Twitter message on the 15th that veterans of the Maidan uprising were poised to join the fight. ..."
"... The downing of MH17 on 17 July changed all that. As I said above, who did it and how remains obscure, although there are several pursued by people familiar with local circumstances, or revealed by insiders who know who which military assets were operating that day -- but all that remains inconclusive. The official reports by the Dutch Safety Board and the JIT may be conveniently dismissed although the DSB rightly pointed at the questionable decision by Kiev to allow civilian planes to fly over a war zone. However, irrespective of the actual perpetrator, and whether it was an intentional act or an accident, there is no doubt about the West's intent to exploit the event to the maximum. ..."
"... 'without MH17 it would have been pretty difficult to find sufficient support for the increased sanctions on the Russian economy' ..."
"... Even at the time of the Kiev coup, commentators wondered to what extent shale gas from the US might be used to offset Russian deliveries. LNG facilities planned in Florida and Maryland were projected to serve the European market at Gazprom's expense, a prospect meanwhile far more realistic. ..."
"... The downing of Flight MH17 also definitively sealed the fate of South Stream. Russian banks financing the project, led by Gazprombank, were hit by new sanctions, so that the necessary capital could no longer be raised internationally. ..."
"... Since the F-16 that shot down the Russian jet was part of a pro-NATO unit based at Inçirlik airbase that took part in the coup attempt, the incident over Syria would appear to fit in a framework that may also have decided the fate of Flight MH17: a provocation to throw relations with Russia into disarray, but we don't know for sure. ..."
"... cover the scenarios from changes of leadership within the current structures, to the emergence of a group ready to pursue structural reform in some sort of accountable dialogue with the Russian population, to regime collapse ..."
"... In the current global conjuncture, even the tentative contender coalition combining the Eurasian Union, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, constitutes an acute danger to a capitalist West in crisis. Whether the United States and NATO would therefore also be willing to take even greater risks than they are doing now is a prospect too frightening to contemplate. However, it must be confronted, or the fate of the 298 people on Flight MH17 may become that of humanity at large. ..."
Jul 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Four years ago, on 17 July 2014, in the midst of a civil war raging in eastern Ukraine, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was destroyed with all 298 passengers and crew. On 25 May last, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) entrusted with the criminal investigation of the downing and composed of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and paradoxically, given its possible involvement, Ukraine, presented its second progress report. Like the first report in September 2016, it took the form of a press conference, with video animations supporting the investigation's findings.

This time there was even less to report; the main conclusion was that elements from the Russian 53rd Buk missile brigade were the culprits, a claim already made by the London-based investigative group Bellingcat two years before.

In February 2016 that assertion had still been dismissed as unfit for evidence by the Dutch chief prosecutor on the JIT, Fred Westerbeke, in a letter to victims' relatives. How can it possibly have become the core component of the case for the prosecution two years and two months later?

The JIT press conference was immediately followed by a formal declaration on the part of the Dutch and Australian governments that held Russia responsible. However, JIT member Malaysia dissociated itself from the accusation, whilst Belgium has remained silent.

The obviously over-hasty conclusion, on the heels of the alleged Skripal nerve gas incident in Salisbury and the likewise contested Syrian government gas attack on jihadist positions in Douma, all point in the same direction: Putin's Russia must be kept under fire and there is no time to wait for a court verdict.

In my book Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster (Manchester University Press), I have refrained from entering the slippery terrain of making claims about who pulled the trigger, intentionally or by accident, in the late afternoon of 17 July, or even which type of weapon was used. For the downing of the Malaysian plane has become part of a propaganda war that was already heating up prior to the catastrophe. Instead the book is about what we do know about the events surrounding it, in the preceding months, weeks, and days, indeed even on the day itself. Subsequent events have only underlined that it is this context that lends meaning to the tragedy.

Refocusing US Supremacy After the Soviet Collapse

Today, Western imperialism projects its global power, as far as capital is concerned, primarily from the perspective of speculative, financial asset investment. Long gone are the days of class and international compromise forced upon it after World War Two. Instead, the predatory instincts of dominant financial capital require forcibly opening up all states for commodification and exploitation. Given the global spread of product and commodity chains, the continued flow of profits to the West cannot be taken for granted as long as effective state sovereignty elsewhere persists. For the liberal, Anglophone heartland of capital, 'defence' is therefore not merely, or even primarily, a matter of upholding the territorial integrity of the states constituting it, but keeping open the arterial system of the global economy and maintaining the centrality of the West. Regime change is a logical corollary, and from this perspective we must view the coup in Ukraine in February 2014 and all ensuing events, including the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Right from the Soviet collapse in 1991, the US global perspective was articulated in several new strategic doctrines. The first and perhaps foundational one is the Wolfowitz Doctrine, named after Paul Wolfowitz, undersecretary of defence in the Bush Sr. administration, who commissioned a Defence Planning Guidance for Fiscal 1994-'99 (DPG) of 1992. It proclaims the United States the world's sole superpower, which must remain ahead of all possible contenders in arms technology and never again accept military parity, as with the USSR during the Cold War. The newly self-confident European Union, too, was obliquely warned that the US alone would handle global policing.

Additional doctrines, specifying on which grounds armed US intervention might be undertaken and justified, added elements such as humanitarian intervention (a Carnegie Endowment report of 1992, Self-Determination in the New World Order ); it was applied in Yugoslavia and again in Libya. Next, the'War on Terror', originally floated at Israeli Likud/US Neocon conferences between 1979 and 1984, was revived after the collapse of the USSR as the 'Clash of Civilizations' by Cold War strategist Samuel Huntington; Afghanistan and Iraq stand as monuments of the application of this doctrine. Finally, Zbigniew Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard of 1997 specifically dealt with reorganising the former USSR, including Ukraine.

Through the different episodes, NATO was transformed into a global policing structure serving the interests of Atlantic capital. 'Out of area operations', unthinkable in the Yalta epoch, were first tried out against the Bosnian Serbs in the mid-1990s. The enlargement of the alliance into the former Soviet bloc, which began around that time too, was obviously motivated to prevent European departures from US tutelage, hence its bold forward surge. Already in 1994, Ukraine became the first former Soviet republic to join the Partnership for Peace, the newly created waiting room for NATO membership. To quell Russian concerns about the advancing West, the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 laid down that no nuclear weapons and permanent troop deployments would take place in new member states. Yet Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova not long afterwards joined a low-key organisation of former Soviet republics (after the initials, GUAM), another oblique link up with NATO.

Mobilising Georgia and Ukraine against Resurgent Russia

Russia under Yeltsin had effectively surrendered its sovereignty to transnational capital and the West and as a result was left a social and economic disaster zone. Under his successor, Vladimir Putin, the country began to mutate back to a society led by a directive state, assisted by rising oil prices. After the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and announced a missile defence system deployed in the CzechRepublic, Poland, and Rumania, Russia shifted to a more robust international position. The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq on a false pretext made abundantly clear that the West was abandoning the rules of the post-war international order. 'Democracy promotion' intended to prevent national sovereignty from being mobilised against Western global governance, was now made a priority. The 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia in 2003 and the 'Orange Revolution' a year later in Ukraine, marked the lengths to which the United States was willing to go.

Yet even a colour revolution means little if there is no accompanying make-over of the fundamental state/society relation. Hence, the incoming policy planning director at the US State Department, Stanford professor Stephen Krasner, and Carlos Pascual, former US ambassador in Kiev, developed a comprehensive regime change doctrine in 2004. This would prove a key element in the subsequent Ukraine intervention. To ensure that countries incorporated into the US-NATO sphere of influence, really became neoliberal client states, Pascual and Krasner devised a strategy for preventive intervention with a rulebook listing the measures by which 'market democracy' was to be established. Ukraine was a key target and battleground, because by now, Russia was beginning to contest Western forward pressure.

At the Munich Security Conference in January 2007, Putin reminded his audience of the promises made to Gorbachev in 1991 not to expand the Atlantic alliance and warned that further attempts at enlargement (the Baltic states having been included in 2004) would imply great risks. Yet NATO and the EU were inexorably pressing forward. At the Bucharest NATO summit in April 2008 the Americans made the offer of NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine, only to have the offer vetoed by Germany and France. Possibly to force the issue, the pro-Western president brought to power by the Rose Revolution in Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, armed and encouraged by the US and Israel, later that year embarked on a military adventure to recapture the breakaway province of South Ossetia. It ended in a complete debacle, as a Russian army stood ready in North Ossetia to deal the invaders a major, if very costly, blow. This, then, was what Richard Sakwa calls, 'the war to stop NATO enlargement'. From now on, every post-Soviet republic tempted to join the Atlantic alliance would have to reckon with Russian protection for groups resisting such integration, irrespective of whether it concerned actual Russians or any other of the almost two hundred nationalities of the former USSR.

The EU-Russian Energy Equation and Ukraine

The gas from Russia that feeds Europe today was discovered back in the 1960s; the Friendship oil pipeline was built in 1964 and the Soyuz, Urengoi and Yamal pipelines followed after West Germany started purchasing Soviet gas. The link-up culminated in 1980 with the contract for a gas pipeline from Urengoi in north Siberia to Bavaria, signed by a heavy-industry consortium headed by Deutsche Bank.

After the collapse of the USSR, Russian gas had to pass through the pipeline grid of independent Ukraine, which in the meantime had become the prey of rival clans of oligarchs. For most of them, gas was the key source of rapid enrichment -- directly, as in the case of subsequent prime minister Yuliya Timoshenko, 'the Gas Princess', or indirectly, by supplying steel pipes for gas transport, as in the case of president Leonid Kuchma's son-in-law, Victor Pinchuk, the 'Pipeline King'. The economic mismanagement and infighting of the different oligarchic clans in Ukraine led to payment arrears and repeated shutdowns of the gas supply from Russia, and Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, early on began to look for ways to bypass the Ukrainian grid.

After Putin had come to power, he disciplined the Russian oligarchs as part of the restoration of state sovereignty. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the energy oligarch and richest of all Russian billionaires at the time, at the time was buying support in the Duma to build a trans-Siberian pipeline to China; whilst negotiating with ExxonMobil and Chevron about US participation in his Yukos concern, which he planned to merge with Sibneft into the world's largest oil company. In 2005 he was convicted to a long prison sentence. Yukos was brought back into the Russian patrimony via a proxy construction involving state-owned Rosneft and Gazprom, as part of broader subordination of the economy to the state.

Gazprom meanwhile began building alliances to avoid future disruption of supplies via Ukraine and secure its European market. In 2005 it agreed with the outgoing government of Gerhard Schröder to build a pipeline across the Baltic directly to Germany, 'Nord Stream', with a consortium of German companies. Schröder was made the chairman of the board of the joint venture, Achimgaz, and two years later, a South Stream pipeline across the Black Sea to Bulgaria was contracted with ENI of Italy. It was to be extended into south-eastern Europe as far as Austria. In this way Gazprom and the Russian state were outmanoeuvring various EU projects for pipelines aimed at by-passing Russia. Indeed it was the EU's plan to use a Nabucco pipeline across Turkey to connect to the Caspian energy reserves that prompted the $40 billion South Stream project. Romano Prodi, prime minister of Italy, who first discussed South Stream with Putin in late 2006, was offered the chairmanship, which he declined, perhaps in the knowledge the project would become highly contested.

The Eurasian connection by now posed a direct threat to the cohesion of the enlarged Atlantic bloc. Besides Nord Stream and South Stream, Gazprom's collaboration with NIOC of Iran and a joint venture with ENI in Libya set all alarm bells ringing in Washington. Already in May 2006, a few months after the gas shutdown to Ukraine, the US Senate unanimously adopted a resolution calling on NATO to protect the energy security of its members and have it develop a diversification strategy away from Russia. Senator Richard Lugar in a much-noted speech prior to the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, in November 2006, argued in favour of designating the manipulation of the energy supply as a 'weapon' that can activate Article 5 of the NATO treaty (common defence).

In a report to the European Parliament in 2008, the director of the EurasianPolicyCenter of the Hudson Institute in the US recommended that the EU should assist in liberalising and modernising the Ukrainian grid instead of supporting South Stream. Tension in the Black Sea area, her report noted candidly, might serve the purpose of blocking that pipeline altogether. However, after the 2010 election of president Victor Yanukovych, the front man of the powerful eastern and southern oligarchs, the lease of Russia's Crimean naval base at Sebastopol, home of its Black Sea fleet, had been extended to 2042, so the prospects for stirring up unrest there were mitigated by Moscow's enduring naval preponderance.

Regime Change in Kiev

One aspect of the resurgence of a sovereign Russia was the plan for a Eurasian economic union to rebuild relations with former Soviet republics (Ukraine obtained observer status early on). The EU's Eastern Partnership was a direct response. It was offered to former Soviet republics in 2008, in a gesture that signalled that Europe now effectively acted as a subcontractor to the larger anti-Russian design drafted in Washington. Concretely, the EU offered Ukraine and other former Soviet republics an Association Agreement that also included provisions for the country's alignment on NATO security policy, besides a neoliberal make-over in the spirit of the Krasner-Pascual doctrine. The envisaged reforms would be devastating for the country's existing power structure, not least for the Donbass oligarchs whose front man was Yanukovych. Their heavy industry assets would be swept away by EU competition, the country turned into an agricultural supplier, and Russian gas cut off.

Hence, when both the EU and Russia sought to win over Yanukovych to join their respective blocs and Brussels ruled out the triangular arrangement by which the Ukrainian president had hoped to postpone the choice, he could not but step back from signing the EU Association Agreement in November 2013 and accept a Russian counteroffer. By then, 'Europe' had become a code word for an end to oligarchic rapaciousness, in which Yanukovych and his sons had become involved as well. The president's decision triggered mass demonstrations and occupations, which this time included an armed insurrection by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists in the historically anti-Russian west of the country. It created the space for actual fascists to hijack the protests and prepare a coup. By their use of deadly force at the Maidan central square (ascribed by the coup plotters and in the West to the riot police), the Ukrainian ultras demonstrated they were ready to kill their own compatriots to achieve their aims.

To prevent the situation from getting out of hand completely, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland flew to Kiev on 20 February 2014. However, whilst they negotiated a deal with Yanukovych and the opposition, the US and other NATO ambassadors met with Andriy Parubiy, the co-founder of the fascist party of Ukraine and former head of its militia, Patriot of Ukraine . Parubiy, today the speaker of the Kiev parliament, was in command of the armed gangs at the Maidan; two days later these took power in the capital, installing a government of Ukrainian nationalist stripe, selected by US diplomats. Parubiy was appointed secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), a key post overseeing all military and intelligence operations, which he continued to hold until three weeks after the downing of MH17. With the Russian-Ukrainian half of the country effectively disenfranchised, the coup was responded to by the secession of Crimea and an armed insurrection in the Donbass. Stirrings of revolt in Odessa and Mariupol would be suppressed with deadly violence, in which Parubiy and other far right figures were directly involved.

Confronting the BRICS in Ukraine

From late March onwards the war party in the United States and NATO began to elaborate a strategy that would make Ukraine the testing ground for a trial of strength with Russia and China. The secession of Crimea and its re-incorporation into the Russian Federation was exploited to evoke the spectre of an impending Russian invasion on several fronts. General Philip Breedlove, commander of US Eucom (European Command, one of nine regional US military commands spanning the globe) and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Saceur), coordinated the Western position with General Wesley Clark, a former NATO Saceur at the time of the Yugoslavia wars. Clark was already advising Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine before the Donbass had actually risen in revolt. On 12April he asked Breedlove whether the NATO commander could not arrange a statement blaming Moscow for the violence because ' if the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative , the Russians will see it as an open door'. Clark then elaborated on the general geopolitical situation, giving further insights into why the war party in the US believed that Ukraine was to be 'held' and chosen as a battle ground to confront Russia and China. No time was wasted on market democracy here. Claiming that 'Putin has read US inaction in Georgia and Syria as US "weakness",' Clark went on to explain that

China is watching closely. China will have four aircraft carriers and airspace dominance in the Western Pacific within 5 years, if current trends continue. And if we let Ukraine slide away, it definitely raises the risks of conflict in the Pacific. For, China will ask, would the US then assert itself for Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, the South China Sea? If Russia takes Ukraine, Belarus will join the Eurasian Union, and, presto, the Soviet Union (in another name) will be back. Neither the Baltics nor the Balkans will easily resist the political disruptions empowered by a resurgent Russia. And what good is a NATO "security guarantee" against internal subversion? And then the US will face a much stronger Russia, a crumbling NATO, and [a] major challenge in the Western Pacific. Far easier to [hold] the line now, in Ukraine than elsewhere, later .

On the weekend of 13 to 14 April, CIA Director John Brennan was in the Ukrainian capital. The Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO, so called because the use of military force within the country is only warranted under that label) began right after Brennan's visit; Parubiy sent out a Twitter message on the 15th that veterans of the Maidan uprising were poised to join the fight. Since NATO had earlier implored Yanukovych not to use force against (armed) demonstrators, Moscow now asked the alliance to restrain the coup leaders in turn. But according to foreign minister Lavrov, the answer they got was that 'NATO would ask them to use force proportionately'.

In fact even the oligarch, Petro Poroshenko, elected president on 25 May 2014 to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the coup regime, proved unable to restrain the hardliners. On 30 June, following a four-hour NSDC meeting with Parubiy, interior minister Avakov, and others whose armed followers were demonstrating outside, Poroshenko declared that the ceasefire would be lifted and a new offensive launched. Three days later NATO naval manoeuvres in the Black Sea commenced with US participation and with electronic warfare a key component. On the ground, Kiev's forces made rapid progress, apparently drawing a ring around the large rebel city of Donetsk. NATO had its own concerns: an upcoming summit in Wales in September was expected to capitalise on the trope of a 'Russian invasion', vital after the Afghanistan debacle, and dovetailing with the emerging contest with the BRICS bloc.

The BRICS, coined first as a banker's gimmick, were never more than a loose collection of '(re-) emerging economies', but from Washington's perspective, sovereign entities not submitting to neoliberal global governance are unacceptable. So when on 16 July, the BRICS heads of state, hosted by the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff (removed by a rightwing conspiracy in May 2016), signed the statute establishing a New Development Bank, or BRICS bank, as a direct challenge to the US and Western-dominated World Bank and IMF, the US imposed new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, specifically targeting the energy link with the EU. The creation of an equivalent of the World Bank with a capital of $100 billion with a reserve currency pool of the same size (an equivalent of the IMF), laid the groundwork of a contender pole in the global political economy challenging the West's austerity regime frontally -- or so it seemed at the time.

Still in Brazil before flying back to Moscow, Russian president Putin on the fringes of the football world cup finals also agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pursue a comprehensive Land for gas deal. Its tentative provisions included normalising the status of Crimea in exchange for a massive economic rehabilitation plan and a gas price rebate for Ukraine. However, a special European Council meeting convened on the 16th could not reach agreement on whether the EU should follow the American lead this time, since countries with export interests to Russia and dependent on its gas, were balking. Instead, the Council stressed the EU's commitment 'to pursue trilateral talks on the conditions of gas supply from the Russian Federation to Ukraine' in order to 'safeguard the security of supply and transit of natural gas through Ukraine.'

The Downing of Flight MH17 and South Stream

The downing of MH17 on 17 July changed all that. As I said above, who did it and how remains obscure, although there are several pursued by people familiar with local circumstances, or revealed by insiders who know who which military assets were operating that day -- but all that remains inconclusive. The official reports by the Dutch Safety Board and the JIT may be conveniently dismissed although the DSB rightly pointed at the questionable decision by Kiev to allow civilian planes to fly over a war zone. However, irrespective of the actual perpetrator, and whether it was an intentional act or an accident, there is no doubt about the West's intent to exploit the event to the maximum.

Former secretary of state and then-presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in a TV interview on the 18th called for making 'Russia pay the price' once its culpability had been established. Her to-do list for the EU included, one, 'toughen sanctions'; two, find alternatives to Gazprom, and third, 'do more in concert with us to support the Ukrainians'. The 'Land for gas' negotiations were shelved and on the 22nd Europe dropped the remaining hesitations when it underwrote the US sanctions targeting Russia's role as an energy supplier. As Mark Leonard, founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, noted in a newspaper interview a year later, 'without MH17 it would have been pretty difficult to find sufficient support for the increased sanctions on the Russian economy' .

In 2009 the EU had introduced a new energy policy, dubbed a 'Third Energy Package'. It does not permit gas to be transported to the EU by the company producing it, effectively forcing Gazprom to sell even the gas piped through the Ukrainian grid to other companies before it could enter the EU. Nord Stream had still been exempted from EU competition rules, but the projected South Stream was not, never mind that most contracts with Gazprom had been signed before the Third Energy Package came into force. Even at the time of the Kiev coup, commentators wondered to what extent shale gas from the US might be used to offset Russian deliveries. LNG facilities planned in Florida and Maryland were projected to serve the European market at Gazprom's expense, a prospect meanwhile far more realistic.

The Crimean secession and incorporation into the Russian Federation obviously played its own role here. Crimea is a historically Russian region; having been assigned to Ukraine by a whim of Soviet party leader Khrushchev in 1954, it never reconciled itself to being part of an independent Ukraine. After the nationalist coup in late February, the status of the Russian naval base in Sebastopol was in the balance. In 1991, the Black Sea had been a Soviet/bloc inland sea, with one NATO country (Turkey) bordering it. Now there were two more NATO/EU countries and two pro-Western, aspiring NATO members on its littoral. So when one week after the coup, three former Ukrainian Presidents, Kravchuk, Kuchma, and Yushchenko, called on the coup government in Kiev to cancel the agreement under which the lease of Sebastopol, home to the Russian Black Sea fleet, had been extended to 2042, the question of who would be able to project naval power over the Black Sea became acute. The question now was whether Russia would be able to provide cover for a large-scale project such as South Stream, or not.

South Stream itself came into the firing line directly. The European Parliament, which never raised the issue of why the February agreement with Yanukovych the EU brokered had been sidelined by the coup, on 17 April 2014 adopted a non-binding resolution opposing the South Stream gas pipeline and recommended a search for alternative sources of gas. On 28 April, the United States imposed a ban on business transactions within its territory on seven Russian officials, including Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, as well as Gennady Timchenko, whose Volga Group controls Stroytransgaz, the company entrusted with building the Bulgarian section of South Stream. Nevertheless the Bulgarian parliament approved South Stream two weeks after the reincorporation of Crimea, circumventing the EU's anti-trust legislation by renaming the pipeline a 'sea-land connection'.The European Commission then instructed Bulgaria to stop work on South Stream and proceeded to cut off tens of millions of much-needed regional development funds, whilst the US ambassador warned Bulgarian companies against working with Timchenko. A final visit of US Senators John McCain and Ron Johnson, in combination with other punitive measures then led to the cancellation in early June. As Eric Draitser commented at the time, 'South Stream has become one of the primary battlegrounds in the economic war that the West is waging against Russia'.

The downing of Flight MH17 also definitively sealed the fate of South Stream. Russian banks financing the project, led by Gazprombank, were hit by new sanctions, so that the necessary capital could no longer be raised internationally. Putin earlier had hinted at moving the transit of gas for the EU to non-European countries; in August, it was reported there was a Plan B in the works to export via Turkey. On 1 December 2014, during a state visit to Ankara, the Russian president announced that in light of Western sanctions and the refusal of construction permits in the EU, South Stream would be replaced by a 'Turkish Stream' pipeline, besides the existing Blue Stream link. However, in November 2015, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian fighter jet over northern Syria, throwing relations between Moscow and Ankara into a deep crisis and entailing the cancellation of Turkish Stream. This was only overcome after the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdoğan, in which Russia sided with the Turkish president, possibly even warning him in advance. Since the F-16 that shot down the Russian jet was part of a pro-NATO unit based at Inçirlik airbase that took part in the coup attempt, the incident over Syria would appear to fit in a framework that may also have decided the fate of Flight MH17: a provocation to throw relations with Russia into disarray, but we don't know for sure.

Regime Change in Moscow?

The MH17 disaster occurred in the context of a deep crisis, in which capitalist discipline as imposed from its historic epicentre in the West, has become primarily predatory, relying to an ever-greater extent on violence.

Speculative financial operations in combination with the 'War on Terror' have spread economic risk and repression at home, war and regime change abroad. Human survival itself has been turned into a global gamble played out over the head of the affected populations for private gain.

The West, led by the effectively bankrupt United States, increasingly relies on force to sabotage the formation of any alternative, something its own social formation can no longer bring forth. Even the most promising, potentially revolutionary IT and media developments coming out of Silicon Valley have been mortgaged by a planetary project of communications surveillance to safeguard US imperial positions.

Back in the 1980s, when it launched the second Cold War, the Reagan administration intended to destabilise the Soviet bloc and bring about regime change in Moscow. This is also the aim of the current, new Cold War. A 2015 Chatham House report, 'The Russian Challenge', discusses this in some detail. Although it concedes that the West cannot have an interest in Russia sliding into complete anarchy, neither should the Putin presidency be protected 'against change, whether managed or violent '. Therefore, 'whether Putin was ousted by an internal coup, by illness or by popular unrest , it would nevertheless be sensible for the West to give further thought to how it might deal with the consequences of regime change in Russia.'

Effective communication with the Russian people and the defence of human values beforehand would be essential for Western credibility Planning for the future ought, lastly, to cover the scenarios from changes of leadership within the current structures, to the emergence of a group ready to pursue structural reform in some sort of accountable dialogue with the Russian population, to regime collapse .

The president of the National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman, in a piece for the Washington Post in October 2016 suggested launching a new, sustained anti-Putin campaign, for which the contract killing of the journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, ten years earlier, might be used as a vignette.

For such a campaign, George Soros' Open Society Foundation can be trusted to have elaborated the 'civil society'/colour revolution scenarios, whilst identifying the groups that might be mobilised for their execution. The OSF plan of action for 2014-17, titled Russia Project Strategy , identifies Russian intellectuals active in Western academic and opinion networks, the Russian gay movement, and others as potential levers for civil society protest against the conservative bloc in power in Moscow. From the OSF documents hacked by the CyberBerkut collective, Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation emerges as the key beneficiary, and discussion portals and liberal media such as Echo of Moscow radio station, RBK news agency, and the newspaper Vedomosti, as the preferred channels to disseminate content.

There is no need to repeat that all this is part a powerful offensive to derail the loose contender bloc around China and Russia, which had constituted itself in the face of Western aggressiveness and crisis. The seizure of power in Ukraine as well as the secession of Crimea and the civil war in the east, which has meanwhile cost the lives of more than 13,000 people and displaced a million, as well as economic warfare against Russia by the US and the EU, have brought the danger of a large European war several steps closer. Whether the actual downing of Flight MH17 was an intentional, premeditated act or an accident, whether it involved a jet attack, an anti-aircraft missile, or both, ultimately cannot be established with certainty. Yet both the NATO war party and the coup regime in Kiev, which on many occasions has demonstrated that its ultra-nationalist and fascist antecedents are very much alive, would have been perfectly capable of such an act and had the means for it. Most importantly, they had the motive. Those in power in Kiev had several times already attempted to draw Moscow into the civil war, directly and through a NATO intervention. If this indeed was their aim, it would also have served the Atlantic bloc's determined and long-standing commitment to force continental Europe into an antagonistic relation with Russia.

In the current global conjuncture, even the tentative contender coalition combining the Eurasian Union, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, constitutes an acute danger to a capitalist West in crisis. Whether the United States and NATO would therefore also be willing to take even greater risks than they are doing now is a prospect too frightening to contemplate. However, it must be confronted, or the fate of the 298 people on Flight MH17 may become that of humanity at large.

Kees van der Pijl is a Fellow, Centre for Global Political Economy and Professor Emeritus of the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex.

[Jul 06, 2018] If Ukraine drifts into chaos, its neighbors, being aware of its history of extreme violence and atrocity are preparing themselves for the spillover

So far Ukrainian society holds well and I see no signs that it will collapse soon. Economics in dismal shape though...
Jul 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

Erebus , June 16, 2018 at 9:40 am GMT

Look up Rostislav Ishenko's latest excellent piece yesterday:

I did, and as usual Ishenko takes an oblique approach that shines a light into obscure but critical corners.

What an eye opener this one is.

Not sure how much was lost in translation, but if I understood correctly the Russians are massing forces in the Western District, not because they fear an attack from NATO, or plan to attack Europe but to rescue Europe from a conflagration that will be sparked in Ukraine. That it was drifting into failed state status is well known, but that a religious war is in the offing was utterly unknown to me, and I suspect to most others here.

That in turn shines a light on why Poland and the Baltics are begging for US/NATO troops as well, and at least partially why US/NATO is delivering. As Ukraine drifts into chaos, its neighbours, being aware of its history of extreme violence and atrocity are preparing themselves for the spillover. They have no desire to relive the decade+ blood orgy that erupted in the middle of the 20th C centred on Ukraine (where, IMHO, the real Holocaust happened).

Overwhelming force applied at an overwhelming pace is the best way of dealing with such an outbreak, and the Russians are the only party able to deliver. US/NATO forces can be expected to roar around in their APCs avoiding trouble and then claim credit in accordance with Western military tradition. Meanwhile, the Russians will go into mopping up the leftovers.

Makes a lot of sense if Ishchenko's read of the situation is right. It probably has a bigger impact on Dunford's and Gerasimov's meeting than the USM "going home".

Whew!
PS: Yes, I was aware of the Russian central bank selling off its USTs. With the Petro-Yuan and Western sanctions now in full swing, it really doesn't need $100B's worth to manage its U$ denominated imports.

[Jul 06, 2018] Corporate Media's About-Face on Ukraine's Neo-Nazis by Daniel Lazare

Notable quotes:
"... Special to Consortium News ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Zhydobanderivets ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
"... Le Monde Diplomatique ..."
"... The American Conservative ..."
"... If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one. ..."
Jul 05, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Corporate Media's About-Face on Ukraine's Neo-Nazis July 5, 2018 • 59 Comments

U.S. corporate media spent years dismissing the role of neo-Nazis in Ukraine's 2014 coup but it is suddenly going through a conversion, as Daniel Lazare reports.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

Last month a freelance journalist named Joshua Cohen published an article in The Washington Post about the Ukraine's growing neo-Nazi threat. Despite a gratuitous swipe at Russia for allegedly exaggerating the problem (which it hasn't), the piece was fairly accurate.

Entitled "Ukraine's ultra-right militias are challenging the government to a showdown," it said that fascists have gone on a rampage while the ruling clique in Kiev closes its eyes for the most part and prays that the problem somehow goes away on its own.

Thus, a group calling itself C14 (for the fourteen-word ultra-right motto, "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children") not only beat up a socialist politician and celebrated Hitler's birthday by stabbing an antiwar activist, but bragged about it on its website. Other ultra-nationalists, Cohen says, have stormed the Lvov and Kiev city councils and "assaulted or disrupted" art exhibits, anti-fascist demos, peace and gay-rights events, and a Victory Day parade commemorating the victory over Hitler in 1945.

Yet nothing has happened to stop this. President Petro Poroshenko could order a crackdown, but hasn't for reasons that should be obvious. The U.S.-backed "Euromaidan" uprising not only drove out former president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, who had won an OSCE-certified election, but tore the country in two, precisely because ultra-rightists like C14 were in the lead.

When resistance to the U.S.-backed coup broke out in Crimea and parts of the country's largely Russian-speaking east, the base of Yanukovych voters, civil war ensued. But because the Ukrainian army had all but collapsed, the new, coup government had no one to rely on other than the neo-fascists who had helped propel it to power.

So an alliance was hatched between pro-western oligarchs at the top – Forbes puts Poroshenko's net worth at a cool $1 billion – and neo-Nazi enforcers at the bottom. Fascists may not be popular. Indeed, Dmytro Yarosh, the fire-breathing leader of a white-power coalition known as Right Sector, received less than one percent of the vote when he ran for president in May 2014.

But the state is so weak and riddled with so many ultra-rightists in key positions – Andriy Parubiy, founder of the neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine, is speaker of the parliament, while ultra-rightist Arsen Avakov is minister of the interior – that the path before them is clear and unobstructed. As Cohen points out, the result is government passivity on one hand and a rising tide of ultra-right violence on the other. In the earlier stages of the civil war, for instance, the rightwing extremists burned more than 40 people alive in a labor union building in Odessa, a horrific incident downplayed by Western media.

Cohen's article may have Washington Post readers scratching their heads for the simple reason that the paper has long said the opposite. Since Euromaidan, the Post has toed the official Washington line that Vladimir Putin has exaggerated the role of the radical right in order to discredit the anti-Yanukovych revolt and legitimize his own alleged interference.

Sure, anti-Yanukovych forces had festooned the Kiev town hall with a white supremacist banner, a Confederate flag , and a giant image of Stepan Bandera , a Nazi collaborator whose forces killed thousands of Jews during the German occupation and as many as 100,000 Poles. And yes, they staged a 15,000-strong torchlight parade in Bandera's honor and scrawled an SS symbol on a toppled statue of Lenin. They also destroyed a memorial to Ukrainians who had fought on what Bandera supporters regard as the wrong side of World War II, that is, with the Soviets and against the Axis.

But so-called responsible, mainstream journalists are supposed to avert their eyes to avoid being tarred as a " useful idiot " whom Putin supposedly employs to advance his "anti-American agenda." Ten days after Yanukovych's departure, the Post dutifully assured its readers that Russian reports of "hooligans and fascists" had "no basis in reality."

A week or so later, it said "the new government, though peppered with right-wing politicians, is led primarily by moderate, pro-European politicians." A few weeks after that, it described Bandera as no more than "controversial" and quoted a Kiev businessman as saying: "The Russians want to call him a fascist, but I feel he was a hero for our country. Putin is using him to try to divide us."

Thus, the Post and other corporate media continued to do its duty by attacking Putin for plainly saying "the forces backing Ukraine's government in Kiev are fascists and neo-Nazis." But who was wrong ?

The New York Times was no better. It assailed Russia for hurling "harsh epithets" like "neo-Nazi," and blamed the Russian leader for "scaremongering" by attributing Yanukovych's ouster to "nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes, and anti-Semites." The Guardian 's Luke Harding – a leading Putin basher said of the far-right Svoboda Party:

"Over the past decade the party appears to have mellowed, eschewing xenophobia, academic commentators suggest. On Monday, the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, said he had been 'positively impressed' by Svoboda's evolution in opposition and by its behavior in the Rada, Ukraine's parliament. 'They have demonstrated their democratic bona fides,' the ambassador asserted."

This is the party whose founder, Oleh Tyahnybok, said in a 2004 speech that "a Moscow-Jewish mafia" was running the Ukraine and that Bandera's followers "fought against the Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other enemies who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state." Had the leopard really changed its spots, according to Pyatt? Or was it simply a matter of America not giving a damn as long as Svoboda joined the fight to encircle Russia and advance NATO's drive to the east?

As someone named Marx once observed , "Who you gonna believe, me or your own two eyes?" As far as Ukraine was concerned, the answer for the corporate press came from the U.S. State Department. If Foggy Bottom said that Ukrainian neo-Nazism was a figment of Russia's imagination, then that's what it was, regardless of evidence to the contrary.

Someday, historians will look back on Euromaidan Ukraine as one of the looniest periods in western journalism – except, of course, for all the ones that have followed. But if one had to choose the looniest story of all, one that best reflects the abject toadyism of the reporting classes, it would have to be "Why Jews and Ukrainians Have Become Unlikely Allies," a 1,400-word article that ran on the Post -owned Foreign Policy website in May 2014. Four years later, it stands as a model of how not to write about an all-important political crisis.

Cohen's Conversion

Tyahnybok: 'Moscow-Jewish mafia' is running Ukraine.

The piece begins with the usual hand-wringing about Svoboda and Right Sector and expresses remorse that the latter still venerates the "controversial" Bandera, whose followers "fought on the side of the Nazis from 1944 until the end of World War II." (Actually, they welcomed the Germans from the start and, despite rocky relations with the Slav-hating Nazis, continued to work with them throughout the occupation.)

But then it gets down to business by asserting that as bad as Ukrainian nationalists may be, Russia is doubly worse. "Despite the substantial presence of right wing nationalists on the Maidan during the revolution," it says, "many in Ukraine's Jewish community resent being used by Putin in his propaganda war." The proof is an open letter signed by 21 Ukrainian Jewish leaders asserting that the real danger was Moscow.

"We know that the political opposition consists of various groups, including some that are nationalistic," the letter declared. "But even the most marginal of them do not demonstrate anti-Semitism or other forms of xenophobia. And we certainly know that our very few nationalists are well-controlled by civil society and the new Ukrainian government – which is more than can be said for the Russian neo-Nazis, who are encouraged by your security services."

This was music to Washington's ears. But if neo-Nazis are free of "anti-Semitism or other forms of xenophobia," how does one explain the white-power symbols in the Kiev town hall? If nationalists were "very few" in number, why did journalists need to explain them away? If Russian security forces really encouraged neo-Nazis, where were the torchlight parades and portraits of Bandera-like collaborators hanging from public buildings in Moscow?

The article might have noted that Josef Zissels, the Jewish community leader who organized the letter, is a provocative figure who has long maintained close relations with Ukraine's far right. A self-styled Zhydobanderivets – a word that roughly translates as "Kike follower of Bandera" – he has since infuriated other Jewish leaders by criticizing California Congressman Ro Khanna for sending a letter to the State Department asking that pressure be brought on the governments of Poland and Ukraine to combat Holocaust revisionism in their countries.

Forty-one Jewish leaders were so angry, in fact, that they sent out a letter of their own thanking Khannna for his efforts, expressing "deep concern at the rise of anti-Semitic incidents and expressions of xenophobia and intolerance, including attacks on Roma communities," and "strongly proclaim[ing] that Mr. Iosif Zissels and the organization VAAD do not represent the Jews of Ukraine." A Jewish community leader in Russia was so outraged by the pro-Bandera apologetics of Zissels and a Ukrainian-Jewish oligarch named Igor Kolomoisky that he said he wanted to hang both men "in Dnepropetrovsk in front of the Golden Rose Synagogue until they stop breathing."

So Foreign Policy used a highly dubious source to whitewash Ukraine's growing neo-Nazi presence and absolve it of anti-Semitism. As crimes against the truth go, this is surely one of the worst. But now that the problem has gotten too big for even the corporate media to ignore, overnight muckrakers like Joshua Cohen are seeing to it that getting away with such offenses will no longer be so easy. Before his abrupt about-face, the author of that misleading Foreign Policy piece was Joshua Cohen.

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique , and his articles about the Middle East, terrorism, Eastern Europe, and other topics appear regularly on such websites as Jacobin and The American Conservative .

If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.


mike k , July 6, 2018 at 4:49 pm

The leaders of Israel who sell weapons to the Nazis in Ukraine, are no better than those Nazis.

Susan Sunflower , July 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm

for those having Alice In Wonderland whiplash, yes the USA was funding the Ukranian neonazis Azov Brigade before Congress banned the funding in March 2018.

https://therealnews.com/columns/the-us-is-arming-and-assisting-neo-nazis-in-ukraine-while-congress-debates-prohibition

which of course does not mean that others are not funding them and/or funding or simply "arming" their friends and allies

https://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-arming-neo-nazis-ukraine/24876

same old "syrian playbook" wrt to enemy-of-my-memory bull .

rosemerry , July 6, 2018 at 10:12 am

The two-hour documentary "Putin" shows in an interview Pres. Putin explaining his government's cooperating with the Western- supported Ukrainian government for four years (because they were neighbors and had many links) which he considered normal behavior. However, once the 2014 election brought in a more "Moscow-friendly" team to govern Ukraine, the USA began its plans to overthrow it and we see all the consequences shown in this article.

Francis Lee , July 6, 2018 at 7:53 am

Ukraine: Fascism's toe-hold in Europe.

The tacit support given by the centre-left to the installation of the regime in Kiev should give them cause for concern writes Frank.

Politics in the Ukraine can only be understood by reference to its history and ethnic and cultural make-up – a make-up criss-crossed by lasting and entrenched ethnic, cultural and political differences. The country has long been split into the northern and western Ukraine, where Ukrainian is the official and everyday lingua franca, and the more industrialised regions of the east and south where a mixture of Russian speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians reside. Additionally, there has long been Hungarian and Romanian settlement in the west of the country, and a particularly important Polish presence, whose unofficial capital, Lviv, was once the Polish city of Lwow. The Russian Orthodox Church is the predominant form of Christianity in the East, whilst in the west the Christian tradition tends towards Roman Catholicism.

Politically the Eastern and Southern Oblasts (Regions) which includes the cities and centres of heavy industry, Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhe, Nikolayev, Kherson, Simferopol and Odessa, have tended to tilt towards Russia whilst the western regions have had a more western orientation. This has traditionally been reflected in the electoral division of the country. There is no party which can be considered 'national' in this respect, except ironically, the old Communist party, which of course is now banned. The major regional parties have been the Fatherland party of Yulia Tymoshenko (since renamed) and the former head of government, Arseniy Yatsenyuk as well as the ultra-nationalists predominantly in the west of the country, and the deposed Victor Yanukovich's Party of the Regions in the East (now defunct) along with its junior partner in the coalition, the Ukrainian Communist Party.

However, what is new since the coup in February 2014 there has been the emergence from the shadows of ultra-nationalist (fascist) parties and movements, with both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary (i.e.,military) wings. In the main 'Svoboda' or Freedom Party, and the paramilitaries of 'Right Sector' (Fuhrer: Dimitry Yarosh) who spearheaded the coup in Kiev; these have been joined or changed their names to inter alia the Radical Party, and Patriots of the Ukraine; this in addition to the punitive right-wing militias, such as the Azov Regiment responsible for numerous atrocities in the Don Bas.

Suffice it to say, however, that these political movements and parties did not emerge from nowhere.
This far-right tradition has been historically very strong in the western Ukraine. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was first established in 1929 and brought together, war veterans, student fraternities, far-right groups and various other disoriented socially and political flotsam and jetsam under its banner. The OUN took its ideological position from the writings of one, Dymtro Dontsov, who, like Mussolini had been a socialist, and who was instrumental in creating an indigenous Ukrainian fascism based upon the usual mish-mash of writings and theories including Friedrich Nietzsche, Georges Sorel, and Charles Maurras. Dontsov also translated the works of Hitler and Mussolini into Ukrainian.

The OUN was committed to ethnic purity, and relied on violence, assassination and terrorism, not least against other Ukrainians, to achieve its goal of a totalitarian and homogeneous nation-state. Assorted enemies and impediments to this goal were Communists, Russians, Poles, and of course – Jews. Strongly oriented toward the Axis powers OUN founder Evhen Konovalets (1891-1938) stated that his movement was ''waging war against mixed marriages'', with Poles, Russians and Jews, the latter which he described as ''foes of our national rebirth''. Indeed, rabid anti-Semitism has been a leitmotif in the history of Ukrainian fascism, which we will return to below.

Konovelts himself was assassinated by a KGB hit-man in 1938 after which the movement split into two wings: (OUN-m) under Andrii Melnyk and, more importantly for our purposes (OUN-b) under Stepan Bandera. Both wings committed to a new fascist Europe. Upon the German invasion in June 1941, the OUN-b attempted to establish a Ukrainian satellite state loyal to Nazi Germany. Stepan Lenkavs'kyi the then chief propagandist of the OUN-b 'government' advocated the physical destruction of Ukrainian Jewry. OUN-b's 'Prime Minister' Yaroslav Stets'ko, and deputy to Bandera supported, ''the destruction of the Jews and the expedience of bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine, barring their assimilation and the like.''

During the early days of the rapid German advance into the Soviet Union there were some 140 pogroms in the western Ukraine claiming the lives of between 13000-35000 people (Untermensch, in fascist terminology). In 1943-1944 OUN-b and its armed wing the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukrainska povstanska armia – UPA) carried out large scale ethnic cleansing resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands; this was a particularly gruesome affair in Volhynia where some 90000 Poles and thousands of Jews were murdered. The campaign of the UPA continued well into the 1950s until it was virtually wiped out by the Soviet forces.

It should be said that during this early period Bandera himself had been incarcerated by the German authorities up until his release in 1944, since unlike Bandera they were not enamoured of an independent Ukrainian state but wanted total control. Bandera was only released at this late date since the German high command was endeavouring to build up a pro-German Ukrainian quisling military force to hold up the remorseless advance of the Red Army. Also pursuant to this it is also worth noting that during this period the 14th Galizian Waffen SS Division, a military Ukrainian collaborationist formation established by Heinrich Himmler, was formed to fight the Soviet forces, and yet another being the Nachtingal brigade; (1) this unit was integrated into the 14th Galizian in due course. It is also interesting to note, that every year, and up to 2014 commemoration ceremony including veterans of this unit takes place with a march through Lviv in an evening torchlight parade – genuine Nazi pastiche. The flag of this unit is not dissimilar to the Peugeot logo, the standing lion, and can be seen at ultra-nationalist rallies as well as football matches involving Lviv Karparti FC. There are also numerous statues of Bandera across Ukraine, and since the 2014 coup even street names bearing the same name. Significantly the UPA have now received political rehabilitation from the Kiev Junta, with Bandera declared a hero of the Ukraine and the UPA rebranded as 'freedom fighters.' One particularly splendid statue of Bandera stands proudly in Lviv and is usually adorned with flowers.

Other novel attractions the capital of Banderestan include 'Jewish themed restaurants' one such is Kryivka (Hideout or Lurking Hole) where guests have a choice of dishes and whose dinning walls are decorated with larger than life portraits of Bandera, the toilet with Russian and Jewish anecdotes. At another Jewish themed restaurant guests are offered black hats of the sort worn by Hasidim. The menu lists no prices for the dishes; instead, one is required to haggle over highly inflated prices ''in the Jewish fashion''. Yes, it's all good clean fun in Lviv. Anti-Semitism also sells. Out of 19 book vendors on the streets of central Lviv, 16 were openly selling anti-Semitic literature. About 70% of the anti-Semitic publications in Ukraine are being published by and educational institution called MUAP (The Inter-Regional Academy of Personnel Management). MAUP is a large, well-connected and increasingly powerful organization funded from outside anti-Semite sources, and also connected to White Supremacist groups in the USA and to the David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

(It is one of the ironies of history that if the Zionists in AIPAC and the Washington neo-con think tanks, and the Labour Party Friends of Israel, were so concerned about anti-Semitism, they might try looking for it in Lviv. They wouldn't have to search very far.)
Present day neo-Nazi groupings in Ukraine – Svoboda (Freedom) party and Right Sector – have been the direct descendants from the prior ideological cesspool. Heading Svoboda is Oleh Tyahnybok. Although these are separate organizations Tyahnybok's deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda's official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector. The Social-Nationalist party as it was formerly known chose as its logo an amended version of the Wolfsangel, a symbol used by many SS divisions on the Eastern front during the war who in 2004 a celebration of the OUN-UPA, stated in 2004, that ''they fought against the Muscovite, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.'' And further that ''Ukraine was ruled by a Muscovite-Jewish mafia.'' Tyahnybok came under pressure from the then President, Yuschenko, to retract his inflammatory statements, which he did, but he then retracted the retraction!

Given the fact that Svoboda was, apart from its stamping grounds in the west, making little national electoral headway, it was essential to clean up its image and deny its Nazi past. But this was always going to be difficult since the members of such groups cannot help the unscripted outbursts and faux pas which they tend to make and which reveals their true colours. For example, following the conviction and sentencing of John Demjanjuk to five years in jail for his role as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp, Tyahnybok travelled to Germany and met up with Demjanjuk's lawyer, presenting the death camp guard as a hero, a victim of persecution ''who is fighting for truth''.
And so it goes on. We can therefore infer that this organization is inveterate fascist. More disturbing Svoboda has links with the so-called Alliance of National European Movements, which includes: Nationaldemokraterna of Sweden, Front Nationale of France, Fiamma Tricolore in Italy, the Hungarian Jobbik and the Belgian National Front. More importantly Svoboda held several ministerial portfolios in the Kiev administration, and Right Sector swaggers around Kiev streets with impunity, and/or are being drafted into a National Guard to deal with the separatist movements in the east, or to beat down anyone who doesn't conform to their Ayran racial and political ideals.

One would have thought that this mutating revolution in the Ukraine would have drawn attention of the centre-left to the fact that fascism had gained a vital beachhead in Europe, and that the danger signals should be flashing. But not a bit of it; a perusal of the Guardian newspaper quickly reveals that their chief concern has been with a non-existent 'Russian threat'. One of their reporters – or old friend, Luke Harding -described Right Sector as an ''eccentric group of people with unpleasant right-wing views.'' Priceless! This must rank as the political understatement of the century. In fact, the Guardian was simply reiterating the US-imposed neo-conservative foreign policy. But naturally, this is par for the course.

(1) The Nachtingal brigade, which was later incorporated into the SS Galizien, took part in a three-day massacre of the Jewish population of Lvov (now Lviv) from 30 June 1941. Roman Shukhevych was the commander of the Nachtingal and later, in 1943, became commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the "Banderivtsy", or UPA/UIA[5] ), armed henchmen of the fascist Stepan Bandera, who after the war pretended that they had fought both Nazis and Communists. Members of the division are also accused of having murdered some 800 residents of the Polish village of Huta Pieniacka and 44 civilians in the village of Ch?aniów.

Paolo , July 6, 2018 at 7:11 am

Just for the record: the Ukrainians hailed the Nazis as liberators after the Soviets had let millions of Ukrainians die of hunger in the thirties, a sort of "genocide" that goes under the name of Holodomor and has officially been recognized by western Parlaments only a few decades ago. In eastern Ukraine there were no more inhabitants after the Holodomor, and the Russians imported hundreds of thousand peasants from Russia to get agriculture working again.

The problems of Ukraine are so deep that fomenting regime change there was a most idiotic thing to do. Sooner or later the problems will explode, and it will be tough shit. Whoever helped this regime change should be locked up in some high security jail as far as possible.

Garrett Connelly , July 6, 2018 at 9:52 am

The big lie is 180° opposite of reality repeated over and over using free corporate propaganda.

vinnieoh , July 5, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Still scratching my head at the electric last line of Mr. Lazare's piece. I'm mean, I'm used to "official" organs like WaPo and NYT publishing whatever narrative is most helpful to whatever pieces are being moved on the chessboard, but for the same "freelance journalist" to have written both the earlier Foreign Policy piece and the recent WaPo piece is a puzzle to me.

Does Joshua Cohen just write stuff that goes with the flow (at any particular moment) and has a good chance of being published (and consequently of himself being paid)?

Or did this person really have an epiphany, and the scales fell from his eyes? I suspect a third explanation though what that may be eludes me. One thing is for sure, as a Trump/Putin meeting gets closer, expect more false "official" narratives concerning both Ukraine and Syria.

robjira , July 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm

https://off-guardian.org/2018/01/11/documentary-ukraine-on-fire-2016/

For anyone who hasn't watched this film yet.

Seamus Padraig , July 5, 2018 at 2:05 pm

'The U.S.-backed "Euromaidan" uprising not only drove out former president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, who had won an OSCE-certified election, but tore the country in two, precisely because ultra-rightists like C14 were in the lead But if one had to choose the looniest story of all, one that best reflects the abject toadyism of the reporting classes, it would have to be "Why Jews and Ukrainians Have Become Unlikely Allies," a 1,400-word article that ran on the Post-owned Foreign Policy website in May 2014.'

Here's the thing though: however weird it may sound, there actually DOES seem to exist some sort of tacit alliance between (some, not all) Jews and Ukrainian Nazis. Even if their ultimate goals are completely at odds–the Nazis hate the EU, but the Jews mostly want to join it–they nearly always seem to work together against Russia. It has even been maintained that the Azov Battalion (one of the all-volunteer Neo-Nazi militias fighting against the Donbass rebels) was entirely financed for a time by Jewish oligarch Ihor Kholomoisky, at least until he did something to piss Poroshenko off and got sacked from his post as governor of Dniepropetrovsk. And in the beginning, Jews who tried to point out that Neo-Nazi groups were involved in overthrowing Yanukovych, like Dr. Stephen Cohen, were roundly denounced a 'Russia apologists' just for stating facts.

But now that Washington's whole Ukraine project has gone south, I guess the Nazis, having outlived their usefulness, are, as usual, to be the fall-guys and take all the blame.

Anna , July 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm

yeh, the Kaganat of Nuland has many veils.
The most stunning aspect of the banderite putsch in Kiev was the dead silence of nazi-hunters from Wiesenthal Center, the always oh-so-sensitive ADL, the main 52 (fifty-two!) American Jewish organizations, and the overall docility and compliance of the "righteous" Israel with the banderite-neo-Nazi ideology by Kagans-selected power structures in Ukraine.
Mr. Kolomojsky, a financier of neo-nazi battalion Azov, is still an Israeli citizen.
Mrs. Nuland-Kagan, the main machinator of the regime change in Kiev, has not been ostracized by the Jewish Community at large.
The deeply amoral and bloodthirsty Carl Gerschman from NED, who has been the main cheerleader for the putsch and for the installing the banderite-friendly government in Kiev, has not been ostracized by the Jewish Community at large either. What a stench!
https://medium.com/@gmochannel/us-staged-a-coup-in-ukraine-brief-history-and-facts-898c6d0007d6

Pft , July 5, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Yeah. The prime minister and many of the top oligarchs are Jewish. Relations between Ukraine and Israel seem quite good despite the UNSC vote that the US abstained on regarding Israeli settlements in the West Bank, perhaps reminded by Stalin doing the same to them in the 1920's.

As for relations with the neo nazis I remember before WWII that Zionists in Palestine cooperated with Nazis who sent German Jews to Palestine in return for the purchase of German goods which were being boycotted by Jews in the west

I suspect most Americans don't know Ukrainian history. The early years of Bolshevik rule were quite brutal and over 10 million rural Christians lost their lives in Ukraine over their policies .Solzhenitsyn 200 years can shed some light on the roots of the anti-Semitism among the peasants that developed in the 20's-30's and no doubt has been passed on.

Robert , July 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm

I've thought about this myself and have concluded that a fair number of Jewish organizations and institutions in the Ukraine were receiving a small portion of the US State Department funding allocated to the Ukraine each year of $200-250 million, totaling $5 billion since 1992. In return for this rather small (by US standards) outlay to a broad spectrum of NGOs, private educational and religious institutions, and political groups, the US purchased an enormous amount of influence. Most of the members of these groups were unaware of this US support, as the funds were funneled through individual leaders who were tasked to influence opinion, organize demonstrations and petitions, and write letters to the press and government members. Scholarships to the US and Canada were offered to promising youth to ensure continuity of support. For this reason, most Jewish and other groups operating in Ukraine have, until recently and only with reluctance, been willing to deviate from the official US "story". Thus, they knowingly (at least as far as their leadership was concerned) supported an overtly US-led neo-Nazi coup.

mike , July 5, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Makes sense that Josh Cohen is a former U.S. Agency for International Development project officer involved in managing economic reform projects in the former Soviet Union. Isn't that really what this is all about? Putin gets elected and takes charge of the economy, jailing corrupt oligarchs and putting the kibosh on said reform projects sponsored by us in care of Jeffrey Sachs et al. As Russia tries to reassert its sovereignty the US gets miffed and retaliates.

It's a lot of fun until someone loses an eye.

Tom Hall , July 5, 2018 at 1:21 pm

The Electronic Intifada has just posted an article by Asa Winstanley detailing how Israel, among others, has been supplying the Ukrainian Azov Battalion with military arms. It's well worth reading.

https://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-arming-neo-nazis-ukraine/24876

The next time you hear a pro-Israel mouthpiece sounding off about purported antisemitism in the British Labour Party, or in pro-Palestinine activist circles in the U.S., invite them to consider Israel's policy -- and that of the U.S. as well as friendly European states -- of direct military sponsorship of textbook Nazism in Ukraine. Jews are being menaced and beaten in the streets of Kiev by armed bands who celebrate their historical persecution, while thugs like Avigdor Lieberman sit cordially with officials representing that regime. But then, such warm relations between Zionists and anti-Semites is an old story.

Jeff Harrison , July 5, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Interesting. Anyone with two brains to rub together knows that the US, to the best of it's ability, has been surrounding Russia with compliant right wing governments, usually dictators, but we've gotten better at manipulating elections to get reliable puppet government. The bad news is that it is a full time job to stay on top of that.

Gary Weglarz , July 5, 2018 at 1:01 pm

It used to be that the only things one could depend on were "death & taxes." Now of course we must add to that list the very dependable presence of CIA / State Dept lies parroted by MSM all over the West. Lies which are endlessly repeated in defiance of all physical reality and often in direct opposition to actual events in the actual world we live in. From the Ukraine coup, to Russia-gate, to the "Assad's gassing his own people" regime change propaganda, to the totally surreal Alice in Wonderland Skripnal poisoning nonsense in the U.K, the Western MSM have been as dependable as the rising sun. They can and do provide fact-free, evidence-free reporting directly from the bowels of the deep state in support of the neocolonial West, including unending support for the never ending resort to mass violence the West relies upon to keep the rest of the planet subjugated – just as it has for the last 500+ years.

irina , July 5, 2018 at 2:06 pm

It's not just the media. The late night talk show hosts are doing their bit too, as I heard last night on a Jimmy Kimmel rerun (of a recent show). Can't remember the context as I was doing the dishes, but did hear him say the usual "Russian illegally annexed Crimea" standard phrase, immediately followed by "and then invaded Ukraine". The latter just casually tossed off as a given. People hear these memes constantly repeated and, regardless of their veracity (suspect to say the least) it becomes part of their worldview.

Who is behind the political preaching of hosts like Jimmy Kimmel ? Inquiring minds want to know !

Joe Tedesky , July 5, 2018 at 2:43 pm

You know what irina, seeing these late night talk shows go all crazy over Putin makes me think of the Zio-Media executives, and where their allegiance to power resides. Joe

Devil's Advocate , July 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm

I would assume you'd have to look at who owns the media source in question. Kimmel's show is on ABC, which is partly owned by Disney. Follow the money chain of those 2 parent companies, and you have your answer.

Gary Weglarz , July 5, 2018 at 6:28 pm

irina – I quite agree. The same is true of the former Daily Show crew members who now have their own shows. Several have shown themselves to be quite the little imperialist war mongers when it comes to gleefully repeating the CIA sponsored Syrian regime change and Russiagate propaganda. Samantha Bee & John Oliver kept triggering my gag reflex with their propaganda lines until I found a simple but effective solution and stopped watching them altogether. We have an amazingly seamless propaganda system here in the U.S. One can chose to either get one's "pro-war regime change propaganda" delivered with barely concealed racism and misogyny from Fox News, or instead opt for hearing the same nonsense delivered with pretentious blather and catchy jazz interludes at PBS. American democracy is all about having "choices."

Jeff Harrison , July 5, 2018 at 7:57 pm

I quite agree. I knew the minute that they started calling RT a propaganda outlet that, in fact, the USG was running a full scale propaganda operation. I don't know if I simply wasn't paying enough attention or if they have, in fact ramped the operation up, but I can hardly read any MSM outlet's output without calling bullshit on it.

irina , July 6, 2018 at 2:55 am

Jimmy Kimmel actually used to be funny and there is a really good clip (somewhere on youtube no doubt) of him reading a 'doctored' Dr. Seuss
book to The Donald (a live guest) during his primary candidacy.

But since The Donald's election Kimmel has opened almost every show with 'ten minutes hate' segment on The Donald. I still watch (or at least listen) occasionally because I want to know what is being fed to The Public.

You are absolutely right though, "we have an amazingly seamless propaganda system here in the US". The average person maybe has 30 minutes to devote to the news, between getting home and having dinner; they watch some sort of news show and think they are 'informed'. But it actually takes MANY hours and a knowledge of alternative websites to even begin to piece together an approximation of what might, in reality, be going on.

The Russians used to say that, at least they knew they were being propagandized.

Unfortunately, probably due to 'American Exceptionalism', most Americans think the MSM is bringing them 'the truth'. But nothing could be further from The Truth.

Peter H , July 6, 2018 at 10:41 am

I can't count the number of times I've had to turn off Colbert's Late Show for his Russian/Putin bashing BS. So disappointing. That's a rule in my house now. The first mention of Russia and off it goes.

Drew Hunkins , July 5, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Likewise, the corporate militarist-Zio media should eventually have to concede someday that the current Syrian "rebels" are little more than ruthless sociopathic Saudi-Zio-Washington intel agency supported mercenary terrorists.

Folks in the know knew very early on that much of the Kiev putschists and violent invaders of Eastern Ukraine were neo-Nazi types bent on eradicating the last vestiges of Russian social and ethnic solidarity.

It's really truly remarkable when one steps back to think about it all. These are the depraved groups the crypto-fascists, the Wall Street militarist imperialists, and Zionists have embedded themselves with: bloodthirsty Takfiri mercenary terrorists and neo-Nazis.

Bob Van Noy , July 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Each time I see an article like this I'm reminded of the videos of Zbigniew Brzezinski's early meetings with the Mujahideen and his manipulation of cultures on The Grand Chessboard or "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" a totally absurd assumption and the natural outcome of that absurdity, is blowback which this article again addresses. Our "boots on the ground" end up paying the price of this kind of supposed intellectualism. Shameful. Thank you Drew Hunkins.

Joe Tedesky , July 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Bob the old saying if I got right is the company you keep is what you become. We have truly loss our way, and Zbigniew Brzezinski is one of the biggest reasons we have become the predators of this dying green earth. All this for the profit, as all mankind must yield to the power of the dollar. Sad. Joe

MBeaver , July 6, 2018 at 5:03 am

One would think we had learned from Vietnam. Instead the "peace loving" liberals do everything to destabilize whole region for nothing and then send soldiers in who die for their messed up agenda.

JWalters , July 5, 2018 at 7:16 pm

It is truly remarkable. A lot of the behind-the-scenes magic is explained in "War Profiteers and Israel's Bank" http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com
.

[Jul 05, 2018] SNAFU! Dr. Phillip Karber on the Russian Way of War (MUST WATCH VIDEO!!!!)

If we assume that this is true: "Beyond that, the Ukrainians had no realistic option to defend Crimea. Their military was in extremely poor shape by the time 2014 rolled around thanks to more than two decades of neglect, monumental corruption and even more monumental incompetence by Ukrainian politicians and military leaders, while the Russians had well prepared contingency plans and had already begun far reaching military reforms as a result of their experiences in Chechnya and Georgia."
Then Ukrainian armed forces should drastically improve after several years of fighting.
Notable quotes:
"... The fact that the US leadership didn't even stop to consider how the Russians might react shows just how arrogant, hubristic and incompetent Obama and his national security team really were. ..."
"... Caveat emptor. Karber is a flamboyant blowhard. This is not to dismiss Russia's invasion or or act of war in Ukraine but merely to state that this guy is essentially a Tom Clancy cut out. I like a lot of his slides (I wonder who made them?) and his valuable tactical observations (even if it does sound, at times, like a shopping list for Ukrainian military aid) but he is no SME. https://foreignpolicy.com/2... ..."
Jul 05, 2018 | www.snafu-solomon.com
Thundarr the Barbarian15 minutes ago

If the Obama administration ordered Ukraine not to fight for Crimea on the assumption they could force Russia to give it back via sanctions, they miscalculated badly.

The Russians believe Crimea rightfully belongs to them and they saw control of it as vital to their national security. There were some serious shenanigans going on in Kiev, which the Russians interpreted as an American engineered coup. The Russians reacted to what they believed was a major threat to their national security. The fact that the US leadership didn't even stop to consider how the Russians might react shows just how arrogant, hubristic and incompetent Obama and his national security team really were.

There is no way the Russians will ever give up Crimea, especially under pressure from the US, NATO and the EU. No Russian politician could do that and hope to survive. Besides, the Russians have repeatedly demonstrated an ability to endure suffering and hardships much greater than the capacity of Western nations to endure and the sanctions showed that Russia was far less vulnerable to pressure than Western politicians assumed.

Beyond that, the Ukrainians had no realistic option to defend Crimea. Their military was in extremely poor shape by the time 2014 rolled around thanks to more than two decades of neglect, monumental corruption and even more monumental incompetence by Ukrainian politicians and military leaders, while the Russians had well prepared contingency plans and had already begun far reaching military reforms as a result of their experiences in Chechnya and Georgia. SurfaceBook 4 hours ago I disagree with mr kerber's assesment on Crimean ops being the largest air assault in history. Operation Market Garden in WW2 was the largest Air assault involving divisions of paratroopers from US/UK/Poland into german occupied drop zones (in conjuction with a land assault forcing it's way to Arnhem).

One other curiousity , Washington 'ordered' Ukraine ? a sovereign nation under orders ? just who is in charge of ukraine at that time ? see more

Thundarr the Barbarian SurfaceBook 2 hours ago

To answer your question: Victoria Nuland, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for Eurasian Affairs during the Obama administration. In other words, she was the American proconsul for Eastern Europe.

ignatzthecat6 hours ago

Bottom line? "The Fog of War".........All these scenarios mean nothing after the first "shot" is fired. If any US "enemy" cannot crush US air power they are finished from the gitgo. Not a fan of our foreign policies but we can "crush" the enemy; we just can't "rule" them.

Distiller9 hours ago

Would really like to hear the other side. Where does he get his information from? The Ukrainians? All this Russia-is-evil-and-scheming-to-do-more-evil is ... slightly over the top. I don't say it's impossible that Russian regular troops have been involved in Donbas but he makes it sound like Unternehmen Zitadelle

BSmitty13 hours ago

IMHO, beware taking too many lessons away from this conflict. The Ukranian's don't have anything close to the SEAD/DEAD/EW/airpower capability of the US. What worked against their aviation won't necessarily work against ours. Once mid-high altitude air defenses are down, enemy jammers will have a short lifespan.

His comments that even light infantry should have the means to get away when under attack, and sufficient armor to counter attack point to the inadequacies of Army IBCTs (Infantry, not "Interim").

IMHO, IBCTs should have 100% vehicular mobility, and have the option of attaching an independent tank battalion. Cobbling together random HMMWVs from div/corps just seems silly. Make vehicles part of the core TOE. see more

DOnT4 BSmitty 6 hours ago

You are assuming that we are working within our own timeline. Yes with enough time and blood, we can peal back their defense network with airpower. The question is, who buys us that time?

Russians (and the Chinese) ground forces trained to fight in contested airspace. The US Army assumes we have it.

utahbob6214 hours ago

Sol, Thanks for posting the link and asking for discussion. One thing that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up is how much of this is being shared with the PLA and worse the DPRK? They are pretty smart and probility can figure lots of this out on their own. Is there any PLA observers up front with the RuFA or exchanging TTPs in an AAR? Or professional papers and presentations at staff school level or higher? I am just a grunt and red leg, but how does the EW and fires part impact the navy? A step is being taken: http://soldiersystems.net/2... I wonder when this is part of OPFOR at NTC or 29 Palms? see more

Solomon Mod utahbob62 14 hours ago

NO! thank you for sharing !!!!! this is like getting a seat at the Army War College and getting to hear what is never shared with the troops or the public.

to be honest what i heard in that video was downright shocking. i won't say scary cause i won't be facing that shit but if i was i'd be beyond concerned.

to answer your question you can bet your last dollar that the Chinese are getting briefings on this. you can bet that they're not only studying the above vid but getting info from the subject matter experts in Russia.

this guy is senior but i would so love to hear an assessment of Marine Corps chances if war were to break out in Norway or surrounding countries (we still have the flank). how would a Marine Expeditionary Brigade standup to those type tactics. we're talking about a lighter formation than the US Army equivalent but with integrated air.

oh and a side note. as much as i think the US Army and Marine Corps would be in a hurtlocker can you imagine what would happen to any of our European allies if they were somehow isolated and attacked?

my only regret about this whole thing is that i wanted to sit back and drink in serious conversation about this video. instead i'm getting the usual trolling. i can tolerate that on the majority of subjects i cover here but this one is different. i wanted to hear from serious individuals doing serious thinking about what the Dr presented.

such is life. if you run across anything else PLEASE send it. i find this fascinating!

Deckard Rick15 hours ago T

he slide at 12.44 is also interesting it shows Russia's "desire" for "friendly relations" with the west and its neighbours. But i guess like in the cold war there is no shortage of naives that think that Russia understands anything else but sanctions or force. see more

spinfight Deckard Rick13 hours ago

Very true but defenses still have to be credible. It's pretty clear that a European military would get squashed like a bug.

Remington Steele16 hours ago

Caveat emptor. Karber is a flamboyant blowhard. This is not to dismiss Russia's invasion or or act of war in Ukraine but merely to state that this guy is essentially a Tom Clancy cut out. I like a lot of his slides (I wonder who made them?) and his valuable tactical observations (even if it does sound, at times, like a shopping list for Ukrainian military aid) but he is no SME. https://foreignpolicy.com/2...

Deckard Rick16 hours ago

My conclusions -- Western/ US allies/Nato armies will need to have:

- integrated air defence at every level from platoon to regimental.(manpads, spaag,
- mass fire/steel rain capabilities cheap and heavy MLRS also MLRS launched antiradiation missiles)
the israelis launched AGM Shrikes with boosters from trucks to target Syrian Radars
- Field Army EW sigint/elint/jamming/defense capabilities
- EW munitions (currently russia has tube artillery launched jammers don't know about the US or NATO)
- Small and light SPGs like the Gvozdika

spinfight Nuno Gomes 16 hours ago
Whilst I agree Russia does tend to export it's kit extensively. Also some of the potential uses such as GPS jamming drones, could be more than merely inconvenient on very small budgets.

[Jul 03, 2018] The role of diaspora might be as destructive in Ukraine as it was in Iraq and Iran

Notable quotes:
"... The reason they endlessly get it wrong, of course, is that they listen to the exiles in the US and elsewhere. Those exiles still mainly come from the old upper classes, with their eternal sense of entitlement to power, and their air-tickets ready in their pockets to fly back to Tehran and take back their positions under the Shah. Because of course, the Iranian revolution was one of the first populist movements, where the religious regime appealed directly to "the people", and the upper classes were cut out. The system has worked well - "the people" have continued to vote for the regime, naturally being a majority. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Laguerre , Jul 2, 2018 4:37:58 AM | 37

There was a distinct change earlier this year, after the second US fusillade of cruise missiles, and the Israeli bombing of "Iranian" bases in Syria.

We were all expecting further military action, but nothing happened, in particular no more Israeli action, although Iranian forces in Syria were hardly damaged.

Instead they started muttering about subversion of the Iranian state from the inside, which is what b is writing about here. That was a big sign that the all-out assault on Iran has been called off.

Why? Evidently because the military say no. The scenario was the same as the one back in 2012, the last time we thought to see Israeli aircraft getting permission from Saudi to do their bombing runs on Iran, but it didn't happen then, because the Israeli military were saying no. Evidently the position hasn't changed, I was relieved to discover, although the propagandists claimed the plan is all worked out now, and Iran has little defence.

Well, internal subversion of the regime, then. Hasn't the US been attempting to do precisely that for 40 years now, ever since the revolution overthrew the Shah in 1979? What are the conditions which mean that they are going to succeed now, when they've failed for 40 years?

The reason they endlessly get it wrong, of course, is that they listen to the exiles in the US and elsewhere. Those exiles still mainly come from the old upper classes, with their eternal sense of entitlement to power, and their air-tickets ready in their pockets to fly back to Tehran and take back their positions under the Shah. Because of course, the Iranian revolution was one of the first populist movements, where the religious regime appealed directly to "the people", and the upper classes were cut out. The system has worked well - "the people" have continued to vote for the regime, naturally being a majority.

I don't want to get into a historical disquisition (which in any case I've said before), but the reason this works is that there's history behind it - I'm pretty sure that the original Islamisation of Iran (I don't mean the Arab conquest, but the conversion of the country) was a popular revolt against the pre-Islamic nationalist aristocracy, who didn't pay any taxes. The present-day Iranian exiles attach themselves strongly to that old nationalist aristocracy, including most academics of Iranian origin in western universities. They don't seem to notice that the class they admire grindingly oppressed the poor, such that it led to a revolution.

sorry for that rant, as Debs would say.

[Jul 03, 2018] Is reconsiliation still possible?

Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

currently having an online debate about conditions in the crimea, specifically alleged russian oppression of crimeans in 2018, but also conditions leading up to the initial referendum (my opponents claim annexation or conquest, and cite a freedom house survey to back it up--from what i can see freedom house is fully funded by the us govt). my understanding is the us fomented the coup in ukraine, along with nato, as opposed to the ukrainian people rebelling against a russian puppet, which is the us line i believe. any articles or sources detailing the us role in all this, or rebutting claims that crimeans are being terrified into silence in 2018 about russian oppression, would be appreciated.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jul 1, 2018 2:05:08 PM | 3


somebody , Jul 1, 2018 4:01:34 PM | 5

3 Just quoting "Western" mainstream sources:

BBC?

"Ethnic Russians in the majority, Tartars and Ukrainians in the minority."

Carnegie?

About half of the respondents admit to having been taken by surprise by Russia's actions in 2014. Interestingly, there is agreement among the Crimean population, including the Crimean Tatars, that successive Ukrainian governments had neglected the region. Roughly one third of respondents pointed to this neglect as the main cause of the developments in 2014. ... The majority of survey respondents agree with the statement that the different ethnic groups in Crimea currently live peacefully side by side. Twenty percent disagree "fully" or "rather" with this statement, thereby indicating both an uncertainty and unease with the situation at the moment that reaches beyond the Crimean Tatar share of the population (about 12 percent). This result is mirrored in the reaction to the ban on the main political Crimean Tatar organization, the Mejlis, by the Russian authorities: 20 percent "fully" or "rather" disagreed with this step, compared to 80 percent endorsing this policy. ... The survey clearly spells out the severe disruption of links to the rest of Ukraine, limited travel to other parts of Russia, the absence of personal international reference points, and a near-complete integration into the Russian media sphere.

This combination makes any change in the opinions of the majority of the Crimean population on the annexation unlikely in the foreseeable future. However, it is also clear that the Crimean population's high expectations in the Russian economy and trust in Russian (but not Crimean) institutions needs to be carefully managed by Moscow in view of the already strained financial situation of the majority of the Crimean population.

Compare to Ukraine

The authors are also cautious about drawing overly-optimistic conclusions about the present time: "The risk of conflict emerging within Ukrainian society and growing serious remains, based on noticeable differences among residents of different regions about the further geopolitical direction the country should move in. There are also serious problems connected to restoring Ukraine's territorial integrity and the model of coexistence with those living in the regions that are currently occupied, how to reach reconciliation and mutual understanding." ...

Joining the EU remains a strong desire among a majority of Ukrainians. In September 2016, 51% of those surveyed by the Rating Group put integration with the EU ahead of joining Russia's Customs Union or some other association. Still, in Rating's September 2015 survey, 57% of Ukrainians did so, and in September 2014, 59% did. This noticeable decline could be the result of a number of factors. For one thing, the Association Agreement did not have a noticeable impact on the standard of living of most Ukrainians. Many Ukrainians are also upset at what they see as the European Union's limp response to Russia's aggression against their country. And the way the granting of a visa-free regime to the EU has been dragged out for years and the obvious internal squabbles among the Union's members have also left their imprint on Ukrainians.

Ukraine is a very diverse country. Trump coming to an agreement with Putin that eases tensions instead of agreeing/dividing on spheres of influence would be their best hope.

PavewayIV , Jul 1, 2018 6:26:14 PM | 8
pretzelattack@3 re: "...rebutting claims that crimeans are being terrified into silence in 2018 about russian oppression."

I honestly have not heard anything about actual oppression - just that some Ukrainians and Tartars are still - today - not terribly happy with the secession/annexation/transfer. Acts of civil disobedience were generally individual, "I don't want to be part of Russia and I'm not signing these papers or paying taxes," kind of thing. I know any polls of Crimeans are noted to be terribly flawed - neither the pro-Russian nor the pro-Ukraine people trust anyone taking polls. They'll not answer or give an answer that seems to agree with whatever 'side' the pollster might be from.

I can't see how this issue could be fairly considered without at least an acknowledgement that in 1954, 1.1 million people in Crimea woke up one day to find they were now citizens of the Ukraine SSR. No polls, no vote, no discussion and no terribly good reasons.

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/why-did-russia-give-away-crimea-sixty-years-ago

Jen , Jul 1, 2018 6:27:35 PM | 9
Pretzel Attack @ 3:

If you need sources to back up your argument that the US helped to foment the Maidan uprising that overthrew the Yanukovych government, here are a couple that feature a video and a transcript of a phone conversation.

Information CLearing House: Victoria Nuland [former US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe during Obama administration] Admits: US Has Invested $5 Billion In The Development of Ukrainian "Democratic Institutions"
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37599.htm

The article includes the video of the speech Nuland gave to the Washington press corp in December 2013 in which she talks about "investing" the $5 billion.

A transcript of the phone call between Nuland and the then US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who to select for the post-Yanukovych government in Kiev at this Global Research link:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-eu-clash-on-how-to-install-a-puppet-regime-in-ukraine-victoria-nuland/5367794

This is the famous phone call in which Nuland utters her most memorable lines: "Yats [Yatsenyuk] is the guy [for deputy prime minister]" and "Fuck the EU".

-----

I have also found details of the Korsun massacre incident that occurred on 20 February 2014. I had known about this massacre but in a hazy way and had thought only a few people had been killed. However this incident is much more grave and this was the stimulus for the Crimeans to organise their independence referendum and break away from Ukraine.

Eight buses of Crimean supporters of the Yanukovych government were returning to Crimea when the convoy was ambushed by Nazi thugs (who had known of the convoy's movements in advance). The thugs ordered everyone off the buses, beat them up and tortured them. Several people were killed.

More details of the Korsun incident at this Fort Russ link:
https://www.fort-russ.com/2015/02/korsun-massacre-anniversary-what-really/

karlof1 , Jul 1, 2018 6:47:59 PM | 10
Crimeans are very pleased about their reaffiliation with Russia. To say otherwise is to lie, pure and simple.
dh , Jul 1, 2018 6:51:06 PM | 11
@3 You can add this to Jen @9...

"Americans prepared very seriously and thoroughly for their entrance into Crimea, – said a member of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security, Dmitry Sablin. – A year before the events on Maidan in Kiev, they made repair estimates of a number of buildings in Sevastopol and in Simferopol, where they planned to house the headquarters and intelligence units. Military airfields and garrisons, which then belonged to Ukraine, they considered as their own military installations and even sent instructions for their conversion to NATO standards. In the plans of the U.S. military April 2014 was the start time of upgrades in Crimea. It seemed to them that the issue has been settled. But the referendum had thrown off their plans, and on March 18, Crimea became Russian again, where the overseas guests were no longer welcome. Americans later themselves acknowledged that the Russians outplayed them on all counts. Well, and from helplessness imposed sanctions -- as a revenge for Crimea".

https://www.fort-russ.com/2016/03/how-russia-ruined-american-plans-in/

Jen , Jul 1, 2018 7:02:07 PM | 12
Pretzel Attack @ 3:

Here's a Russia Insight documentary in which survivors of the Korsun massacre help re-enact the incident:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ummUo7DEEzM

Jen , Jul 1, 2018 7:08:28 PM | 13
Pretzel Attack @ 3

You can add this to DH @ 11:

Renovation of Sevastopol School #5, Ukraine
Solicitation Number: N33191-13-R-1240
Agency: Department of the Navy
Office: Naval Facilities Engineering Command
Location: NAVFAC Europe and Southwest Asia
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2bb691b61c59be3a68180bd8c614a0cb&tab=core&_cview=1

This is the tender put out by the US Navy to invite private companies to propose renovation plans for a school for naval officers' children in the military base in Sevastopol.

Jen , Jul 1, 2018 7:08:28 PM | 13 Daniel , Jul 1, 2018 7:40:45 PM | 14
Sabine @6: On political/national/ethnic determinations.

It is a messy situation. I had thought one of the reasons we hate the Nazis is because ethno-nationalism is evil. And yet, most of the West's leaders fully support Israel, and the AZ Empire is promoting Kurdish ethno-states in Iraq and Syria (though not in Turkey, where 50% of all Kurds live).

We were all ready to accept a referendum that would have seen Scotland secede from Great Britain, and yet when people in regions of 1991 Ukraine resisted the Western-fomented coup in 2014, and voted to secede, we are told they are terrorists to be crushed.

Most of the national borders in the Middle East and Africa were created by an elite in Great Britain and Europe, which divided families and crammed together enemies, creating the inevitable century of turmoil. And yet, here most of us support the sovereignty of some of those artificially-created neocolonial states.

Messy.

Personally, I believe in the right to self-determination. If a group of people in a region choose to form, or dissolve, or maintain, or expand a political entity, then they should be allowed to. Such decisions should be made by the will of those people only.

What I see as illegitimate is people from outside that region interfering to force their will on others.

Jen , Jul 1, 2018 8:42:46 PM | 17
Pretzel Attack @ 3:

I keep finding juicy things for you!

Here is a link to a documentary "Crimea for Dummies" by Los Angeles-based film-maker Miguel Francis Santiago in 2014. Watch it and judge for yourself whether Crimeans seem genuinely happy at being part of Russia again.
https://21stcenturywire.com/2018/06/17/sunday-screening-crimea-for-dummies-2014/

MFS also travelled to the Donbass and made a documentary about his journey there. I saw the documentary a couple of years ago and from memory I believe he met Givi, one of the Donbass military commanders. Givi died in early 2017 when a missile hit his office.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukQgVoTnAuE

Daniel , Jul 1, 2018 9:32:44 PM | 19
Jen. Thanks for the great links on the Ukraine situation. Oliver Stone created a stunning documentary, that is the best on the subject I've seen: "Ukraine on Fire"

Unfortunately, it appears to be banned or at lest heavily censored within the US. I saw it on RT.

I found a version with foreign language over-dubbing which my ear finds difficult. But it does have CC in English.

Grieved , Jul 2, 2018 12:08:00 AM | 25
@3 pretzelattack

I second all of the very valuable responses made to you, but no story of Crimea would be complete without Crimea. The Way Home. Documentary by Andrey Kondrashev

I've seen several uploads of this documentary, which was made in 2015. But the resolution of this version is superb. I recommend it for everyone actually, and I'm happy to say that it's being hosted on the Vesti News channel - which is worth exploring in its own right.

This is the definitive story told from the inside of the people of Crimea forming a resistance force to take their land back from Ukraine. It was already happening but the Korsun massacre detailed above by commenters was the galvanizing point that showed the Crimeans that Kiev was coming to massacre it also, unless it resisted. And as everyone knew, Crimea was hated most of all, and its suffering would be far worse than that of Donbass.

Kondrashev is a popular Russian news commentator, and he interviews Putin extensively in the film. This was made one year after the Crimea restoration to Russia, after the events of that time, coordinated by Putin, were de-classified.

The documentary is a dramatic and stirring work. You will be totally in love with with Crimea and the Russian people by the end of it. And you will understand how the Maidan was a US color revolution in classical style. Your heart will jump when you see the snipers kill the hard-pressed Berkut. And it's a true story, made from real footage, and with parts reenacted by the actual people.

When the polite green men show up, in the very nick of time, you may find yourself weeping with gladness.

[Jun 26, 2018] Donetsk and how it was founded by 19th-century Welsh engineer industrialist John Hughes, after whom it was originally named Yuzovka.

Jun 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mark2 @ 81, Daniel @ 82:

I am halfway through watching a film of US actor Peter von Berg travelling through the Donetsk People's Republic and meeting Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko and various others to find out how the Donetsk rebels are creating a socialist state under a situation of war. The film is as much an implicit criticism of US society (and by extension, Western capitalist society generally) as it is an investigation of the reality on the ground on Donetsk, ignored by the Western MSM.

Von Berg visits a greenhouse farm growing tomatoes, a hospital and a factory among other places he travels to (including the capital, of course) in the DPR.

There is even a short history of the city of Donetsk and how it was founded by 19th-century Welsh engineer industrialist John Hughes, after whom it was originally named Yuzovka.

https://www.therussophile.org/watch-nyc-to-donetsk-back-a-new-film.html/

Posted by: Jen | Jun 25, 2018 7:06:44 PM | 89

[Jun 18, 2018] The next year the strategic position of Ukraine might get worse

Jun 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

Beckow , June 16, 2018 at 12:24 am GMT

If Kiev wants to attack Donbas they better hurry. After World Cup, and definitely next year when the pipelines bypassing Ukraine will be ready, Ukraine's strategic situation will get worse. We are in a transition phase: sh..t happened in 2013-15 that is impossible to undo, but there were fortunately constraints on all sides that prevented a meltdown. In a year or two most of those constraints will be gone.

Saker is correct that EU countries will not work with Russia. Blaming it all on Washington was always stupid – there are forces in Europe, in all countries, who want a confrontation with Russia. Any event, real or fake, will be used to escalate. West cannot lose this one without another fight. And if they sit on their hands, they will eventually lose with a disillusioned Ukraine and slowly disintegrating EU. Populist energy needs to be re-directed eastward, and for that a more aggressive policy is required. This is not pessimism, there simply is no way for EU elite to climb down. How could UK make up with Russia without looking like complete idiots? Or Macron and Merkel? The hostility is at this point inherent in the situation – what started out as a badly thought-out attempt to get some quick goodies (bases in Crimea, Nato expansion, sell weapons) has evolved into a real death spiral.

We are one Franz Ferdinand moment away from a catastrophe. Let's enjoy the games while we still can. Trump knows this, so he is trying desperately to organize a summit or send some messages of conciliation. But he is powerless and it might be too late for that. Hubris never dissipates, it requires a disaster and an elite turnover to cure hubris.

Mattheus , June 16, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
Saker is once again completely wrong. His theories fall short to explain lots of real events. He got hooked on his "Anglo-Zionist" theory and "one Hegemon", which is far from explaining the reality on the ground. There is no one single hegemon, but two powerful interest groups in the west. One of the power centers is dominated by the Rothschilds from the City of London and the other ruled by the Rockerfellers which is based in the US.
The powers described above are sometimes working in collusion but sometimes work against each other (They were in collusion during the Soviet Afghan war for instance). Currently, we don't see a collusion but a war being waged in between these two groups. I think it is highly self evident, so much so that it is happening almost all in the open. In the modern history we haven't witnessed such a openly fought war ever before (between these two powers). All is at stake and the war in between these two is vicious. Thus you can explain Trump's attitude towards EU, everlasting character assasination of Trump by certain opposing circles in the US, high level resignations, the state of confusion of Nato and much more. If this theory is right (and I think it is much more viable than any other theory that I came across in the Alt-Med), this makes Russia firmly embedded into one of the camps. Unfortunately, the position that Russia took makes him not a sovereign power but on contrary puts him into a subservient role. The late actions of Russia, especially in Syria, is quite telling. I know people who admire Russia get quite frustrated when they hear such a scenario and outcome, but this is possibly the only way Putin believes that Russia can survive. Thus it explains his latest house clean-up of Euroasian integrists. Even worse, if you believe in this scenario, it brings Russia and China against each other especially in the long run. This scenario also put a full stop to the idealist Euroasian multi-polar world order.
Here is the link to an older video in Russian with English subtitles. The guy's name is Andrei Fursov and he has some interesting things to say regarding this subject. This interview was just before Obama was elected but is still quite relevent. His newer videos seems to have lost steam, possibly because he is working for some state connected Russian institutions and think-thanks and thus I think he is somewhat restricted. After all it is again the famous "Game Theory", isn't it?
byrresheim , June 16, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
As long as the Author keeps talking about Ukronazis, we know that he is not at all prepared to see any problems on the Russian side at all.

Which serves devalue his argument, even if there are a lot of valid points otherwise.

Beckow , June 17, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@Philip Owen

I don't think you realize that armies need supplies. To break into Donbas cities would be hard enough, but to re-supply them would be impossible. Civilians would mostly evacuate, so there would be little to 'hide in'. Kiev cannot win militarily as long as Russia opposes it. Russia can always blast their bases from air, or with missiles. Don't kid yourself, if Russia has the will, they will prevail.

Since you mentioned 2014, there was a perfect opportunity for Maidanistas to avoid this. All they had to do was to be friendly and accommodating to its Russian minority. Offer them autonomy, re-assure them, promise that trade and ties with Russia would continue. Kiev did the exact opposite, an extremely bad tactic. US kept on telling them to cool it, that one doesn't win by attacking before ready. But in Kiev emotions prevailed, and so we are where we are.

Sooner or later a more accommodating government in Kiev will try the 'let bygones be bygones' tactic on Russia. If we are lucky enough to make it that far.

[Jun 17, 2018] Ukraine as reflection of USA. When masters fall out their men get the clout by Mark Kravets

Dec 26, 2017 | medium.com

So-called Ukrainian 'maidans' have bored the world community to death. And the public has been taking the protests currently under way in Kiev for no more than traditional autumn and winter open-air parties, similar to the Parisian 'fire shows'. Meanwhile, much more significant confrontation has been taking place in Kiev, alongside with the circus of ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. An inner conflict between two anticorruption and power-wielding departments of the country is long overdue. In their relations with the media, both representatives of those organizations and members of various Verkhovna Rada fractions have been describing specific processes that are taking place in Ukraine as 'Makhnovshchina' or a war of all against all, literally speaking.

After returning from the international anti-corruption forum organized by the U.S. State Department, Nazar Holodnitsky, head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) of Ukraine, stated in an interview to TSN , the Ukrainian TV channel, that a standoff of law enforcement agencies may escalate into a war harmful to entire Ukraine. Thus, a conflict between the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) has evolved into a hybrid war with interrogations involving physical and mental pressure and mutual accusations of all sorts of evils. Delegates of both sides have simultaneously visited their U.S. sponsors and come back comforted with just another assurance of '1000% support'.

Such confrontation of the government institutions raises eyebrows, I must say. State Department has publicly been sympathized with both the corruption fighters and the General Prosecutor's Office upon condition of the settlement of conflict by legal means and punishment of officials guilty of criminal charges. Meanwhile, the FBI has also been drawn in this undeclared war. In June 2016, the FBI and NABU adopted the Memorandum of Understanding, which allows the FBI to assist NABU and SAP in the matter of investigations and implementation of anti-corruption actions. The Bureau's special agents and analysts have been working in NABU on a temporary rotational basis.

The mere presence of the FBI suggests an idea about another U.S. security service which has been standing invisibly by in Ukraine, since it gained independence. This is the CIA, a classic rival of the FBI. The very secret visit in 2014 of the former Central Intelligence Agency chief John O. Brennan preceded the beginning of active hostilities in Ukraine. The CIA stood behind the appointment of the recent Kiev government. It had also protected the acting president of the country from rivals, up to a certain time. For instance, they conduced to the resignation of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former rather ambitious Prime Minister of Ukraine who was in conflict with Petro Poroshenko and running for his post.

That helps explain the real cause of furious intransigence of NABU and the General Prosecutor's Office throwing wild accusations at each other. They have virtually been used by power-wielding structures and political forces of another state for a showdown. A never-ending internal fighting in the American national security environment has become the talk of the town being eventually accreted with new dirty wash. It seems that it has become more acute, with the passing of time.

For example, the FBI dealt a hard blow to the CIA bringing 12-count charges including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, false statements, and other against Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and his business associate, Richard Gates. His other partner, Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager was involved as well. Manafort was renowned for his associations with the CIA and for consulting the Party of Regions which was led by Victor Yanukovych. It became clear who was he FBI's source of such detailed and valuable data after the statements by Artem Sytnyk , Director of NABU and Serhiy Leshchenko , a Ukrainian MP.

Nevertheless, the CIA won at this stage of confrontation, because Trump came to power. Even support to the current President of the USA prior to the elections wasn't of much assistance to the FBI Director Comey.

History has witnessed a number of episodes when Ukraine was a stage for showdown by political forces from other countries. It never ended peacefully. As far back as in the XVII century Ukrainian territory had become a theatre of operations owing to the bloody strife between Polish hetmans (high military commanders in the Army of the Kingdom of Poland) of Ukrainian and Cossack origin. As a result, lands of the Zaporizhian Host voluntarily pledged allegiance to Russia.

During World War II the Ukrainian people suffered much harder. At that time the Third Reich was intensely seeking for ways to weaken the USSR, even before it invaded Poland in 1939. It was decided to use the ancient divide-and rule tactics proven by Julius Caesar, involving gradual tearing away of territories with malcontent population. Ukraine was considered the most prospective area for fomenting disaffection.

However, there also was both ideological and political discord among the highest ranks of the Third Reich. Thus, Alfred Rosenberg, the main ideologue of Nazism, along with admiral Wilhelm Canaris (who was accused of 'spiritual instigation' of a plot against Hitler) were planning the establishment of Ukrainian buffer state controlled by the Third Reich. Using such promises they managed to recruit Andriy Melnyk, a central figure in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), and notorious Stepan Bandera who, just like Mr. Yatsenyuk, was striving to lead the government in independent Ukrainian state. If the second one kept clinging to his aims all the time, Melnyk was good at matching to desires of his sponsors from Hitler's surrounding. When Himmler and Koch didn't recognize Rosenberg's ideas and wanted to weaken his power in the National Socialist Worker's Party, Melnyk was quick to assure them of his willingness to cooperate on any terms, especially when they let him know that Fuhrer didn't like the idea of a Ukrainian buffer state.

It is a paradox that those relations that had developed both within various branches of OUN-UPA and the Third Reich senior ranks coordinating them were similar to the recent situation in Ukraine. Ukrainian nationalist leaders were used not only for German purposes, but also for elimination of competitors in power. For instance, Rosenberg, after all, had to abandon his point of view. Many of his influential followers resigned just like chief Comey did to the delight of chief Pompeo, this May. Although NABU, the organization most thoroughly maintaining a steady U.S. course prepared for Ukraine, has been successfully continuing investigations, digging into Poroshenko who fell into disfavor for his poor record. And here you are, Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a close acquaintance of the U.S. president's national security advisor McMaster and Secretary of Defense Mattis has indirectly supported Saakashvili's demonstration. In September, Saakashvili hanged out happily with contenders of the recent president in future election Valentyn Nalyvaichenko and Andriy Sadoviy, in Lviv. Now a big friend of Senator McCain Yulia Timoshenko and a number of Verkhovna Rada MPs endorse him.

This mess of warring parties seems to be disordered and extremely headachy. The situation has been much worse for the number of competing forces and foreign organizations standing behind them in Ukraine was much greater during the Third Reich and it continues to be so at present. The recent Ukrainian bellum omnium contra omnes has been a reflection of competitive battle between various security and governmental agencies in the USA.

A single distinct and unequivocal fact is that being a neighbour of such a huge state as Russia, Ukraine was always suffering from those who wish to weaken that influential country. Over and over again throughout Ukrainian history the country was exploited, with nationalist sentiments artificially ignited and false promises made. Even 'humane' Rosenberg's scheme ascribed Ukraine the role of a mere supplier of raw materials and a buffer state between Germany and Eastern Slavic countries without any right to independence.

As such, the USA regards Ukraine as an administered territory which is useful for strategic and economic aims. They skillfully manipulate Kiev government with carrot and stick. Undesirable Ukrainian political puppet might be branded as corrupt and replaced by more manageable nominee, at any time. There is always a possibility to initiate another blood shedding Maidan with oppressions and civil war, in case of urgency. Today's Ukraine is no freer than it was in 1941, during the invasion of Nazi Germany. Melnyks, banderas, hetmans skoropadskies have been replaced by new 'heroes', who never changed their essence. For evanescent promises and artificially inflated ambitions they've been tearing the country apart without mercy either to each other, or their countrymen. Meanwhile, the world community has been watching with approval the beacon of democracy vigorously setting things to order in 'dark and ignorant' Ukraine. Each of them thinking, 'Better them than me.'

[Jun 15, 2018] Putin, Donbass, emigration of Ukranians to Russia and US neocons foreign policy

An interesting point about refugees and emigration of Ukrainians to Russia.
Notable quotes:
"... Donbass is a civil conflict involving some Russian support for the rebels, who're overwhelmingly from the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR. These individuals have a realistic basis to oppose the Kiev based regimes that came after the overthrow of a democratically elected Ukrainian president. ..."
"... During the American Revolution, most of the pro-British fighters were said to be colonists already based in America. Furthermore, the American revolutionaries received significant support from France. With these factors in mind, the Donbass rebels don't seem less legit than the American revolutionaries. ..."
"... Some Kiev regime elements positively reference the 1995 Croat ethnic cleansing of Krajina Serbs (known as Operation Storm) as a solution for ending the rebel position in Donbass. Russia doesn't seek a massive refugee problem in Donbass and some other parts of the former Ukrainian SSR. As is, a sizeable number of Ukrainian residents have fled to Russia. ..."
"... Putin isn't anti-US in the manner claimed by Peters. Moreover, Peters is clearly more anti-Russian (in a narrow minded way at that) than what can be reasonably said of how Putin views the US. Putin's obvious differences with neocons, neolibs and flat out Russia haters isn't by default anti-US. He was the first foreign leader to console the US following 9/11. The Russian president has been consistently on record for favoring better US-Russian ties (even inquiring about Russia joining NATO at one point), thereby explaining why he has appeared to have preferred Trump over Clinton. ..."
"... the Russians (by and large) prefer predictability. As a general rule this is otherwise true. However, Clinton's neocon/neolib stated views on Russia have been to the point where many Russians felt willing to take a chance with Trump, whose campaign included a comparatively more sympathetic take of their country. At the same time, a good number of Russians questioned whether Trump would maintain that stance. ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

Mikhail , Website June 14, 2018 at 10:28 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer

Peters has been hardcore anti-Russian and anti-Serb. His views are quite collapsible. Regarding one of his mass media appearances

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/17/dnc-kiev-regime-collusion-isnt-americas-best-interests.html

Last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, received well deserved praise for taking to task the permeating anti-Russian biases. The highlight of Carlson's exchanges was his encounter with Ralph Peters, who for years has spouted grossly inaccurate propaganda against Russia. Antiwar.com and Russia Insider, are among the counter-establishment English language venues commenting on the Carlson-Peters discussion. The US foreign policy establishment realist leaning National Interest carried a lengthy piece on Carlson's challenge to the neocon/neolib foreign policy perceptions. For the record, more can and should be said in reply to Peter's comments.

Peters falsely claims that Russia hasn't made a concerted effort in confronting ISIS. In one of his more accurate moments, CNN's Wolf Blitzer said that the ISIS claimed shoot down of a Russian civilian airliner over Egypt, was in response to Russia's war against ISIS. You've to be either a liar or clueless to not recognize why Russia has actively opposed ISIS. The latter sees Russia as an enemy, while having a good number of individuals with roots in Russia and some other parts of the former USSR.

Peters' characterization of Russia targeting civilian areas is disingenuous. Over the years, the matter of collateral damage is something periodically brought up in response to those killed by US and Israeli military actions.

Peters offers no proof to his suspect claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin kills journalists. There're numerous anti-Putin advocates alive and well in Russia. That country does have a violence problem. Recall what the US was like in the 1960s thru early 1970′s. For that matter, Bernie Sanders isn't blamed for the pro-Sanders person who attempted to kill Republican lawmakers.

Given the situations concerning Kosovo and northern Cyprus, Peters is being a flat out hypocrite regarding Crimea. Donbass is a civil conflict involving some Russian support for the rebels, who're overwhelmingly from the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR. These individuals have a realistic basis to oppose the Kiev based regimes that came after the overthrow of a democratically elected Ukrainian president.

During the American Revolution, most of the pro-British fighters were said to be colonists already based in America. Furthermore, the American revolutionaries received significant support from France. With these factors in mind, the Donbass rebels don't seem less legit than the American revolutionaries.

Some Kiev regime elements positively reference the 1995 Croat ethnic cleansing of Krajina Serbs (known as Operation Storm) as a solution for ending the rebel position in Donbass. Russia doesn't seek a massive refugee problem in Donbass and some other parts of the former Ukrainian SSR. As is, a sizeable number of Ukrainian residents have fled to Russia.

Putin isn't anti-US in the manner claimed by Peters. Moreover, Peters is clearly more anti-Russian (in a narrow minded way at that) than what can be reasonably said of how Putin views the US. Putin's obvious differences with neocons, neolibs and flat out Russia haters isn't by default anti-US. He was the first foreign leader to console the US following 9/11. The Russian president has been consistently on record for favoring better US-Russian ties (even inquiring about Russia joining NATO at one point), thereby explaining why he has appeared to have preferred Trump over Clinton.

Some (including Trump) disagree with that view, which includes the notion that the Russians (by and large) prefer predictability. As a general rule this is otherwise true. However, Clinton's neocon/neolib stated views on Russia have been to the point where many Russians felt willing to take a chance with Trump, whose campaign included a comparatively more sympathetic take of their country. At the same time, a good number of Russians questioned whether Trump would maintain that stance.

Steve in Greensboro , June 14, 2018 at 10:42 pm GMT
@Rurik

I suppose many of us saw the Tucker with Max Boot. Boot seemed unhinged, really emotionally overwrought by Tucker raising commonsensical challenges to his neocon orthodoxy. Sad, angry man.

[Apr 10, 2018] Ukraine is a debilitated state, created under Soviet auspices, hampered by a difficult Soviet inheritance, and hollowed out by its own predatory elites during two decades of misrule. But it is also a nation that is too big and independent for Russia to swallow up

Apr 10, 2018 | www.foreignaffairs.com

Ukraine is a debilitated state, created under Soviet auspices, hampered by a difficult Soviet inheritance, and hollowed out by its own predatory elites during two decades of misrule. But it is also a nation that is too big and independent for Russia to swallow up. Russia, meanwhile, is a damaged yet still formidable great power whose rulers cannot be intimidated into allowing Ukraine to enter the Western orbit. Hence the standoff. No external power or aid package can solve Ukraine's problems or compensate for its inherent vulnerabilities vis-à-vis Russia. Nor would sending lethal weaponry to Ukraine's brave but ragtag volunteer fighters and corrupt state structures improve the situation; in fact, it would send it spiraling further downward, by failing to balance Russian predominance while giving Moscow a pretext to escalate the conflict even more. Rather, the way forward must begin with a recognition of some banal facts and some difficult bargaining.

Russia's seizure of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine do not challenge the entire post-1945 international order. The forward positions the Soviet Union occupied in the heart of Europe as a result of defeating Nazi Germany were voluntarily relinquished in the early 1990s, and they are not going to be reoccupied. But nor should every detail of the post–Cold War settlement worked out in 1989–91 be considered eternal and inviolate. That settlement emerged during an anomalous time. Russia was flat on its back but would not remain prostrate forever, and when it recovered, some sort of pushback was to be expected.

Something similar happened following the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, many of the provisions of which were not enforced. Even if France, the United Kingdom, and the United States had been willing and able to enforce the peace, their efforts would not have worked, because the treaty had been imposed during a temporary anomaly, the simultaneous collapse of German and Russian power, and would inevitably have been challenged when that power returned.

Territorial revisionism ensued after World War II as well, of course, and continued sporadically for decades. Since 1991, there have been some negotiated revisions: Hong Kong and Macao underwent peaceful reabsorption into China. Yugoslavia was broken up in violence and war, leading to the independence of its six federal units and eventually Kosovo, as well. Unrecognized statelets such as Nagorno-Karabakh, part of Azerbaijan; Transnistria, a sliver of Moldova; Abkhazia and South Ossetia, disputed units of Georgia; and now Donetsk and Luhansk, parts of Ukraine -- each entails a story of Stalinist border-making.

The European Union cannot resolve this latest standoff, nor can the United Nations. The United States has indeed put together "coalitions of the willing" to legitimize some of its recent interventions, but it is not going to go to war over Ukraine or start bombing Russia, and the wherewithal and will for indefinite sanctions against Russia are lacking. Distasteful as it might sound, Washington faces the prospect of trying to work out some negotiated larger territorial settlement.

Such negotiations would have to acknowledge that Russia is a great power with leverage, but they would not need to involve the formal acceptance of some special Russian sphere of interest in its so-called near abroad. The chief goals would be, first, to exchange international recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea for an end to all the frozen conflicts in which Russia is an accomplice and, second, to disincentivize such behavior in the future. Russia should have to pay monetary compensation for Crimea. There could be some federal solutions, referendums, even land swaps and population transfers (which in many cases have already taken place). Sanctions on Russia would remain in place until a settlement was mutually agreed on, and new sanctions could be levied if Russia were to reject negotiations or were deemed to be conducting them in bad faith. Recognition of the new status of Crimea would occur in stages, over an extended period.

It would be a huge challenge to devise incentives that were politically plausible in the West while at the same time powerful enough for Russia to agree to a just settlement -- and for Ukraine to be willing to take part. But the search for a settlement would be an opportunity as well as a headache.

NATO expansion can be judged to have been a strategic error -- not because it angered Russia but because it weakened NATO as a military alliance. Russia's elites would likely have become revanchist even without NATO's advance, because they believe, nearly universally, that the United States took advantage of Russia in 1991 and has denied the country its rightful place as an equal in international diplomacy ever since. But NATO expansion's critics have not offered much in the way of practicable alternatives. Would it really have been appropriate, for example, to deny the requests of all the countries east of Germany to join the alliance?

Then as now, the only real alternative was the creation of an entirely new trans-European security architecture, one that fully transcended its Cold War counterpart. This was an oft-expressed Russian wish, but in the early 1990s, there was neither the imagination nor the incentives in Washington for such a heavy lift. Whether there is such capacity in Washington today remains to be seen. But even if comprehensive new security arrangements are unlikely anytime soon, Washington could still undertake much useful groundwork.

Critics might object on the grounds that the sanctions are actually biting, reinforced by the oil price free fall -- so why offer even minimal concessions to Putin now? The answer is because neither the sanctions, nor the oil price collapse, nor the two in conjunction have altered Russia's behavior, diminished its potential as a spoiler, or afforded Ukraine a chance to recover.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, Western opponents of a negotiated settlement are really opting for another long-term, open-ended attempt to contain Russia and hope for regime change -- a policy likely to last until the end of Putin's life and possibly well beyond. The costs of such an approach are likely to be quite high, and other global issues will continue to demand attention and resources. And all the while, Ukraine would effectively remain crippled, Europe's economy would suffer, and Russia would grow ever more embittered and difficult to handle. All of that might occur no matter what. But if negotiations hold out a chance of somehow averting such an outcome, they are worth a try. And the attempt would hold few costs, because failed negotiations would only solidify the case for containment in Europe and in the United States.

It is ultimately up to Russia's leaders to take meaningful steps to integrate their country into the existing world order, one that they can vex but not fully overturn. To the extent that the Ukraine debacle has brought this reality into sharper focus, it might actually have been useful in helping Putin to see some light, and the same goes for the collapse of oil prices and the accompanying unavoidable devaluation of the ruble. After the nadir of 1998, smart policy choices in Moscow, together with some lucky outside breaks, helped Russia transform a crisis into a breakthrough, with real and impressive steps forward. That history could replay itself -- but whether it will remains the prerogative of one person alone.

[Apr 01, 2018] Is a New War Against Russia in Ukraine Unfolding Before Our Eyes by by John McMurtry

This is definitely cancer stage of neoliberalism, but I doubt that there is connection between Skripal poisoning and Ukraine.
Also why the USA served as the catalyst for coming nationalists to power in 2014 the process started long ago with Yushchenko and to a certain extent is typical for all post Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan and Belorussia. they all try to distance themselves from Russia to prove their sovereignty. The low intensity warfare in Donetsk is the only differentiator, but even this remind attempt of Georgia to subdue South Ossetia in the past and Karabah conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Still the author is definitely a brilliant writer and thinker he describes geopolitical tensions really well
Notable quotes:
"... has to have such a war-drum distraction to survive. ..."
"... Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee of the UN General Assembly ..."
Apr 01, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's government, and the silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding by all NATO-member governments, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.

This time the big-lie pretext is about the alleged poisoning by the Kremlin/Putin of a double-agent, usually a stock move in the espionage entertainments, but here with no evidence of the claimed origin of the lethal nerve-agent, but rather expert denial within British defence and weapons research itself, with devious political word games to get around the absence of any corroborated evidence in familiar denuciations of Russia full of aggression and hate. Not even a death is recorded while US-led nd UK-armed ally forces are still mass-murdering poor civilian Yeminis, drone-murdering endless targets and civilians abroad, continuing on unblamed for the ongoing NATO-executed eco-genocides of Iraq and Libya societies, and on the 19-years anniversary of the mass bombing of, once again a society, Yugoslavia, with the most evolved social infrastructures of health, education, housing and life security in the region.

What this latest war pretext for US and NATO-backed aggression is really about is justifying more war in the Ukraine now that the massive war preparations along all of Russia's Western borders following the self-declared Nazi-led and proven US- orchestrated and commanded mass-murder coup d'etat in February 2014 . As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's government, and the silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding by all NATO-member governments, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.

This time the big-lie pretext is about the alleged poisoning by the Kremlin/Putin of a double-agent traitor, usually a stock move in the espionage entertainments. Yet here there is no confirmed evidence whatever of the claimed origin of the lethal nerve-agent, but rather expert denial within British defence and weapons research itself that is silence in the press, with devious political word games crafted to get around the absence of any corroborated facts in the familiar denuciations of Russia full of team aggression and hate. Not even a death is recorded while US-led nd UK-armed ally forces are still mass-murdering poor civilian Yeminis, drone-murdering endless targets and civilians abroad, continuing on unblamed for the ongoing NATO-executed eco-genocides of Iraq and Libya societies, and on the 19-years anniversary of the mass bombing of Yugoslavia -- once again a socialist society with the most evolved social infrastructures of health, education, housing and life security in the region.

What this latest war pretext for US and NATO-backed aggression is really about is justifying more war in Ukraine now that the massive war preparations along all of Russia's Western borders following the self-declared Nazi-led and proven US- orchestrated and commanded mass-murder coup d'etat in February 2014 . As always, this US-directed mass murder was reverse-blamed on the ever shifting Enemy face -- Russia's allied but duly elected government of the Ukraine. It was only after this violent-coup Nazi-led and US directed overthrow of the elected government of the very resource-rich Ukraine -- "the breadbasket of Europe" and sitting on newly discovered rich fossil fuel deposits -- that Russia annexed its traditional territory of the Crimea next to Eastern Ukraine, the latter after the violent coup put under the rule of a US-Nazi-led government until its people fought back with Russia assistance for the now NATO-targeted zones of the new Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

What is new now is that we are about to enter yet another NATO-member war build-up against the cornerstone of Western ideology, the designated Enemy Russia. As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day US-led NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's UK government, and silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding in NATO-member states, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.

Cui Bono?

The UK and the US followed by Canada and some of the EU have by expulsion of Russia diplomats prepared the diplomatic way for war in the Ukraine to seize back these lost coup-territories, and it will be in the name of "freedom", "human rights" and "the rules of civilised nations". But there is much officially suppressed colour to the warring parties political conflict which reveals who the truly heinous suppressor of human rights is. Under mass media and corporate-state cover, the US-UK-NATO axis about to make war in Ukraine is doing so under the factually absurd but non-stop pretext of "Russia aggression" constructed out of the double-agent poisoning affair, with the guilty agents and poison having no proof but the ever louder UK-led and NATO-state assertion of it in unison. Yet there is a clear answer to the cui bono question -- which party does all this benefit? Clearly once the question is posed, as opposed to completely gagged in the corporate press, Theresa May's slow-motion collapsing Tory government -- now even challenged for its fraudulent Brexit referendum protecting the big London banks from EU regulation -- has to have such a war-drum distraction to survive. The old war of aggression pattern reverse-blamed on the official enemy unwinds yet again.

It is revealing in this context how Canada's government has no such ruler need of war -- unless it be its Ukraine-descendent Foreign Minister up front and the very powerful and widely Nazi-sympathizing Ukraine Liberal vote bank and leadership brought to Canada after 1945 to overwhelm the preceding active socialist Ukrainian community in Canada. Canada's government -- not its people -- is in any case used to being a puppet regime in foreign affairs as a twice-colonized rule by big business (why the NDP is not allowed to govern unless so subjugated).

The Human Rights Question

In light of all of this suppressed factual background and motive for more war in Ukraine which is unspeakable in the official news, interaction with the United Nations is of revealing interest. While it has been the cover for US-led NATO executed genocidal wars of aggression in the past as in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Korea, the pretexts of 'human rights', 'responsibility to protect' and 'stopping communist aggression', which are in fact always been the spectacular opposite on the ground in terms of diseased, mass-murdered and destituted bodies, these pretexts may not sell well when the background facts are no longer suppressed from public view.

It is worthwhile recalling how Science for Peace leadership used to be against but has since Afghanistan collaborated with these false-pretext wars in sustaining their illusions and thus the war crimes and crimes against proceeding underneath them.

The NATO-executed Ukraine war now being orchestrated is especially revealing in its actual record of 'protecting human rights' through 'international law' and 'norms of civilised nations'. Completely buried in official records is a United Nations resolution n on Ukraine that the US and Canada repudiated on November 20 2015 after the US-led bloody coup d'etat in Ukraine was in full motion of claiming all the vast tracts of land and resources that were Russia-speaking territory in the past.

The resolution was straightforwardly against "Nazi symbols and regalia" as well as "holocaust denial". The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee of the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted for a resolution to enable measures against "the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that facilitate the escalation of modern forms of racism, xenophobia and intolerance". A total of 126 member-states of the UN voted for it for the second time. Over 100 countries voted for a similar resolution in 2014 including "denial of the holocaust and glorification of the Nazi movement, former members of the Waffen SS organization, including the installation of memorials to them, and post-coup attempts to desecrate or destroy the monuments to those who fought against Nazism in Ukraine during World War II".

How could any civilised state vote against these United Nations Resolutions for human rights as Canada and the US have done and stood by ever since? Well instituted group hatred of the officially designated enemy can justify anything whatsoever, and does so right into next NATO-executed orgy of war crime and crimes against humanity, again inside Europe itself flaunting reverse-blame lies and slogans as red meat for psychotically trained masses. It is not by accident that Canada's Foreign Minister is in this near century-old Nazi loyalist vs Russia-speaking conflict was before her appointment the "proud "granddaughter of a leading Nazi war propagandist during its occupation of Poland and Ukraine described as a "fighter for freedom".

Yet on the other hand, we must not lose ourselves in ad hominem responsibility. Crystina Freeland, her Canada name, is interestingly propagandist in itself from her birth -- Christian Free Land -- but not observed in the corporate press. Minister Freeland is only a symptom of something far deeper and more systemically murderous and evil in state-executed unlimited greed and immiserization of innocent millions of people masked as 'human rights' , 'freedom' and 'rule of law' . Her more sinister double in the US is also a renamed person of the region, Victoria Nuland (read New Land) who orchestrated the whole 2014 mass-murder coup in Ukraine and now tub-thumps on public television for the 'need to teach Putin and Russia a hard lesson', aka another war attack by US-led NATO on Russia's borders.

The difference now is that the absurd pretext and geostrategic mechanisms now in motion beforehand can be seen in front of our eyes -- that is, if we can still see through the engineered prism of the US-UK led NATO war machine. This alone will stop it.

John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada whose work is translated from Latin America to Japan. His most recent book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure .

[Mar 27, 2018] Within a week after Brennan's 'routine' visit in April 2014 to the Ukraine the Ukrainian army launched a civil war. That was within 2 weeks of the CIA instigated coup an the end of February 2014

Mar 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

JR , Next New Comment March 27, 2018 at 6:24 am GMT

Within a week after Brennan's 'routine' visit in April 2014 to the Ukraine the Ukrainian army launched a civil war. That was within 2 weeks of the CIA instigated coup an the end of February 2014.

[Mar 23, 2018] In a way Ukraine stepped on the same rake twice: once in 1991 and the second time in 2014. That's unforgivable

Looks like the rules of neoliberal game for Ukraine are as following: Ukraine should be ready for fight Russia till the last Ukrainian, serving as cannon fodder for EU geopolitical interests in Eurasia; (2) As a "debt slave" Ukraine should allow the transfer of ownership of all strategic assets and commodities to EU corporations for pennies on dollar independently of how Donbass situation is resolved; (3) Ukraine should buy EU products, no matter how poor they are and local production should be be iether eliminated ("Baltics style deindustrialization"), or outsourced to transnational corporations with Ukrainian as a cheap labor force (wage slaves).
Notable quotes:
"... And the Ukraine made a massive mistake. Their situation is completely different to Poland after USSR fell. ..."
Mar 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

likbez , March 23, 2018 at 3:20 am GMT

@polskijoe

And the Ukraine made a massive mistake. Their situation is completely different to Poland after USSR fell.

Very true. Poland was the first Eastern European country which adopted neoliberal model and thus served to a certain extent as "photo model" of neoliberalism for the rest of Eastern Europe and xUSSR space. So standard of living did not drop too low. The country was somewhat supported by EU and by the USA.

Ukraine was royally raped economically in 1991-2000. Probably as bad as Russia, may be even worse.

In 2014 Ukrainians were lured by unrealistic dream of getting Western European standard of living as a gift for breaking with Russia. As well as the resentment toward kleptocrat Yanukovich (which actually was pretty typical neoliberal politician; not much worse then Poroshenko )

Now they start to understand that the EU will devour the corpse to the bones and they are stuck at the Central African level poverty of $2 a day or so (on average), but this is too late.

A very typical story, a very typical outcome. Neoliberalism is a cancer. As Russian prime minister quipped about economic rape of Russia by local and Western neoliberals in 1991-2000: "We strived to get the best [economic] outcome, but it turned out like we got even worse then average. As always." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Chernomyrdin )

So in a way they stepped on the same rake twice: once in 1991 and the second time in 2014. That's unforgivable.

[Mar 06, 2018] The Empire shall go for the Russia's internal problems and try to capitalize on that. Ukraine was taken down using that approach. Oh, wait, not only Ukraine but all those who didn't tow the line.

Notable quotes:
"... Politically the situation we see in Ukraine is that the ordinary people don't really care about the politics they are genuinely concerned about bread and butter it is quite sad actually that the US is treating the Ukraine as a pawn and a quite cheap one at that in its game with Russia ..."
Mar 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

likbez , March 6, 2018 at 4:00 am GMT

Some weak points of the article:

1. There is some mystery in this Putin "bragging" about new formidable weapons. This is not his style. Why now? Why do it when sanctions are in place and can be easily be tightened as the result? Looks like in order to make such a statement Putin should have intelligence information about a real threat of attack from the USA, or some large scale provocation in Syria or Ukraine. Only in this case his statement makes some sense. As a open warning: do not do it. Otherwise this is just an open invitation for the new, more destructive and expensive stage in nuclear arms race. The scenario that Russia should try to avoid.

2. Also the rule is: if your adversary is making a mistake, you should not try to stop him. If missile defense systems and aircraft carriers are useless why not to allow the USA to put another 100 billion dollars into it ? Something does not compute here. BTW both remain perfectly viable as the first strike weapons (you never know what those tubes contain and they can hold cruise missiles as well). The fact that they will perish is just part of the cost of the whole operation.

3. Russia has way too many problems, both economic and political. So each dollar put into military technology is stolen from the civilian sector and makes sanctions more effective. So succumbing to the arm race is like self-sanctions.

4. After 2012 it is clear that the way the USA will try to undermine Russia is most probably via political interference during the next election, in which there will be a power vacuum as Putin finishes his last term, and there is no Putin II. The problem of the leader succession is a well-known Achilles' spot of Russia. In 2012 the "collective West" achieved pretty significant success in staging color revolution in Russia using pro-West (aka Zapadniki) and comprador sector in Moscow as the fifth column. The political situation in Moscow will always favor pro-European forces, as this city has a huge concentration of employees of foreign companies, professionals and entrepreneurs who depend on the West and earn money from the West (compradors) . Efforts to put in power a classic neoliberal like Macron in France will be multiplied for elections in 2024. I do not see, why they can't be more successful then in 2012.

5. While weakened by the recent McCarthyism campaign in the USA, Russian comprador sector and neoliberals are still a very powerful political force and control a significant part of media and oligarch money. Russian constitution was written by the USA. And scars from the economic rape of Russia in 90th still did not fully heal. In other words, pro-Western forces in Russia are powerful enough to serve as a base to stage another color revolution. Probably along with crashing oil prices before the elections again, or some other nasty trick. In this case you do not need any missiles. As long as Russia is a neoliberal country Putin and his policies remain a political anomaly. And Putin himself a maverick. There will be no another Putin, but there can well be another Gorbachov, or, worse, Yeltsin. The same is true for China, but at least China has political control of the Communist Party and state ownership of the financial sector. The latter is not true for Russia and is a huge political risk. While neoliberalism entered the stage of decline there is no viable alternatives on the horizon.

6. Loss of Ukraine was/is a huge geopolitical defeat of Putin (and Russia as a country) which can't be compensated any bragging about new weapon systems. It was and still is a geopolitical knockdown.

7. Hopes about "some sensible conversation on the new world order may start between key geopolitical players" are naïve. The US elite is hell-bent on world superiority as this is a pre-condition of the existence of the dollar as the primary world currency. This situation will not probably change until the end of cheap oil, which might take another twenty years or more.

8. If time is working against the USA, why not to sit quiet and try not to anger aging hegemon as China supposedly does (having also advantage of host of "offshored" manufacturing from the USA and having the USA as debtor).

9. The level of brain drain from Russia actually is a huge limiting factor, which makes a claim about cruising missile with a nuclear reactor as a part of propulsion engine highly suspect.

10. The network of intelligence agencies around Russia (which now include Estonia and Ukraine) probably represents much more serious threat then the "first strike" capability of the USA, if such thing can ever exist.

11. "Collective West" can easily tighten sanction expanding them on more technological sectors, thus damaging Russia economic growth. So bragging about new weapons is bad diplomacy when the opponent is much stronger economically and politically.

12. China has less than 300 nuclear weapons and still is regarded as a formidable nuclear power, probably spending 20 times less money in this area.

13. The claim that "The Kinzhal effectively removes any non-suicidal surface force thousands of miles away from Russia's shores and renders its capabilities irrelevant" is highly questionable. The idea of the first strike includes the elimination of the possibility of launching most (or all) Kinzhal missiles carriers, as a necessary part required for the success of the operation. Any losses of forward deployed units are acceptable in such a huge game.

peterAUS , March 6, 2018 at 4:26 am GMT
@iffen

Just a pre-empt, tiring if you say you don't understand Ukraine, etc. then twenty comments; dem Jews.

No rain, too much rain, dem Jews.

Well, you did utter the trigger word.

Guess your family believes religiously in the eternal victimhood and in the right of Jewish people to demand special treatment from "others"– "because of Holocaust." -- This is over. After the fraternization of the Kagans' clan (via Nuland-Kagan) with neo-Nazi in Ukraine and after Israeli's support for ISIS, Jewish pretenses on superior morality (and similar fantastic inventions) have become unrealistic.

Yahweh, help us.

peterAUS , March 6, 2018 at 4:43 am GMT
@likbez

Putin should have intelligence information about a real threat of attack from the USA, or some large scale provocation in Syria or Ukraine.

I'd go for Ukraine.

Something does not compute here.

Well, "if we can't have it it's not good." Sour grapes.

Russia has way too many problems, both economic and political. So each dollar put into military technology is stolen from the civilian sector and makes sanctions more effective. So succumbing to the arm race is like self-sanctions.

Agree.

In other words, pro-Western forces in Russia are powerful enough to serve as a base to stage another color revolution. In this case you do not need any missiles.

...While neoliberalism entered the stage of decline there is no viable alternatives on the horizon.

Agree.

Loss of Ukraine was/is a huge geopolitical defeat of Putin (and Russia as a country) which can't be compensated any bragging about new weapon systems. It was and still is a geopolitical knockdown.

Agree. But, perhaps that's not true. In any case, the resident "Team Russia" will now explain that. As victory, of course.

Hopes about "some sensible conversation on the new world order may start between key geopolitical players" are naïve. The US elite is hell-bent on world superiority as this is a pre-condition of the existence of the dollar as the primary world currency.

Agree.

If time is working against the US, why not to sit quiet and try not to anger aging hegemon as China supposedly does (having also advantage of host of "offshored" manufacturing from the USA and having the USA as debtor).

and

The level of brain drain from Russia actually is a huge limiting factor, which makes a claim about cruising missile with a nuclear reactor as a part of propulsion engine highly suspect.

and

"Collective West" can easily tighten sanction expanding them on more technological sectors, thus damaging Russia economic growth. So bragging about new weapons is bad diplomacy when the opponent is much stronger economically and politically.

"Team Russia" coming up. You are about to see the light. Somehow.

peterAUS , Next New Comment March 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Putin and those around him would better do concentrate on internal issues or eventually issues will concentrate on them.

Agree.

This obsession with high tech is actually puzzling. Not only that, but, overall, which "military" is better. "Whose father/older brother is stronger" kid talk.

The Empire shall go for the Russia's internal problems and try to capitalize on that. Ukraine was taken down using that approach. Oh, wait, not only Ukraine but all those who didn't tow the line. Thinking that, somehow, a conventional war, only, will settle the issue is not only delusional but stupid. Why would The Empire do that? No reason whatsoever.

It will try to do exactly what's been doing since '91. Internal dissent.

So, while Russian elites will keep building high tech weaponry (remember USSR), The Empire will keep working on getting all those "unhappy" with Putin regime onboard and using them for weakening the regime.

If the regime in Moscow can't, or doesn't want to see it, well, it doesn't deserve that position. True, weapons industry is good for making money and stashing most of it offshore. Not sharing that wealth, though, with general population is not that smart, just, they simply can't help it. That's the way of the world there. Czars and serfs.

The problem is, of course, they can't step down even if they wanted to. Nobody wants kangaroo courts and hanging. Or public murder broadcast live on Internet. Conundrum.

FB , March 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@likbez

You make some interesting observations and your comment is thought-provoking

However I think the intent of the article was to explore some of the technical issues of what we saw on March 1 not so much the political dimension and certainly your approach is to try to get an overall wide angle picture that gets every possible Russia issue into the frame

which by necessity means you give up some resolution or granularity if you will compared to a more tightly focused article

You start with an initial premise of why announce these weapons now and question the wisdom the simple answer may be technical related these weapons may be already mature technically and now is the time to show them ?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

A couple more points you mention sanctions quite a bit but we have seen that Russia is able to carry on just fine sanctions or not

The key indicator there is that sanctions are having a much bigger blowback on the US itself i.e. the US is losing Europe

Germany has been quite vocal about US going a step too far in trying to dictate energy policy which is key to German industrial export economy and besides they may finally be finding their sea legs after years of subservience to an increasingly unhinged country that is heading for the cliff

The Germans are going to get Nordstream 2 because they want it. It is actually more important to Germany than to Russia Russia has been supplying energy to Europe for many decades going back to Soviet times but is just now starting to feed the biggest energy consumer in the world China

Other, smaller EU countries notably Italy have become quite vocal about Russia sanctions hurting them we saw just now an election in Italy where the ruling claque were turfed

So it seems that the days of US dictating the politics to its European vassals may be over the kind of friction they are making with sanctions and their increasing hysteria is only hastening this process of vassals breaking off

The other issue is Ukraine you bring to this the the typical US perspective of 'losing' a country this again goes back to the vassal game

The US gained all of Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union but did Russia lose anything sensible people will say the lost they burden of empire long after it had ceased being profitable as with the British previously

Ukraine is historically something of an artificial country the original Kievan Rus [Rurivik dynasty] was the original Russia it fell apart after the Mongol invasions but the Russian and Ukrainian language and people are mostly indistinguishable other than the Galician Catholic minority

For several hundred years the peoples of the Ukraine [ie even then it was more than a single national people] were under rule by the Poles and Lithuania while the new Russian empire based in Moscow gained strength and eventually took over 300 years ago

There are and have always been Ukrainian nationalists that do not like Russia but they are in the minority the best way to think of Ukraine is similar to Scotland even the Irish are more distant from the English than Ukrainians from Russians

Politically the situation we see in Ukraine is that the ordinary people don't really care about the politics they are genuinely concerned about bread and butter it is quite sad actually that the US is treating the Ukraine as a pawn and a quite cheap one at that in its game with Russia

I don't believe the Russians look at the situation that way there is real fraternity among many Russians and Ukrainians that goes to a fundamental level again similar to Scotland where the country is divided on the issue of the English

So unless the EU and US are prepared to do a full Marshall plan to drag Ukraine into a reasonable living standard then this 'win' will turn out to be something of a chimera

Heck the polls even in eastern Europe are trending against the post Cold War direction with about half the people now questioning if the new boss is really better than the old boss

And finally if you are going to do a wide angle shot like this then get the crazy cousin into the picture also ie the US and its failing Ponzi economy that is bound to collapse just on the principles of mathematics

China and Russia are working to bury the source of all US strength the petrodollar this is literally kryptonite the US is quite simply toast once the petrodollar sinks

China is the world's biggest economy and biggest energy buyer Russia is the world's biggest energy seller other nations too that are not so strong and have felt the body blows of US economic warfare such as Iran, Venezuela and other will gladly join in

It's starting to feel like US has used up all its chips and all its markers

The entire developing world wants real prosperity not economic colonialism and corporate plunder

These are some large and powerful currents that have to be taken into account if one is going to take a wide angle shot of geopolitics

AP , Next New Comment March 6, 2018 at 6:53 pm GMT
@FB

Ukraine is historically something of an artificial country the original Kievan Rus [Rurivik dynasty] was the original Russia it fell apart after the Mongol invasions

Relationship of Kievan Rus to modern Russia and Ukraine is somewhat analogous to the relationship of Charlemagne's Frankish Empire to modern France or Germany. Although both Germany and France would have to be in the same linguistic family for the analogy to be more accurate.

For several hundred years the peoples of the Ukraine [ie even then it was more than a single national people] were under rule by the Poles and Lithuania

Correct. This meant not only political separation but largescale settlement (about 10% of the population were Polish settlers – these were absorbed by the natives, so most Ukrainians have some Polish roots), centuries of schooling, etc. And this was enough to lead to a different culture, language, identity.

eventually took over 300 years ago

The eastern half of Ukraine was linked to Moscow in the 1650s (so indeed about 300 years), but the western half in the 1770s (so 200 years) and Galicia not until 1939.

but the Russian and Ukrainian language and people are mostly indistinguishable

Incorrect. Ukrainian is about as close to Russian as it is to Polish (Ukrainian grammar and pronunciation is closer to Russian, but Ukrainian vocabulary actually has more words in common with Polish than with Russian). The Scandinavian languages are closer to each other Russian is to Ukrainian. The catch is that in everyday life about half of Ukrainians, and most urban Ukrainians other than people in Lviv, use Russian rather than Ukrainian. Kiev is a Russian-speaking city (and Dublin an English-speaking one).

the best way to think of Ukraine is similar to Scotland

Anatol Lieven correctly observed that Ukraine's relationship to Russia is somewhere between that of Scotland and that of Ireland, to England. Viewing it as Scotland is too positive, as Ireland too negative. Given that Scotland itself nearly separated, it is natural to see Ukraine as separate.

[Mar 03, 2018] Shocking EU Reforms Ukraine's public debt doubles in 4 years, while personal incomes halve

Mar 03, 2018 | www.fort-russ.com

The Ukrainian economy is in a catastrophic state after four years of "euro-reforms," said ​​Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the public movement "Ukrainian Choice – People's Right." "At the end of 2013. Ukraine's state and publicly guaranteed debt was 40% of GDP, and by the end of 2017 it had more than doubled, exceeding 80% of GDP. In 2013, Ukraine's GDP per capita was more than $ 4,075, and in 2016 decreased to $ 2221.

The average monthly salary in 2017 as a whole for the country was $ 267 (in 2013 it exceeded $ 408), pensions are also 2.3 times lower than before the euro reform. Today, it is slightly more than $ 48, while in 2013 it was almost $ 112, " Medvedchuk said.

[Mar 02, 2018] >US Approves Sale of Anti-Tank Missiles to Ukraine by Jason Ditz

Mar 02, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

$47 million sale targeted at neighboring Russia

Posted on March 1, 2018 Categories News Tags Pentagon , Russia , Ukraine

With Ukrainian officials continuing to talk up their hostility with neighboring Russia, the Pentagon announced on Thursday that approval has been granted for the sale of Javelin anti-tank systems to Ukraine.

The sale, estimated at a $47 million deal for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, would involve 37 Javelin Command Launch Units and 210 missiles . The Poroshenko government says it will be used to "protect Ukrainian soldiers."

Russia is protesting the sale, however, arguing that the sale of the missiles would encourage Ukraine to resume the use of force against Eastern Ukraine's ethnic Russian rebels, with the idea that they would deploy the missiles against any rebel tanks, and also against any Russian tanks that might join the fight.

Pentagon officials downplayed the issue, saying they don't believe the Javelin missiles will materially change the military balance of power in the region. Despite obvious offensive uses for such missiles, the US is trying to spin this as another "defensive" sale to Ukraine.

[Mar 02, 2018] Review 'Breaking Point' Finds Fake News and Real Violence in Ukraine

So Europeans, both Russians and Ukrainians are dying again for the USA geopolitical goals.
Mar 02, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

The first line of the Ukrainian national anthem is "Ukraine has not yet died," one interviewee says in "Breaking Point," a fierce documentary about that country and its recent clashes with Russia. For a land often perched on the edge of ruin, she says, mere survival is something to celebrate.

Directed by Mark Jonathan Harris and Oles Sanin, the film starts with a rundown of a history that has repeated itself for centuries -- invaders have long prized Ukraine for its resources and geography, and modern times are no exception.

... ... ...

The filmmakers supply terrifying footage: At civilian rallies, we see nightstick beatings and bloody riots. During military battles, bullets whiz by and explosions shake the cameras. Nerve-racking scenes follow Ukraine's extraordinarily bold volunteer soldiers.

[Feb 28, 2018] Barring black swan events, the Ukraine is meta-stable and can muddle along indefinitely

Feb 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

p

Pavlo , February 28, 2018 at 4:34 am GMT

the government makes a show of it.

there has been dramatic improvement in number of soldiers, usability of equipment

That is the show.

The Ukrainian army's battlefield performance after February 2015 has not improved, nor will the odds ever again be as favourable as they were in Mid-2014. Kiev has assembled an army suitable for skirmishing and the occasional terrorist attack, nothing more strenuous. Building an army capable of winning the war would entail discipline and sacrifice, and the effort would be for nothing since the RF forces would move in and crush Kiev's army if it were ever on the point of victory.

Kiev is content with the status quo – it's far from ideal for them but it's not so bad as to justify the risks involved in a new offensive (this will never happen). Barring black swan events, the Ukraine is meta-stable and can muddle along indefinitely, so long as Moscow does not pull its finger out of its backside and resolve the situation properly.

likbez , February 28, 2018 at 10:52 am GMT
@Pavlo

Kiev is content with the status quo – it's far from ideal for them but it's not so bad as to justify the risks involved in a new offensive (this will never happen). Barring black swan events, the Ukraine is meta-stable and can muddle along indefinitely, so long as Moscow does not pull its finger out of its backside and resolve the situation properly.

Two consideration:

1. Ukraine decides very little. Government was outsourced to Washington, DC. If creation of tension with Russia is necessary, they will launch offensive.
2. Nationalist movements, especially far-right, have their own often destructive dynamics and can do things that are illogical and/or highly harmful for the country. They also are ready to fight and die for their ideas. In this sense Poroshenko is a hostage of Galician far right "revolutionaries. "

[Feb 27, 2018] Syria vs Ukraine

Looks like Poroshenko is playing with fire. the longer Donetsk and Lugansk republics exists as a separate political entities the more difficult and costly will be to bring them back. Each year matters in this respect. After, say, ten year probably no compromise could ever emerge, unless Russia is weakened and /or dissolved into smaller statelets (the permanent problem for Russia is change of leadership, so 2024 will be a very important year, as Putin does not have any realistic successor who can continue his policies. So iether Russian "economic nationalists" (to borrow Bannon's term) or Pro-European faction will come to power. In both cases foreign policies change. Or the US economy crash again and military budget will be drastically cut, leaving no money for foreign military adventure and the protection of neoliberal empire. Direct attach might elicit Russian response and as such is highly risky (especially in view of Russia being pissed by the USA all the time now and might want to make Ukraine, as a US client, a boy for beating) , but periodic skirmishes just run this territory into wasteland that Syria regions now are. They also drive population out.
Notable quotes:
"... IMO the emerging partition is likely to last a long time. Syria is only 80 years old as a state and a prolonged de facto partition as opposed to wartime occupation can easily become more or less perm ..."
"... If the Kurds of Afrin throw themselves on the mercy of the Syrian government in Damascus then Kurdish autonomy is squashed in that enclave. And, when it is all said and done, isn't that what Erdogan really wants? ..."
Feb 27, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

turcopolier , 25 February 2018 at 11:06 PM

TTG et al

You don't understand what I mean. IMO the emerging partition is likely to last a long time. Syria is only 80 years old as a state and a prolonged de facto partition as opposed to wartime occupation can easily become more or less permanent as was the case with Turkey's acquisition of Hatay. pl

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 26 February 2018 at 12:30 AM
I certainly don't dispute that Turkey is invading Afrin. And I agree with you that if things continue to stand as they are now then that invasion will continue until all of Afrin has been overrun.

But to simply extrapolate from what has happened into the future suggests that circumstances won't change or - if they do - that Erdogan will continue on like some wind-up automaton.

If the Kurds of Afrin throw themselves on the mercy of the Syrian government in Damascus then Kurdish autonomy is squashed in that enclave. And, when it is all said and done, isn't that what Erdogan really wants?

If the Kurds are too stupid or too proud to play that card then, yeah, sure, you and I both agree that they will be ground into the dirt.

But if they do supplicate to Assad then the situation changes.

You (I assume) believe that in that circumstance Erdogan will continue to grind on with this invasion regardless.

I believe he will beat his chest and then go home.

One of us will be wrong, and one of us will be right.

[Feb 25, 2018] I were in the US or EU leadership, I'd make sure that Ukraine is not my friend, simply for the sake of self-preservation.

Neither EU nor the USA want to be Ukrainian friends. They want Ukrainian market and resources. That's it.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anon Disclaimer , February 26, 2018 at 12:20 am GMT

Anon from TN

Somehow in numerous statements in this thread, mostly boiling down to "mine is more Russian than yours", the key issues were missed. I am not even talking about obvious trolls trying to denigrate Putin's foreign policy feats. He achieved a lot more with a relatively weak hand than the US with a much stronger one, both in Syria and in Ukraine.

Admittedly, Ukraine does not count: only Americans, who have no history and don't know the history of other countries, could have stepped into that particular pile of s Ukraine brings ruin to anyone it supports. At the beginning of the eighteens century Ukrainian Hetman Mazepa betrayed Russia and joined the Swedes. Peter the Great decimated Swedes in the battle near Poltava. That was the end of Sweden as a great European power. Western Ukrainians fought for Austro-Hungarian Empire in WWI. Where is that Empire now? Then "independent" Ukraine supported Germans. Well, they lost WWI. Then Ukrainians served Hitler in WWII. USSR smeared Nazi Germany over he wall. Then Ukrainians were "holier then thou" supporters of the Soviet Union. Where is it now? So, if I were in the US or EU leadership, I'd make sure that Ukraine is not my friend, simply for the sake of self-preservation.

Syria is a totally different story. The Empire, on behalf of Israel and Saudis, tried to break it up into a bunch of powerless Bantustans. The plan seemed to be close to bearing fruit until Putin threw a wrench into the works. With ridiculously small ground and air force he turned the tide of the war. The Empire was frustrated. Hence the hysterics.

Anyway, IMHO Putin's Russia has two major weaknesses. One is the profusion of oligarchs who stole their riches from the state and hid the loot offshore. He does not seem inclined to tackle them, likely honoring the deal he made in 2000. "Protected" appear to include even such notorious figures as Chubais (if you ask Russians, ~90% would say that oligarchs should be stripped of their wealth, tried, and imprisoned; but as many or more would say that Chubais should be publicly hanged). The other weakness is that it remains a one-man show, i.e., the absence of credible state institutions and an obvious successor. The rest is chaff.

Jake , February 26, 2018 at 12:50 am GMT
"what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent."

ABSOLUTELY TRUE!

Robert Dunn , Website February 26, 2018 at 1:06 am GMT
I'm like so totally sure the CIA will not be interfering with their election.
Kiza , February 26, 2018 at 1:36 am GMT
@utu

Just for a moment I will take you seriously, although you sometimes write truly silly stuff, and respond.

Yes, the AngloZionist would prefer to turn and absorb the Russian and Chinese elite, but only as low subordinates. This is what they have been doing in other conquered countries – generating a mix of the new and compliant part of the old elite with a greater proportion of the new elite. The Russian neo-Liberals are ready and waiting for the job, looking down on their compatriots as cattle (the same word as goyim, what an amazing coincidence!?). Read what this Felix writes about the Russians. This gang turned Russia into killing fields in 1917 and will gladly do it again given half a chance by their foreign masters.

The masters are underwriting the full-time writing of puppets such as Karlin. Karlin is the Russian Elliot Higgins , interpreting data without a faintest idea of solid data analysis, a paid full-time hack drawing the right conclusions for the empire. Perhaps he sees himself as a minister in the Russian puppet government after the successful regime change.

Therefore, this group of regular trolls (about 10 nicks) on all Saker's writings are aiming to be that future new Russian servant elite when Russia would be absorbed. They are truly the last thing that Russian people need.

As I said above, I have seen it all before, it is deja vu all over again (Yogi Bear).

[Feb 25, 2018] Poland vs Ukraine

Actually life in Ukraine was not that bad in 2010-2014. Hopefully "After-Maydan" deterioration might be temporary, although without new markets for Ukrainian industrial goods recovery is almost impossible. Also the level of foreign debt is now much higher, so they dig a deeper hole for themselves to climb out. Other probable scenario is bankruptcy. See also Bill Black Once a Poster Child for Austerity, Latvia Becomes a Hotbed of Corruption naked capitalism
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

Dmitry , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 7:15 pm GMT

@Felix Keverich

Poland's level of GDP per capita is 6 times bigger than Ukraine's. They started out around the same level in 1991 and were supposed to follow the same playbook. To the extent that their paths diverged can be explained by Ukrainian corruption and incompetence.

Poland received hundreds of billions of dollars in EU subsidies and transfers. Not a fair comparison. Even still today they are receiving this transfer of wealth from net contributor countries in the EU (there's another good reason EU became unpopular in net contributor countries like the UK and the Netherlands):

https://msp.gov.pl/en/polish-economy/economic-news/4015,Poland-to-get-nearly-EUR-106-bln-from-2014-2020-EU-budget-pool-expected-impact-o.html

Felix Keverich , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 8:16 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Energy subsidies from Russia to the Ukraine are estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars since 1991. The Ukraine has been well subsidized since independence. What they have been desperately lacking is governance.

[Feb 25, 2018] The neoliberal "methodology" for "showing economic success" is propaganda masquerading as "science". So they sell Latvia as a poster child of austerity, true neoliberal market miracle. In reality it is a hot bed of curruption and deindustrialization

Latvia now is a typical neoliberal debt slave and flourishing sex trafficking market. Not that different from other Baltic states, Ukraine, Moldavia and generally all xUSSR space.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

YankeeFrank , February 25, 2018 at 7:38 am

Bill mentions the brain drain from Latvia, but I seem to recall a quite massive general emigration from the country during austerity, which also helped to "reduce unemployment" as well. The neoliberal "methodology" for "showing economic success" is moral and economic bankruptcy masquerading as "science". And wow. So we have Latvia to thank for the coming nuclear holocaust as well. A true neoliberal market miracle.

Lambert's two principles of neoliberalism are once again brought to mind:

#1 Because markets.

#2 Go die.

Skip Intro , February 25, 2018 at 11:03 am

All those 'excess' workers who left were helping keep wages low in the EU
In the sense that Latvia's future productivity is sacrificed for short-term benefits on the books, it starts to look like another asset-stripping scheme, and the costs are borne by workers in the EU.

The Rev Kev , February 25, 2018 at 8:40 am

This is not the first time that Latvia has appeared on NC ( https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/latvias-economic-disaster-as-a-neoliberal-success-story-a-model-for-europe-and-the-us.html ) and probably won't be the last. What is it about neoliberalism that that seems to have corruption as part of its DNA?

Latvia already has one of the highest levels of poverty and income inequality in the EU and its population has dropped by about a fifth in the past 18 years which is a bit of a record considering that there was no war, that is, unless you count the neoliberal war on people. Some moved to the capital Riga but most bailed out of the country altogether and are not coming back. You can find whole blocks of empty buildings in some towns.
But don't worry. The Latvians are on the case. The head of the Latvian Central Bank detained for extortion and the Latvian Ministry of Defense both blame, you guessed it, Russia!

Lambert's two principles of neoliberalism may have to be updated. He already has
#1 Because markets.
#2 Go die.

He may have to modify the second one to say
#2 Go die or get the hell outta Dodge.

DJG , February 25, 2018 at 9:11 am

Now I may be prejudiced because the Gs came from deepest darkest Lithuania–and we're talking out in the endless woods in a village along a lake.

When people talk about population decline in Latvia, you are talking about part of the corruption. The native Latvians wanted a way of getting rid of the Russian population, many of whom are considered immigrants. So dropping 20 percent of the population means throwing out the Russians. When your "population policy " is based on something like that, you can image what the country's economic policies are like.

In contrast–although Lithuania, too, has lost some 10 – 15 percent of its population since restored independence–the Lithuanians came to terms, imperfect terms, with their smaller Polish and Russian minorities. Nevertheless, the Lithuanians didn't go whole-hog free-market fundamentalism. And when a recent president was found to be corrupt, they impeached him and threw him out.

So you have different models for how to survive as a Baltic State. Latvia has made a mess of its "model."

edmondo , February 25, 2018 at 10:53 am

"Now of course that's still in a land where they had really severely repressed wages for the working class and for middle class, and continued to tolerate a fair degree of unemployment and underemployment for folks, as well. So, yeah it works really well for the oligarchs. And they do employ people. The unemployment rate drops, but the country invariably becomes extremely corrupt."

Was he still talking about Latvia or did he switch over to the USA?

Altandmain , February 25, 2018 at 12:15 pm

There is a strong correlation between inequality and corruption.

Furthermore, in the medium term there is a causal relationship:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1331677X.2016.1169701

This would suggest that inflicting austerity on a population, which worsens inequality, will set the precedent for corruption in the future.

Massinissa , February 25, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Half a decade ago when Latvia was considered a success story for neoliberal austerity, one animator made this great satire video making fun of how farcical it was to consider it such.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IRUBJ8qraY

Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Latvia also being part of that running sore which involves according to the US state department's last global estimate, about 800,000 to a million victims per annum of people trafficking. Of which around 80% are female, with a not stated amount being children, used for both labour & sexual purposes.

I suppose that it comes as little surprise that the 2 main flows of these commodities is from East to West & South to North.

[Feb 24, 2018] How to Solve the Ukraine Crisis Peacekeepers

An interesting discussion with two polar views on the situation. There is no good guys in the story anyway. Nether the USA, or Russia, or Ukrainian nationalists, or separatists qualify. Truth probably lies somewhere in between. The debate itself reminds the current political debate in the USA between neoliberals/globalists and "economic nationalists"/isolationalists : the two sides do not hear other and their positions are irreconcilable. Each has its own set of grievances. Its own version of history. And its own vision of the desirable future.
Independence by itself meant huge stimulus to Western Ukrainian nationalists (who historically lived a long time under Hapsburg empire). So their political ascendance were given and Maydan was just the culmination point of a long process (actually encouraged by EU members such as Germany, Poland , Baltic republics and Sweden)
The USA clearly tried to secure it geopolitical interests via forcefully turning Ukraine to the West. Despite the fact that it was not completely ready for such a move yet; although were slowly moving in this direction since independence. Germany (and EU in general) played the same fatal role of "accelerator" as well. They wanted new markets for their goods and also have geopolitical interests in weakening Russia (which did happened; Ukraine was the biggest strategic defeat of Putin). The Nazi Lebensraum was, after all, about Ukraine.
But the process of "separation" from Russia was pretty much under way since independence and proceeded at a brisk pace under Yanukovich too, who actually supported Ukrainian nationalists during his term (especially Svoboda, hoping to create something like the USA two party systems: nationalists vs Party of Regions). And it was Yanukovich government which prepared and intended to sign the association agreement with the EU. Then Yanukovich hesitated to sign it and at this point was doomed as pro-Western forces has already their own dynamics and financial support from abroad. With the financial. organizational and political support support of the USA and EU were able to depose him. Large (for Ukraine political scene) amount of money was injected, protesters bused from Western Ukraine, and eventually yet another color revolution (the first was so called Orange revolution which brought to power Yushchenko government) took care of Yanukovich regime. The problem is that this "alternative" political course and a new vision of Ukrainian future proved to be a minefield. Also the association agreement with EU was very unfair to Ukrainian economic interests and essentially downgraded the status of Ukraine to the status of neo-colony openly promoting deindustrialization like in Baltic Republics.
Some unrealistic dreams about benefits of Ukraine association with EU were pretty widespread and become a political factor in the success of the Maydan. nobody understood that by trying to balance between Russia and the West Yanukovich postponed the day of reckoning and kept economics expanding. Everybody hated corrupt Yanukovich although some members of his cabinet were pretty competent technocrats. Nobody calculated losses from the separation of economic ties with Russia and having a hostile Russia as a neighbor. Hopes that EU will open its market for Ukrainian agricultural goods and to Ukrainian gastarbeiters proved to be exaggerated. To say nothing about the danger (or even mere possibility) of civil war as the result of Maydan. All those dreams about improving the standard of living via association with EU were buried after the Maydan very soon. The currency dropped around 300% after 2014 from 8.5 to 27 grivna per dollar. Markets in Russia are almost completely lost.
Ukrainian nationalists decided that the success of Maydan gave them carte blanche on neo-colonization of Eastern Ukraine as well as the suppression of Russian language and culture. They miscalculated. This policy was similar to "Polinization of Western Ukraine" by Poles and it faced growing resistance. Lugansk and Donetsk republic are direct results of this resistance (not without Russia help). In other words this policy backfired, and now those regions represent a Gordian knot for both the USA, EU, Russia and Ukraine. For Poroshenko government to agree on federalization (which Minsk accords presuppose) means to lose face politically (Why to organize Maydan in such cases, if the net result is a huge drop of the standard of living, loss of Crimea, and federalization of Ukraine?), and they prefer military solution to the problem. The USA under Trump administration are only happy to sell weapons to them (as well as coal to replace lost coal from Donetsk region). And nuclear fuel to electrical stations inread of Russia. Meanwhile economics is not improving and that also represents a political threat to Poroshenko, making push for the military solution more probable.
Notable quotes:
"... Any agreement, however -- at least as far as the U.S. State Department is concerned -- would require that Russia must make the first move to ease tensions. ..."
"... Secretary Tillerson has made it abundantly clear that Russia must take the first steps to de-escalate violence and resolve this conflict by fully implementing the Minsk Accords." ..."
"... Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for ..."
"... . You can follow him on Twitter: ..."
"... This country is screwed, alas. Peacekeepers will not change much, but they could help stop shellings and thus help regular people who suffer the most. ..."
"... Strelkov came into Donbass on April 12, 2014 and the acting president Turchinov announced ATO (Anti terrorist operation) on April 7. The people of Donbass protested peacefully for months and no one wanted to talk with them. They sent tanks and jets instead. ..."
"... "And yes, his self-promotion as the "governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals." ..."
"... Indeed, that is why there is a civil war in Ukraine. "Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war" https://www.thelocal.ch/201... ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Any agreement, however -- at least as far as the U.S. State Department is concerned -- would require that Russia must make the first move to ease tensions. However, it is unclear is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or anyone in his department truly speaks for the Trump Administration.

"It's important to be clear about U.S. policy towards the conflict: Crimea is Ukraine. The Donbas is Ukraine. We will never accept trading one region of Ukraine for another. We will never make a deal about Ukraine without Ukraine," John J. Sullivan, deputy secretary of state, said during a speech in at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Diplomatic Academy in Kiev on Feb. 21 . "To advance these fundamental goals, Secretary Tillerson appointed Ambassador Kurt Volker as Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations in July of last year. And his mandate is to break the deadlock with Russia over Ukraine. Secretary Tillerson has made it abundantly clear that Russia must take the first steps to de-escalate violence and resolve this conflict by fully implementing the Minsk Accords."

Time will tell if any progress will be made in solving the Donbas situation.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest . You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar .


Joe Stevens , February 22, 2018 2:20 AM

If that's the case, then America needs to pull it's own illegal occupation forces out of eastern Syria ASAP too! Eastern Syria is Syria. Eastern Syria is NOT part of Kurdistan! What a bunch of hypocrites.

Vic , February 22, 2018 7:11 AM

"One potential approach -- which as been proposed by U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker -- is where peacekeepers would be deployed in phases while Ukraine implements some of the measures it agreed to under the Minsk agreements."

-That could work, here is the Minsk 2 agreement for those that don't know, https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

It stipulates that Ukraine should complete a number of things, and by the end of it Donbass will be returned to Ukraine. If you add phased peacekeepers to this it could work, the peacekeepers would start between Donbass and Ukraine, and then move into Donbass and get more control the more of the Minsk 2 agreement Ukraine completed.

The peacekeepers could not be NATO or Russian troops for each side to agree obviously

VadimKharichkov , February 22, 2018 5:08 AM

Europe and the US have nothing of value to offer to Ukraine because there's little to exchange it for. There is no economy and too few natural resources to fight for. Thus, Ukraine will remain a suitcase without a handle despite wet dreams of its ultra-nationalists (should be represented in the troll section of this thread).

It will remain useless as an economical ally to Russia in the upcoming years because Ukraine is divided within itself.

The only thing it will be good for, is to serve as an example for everybody on how foolish it is to overthrow democratically elected governments for the sake of fairy tales.

The conflict there will be frozen for decades, as it was frozen in Moldova and Georgia. Without Russian and European investments, there will be no economical development in Ukraine.

This country is screwed, alas. Peacekeepers will not change much, but they could help stop shellings and thus help regular people who suffer the most.

Jorge Martinho VadimKharichkov , February 22, 2018 6:13 AM

Vadim, if Ukraine is not important, why do you spend so much of your precious time writing about it? Why does Russia keep financing the war in Donbass if its so uninteresting to invest in Ukraine? Why did Russia steal Ukrainian gas in the Azov Sea? Or why does it steal ukrainian coal in Donbass? Where did the machinery from the Donbass factories go, Vadim?

Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 7:02 AM

"Or why does it steal ukrainian coal in Donbass?"

-The coal belongs to the people of Donbass, not Ukraine, and Ukraine itself banned buying gas from these territories in hope that it will cause more misery to the civilians living there, just like Ukraine stole their pensions and their social welfare in hope for causing maximal suffering.

Jorge Martinho Vic , February 22, 2018 9:09 AM

The Donbass is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine. Second Ukraine is not obliged to pay for the Russian occupation of its territory. The occupation force is responsible for everything that happens inside that territory, even the payment or not of pensions.

Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 10:06 AM

That is a pure lie, the conflict between Donbass and Ukraine is a civil war. Russia is not occupying those territories. And Donbass will return to Ukraine if they can follow thru on the Minsk 2 agreement like they agreed to, but never will of course, because the hyper-corrupt Ukrainian government need the legitimacy and distraction that war brings both domestically to avoid coup and internationally as an excuse.

"Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war" https://www.thelocal.ch/201...

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 1:56 PM

Strelkov, referring to the war he helped start in Donbas: "In the beginning, nobody there wanted to fight."

Pro-Russian agitators like Pavel Gubarev tried to illegally take over government buildings in E Ukraine, and also tried to organize protests, but they had little support from the local population. The local population was cynical about Kiev, but they certainly weren't interested in starting a civil war. That is why Strelkov and other Russians had to start the war.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 2:48 PM

"but they certainly weren't interested in starting a civil war. That is why Strelkov and other Russians had to start the war."

-Nobody wanted a war of course, that is one reason why the Kiev government became so dependent on volunteer n4zists, they were the only one that was eager and willing to kill their brothers at the whims of the unconstitutional coup regime. The average Ukrainian soldiers didn't want to fight and a lot of the Donbass fighters came from defected Ukrainian soldiers.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 5:55 PM

Again, all I have to do is point to Strelkov: "In the beginning, nobody there wanted to fight."

"I dream of a Russia in its natural borders," he says. "At least those of 1939." He claims to have been the one who convinced Putin to intervene militarily in Ukraine, at a time, he says, when the Kremlin was still debating the proper approach to the country."

"I was the one who pulled the trigger for war," Strelkov boasts."

http://www.spiegel.de/inter...

Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:17 AM

Doesn't matter at all what some commanders "boasts" , the war was started when the unconstitutional and unelected government of Ukraine sent its army to crush the rebels.

brylcream Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 3:20 AM

Strelkov came into Donbass on April 12, 2014 and the acting president Turchinov announced ATO (Anti terrorist operation) on April 7.
The people of Donbass protested peacefully for months and no one wanted to talk with them. They sent tanks and jets instead.

"and also tried to organize protests, but they had little support from the local population. "

This is a blatant lie.

Alex Robeson brylcream , February 23, 2018 7:18 AM

Strelkov took Slavyansk on April 12 - that's not when he arrived. As for the ATO, yes, it was announced on April 7, after armed separatists stormed regional government buildings in Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov, raised Russian flags, and said they would hold an independence referendum. What would Russia do if Karelia was taken over by pro-Finnish separatists? And keep in mind, when the ATO was announced, Turchynov promised amnesty for separatists who laid down arms.

No, the "people" of Donbass did not protest peacefully (Gubarev and others were not representative of the people of Donbass). Gubarev and others repeatedly tried to seize buildings and declare self-rule/independence. But polls during that time clearly showed that people did not want independence, even if they were unhappy about Yanukovych being ousted from the presidency. Public opinion did not really shift towards independence until after the fire of Odessa and Mariupol, when Donbass regions were under separatist control and influenced by Russian propaganda.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 2:46 PM

"Strelkov, referring to the war he helped start in Donbas: "In the beginning, nobody there wanted to fight.""

-The civil war was started when the unelected and unconstitutional coup government sent the army to kill the rebels in Donbass for just wanting their language rights protected.

"Pro-Russian agitators like Pavel Gubarev tried to illegally take over government buildings in E Ukraine,"

-Pavel is a Ukrainian, and it is pretty far fetched to call it illegal to resist to an illegal unconstitutional coup government.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 2:58 PM

I have not seen any proof that there was a coordinated coup to remove Yanukovych. On Feb 21st, Western powers got what they wanted when Yanukovych agreed to form a coalition government with Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok (OK, maybe Tyahnbok wasn't they're first choice) and have early elections. Yanukovych fled because the security forces abandoned him. They most likely abandoned him because the Feb 21st agreement called for investigation into violence on the Maidan, and they thought they would be blamed for everything.

I never said Gubarev wasn't Ukrainian. But he was clearly a pro-Russian agitator. And yes, his self-promotion as the "governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals.

brylcream Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 3:35 AM

Yanukovich was in Donetsk when they broke their constitution in the Rada, when they didn't have enough votes to impeach him.

"And yes, his self-promotion as the "governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals."

Really?
https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Alex Robeson brylcream , February 23, 2018 7:50 AM

He was in Kharkiv, but not on an official visit. He was fleeing. And sorry, but protests attended by a few thousand people do not mean that Gubarev had widespread support.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 3:14 PM

""governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals."

-It is worth to point out that there was no democratic support for the coup in Kiev however. Which I guess is why there was a coup in the first place.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 4:20 PM

You still haven't offered any proof for your claim of a coup in Kiev.

brylcream Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 3:37 AM

Check the Ukrainian constitution, Article 111. There is described how a president could be impeached.

Alex Robeson brylcream , February 23, 2018 7:33 AM

That's not a coup. It's an unconstitutional removal of a president who abandoned his post. What were they supposed to do - live with a power vacuum?

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 3:09 PM

"And yes, his self-promotion as the "governor of Donetsk" was both illegal and unpopular with the locals."

-Hardly illegal, quite the opposite, more like it was a duty to resist an unconstitutional coup government. And while I have not found a opinion poll on rebel controlled areas, the closes I found suggest that the rebels has a very high support among the Donbass population.

"An opinion poll that was taken on the day of the referendum and the day before by a correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Washington Post, and five other media outlets found that of those people who intended to vote, 94.8% would vote for independence. The poll did not claim to have scientific precision, but was carried out to get a basis from which to judge the outcome of the referendum, given that independent observers were not present to monitor it. Even with those who said they would not vote counted in, a 65.6% majority supported separation from Ukraine"
http://www.faz.net/aktuell/...

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 5:52 PM

You should probably try reading the actual article, instead of quoting Wikipedia. The journalists polled 186 people, and of those 110 supported independence. That's a tiny and insignificant sample size. People voting for independence had been going through a war started by pro-Russian separatists, they were under the martial law of pro-Russian separatists, and their only news was Russian propaganda telling them that Kiev was all Nazis who wanted to exterminate Russia. Also, as you no doubt saw while reading Wikipedia, polls taken before Strelkov and the others started the war showed that the locals were not supportive of independence.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:22 AM

" them that Kiev was all Nazis who wanted to exterminate Russia"

-Pretty close to the truth actually, Kiev certainly did and are doing everything they can do exterminate the local civilians in Donbas, but stealing their pensions, cutting of social pay, hindering and stoping food, medicine and water.

Actually I mentioned that in my comment, there are no opinion polls but the closes we get is the opinion polls from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Washington Post, which shows a massive support for the rebels. Which is no surprise as we are talking about an illegal unconstitutional pro-nazi government seizing power.

"tthe locals were not supportive of independence.

-The support for rebels are as all sources show quite high, of course nobody wanted the war, but that was forced on them by the unelected coup government. If Ukraine had just language right of the Donbass people there would have been no war.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 23, 2018 8:14 AM

No, Kiev was not filled with Nazis. Russia engaged in fearmongering to get Crimeans to vote for independence. And what happened? The Ukrainian Army in Crimea resisted all provocations to start a war. Kiev thought that the international community would come to its aid. Remember the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2014? Svoboda and Right Sector barely had any public support at all. The lie that Kiev was filled with Nazis was just that - a lie.

Again, your Frankfurter Allgemeine poll was less than 200 people who happened to be willing to talk to Western journalists. Only 110 of them said they wanted independence, and this was after living under martial law and Russian propaganda for months. There were plenty of actual scientific polls conducted in April before the "referendum" which showed that there was no support for secession - at most, people wanted decentralisation.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 3:05 PM

Well, depends on what you mean with proof I suppose, is an American marxist oligarchs admitting they spent millions to training demonstrators to subvert Ukrainian democracy proof?
Is the fact that 100% of NATO controlled media support the Ukrainian opposition proof?
Is that fact that USA leaders went down to Ukraine and gave out cookies to the undemocratic opposition and held speeches encouraging them to overthrow their government proof?
Is leaked phone calls from USA telling Ukraine which leaders should be installed(which later were installed) proof?
Is Obama openly admitting they handled the "transition of power" in Ukraine proof?
Is the fact that the fascist and ultra-nationalist groups used used to overthrow the democratic government of Ukraine(OUN) known CIA assets proof? I mean, basically, it was the most blatant coup in world history. But if you literally want the USA government to totally in details describe and admit to every detail you will just have to wait a few years or decades until it is released in a FOI report like the fact that USA created ISIS.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 4:38 PM

- I'm assuming you mean the $5 billion the US invested over 20+ years? Russia invested $40 billion in the same time frame - 8x as much as the US (see Sergey Glazyev's March 24, 2014 interview with National Review). Financial investments in democratic institutions are not proof of a coup, but nice try.

- NATO controlled media? There's no such thing.

- Why is it such a big deal with Nuland giving out cookies?

- John McCain didn't encourage them to "overthrow their government". When did he say that? He said "We are here to support your just cause, the sovereign right of Ukraine to determine its own destiny freely and independently. And the destiny you seek lies in Europe."

- Did you know that government officials from European countries and the EU also encouraged the protesters?

- Nuland and the US were clearly operating to keep the opposition united, and yes, they pushed their interests by encouraging Yatsenyuk to take the lead. But Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok were already established as opposition politicians in general, and had been accepted by the Maidan protesters before the US arrived on the scene. And besides, the Feb 21st agreement was what the US wanted - it would have placed those three figures in a coalition government with Yanukovych, followed by early elections. All of that considered, the fact that they emerged as leaders after Yanukovych left is really not surprising.

- Obama admitted what everyone knew - the US had entered into the crisis on the side of the EU to push Yanukovych to listen to the protesters. Russia, of course, was pushing Yanukovych to crack down. I remember when RT and Sputnik tried to twist it to mean Obama was claiming the US was behind a coup - it was the most blatant spin/propaganda I've ever seen. Go back and watch Obama's interview with Fareed Zakaria.

- You'll have to provide at least an ounce of proof that ultranationalist, far-right, or neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine are "CIA assets". Otherwise you're just another baseless conspiracy theorist.

- Yes, the US and USSR (Russia) have engaged in regime changes in the past. There's zero proof though, that there was a coup in Ukraine.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:27 AM

lol, yes, that is what is called a coup. Not only a coup but the most blatant coup in history I would say, I can only imagine if Russia funded trained and funded demonstrators Mexico, Russian leaders went to Mexico handing out cookies and giving support to the demonstrators, and ordering the opposition which leaders should be installed after the coup and so forth,and then afterwards openly admitting it did it.Hilarious. But I guess you are paid troll, and even when FYI releases information where USA planned the entire thing in detail, like it has with its creation of ISIS and al-qaeda you will deny it still.

Here is the head of Stratfor by the way, the "Shadow CIA" saying the exact same thing, xD

"Head of Stratfor, 'Private CIA,' Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was 'The Most Blatant Coup in History'"
http://www.washingtonsblog....

Alex Robeson Vic , February 23, 2018 9:01 AM

Watch the video of Obama's interview ( https://www.youtube.com/wat... - he clearly states "Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine." In other words, he openly admits to helping form the February 21st "Agreement on settlement of political crisis in Ukraine". Obviously he's not talking about the Rada removing Yanukovych from office.

Nuland's conversation backs this up. It shows the Obama administration was helping Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok stay united. Yanukovych was individually offering them posts in his government. The US was pushing them to resist those offers. This culminated in the February 21st agreement, where the US and EU got additional concessions from Yanukovych - a coalition government with those three leaders, early elections, and investigations of the violence on Maidan.

As for the head of Stratfor, George Friedman went on to write an article in which he said that his quote was completely taken out of context ( http://www.businessinsider.... .

You think handing out cookies means people are funding coups. I'll have to remember that when giving cookies to my children.

Jorge Martinho Vic , February 22, 2018 2:34 PM

Civil wars dont involve foreign powers invading another country...

Duendao Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 7:21 PM

So what is doing the US in syria?

Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 2:43 PM

Indeed, that is why there is a civil war in Ukraine. "Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war" https://www.thelocal.ch/201...

Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 7:01 AM

Russia does not steal anything, the Crimean people voted to join Russia and that is their democratic right.

"With two studies out of the way, both Western-based, it seems without question that the vast majority of Crimeans do not feel they were duped into voting for annexation, and that life with Russia will be better for them and their families than life with Ukraine. A year ago this week, 83% of Crimeans went to the polling stations and almost 97% expressed support for reunification with their former Soviet parent."
https://www.forbes.com/site...

Alex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 1:48 PM

Crimea was a coup, initiated on February 27, 2014 when armed/masked militants (Spetsnaz?) stormed the Crimean parliamentary building, raised the Russian flag over the building, and barricaded themselves inside. During this occupation, an emergency parliamentary session was called. It is unknown how many MPs participated - a number have said they were not there, even though they were claimed to have been there. But in that emergency session, the Crimean PM (Anatolii Mohyliov) was illegally removed and replaced with an unpopular pro-Russian MP (Sergey Aksyonov). Aksyonov immediately called for the independence referendum. Just to emphasize, all of this happened while the parliamentary building was under armed occupation from unknown pro-Russian forces (most likely Spetsnaz), and against the will of the current Crimean and Ukrainian governments. Interestingly, just the day before (February 26), the Crimean government had told pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters outside the building that there would be no effort to seek independence from Ukraine.

It was, without doubt, a coup.

Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:28 AM

Derp, there is quite literally a source right above you debunking your lies and linking to several USA and Germany opinion polls verifying that the result of the referendum was reflective of the democratic will of the Crimean people.

Alex Robeson Vic , February 23, 2018 9:03 AM

I didn't dispute the poll. What I said is that before the referendum Russia instigated a coup, suppressed protests, and created a sense of fear in Crimea that drove people to think Kiev was filled with Nazis. Of course they voted to join Russia after that.

BlackRoseML Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 1:27 PM

Isn't that what happened throughout Ukraine when "protestors" (more accurately thugs) took over the Regional Administration buildings and occupied them? Well, before the coup in Kiev, numerous government buildings in other regions were occupied.

You said that it was a big propaganda exercise to portray being pro-Ukraine as being pro-Nazi. Then why was the Euromaidan far right? Why were the most prominent activists and leaders of the "revolution" associated with Svodoba and Right Sector? Why were there thugs destroying monuments to Lenin? Why were many activists extolling Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych?

The people on the Maidan behaved like far-right lunatics and brigands. No wonder why there it isn't difficult to conceive of them as Nazis.

If I were a woman in Crimea, I would be grateful that I am not living under the jackboot of the Maidan thugs.

[Feb 24, 2018] As Washington's efforts to recapture and return Russia to vassalage have failed it has resorted to a growing series of provocations and conflicts

Notable quotes:
"... Nevertheless, the US retains its political clients in the Baltic , the Balkans and Eastern and Central European regimes. However, these clients are unruly and often eager to confront a nuclear-armed Russia, confident that the US-NATO will intervene, in spite of the probability of being vaporized in a nuclear Armageddon. ..."
"... Despite President Trump's campaign promises to 'pull-back', the US has re-entered Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in a big way. The Trump shift from global containment and realism to 'rollback and aggression' against Russia and China has failed to secure a positive response from past and present allies. ..."
"... China has increased economic ties with the EU. Russia and the EU share strategic gas and oil trade ties. Domestically, the US military budget deepens the fiscal deficit and drastically threatens social spending. This creates a scenario of increasing US isolation with its futile aggression against a dynamic and changing world. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | www.unz.com

Russia has reduced and challenged the US pursuit of a uni-polar global empire following the recovery of its sovereignty and economic growth after the disaster of the 1990's. With the ascent of President Putin, the US-EU empire lost their biggest and most lucrative client and source of naked pillage.

Nevertheless, the US retains its political clients in the Baltic , the Balkans and Eastern and Central European regimes. However, these clients are unruly and often eager to confront a nuclear-armed Russia, confident that the US-NATO will intervene, in spite of the probability of being vaporized in a nuclear Armageddon.

Washington's efforts to recapture and return Russia to vassalage have failed. Out of frustration Washington has resorted to a growing series of failed provocations and conflicts between the US and the EU, within the US between Trump and the Democrats; and among the warlords controlling the Trump cabinet.

Germany has continued lucrative trade ties with Russia, despite US sanctions, underscoring the decline of US power to dictate policy to the European Union. The Democratic Party and the ultra-militaristic Clinton faction remains pathologically nostalgic for a return to the 1990's Golden Age of Pillage (before Putin). Clinton's faction is fixated on the politics of revanchism . As a result, they vigorously fought against candidate Donald Trump's campaign promises to pursue a new realistic understanding with Russia. The Russia-Gate Investigation is not merely a domestic electoral squabble led by hysterical 'liberals.' What is a stake is nothing less than a profound conflict over the remaking of the US global map. Trump recognized and accepted the re-emergence of Russia as a global power to be 'contained', while the Democrats campaigned to roll-back reality, overthrow Putin and return to the robber baron orgies of the Clinton years. As a result of this ongoing strategic conflict, Washington is unable to develop a coherent global strategy, which in turn has further weakened US influence in the EU in Europe and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, the intense Democratic onslaught against Trump's initial foreign policy pronouncements regarding Russia succeeded in destroying his 'pivot to realism' and facilitated the rise of a fanatical militaristic faction within his cabinet, which have intensified the anti-Russia policies of the Clintonite Democrats. In less than a year, all of Trump's realist advisers and cabinet members have been purged and replaced by militarists. Their hard core confrontational anti-Russia policy has become the platform for launching a global military strategy based on vast increases in military spending, demands that the EU nations increase their military budgets, and open opposition to an EU-centered military alliance, such as the one recently proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Despite President Trump's campaign promises to 'pull-back', the US has re-entered Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in a big way. The Trump shift from global containment and realism to 'rollback and aggression' against Russia and China has failed to secure a positive response from past and present allies.

China has increased economic ties with the EU. Russia and the EU share strategic gas and oil trade ties. Domestically, the US military budget deepens the fiscal deficit and drastically threatens social spending. This creates a scenario of increasing US isolation with its futile aggression against a dynamic and changing world.

[Feb 23, 2018] American Meddling in the Ukraine by Publius Tacitus

Ukraine is now now a pawn in a big geopolitical games. With USA EU (Germany) and Russia pulling the country in different directions. But the victory of Ukrainian nationalists is not surprising and is not solely based on the US interferences (althouth the USA did lot in this direction) pursuit its geopolitical game against Russia. It repeats the story of Baltic Republics, albeit with a significant time delay. There should be some social group that secure independence of the country and Ukrainian nationalists happen to be such a group. That's why Yanukovich supported them and Svoboda party (with predictable results).
Notable quotes:
"... The ideological fissures that are growing in the United States are beginning to resemble the warring camps that characterize the Ukrainian political world. The divide in Ukraine pits groups who are described as "right wing" and many are ideological descendants of real Nazis and Nazi sympathizers against groups with a strong affinity to Russia. This kind of gap cannot be bridged through conventional negotiations. ..."
"... The US support, both overt and covert, for Ukrainian politicians is grounded in an anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) ideology. We have convinced ourselves that Russia is hell bent on world domination. Therefore we must do whatever is necessary to stop Russia, which includes uncritical, blind support for elements in Ukraine that also detest the Russians. But in doing so we have closed our eyes to the filthy underbelly of the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks in western Ukraine. ..."
"... US meddling in the Ukraine is astonishing in its breadth. It ranges from the fact that the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department. Do you think there would be no complaints if Melania Trump was born in Russia and had served in the Russian Foreign Ministry? Yet, most Americans are happily ignorant of such facts. ..."
"... I wouldn´t put to much stress on Bandera having been a bad guy. His enemies were no better. They just won the war and the victors write history. ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The ideological fissures that are growing in the United States are beginning to resemble the warring camps that characterize the Ukrainian political world. The divide in Ukraine pits groups who are described as "right wing" and many are ideological descendants of real Nazis and Nazi sympathizers against groups with a strong affinity to Russia. This kind of gap cannot be bridged through conventional negotiations.

Who is the United States government and media supporting? The Nazis . You think I'm joking. Here are the facts, but we must go back to World War II :

When World War II began a large part of western Ukraine welcomed the German soldiers as liberators from the recently enforced Soviet rule and openly collaborated with the Germans. IThe Soviet leader, Stalin, imposed policies that caused the deaths of almost 7 million Ukrainians in the 1930s--an era known as the Holomodor).

Ukrainian divisions, regiments and battalions were formed, such as SS Galizien, Nachtigal and Roland, and served under German leadership. In the first few weeks of the war, more than 80 thousand people from the Galizien region volunteered for the SS Galizien, which later known for its extreme cruelty towards Polish, Jewish and Russian people on the territory of Ukraine.

Members of these military groups came mostly from the organization of Ukrainian nationalists ka the OUN, which was founded in 1929. It's leader was Stepan Bandera, known then and today for his extreme anti-semitic and anti-communist views.

CIA documents just recently declassified show strong ties between US intelligence and Ukrainian nationalists since 1946.

Jump ahead now to the April 2014 "uprising" of anti-Russian forces in the Ukraine (Maidan 2). The US was firmly on the side of the protesters, who ultimately succeeded in ousting the elected President. And who were helping lead this effort?

Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council is Andriy Parubiy. Parubiy was the founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler's Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians.

The Social National Party would go on to become Svoboda, the far-right nationalist party whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok was one of the three most high profile leaders of the Euromaidan protests. . . .

Overseeing the armed forces alongside Parubiy as the Deputy Secretary of National Security is Dmytro Yarosh , the leader of the Right Sector – a group of hardline nationalist streetfighters, who previously boasted they were ready for armed struggle to free Ukraine.

The US support, both overt and covert, for Ukrainian politicians is grounded in an anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) ideology. We have convinced ourselves that Russia is hell bent on world domination. Therefore we must do whatever is necessary to stop Russia, which includes uncritical, blind support for elements in Ukraine that also detest the Russians. But in doing so we have closed our eyes to the filthy underbelly of the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks in western Ukraine.

US meddling in the Ukraine is astonishing in its breadth. It ranges from the fact that the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department. Do you think there would be no complaints if Melania Trump was born in Russia and had served in the Russian Foreign Ministry? Yet, most Americans are happily ignorant of such facts.

But Viktor Yuschenko is not an American who speaks a foreign language. He is very much a Ukrainian nationalist and steeped in the anti-Semitism that dominates the ideology of western Ukraine. During the final months of his Presidency, Yuschenko made the following declaration:

In conclusion I would like to say something that is long awaited by the Ukrainian patriots for many years I have signed a decree for the unbroken spirit and standing for the idea of fighting for independent Ukraine. I declare Stepan Bandera a national hero of Ukraine.

Without hesitation or shame, Yuschenko endorsed the legacy of Bandera, who had happily aligned with the Nazis in pursuit of his own nationalist goals. Those goals, however, did not include Jews. And here is the ultimate irony--Bandera was born in Austria, not the Ukraine. So much for ideological consistency.

US interference was not confined to serendipitous relationships, such as the Yuschenko marriage. It also included the open and active funding of certain political groups and media outlets. The US State Department sent money through a variety of outlets. One of these was the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening aka CEPPS. This is :

a USAID program with other National Endowment for Democracy-affiliated groups: the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. In 2010, the reported disbursement for CEPPS in Ukraine was nearly $5 million.

The program's efforts are described on the USAID website as providing "training for political party activists and locally elected officials to improve communication with civic groups and citizens, and the development of NGO-led advocacy campaigns on electoral and political process issues."

Anyone prepared to argue that it would be okay for Russia, through its Foreign Ministry, to contribute several million dollars for training party activists in the United States?

What we do not know is how much money was being spent on covert activities directed and managed by the CIA. During the political upheaval in April 2014 (Maidan 2), there was this news item:

Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan travelled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine's communications systems – and Washington isn't about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.

Do you think Americans would be outraged if the head of Russia's version of the CIA, the SVR or FSB, traveled quietly to the United States to meet with Donald Trump prior to his election? I think that would qualify as meddling.

Count me as one of the people who is outraged by the hypocrisy and stupidity now on display in the United States. I am not talking about Trump. I am referring to the Republicans and Democrats and pundits and media mouthpieces who are fuming about Russian citizens writing on Facebook as one of the worst catastrophies since Pearl Harbor or 9-11.

There clearly is meddling going on in America's political landscape. But it ain't the Russian Government. No. There are foreign and domestic forces aligned who are keen on portraying Russia as a threat to world order that must be opposed by more defense spending and tougher sanctions. That is the propaganda that dominates the media in the United States these days. And that is truly dangerous to our nation's safety and freedom.

Posted at 01:24 PM in Publius Tacitus , Russiagate | Permalink


james , 23 February 2018 at 02:11 PM

good post pt.. thanks... i never knew ''the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department.'' that is informative.. i recall following this closely back in 2014.. the hypocrisy on display in the usa at present is truly amazing and frightening at the same time.. it appears that the public can be cowed very easily..
Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , 23 February 2018 at 02:29 PM
good points well made.

On the twitters, you would be accused of "whatabouttism" - which is the crime of excusing Putin's diabolism by pointing out American interference with the internal politics an elections of other nations. A CIA guy recently said the US only interferes to 'promote democracy' - tell that to Australia, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Congo, Russia, Ukraine...it's a long long list.

An independent Ukraine was also a project of German foreign policy after the Brest-Litowsk Treaty (the equivalent of the Versailles Treaty, only aimed at Russia) SO I have o wonder how much of the enthusiasm for Vicky Nuland's Israel friendly Nazi state-let (oh what irony!) is a product of Germany wanting to reassert itself in the east, using NATO solidarity as a fig leaf. Maybe they will make Ukraine import a lot o Africans "refugees" so that Soros' project of creating a brown Europe will be advanced in the Slavic sphere as well as the west.

Adrestia , 23 February 2018 at 02:39 PM
It's not only the US. The EU borg are also meddling. In my country we had a referendum about Ukraine. The population voted "Against" on the question: "Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Ukraine%E2%80%93European_Union_Association_Agreement_referendum,_2016

This was the only referendum that was done since it was implemented in 2015. A second one is being organized on the Intelligence and Security Services which has controversial parts with regard to access to internet traffic.

This referendum will take place on March 21, 2018 and will probably be voted against because of the controversial elements (in part because there is still living memory of our Eastern neighbors in the second world war)

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_op_de_inlichtingen-_en_veiligheidsdiensten_2017

These 2 will probably be the last. Our house of representatives have voted yesterday to end the referendum law (with a majority vote of 76 out of 150 representatives!)

So much for democracy. The reason stated that the referendum was controversial (probably because they voted against the EU borg). Interesting is that the proposal was done by the party that wanted the referendum as a principal point. This will almost certainly ensure that the little respect left for traditional parties is gone and they will not be able to get a majority next elections.

The liberal party - who provides the prime-minister - EU leader Hans van Baalen and Belgian ex-prime minister Guy Verhostad held a controversial speech on the Maidan square in support of the protesters that the EU will support them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIL1FWCIlu8

Tom , 23 February 2018 at 03:22 PM
I wouldn´t put to much stress on Bandera having been a bad guy. His enemies were no better. They just won the war and the victors write history. The deeper problem of Ukraine is the fact that in the East of the country (and maybe even the majority of the country) Bandera is indeed regarded as a villain. But in the West he is a hero to this day. Even in Soviet times people from Western Ukraine were regarded as "fascists" by much of the rest of the country. No wonder as there were anti soviet partisans until late in the fifties.

Even in the nineties anybody who travelled in Ukraine could feel the tension between East and West. The Russians were certainly aware of it and mindful not to rip the country apart they cut the Ukrainians an enormous amount of slack. Of course they supported "their" candidates and shoveled money into their insatiable throats. Only to be disappointed time and again. "Prorussian" Kutshma turned into a Ukrainian "patriot" (such is the logic of statehood) and the same thing happened with Yanukovich. People forget that he would have signed an association agreement with Europe had Europe not refused because he was insufficiently "democratic". Really the West should have been content with things as they were. But the West wanted it all. They wanted Ukraine firmly in the "Western" camp. Thereby they ripped the country apart. As a good friend of mine who has studied in Kiev in Soviet times remarked: to ask Ukraine to choose between East and West is like asking a child in divorce proceedings who it liked more: daddy or mummy?
Really the West (not only the US -the Eu is also guilty) is to blame. It is long past time to get down from the high horse and stop spreading chaos and mayhem in the name of democracy,

Jony Kanuck , 23 February 2018 at 03:27 PM
Publius,
An informative column.
The coup & later developments soured me on the MSMedia. I'm an initiate into modern Russian history: NATO in the Ukraine = WW3!

Some additional history:
A Ukrainian nation did not exist until after WW1; one piece was Russian, another Polish and another Austrian. The Holodomor is exaggerated for political purposes; the actual number dead from famine appears to be 'only' 2M. It wasn't Soviet bloody mindedness, it was Soviet agricultural mismanagement; collectivizing agriculture drops production. They did this right before the great drought of the 1930s - remember the dustbowl. There was a famine in Kazakestan at the same time; 1.5M died. The Nazis raised 5 SS divisions out of the Ukraine. As the Germans were pushed back they ran night drops of ordnance into the Ukraine as long as they could. The Soviets had to carry on divisional level counter insurgency until 1956. After the war, Gehlen, Nazi intelligence czar, kept himself out of jail by turning over his files, routes & agents to the US. He also stoked anti Soviet paranoia. The Brits ended up with a whole Ukr SS division that they didn't want, so they gave it to Canada. Which is why Canada has such cranky policy around the Ukraine!

bluetonga , 23 February 2018 at 03:28 PM
A very interesting conversation between Victoria Nulland and ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, caught at picking the future rulers of liberated Ukraine :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QxZ8t3V_bk

This is not meddling. This is a defensive (preemptive?) action against Russian agression.

Publius Tacitus -> Tom... , 23 February 2018 at 03:31 PM
Tom,
I'm sure you'd like us to ignore Bandera. I bet he liked children and dogs. Just like Hitler. Bandera was a genuine bad guy. There is no rehabilitating that scourge on society. Nice try though.
Publius Tacitus -> bluetonga... , 23 February 2018 at 03:36 PM
I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that your final comment is sarcasm. When you have two senior US Government officials who will and will not constitute a foreign government, you have gone beyond meddling. It is worse.
VietnamVet , 23 February 2018 at 03:57 PM
PT

The media is hysterical. Today, Putin's Facebook Bot Collaborator contacted the Kremlin before his mercenaries attacked Americans in Syria. I've never seen such an intense barrage of propaganda before in my life. America is fracturing apart like Ukraine. This is no coincidence. In both countries, oligarchs have seized power, the rule of law abandoned and there is a rush of corruption. A World War is near. The realists are gone. The Moguls are pushing Donald Trump pull the trigger. Either in Syria with an assault to destroy Hezbollah (Iran) for good or American trainers going over the top of trenches in Donbass in a centennial attack of the dead.

The Twisted Genius , 23 February 2018 at 03:59 PM
Publius Tacitus,

Hallelujah and jubilation! We're in full agreement on this subject. What we did to Ukraine is shameful in every way. A remember a video of a pallet of money being unloaded from a USG place at Kiev during Maidan 2. That's in addition to Nuland's bag of cookies. I always thought that one of the objectives of our meddling in Ukraine was to make Sevastopol into a NATO naval base. I would definitely want to see a full account of what support we provided to the nazi thugs of Svoboda and Pravy Sektor. We have a long history of meddling, at least twice as long as the Soviet Union/Russia. But that does not mean we should stop investigating the Russian interference in our 2016 election. Just stop hyperventilating over it. It no more deserves risking a war than our continuing mutual espionage.

TimmyB , 23 February 2018 at 04:08 PM
Our leaders are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. The Ukraine was almost evenly divided between pro-Western and pro-Russian sides. Our government, rather than waiting for an election, assisted an armed rebellion against the elected pro-Russian government. Among the groups our government allied with in this endeavor were out and out Nazis.

As a result of this rebellion, the Russian majority in Crimea overwhelming voted to leave the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, which they had been part of for over 150-years. While our government continues to provide military aid to Israel, which used force of arms take over the West Bank, it imposed sanctions against Russia when the people of Crimea voted to join their former countrymen. Mind boggling.

[Feb 23, 2018] Russia loses the E. Ukraine as a buffer.

Feb 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Les | Dec 31, 2016 12:09:53 PM | 4

Kissinger reportedly working on a deal with Russia: Crimea for East Ukraine.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/henry-kissinger-russia-trump-crimea-advises-latest-ukraine-a7497646.html

[Feb 20, 2018] Russia's Election Meddling Worse Than a Crime; a Blunder by Robert W. Merry

Feb 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Ukraine is crucial in this Russian sense of territorial imperative. It's a tragically split country, with part tilting toward the West and part facing eastward toward Russia. That makes for a delicate political and geopolitical situation, but for centuries that delicate political and geopolitical situation has been overseen by Russia. Now the West wants to end that. Upending a duly elected (though corrupt) Ukrainian president was part of the plan. Getting Ukraine into NATO is the endgame.

Note that the Ukrainian revolution occurred in 2014, which just happened to be the year, according to the U.S. indictments, that Russia initiated its grand program to influence America's 2016 elections. Kennan was right: Russia inevitably would react badly to the NATO encirclement policy, and then America's anti-Russian cadres would cite that as evidence that the encirclement was necessary all along. That's precisely what's happening now.

Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder. Given all that's happened in U.S.-Russian relations this century, there probably wasn't much prospect that those relations could ever be normalized, much less made cordial. But that is now utterly impossible.

Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of seeking better relations with Russia. After getting elected he repeatedly asserted in his first news conference that it would be "positive," "good," or "great" if "we could get along with Russia." Unlike most of America's elites, he vowed to seek Moscow's cooperation on global issues, accepted some U.S. share of blame for the two countries' sour relations, and acknowledged "the right of all nations to put their interests first."

This suggested a possible dramatic turn in U.S.-Russian relations -- an end to the encirclement push, curtailment of the hostile rhetoric, a pullback on economic sanctions, and serious efforts to work with Russia on such nettlesome matters as Syria and Ukraine. That was largely put on hold with the narrative of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and vague allegations of campaign "collusion" with Russia on behalf of Trump's presidential ambitions.

It doesn't appear likely that investigators will turn up any evidence of collusion that rises to any kind of criminality. But it doesn't matter now, in terms of U.S.-Russian relations, because these indictments will cement the anti-Russian sentiment of Americans for the foreseeable future. No overtures of the kind envisioned by Trump will be possible for any president for a long time. It won't matter that every nation does it or that America in particular has done it or that the West's aggressive encirclement contributed to the Russian actions. The U.S.-Russian hostility is set. Where it leads is impossible to predict, but it won't be good. It could be tragic.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C., journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . His latest book, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century , was released in September.

[Feb 11, 2018] What We've Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The new weapons for Ukraine coincides with an increase in US troop deployments in the Baltic region on Russia's border, prompting Russia to accuse the United States of violating the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and position nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in response. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.thenation.com

One consequence of the Trump-Russia fixation is the overshadowing of the far-right agenda that Trump and his Republican allies are carrying out, including, inexorably, policies that undermine the narrative of Trump-Russian collusion. But as that narrative is also used as a cudgel against Trump's presidency, it is worth asking if some of those policies are now even a direct result.

In December, Trump authorized the sale of new weapons to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists. President Obama had rejected the arms shipments, "fearing that it would only escalate the bloodshed," as The New York Times noted in 2015. Trump had also opposed such a move during the campaign, but was swayed by lobbying from advisers and congressional neoconservatives . "Overall," observed Andrew Weiss , a Russia expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "I see this discussion [on Trump-Russia] as fitting within a broader effort by people within the national security bureaucracy to box Trump in on Ukraine."

The new weapons for Ukraine coincides with an increase in US troop deployments in the Baltic region on Russia's border, prompting Russia to accuse the United States of violating the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and position nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in response.

[Jan 30, 2018] The Unseen Wars of America the Empire The American Conservative

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fighting for scores of nations, with troops on every continent and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware. "I didn't know there were 1,000 troops in Niger," said Senator Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. "We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing." ..."
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
Jan 30, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Unseen Wars of America the Empire By Patrick J. Buchanan January 30, 2018, 12:01 AM

Forward Operating Base Torkham, in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan (army.mil) If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week's end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.

Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his forces will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.

Erdogan's foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the United States to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates all the way to Iraq.

If the Turks attack Manbij, America will face a choice: stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.

Should the U.S. let the Turks drive the Kurds out of Manbij and the entire Syrian border area, as Erdogan threatens, American credibility would suffer a blow from which it would not soon recover.

But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan's forces could mean a crackup of NATO and a loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.

Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea. NATO's loss would thus be a triumph for Vladimir Putin, who gave Ankara the green light to cleanse the Kurds from Afrin.

Yet Syria is but one of many challenges facing U.S. foreign policy.

The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the menace of a North Korean ICBM out of the news, but no one believes that threat is behind us.

Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. The destroyer, says China, was chased off by one of her frigates. If we continue to contest China's territorial claims with our warships, a clash is inevitable.

In a similar incident Monday, a Russian military jet came within five feet of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion surveillance jet in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the Navy plane to end its mission.

U.S. relations with Cold War ally Pakistan are at rock bottom. In his first tweet of 2018, President Trump charged Pakistan with being a false friend.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump declared. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"

As for America's longest war in Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, the end is nowhere on the horizon. A week ago, the International Hotel in Kabul was attacked and held for 13 hours by Taliban gunmen who killed 40. Midweek, a Save the Children facility in Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS, creating panic among aid workers across the country.

Saturday, an ambulance exploded in Kabul, killing 103 people and wounding 235. Monday, Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul. With the fighting season two months off, U.S. troops will not soon be departing. If Pakistan is indeed providing sanctuary for the terrorists of the Haqqani network, how does this war end successfully for the United States? Last week, in a friendly fire incident, the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 Iraqi soldiers. The Iraq war began 15 years ago.

Yet another war, where the humanitarian crisis rivals Syria, continues on the Arabian Peninsula. There, a Saudi air, sea, and land blockade that threatens the Yemeni people with starvation has failed to dislodge Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa three years ago. This weekend brought news that secessionist rebels, backed by the United Arab Emirates, seized power in Yemen's southern port of Aden from the Saudi-backed Hadi regime fighting the Houthis. These rebels seek to split the country, as it was before 1990.

Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE appear to be backing different horses in this tribal-civil-sectarian war into which America has been drawn. There are other wars -- Somalia, Libya, Ukraine -- where the U.S. is taking sides, sending arms, training troops, flying missions.

Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fighting for scores of nations, with troops on every continent and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware. "I didn't know there were 1,000 troops in Niger," said Senator Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. "We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing."

No, we don't, Senator. As in all empires, power is passing to the generals. And what causes the greatest angst today in the imperial city? Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia-gate.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Jan 28, 2018] Cought in geopolitical war Ukraine became a pawn in bigger games

Jan 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

Remember how the USA ignited the Ukraine to punish the Russians for their thwarting of the planned US attack on Syria? Well, the very same Ukraine has recently passed a law abolishing the "anti-terrorist operation" in the Donbass and declaring the Donbass "occupied territory". Under Ukie law, Russia is now officially an "aggressor state". This means that the Ukronazis have now basically rejected the Minsk Agreements and are in a quasi-open state of war with Russia. The chances of a full-scale Ukronazi attack on the Donbass are now even higher then before, especially before or during the soccer World Cup in Moscow this summer (remember Saakashvili?). Having been ridiculed (again) with their Border Security Force in Syria, the US Americans will now seek a place to take revenge on the evil Russkies and this place will most likely be the Ukraine. And we can always count the Israelis to find a pretext to continue to murder Palestinians and bomb Syria. As for the Saudis, they appear to be temporarily busy fighting each other. So unless the Empire does something really crazy, the only place it can lash out with little to lose (for itself) is the eastern Ukraine. The Novorussians understand that. May God help them.


Paranam Kid , January 26, 2018 at 5:58 am GMT

Saker, interesting analysis. 1 tiny point of criticism:

Remember how the USA ignited the Ukraine to punish the Russians for their thwarting of the planned US attack on Syria?

If I am not mistaken the CIA fomented "Orange revolution" in Ukraine was in 2014, whereas Russia stepped into the Syrian war in 2015. So in the quoted sentence, it seems you got the sequence of events back to front.

bliss_porsena , January 28, 2018 at 10:14 am GMT
Ha-ha! Goddam Russkies scorched the Amero-ISIS arse and now Russo-Turks are gaslighting the Kurds and their ten 'Murican lilypads. It's time for a diversionary Great Patriotic Ukrainian War, just as soon as Porko sobers up.
Seamus Padraig , January 28, 2018 at 11:53 am GMT
@Biff

You're both wrong. The Orange Revolution occurred in 2005: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Revolution

What occurred in 2014 was the Maidan psy-op. As far as I recall, the only thing significant that happened in Ukraine in 2010 was the election of Yanukovych.

Michael Kenny , January 28, 2018 at 2:04 pm GMT
In an article about Syria, Russia is omnipresent and the article ends by talking about Ukraine. Nothing could better illustrate the fact that Putin has painted himself into a corner in both places. He is irreversibly bogged down in Syria and any deal he makes with the Kurds will just bog him down even more. Putin is a sitting duck. The US can lower the boom on him at any time by relaunching the war and there's nothing he can do about it. And, of course, the author makes clear that all this is "about" Ukraine. Syria is a proxy war. But in Ukraine also, Putin has painted himself into a corner. He can't go forward, he can't go backwards and he can't stay where he is!
bluedog , January 28, 2018 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Looks to me like he has done very well, the Ukraine is a basket case, surviving on little more than borrowed money(I see on the QT that they are back to having to buy coal from Russia AGAIN) and sooner rather than later there will be another coup as they find that even the EU don';t want them.Syria why does he need to make a deal with the Kurd's for they are not his problem,if anyone makes a deal with the Kurd's it will have be Syria,as far as that little chunk we carved out just what good is it landlocked with no access to a water port,as normal your trolling along with the mighty U.S. which is little more than a paper tiger with its involvement in Afghanistan Africa and other places of interest as it tries to save what can't be saved,the EMPIRE

EliteCommInc. , January 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

I am not sure there is any evidence that Pres Putin needs t do anything.

He has no intention of raking the Ukraine. Not an issue. He's responding the consequences of a western incited violent revolution that spun out of control -- and is protecting "ethnic Russians" a dynamic that plagues Europe and Asia.

In Syria he is not launching a campaign of conquest but supporting. Anyone who thinks Russia is caught in a vice is sorely mistaken. I can see from the comments that misunderstanding the motivations of pothers remains in play and that is not encouraging.

Yo be clear, I have full faith of US might. we can bring a formidable amount of force on any situation -- it's frightening, just how formidable we are. The question remains

first should we
second how long we need to sustain it
third tested against multiple adversaries (of our own making) in multiple locations
fourth tested against other modern states who themselves have engaged in tech superior forces
fifth the strategic advantages -- short verses long term

Just because one can -- doesn't . . .

Nor am I ignoring that we have allies willing to take on Russia, but when push comes to shove . . . who knows. I think we are the ones getting played and as for trapped -- and bogged down --

goodness gracious.

[Jan 27, 2018] Ukraine, Syria, Russiagate, the Media, and the Risk of Nuclear War by Robert Roth

Notable quotes:
"... London Review of Books, ..."
"... at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack ..."
"... Return to Moscow ..."
"... The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media's approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. For instance, the full story of the infamous Magnitsky case cannot be told in the West, nor can the objective reality of the Ukrane coup in 2014 . The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the "other side of the story." Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a "Putin apologist" or "Kremlin stooge." ..."
Jan 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

The claim of Russian meddling in the US election has brought US-Russia relations to what may be an all-time low, substantially contributing to the near-universal demonization of Russian president Vladimir Putin and of Russia itself in virtually all major media, with little or no discussion of the supposed evidence for the claim. A stellar exception is the London Review of Books, which published a critically important essay by Rutgers University professor Jackson Lears in the January 4, 2018 issue. Titled "What We Don't Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking," the article is an excellent overview and analysis of many of the issues the title suggests.

The claim of Russian meddling in the election remains to this day evidence-free, although you would never know that from the treatment of the topic in the mainstream media. As Professor Lears observes:

Like any orthodoxy worth its salt, the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords. Its scriptural foundation is a confused and largely fact-free 'assessment' produced last January by a small number of 'hand-picked' analysts – as James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, described them – from the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. The claims of the last were made with only 'moderate' confidence. The label Intelligence Community Assessment creates a misleading impression of unanimity, given that only three of the 16 US intelligence agencies contributed to the report. And indeed the assessment itself contained this crucial admission: 'Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation and precedents.' Yet the assessment has passed into the media imagination as if it were unassailable fact, allowing journalists to assume what has yet to be proved. In doing so they serve as mouthpieces for the intelligence agencies, or at least for those 'hand-picked' analysts.

But although Professor Lears refers to the reports of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in his discussion of "Russian hacking," it seems clear there must have been a leak, not a hack, because "the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack ." ("Was the 'Russian Hack' An Inside Job?", July 25, 2017, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/25/was-the-russian-hack-an-inside-job/ .)

In any case, definitive claims about who was responsible (assuming, purely arguendo , it was a hack) face the fact that, according to Ray McGovern and William S. Binney, two members of VIPS,

On March 31, 2017, WikiLeaks released original CIA documents [the "Vault 7" trove of CIA documents ] -- ignored by mainstream media -- showing that the agency had created a program allowing it to break into computers and servers and make it look like others did it by leaving telltale signs like Cyrillic markings, for example. ("Trumped-up Claims Against Trump," May 17, 2017, http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-trump-russia-phony-20170517-story.html ).

McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years; Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, was the agency's technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting, and created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.

In other words, as Russian president Vladimir Putin has explained,

today's technology is such that the final address can be masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one will be able to understand the origin of that address. And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual [so] that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. (Valdimir Putin's televised interview on NBC (June 4, 2017), by NBC News' Megyn Kelly, text published on the website of the President of Russia, June 5, 2017.) [9]

Demonization of Putin and Russia

The demonization of Russian president Vladimir Putin and Russia itself is just part, albeit the most dangerous part, of a disinformation campaign flowing from the mainstream media. I don't propose to present a full treatment of the subject here. But in broad outline, it's my understanding that when the Cold War ended in 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin accepted the advice of Western neoliberal planners and dismantled much of the Russian "safety net," with the result that the Russian economy tanked and millions of people faced terrific hardship.

Vladimir Putin has been attempting to repair that situation, and his initial success is part of the reason for his popularity in Russia. That understanding comes from a number of articles I've read over the years, but primarily from Tony Kevin's book Return to Moscow , mentioned above. I'm hardly an expert on internal Russian politics. But I've read many of the extensive public statements Mr. Putin has made since 2007, and with my primary concern being his role in international relations and with respect to the control of Russia's nuclear arsenal, he strikes me as a statesman. [10] . Yet as investigative journalist Robert Parry observes,

The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media's approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. For instance, the full story of the infamous Magnitsky case cannot be told in the West, nor can the objective reality of the Ukrane coup in 2014 . The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the "other side of the story." Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a "Putin apologist" or "Kremlin stooge."

Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia. Ironically, many "liberals" who cut their teeth on skepticism about the Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds us, even if we're told to accept the assertions on faith. [11] .

One result is a needless heightening of the dangers and risks outlined in this article.

[Jan 21, 2018] Poeoshenko failed to imagine the situation a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now. Failing to resolve the Donbass crisis now might create much worse situation in the future

Notable quotes:
"... Imagine a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now ..."
"... The European elites wish to see Europe as a world power. Unrealistic, perhaps, but say that entity did become a dominant force. They complain about the lack of democratic control in the States, but that's nothing to the lack of democratic control in Europe. And we've already seen what the Europeans, including us, are capable of when it comes to predatory foreign intervention. Give the Europeans enough things that go bang and we could be yearning for the good old days. ..."
Jan 21, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

English Outsider -> Babak Makkinejad... 21 January 2018 at 11:18 AM


Babak - "The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run; in my opinion. Just work through the implications as US cuts and run in the Levant, in the Persian Gulf, in South Korea."

As you point out, that could have unexpected effects. We saw what happened when a previous dominant power - Great Britain, though by no means as overwhelmingly dominant and not at all so at the end - effectively cut and ran after the Second World War. It ended up more of a mess than it started out as.

Even in an ideal world, a world in which the current style of Great Power politics was universally abandoned, the sudden withdrawal of the US would cause instability and chaos. The disengagement would have to be gradual.

But there is no such ideal world as that and there will not be. Therefore the sudden withdrawal of the US would leave a power vacuum that others would fill.

What others? Imagine a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now .

The European elites wish to see Europe as a world power. Unrealistic, perhaps, but say that entity did become a dominant force. They complain about the lack of democratic control in the States, but that's nothing to the lack of democratic control in Europe. And we've already seen what the Europeans, including us, are capable of when it comes to predatory foreign intervention. Give the Europeans enough things that go bang and we could be yearning for the good old days.

I'm one of those that still hope that the non-interventionist policy that was voted for in America in 2016 will be carried through. But if that is indeed Trump's intention then there is more in his way than local political or administrative difficulties. To engineer such a transition would require great care. It's no good if the US just steps back and worse comes forward to take its place.

It's not overly idealistic, or even that unrealistic, to hope for a world in which defense forces (AND defensive alliances) are used for the proper purpose of defence and not for expensive and destructive enterprises dreamed up by some bubble elite. That's part of what Trump 2016 was about. But getting to such a world would require a considerably more careful transition than we've seen in similar circumstances in the past.

[Jan 21, 2018] Syria - Turks Attack Afrin, U.S. Strategy Fails, Kurds Again Chose The Losing Side

There are some analogies here with the recent Poroshenko government desire to take Donbass area back by military force.
Notable quotes:
"... How will this breakup of Syrian national territory affect the situation between the Donbass region and the Ukraine junta? ..."
"... True and very sad. The Syrians have been caught in the crossfire since the beginning. We have theorized over the various causes of the war, but, in the end, when the superpowers are hanging around, Syrians are the first row of pieces to be sacrificed. ..."
"... The Afrin war plays several roles. It will demonize and demoralize further the 'independentist' Kurds, awake the nationalist Turkish feeling by displaying military power that has been damaged by the coup, boost the Islamist flame among the rural Turks so the Turks can forget about their grudge over the EU and the declining buying power. ..."
"... All the actors are tributaries flowing into the main river, and all moving in the same general direction, because the river is actually the tide of history. All players are advancing to meet their inevitable destinie ..."
Jan 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

BRF , Jan 21, 2018 10:28:49 AM | 17

Let me see if I understand all this? The Erdogan Turks fully back the terrorists in Syria aiming to dislodge the Assad Syrian government. The USA et al fully backs the same.

The USA also backs the PKK/YPG Kurd faction in Syria as a means to at least break up Syrian national territory, as originally in their plans, even if they do remove the Assad government as originally planned.

Erdogan has wanted to expand Turkey's national boundaries at the expense of Syria's. This latest encroachment, as with Euphrates Shield, accomplishes this goal especially if they can subsume their terrorist proxies occupied areas in Idlib Province as the USA has by using their newest Kurd proxies in eastern Syria. Erdogan need only create some new proxy (Turkmen?) and go after the terrorists and Kurds in western Syria. No doubt with American help.

Erdogan and the USA disagree only on what future the Kurdish people will play in the eastern territories of Syria and Turkey. So what will be the necessary accommodation between them?

If a Kurdish state is declared and backed by NATO and a UN resolution what if anything can Syria and her allies do about it as war is simply out of the question.

How will this breakup of Syrian national territory affect the situation between the Donbass region and the Ukraine junta?

NemesisCalling , Jan 21, 2018 1:41:54 PM | 37
This would not be some devious plot by Turks/US to prolong the war in Syria and give cover to send more troops in ... troops that never leave? The whole thing seems a bit too ... convenient.

Posted by: GoraDiva | Jan 21, 2018 1:22:57 PM | 35

@35 E

True and very sad. The Syrians have been caught in the crossfire since the