Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #782 All’s Well That’s Orwell, Part 2: The Ministry of Truth and the Ukrainian Crisis, Part 2 (Schmemann Uber Alles)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Swoboda leader Oleh Tiahanybok salutes

Introduction: This pro­gram con­tin­ues analy­sis of the instal­la­tion in the Ukraine of a gov­ern­ment com­posed largely of polit­i­cal forces evolved from, and man­i­fest­ing ide­o­log­i­cal con­ti­nu­ity with, the fas­cist OUN/B.

Hav­ing staffed the 14th Waf­fen SS (Gali­cian) Divi­sion and the Ein­satz­grup­pen (mobile exe­cu­tion squads) in the Ukraine, the OUN/B was a piv­otal ele­ment in the post­war Gehlen spy out­fit in its CIA and BND incar­na­tions, the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and the GOP eth­nic out­reach organization.

OUN/B has been deeply involved with covert oper­a­tions and fig­ures in the inves­ti­ga­tion into the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, as well as the de-stabilization of the Soviet Union dur­ing the cli­mac­tic phase of the Cold War. With a pro­found pres­ence in the GOP’s eth­nic divi­sion, as well as the con­tem­po­rary Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal infra­struc­ture, the OUN/B is any­thing but an his­tor­i­cal relic. The devel­op­ment of the OUN/B in both the U.S. and the Ukraine is explained in great his­tor­i­cal depth in AFA #37.

The Orwellian aspects of the Ukrainian crisis could not be exaggerated and are explored at greater length in this program.

(We have done five pro­grams to date about the Ukrain­ian cri­sis: FTR #‘s 777778779780781.)

The pro­gram begins by reviewing some of the Yuschenko regime’s delib­er­ate and fun­da­men­tal remak­ing of Ukrain­ian his­tory and ide­ol­ogy. Hav­ing lit­er­ally cre­ated an Orwellian “Min­istry of Truth,” Yuschenko’s gov­ern­ment paved the way for the polit­i­cal mid­wif­ing of the Swo­boda party–the heirs to the OUN/B.

Swinging the spotlight to this side of the Atlantic, the broadcast highlights the Orwellian nature of U.S. media coverage of the events in the Ukraine. In particular, the disgraceful behavior of The New York Timesthe CIA’s #1 propaganda asset–is set forth here.

If Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavarov said that “2 + 2+4,” the Times would present it thusly: “In a joint press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavarov repeated their allegation that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Incessantly repeated by the Russian media since the secessionist vote in the Crimea was scheduled, this is a major theme of Russian mathematical propaganda.”

Accord­ing to The Min­istry of Truth (in this case The New York Times), Swoboda is now “moderate.”  We guess that is what hap­pens when the leader of the group meets with the Sec­re­tary of State (John Kerry.) Swoboda’s mod­er­a­tion is indi­cated by their unwill­ing­ness to “openly” advo­cate throw­ing fire­bombs at the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment secu­rity forces.

The Times portrays as outlandish propaganda the [accu­rate] Russ­ian claim that the new gov­ern­ment of the Ukraine is com­posed of Nazis to a con­sid­er­able extent. The Per Anders Rudling text excerpted above provides ample documentation of this.) The Gray Lady similarly portrays the Russian [accurate] claim that the current government is composed of political heirs to Stephan Bandera. Again, that is a fact, NOT Russian propaganda.

A significant element of the discussion centers on the Times’ editorial board member Serge Schmemann. Of White Russian extraction, his family background and journalistic behavior raise the question of whether Schmemann might have links to the anti-communist axis emigre milieu.

Born in France dur­ing the clos­ing days of World War II, Schme­mann grew up speak­ing Russ­ian and came to the U.S. when his fam­ily moved here in 1951. We won­der if the Schme­mann fam­ily and Serge, in par­tic­u­lar, may have had con­tact with anti-Soviet intel­li­gence and/or fas­cist net­works? Might they have had links to the Promethean League? Might they have had some links to Third Reich intel­li­gence and/or the Gehlen org? Might Serge have links with some ele­ment of CIA or other intel­li­gence agency?

IF so, might that account for the edi­to­r­ial bias of the Times with regard to the Ukrain­ian crisis?

Schme­mann wrote a badly slanted book review he wrote in 1988. He was dis­mis­sive of Christo­pher Simpson’s accu­rate assess­ment of the role of anti-Soviet Axis col­lab­o­ra­tors within the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion and their per­ma­nent, destruc­tive imprint on U.S. for­eign and national secu­rity policy. The political axis defined by Ykaterina [Chumachenko] Yuschenko and her husband and their role in realizing the Ukrainian Ministry of Truth, discussed in FTR #781, bears ample witness to the accuracy of Simpson’s analysis, as does AFA #37.

One of the ele­ments looming large in the Ukrainian crisis is the pan-Turkist move­ment. Allied with Nazi Ger­many in World War II and fas­cist in nature, the pan-Turkists had long sought to carve up the Soviet Union and restore the Ottomon Empire. The program devotes considerable time to an excerpt from AFA #14 (recorded in January of 1986.)

The focal point of the discussion is the Promethean League. An anti-Soviet network similar to the World Anti-Communist League, the Promethean League was established between the world wars. Subsidized by Marshall Pilsudski’s Polish intelligence apparatus, the group was physically based in Poland, but heavily supported by French intelligence and ideologists based in France. Featuring Pan-Turkist and Ukrainian elements, many of the Promethean League groups jumped first to the Third Reich and later to elements of Western intelligence and allied organizations.

Program Highlights Include: Swoboda leader Oleh Tyan­hy­bok, was hon­ored by vet­er­ans of the 14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion (Gali­cia); in April of 2011, Swo­boda returned the favor, hon­or­ing the vet­er­ans of the 14th Waf­fen SS in Lvov; Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s support for the Crimean Tatars; the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Hizb Ut-Tahrir in the Crimea; the role of Theodor Oberlander in the mobilizing of Turkophone minorities on behalf of the Third Reich; Oberlander’s role as political officer of the Einsatzgruppe Nachtgall.

1. The pro­gram reviews some of the Yuschenko regime’s delib­er­ate and fun­da­men­tal remak­ing of Ukrain­ian his­tory and ide­ol­ogy. Hav­ing lit­er­ally cre­ated an Orwellian “Min­istry of Truth,” Yuschenko’s gov­ern­ment paved the way for the polit­i­cal mid­wif­ing of the Swo­boda party–the heirs to the OUN/B.

“The Return of the Ukrain­ian Far Right: The Case of VO Svo­boda,” by Per Anders Rudling;  Ana­lyz­ing Fas­cist Dis­course: Euro­pean Fas­cism in Talk and Text edited by Ruth Wodak and John E. Richardson;  Routledge [Lon­don and New York] 2013; pp. 228–255, more.

Note that this book is in Google Books.

. . . . . Swept to power by the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion, the third pres­i­dent of Ukraine,Viktor Yushchenko (2005–2010), put in sub­stan­tial efforts into the pro­duc­tion of his­tor­i­cal myths. He tasked a set of nation­al­is­ti­cally minded his­to­ri­ans to pro­duce and dis­sem­i­nate an edi­fy­ing national his­tory as well as a new set of national heroes. . . . .

. . . . . The OUN wings dis­agreed on strat­egy and ide­ol­ogy but shared a com­mit­ment to the man­u­fac­ture of a his­tor­i­cal past based on vic­tim­iza­tion and hero­ism. The émigrés devel­oped an entire lit­er­a­ture that denied the OUN’s fas­cism, its col­lab­o­ra­tion with Nazi Ger­many, and its par­tic­i­pa­tion in atroc­i­ties, instead pre­sent­ing the orga­ni­za­tion as com­posed of democ­rats and plu­ral­ists who had res­cued Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust. The dias­pora nar­ra­tive was con­tra­dic­tory, com­bin­ing cel­e­bra­tions of the sup­pos­edly anti-Nazi resis­tance strug­gle of the OUN-UPA with cel­e­bra­tions of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien, a Ukrain­ian col­lab­o­ra­tionist for­ma­tion estab­lished by Hein­rich Himm­ler in 1943 (Rudling, 2011a, 2011c, 2012a). Thus, Ukrain­ian Waf­fen SS vet­er­ans could cel­e­brate the UPA as “anti-Nazi resis­tance fighters” while belong­ing to the same war vet­er­ans’ orga­ni­za­tions (Bairak, 1978). Unlike their coun­ter­parts in some other post-Soviet states, Ukrain­ian “nation­al­iz­ing” his­to­ri­ans did not have to invent new nation­al­ist myths but re-imported a nar­ra­tive devel­oped by the émigrés (Dietsch, 2006: 111–146; Rudling, 2011a: 751–753). . . . .

YUSHCHENKOISM

As pres­i­dent, Yushchenko ini­ti­ated sub­stan­tial gov­ern­ment pro­pa­ganda ini­tia­tives. In July 2005, he estab­lished an Insti­tute of National Mem­oryassigned the archives of the for­mer KGB (now the SBU, Sluzhba Bezpeki Ukrainy, the Ukrain­ian Secu­rity Ser­vice) for­mal pro­pa­gan­dis­tic duties and sup­ported the cre­ation of a “Museum of Soviet Occu­pa­tion” in Kyiv (Jilge, 2008: 174). Yushchenko appointed the young activist Volodymyr V’’iatrovych (b. 1977) direc­tor of the SBU archives. V’’iatrovych com­bined his posi­tion as government-appointed mem­ory man­ager with ultra-nationalist activism; he was simul­ta­ne­ously direc­tor of an OUN(b) front orga­ni­za­tion, the Cen­ter for the Study for the Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment. State insti­tu­tions dis­sem­i­nated a san­i­tized, edi­fy­ingly patri­otic ver­sion of the his­tory of the “Ukrain­ian national lib­er­a­tion move­ment,” the lead­ers of which were pre­sented in icono­graphic form as heroic and saintly figures, mar­tyrs of the nation (Rasevych, 2010; Rudling, 2011c: 26–33, 2012b). . . .

. . . A recon­structed his­tor­i­cal mem­ory is cre­ated as ‘true mem­ory’ and then con­trasted with ‘false Soviet his­tory’ ”(Jilge, 2007:104–105). Thus, Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko, SBU direc­tor under Yushchenko, described the task of his agency as being to dis­sem­i­nate “the his­tor­i­cal truth of the past of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple,” to “lib­er­ate Ukrain­ian his­tory from lies and falsifications and to work with truth­ful doc­u­ments only” (Jilge, 2008:179). Ignor­ing the OUN’s anti­semitism, deny­ing its par­tic­i­pa­tion in anti– Jew­ish vio­lence, and over­look­ing its fas­cist ide­ol­ogy, Naly­vaichenko and his agency pre­sented the OUN as democ­rats, plu­ral­ists, even right­eous res­cuers of Jews dur­ing the Holocaust. . . . 

. . . . On June 30, 2011, the 70th anniver­sary of the Ger­man inva­sion and Stetsko’s “renewal of Ukrain­ian state­hood” was re-enacted in Lviv as a pop­u­lar fes­ti­val, where par­ents with small chil­dren waved flags to re-enactors in SS uni­forms. . . .

. . . . Svoboda’s claims to the OUN legacy are based upon ide­o­log­i­cal con­ti­nu­ity, as well as orga­ni­za­tion and polit­i­cal cul­ture (Shekhovtsov, 2011b:13–14). Pre­sent­ing Svo­boda as the suc­ces­sor of Dontsov and the OUN, Tiah­ny­bok regards Svo­boda as “an Order-party which con­sti­tutes the true elite of the nation” (Tiah­ny­bok, 2011). Like those of many other far-right move­ments, Svoboda’s official pol­icy doc­u­ments are rel­a­tively cau­tious and dif­fer from its daily activ­i­ties and inter­nal jar­gon, which are much more rad­i­cal and racist (Olszan´ski, 2011). . . .

Fol­low­ing vio­lent clashes, the police detained more than 50 Svo­boda activists, armed with gas can­is­ters, smoke bombs and cat­a­pults. The Cherkasy branch of Svo­boda crit­i­cized the police for their alleged fail­ure “to stop and avert aggres­sion by Hasidic Jews to Ukraini­ans” (“Uman: Righ-twing activists detained,” 2011). Svoboda’s anti-Russian and anti-Jewish rhetoric is accom­pa­nied by an anti-Polish mes­sage. Svo­boda main­tains that Poland has played a neg­a­tive his­tor­i­cal role in Ukrain­ian lands. The party demands an official apol­ogy from Poland for five hun­dred years of Pol­o­niza­tion, from the 15th to the 20th cen­turies, and indem­ni­ties for “the Pol­ish ter­ror and occu­pa­tion of Ukrain­ian lands in the 20th cen­tury” (“Zaiava VO ‘Svo­boda’ shchodoproia­viv ukrain­o­fo­bii,” 2010). Focus­ing on divi­sive and sen­si­tive issues, Svo­boda provoca­tively denies any involve­ment of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien in atroc­i­ties against the Pol­ish minor­ity in Gali­cia. For instance, on the site of Huta Pieni­acka, Svo­boda has placed a huge bill­board deny­ing the con­clu­sion of both Pol­ish and Ukrain­ian his­tor­i­cal com­mis­sions that the fourth police reg­i­ment, which was later adjoined to the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien, burnt this Pol­ish vil­lage and slaugh­tered most of its res­i­dents on Feb­ru­ary 28, 1944. . . .

In Canada, in May 2010, Tiah­ny­bok received the golden cross “for his ser­vice to Ukraine” from the Broth­er­hood of the Vet­er­ans of the First Ukrain­ian Divi­sion of the Ukrain­ian National Army, as the vet­er­ans of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien call them­selves (“Esesovtsy nagradil lid­er­aukrain­skikh nat­sion­al­is­tov,” 2010). Fol­low­ing the con­vic­tion and sen­tenc­ing of the death camp guard John Dem­jan­juk to five years of jail for his role as an acces­sory to the mur­der of 27,900 peo­ple at the Sobibór death camp,Tiahnybok trav­eled to Ger­many and met up with Demjanjuk’s lawyer, Ulrich Busch, pre­sent­ing the death camp guard as a hero, a vic­tim of per­se­cu­tion, who is “fight­ing for truth” (“Oleh Tiah­ny­bok iz dvo­den­nym vizy­tomvid­vi­dav Nimechynu,” 2010). . . .

. . . . Yurii Mykhal’chyshyn (b. 1982), Tiahnybok’s adviser on ide­o­log­i­cal mat­ters, Svoboda’s top name in the elec­tion to the Lviv city coun­cil and its can­di­date for mayor in 2010, rep­re­sents a more rad­i­cal cur­rent in the move­ment.Proudly con­fess­ing him­self part of the fas­cist tra­di­tion, Mykhal’chyshyn rel­ishes the harsh­ness, extrem­ism and uncom­pro­mis­ing rad­i­cal­ism of his idols of the 1930s and 1940s. Con­stantly reit­er­at­ing that “We con­sider tol­er­ance a crime” and that “We value the truth of the spirit and blood over-all suc­cess and wealth” (Nasha Vatra , n.d.),Mykhal’chyshyn takes pride in the label “extrem­ist,” which he proudly shares with “Stepan Bandera,who cre­ated an under­ground terrorist-revolutionary army, the shadow of which still stirs up hor­ri­ble fear in the hearts of the ene­mies of our Nation”(Mykhal’chyshyn, “Ori­en­tyry”, n.d.). Mykhal’chyshyn serves as a link between VO Svo­boda and the so-called autonomous nation­al­ists. Mir­ror­ing the “autonomous anar­chists” of the extreme left, which they resem­ble in terms of dress code, lifestyle, aes­thet­ics, sym­bol­ism and orga­ni­za­tion, the “autonomous nation­al­ists” attract par­tic­u­larly mil­i­tant and extremely vio­lent “event-oriented” young fas­cists. . . . .

. . . . The glorification of street vio­lence is a key com­po­nent of this polit­i­cal sub­cul­ture: in an extra ses­sion with the Lviv regional Rada in front of the Ban­dera memo­r­ial in Lviv, Mykhal’chyshyn boasted that “Our Ban­derite army will cross the Dnipro and throw that blue-ass gang, which today usurps the power, out of Ukraine. . . . That will make those Asi­atic dogs shut their ugly mouths.” . . . .

. . . . Explic­itly endors­ing Hamas, Mykhal’chyshyn regards the Holo­caust as “a bright episode in Euro­pean civ­i­liza­tion” . . . .

. . . . We rec­og­nize the heavy empha­sis on heroes and hero­ism from the nar­ra­tive of the émigré OUN and from Yushchenko’s legit­imiz­ing his­to­ri­ans. The dif­fer­ence is that, unlike these two influences, Mykhal’chyshyn does not deny Ban­dera and Stets’ko’s fas­cism. On the con­trary, their fas­cist ide­ol­ogy con­sti­tutes the basis for his admi­ra­tion. . . .

. . . . Yushchenko left behind a legacy of myths which helped legit­imized Svoboda’s ide­ol­ogy. Svoboda’s appro­pri­a­tion of many rit­u­als in hon­our of “national heroes” from more mod­er­ate nation­al­ists is but one expres­sion of its increased polit­i­cal strength in post-Yushchenko West­ern Ukraine. . . .

. . . . On April 28, 2011, Svo­boda cel­e­brated the 68th anniver­sary of the estab­lish­ment of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien. Octo­ge­nar­ian Waf­fen SS vet­er­ans were treated as heroes in a mass rally, orga­nized by Svo­boda and the “autonomous nation­al­ists.” Nearly 700 par­tic­i­pants (the orga­niz­ers claimed 2,000) marched down the streets of Lviv, from the mas­sive socialist–realist style Ban­dera mon­u­ment, to Prospekt Svo­body, the main street, shout­ing slo­gans like “One race, one nation, one fatherland!,” . . . .

. . . . The pro­ces­sion was led by Mykhal’chyshyn . . . .

2.  So, accord­ing to The Min­istry of Truth, Swo­boda is now “moderate.” We guess that is what hap­pens when the leader of the group meets with the Sec­re­tary of State (John Kerry.)

Notice that Swoboda’s mod­er­a­tion is indi­cated by their unwill­ing­ness to “openly” advo­cate throw­ing fire­bombs at the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment secu­rity forces. Hey, that sure sounds mod­er­ate to us!

In 2010, Oleh Tyan­hy­bok, the leader of the group was hon­ored by vet­er­ans of the 14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion (Galicia). In April of 2011, Swoboda returned the favor, honoring the veterans of the 14th Waffen SS in Lvov.

“Front and Cen­ter in Ukraine Race, a Leader of the Far Right” by Andrew E. Kramer; The New York Times; 3/11/2014.

. . . . Mr. Yarosh has hinted at a role for his group in bal­anc­ing the influ­ence of a long­time player in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, the for­mer prime min­is­ter who emerged from prison after the fall of the old gov­ern­ment with mem­bers of her polit­i­cal party, Father­land, already hold­ing the posi­tions of act­ing pres­i­dent and prime minister.

Before the protests, the nation­al­ist party Svo­boda had occu­pied the nation­al­ist niche to the right of Ms. Tymoshenko. But Svo­boda and Father­land are now allied. . . . [They were all along. Just check out FTR #779–D.E.)

The Svo­boda party, mean­while, has mod­er­ated, and did not openly [!–D.E.] endorse the tac­tic of throw­ing fire­bombs when street fight­ing began in Jan­u­ary. Svo­boda was founded in 1991 under the name the Socialist-Nationalist Party of Ukraine, with a sym­bol that resem­bled a swastika. Its leader, Oleg Tyag­ni­bok, met Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry on Tues­day . . . .

3. We note the deliberate slanting of coverage of the Ukrainian crisis in the New York Times. Note how the Times spins the [accurate] Russian claim that the new government of the Ukraine is composed of Nazis to a considerable extent. The earlier programs about the Ukrainian crisis should provide ample documentation of this.

“In Crimea’s Phantom War, Armed Men Face Unseen Foe” by Andrew Higgins and Alison Smale; The New York Times; 3/2/2014.

. . . Russian media, a potent weapon in a battle to demoralize and divide what remains of Ukrainian state authority in Crimea, has announced a string of defections, some true, some not, and kept up a drumbeat with accounts of how Ukraine has slipped into the hands of extremists, terrorists and even Nazis. [They are–D.E.]. . .

4. Note how the Times subtly spins the accurate analysis of the new Ukrainian government as successors to Bandera’s OUN/B forces. It is not “Russian propaganda.”

“As Putin Orders Drills in Crimea, Protesters’ Clash Shows Region’s Divide” by Andrew Higgins and Steven Lee Myers; The New York Times; 2/26/2014.

. . . . “I don’t want to live in a country run by fascists,” said Sergei Gaenko, a retired law enforcement official, echoing a widespread view here that Mr. Yanukovych’s ouster was engineered by the political descendants of militant Ukrainian nationalists who, during World War II, sometimes formed loose tactical alliances with Hitler’s invading army.

Crimea, he added, was “illegally given to Ukraine” by Nikita Khrushchev and he said it was time to “correct an historic injustice.” Like many Russians here, he scorned the new interim government as made up of “Banderovtsi,” a derogatory Soviet term used to describe followers of Stepan Bandera, a wartime Ukrainian nationalist leader vilified by Moscow as a pro-Nazi traitor. .

5a. The New York Times noted that Obama has not reacted to the “demo­c­ra­tic” devel­op­ments in the Ukraine in the way that George W. Bush reacted to the “Orange Revolution.” Note how the Gray Lady references Paula J. Dobriansky’s viewpoint. A member of the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan, Dobriansky was a Deputy Secretary of State under George W. Bush. The daughter of Lev Dobriansky, Paula is part and parcel to the OUN/B milieu in the United States.

“Wary Stance from Obama on Ukraine” by Peter Baker; The New York Times; 2/24/2014.

Tele­vi­sions around the White House were aglow with pic­tures of Ukraini­ans in the streets, demand­ing to be heard and top­pling a gov­ern­ment aligned with Rus­sia. It was an invig­o­rat­ing moment, and it spurred a pres­i­dent already rethink­ing his approach to the world.

That was a dif­fer­ent decade and a dif­fer­ent pres­i­dent. While George W. Bush was inspired by the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion of 2004 and weeks later vowed in his sec­ond inau­gural address to pro­mote democ­racy, Barack Obama has approached the rev­o­lu­tion of 2014 with a more clin­i­cal detach­ment aimed at avoid­ing instability.

 Rather than an oppor­tu­nity to spread free­dom in a part of the world long plagued by cor­rup­tion and oppres­sion, Mr. Obama sees Ukraine’s cri­sis as a prob­lem to be man­aged, ide­ally with a min­i­mum of vio­lence or geopo­lit­i­cal upheaval. While cer­tainly sym­pa­thetic to the pro-Western pro­test­ers who pushed out Pres­i­dent Vik­tor F. Yanukovych and hope­ful that they can estab­lish a rep­re­sen­ta­tively elected gov­ern­ment, Mr. Obama has not made global aspi­ra­tions of democ­racy the ani­mat­ing force of his presidency.

“I just think this pres­i­dent is not going to lean for­ward on his skis with regard to democ­racy pro­mo­tion,” said John Lewis Gad­dis, a Yale Uni­ver­sity his­to­rian who advised the Bush White House as speech­writ­ers worked on the for­mer president’s Jan­u­ary 2005 inau­gural address promis­ing to com­bat tyranny abroad. “If any­thing, he’s going to lean back and let nat­ural forces take us there, if they do.” . . . . “The administration’s Ukraine pol­icy is emblem­atic of a broader prob­lem with today’s for­eign pol­icy — absence of a strate­gic vision, dis­in­ter­est in democ­racy pro­mo­tion and an unwill­ing­ness to lead,” said Paula J. Dobri­an­sky, an under sec­re­tary of state for Mr. Bush. . . .

5b. Note that the rhetor­i­cal pres­sure on Obama com­ing from Paula Dobri­an­sky is com­ing from some­one con­nected to the OUN/B milieu and its par­tic­i­pa­tion in the GOP and Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion.

“Is the US Back­ing neo-Nazis in the Ukraine?” by Max Blu­men­thal [Alter­net]; Salon.com; 2/25/2014.

. . . In Wash­ing­ton, the OUN-B recon­sti­tuted under the ban­ner of the Ukrain­ian Con­gress Com­mit­tee of Amer­ica (UCCA), an umbrella orga­ni­za­tion com­prised of “com­plete OUN-B fronts,” accord­ing to Bel­lant. By the mid-1980’s, the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion was hon­ey­combed with UCCA mem­bers, with the group’s chair­man Lev Dobri­an­sky, serv­ing as ambas­sador to the Bahamas, and his daugh­ter, Paula, sit­ting on the National Secu­rity Coun­cil. Rea­gan per­son­ally wel­comed Stet­sko, the Ban­derist leader who over­saw the mas­sacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983.“Your strug­gle is our strug­gle,” Rea­gan told the for­mer Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor. “Your dream is our dream.” . . .

6. A gentleman named Serge Schmemann is an important member of the Times’ editorial board. He was formerly the Times‘ Bonn bureau chief, when that city was the former West Germany’s capital. We haven’t seen many bi-lines featuring Mr. Schmemann’s recently. He has been featured in editorial musings in recent Sunday Times editions.

We remember Schmemann from a badly slanted book review he wrote in 1988. He was dismissive of Christopher Simpson’s accurate assessment of the role of anti-Soviet Axis collaborators within the Reagan administration and their permanent, destructive imprint on U.S. foreign and national security policy.

The role of Ms. Chumachenko/Yuschenko and her husband in remaking Ukrainian history and ideology to pave the way for the rise of Swoboda, Pravy Sektor and other OUN/B clones bears brutal testimony to the accuracy of Simpson’s analysis.

“Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Nazi Scientists” by Serge Schmemann; The New York Times; 5/8/1988.

. . . .But Mr. Simpson argues further that the recruitment of East Europeans and other anti-Communists by the C.I.A. after the war served to keep Washington on a cold-war track to this day. He talks of ”the scars that secret emigre anti-Communist programs have left on life in the United States,” down to the survival of the ”liberationist cause” in the Reagan administration’s ”cold-war strategy.”

There are several problems here. Most seriously, Mr. Simpson’s logic has the effect of smearing anti-Communism with the taint of Nazism. ”Liberationism” may not be a uniquely Nazi idea, he writes, ”but the fact remains that ideas and theories have histories, just as nations do. . . . The true origins of liberationism as a coherent philosophy lie in Nazi Germany and in the Nazis’ political warfare campaign on the eastern front, and nowhere else.” Today ”liberation activists” may have a reasonably sophisticated agenda, he continues, but ”the one position they cling to above all . . . is an implacable paranoia toward the USSR that would permit no arms control treaties, no trade and indeed no East-West cooperation of any type, only relentless preparation for war.” That is a serious charge, and, in the light of the real case histories of Nazi mass murderers, it is patently unfair. . . .

. . . . Mr. Simpson claims that something called the Captive Nations movement, in which the C.I.A. had a hand, hindered Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon in their search for detente with the Soviet Union. Even if it did, is that really a ”blowback” from the recruitment of Nazis?

Mr. Simpson likewise seems to make a fairly heady leap from argument to conclusion in describing how clandestine operations to ”roll back Communism” backfired in Eastern Europe. In the case of the Ukraine, he claims, ”instead of rallying to the new ‘democratic’ movement, there is every indication that many of the ordinary people of the Ukraine gave increased credence to the Soviet government’s message that the United States, too, was really Nazi at heart and capable of using any sort of deceit and violence to achieve its ends.” . . .

7. Serge Schmemann has a White Russian background. Born in France during the closing days of World War II, Schmemann grew up speaking Russian and came to the U.S. when his family moved here in 1951. We wonder if the Schmemann family and Serge, in particular, may have had contact with anti-Soviet intelligence and/or fascist networks? Might they have had links to the Promethean League (see below for details)? Might they have had some links to Third Reich intelligence and/or the Gehlen org? Might Serge have links with some element of CIA or other intelligence agency?

IF so, might that account for the editorial bias of the Times with regard to the Ukrainian crisis?

“Serge Schmemann’: Wikipedia.com

Born in France [4/12/1945], the son of Alexander Schmemann and Juliana Ossorguine (a descendant of Juliana of Lazarevo, a Russian Orthodox Saint),[2] he moved to the United States as a child, in 1951. He grew up speaking Russian at home, but he visited his ancestral homeland for the first time only in 1980 when he arrived with his family as Moscow correspondent for the Associated Press. It was not until 1990 that the Soviet authorities allowed him to visit his grandparents’ home village near Kaluga. . . . .

. . . .Writing for The New York Times, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1991 for his coverage of the reunification of Germany,[1] . . .

8. Note that Serge’s father Alexander was the son of an emigre Czarist officer and resided in France during the period that the Promethean League was very active there. Alexander Schmemann was being educated in France during the course of the Nazi occupation of that country.

“Alexander Schmemann”; Wikipedia.com

. . . . Alexander Schmemann was born on 13 September 1921 in Tallinn, Estonia, into a family of Russian White émigrés. His grandfather had been a senator and a member of the State Council and his father an officer of the Imperial Life-Guards. When he was a child his family moved to France, where he was educated in Russian schools and at a French lycee before becoming a student at the University of Paris (1940–1945) . . .

9. In the past, we have noted that the supposedly “moderate” Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan isn’t “moderate” at all. Descended from the Al-Taqwa/Muslim Brotherhood milieu, it is both Islamist and Pan-Turkist in its outlook. Erdogan and his foreign minister have been posturing in defense of the Crimean Tatars and–doing something he has become known for–conjuring the Ottoman Empire in their political pronouncements.

“Turkey Moves to Protect Crimea’s Tatar Minority”; Middle East Online; 3/13/2014.

Turkey, which has kept a low profile in the Ukraine crisis, is making moves to protect Crimea’s ethnic Tatar minority as the region prepares for a referendum on joining Russia this week.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to support Crimea’s Turkish-speaking Tatar minority, which Ankara fears could be sidelined in a March 16 vote on switching over to Kremlin rule.

“Turkey has never left Crimean Tatars alone and will never do so,” he said, after a phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed to protect the “rights of our kinsmen” after meeting with Ukrainian officials and representatives of the Tatar community during an unscheduled visit to Kiev earlier this month. . . .

10. Of considerable importance in the context of the Crimean Tatar population of the Ukraine is the fact that Hizb ut-Tahrir has a cadre in that historically peaceful and ecumenical population group. Hizb ut-Tahrir is both Islamist and associated with Pan-Turkism. The group has networked with the NPD, the top German neo-Nazi party.

“Crimean Tatars on Guard Against Joining Russia” by Noah Sneider; The New York Times; 3/14/2014.

. . . . While the Tatars have a history of peaceful resistance, the potential for radicalization does exist. Tatar militants have fought alongside the opposition in Syria, and Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group banned in several countries including Russia, has 1,000 members in Crimea, according to Fazil Amzayev, a spokesman for the group’s local chapter. . . .

11. One of the ele­ments looming large in the Ukrainian crisis is the pan-Turkist move­ment. Allied with Nazi Ger­many in World War II and fas­cist in nature, the pan-Turkists had long sought to carve up the Soviet Union and restore the Ottomon Empire. The program devotes considerable time to an excerpt from AFA #14 (recorded in January of 1986.)

The focal point of the discussion is the Promethean League. An anti-Soviet network similar to the World Anti-Communist League, the Promethean League was established between the world wars. Subsidized by Marshall Pilsudski’s Polish intelligence apparatus, the group was physically based in Poland, but heavily supported by French intelligence and ideologists based in France. Featuring Pan-Turkist and Ukrainian elements, many of the Promethean League groups jumped first to the Third Reich and later to elements of Western intelligence and allied organizations.

 

Discussion

5 comments for “FTR #782 All’s Well That’s Orwell, Part 2: The Ministry of Truth and the Ukrainian Crisis, Part 2 (Schmemann Uber Alles)”

  1. Here’s a great and very long interview of Russ Bellant on the OUN-B and its ties to both Svoboda and the GOP and why it’s still very relevant history today:

    Foreign Policy In Focus
    Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America’s Dirty Little Ukraine Secret

    An interview with Russ Bellant, author of “Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party.”

    By Paul H. Rosenberg, March 18, 2014

    As the Ukrainian crisis has unfolded over the past few weeks, it’s hard for Americans not to see Vladimir Putin as the big villain. But the history of the region is a history of competing villains vying against one another; and one school of villains—the Nazis—have a long history of engagement with the US, mostly below the radar, but occasionally exposed, as they were by Russ Bellant in his book Old Nazis, The New Right And The Republican Party (South End Press, 1991). Bellant’s exposure of Nazi leaders from German allies in the 1988 Bush presidential campaign was the driving force in the announced resignation of nine individuals, two of them from the Ukraine, which is why he was the logical choice to turn to illuminate the scattered mentions of Nazi and fascist elements amongst the Ukrainian nationalists, which somehow never seems to warrant further comment or explanation. Of course most Ukranians aren’t Nazis or fascists—all the more reason to illuminate those who would hide their true natures in the shadows…or even behind the momentary glare of the spotlight.

    Your book, Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party exposed the deep involvement in the Republican Party of Nazi elements from Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukrainian, dating back to World War II and even before. As the Ukrainian crisis unfolded in the last few weeks there have been scattered mentions of a fascist or neo-fascist element, but somehow that never seems to warrant further comment or explanation. I can’t think of anyone better to shed light on what’s not being said about that element. The danger of Russian belligerence is increasingly obvious, but this unexamined fascist element poses dangers of its own. What can you tell us about this element and those dangers?

    The element has a long history, of a long record that speaks for itself, when that record is actually known and elaborated on. The key organization in the coup that took place here recently was the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists [OUN], or a specific branch of it known as the Banderas [OUN-B]. They’re the group behind the Svoboda party, which got a number of key positions in the new interim regime. The OUN goes back to the 1920s, when they split off from other groups, and, especially in the 1930s began a campaign of assassinating and otherwise terrorizing people who didn’t agree with them.

    As World War II approached, they made an alliance with the Nazi powers, they formed several military formations, so that when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, they had several battalions that went into the main city at the time, where their base was, Lvov, or Lwow, it has a variety of spellings [also ‘Lviv’]. They went in, and there’s a documented history of them participating in the identification and rounding up Jews in that city, and assisting in executing several thousand citizens almost immediately. There were also involved in liquidating Polish group populations in other parts of Ukraine during the war.

    Without getting deeply involved in that whole history, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists to this day defend their wartime role, they were backers of forming the 14th Waffen SS Division, which was the all-Ukrainian division that became an armed element on behalf of the Germans, and under overall German control. They helped encourage its formation, and after the war, right at the end of the war, it was called the First Ukrainian division and they still glorify that history of that SS division, and they have a veterans organization, that obviously doesn’t have too many of members left but they formed a veterans division of that.

    If you look insignia being worn in Kiev in the street demonstrations and marches to the SS division insignia still being worn. In fact I was looking at photographs last night of it and there was a whole formation marching, not with 14th Division, but with the Second Division, it was a large division that did major battle around the Ukraine, and these marchers were wearing the insignia on the armbands of the Second Division.

    So this is a very clear record, and the OUN, even in its postwar publications has called for ethno-genetically pure Ukrainian territory, which of course is simply calling for purging Jews, and Poles, and Russians from what they consider Ukrainian territory. Also, current leaders of Svoboda have made blatantly anti-Semitic remarks that call for getting rid of Muscovite Jews and so forth. They use this very coarse threatening language that anybody knowing the history of World War II would tremble at. If they were living here, it would seem like they would start worrying about it.

    Obviously these people don’t hold monopoly power in Ukraine, but they stepped up and the United States has been behind the Svoboda party and these Ukrainian nationalists. In fact the US connections to them go back to World War II and the United States has had a long-standing tie to the OUN, through the intelligence agencies, initially military intelligence, and later the CIA.

    Your book discusses a central figure in the OUN, Yaroslav Stetsko, who was politically active for decades here in America. What can you tell us about his history?

    Yaroslav Stetsko was the number two leader of the OUN during World War II and thereafter. In 1959, Stefan Bandera, who was head of the OUN, was killed and that’s when Stetsko assumed the leadership. Stetsko in 1941 was the guy who actually marched into Lvov with the German army June 30, 1941 and the OUN issued a proclamation at that time under his name praising and calling for glory to the German leader Adolf Hitler and how they’re going to march arm in arm for the Ukraine and so forth. After the war, he was part of the key leadership that got picked up by the Americans.

    There’s a number of accounts I’ve seen, at least three credible up reports, on how they were in the displaced person camp, the Allied forces set up displaced persons camp and picked up tens of thousands of these former allies of Hitler from countries all over the East, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania – there weren’t Polish collaborators I think most people know the Germans heavily persecuted and murdered millions of Polish residents – but Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, and so forth, Belorussia. They had them in these camps they built and organized them, where the Ukrainians were assassinating their Ukrainian nationalist rival so that they would be the undisputed leaders of Ukrainian nationalist movement, so they would get the sponsorship of the United States to continue their political operation, and they were successful in that regard. So when Bandera was out of the picture, Stetsko became the undisputed leader of Ukrainian nationalists.

    The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in 1943 under German sponsorship organized a multinational force to fight on behalf of the retreating German army. After the battle of Stalingrad in ’43 the Germans felt a heightened need to get more allies, and so the Romanian Iron Guard, the Hungarian Arrow Cross, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and others with military formations in place to assist came together and formed the united front called the Committee of Subjugated Nations and again worked on behalf of of the German military. In 1946, they renamed it the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, ABN. Stetsko was the leader of that until he died in 1986.

    I mention this in part because the OUN tries to say well during the war we fought the Germans and the communists. The fact of the matter is that they were the leadership of this whole multinational alliance on behalf of the German the last two years of the war and in the war thereafter. All the postwar leaders of the unrepentant Nazi allies were all under the leadership of Yaroslav Stetsko.

    What happened when Stetsko, and others like him from other German allied forces came to the United States?

    In the United States, when they came, his groups organized ‘captive nations’ committees, they became, supposedly, the representatives of people who are being oppressed in Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries, by the Soviet. But they were, in fact, being given an uncritical blank check to represent the voices of all these nations that were part of the Warsaw Pact when in fact they represented the most extreme elements of each of the national communities.

    The Captive Nations Committee in Washington DC for instance was run by the person who headed the Ukrainian organization of nationalists, that was true in a number of places. In my hometown area near Detroit as well, they played a major role. In the early 50s, when they were resettled in the United States, there was at least 10,000 of them that were resettled, when you look at all the nationalities. They became politically active through the Republican national committee, because it was really the Eisenhower administration that made the policy decision in the early 1950s, and brought them in. They set up these campaign organizations, every four years they would mobilize for the Republican candidate, whoever it would be, and some of them like Richard Nixon, in 1960, actually had close direct ties to some of the leaders like the Romanian Iron Guard, and some of these other groups.

    When Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968, he made a promise to these leaders that they would if he won the presidency he would make them the ethnic outreach arm of the Republican National Committee on a permanent basis, so they wouldn’t be a quadrennial presence, but a continuing presence in the Republican Party. And he made that promise through a guy named Laszlo Pasztor, who served five years in prison after World War II for crimes against humanity. He was prosecuted in 1946 by non-Communist government that actually had control of Hungary at the time. There was a period from ’45 to ’48 when the Hungarian Communist Party didn’t run Hungary. They were the ones who prosecuted him. He had served as a liaison between the Hungarian Nazi party and Berlin; he served in the Berlin embassy of the Hungarian Arrow Cross movement. This is the guy that got picked to organize all the ethnic groups, and the only people that got brought in were the Nazi collaborators.

    They didn’t have a Russian affiliate because they hated all Russians of all political stripes. There were no African Americans or Jewish affiliates either. It was just composed of these elements, and for a while they had a German affiliate but some exposure of the Nazi character of the German affiliate caused it to be quietly removed, but other [Nazi] elements were retained.

    Your book was an important revelation but was not alone. Your book notes that Jack Anderson reported on the pro-Nazi backgrounds of some of the ethnic advisors as far back as 1971, yet when your report came out almost two decades later, everyone responded with shock, surprise, and even denial. What lessons should we draw from this history of buried history? And how should it influence our thinking about the unfolding crisis in the Ukraine?

    I don’t believe it’s ever too late to become familiarized and educated about the history of this phenomenon both the wartime history and our postwar collaboration with these folks. There were a number of exposés written about the émigré Nazis. There was a 1979 book called Wanted and it did a number of case stories of these people being brought in to the United States, including the Trifa story. Christopher Simpson did a book called Blowback that discussed the policy decisions, it’s an incredible book. He’s a professor at American University and he did years of research through the freedom of information act and archives, and got the policy documents under which the decisions were made to bring these folks together, and not just into the United States but to deploy them around the world.

    Like my book, it didn’t get the attention it deserved. The New York Times book reviewer was negative toward the book. There are people that really don’t want to touch this stuff. There’s a lot of people who don’t want it touched. I think it’s really important for people who believe in openness and transparency and democratic values, who don’t want to see hate groups come back to power in other parts of the world to know what happened.

    There’s not very many Americans that really even know that the Waffen SS was a multinational force. That’s been kind of kept out of the received history. Otherwise people would know that there were Ukrainian Nazis, Hungarian Nazis, Latvian Nazis, and they were all involved in the mass murder of their fellow citizens, if they were Jewish, or even if they were co-nationalists that were on the other side of the issue of the war. They were just mass murderers, across Eastern Europe. And that history, those facts aren’t even well-known. A lot of people didn’t even know this phenomenon even existed.

    I think all Americans have a responsibility to know what their government is doing in the foreign policy in Europe as well as elsewhere around the world, as well as Latin America as well as Africa. Since our policy was to uphold apartheid in South Africa why weren’t Americans challenging that more? They began challenging that in the 80s, but the apartheid regime was run by the Nazi party. They were allied with Germany in World War II, they were the Nationalist party and they took power in 1948 and the United States backed that for decades. We backed the death squads in Latin America, even though they massacred tens of thousands of people – 30,000 people in Chile alone. Americans aren’t being attentive to what their government is doing abroad, even though it’s been doing done with their tax dollars and in their name, and I think we just have a general responsibility.

    I went to these meetings, I went to these conferences, I went over a period of years. I met with them directly, most of the people I wrote about, I met with them personally or in group meetings. People can’t afford to do that on their own, timewise, but there’s enough literature out there they can read and pursue it, they will get enough enough of a handle to get what the real picture is, to demand change. I’m not totally partisan in this, but I think the Republican Party was extreme on this, but the Democrats folded and didn’t challenge this when they knew it was going on.

    There is an old Roman poet that once said truth does not say one thing and wisdom another. I’m a believer in that. Tell the truth and wisdom will follow.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 18, 2014, 8:53 am
  2. There are all sorts of good reasons for keeping fascists out of your government. For instance, fascist chief prosecutors might have trouble remaining impartial:

    Kyiv Post
    Nationalist Svoboda Party members of parliament assault First Channel TV manager (VIDEO)

    March 19, 2014, 3:45 p.m. | Ukraine — by Olga Rudenko

    Several members of the nationalist Svoboda Party scandalously assaulted the acting CEO of state-owned First National TV channel. On March 18, lawmakers Ihor Miroshnichenko, Andriy Illenko and Bohdan Beniuk arrived at the TV headquarters with several other men and forced Oleksandr Panteleymonov to quit his post.

    In the video, which was first published by Svoboda spokesman Oleksandr Aronets and republished by Ukrainska Pravda after Aronets removed it, the members of parliament are seen questioning Panteleymonov in his office about Pershiy broadcasting Russian President’s Vladimir Putin’s speech about Crimea separation that took place in Moscow on March 18.

    “Our viewers have the right to know…” Panteleymonov starts mumbling explanations, but gets interrupted by the lawmakers shouting “Know what? Know what?”

    In the video, Panteleymonov is seen trying to explain himself and speaking politely, while the lawmakers surround him and shout rudely.

    Miroshnichenko, the leading voice of the group, proceeded to accuse Panteleymonov of directing an editorial policy aimed at discrediting the EuroMaidan Revolution at the behest of the former state authorities and demanded that Panteleymonov leave his post immediately.

    Panteleymonov refused to do so and mentioned that it was the Cabinet of Ministers that controlled the TV station.

    “Cabinet of Ministers is over. I’m telling you – write the paper,” Miroshnichenko shouted in the manager’s face as he grabbed him and pulled him through the room to his desk.

    Miroshnichenko then pushed Panteleymonov into his chair, Beniuk held him by the neck and Illienko passed him some paper. As Panteleymonov refused, Miroshnichenko and Beniuk beat him and slapped his face.

    Even though the video doesn’t show it, the lawmakers did force the manager to quit.

    As soon as the video was posted on the evening of March 18, it went viral and the actions of the lawmakers were widely condemned. Many were concerned that such actions coming from one of the parties that were brought to power after the EuroMaidan Revolution would fuel Russian propaganda that has focused on violence and nationalism in Ukraine.

    “These are not our methods. The actions of these lawmakers are unacceptable,” was the reaction of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, Svoboda’s political ally.

    The assault was also condemned by Ukraine’s Independent Media Union.

    Even Svoboda party head and Miroshnichenko’s friend Oleh Tyahnybok condemned the attack. “Such actions were fine yesterday (during the protests), but now they are inappropriate,” Tyahnybok said in official statement.

    After the scandal erupted, Svoboda’s Aronets deleted the video and all the eyes turned to the prosecutor general Oleh Maknitskiy. Also a Svoboda party member, Maknitskiy is now expected to impartially investigate the assault.

    On the morning of March 19, Makhnitskiy’s office released a statement promising to justly deal with the case. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov also condemned the assault and said he was ready to have police help the prosecutor general’s office in investigating the case.

    It begins. Hide the children.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 19, 2014, 7:07 am
  3. Yep!

    Ukraine-Europe deal may cause unrest in east
    Charles McPhedran, Special for USA TODAY 12:19 p.m. EDT March 21, 2014

    KHARKIV, Ukraine – Having lost control of Crimea, Ukraine moved Friday to strengthen ties to Europe in a pact that may spark political unrest in the eastern part of the country where substantial populations of ethnic Russians want to secede as well.

    The European Union and Ukraine signed elements of a political and economic agreement Friday, committing Ukraine to a deal that President Viktor Yanukovych had rejected in favor of better ties to Moscow.

    That rejection sparked massive protests in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, where most people favored closer ties to Europe. The protests led to Yanukovych’s overthrow but also gave rise to anti-Kiev protests in Crimea and a vote there Sunday to secede.

    Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially annexed Crimea.

    In the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, pro-Russia and and pro-Europe protesters have clashed sporadically for weeks. The city, near the border with Russia, was for decades under control of the communist Soviet Union, Russia’s predecessor, and signs of this past are everywhere.

    Soviet-style architecture is omnipresent as are statues of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet dictatorship, which dissolved in 1991. Unlike in Kiev, where Lenin’s statue was torn down and its bust scrawled with graffiti, in Kharkiv, the Soviet founder towers over the city’s central Freedom Square.

    In late February, pro-Western demonstrators wanted to pull down the statue but decided against it because they worried it would have collapsed the roof of the subway below.

    The attempt angered Ukrainians who look fondly on the days of the Soviet Union, some of whom hold a daily vigil at the statue. The mostly aging crowd accuses protesters in Kiev of being violent fascists and thugs trying to destroy a culture that venerates Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s victory over Adolf Hitler in World War II.

    “My father says he would cut his pension in half, so riot police have money to throw rocks at protesters,” said young communist Maxim Androsovsky, who went to Kiev to take part in protests against the pro-European group Maidan, named for the square where the anti-government protests were centered.

    “There’s no such thing as a peaceful Molotov cocktail,” he added, referring to homemade gasoline bombs thrown by pro-Western protesters.

    In a refutation of pro-Moscow sentiment Friday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed in Brussels core chapters of the agreement with the EU that Yanukovych rejected. Portions of the agreement on free trade will be signed after Ukraine has held presidential elections in May.

    Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, said the agreement would bring Ukraine and its 46 million people closer to a “European way of life.”

    Yes, according to the EC president, “the agreement would bring Ukraine and its 46 million people closer to a ‘European way of life'” which would be pretty exciting if that wasn’t a reference to the post-2008 ‘European way of life’ so you have to wonder how long this discontent with closer EU ties is going to be limited to Ukraine’s ethnic Russian population.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 21, 2014, 12:56 pm
  4. Because the situation in Ukraine just wasn’t Orwellian enough…

    Mashable
    Ukraine just created its own version of Orwell’s ‘Ministry of Truth’

    By Christopher Miller
    12/2/2014

    KIEV, Ukraine –- The Ukraine government has established a department that critics are calling the “Ministry of Truth” — borrowing a term from George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984.

    Officially called the Ministry of Information Policy, the new office will be headed by Yuriy Stets, head of the Information Security Department of the National Guard of Ukraine. A close ally to President Petro Poroshenko, Stets was formerly chief producer of the TV channel that Poroshenko sill owns.

    While its main objective appears to be confronting Russia’s formidable propaganda machine, the Ministry is likely to also restrict free speech and inhibit journalists’ work — particularly in war-torn eastern Ukraine, according to observers.

    At a demonstration outside parliament, Ukrainian journalists decried the new ministry, which deputies approved in the Verkhovna Rada late on Tuesday, along with the rest of the country’s Cabinet of Ministers.

    About 40 journalists and activists from Ukrainian watchdog groups Chesno (Honest) and Stop Censorship! held posters that read “Hello, Big Brother.” They urged lawmakers entering the parliament ahead of Tuesday’s session to vote against appointing Stets as its head.

    The creation of the ministry comes on the heels of critical reports from journalists and rights groups about its use of controversial weapons in eastern Ukraine, as well as possible war crimes committed by its armed forces.

    Ukraine’s government is clearly frustrated with by its lack of success in disseminating its messages. “You must understand, we are being killed by [Russian] guns as well as their propaganda,” a top security official told Mashable when explaining why he supported the creation of the ministry.

    A report released last month by The Interpreter website describes just how Russian propaganda works, and how effectively it is being used as a weapon of the Kremlin. The report outlines a “hybrid war” that combines disinformation “to sow confusion via conspiracy theories and proliferate falsehoods” with “covert and small-scale military operations.”

    Still, there are some in the government who do not endorse the ministry. A senior official in the Presidential Administration, who spoke anonymously because he feared repercussions from officials for talking to a journalist, said he was “very concerned” about the ministry and how it would be used.

    “Honestly, I’m not sure such a ministry is needed,” the official said, adding that others inside the administration have also questioned the move.

    “The way to fight Russian propaganda is with honestly and transparency, not trying to beat Russia at its own game.”

    The Ministry of Information Policy was pushed through with little notice and even less debate on the parliament floor. That could be because the president himself pushed the concept on members of his party, the largest faction in parliament, and has great sway over the ruling coalition.

    Deputies whom Mashable spoke with ahead of the parliament session on Tuesday said Poroshenko personally urged them to support the ministry in a tense last-minute meeting called late Monday night.

    Former investigative journalist turned lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko, who was elected in last month’s vote on the ticket of the president’s party, was present at the meeting. He says Poroshenko “was very serious” about confirming Stets the following day in parliament.

    Oksana Romaniuk, director of local media watchdog Institute of Mass Information and Ukraine representative for Reporters Without Borders, told Mashable that “the government wants to control the media’s messages first, and second, they want to control access to the messages.”

    Details on how the ministry will operate are murky. No documents were made available to the public or deputies, and Stets did not reply to Mashable’s requests for comment. But Romaniuk fears the government has given itself “carte blanche.”

    Reporters Without Borders said it “firmly opposes” the information ministry. “Putting the government in charge of ‘information policy’ would be major retrograde step that would open the way to grave excesses,” said Christophe Deloire, the watchdog organization’s secretary-general.

    “Dear team Poroshenko, the pursuit of absolute power in this country means a final career,” Tatyana Nikolaenko, chief editor at Ukraine’s Insider magazine, wrote on Facebook. “If you create this ‘Ministry of Truth’ the president’s rating will collapse as quickly as it rose in the winter of this year.”

    She added: “You can not win the information war [against Russia] with it, because with the creation of the Ministry you’ll give Russian propaganda endless references to [Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph] Goebbels and Orwell.”

    But Kiev sees the creation of the ministry as a necessary move to fight Russia’s incessant propaganda, which has been particularly successful over the course of the ongoing crisis.

    The concept was first floated on Sunday, when Interior Ministry advisor Anton Herashchenko mentioned it in a post on Facebook. In it, he mentioned the need to counter the Russian message.

    “There is an idea to create the structure of the Cabinet of Ministers Ministry of Information Policy, whose main task is the protection of Ukraine’s information space of the Russian propaganda and counter-propaganda in Russia, in the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea and [eastern Ukraine]. This issue is long overdue and I would even say too late,” Herashchenko wrote.

    Stets relayed his thoughts on the new ministry in his own Facebook post on Monday.

    “I see it this way: different states with different historical and cultural experiences in times of crisis came to need to create a body of executive power that would control and manage the information security of the country,” Stets wrote.

    According to Stets, none of the current state structures could efficiently handle those tasks.

    “The information and communications space remain uncoordinated now, full of contradictions and influence of foreign agents, and under conditions of geopolitical wars becomes a weak part of the country, a subject of enemy attacks,” he added.

    So the “Ministry of Truth” idea was first floated on Sunday and made into law with little parliamentary debate the next day? Bravo.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 2, 2014, 3:46 pm
  5. Uh oh, this probably isn’t going to help with the Russian/Turkey tensions:

    Morningstar Online
    Grey Wolves Fascist Killed Russian Pilot

    Nov 2015, Friday 27th
    posted by James Tweedie in World

    Turkmen Brigade murderer a Turkish citizen with far-right links

    THE rebel leader who boasted of murdering a Russian pilot shot down over Syria is a member of the Turkish Grey Wolves fascist paramilitary group.

    The Morning Star can reveal that Alparslan Celik (right) — deputy commander of the Turkmen Brigade that shot at the parachuting crew of the Su-24 tactical bomber downed in a Turkish ambush — is a Turkish citizen from Elazig province.

    Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov — earlier incorrectly identified as Major Sergei Rumyantsev — was killed by Turkmen forces after ejecting from his jet on Tuesday.

    His navigator Captain Konstantin Murakhtin was captured but rescued by Syrian and Russian special forces on Wednesday — the first known use of Russian ground forces in Syria’s civil war.

    Mr Celik quickly claimed that his supposedly native Turkmen militia had killed both pilots.

    But Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported last year that he is a Turkish citizen whose father Ramazan was mayor of Keban municipality for the ultra-nationalist National Movement Party (MHP).

    The Grey Wolves is the paramilitary wing of MHP and has been linked to the murders of hundreds of left-wing and liberal activists since the 1970s.

    Celik Jnr has posted pictures of himself performing a Grey Wolves salute and his father reported last year that he had gone to fight “until martyrdom, if necessary.”

    The Turkmen Brigade had been losing ground to Syrian army forces backed by Russian air power in northern Latakia province — close to the Turkish border — in the days prior to the incident.

    Col Peshkov has been posthumously awarded the Hero of Russia medal, the nation’s highest military award.

    Cpt Murakhtin and Naval Infantryman Alexandr Pozynich, who was killed in the rescue operation, were awarded the Order of Courage.

    “But Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported last year that he is a Turkish citizen whose father Ramazan was mayor of Keban municipality for the ultra-nationalist National Movement Party (MHP).”
    Yeah, it’s probably not going to help tensions when it turns out that Alparslan Celik, the head of the Turkmen militia unit who was boasting of killing the parachuting Russia pilot, was featured in a Dogan news agency report from last year about being the sone of the MHP mayor of Keban and traveling to Syria. Especially since his relatively sparse twitter feed includes tweet of Grey Wolves founder Alparslan Turkes in March of 2013 and then no public tweets until a January 2015 tweet of Alparslan and his Turkmen militia members showing the Grey Wolves hand gesture.

    And just today a major pro-Kurdish Turkish lawyer, Taher Elci, was just assassinated while making a speech calling for an end to the hostilities between the Turkish state and the PKK (which Gary Brecher, a.k.a. The War Nerd, see as “state killing” written all over it). So we could be looking at a period of increased violence and aggression from the Turkish Deep State and affiliated fascists and Islamists.

    But also note something else rather significant that’s happening in parallel: Erdogan has made it clear for a while now that a redrawing of the Middle East’s borders is something he has in mind. Recall, for instance, his speech last year when he declared Lawrence of Arabia a bigger threat to peace in the Middle East than ISIS and endorsed redrawing the Middle East’s map:

    The Daily Beast
    Turkish President Declares Lawrence of Arabia a Bigger Enemy than ISIS
    In a stunning speech, Erdogan railed against Western “spies” and journalists and seemed to endorse the ISIS plan to redraw the region’s borders.

    Jamie Dettmer
    10.13.14 1:00 PM ET

    GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took on the iconic Lawrence of Arabia Monday in a furious anti-Western diatribe. The Turkish president compared the outside meddling in the region now to the role the renowned British army officer played during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during World War I. And Western diplomats here say the tirade bears a rather striking resemblance to some of the propaganda that has come out of the so-called Islamic State, widely known by the acronym ISIS or ISIL.

    Last week, stung by Western criticism of Turkey’s conspicuous absence from the U.S.-led air combat against the terror organization, and the refusal of the Turkish government to rescue the besieged town of Kobani, just across the Syrian border, Erdogan insisted he had no sympathy for the jihadists.

    But on one very important point of history and geography it now appears there’s a serious convergence of views between ISIS and Erdogan. In his speech Monday at a university in Istanbul, the Turkish president blasted the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret understanding (signed behind Lawrence’s back) that divided up the Middle East after World War I between British and French spheres of influence. That deal opened the way for a British vow to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine and led to borders drawn by the European powers that created modern Syrian and Iraq. Historian David Fromkin summed up the mess that resulted in the title of his book The Peace to End All Peace.

    “Each conflict in this region has been designed a century ago,” said Erdogan. “It is our duty to stop this.”

    In point of fact, T. E. Lawrence was opposed to the secret Anglo-French agreement, because it reneged on promises given the Arabs by London in a bid to persuade them to revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule. He tried mightily to sabotage the deal. But Erdogan is either unaware of that or sought to simplify history.

    ISIS, meanwhile, has done some simplifying of its own, and on similar lines. Its militants say explicitly they are out to erase the borders that Sykes-Picot established across most of the modern Middle East. In the summer, after sweeping in from Syria to seize Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, they produced a video called, yes, ”The End of Sykes Pico,” in which they blew up a border outpost and leveled part of the earthen barrier on the Iraqi-Syrian border. They declared triumphantly they would bulldoze other Western-imposed borders as well.

    The Erdogan speech was suffused with an angry anti-Western narrative—he also tilted at Western journalists, accusing them of being spies—and will no doubt thrill some of Erdogan’s supporters. In southern Turkey, some local officials in his Justice and Development Party (AKP) express sympathy for ISIS. But it will ring alarm bells in Western capitals at a time coalition officials are redoubling their efforts to try to persuade a reluctant Turkish government to play a forward-leaning part in the American-led war on the jihadists.

    Turkey is considered crucial if President Barack Obama’s war aim to “degrade and defeat” ISIS is to be accomplished. The country has been the main logistical base for the Islamic militants, the main transit country for foreign fighters to enter neighboring Syria and a key source of it’s revenue from the smuggling of oil tapped in captured oil fields. In his determination to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, Erdogan has been accused of at best turning a blind eye to the rise of ISIS and at worst actively encouraging it.

    At the weekend U.S. officials announced a breakthrough in their efforts to persuade Turkey to become a frontline ally, saying the Turkish government had agreed that a NATO airbase at Incirlik could be used by the anti-ISIS coalition. But the Turkish government was ominously silent Monday on that score and just hours after Erdogan’s speech Turkish officials denied they had agreed U.S. warplanes could use Incirlik air base for attacks on Islamic militants.

    Erdogan’s comments Monday give a glimpse into the Turkish leadership’s reasons for denying the use of Incirlik. And they augur badly for the overall effort, revealing the deep level of distrust the Turkish president harbors for the West. Certainly the speech suggests that American hopes of persuading Turkey to come fully on board are misplaced.

    Erdogan argued there are modern-day Lawrences in Turkey right now “disguised as journalists, religious men, writers and terrorists.” And the remark was especially ominous on the day five foreign journalists—three of them German—were hauled before a court for a preliminary hearing in the southeastern Turkey of Diyarbakir, following their arrests at the weekend by anti-terrorist police. They had been covering Kurds protesting Turkey’s refusal to help save the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani, where Kurdish men and women have fought off an ISIS onslaught for 28 days.

    “We were photographing Kurdish protesters building a barricade and we were accused of being provocateurs and of encouraging them to do so and of engaging in espionage,” says German freelance photographer Christian Grodotzki. “As they arrested us they pushed us around and punched two of us and some German tourists were there and they kicked one of them in the stomach. It was a pretty rough arrest. They tried really hard to get us to confirm we were spies or trick us into signing false confessions.”

    The journalists have now been released but the cases against them will be continued. Grodotzki says Erdogan’s remarks about journalists being spies is likely to be seen by the police as the go-ahead for a no-holds barred approach towards the Western media.

    “This isn’t a speech one expects from an ally, especially when there are delicate negotiations going on,” says an Istanbul-based European diplomat. “It reveals starkly what we are up against when it comes to Erdogan.” Another diplomat said: “The Turks are determined to ensure that whatever happens in Syria post-Assad, it is seen as their sphere of influence and they have two aims: to keep Iran at bay and keep the West out.”

    “Erdogan’s comments Monday give a glimpse into the Turkish leadership’s reasons for denying the use of Incirlik.”
    Yes, that resusal to allow the use of the Incirlik airbase for anti-ISIS operations may very well have to do with a desire to not just see ISIS topple the Assad government but also redraw the map of the Middle East in a manner consistent with ISIS’s ambitions. As the diplomat puts it at the end:


    “The Turks are determined to ensure that whatever happens in Syria post-Assad, it is seen as their sphere of influence and they have two aims: to keep Iran at bay and keep the West out.”

    And based on Erdogan’s speech, it appears that redrawing the maps of Syria and Iraq (and possibly more) just might be seen as one way to achieve those aims. Of course, Turkey and ISIS alone can’t force a redrawing of the Middle Eastern map. But if, say, the larger neoconservative establishment in the West was to get behind the idea, well, that could certainly make a post-Sykes Picot world much more possible. So it’s worth noting that one of the biggest neoconservatives around, John Bolton, just endorsed the Turkey/ISIS plan of breaking up Iraq and Syria and creating a new Sunni state:

    The New York Times
    John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State

    By JOHN R. BOLTON
    NOV. 24, 2015

    America is debating how to respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Unfortunately, both President Obama’s current policy and other recent proposals lack a strategic vision for the Middle East once the Islamic State, or ISIS, is actually defeated. There are no answers, or only outmoded ones, to the basic question: What comes after the Islamic State?

    Before transforming Mr. Obama’s ineffective efforts into a vigorous military campaign to destroy the Islamic State, we need a clear view, shared with NATO allies and others, about what will replace it. It is critical to resolve this issue before considering any operational plans. Strategy does not come from the ground up; instead, tactics flow deductively once we’ve defined the ultimate objectives.

    Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity from the post-Ottoman Empire settlement, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq. Also emerging, after years of effort, is a de facto independent Kurdistan.

    If, in this context, defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Mr. Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state.

    This “Sunni-stan” has economic potential as an oil producer (subject to negotiation with the Kurds, to be sure), and could be a bulwark against both Mr. Assad and Iran-allied Baghdad. The rulers of the Arab Gulf states, who should by now have learned the risk to their own security of funding Islamist extremism, could provide significant financing. And Turkey — still a NATO ally, don’t forget — would enjoy greater stability on its southern border, making the existence of a new state at least tolerable.

    The functional independence of Kurdistan reinforces this approach. The Kurds have finally become too big a force in the region for Baghdad or Damascus to push them around. They will not be cajoled or coerced into relinquishing territory they now control to Mr. Assad in Syria or to Iraq’s Shiite militias.

    The Kurds still face enormous challenges, with dangerously uncertain borders, especially with Turkey. But an independent Kurdistan that has international recognition could work in America’s favor.

    Make no mistake, this new Sunni state’s government is unlikely to be a Jeffersonian democracy for many years. But this is a region where alternatives to secular military or semi-authoritarian governments are scarce. Security and stability are sufficient ambitions.

    As we did in Iraq with the 2006 “Anbar Awakening,” the counterinsurgency operation that dislodged Al Qaeda from its stronghold in that Iraqi province, we and our allies must empower viable Sunni leaders, including tribal authorities who prize their existing social structures. No doubt, this will involve former Iraqi and Syrian Baath Party officials; and there may still be some moderate Syrian opposition leaders. All are preferable to the Islamist extremists.

    This Sunni state proposal differs sharply from the vision of the Russian-Iranian axis and its proxies (Hezbollah, Mr. Assad and Tehran-backed Baghdad). Their aim of restoring Iraqi and Syrian governments to their former borders is a goal fundamentally contrary to American, Israeli and friendly Arab state interests. Notions, therefore, of an American-Russian coalition against the Islamic State are as undesirable as they are glib.

    In Syria, Moscow wants to dominate the regime (with or without Mr. Assad) and safeguard Russia’s Tartus naval base and its new Latakia air base. Tehran wants a continuing Alawite supremacy, with full protection for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.

    As for Iraq, Russia and Iran want the Sunni territories returned to Baghdad’s control, reinforcing Iran’s regional influence. They may wish for the same in Kurdistan, but they lack the capability there.

    Sunnis today support the Islamic State for many of the same reasons they once supported Al Qaeda in Iraq — as a bulwark against being ruled by Tehran via Baghdad. Telling these Sunni people that their reward for rising against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will be to put them back in thrall to Mr. Assad and his ilk, or to Shiite-dominated Baghdad, will simply intensify their support for the jihadists. Why would they switch sides?

    This is why, after destroying the Islamic State, America should pursue the far-reaching goal of creating a new Sunni state. Though difficult in the near term, over time this is more conducive to regional order and stability.

    Creating an American-led anti-Islamic State alliance instead of Moscow’s proposed coalition will require considerable diplomatic and political effort. American ground combat forces will have to be deployed to provide cohesion and leadership. But this would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State even if the objective were simply to recreate the status quo ante.

    The Anbar Awakening and the American military’s 2007 “surge” provide the model, as do Kurdish successes against the Islamic State. Local fighters armed, trained and advised by the United States would combine with Arab and American conventional forces.

    The military operation is not the hardest part of this post-Islamic State vision. It will also require sustained American attention and commitment. We cannot walk away from this situation as we did from Iraq in 2011.

    The new “Sunni-stan” may not be Switzerland. This is not a democracy initiative, but cold power politics. It is consistent with the strategic objective of obliterating the Islamic State that we share with our allies, and it is achievable.

    “If, in this context, defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Mr. Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state.
    When John Bolton backs Erdogan’s and ISIS’s calls for a new sectarian map, well, we should probably considering the possibility that making such a map reality is a serious possibility. Especially given other thorny realities like the fact that the Russian military is now making it very clear hat a military defeat of Assad’s forces isn’t going to happen any time soon.

    Also keep in mind this this talk of redrawing the map of the Middle East isn’t new from a prominent neocon. Back in 2006, Lt Colonel Ralph Peters (who has called for “military attacks on partisan media” during wartime, a sentiment Erdogan can probably relate to) wrote his “Blood Borders” piece for the Armed Forced Journal which made the case that partitioning the Middle East along ethnic and sectarian lines was the best long-term solution for peace in the region. Tribalism for World Peace! The point being that redrawing the map of the Middle East has been an idea bandied about by influential people for a while now and based on what we’ve heard from Erdogan it seems reasonable that it’s been something he’s had in mind for a while too which is something that might add some context to Turkey’s covert but aggressive backing of a ISIS’s attempts to carve out a new de facto state with or without the overthrowing Assad’s government.

    It also adds some context to stories like President Obama having to call for Turkey to seal its border in the areas where its known that ISIS fighters are flowing into and out of Syria. Sure, Erdogan might be allowing those flows because he’d like to see the downfall of Assad. But when a redrawing of the maps of Iraq and Syria are also one of his goals, simply maintaining the existence of ISIS as a de facto state (which is sitting on A LOT of oil) that makes putting Iraq and Syria back together impossible might alone be enough of a motivation to keep those borders open and those fighters flowing. In other words, the military collapse of Assad’s forces may not be required for the achievement of Erdogan’s strategic objectives for the region.

    Adding to the intrigue is another very fascinating possibility that’s emerging as world powers negotiate over the fate of Syria and Iraq: Now that Russia is directly militarily involved in ensure the Assad government doesn’t militarily collapse, the partitioning of Syria and Iraq is probably going to be seen as the only possible solution but it will be a solution that will effectively require the agreement of Russia. And that raises all sorts of fascinating potential dynamics because Russia’s claim to Crimea is still contested by most of the world, not to mention the status of Eastern Ukraine. So…might we be in store for an upcoming grand bargain of sorts between Russia, Turkey, and the West? Europe and the US recognizes Crimea as a Russian state in exchange for Russia backing a balkanized Syria and Iraq? Don’t forget that Turkey has the capacity to create quite a few headaches in Crimea given the large population of Tartars and the ties to pan-Turkist movements. Also don’t forget that the downing of the Russian jet happened less than a week after someone blew up power pylon in Ukraine that were feeding electricity into Crimea and it was Crimean Tartar activists, along with members of the Right Sector, who endorsed the sabotage and are blocking Ukrainian repairs. As a result, Crimea is still without power and when Russia demanded that Ukraine repair the pylons, Kiev responded by declaring a blockade of all goods into Crimea. Also note that the man issuing demands on behalf of the Crimean Tartar protesters, Ukrainian MP and Crimean Tartar representative Mustafa Dzhemilev, received Turkey’s highest state award in April 2014:

    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    Crimean Tatar Leader Receives Turkey’s Highest State Order

    By RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service

    April 16, 2014

    The veteran leader of Crimean Tatars, Mustafa Dzhemilev, has received Turkey’s highest state award.

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul awarded Dzhemilev with the Order of State of the Republic of Turkey at a special ceremony in Turkey on April 15.

    Dzhemilev, who is a Ukrainian lawmaker, thanked Turkey for its support of Ukraine in “this very challenging and difficult time.”

    Dzhemilev, along with Ukrainian presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko, discussed the current situation in Ukraine with Gul on April 15.

    Dzhemilev and Poroshenko told journalists that Gul assured them that Ankara will never recognize the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea by Russia, will support Ukraine’s efforts to establish order in its eastern regions, and will contribute to peace and stability in the Black Sea region.

    “Dzhemilev and Poroshenko told journalists that Gul assured them that Ankara will never recognize the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea by Russia, will support Ukraine’s efforts to establish order in its eastern regions, and will contribute to peace and stability in the Black Sea region.”
    That was then. But this isn’t 2014 and now that Russia is making a military solution to the Syrian civil war very unlikely any time soon you have to wonder whether or not Ankara’s pledge to “never” recognized the annexation of Crimea is really a pledge to “never” recognize that annexation, or whether an agreement to break of Syria and Iraq might turn that “never” pledge into a “not at the moment, but we’ll see” pledge. There’s a pretty clear ratcheting of tensions between Russia and Turkey, but when you consider the post-Syke-Picot dreams of Erdogan and other, there’s a pretty clear potential quid pro quo sitting there too. And as we saw with ideas like “Blood Borders” getting bandied about in 2006, it’s a quid pro quo that quite a few governments or strategist have probably been thinking about for a while.

    So when we’re thinking about what could have motivated Turkey to shoot down that plane, keep in mind that a ratcheting of tensions with Russia also doubles as quid pro quo appetizer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 28, 2015, 4:51 pm

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