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

For The Record  

FTR #800 Meet the New Boss(es), Same as the Old Boss(es): Update on Ukraine

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

This description contains information not contained in the original program.

Maidan celbrates the Nachtigall Battalion (Einsatzgruppe Nachtigall). A street in Lvov was recently named in honor of the unit.

Lvov Pogrom, 1941--Einsatzgruppe Nachtigall youth in action.

Introduction: Continuing our ongoing coverage of the Ukrainian crisis, the program begins with an examination of the continuity of the OUN/B Third Reich collaborationist milieu through the decades. The “new” President Petro Poroshenko is advised by a team of political vetarns, culled largely from the political team of Viktor Yuschenko.

In FTR #781, we noted that Viktor Yuschenko–married to top OUN/B official and Reagan Deputy Director of Presidential Liaison Ykaterina Chumachenko–institutionalized the Bandera political cadre, rewriting Ukrainian World War II history and paving the way for the rise of Swoboda and Pravy Sektor.

 The Poroshenko/Yuschenko team includes Roman Zvarych (“Svarych”), the personal secretary to OUN/B head Jaroslav Stetsko and a right-hand man to his widow and successor Slava Stetsko.

Jaroslav Stetsko was the World War II head of the Ukrainian Nazi satellite state and headed the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and its primary element, the OUN/B. Stetsko was an adherent to Nazi ethnic cleansing doctrine, practicing it vigorously against ethnic Poles, ethnic Russians and Jews during the Second World War.

(We have covered the ascension of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a number of programs: FTR ‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794.)

Svarych served as Minister of Justice in both Tymnoshenko governments, as well as under Viktor Yuschenko. The Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, co-founded by Slava Stetsko and Zvarych, has served as a central element in Ukrainian political coalitions, embodying the continuity of the OUN/B throughout the short history of post-Soviet Ukraine.

Swoboda leader Oleh Tiahanybok. Poroshenko has retained founding Swoboda member Andriy Parubiy as Ukraine's top defense official.

With the U.S. and Germany respectively playing Bad Cop (military aid and sanctions) and Good Cop (economic aid and resistance to further sanctions at the behest of key German corporations invested in Russia), the follow-up to the covert operation resulting in the coup d’etat of early 2014 is proceeding apace. That coup brought to power the OUN/B successor organizations Swoboda and Pravy Sektor as key players in the interim government.

German industry–surprise, surprise–plans to modernize Ukrainian industries and establish subcontracting arrangements to build automobiles in that cheap labor market.

This will be coupled by the austerity doctrine we have termed “Von Clausewitzian economics.” It remains to be seen how the Ukrainian population receives this.

The fact that the Ukrainian economy is dominated by oligarchs should facilitate the process, at least on paper. Note that Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko has key holdings in the Ukrainian automobile industry, among other investments. It seems reasonable to suppose that he will receive generously profitable compensation for any “adjustments” he makes to his portfolio.

While this process is taking shape, the war in Eastern Ukraine has escalated, with armor, artillery, helicopter gunships and fixed-wing combat aircraft being used against the population there. Imagine if Yanukovich had resorted to such tactics with the Maidan coup gaining momentum! Poroshenko has retained founding Swoboda member Andriy Parubiy as the country’s top defense official.

Underlying EU/German/U.S. policy in Ukraine is an apparent destabilization program aimed at the Russian economy and President Putin.

Of paramount significance is the fact that The U.S. and EU (read “Germany”) are contemplating fracking as a vehicle for diminishing the Russian economy. Hoping to do an end run on Russia’s natural gas exports, the plan is intended to destabilize Putin’s government and, as such, is a blatant attempt at interfering in the affairs of a sovereign–and powerful–nation.

This gambit features a rhetorical/ideological offensive that seeks to neutralize opposition to fracking by characterizing opponents of the practice as “Russian agents.”

Program Highlights Include: Discussion of the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists’ evident anti-Semitism; the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists’ endorsement of Ze’ev (nee Vladimir) Jabotinsky in an attempt to deflect charges of anti-Semitism; review of the fascist character of Jabotinsky and his Betar organization; Ukraine’s brutally ironic proposal to build a wall separating it from Russia–a “Berlin Wall Redux;” the fact that Ukrainian president Poroshenko is leaning toward giving government entitlements to veterans of the UPA–the Nazi collaborators comprising the military wing of the OUN/B.

1a. In FTR #781, we noted that Viktor Yuschenko–married to top OUN/B official and Reagan Deputy Director of Presidential Liaison Ykaterina Chumachenko–institutionalized the Bandera political cadre, rewriting Ukrainian World War II history and paving the way for the rise of Swoboda and Pravy Sektor.

We now learn that “new” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has reconstituted the old Yuschenko team, including American-born Roman Zvarych (“Svarych”), Yuschenko’s Minister of Justice and the personal secretary to OUN/B leader Yaroslav Stetsko in the early 1980’s.

Stetsko was the World War II head of the Ukrainian Nazi satellite state and headed the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and its primary element, the OUN/B. Stetsko was an adherent to Nazi ethnic cleansing doctrine, practicing it vigorously against ethnic Poles, ethnic Russians and Jews during the Second World War.

“Ukraine’s New President Poroshenko Leads Old Team”; Deutsche Welle; 6/7/2014.

. . . . But a close look at his team quickly shows that Poroshenko has surrounded himself with officials from the Yushchenko era.

For example, Poroshenko’s election campaign was planned by Ihor Hryniv. The 53-year-old member of parliament and former director of the Kyiv Institute for Strategic Studies was once Yushchenko’s adviser. He later represented his party “Nasha Ukraina” (Our Ukraine) in parliament.

The 43-year-old foreign policy expert and diplomat Valeri Chaly was also part of Yushchenko’s team. During Poroshenko’s election campaign Chaly was in charge of foreign policy issues. The 60-year-old Roman Svarych is also back in politics: Yushchenko’s former justice minister now consults with Poroshenko on legal issues. [Svarych was the personal secretary to OUN/B leader Yaroslav Stetsko in the early 1980’s–D.E.]

Elsewhere in the country the picture is the same. Viktor Baloha, for example, was the head of Yushchenko’s secretariat during his presidency. He headed Poroshenko’s election campaign in the western Ukrainian province of Transcarpathia. . . .

1b. A story  that emerged since the program was recorded reveals that Ukrainian president Poroshenko is leaning toward giving government entitlements to veterans of the UPA–the Nazi collaborators comprising the military wing of the OUN/B.

The UPA overlapped the Waffen SS and Gestapo and was deeply involved with ethnic cleansing liquidations of Jewish and Polish citizens of Ukraine.

After V-E Day, they comprised the core of the “fascist freedom fighter” program in Ukraine, supported by the OPC/CIA. (For more about this, see AFA #1, FTR #465, 777.)

As discussed in FTR #800, Poroshenko has basically reconstituted the old Yuschenko team, including Jaroslav Stetsko’s personal secretary, Roman Svarych. Yuschenko, in turn, manifested an OUN/B revisionist agenda, as discussed in FTR #781. Svarych was his Minister of Justice, as he was during both Tymoshenko governments.

(We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of programs: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800803804,808, 811.)

“OUN-UPA Veterans Could Be Given Combatant Status—Poroshenko”; Interfax-Ukraine; 9/25/2014.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said it is worth considering assigning the status of combatant to veterans of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA).

“This is a very important issue and one that was raised in a very timely manner. Previously, this issue split the country and was not on the agenda… Now is the right time,” he told a press conference in Kyiv on Thursday.

The president also added that he sees OUN-UPA fighters as examples of heroism.

2a. Using Yaroslav Stetsko’s secretary Roman Zvarych as something of a political “trace element,” we are in a position to observe the institutional continuity of  OUN/B governance from the Third Reich period through the post-Soviet era. Note that, in addition to being Minister of Justice under Viktor Yuschenko and an adviser to Poroshenko, Zvarych served in the cabinets of both of Yulia Timoshenko’s governments.

In addition, Zvarych was the co-founder of the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists with Slava Stetsko, Yaroslav’s widow and successor as head of the OUN/B.

The Wikipedia article notes the Nazi-style anti-Semitism characterizing the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, but mistakenly relegates that to the past by noting their endorsement of Vladimir (“Ze’ev”) Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky was the leader of the Betar, an explicitly fascist element within the Zionist movement.

“Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists”; Wikipedia.com.

The Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (Ukrainian: Конгрес українських націоналістів Konhres Ukrayinskykh Natsionalistiv) is a far-right political party in Ukraine. It was founded on October 18, 1992 and registered with the Ministry of Justice on January 26, 1993.[2] The party leader from its formation and until her death in 2003 was Yaroslava Stetsko (people’s deputy of three VR conventions).

The party was set up late 1992 by émigrés of OUN-B[3] on the initiative of Slava Stetsko and Roman Zvarych.[4] It was registered on 26 January 1993 by the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice and was the 11th political party in Ukraine that was officially registered.[1]

During the 1998 parliamentary election the party was part (together with Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party and Ukrainian Republican Party[5]) of the Election Bloc “National Front”[2][5] (Ukrainian: Виборчий блок партій «Національний фронт») which won 2,71%[2] of the national votes and 6 (single-mandate constituency) seats.[5][6]

At the parliamentary elections on 30 March 2002, the party was part of the Viktor Yushchenko Bloc Our Ukraine.[2] Former party leader Oleksiy Ivchenko was the head of Naftogas of Ukraine under the Yekhanurov Government. He was elected as the party leader on the seventh convention of the party on April 13, 2003.

During the parliamentary elections on 26 March 2006, the party was part of the Our Ukraine alliance.[2] Roman Zvarych was Minister of Justice in the First Tymoshenko Government and Second Tymoshenko Government[7] and in the Alliance of National Unity.[8][9] . . . .

. . . . In their fight against “cosmopolitanism”, party members have in the past espoused in what was seen as anti-Semitic views. In 2005 the official organ of the party, newspaper “The Nation and Power”, published an article which said: “The titular nation in Ukraine (ethnic Ukrainians) will disappear in 2006…. After the 2006 election, Ukrainians will dance around the Jews.”.[18] In his speech at the opening of the Holodomor Memorial in November 2007, the Head of the party in Zaporizhia Oblast Tymchina stated: “Our time has come, and the Dnieper will soon be red with the blood of Kikes (slur for Jews) and Moskals (slur for Russians).”[19]

The Kommersant newspaper on 26 January 2010 quoted the head of the Kiev city organization Yuri Shepetyuk saying: “There is no anti-Semitism in Ukraine. The Jews themselves organize various provocations, and then talk about the persecution in their address, to get even more funding from abroad”. Kommersant notes: “However, he (Yuri Shepetyuk) did not specify what provocations were staged in Ukraine by representatives of the Jewish community.”[20]

However, as of recently the official website the party appears to express support for Zionism and Israel (although not the Israeli government, for prosecuting Demjanjuk), and regards Ze’ev Jabotinsky as a hero . . . .

2b. Excerpting Miscellaneous Archive Show M30, the program sets forth the fascist ideology of “Ze’ev” (nee “Vladimir” Jabotinsky). (The program was recorded in the fall of 1983.) The text is excerpted from Alexander Cockburn’s article “History as the Propaganda of the Victors” in The Village Voice of 10/12/1982.

The program notes that Jabotinsky’s Betar: took military training under the auspices of Mussolini; had its cadre reviewed by Il Duce; saw their alliance with Mussolini as one of ideology not mere convenience; supported Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia; felt that Zionism should manifest itself as a form of fascism (underscoring the superiority of European peoples over the darker-skinned races); advocated an alliance with the Third Reich to oust the British as the colonial masters of what was then Palestine.

In FTR #776, we reviewed the dis­cus­sion of a 1998 con­gress of the AN, the Ital­ian Fas­cist Party that is the direct lin­eal descen­dant of and heir to Mussolini’s black­shirts. Present at that meeting were GOP Representative Bob Young, representing the Republican Party, and Udi Cohen, representing the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu. (This excerpt is taken from FTR #94, recorded on 5/5/1998.) Netanyahu’s father, Benzion Netanyahu, was the personal secretary of Vladimir Jabotinsky and a pallbearer at his funeral.

3. With the U.S. and Germany respectively playing Bad Cop (military aid and sanctions) and Good Cop (economic aid and resistance to further sanctions at the behest of key German corporations invested in Russia), the follow-up to the covert operation resulting in the coup d’etat of early 2014 is proceeding apace. That coup brought to power the OUN/B successor organizations Swoboda and Pravy Sektor as key players in the interim government.

German industry–surprise, surprise–plans to modernize Ukrainian industries and establish subcontracting arrangements to build automobiles in that cheap labor market.

This will be coupled by the austerity doctrine we have termed “Von Clausewitzian economics.” It remains to be seen how the Ukrainian population receives this.

The fact that the Ukrainian economy is dominated by oligarchs should facilitate the process, at least on paper. Note that Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko has key holdings in the Ukrainian automobile industry, among other investments. It seems reasonable to suppose that he will receive generously profitable compensation for any “adjustments” he makes to his portfolio.

U.S. energy companies may get a crack at the natural gas reserves in Ukraine, otherwise (as we noted in our broadcasts about the subject), America gets nothing out of this but further debt incurred to incorporate Ukraine into the EU orbit.

While this process is taking shape, the war in Eastern Ukraine has escalated, with armor, artillery, helicopter gunships and fixed-wing combat aircraft being used against the population there. Imagine if Yanukovich had resorted to such tactics with the Maidan coup gaining momentum!

The German Foreign Policy article below correctly compares the bloodshed in Ukraine with the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, covered in–among other programs–FTR #’s 48154161184293766. Using the Axis successor organizations in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, the U.S. and Germany split up the former Yugoslavia, which was then absorbed into the EU orbit. (Note that German-Foreign-Policy.com feeds along the lower right-hand side of the front page of this website.)

“For Peace and Freedom;” german-foreign-policy.com; 5/30/2014.

German foreign policy experts are expressing their approval of Kiev’s putsch regime’s recent escalation of warfare against the East of Ukraine. It is “evident” that “Kiev … had to again become active,” declared the influential diplomat and Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whose regime bears responsibility for the current artillery and aerial attacks on eastern Ukrainian cities, was guest speaker at yesterday’s Charlemagne Prize award presentation ceremonies. The German media praised him accordingly. The Ukrainian President-elect, the Oligarch Petro Poroshenko, would like to lead Kiev into a “security alliance” with the West and soon sign the economic segment of the EU’s Association Agreement. Ukraine has already begun the necessary preparations: Austerity measures, which will massively increase the unemployment rate and entail a dramatic rise in prices, have been initiated. German business circles are preparing for their economic expansion into that country. If Kiev can take control over eastern Ukraine with military means, new conflicts could arise: The interests of the expanding German industry would collide with those of Ukrainian oligarchs.

By All Means

Kiev’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has attracted public attention with his participation in yesterday’s award presentation ceremonies of the Charlemagne Prize to the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy. In his short speech, he declared that Kiev will fight “for peace and freedom” against the rebellions in the East of the country – “with all means at our disposal.”[1] On the eve of the ceremony, he conferred in Berlin with the German chancellor on the next steps in the struggle for influence with Moscow. President-elect Petro Poroshenko announced that Kiev seeks to strengthen its formal ties with the West. After initial resistance, Kiev now is signaling that the signing of the economic segment of the EU’s Association Agreement is imminent – still in June. Only the political segment is currently in force. Poroshenko has also announced that he is counting on a “new security alliance with the USA and Europe to also militarily protect the Ukraine.” He intends to “fight for this and immediately open talks.”[2] He has had “intensive phone conversations” with Chancellor Merkel and is now hoping “for more solidarity and support.”[3]

Saving up for Free Trade and War

Immediately following the putsch in late February, the Ukrainian putsch regime began initiating economic preparations for the country’s transition into the western hegemonic sphere. As usual in such cases,[4] this process means the imposition of harsh austerity policies. An agreement has already been reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to apply its clearly defined austerity measures. Therefore Kiev has abandoned the previous government’s plans to slightly raise pensions and the minimum wage (approx. 45 cents/hr) and will now freeze both at current levels. The parliament decided already back in March, to reduce the national budget by 17 percent. Altogether, about 24,000 civil service employees will be fired, accounting for ten percent of all civil servants. In a “letter of intent” to the IMF, dated April 22, Kiev also agreed to increase – before the summer – the price of gas for private households by 56 percent as well as the costs for district heating by 40 percent. This will be a heavy blow to a large portion of the Ukrainian population, whose average earnings – when the oligarch’s wealth is deducted – are estimated at about 150 Euros monthly. In 2015, gas and heating costs will be raised another 40 percent and again in 2016 and 2017, another 20 percent each year. The war against the insurgents in the east of the country, which is consuming large sums, has not yet even been calculated into these plans. Minister of Finances, Oleksandr Shlapak, announced May 10, that Kiev’s military budget will probably have to be increased by 50 percent, for the time being, and this amount is still not enough. Therefore, Ukraine must cut its budget for social issues and healthcare.[5]

Lucrative Modernization

In anticipation of the imminent signing of the economic segment of the EU’s Association Agreement, the austerity policy has begun provoking tangible interest in German economic sectors. “The adoption of EU standards and the establishment of a free trade zone with the European Union, will demand … a multiplicity of immense efforts in modernization for Ukrainian enterprises,” according to “Germany Trade and Invest” (gtai). For example, the steel industry, which “is very important to Ukraine,” has “much catching up to do, in the use of modern technology.”[6] German companies are hoping to land lucrative contracts. This sector also has political significance. As in many other branches, Ukrainian oligarchs, such as Rinat Achmetov, exercise an enormous amount of influence over the steel industry. It is unknown, whether Achmetov – who may have to make expensive modernization investments – can expect concessions for his announcement to regain control over eastern Ukraine.[7] From within the entourage of President-elect Poroshenko, there is talk of a “German aid program for the Donbass,” that is supposed to “create jobs.”[8] Gtai also sees opportunities for German enterprises in the impending modernization of Ukraine’s agriculture, where Ukrainian oligarchs are also influential.

Low-Wage Site

According to the gtai analysis, the imminent signing of the economic segment of the EU’s Association Agreement will make large-scale transplantation of industrial sites also feasible. For example, “a foreign automobile producer could proliferate its locations in Ukraine and establish a cluster of subcontractors,” writes the foreign trade agency. The country could even, “step by step, become a second Czech Republic,” thanks to its exceptionally low wage level (“labor cost advantages”), particularly due to the fact that Ukraine has a “relatively well trained labor force.” Gtai points out that various German automotive components suppliers – such as Leoni – are already producing inside the country. However, Ukrainian auto manufacturers must “then convert to the production of component parts or niche products such as customized autos or infrastructures.”[9] It is not clear what form the confrontation will take between the giants of the West European auto industry, on the one hand, and the Ukrainian oligarchs, on the other. For example, one of the largest car manufacturers in Ukraine is privately owned by the billionaire Petro Poroshenko.[10] Poroshenko has announced his intentions to sell his companies – with the exception of his “Channel 5” broadcasting company – but it is not clear, who will take over his “Bohdan Corporation” car factories.

“Finally Retaliate”

Whereas the protégée of the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation [11], Kiev’s future mayor, Vitali Klitschko, has announced that he will now “seek German investments very intensively,”[12] his political ally, Petro Poroshenko, is applying the final measures for the absorption of all of Ukraine into the Western hegemonic sphere – by repressing revolts in the east of the country. This week, using its newly formed “national guard,” irregular militias and the air force, Kiev’s regime massively expanded attacks on the cities of Donbass. Before elections, “they had shied away from fighting, to not endanger voting,” an “insider” was quoted saying, “now we can finally retaliate.”[13] German foreign policy experts are expressing their comprehension. “It was evident that Kiev had to again become active, once the elections were over,” declared, the Chair of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger.[14] From Donezk, the first strikes in opposition to Kiev’s onslaught have been announced, and violence is also escalating from the side of the insurgents. No end to the fighting is in sight.

War of European Unification

The war beginning in eastern Ukraine will not be the first war to accompany the German-European eastward expansion of their hegemonic sphere. Already in the 1990s, Germany supported the destruction of Yugoslavia, to prevent possible resistance to its predominance. In the summer of 1999, shortly after the war over Kosovo, German media had referred to a “war of European unification.” However, at the time, it was reported that “leaders,” were referring to this “only in confidential conversations” – otherwise one would have to answer the objection that “war is again being called the mother of all – even Europe.”[15]

More reports and background information on the current German policy toward Ukraine can be found here: A Broad-Based Anti-Russian AllianceExpansive AmbitionsOur Man in KievIntegration Rivalry with MoscowOn the OffensiveAt all CostsThe Crimean ConflictThe Kiev Escalation StrategyCold War ImagesThe Free WorldA Fatal Taboo ViolationThe Europeanization of UkraineOfficial Government VocativeAn Unusual Mission“Scientific Nationalists”Crisis of Legitimacy and “Fascist Freedom Fighters” and The Restoration of the Oligarchs (IV).

[1] Van Rompuy wirft Russland Destabilisierung vor. www.handelsblatt.com 29.05.2014.
[2] Das erste Interview mit Klitschko und Poroschenko. www.bild.de 27.05.2014.
[3] So wollen sie der Ukraine Frieden bringen. www.bild.de 29.05.2014.
[4] See Under the EU Flag.
[5] Ukraine cuts health, welfare spending to boost defence. www.janes.com 12.05.2014.
[6] In der Ukraine stehen Modernisierungen an. www.gtai.de 24.04.2014.
[7], [8] See The Restoration of the Oligarchs (IV).
[9] In der Ukraine stehen Modernisierungen an. www.gtai.de 24.04.2014.
[10] See The Restoration of the Oligarchs (IV).
[11] See Our Man in Kiev.
[12] So wollen sie der Ukraine Frieden bringen. www.bild.de 29.05.2014.
[13] Konrad Schuller: Wie aus Partisanenhaufen Stoßtrupps wurden. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 28.05.2014.
[14] Ischinger nennt Offensive gegen Separatisten notwendig. www.faz.net 28.05.2014.
[15] Gunter Hofmann: Deutschland am Ende des Krieges. Die Zeit 24/1999.

4. Ukraine’s politi­cians are start­ing to hint at a plan for deal­ing with sep­a­ratists in the east: build a giant wall. The irony of this is more than a little ironic. Note that Swoboda’s Andriy Parubiy still heads the Security Council, in charge of military operations.

“As Ukraine Mulls Secu­rity, Some Say Build a Wall with Russia” by Tim­o­thy Heritage; Reuters.com; 6/17/2014.

Ukraine’s lead­ers are puz­zling over how to cut off Russ­ian sup­port for a sep­a­ratist rebel­lion in the east of the coun­try but one of its rich­est men thinks he has the answer.

Bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man Ihor Kolo­moisky has sug­gested build­ing a wall along the almost 2,000 km (1,200-mile) land bor­der with Rus­sia to pre­vent fight­ers and weapons flood­ing in.

The idea may sound absurd but Kolo­moisky has offered to stump up 100 mil­lion euros ($136 mil­lion) to fund the two-meter (two-feet) high, 25–30 cm (10–12 inch) thick wall of rein­forced steel, com­plete with elec­tronic alarms, trenches and minefields.

What’s more, it’s been done before. Israel has con­structed a bar­rier to keep out Pales­tin­ian mil­i­tants. China built the Great Wall to stop invaders. Soviet-led East Ger­many erected the Berlin Wall, though more to keep peo­ple in than out.

“We can take on this project from start to fin­ish,” said Alexei Burik, deputy head of the Dnipropetro­vsk region where Kolo­moisky is the gov­er­nor, offer­ing to lead con­struc­tion work.

Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko may or may not be about to build such a wall but the grow­ing dis­cus­sion of the oligarch’s idea high­lights deep secu­rity con­cerns in Ukraine, three months after Rus­sia annexed the Black Sea penin­sula of Crimea.

The Russ­ian inva­sion of east Ukraine expected by many Ukraini­ans has not come. But in sev­eral weeks of fight­ing, pro-Russian sep­a­ratists have seized a num­ber of bor­der posts, enabling them to bring in weapons and other supplies.

Secur­ing the long and wind­ing, and noto­ri­ously porous, bor­der has become Poroshenko’s most press­ing prob­lem as he tries to put down the rebel­lion and hold Ukraine together.


Kolo­moisky, a 51-year-old bank­ing, media, energy and met­al­lurgy mag­nate with a for­tune esti­mated by Forbes mag­a­zine at $1.8 bil­lion, has pre­sented his plan to Poroshenko and reck­ons the wall can be built in about six months.

Some ana­lysts dis­miss the idea as a stunt.

“In the short term, it can­not be done,” said Volodymyr Fes­enko of the Penta think tank. Another ana­lyst, Mykhailo Pohre­bin­sky, said: “This is a pub­lic rela­tions cam­paign meant to con­sol­i­date Kolomoisky’s image as a Ukrain­ian patriot.”

Despite such crit­i­cism, the pro­posal is not being dis­missed in par­lia­ment as a crack­pot idea.

“Whether or not it is Kolomoisky’s project, a wall will be built to defend Ukraine from Russia’s aggres­sion,” said Ivan Sto­jko, a par­lia­men­tary deputy from the Batkyvshina party led by for­mer prime min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko.

Pavlo Riza­nenko, a deputy from the Udar (Punch) party of for­mer box­ing cham­pion Vitaly Klitschko, said: “I don’t think Poroshenko has a monop­oly on this idea. It’s some­thing that should have been done long ago.”

The sight of rebels dri­ving tanks in east Ukraine last Thurs­day increased the urgency of secur­ing con­trol of the bor­der. Two days later, the rebels shot down a mil­i­tary plane with a mis­sile, killing 49 servicemen.

Rus­sia says it is not pro­vid­ing mil­i­tary sup­port for the rebel­lion across much of the Don­bass min­ing region. But its denials were under­mined by satel­lite pic­tures released by NATO show­ing what it said were Russ­ian tanks at a stag­ing area close to the bor­der days before sim­i­lar tanks appeared in Ukraine.

The United States has also accused Moscow of sup­ply­ing the rebels with T-64 tanks, MB-21 “Grad” mul­ti­ple rocket launch­ers and other mil­i­tary vehicles.


Poroshenko, who replaced a Moscow-leaning pres­i­dent top­pled in Feb­ru­ary after street protests, has ordered the armed forces to secure the fron­tier and says a 250-km (160-mile) stretch of the bor­der has already been taken back. Once the bor­der is secure, a truce can start and peace talks begin, he said.

His com­ments sig­naled a con­tin­u­a­tion of his dual pol­icy of talk­ing peace while press­ing a mil­i­tary cam­paign in the east.

He wants Ukraine to demar­cate the bor­der on its own side, and build unspec­i­fied infra­struc­ture there, which could mean erect­ing fences in vil­lages that strad­dle the border.

Andriy Paru­biy, the sec­re­tary of Ukraine’s Secu­rity Coun­cil [of Swoboda–D.E.], esti­mated Rus­sia had 16,000 sol­diers on or near the bor­der with Ukraine and 22,000 in Crimea, plus 3,500 in Moldova’s break­away Trans­d­nies­tria region to the west.

5. With Ukraine slated to endure the austerity regime mandated by the EU and IMF, it will be interesting to see the effect of that on the Ukrainian citizenry. Will it generate sympathy for fascist parties, such as the OUN/B successors Swoboda and Pravy Sektor? Will it increase separatist sentiments in the Eastern Ukraine?

“Insistence on Austerity Could Derail Ukraine’s Chance of Survival” by Mark Weisbrot; The Deseret News; 6/1/2014.

. . . . It has become standard operating procedure to get an elected government as soon as possible after a coup such as the one that toppled the prior-elected — and also super-rich President Viktor Yanukovych in February — with help from other Western governments.

Yanukovych, who tried to balance his government between the competing interests of the U.S./European Union alliance and Russia, never really had a chance. If he had agreed to the IMF conditions, his government would probably have become at least as unpopular as it did when he turned to Russia for a desperately needed $15 billion loan.

Which brings us to today: The new government of the Chocolate King is committed to those same conditions, now spelled out in an IMF agreement released at the end of April. I would not want to be in his shoes.

After two years of almost no economic growth, the IMF is now projecting a steep recession for this year, with the economy shrinking by 5 percent. This is largely because of budget tightening that the government has committed to, amounting to about 3 percent of GDP over the next two years.

For comparison, think of the U.S. government cutting $500 billion, roughly the equivalent of the Pentagon’s annual base allocation, from its budget over two years. The economy is supposed to recover next year, but we have heard that before — think of Greece, or Spain or Eurozone austerity generally over the past four years.

Poroshenko took a hard line against Russia during his electoral campaign, which was not surprising since millions of Russian-speaking voters in eastern Ukraine would not be voting anyway — some because they didn’t consider the election legitimate and many because armed militants closed the polling places.

But he has since become friendlier, emphasizing his good personal relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is probably a smart move, and not only because Russia can help him negotiate an end to the civil conflict.

Recent events indicate that Russia may have less influence on separatists in eastern Ukraine than the U.S. and the EU have on their allies in the West.

As it turns out, Putin does not appear interested in annexing more pieces of a divided Ukraine, contrary to the assertions of some in the U.S. His main goal seems more likely to be preventing Ukraine from becoming another base for the NATO military alliance, on its border, which in Russia is understandably seen as a threat.

NATO added 12 countries from Eastern Europe between 1999 and 2009. . . .

6. We conclude with an extremely important article from german-foreign-policy.com, which feeds along the lower right-hand side of the front page of this website. Underlying EU/German/U.S. policy in Ukraine is an apparent destabilization program aimed at the Russian economy and President Putin.

Of paramount significance is the fact that The U.S. and EU (read “Germany”) are contemplating fracking as a vehicle for diminishing the Russian economy. Hoping to do an end run on Russia’s natural gas exports, the plan is intended to destabilize Putin’s government and, as such, is a blatant attempt at interfering in the affairs of a sovereign–and powerful–nation.

This gambit features a rhetorical/ideological offensive that seeks to neutralize opposition to fracking by characterizing opponents of the practice as “Russian agents.”

“Energy as a Weapon (II)”; german-foreign-policy.com; 6/23/2014.

In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia.

EU’s “Energy Security”

These new moves favoring fracking are taking place in the run-up to the EU summit, which begins in Brussels later this week. The summit will also discuss ways the EU could reduce its “energy dependence.” At present, 39 percent of the EU’s gas imports originate in Russia. On May 28, the European Commission presented an “In-depth study of European Energy Security” as a basis for the current debate. The study proposes inter alia the diversification of energy supplies, enhanced energy saving measures, as well as the development of the internal energy infrastructure of the EU, to provide the possibility for operating the flow of the pipelines in both directions (“reverse flow”). This would allow countries, which had been mainly or even exclusively dependent on supplies from Russia, to receive supplies from western countries. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1]) The EU strategy paper also mentions “the increase of indigenous energy sources,” explicitly shale gas, produced by the risky and highly controversial hydraulic fracturing. Current exploration efforts have been “hampered” not least of all by lack of public acceptance, notes the paper.[2]

Permission under Certain Conditions

Environmental organizations and citizens’ initiatives in numerous countries are mobilizing against fracking – also in Germany. Nevertheless, energy companies have already begun exploring fracking possibilities in Germany. BASF subsidiary, Wintershall, for example, obtained a relevant concession in North Rhine-Westphalia. The German-Canadian “Central European Petroleum” claims to have discovered, through exploratory fracking, oil reserves of around five million tons in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Its value is estimated at more three billion Euros.[3] The fracking lobby is thus intensifying its pressure. According to press reports, the German Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), will permit hydraulic fracturing “under certain conditions” and is therefore preparing changes to “regulations concerning the assessment of environmental sustainability of mining projects,” which will soon be presented to the Cabinet and the Bundestag. Already in March, Gabriel told the boulevard press that, even though he thinks that the “current techniques are too risky for human beings and the environment. But the companies are doing research on better technology.” He announced, “we will need to examine the results.”[4]

Support for Fracking Companies

The EU is allocating a triple-digit million sum for the relevant research. According to a report, these funds can be used within the framework of the “Horizon 2020” research fund, which the European Commission adopted in late 2013 and will remain accessible until 2020. A total of 113 million Euros have been made available for projects concerning fracking “repercussions and risks.” The report notes that “the money will flow to gas companies, which otherwise would have to pay for the research themselves.” The first 33 million Euros will still be allocated this year. Officially this program “was launched to promote ‘competitive and low-carbon energy’.” However, it will now benefit companies interested in fracking.[5]

Under Pricing Pressure

The fracking lobby considers the current situation very favorable for reaching its objectives, because the EU and the USA are reacting to the conflict with Russia by calling for a significant reduction in European dependence on Russian energy sources. Western foreign policy strategists see an opportunity to weaken or largely eliminate Russia’s influence as a natural gas producer. This has to be seen in the context of the U.S. fracking boom, which has made the country the world’s largest gas producer – even ahead of Russia. Russia had to stop the exploitation of the Shtokman field, for example, because the fracking boom and the increasing availability of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will, in the long run, bring down prices. The Shtokman field is one the largest gas fields in the world. But because of its location in the Arctic, its exploitation is very expensive and only worthwhile if the world market prices are high. Initially, it had been planned to supply the USA with a large portion of the Shtokman reserves.

Threatened with Loss of Power

If the EU could be supplied with more LNG and US shale gas, and if the EU could enhance its own supply through fracking, Russia could be “hard hit,” according to the US magazine “Foreign Affairs,” 50 percent of Russia’s budget is derived from its sales of resources. [Foreign Affairs is derivative of the Council on Foreign Relations, which has strong links to the national security establishment–D.E.] A drop in prices and sales would force Russia to make painful budget reductions. “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence could diminish, creating new openings for his political opponents at home and making Moscow look weak abroad.”[6] Russia’s position in global politics would be seriously endangered.

Defamation Attempt

With this in mind, NATO circles have now openly began interfering in energy policy. Last week, outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen personally intervened to block resistance to fracking, claiming that environmental organizations are supported by Moscow in their struggle against hydraulic fracturing “to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”[7] Fracking opponents have become instruments of Russia’s “sophisticated information and disinformation operation.” Industrial circles confirmed that this accusation has been raised for some time. The organizations concerned, such as Greenpeace, which had been at odds with Moscow for quite some time, has reacted to this allegation with ridicule and mockery. However, this does demonstrate that the Western political establishment is not averse to slandering political opponents with insinuations that they are working as agents for its global political adversary. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8])

Business with Russia

Particularly those energy companies, seeking to engage or having long since been engaged in lucrative business deals with Russia, are interested in developing fracking in Europe. Among German companies, BASF subsidiary, Wintershall, holds an eminent position in hydraulic fracturing. Wintershall is exceptionally enmeshed with the Russian gas industry.[9] The US Exxon Mobile Corporation is also banking on fracking in Europe. But, aside from this, it has signed a deal with the Russian Rosneft oil company, involving “the drilling for crude in the Arctic and Siberia and liquefying natural gas for export.”[10] The stigma of ‘agents of Moscow’ is also aimed at intimidating opponents of western elite projects in the case of fracking. This does not exclude the lucrative business deals the ruling circles have made with Russia.

[1] See Erdgas für den Fall der Fälle.
[2] European Commission: In-depth study of European Energy Security. Brussels, 16.06.2014. SWD(2014) 330 final/2.
[3] Claudia Ehrenstein: Fracking ist in Deutschland schon längst Alltag. www.welt.de 24.05.2014.
[4] So wird die Energiewende bezahlbar. www.bild.de 31.03.2014.
[5] Europa als Spielball der Fracking-Lobbyisten? www.euractiv.de 13.06.2014.
[6] Robert D. Blackwill, Meghan L. O’Sullivan: America’s Energy Edge. The Geopolitical Consequences of the Shale Revolution. Foreign Affairs March/April 2014. See Energy as a Weapon.
[7] Steckt Russland hinter der Anti-Fracking-Bewegung? Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 21.06.2014.
[8] See The Free World.
[9] See Russlands Erdgas-Botschafter and Global Policy Orientation.
[10] Putin’s Energy Trumps U.S. Sanctions as Rosneft Extends Reach. www.businessweek.com 24.05.2014.


7 comments for “FTR #800 Meet the New Boss(es), Same as the Old Boss(es): Update on Ukraine”

  1. @Dave
    Thanks for your work. Covering the obscure elements you covered from the Ukraine and many other places in the early 80s and seeing how relevant those forces are in 2014 is as amazing as it is disturbing. Thanks for all the great FTR shows, and for you to get to number 800 with the incredible insight, well your dedication, perseverance, courage and sacrifice is heroic to be understated. Thank you

    Posted by GK | July 6, 2014, 1:11 pm
  2. Dangerous & worrying seems like an apt description:

    Pravyi Sektor/Ukrainian Insurgent Army (red & black) flag was flying from Interior Min. building in #Slovyansk today. Dangerous & worrying— Will Vernon (@BBCWillVernon) July 7, 2014

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 8, 2014, 6:17 am
  3. Here are a couple of background items that weren’t mentioned in the program:

    1. Zionist revolutionary Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, founder of both Betar and the Irgun, was born and raised in Odessa, now in Ukraine. At that time, Odessa had the largest community of Jews in Russia and was a center of the Zionist movement. It was known as the “Gateway to Zion”, where Jewish colonists disembarked for Palestine.

    2. The Ukranian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, appointed provincial governor by coup sponsor and fellow billionaire Victor Poroshenko, is also the founder of the “European Jewish Parliament” (see Wikipedia, note Jewish star on European flag).

    Posted by John | July 15, 2014, 12:47 pm
  4. @John–

    The European Jewish Parliament appears to be something approximating a joke, with people like Pee Wee Herman having been nominated as “Parliamentarians” without even being notified.

    Odd you would focus on something as marginal as this.


    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | July 15, 2014, 5:40 pm
  5. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk just resigned after losing the support of Svoboda and UDAR (Vitali Klitschko’s party). And it appears that the conflict was over passage of a new austerity-heavy bugget. So it looks like Ukraine might already be transitioning to the phase where anti-austerity sentiments begin reshaping the nation’s politics:

    Yatsenyuk Resigns as Ukraine’s Premier After Coalition Dissolves
    By Aliaksandr Kudrytski and Daryna Krasnolutska Jul 24, 2014 11:45 AM CT

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned after two parties quit the ruling coalition and President Petro Poroshenko signaled his support for early elections.

    Yatsenyuk told the parliament in Kiev today that he’s stepping down after losing his allies’ backing and failing to pass legislation. Former world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR and Svoboda, a nationalist group, said they’d leave the coalition and seek a snap parliamentary ballot, according to statements today on their websites.

    “The coalition has fallen apart, laws haven’t been voted on, soldiers can’t be paid, there’s no money to buy rifles, there’s no possibility to store up gas,” Yatsenyuk told lawmakers. “What options do we have now?”

    Yatsenyuk’s administration took charge of Ukraine in February after pro-European street protests prompted Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych to flee. Since then, the government has battled a pro-Russian insurgency in the east of the country, which it says is supported by the government in Moscow. Russia also annexed Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March.

    “All opinion polls and direct talks with the people show that society wants a full-power reboot,” Poroshenko, who has pledged to call parliamentary elections this year, said in a statement on his website.

    Ukraine’s parliament must approve Yatsenyuk’s resignation, according to the constitution.

    Probably Planned

    The breakup of the coalition “was probably agreed on by political parties seeking elections and the president,” Yuriy Yakymenko, the head of political research at Kiev’s Razumkov Center, a non-governmental policy group, said by phone.

    “Withdrawals from the coalition should not paralyze the parliament’s work,” Poroshenko said before Yatsenyuk announced his resignation. “The parliament must adopt amendments to the state budget needed to finance our army and also documents needed for cooperation with international financial institutions.”

    Ukraine obtained a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in May to stay afloat as its economy may contract 6.5 percent this year. The hryvnia lost 29.75 percent versus the dollar since the beginning of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    The government expected lawmakers to approve changes to the 2014 budget, which envisages social-spending cuts and army spending increases, needed to qualify for the IMF’s next tranche. The 450-seat legislature rejected putting the amendments on the agenda.

    Yatsenyuk’s resignation “brings some volatility to the process,” said Vladislav Sochinsky, the treasurer at Citigroup Inc.’s unit in Kiev. “The IMF program has some risk as the dysfunctional parliament may be reluctant to vote on austerity measures ahead of the snap elections,”

    The parliament also rejected a cabinet law on a joint venture to operate the country’s gas transportation system.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 24, 2014, 10:30 am
  6. With Ukraine facing new elections, it’s worth pointing out that the most popular party right in the country right now is the far right “Radical Party”:

    Ukraine faces bitter election in midst of conflict with Russia

    By Natalia Zinets

    KIEV Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:04pm IST

    (Reuters) – Ukraine’s prime minister has launched what promises to be a bitter election campaign that could divide pro-Western parties and complicate their efforts to fight pro-Russian rebels in the country’s east.

    Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, a key interlocutor of the West during months of turmoil, announced on Thursday that he would quit, saying parliament was betraying Ukraine’s army and people by blocking reforms supported by Western backers.

    His move, following the exit of two parties from the ruling coalition, amounted to the start of a campaign for seats in a legislature still packed with former allies of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, ousted by protests in February.

    “History will not forgive us,” Yatseniuk told parliament on Thursday, in what analysts said was the first campaign speech for the party led by Yulia Tymoshenko, a rival of President Petro Poroshenko, who was elected to replace Yanukovich in May.

    Pro-Western political forces in Ukraine have been bitterly divided almost continuously since the country won independence with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Any further divisions will likely weaken Kiev’s attempt to counter Russia’s reassertion of control over the former Soviet arena, realised most dramatically when Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March, and may also complicate talks with governments which lost citizens in last week’s downing of an airliner over eastern Ukraine.

    Analysts said his removal from office – which has yet to be approved by parliament – would allow his party to criticise government policy during the campaign.

    “This resignation means that the election campaign has begun for all political forces,” said Yuri Yakymenko, an analyst at the Razumkov think tank. “He suggested unpopular laws, but the Rada (parliament) did not support him. They threw it back at him, and now he’s throwing it back at them.”


    Abandoning his post at a time when Ukraine is struggling to finance a war against pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and to pay state workers their regular salaries could be a high risk strategy for Yatseniuk.

    Government and finance officials have warned that the budget only has enough money to finance the army until Aug. 1, and some pro-Russia politicians have criticised the government for failing to properly feed or equip soldiers in the field.

    An aide to Poroshenko, Oleksander Danilyuk, said the resignation should not hurt what Kiev calls its “anti-terrorist operation” against rebels in eastern Ukraine.

    In the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, witnesses said artillery fire could be heard from the direction of the airport for the third day. There were fewer people on the streets.

    Local health officials said 14 people had been killed in the last 24 hours in the Donetsk region.

    Northwest of the rebels’ second stronghold of Luhansk, Kiev said it had taken the town of Lysychansk.

    The war will be central to the campaign and Yatseniuk needs distance from government policy to form a campaign in opposition to Poroshenko’s leadership said.

    Poroshenko, who has been in various governments over the years, is a pro-Western businessman, one of the first Ukrainian politicians to visit the protest camp in Kiev.

    He has never engaged in name-calling with Tymoshenko, who repeatedly referred to him as an oligarch during campaigning for the presidential election.

    Tymoshenko has seen her personal ratings and those of her party slip since she was imprisoned by Yanukovich for abuse of office and hopes Yatseniuk can help the party recover.

    Ukraine’s most popular political group is now the populist Radical Party, led by Oleh Lyashko, and the Udar (Punch) party of former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko runs third, in the opinion polls. Tymoshenko’s party is second.

    “Clearly there will be an attempt to shift responsibility for the situation in the country,” Yakymenko said.

    It looks like Ukraine’s politics is about to a lot more “Radical”.

    Also, guess which parties Yatsenyuk chose to nominate the interim Prime Minister: Udar and Svoboda, the same two parties that ditched the coalition. The parliament chose the replacement today (a Poroshenko ally). While Udar, being the second most popular party, might be an appropriate choice for such a decision, given Svoboda’s low levels of support and the fact that it’s internationally seen as a symbol of a resurgent neo-Nazi ideology, you have to wonder why was Svoboda was given this power too?:

    Think Progress
    How Corrupt Opportunists Could Win Big In Ukraine’s Government Shake-Up

    by Will Freeman Posted on July 25, 2014 at 11:43 am Updated: July 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced on Thursday that he plans to step down after the populist Udar and far right Svoboda parties withdrew from the coalition governing the war-torn country. As fighting around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk intensifies and the civilian death toll rises, the government in Kiev can scarcely afford more obstacles to its decision making. Amid the political chaos, corrupt opportunists stand to gain the most.

    Yatsenyuk called on Svoboda and Udar to nominate an interim Prime Minister to serve until new parliamentary elections can be held next fall. The fact that these two parties, respectively known for virulent anti-Semitism and corruption, are now wielding such power should be concerning for those who placed hope in the progressive elements within last winter’s Maidan protests. Svoboda, whose leader garnered just over one percent of the vote when he ran for president against Poroshenko in May, is notorious for promoting anti-Semitic views and praising Ukrainian insurgents who killed thousands of Jews during World War II. The Udar party, headed by former boxer Vitali Klitschko, advocates for reform but is “increasingly known for engaging in backroom deals and shutting other Maidan leaders out of power,” according to an editor for Belarus Digest Devin Ackles.

    “A Full Reset”

    Yatsenyuk, a pro-Western technocrat, made the decision to quit after weeks of parliamentary deadlock surrounding two highly divisive issues: allowing U.S. and E.U. companies to manage Ukraine’s aging gas facilities and ramping up military funding for Ukraine’s ongoing civil war with separatists in the east. He warned parliament’s failure to act risked the new government losing the support of the thousands who protested as part of the Maidan movement that toppled ex-President Yanukovych last February. “History will not forgive us,” he warned.

    President Poroshenko welcomed the collapse of the coalition that had been struggling to agree on new policies. Under Ukrainian law, the withdrawal of Svoboda and Udar allows the president to dissolve the parliament until elections can be held next fall. “Society wants a full reset of state authorities,” Poroshenko said in a statement released Thursday.

    While Ukraine elected a new president in May, many parliamentarians are holdovers from elections that occurred before Yanukovych fled the country. Critics allege that the withdrawal of Svoboda and Udar was planned to allow Poroshenko’s administration to silence dissenting voices in government. On Wednesday, after an MP from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions called attention to the killing of civilians by the Ukrainian military, right wing parliamentarians started a fistfight.

    It’s clear that the gears of Ukraine’s government have ground to a halt, but a complete overhaul of the current parliament will only pile up more roadblocks for Ukraine’s leaders in the near future. “There is a lot to be concerned about,” said John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. “Government unity is important for dealing with the current security dangers, but this is something for Ukrainians to work out.”

    The Big Winners

    The government shake-up also threatens to elevate the popularity of right-leaning nationalist politicians and parties that definitely strike a different tone from the pro-Western Maidan protestors who called for a more liberal, open society during last winter’s protest. While Ackles says recent polling suggests Svoboda will not recapture the 10 percent of votes it claimed in the last elections, its role in deciding the new prime minister gives it dangerous, oversized influence in shaping the interim government.

    Ackles, an analyst at the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE) Ukraine, told ThinkProgress that the big winner in the government’s reset will be Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party. “Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party has seen tremendous gains and will be a real player in the upcoming elections,” he said. “By polling at 15.5 percent from voters intending on participating in the elections, his party looks like it will be the second largest party in the new parliament, after president Poroshenko’s ‘solidarity’ party,” he added. “His party is even beating out the largest ruling party, [former Prime Minister Yulia] Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party.”

    Lyashko was considered a laughable figure on the fringe of Ukrainian politics before the country’s current crisis skyrocketed him to fame. In May, he even managed to come in third in Ukraine’s presidential election with 8 percent of the vote. Known for donning military fatigues and posting videos of himself abducting and interrogating separatist leaders at gunpoint, Ackles said that Lyashko has gained a cult following of anti-Russia pro-Ukraine young males by lambasting members of the political opposition as “traitors.”

    Lyashko’s meteoric rise to fame, Svoboda’s sway over recent events, and the general breakdown of any semblance of working order in the current government all suggest that even if Kiev manages to defeat the rebels in Donetsk, Ukraine might not have transformed all that much from the days of Yanukovych. And if the pro-Western government of Petro Poroshenko ultimately fails to meet the demands of the disaffected protestors who sparked the current tumult by pushing Yanukovych from power last winter- essentially fulfilling Yatsenyuk’s warning -these same discontents may increasingly turn to radical parties and leaders for solutions.

    Volodymyr Groysman, a close ally of President Poroshenko and a reform-minded politician was appointed acting prime minister on Friday

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 25, 2014, 10:23 am
  7. The Pentagon and US State Department are both claiming to have proof that Russia has been shelling the Ukrainian military from across the border for the last several days. Whether or not it’s true, it’s the kind of assertion that makes Western military support for Ukraine far more likely. And if that happens, the odds of Ukraine’s civil war ending soon would seems extremely unlikely since Russia would, at that point, have the pretext to start openly flooding the rebels with arms. So, instead of allowing the sides to used up their equipment and ammo, the war in Ukraine continues to get worse:

    Ukraine says Russia shelled its troops across the border
    Tom Vanden Brook and Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY 10:35 a.m. EDT July 25, 2014

    The Ukrainian army on Friday charged that its soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight, bolstering claims by U.S. officials that the Russian military has been firing artillery rounds at Ukrainian military targets for several days.

    U.S. officials also charged that Russia intends to deliver more powerful rocket launchers to separatist groups.

    Ukrainian forces in the eastern regions are trying to close in on the rebels, cutting them off from the border with Russia which Kiev believes is the source of arms and reinforcement.

    Moscow has vehemently denied a role in the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and government troops which has left more than 400 people dead and displaced tens of thousands.

    “Unfortunately, it is not for the first time that we hear unproven allegations,” a spokesman said for the Russian embassy in Washington said regarding the latest U.S. allegations, according to The Wall Street Journal. “In fact, it is the Russian territory that is being shelled form the Ukraine.”

    Around 40 shells from fighting over on the Ukrainian side of the border have landed and exploded in the Russian village of Primiusskiy, according to head of the press department of the Rostov Region border service Vasily Malaev, the government-run RT.com reports.

    The charges by U.S. officials on Thursday focused on what they described as deliberate shelling from the Russian side.

    Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said rounds were fired again on Ukrainian military targets Thursday in a “clear escalation” of hostilities.

    “This has been happening, we believe, for several days,” said Warren. “This is a military escalation, there’s no question about it.”

    The Pentagon’s top officer called the Russian shelling of Ukrainian army positions reflects President Vladmir Putin’s “very aggressive” pursuit of objectives in Europe.

    “You’ve got a Russian government that has made the conscious decision to use its military force inside of another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives — first time, I think, probably, since 1939 or so that that’s been the case,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said at the Aspen Security Forum.

    Russia has about 12,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, he said. Russian tanks, artillery and rocket launchers have crossed into eastern Ukraine to support separatists.

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has not spoken to his Russian counterpart about the artillery attack and has no plans to, Warren said.

    The State Department also said Thursday they had evidence of the Russian attack.

    “We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to separatist forces in Ukraine and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russian to attack Ukrainian military positions,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

    Ukraine’s government has also charged that the missiles that brought down two Ukrainian attack planes over rebel-held areas on Wednesday were fired from Russian territory. U.S. defense and intelligence officials said they could not verify the claim.

    Along those lines, the fighting in the areas filled with civilians also continues to get worse:

    The Washington Post
    Human Rights Watch: Ukrainian forces are rocketing civilians
    By Thomas Gibbons-Neff July 25 at 10:12 AM

    While the United States and other Western countries condemn pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine for downing Malaysian Airlines flight 17, and the subsequent handling of the crash site and remains, a new Human Rights Watch report released Thursday accuses Ukrainian government forces of indiscriminately rocketing civilian areas.

    Between July 12 and July 21 Ukrainian government forces have killed more than 15 civilians and wounded countless others in at least four separate attacks with unguided ‘Grad’ rocket attacks on separatist-controlled territory.

    “Grad rockets are notoriously imprecise weapons that shouldn’t be used in populated areas,” said Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “If insurgent and Ukrainian government forces are serious about limiting harm to civilians, they should both immediately stop using these weapons in populated areas.”

    The use of unguided rockets in populated areas is a violation of international and humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes, Human Rights Watch reports.

    The Grad, which means “Hail” in Russian is a 40-tube multiple-launch rocket system that has been in use since the 1960s. The 122mm rocket can weigh anywhere between 66kg and 45kg and reach a range of up to 20,000 meters. The high explosive rocket variant has a warhead that weighs 18.4kg, meaning that a Grad Battalion of 18 launchers can deliver 46,000kg, or roughly 10,000 pounds of explosives onto a single target.

    Though the Ukrainian government denies the use of Grad rockets, a Human Rights Watch investigation has found that both government and separatist forces have used the system in and around Donetsk.

    In a post-blast analysis of the four attacks, Human Rights Watch identified distinct patterns consistent with rocket attacks, including the shape of impact craters and damage to building facades that indicate a lateral rocket strike as opposed to a vertical hit consistent with artillery shelling.

    While the report condemns the use of the rockets by government forces, it also flags separatists for not taking measures to avoid encamping in densely populated civilian areas.

    “Ukrainian authorities should order all their forces, including volunteer forces, to immediately stop using Grads in or near populated areas, and insurgent forces should avoid deploying in densely populated areas,” Solvang said. “Commanding officers on all sides should recognize that one day they could face legal consequences for their actions.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 25, 2014, 5:17 pm

Post a comment