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

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.”

1. 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. . . .

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 1982.) 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.

PUBLICITY STUNT?

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.

SECURE BORDER BEFORE TRUCE

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.

Discussion

6 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.

    Cheers,

    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:

    Bloomberg
    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.”

    HIGH-RISK STRATEGY

    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.

    Update:
    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

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