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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. [1] (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1 [2]  Side 2 [3]

This descrip­tion con­tains infor­ma­tion not con­tained in the orig­i­nal pro­gram.

[4]

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

[5]

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 [6] of Vik­tor Yuschenko.

In FTR #781 [7], 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 [8] (“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 777 [9]778 [10]779 [11]780 [12]781 [7]782 [13], 783 [14]784 [15]794 [16].)

Svarych served as Min­is­ter of Jus­tice in both Tym­noshenko gov­ern­ments, as well as under Vik­tor Yuschenko. The Con­gress of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists [17], 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.

[18]

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 [19] and estab­lish sub­con­tract­ing arrange­ments to build auto­mo­biles in that cheap labor mar­ket.

This will be cou­pled by the aus­ter­i­ty doc­trine [20] 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 [21] 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 [22] 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 [23] in an attempt to deflect charges of anti-Semi­tism; review of the fas­cist char­ac­ter [24] 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 [7], 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 [8] 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. [6]

. . . . 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 [8] 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 [25], FTR #465 [26], 777 [9].)

As dis­cussed in FTR #800 [27], 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 [7]. 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 777 [9]778 [10]779 [11]780 [12]781 [7]782 [13], 783 [14]784 [15]794 [16]800 [27]803 [28]804 [29],808 [30], 811 [31].)

“OUN-UPA Vet­er­ans Could Be Giv­en Com­bat­ant Status—Poroshenko”; Inter­fax-Ukraine; 9/25/2014. [32]

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”; [17]Wikipedia.com. [17]

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 [23], 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” [24] 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 [33], 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 [34], 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 48 [35]154 [36]161 [37]184 [38]293 [39]766 [40]. 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. [19]

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 Alliance [41]Expan­sive Ambi­tions [42]Our Man in Kiev [43]Inte­gra­tion Rival­ry with Moscow [44]On the Offen­sive [45]At all Costs [46]The Crimean Con­flict [47]The Kiev Esca­la­tion Strat­e­gy [48]Cold War Images [49]The Free World [50]A Fatal Taboo Vio­la­tion [51]The Euro­peaniza­tion of Ukraine [52]Offi­cial Gov­ern­ment Voca­tive [53]An Unusu­al Mis­sion [54]“Sci­en­tif­ic Nation­al­ists” [8]Cri­sis of Legit­i­ma­cy [55] and “Fas­cist Free­dom Fight­ers” [56] and The Restora­tion of the Oli­garchs (IV) [57].

[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 [58].
[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) [57].
[9] In der Ukraine ste­hen Mod­ernisierun­gen an. www.gtai.de 24.04.2014.
[10] See The Restora­tion of the Oli­garchs (IV) [57].
[11] See Our Man in Kiev [43].
[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 [21]. 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. [21]

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. [20]

. . . . 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. . . .

[59]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. [22]

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 [60].
[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 [61].
[7] Steckt Rus­s­land hin­ter der Anti-Frack­ing-Bewe­gung? Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung 21.06.2014.
[8] See The Free World [50].
[9] See Rus­s­lands Erdgas-Botschafter [62] and Glob­al Pol­i­cy Ori­en­ta­tion [63].
[10] Putin’s Ener­gy Trumps U.S. Sanc­tions as Ros­neft Extends Reach. www.businessweek.com 24.05.2014.