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

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FTR #808 Walkin’ the Snake in Ukraine, Part 3 (“How Many Lies Can You Allow Yourself to Believe Before You Belong to the Lie?”)

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

NB: This descrip­tion con­tains infor­ma­tion not con­tained in the orig­i­nal pro­gram.

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Pravy Sek­tor: “Anti-Ter­ror­ist” Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment mili­tias are drawn from this group and Swo­bo­da

Intro­duc­tion: This broad­cast illus­trates the con­cept of insti­tu­tion­al­ized polit­i­cal iner­tia as applied to the cri­sis in Ukraine. High­light­ing the impris­on­ment of U.S. intel­li­gence analy­sis and pol­i­cy for­ma­tion because of this coun­try’s immer­sion in the milieu of the Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion, the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations and the Under­ground Reich, we are wit­ness­ing the fas­cist roots nur­tured and watered dur­ing the Cold War blos­som into Nazi flow­ers.

After updat­ing the active role of Ger­many and the EU in pro­mot­ing the anti-Yanukovich coup in Ukraine, the pro­gram notes the tac­tics of the Poroshenko gov­ern­ment in the civ­il war in the coun­try’s East. Bom­bard­ing heav­i­ly pop­u­lat­ed urban areas with artillery and air forces, the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary then fol­lows up with street com­bat by fas­cist mili­tias such as the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

The pro­gram reviews the role of the OUN/B in the Repub­li­can Eth­nic Out­reach orga­ni­za­tion. The lat­ter was an out­growth of a covert oper­a­tion called the Cru­sade for Free­dom.

A major aspect of the CFF was the use of “fas­cist free­dom fight­ers” in Europe, fore­most among whom were the OUN/B com­bat­ants of the UPA. The UPA coa­lesced under Roman Shukhevych dur­ing World War II. The CFF also involved the ele­va­tion of these same Third Reich allies into a major ele­ment of the  GOP.

The ele­ment of the Repub­li­can Par­ty that grew out of the CFF was com­prised large­ly of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations–essentially a renam­ing of the Com­mit­tee of  Sub­ju­gat­ed Nations, formed by Hitler in 1943.

Con­ceived by Allen Dulles, the CFF was over­seen by Richard Nixon. Its chief spokesper­son was Ronald Rea­gan. The State Depart­ment offi­cial respon­si­ble for bring­ing “fas­cist free­dom fight­ers” like the OUN/B into the Unit­ed States was William Casey (Ronald Rea­gan’s cam­paign man­ag­er in the 1980 Pres­i­den­tial race and lat­er Rea­gan’s CIA direc­tor.) The Nazi wing of the GOP was installed as a per­ma­nent branch of the Repub­li­can Par­ty when George H.W. Bush was the head of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee.

Svo­bo­da leader Tihany­bok salutes

It is note­wor­thy that the orga­ni­za­tions that were rep­re­sent­ed in the GOP eth­nic sub­group were all affil­i­at­ed with the SS dur­ing World War II. Pri­or to the com­mence­ment of hos­til­i­ties, the SS formed effec­tive liai­son with the Hun­gar­i­an Arrow Cross, the Roman­ian Iron Guard, the Bul­gar­i­an Nation­al Front and the OUN/B, among oth­er orga­ni­za­tions.

This rela­tion­ship was cement­ed and strength­ened dur­ing the war and remained oper­a­tional when these ele­ments jumped to U.S. intel­li­gence and, through that rela­tion­ship, to the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

Allen Dulles, god­fa­ther of the Cru­sade For Free­dom

Next, the broad­cast excerpts an arti­cle fea­tured in AFA #36. We high­light the role in the de-sta­bi­liza­tion of the for­mer Sovi­et Union of the OUN/B and the oth­er SS-con­nect­ed fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions incor­po­rat­ed into the GOP eth­nic orga­ni­za­tion. Heav­i­ly over­lap­ping the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion of Paul Weyrich, the GOP “eth­nics” and the OUN/B, in par­tic­u­lar, played a lead­ing role in the polit­i­cal tutor­ing of Boris Yeltsin’s IRG orga­ni­za­tion. Ulti­mate­ly, Yeltsin’s forces were instru­men­tal in break­ing up the U.S.S.R.

Con­sor­tium News give us anoth­er good arti­cle on the ongo­ing sup­pres­sion on resur­gent World War II and Third Reich allied fas­cism in Ukraine and else­where in East­ern Europe.

This recre­ation of World War II fas­cism man­i­fest­ed by ele­ments direct­ly evolved from the ABN allies of the Third Reich can be seen as a direct out­growth of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion’s efforts in East­ern Europe and the for­mer U.S.S.R.

We note, again, that the head of the lib­er­a­tion sub-group of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion was Hun­gar­i­an Arrow Cross vet­er­an Las­z­lo Pasz­tor, the head of the GOP “eth­nics.”

Of para­mount impor­tance in this dis­cus­sion is the fact that the NATO coun­tries that are the source for the “intel­li­gence” on the “Russ­ian inva­sion” of the Ukraine are the same coun­tries that are man­i­fest­ing their Nazi-allied World War II her­itage!

We also note that the satel­lite pho­tos pur­port­ing to show Russ­ian armor and self-pro­pelled artillery in Ukraine come from a pri­vate com­pa­ny called Dig­i­tal­Globe, found­ed by peo­ple with back­grounds in Ronald Rea­gan’s Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive or “Star Wars” pro­gram.

One of the founders, Dou­glas Gerull, has a back­ground with the Zeiss firm, dis­cussed in FTR #272 as one of the com­pa­nies that pur­chased Tins­ley Lab­o­ra­to­ries, an impor­tant com­pa­ny involved with the devel­op­ment of satel­lite imag­ing intel­li­gence.

High­light­ing indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions at the epi­cen­ter of the evo­lu­tion and per­pet­u­a­tion of the OUN/B, the pro­gram notes the devel­op­ment of the UNA-UNSO, evolved from Roman Shukeyvuch’s UPA and its mor­ph­ing into Pravy Sek­tor.

ISIS fol­low­ers vow­ing alle­giance to the group. Com­pare to Tihany­bok’s ges­tur­ing. Hint: They are NOT audi­tion­ing for an anti-per­spi­rant com­mer­cial.

Jaroslv Stet­sko, Roman Shukhevych and OUN/B chief Stephan Ban­dera estab­lished the Nazi eth­nic cleans­ing mod­el for the OUN/B dur­ing the war. Their influ­ence has been main­tained through the ABN, Roman Svarych (Jaroslav Stet­sko’s sec­re­tary in the ear­ly 1980’s, a three-time Jus­tice Min­is­ter in Ukraine and advis­er to cur­rent pres­i­dent Poroshenko), Stet­sko’s wid­ow Sla­va Stet­sko (along with Roman

Lvov Pogrom, 1941–Einsatzgruppe Nachti­gall youth in action. See Nachti­gall cel­e­brants at the Euro­Maid­an demon­stra­tions above, right. A street in Lvov was renamed in hon­or of this group.

Svarych the founder of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Con­gress), Yka­te­ri­na (Chu­machenko) Yuschenko, for­mer Rea­gan aide and wife of Vik­tor Yuschenko, and Yuriy Shukhevych, Roman’s son and a for­mer head of Pravy Sek­tor.

The broad­cast con­cludes by under­scor­ing the appar­ent role of Chechens in the mil­i­tary prowess of ISIS. One won­ders if the UNA-UNSO cadre may have impart­ed some of their mil­i­tary skills to ISIS?

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­men­t’s estab­lish­ment of anony­mous “informer” net­works in cities they cap­tured in East­ern Ukraine; review of the cel­e­bra­tion of the Nachti­gall bat­tal­ion in con­tem­po­rary Ukraine; review of the overt per­se­cu­tion of the Russ­ian eth­nic pop­u­la­tion of East­ern Ukraine; an impor­tant arti­cle by Robert Par­ry not­ing the spu­ri­ous nature of claims of a “Russ­ian inva­sion” of Ukraine, backed by analy­sis of vet­er­an intel­li­gence offi­cers.

(We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of pro­grams: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800, 803.)

1.  reveal­ing arti­cle from the Tele­graph [UK] informs us of the size of the EU’s fund­ing of Ukrain­ian civ­il soci­ety in its dri­ve to bring that coun­try into the EU’s (read “Ger­many’s”) orbit. Hav­ing com­mit­ted 496 mil­lion Euros to civic orga­ni­za­tions in Ukraine, EU poured rough­ly 11 Euros into the coun­try for every man woman and child in its pop­u­la­tion.

That pales by com­par­i­son with the $5 bil­lion the U.S. has invest­ed in Ukrain­ian civ­il soci­ety (this accord­ing to Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Vic­to­ria Nuland.)

Also inter­est­ing is an account in the sto­ry below that an elec­tri­cian employed in Ukraine received the equiv­a­lent of a mon­th’s pay to join in pro-EU demon­stra­tions. The mon­ey was said to be paid by a Ger­man bank.

The sto­ry cor­rect­ly places the onus of this cri­sis on the West and not on Putin.

 “Fresh Evi­dence of How the West Lured Ukraine into Its Orbit” by Christo­pher Book­er; The Tele­graph [UK]; 8/9/2014.

How odd it has been to read all those accounts of Europe sleep­walk­ing into war in the sum­mer of 1914, and how such mad­ness must nev­er hap­pen again, against the back­ground of the most mis­rep­re­sent­ed major sto­ry of 2014 – the gath­er­ing cri­sis between Rus­sia and the West over Ukraine, as we watch devel­op­ments in that very nasty civ­il war, with 20,000 Russ­ian troops mass­ing on the bor­der.

For months the West has been demon­is­ing Pres­i­dent Putin, with fig­ures such as the Prince of Wales and Hillary Clin­ton com­par­ing him with Hitler, obliv­i­ous to the fact that what set this cri­sis in motion were those reck­less­ly provoca­tive moves to absorb Ukraine into the EU.

There was nev­er any way that this dri­ve to suck the orig­i­nal cra­dle of Russ­ian iden­ti­ty into the Brus­sels empire was not going to pro­voke Moscow to react – not least due to the prospect that its only warm-water ports, in Crimea, might soon be tak­en over by Nato.

And still scarce­ly report­ed here have been the bil­lions of dol­lars and euros the West has been more or less secre­tive­ly pour­ing into Ukraine to pro­mote the cause: not just to prop up its bank­rupt gov­ern­ment and bank­ing sys­tem, but to fund scores of bogus “pro-Euro­pean” groups mak­ing up what the EU calls “civ­il soci­ety”.

When the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion told a jour­nal­ist that, between 2004 and 2013, these groups had only been giv­en €31 mil­lion, my co-author Richard North was soon report­ing on his EU Ref­er­en­dum blog that the true fig­ure, shown on the commission’s own “Finan­cial Trans­paren­cy” web­site, was €496 mil­lion. The 200 front organ­i­sa­tions receiv­ing this colos­sal sum have such names as “Cen­ter for Euro­pean Co-oper­a­tion” or the “Donet­sk Region­al Pub­lic Organ­i­sa­tion with Hope for the Future” (the very first page shows how many are in east­ern Ukraine or Crimea, with their large­ly Russ­ian pop­u­la­tions).

One of my read­ers heard from a Ukrain­ian woman work­ing in Britain that her hus­band back home earns €200 a month as an elec­tri­cian, but is paid anoth­er €200 a month, from a Ger­man bank, to join demon­stra­tions such as the one last March when hun­dreds of thou­sands – many doubt­less entire­ly sin­cere – turned out in Kiev to chant “Europe, Europe” at Baroness Ash­ton, the EU’s vis­it­ing “for­eign min­is­ter”.

How­ev­er dan­ger­ous this cri­sis becomes, it is the West which has brought it about; and our hys­ter­i­cal vil­i­fy­ing of Rus­sia is more rem­i­nis­cent of that fate­ful mood in the sum­mer of 1914 than we should find it com­fort­able to con­tem­plate.

2a. In Ukraine, the gov­ern­ment is using heavy weaponry–artillery, armor, heli­copter gun­ships and fixed-wing com­bat aircraft–to bom­bard dense urban areas. After­ward, the Nazi spe­cial bat­tal­ions such as the Azov are sent in for street fight­ing.

“Ukraine Cri­sis: the Neo-Nazi Brigade fight­ing pro-Russ­ian Sep­a­ratists” by Tom Parfitt; The Tele­graph; 8/11/2014.

Kiev throws para­mil­i­taries – some open­ly neo-Nazi — into the front of the bat­tle with rebels

The fight­ers of the Azov bat­tal­ion lined up in sin­gle file to say farewell to their fall­en com­rade. His pal­lid corpse lay under the sun in an open cas­ket trimmed with blue vel­vet.

Some of the men placed car­na­tions by the body, oth­ers ros­es. Many struck their chests with a closed fist before touch­ing their dead friend’s arm. One fight­er had an SS tat­too on his neck.

Sergiy Grek, 22, lost a leg and died from mas­sive blood loss after a radio-con­trolled anti-tank mine explod­ed near to him.

As Ukraine’s armed forces tight­en the noose around pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in the east of the coun­try, the west­ern-backed gov­ern­ment in Kiev is throw­ing mili­tia groups – some open­ly neo-Nazi — into the front of the bat­tle.

The Azov bat­tal­ion has the most chill­ing rep­u­ta­tion of all. Last week, it came to the fore as it mount­ed a bold attack on the rebel redoubt of Donet­sk, strik­ing deep into the sub­urbs of a city under siege.

In Marin­ka, on the west­ern out­skirts, the bat­tal­ion was sent for­ward ahead of tanks and armoured vehi­cles of the Ukrain­ian army’s 51st Mech­a­nised Brigade. A fero­cious close-quar­ters fight ensued as they got caught in an ambush laid by well-trained sep­a­ratists, who shot from 30 yards away. The Azov irreg­u­lars replied with a squall of fire, fend­ing off the attack and seiz­ing a rebel check­point.

Mr Grek, also known as “Bal­a­gan”, died in the bat­tle and 14 oth­ers were wound­ed. Speak­ing after the cer­e­mony Andriy Bilet­sky, the battalion’s com­man­der, told the Tele­graph the oper­a­tion had been a “100% suc­cess”. “The bat­tal­ion is a fam­ily and every death is painful to us but these were min­i­mal loss­es,” he said. “Most impor­tant of all, we estab­lished a bridge­head for the attack on Donet­sk. And when that comes we will be lead­ing the way.”

The mil­i­tary achieve­ment is hard to dis­pute. By secur­ing Marin­ka the bat­tal­ion “widened the front and tight­ened the cir­cle”, around the rebels’ cap­i­tal, as anoth­er fight­er put it. While Vladimir Putin, Russia’s pres­i­dent, pre­var­i­cates about send­ing an inva­sion force into Ukraine, the rebels he backs are los­ing ground fast.

But Kiev’s use of vol­un­teer para­mil­i­taries to stamp out the Russ­ian-backed Donet­sk and Luhan­sk “people’s republics”, pro­claimed in east­ern Ukraine in March, should send a shiv­er down Europe’s spine. Recent­ly formed bat­tal­ions such as Don­bas, Dnipro and Azov, with sev­eral thou­sand men under their com­mand, are offi­cially under the con­trol of the inte­rior min­istry but their financ­ing is murky, their train­ing inad­e­quate and their ide­ol­ogy often alarm­ing.

The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolf­san­gel (Wolf’s Hook) sym­bol on their ban­ner and mem­bers of the bat­tal­ion are open­ly white suprema­cists, or anti-Semi­tes.

“Per­son­ally, I’m a Nazi,” said “Phan­tom”, a 23-year-old for­mer lawyer at the cer­e­mony wear­ing cam­ou­flage and hold­ing a Kalash­nikov. “I don’t hate any oth­er nation­al­i­ties but I believe each nation should have its own coun­try.” He added: “We have one idea: to lib­er­ate our land from ter­ror­ists.”

The Tele­graph was invit­ed to see some 300 Azov fight­ers pay respects to Mr Grek, their first com­rade to die since the bat­tal­ion was formed in May. An hon­our guard fired vol­leys into the air at the battalion’s head­quar­ters on the edge of Urzuf, a small beach resort on Ukraine’s Azov Sea coast. Two more mili­ti­a­men died on Sun­day fight­ing north of Donet­sk. Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s pres­i­dent, called one of them a hero.

Each new recruit receives only a cou­ple of weeks of train­ing before join­ing the bat­tal­ion. The inte­rior min­istry and pri­vate donors pro­vide weapons.

...

Mr Bilet­sky, a mus­cu­lar man in a black T‑shirt and cam­ou­flage trousers, said the bat­tal­ion was a light infantry unit, ide­al for the urban war­fare need­ed to take cities like Donet­sk.

The 35-year old com­man­der began cre­at­ing the bat­tal­ion after he was released from pre-tri­al deten­tion in Feb­ru­ary in the wake of pro-west­ern protests in Kiev. He had denied a charge of attempt­ed mur­der, claim­ing it was polit­i­cally moti­vat­ed.

A for­mer his­tory stu­dent and ama­teur box­er, Mr Bilet­sky is also head of an extrem­ist Ukrain­ian group called the Social Nation­al Assem­bly. “The his­toric mis­sion of our nation in this crit­i­cal moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final cru­sade for their sur­vival,” he wrote in a recent com­men­tary. “A cru­sade against the Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen.”

The bat­tal­ion itself is found­ed on right wing views, the com­man­der said in Urzuf, and no Nazi con­vic­tions could exclude a recruit. “The most impor­tant thing is being a good fight­er and a good broth­er so that we can trust each oth­er,” he said.

Inter­est­ingly, many of the men in the bat­tal­ion are Rus­sians from east­ern Ukraine who wear masks because they fear their rel­a­tives in rebel-con­trolled areas could be per­se­cuted if their iden­ti­ties are revealed.

Phan­tom said he was such a Russ­ian but that he was opposed to Moscow sup­port­ing “ter­ror­ists” in his home­land: “I vol­un­teered and all I demand­ed was a gun and the pos­si­bil­ity to defend my coun­try.”

Asked about his Nazi sym­pa­thies, he said: “After the First World World War, Ger­many was a total mess and Hitler rebuilt it: he built hous­es and roads, put in tele­phone lines, and cre­ated jobs. I respect that.” Homo­sex­u­al­ity is a men­tal ill­ness and the scale of the Holo­caust “is a big ques­tion”, he added.

Stepan, 23, anoth­er fight­er, said that if lead­ers of the pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists were cap­tured they should be exe­cuted after a mil­i­tary tri­bunal.

Such notions seem a far cry from the spir­it of the “Maid­an” protests that peaked in Kiev in Feb­ru­ary with the oust­ing of Mr Yanukovich, who had refused to sign a trade agree­ment with the Euro­pean Union. Young lib­er­als led the way but the upris­ing, which end­ed with the pres­i­dent flee­ing to Rus­sia, pro­voked a huge patri­otic awak­en­ing that sucked in hard­line groups.

Azov’s extrem­ist pro­file and slick English–language pages on social media have even attract­ed for­eign fight­ers. Mr Bilet­sky says he has men from Ire­land, Italy, Greece and Scan­di­navia. At the base in Urzuf, Mikael Skillt, 37, a for­mer sniper with the Swedish Army and Nation­al Guard, leads and trains a recon­nais­sance unit.

“When I saw the Maid­an protests I recog­nised brav­ery and suf­fer­ing,” he told the Tele­graph. “A war­rior soul was awak­ened. But you can only do so much, going against the ene­my with sticks and stones. I had some expe­ri­ence and I though maybe I could help.”

Mr Skillt says he called him­self a Nation­al Social­ist as a young man and more recent­ly he was active in the extreme right wing Par­ty of the Swedes. “Now I’m fight­ing for the free­dom of Ukraine against Putin’s impe­ri­al­ist front,” he said.

...

Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment is unre­pen­tant about using the neo-Nazis. “The most impor­tant thing is their spir­it and their desire to make Ukraine free and inde­pen­dent,” said Anton Gerashchenko, an advis­er to Arsen Avakov, the inte­rior min­is­ter. “A per­son who takes a weapon in his hands and goes to defend his moth­er­land is a hero. And his polit­i­cal views are his own affair.”

Mark Gale­otti, an expert on Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian secu­rity affairs at New York Uni­ver­sity, fears bat­tal­ions like Azov are becom­ing “mag­nets to attract vio­lent fringe ele­ments from across Ukraine and beyond”. “The dan­ger is that this is part of the build­ing up of a tox­ic lega­cy for when the war ends,” he said.

Extrem­ist para­mil­i­tary groups who have built up “their own lit­tle Freiko­rps” and who are fun­da­men­tally opposed to find­ing con­sen­sus may demand a part in pub­lic life as vic­tors in the con­flict, Mr Gale­otti added. “And what do you do when the war is over and you get vet­er­ans from Azov swag­ger­ing down your high street, and in your own lives?”

2b. Insight into the nature of the “lib­er­a­tion” man­i­fest­ed by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment forces occu­py­ing Slovyan­sk can be gleaned by read­ing between the lines of the fol­low­ing sto­ry. In FTR #803, we not­ed that the Pravy Sek­tor flag was fly­ing over the Inte­ri­or Min­istry build­ing after the city was cap­tured by gov­ern­ment forces.

“A Test for Ukraine in City Retak­en from Rebels” by Andrew Hig­gins; The New York Times; 8/1/2014.

. . . . The new author­i­ties, promis­ing anonymi­ty, have set up a hot­line for res­i­dents to inform on rebel col­lab­o­ra­tors, and they have print­ed fliers warn­ing that a new law man­dates up to 15 years in jail for sep­a­ratism. “Of course peo­ple are afraid,” Dr. Glushenko said. “They are fright­ened of being pun­ished.” . . . .

3a. Con­sor­tium News give us anoth­er good arti­cle on the ongo­ing sup­pres­sion on resur­gent World War II and Third Reich allied fas­cism in Ukraine and else­where in East­ern Europe.

This recre­ation of World War II fas­cism man­i­fest­ed by ele­ments direct­ly evolved from the ABN allies of the Third Reich can be seen as a direct out­growth of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion’s efforts in East­ern Europe and the for­mer U.S.S.R.

“The Hushed-Up Hitler Fac­tor in Ukraine” by Dovid Katz; Con­sor­tium News; 8/16/2014.

Behind the Ukraine cri­sis is a revi­sion of World War II his­tory that seeks to hon­or east­ern Euro­pean col­lab­o­ra­tors with Hitler and the Holo­caust by repack­ag­ing these right­ists as anti-Sovi­et heroes, a real­ity shield­ed from the U.S. pub­lic, as Dovid Katz explains.

Would Amer­ica sup­port any type of Hit­lerism in the course of the State Department’s effort to turn the anti-Russ­ian polit­i­cal class­es of East­ern Europe into paragons of PR per­fec­tion that may not be crit­i­cized, how­so­ever mild­ly?

It was frankly dis­con­cert­ing to see Sen. John McCain, R‑Arizona, embrac­ing the leaderof Ukraine’s far right, anti-Semit­ic, pro-fas­cist Svo­boda par­ty last Decem­ber. It was dis­turb­ing to learn of the neo-Nazi ele­ments that pro­vided the “mus­cle” for the actu­al Maid­an takeover last Feb­ru­ary (BBC’s News­night was among the few major West­ern out­lets to dare cov­er that open­ly).

Most dis­turb­ing of all has been the main­stream West­ern media’s almost Sovi­et-grade wall some­how erect­ed against crit­i­cal men­tion of the far-right com­po­nent of Ukraine’s 2014 his­tory, ren­der­ing any such thought as wor­thy of ridicule on New York Times opin­ion pages last spring.

Most hilar­i­ous was the Times’s May 2014 pub­li­ca­tion of an (obvi­ously ghost-writ­ten, State Depart­ment-script­ed) op-ed by Ukrain­ian pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Yulia V. Tymoshenko which quotes Churchill writ­ing to Roo­sevelt, “Give us the tools, as we will fin­ish the job,” rum­bling on about “the just and open democ­racy that is America’s great­est bequest to the world.”

This, from the far right politi­cian who had short­ly before that expressed geno­ci­dal mus­ings for the mil­lions of Russ­ian-speak­ing cit­i­zens of her coun­try, and who was, dur­ing her tenure as prime min­is­ter, a prime devo­tee of the wartime fas­cist leader Stepan Ban­dera, whose orga­ni­za­tion slaugh­tered tens of thou­sands (many his­to­ri­ans put it at hun­dreds of thou­sands) of Pol­ish and Jew­ish civil­ians based on eth­nic­ity, in the Aryanist dri­ve for an eth­ni­cally pure state pre­cisely on the Nazi mod­el.

It was there­fore refresh­ing to read in last Saturday’s Times a report that had, albeit buried near the end, a sin­gle line inform­ing read­ers that “One [mili­tia active in the Kiev government’s mil­i­tary cam­paign] known as Azov, which took over the vil­lage of Marin­ka, flies a neo-Nazi sym­bol resem­bling a Swasti­ka as its flag.” By con­trast, London’s right-of-cen­ter Dai­ly Tele­graph ran a whole report Mon­day titled “The neo-Nazi brigade fight­ing pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists,” right­ly includ­ing the obser­va­tion that the neo-Nazi forces being used by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment to do mil­i­tary heavy lift­ing “should send a shiv­er down Europe’s spine.”

This goes to the heart of what is being kept from so many West­ern, and espe­cially Amer­i­can read­ers. Putin — for all his author­i­tar­i­an­ism, anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic bent and revan­chism — is not the cause of the Ukrain­ian conun­drum (though he is cer­tainly exploit­ing it). There is a gen­uine divide in Ukraine between a nation­al­ist-dom­i­nat­ed west and a Russ­ian-speak­ing east.

Any­body who has trav­eled the coun­try will tell you that these “Rus­sians” in the east, and wher­ever else they are to be found, would much rather be liv­ing in a Euro­pean Union-type coun­try than in a Rus­sia-type coun­try. What then is the prob­lem? They do not want to live in an ultra­na­tion­al­ist-dom­i­nat­ed state that is anti-Russ­ian in a 1930s Aryanesque sense of eth­ni­cally and lin­guis­ti­cally pure Ukrain­ism. They much pre­fer the Rus­sia-mod­el state to that.

Now those anti-racist val­ues, includ­ing the rever­ing of the Anglo-Amer­i­can-Sovi­et alliance that brought down Hitler, and the dis­dain of soci­eties found­ed on mod­els of racist puri­ty, are in fact also Amer­i­can val­ues. But that affin­ity between West­ern val­ues and the east­ern­ers would nev­er even be guessed at in the avalanche of Cold War II news­feed com­ing our way.

Inci­den­tally, some West­ern reports that car­i­ca­ture the Putin­ist press’s use of the word “fas­cists” for Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists don’t appre­ci­ate the col­lo­quial Russ­ian usage where it refers not nec­es­sar­ily to swasti­ka-wield­ing thugs but even to high soci­ety that holds in esteem the likes of Ban­dera and oth­er World War II-era Nazist fas­cists as sup­posed myth­i­cal “free­dom fight­ers” to be revered today by the state, in street names, stat­ues, muse­ums, and more.

That is not to say that America’s allies among the west­ern Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists are all pro-fas­cist. They are not. But there are two salient issues that go beyond Ukraine and cov­er all of “anti-Russ­ian” East­ern Europe, par­tic­u­larly the new mem­ber states of NATO and the EU.

The first is casu­al accep­tance of neo-Nazi ele­ments, sym­bol­ism and ide­ol­ogy as part of any kind of sup­pos­edly cen­trist main­stream. In Latvia [NATO member–D.E.] and Esto­nia [NATO member–D.E.], this is exem­pli­fied by tac­it (or not so tac­it) state sup­port for hon­ors for those coun­tries’ Waf­fen SS divi­sions. In Lithua­nia [NATO member–D.E.], it can be man­i­fest in state-spon­sored shrines to the Lithuan­ian Activist Front (LAF) killers who unleashed the Holo­caust on Jew­ish neigh­bors before the first Ger­man sol­diers had quite arrived.

But there is a sec­ond issue that is much deep­er, and has noth­ing to do with these more osten­ta­tious kinds of Nazi wor­ship. That issue is his­to­ry.

‘His­tory’ Alive

While World War II is indeed “his­tory” for the West, it is very much part of Now in East­ern Europe. State-spon­sored insti­tu­tions in the three Baltic coun­tries, Lithua­nia, Latvia and Esto­nia, espe­cially, and also at times in Croa­tia [NATO member–D.E.], Roma­nia [NATO member–D.E.] and else­where have invest­ed a for­tune in a kind of Holo­caust revi­sion­ism that would white­wash their own nation­al­ists’ col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hitler and turn the Sovi­et Union into the real Hitler.

Known as “Dou­ble Geno­cide,” it posits the absolute the­o­ret­i­cal equal­ity of Nazi and Sovi­et crimes. Its con­sti­tu­tion is the 2008 “Prague Dec­la­ra­tion [the Czech Repub­lic is a NATO member–D.E.],” which most Amer­i­cans have nev­er heard of, that sports the word “same” five times in ref­er­ence to Nazi and Sovi­et crimes. Even few­er Amer­i­cans know that one of its demands, that the world accept a uni­tary mix-and-match day of remem­brance for Nazi and Sovi­et vic­tims, was snuck under the radar into last June’s con­gres­sional mil­i­tary appro­pri­a­tions bill.

The issue across the board is the choice made by nation­al­ist elites in East­ern Europe to con­struct nation­al myths not on the mer­its of a country’s great artists, poets, thinkers and gen­uine free­dom fight­ers, but all too often, on the basis of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors whose claim to fame is that they were also “anti-Sovi­et patri­ots.”

The fact of the mat­ter is that vir­tu­ally all of Hitler’s col­lab­o­ra­tors in East­ern Europe were “anti-Sovi­et.” In fact, the Sovi­et Union was the only pow­er putting up resis­tance to Hitler in East­ern Europe. If the Sovi­ets had not pushed the Nazi armies back by the spring of 1944, at huge sac­ri­fice to all the Sovi­et peo­ples, there would have been no D‑Day or open­ing of a West­ern front.

Whether it is hero-wor­ship of Hungary’s Mik­lós Hor­thy [Hun­gary is a NATO member–D.E.], lead­ers of Croatia’s Hit­lerist Ustasha [Croa­t­ia is a NATO member–D.E.], the Nazis’ Waf­fen SS divi­sions in Latvia and Esto­nia, or the likes of Ukraine’s Ban­dera and his OUN and UPA, and the Waf­fen SS, it is an offense to West­ern val­ues that a NATO or EU state, or NATO/EU-aspir­ing state, would dis­burse state funds on the dis­tor­tion of his­tory, obfus­ca­tion of the Holo­caust and con­struc­tion of soci­eties that admire the worst of history’s racists.

To do so quite sim­ply implies that all the minor­ity cit­i­zens they butchered, or whose butcher­ing they sup­ported, were quite unwor­thy of con­tin­ued exis­tence. Inci­den­tally, all these coun­tries have real heroes from that dark­est moment in their his­tory: those (often the sim­plest of peo­ple) who just did the right thing and risked all to res­cue a neigh­bor from the Nazist estab­lish­ment col­lab­o­ra­tionist lead­er­ship of their own nation­al­ists.

...

Any viable solu­tion needs to take into account that it is a deeply divid­ed coun­try even in the absence of (ever-present) Putin­ist mis­chief. It there­fore needs to also take into account the many mil­lions of Russ­ian speak­ers who oppose the racial chau­vin­ism of some of the nation­al­ist elite now in or close to the gov­ern­ment, and who have very dif­fer­ent ideas about Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury his­to­ry.

That is the way for­ward, not the Cold War II non­sense of spread­ing the word that the west­ern­ers are pure angels and the east­ern­ers pure demons, not the neo­con non­sense that America’s great­ness depends on end­less for­eign mil­i­tary mis­ad­ven­tures in regime change that lead to long , unpre­dictable, and uncon­trol­lable cycles of vio­lence.

That Amer­ica shares with Rus­sia the mag­nif­i­cent lega­cy of hav­ing in tan­dem brought down Hitler’s empire is a her­itage worth invok­ing for build­ing bet­ter under­stand­ing, not a fact to be buried in def­er­ence to the far-right revi­sion of Holo­caust his­tory with which much of nation­al­ist East­ern Europe is so obsessed.

3b. The pro­gram reviews the role of the OUN/B in the Repub­li­can Eth­nic Out­reach orga­ni­za­tion, the Cru­sade for Free­dom, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion and the desta­bi­liza­tion of the for­mer Sovi­et Union and East­ern Europe.

 “The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion Goes East” by Russ Bel­lant and Louis Wolf; Covert Action Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin #35; Fall/1990.

With the rapid pace of polit­i­cal change sweep­ing East­ern Europe and the Union of Sovi­et Social­ist Republics, many oppor­tu­ni­ties have emerged for west­ern inter­ests to inter­vene in the pol­i­tics of  that region. In some cas­es, such a vac­u­um has been cre­at­ed that vir­tu­al strangers to the area sev­er­al years ago are now able to active­ly par­tic­i­pate in chang­ing those soci­eties from with­in.

These inter­ven­tions are not only being prac­ticed by main­stream orga­ni­za­tions. The involve­ment of the Unit­ed States Far Right brings with it the poten­tial revival of fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions in the East. One U.S. group, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, has been plahy­ing a role in East­ern Euro­pean and Sovi­et pol­i­tics and has ties to Boris Yeltsin and the Inter-Region­al Deputies Group (IRG) in the U.S.S.R.

The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion (FCF) was found­ed in 1974 by Paul Weyrich as the Com­mit­tee for the Sur­vival of a Free Con­gress. Weyrich, who had start­ed the Her­itage Foun­da­tion the year before, was heav­i­ly fund­ed by the Coors fam­i­ly for both orga­ni­za­tions.

Weyrich has kept one foot in the right wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty while dal­ly­ing with the racist Right and the extreme Chris­t­ian Right. In 1976, for instance, he and a hand­ful of oth­er New Rights (William Rush­er, Mor­ton Black­well, Richard Viguerie) attempt­ed to take over the seg­re­ga­tion­ist  Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dent Par­ty (AIP), formed by George Wal­lace in 1968. The AIP was an amal­gam of Ku Klux Klan and John Birch Soci­ety ele­ments. . . .

. . . . The IRG was estab­lished by Andrei Sakharov, Boris Yeltsin and oth­ers in the sum­mer of 1989. By the end of that year, a train­ing school had been estab­lished for can­di­dates to put for­ward the IRG pro­gram. Their elec­toral suc­cess this year pro­pelled Yeltsin to the lead­er­ship of the Russ­ian Sovi­et Social­ist Repub­lic. He imme­di­ate­ly began forg­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive rela­tion­ships with the deeply reac­tionary lead­ers of the Lithuan­ian Sajud­is par­ty. The IRG has also served as a source of right-wing pres­sure on Gor­bachev to dis­man­tle social­ism and the Sovi­et Union itself.

One of the key dan­gers in this agen­da is the polit­i­cal vac­u­um it cre­ates, allow­ing ultra-nation­al­ist forces in a num­ber of republics to take pow­er. Such nation­al­ist and fas­cist ele­ments are already evi­dent in Lithua­nia and the Ukraine. In the lat­ter repub­lic, the pro-Nazi Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) has gained influ­ence in sev­er­al par­ties and has mobi­lized large demon­stra­tions that hon­or OUN lead­ers who abet­ted Hitler’s war on the East­ern Front. Sim­i­lar­ly, sev­er­al deputies Sajud­is deputies served in Ger­man mil­i­tary units in 1944, and Sajud­is has made dec­la­ra­tions against eth­nic Rus­sians liv­ing in Lithua­nia. Accord­ing to some reports, Poles have also been den­i­grat­ed.

It should also be not­ed that the “rad­i­cal reformer” Boris Yeltsin has dal­lied with Pamy­at, the fore­most Russ­ian fas­cist group to emerge in the last sev­er­al years. Pamy­at’s vir­u­lent anti-Semi­tism com­pares to the crude pro­pa­gan­da of the ear­ly Ger­man Nazi Par­ty in the 1920’s.

The FCF is not entire­ly dis­con­nect­ed from the his­to­ry of the OUN. The Trea­sur­er of the FCF board is George­town Uni­ver­si­ty Pro­fes­sor Charles Moser. Moser is also serves on the edi­to­r­i­al advi­so­ry board of the Ukrain­ian Quar­ter­ly, pub­lished by the Ukrain­ian Con­gress Com­mit­tee of Amer­i­ca, a group dom­i­nat­ed by the OUN. The Ukrain­ian Quar­ter­ly has praised mil­i­tary units of the Ger­man SS and oth­er­wise jus­ti­fied the OUN alliance with the Third Reich which reflects the fact that the OUN was polit­i­cal­ly and mil­i­tar­i­ly allied with Hitler and the Nazi occu­pa­tion of the Ukraine.

The OUN, an inter­na­tion­al semi-secret cadre orga­ni­za­tion head­quar­tered in Bavaria, has received finan­cial assis­tance from the late Franz Joseph Strauss, the right­ist head of the Bavar­i­an state. Strauss also had a work­ing rela­tion­ship with Weyrich. . . .

. . . . Final­ly, FCF’s insin­u­a­tion into the pol­i­tics of the East must be judged by their selec­tion of Las­z­lo Pasz­tor to head their Lib­er­a­tion Sup­port Alliance, “which seeks to lib­er­ate peo­ples in Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean Nations.”

Pasz­tor’s involve­ment in East Euro­pean pol­i­tics began in World War II when he joined the youth orga­ni­za­tion of the Arrow Cross, the Nazi par­ty of Hun­gary.

When the Arrow Cross was installed in pow­er by a Ger­man com­man­do oper­a­tion, Pasz­tor was sent to Berlin to help facil­i­tate the liai­son between the Arrow Cross and Hitler.

Pasz­tor was tried and served two years in jail for his Arrow Cross activ­i­ties after an anti­com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment was elect­ed in 1945. He even­tu­al­ly came to the U.S. and estab­lished the eth­nic arm of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee for Richard Nixon. He brought oth­er Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors from the East­ern front into the GOP. Some were lat­er found to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in mass mur­der dur­ing the war.

The dor­mant Arrow Cross has sur­faced again in Hun­gary, where there have been attempts to lift the ban on the orga­ni­za­tion. Pasz­tor spent sev­er­al months in Hun­gary. When Weyrich lat­er con­duct­ed train­ing there, he was pro­vid­ed a list of Pasz­tor’s con­tacts inside the coun­try. Weyrich reports that he con­duct­ed train­ing for the recent­ly formed and now gov­ern­ing New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Forum.

Pasz­tor claims to have assist­ed some of his friends in Hun­gary in get­ting NED funds through his advi­so­ry posi­tion with NED. In 1989 he spoke at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion under the spon­sor­ship of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations (ABN), a multi­na­tion­al umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion of emi­gre fas­cists and Nazis found­ed in alliance with Hitler in 1943. It is led by the OUN. Pasz­tor spoke for the “Hun­gar­i­an Orga­ni­za­tion” of ABN, which is the Arrow Cross. . . . .

3c. Note how many of the East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries man­i­fest­ing World War II fas­cist her­itage are NATO mem­bers. Note, also, where the reports of Russ­ian artillery inside Ukraine fir­ing n Ukrain­ian forces come from:

“Rus­sians Open Fire in Ukraine, NATO Reports” by Michael Hig­gins and Andrew R. Gor­don; The New York Times; 8/22/2014.

NATO offi­cials said that the Russ­ian mil­i­tary had moved artillery units inside Ukrain­ian ter­ri­to­ry in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrain­ian forces. . . .

. . . . The NATO alle­ga­tions are based on intel­li­gence reports from sev­er­al alliance mem­bers, West­ern offi­cials said, and the alle­ga­tion gen­er­al­ly echoed Ukrain­ian claims in recent days of an expand­ing Russ­ian mil­i­tary involve­ment in sup­port of pro-Russ­ian rebels who are bat­tling to hold off a Ukrain­ian offen­sive.

A NATO spokes­woman, Oana Lunges­cu, also said that the alliance had receive mul­ti­ple reports of the direct involve­ment of Russ­ian air­borne, air defense and spe­cial oper­a­tions forces in East­ern Ukraine. . . .

Ser­pen­t’s Walk: Fore­casts a Nazi takeover of U.S. in mid-twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry, after WMD ter­ror­ist attacks.

3d. The depen­dence on unre­con­struct­ed Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers ref­er­enc­ing World War II-era fas­cist ide­o­log­i­cal con­structs is as dan­ger­ous as it is rel­a­tivis­tic. Note, again, our reliance for “intel­li­gence” on the very fas­cist ele­ments we nur­tured in the polit­i­cal womb of CIA/State Department/BND/GOP and then recast in East­ern Europe and the for­mer U.S.S.R. after the Cold war.

“Is It War? Ukraine Con­flict Def­i­n­i­tion Soft­ens in West” by Gre­gory Vis­cusi; Bloomberg Busi­ness­week; 8/28/2014.

For gov­ern­ments in the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithua­nia, Rus­sia has invad­ed Ukraine and the two coun­tries are now at war. Head fur­ther west, and they’re less sure what to call it.

While all agree that a line has been crossed, U.S and NATO offi­cials pre­fer to speak of an “incur­sion.” French and Ger­man lead­ers have warned Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin of fur­ther sanc­tions with­out defin­ing what Russ­ian forces have done.

“In the past 48 hours, we have tipped into a for­mal inva­sion,” Ian Brem­mer, pres­i­dent of the Eura­sia Group, said in a Bloomberg tele­vi­sion inter­view. “Rus­sia and Ukraine as sov­er­eign coun­tries are now at war and it’s going to be very dif­fi­cult for the Unit­ed States and Europe to deny that real­i­ty.”

Call­ing it war or an inva­sion would force the U.S. and Euro­pean Union to con­sider steps they’d nev­er be will­ing to take, such as com­mit­ting mil­i­tary forces, Brem­mer said. While sanc­tions have been imposed on some sec­tors of the Russ­ian econ­omy, Europe con­tin­ues to rely on Rus­sia for nat­ur­al-gas imports and Russ­ian trade with the EU was worth about $390 bil­lion last year.

“The EU appears to have exhaust­ed its polit­i­cally fea­si­ble options in the pre­vi­ous round” of sanc­tions, Iev­gen Voro­biov, an ana­lyst at the Pol­ish Insti­tute of Inter­na­tional Affairs in War­saw, said in a tele­phone inter­view.

Troop Buildup

Pro-Russ­ian insur­gents widened their attacks yes­ter­day on Ukraine gov­ern­ment forces, tak­ing sev­eral towns out­side their strong­holds of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk, includ­ing near the Sea of Azov. There are cur­rently 20,000 Russ­ian troops in the bor­der region, with 1,000 oper­at­ing inside Ukraine, a North Atlantic Treaty Orga­ni­za­tion mil­i­tary offi­cer esti­mated today.

Latvia’s For­eign Min­is­ter Edgars Rinke­vics said on Twit­ter that Russia’s actions amount to a “war” that should be tak­en up by the Unit­ed Nations Secu­rity Coun­cil. The For­eign Min­istry in Lithua­nia, anoth­er for­mer Sovi­et satel­lite state that’s now one of the EU’s 28 mem­bers, said it “strong­ly con­demns the inva­sion of Ukrain­ian ter­ri­tory by Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion mil­i­tary forces, which has obvi­ously begun.” . . . .

3e. The satel­lite imagery pur­port­ing to show Russ­ian armor and self-pro­pelled artillery inside of Ukraine comes from a pri­vate company–DigitalGlobe. That com­pa­ny was found­ed by key per­son­nel from Ronald Rea­gan’s Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive.

“Dig­i­tal­Globe”; Wikipedia.com.

. . . . . Origins[edit]

World­View Imag­ing Cor­po­ra­tion was found­ed in Jan­u­ary 1992 in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia in antic­i­pa­tion of the 1992 Land Remote Sens­ing Pol­i­cy Act (enact­ed in Octo­ber 1992) which per­mit­ted pri­vate com­pa­nies to enter the satel­lite imag­ing business.[3] Its founder was Dr Wal­ter Scott, who was joined by co-founder and CEO Doug Gerull in late 1992. In 1993, the com­pa­ny received the first high res­o­lu­tion com­mer­cial remote sens­ing satel­lite license issued under the 1992 Act.[4] The com­pa­ny was ini­tial­ly fund­ed with pri­vate financ­ing from Sil­i­con Val­ley sources and inter­est­ed cor­po­ra­tions in N. Amer­i­ca, Europe, and Japan. Dr. Scott was head of the Lawrence Liv­er­more Lab­o­ra­to­ries “Bril­liant Peb­bles” and “Bril­liant Eyes” projects which were part of the Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive. Doug Gerull was the exec­u­tive in charge of the Map­ping Sci­ences divi­sion at the Inter­graph Corporation.[5] The com­pa­ny’s first remote sens­ing license from the Unit­ed States Depart­ment of Com­merce allowed it to build a com­mer­cial remote sens­ing satel­lite capa­ble of col­lect­ing images with 3 m (9.8 ft) resolution.[3]

In 1995, the com­pa­ny became Earth­Watch Incor­po­rat­ed, merg­ing World­View with Ball Aero­space & Tech­nolo­gies Corp.‘s com­mer­cial remote sens­ing operations.[6] In Sep­tem­ber 2001, Earth­Watch became DigitalGlobe.[7] . . . . .

3f. Dig­i­tal­Globe co-founder Doug Gerull had pre­vi­ous­ly worked for the Zeiss firm, dis­cussed in FTR #272 as one of the German/Underground Reich/Bormann firms that were mov­ing into satel­lite imagery tech­nol­o­gy in the U.S.

“Doug Gerull”; linkedin.

. . . . . Carl Zeiss
Pri­vate­ly Held; 10,001+ employ­ees; Electrical/Electronic Man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try
Jan­u­ary 1980 – 1985 (5 years) Toron­to / White Plains, NY

 

3g. An arti­cle pub­lished after this pro­gram was record­ed notes the dubi­ous nature of the claims of a “Russ­ian Inva­sion’ of Ukraine.

“Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ On Ukraine?” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 9/2/2014.

. . . . And now there’s the curi­ous case of Russia’s alleged “inva­sion” of Ukraine, anoth­er alarmist claim trum­pet­ed by the Kiev regime and echoed by NATO hard­lin­ers and the MSM.

While I’m told that Rus­sia did pro­vide some light weapons to the rebels ear­ly in the strug­gle so they could defend them­selves and their ter­ri­to­ry – and a num­ber of Russ­ian nation­al­ists have crossed the bor­der to join the fight – the claims of an overt “inva­sion” with tanks, artillery and truck con­voys have been backed up by scant intel­li­gence.

One for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cial who has exam­ined the evi­dence said the intel­li­gence to sup­port the claims of a sig­nif­i­cant Russ­ian inva­sion amount­ed to “vir­tu­al­ly noth­ing.” Instead, it appears that the eth­nic Russ­ian rebels may have evolved into a more effec­tive fight­ing force than many in the West thought. They are, after all, fight­ing on their home turf for their futures.

Con­cerned about the lat­est rush to judg­ment about the “inva­sion,” the Vet­er­an Intel­li­gence Pro­fes­sion­als for San­i­ty, a group of for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials and ana­lysts, took the unusu­al step of send­ing a memo to Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel warn­ing her of a pos­si­ble replay of the false claims that led to the Iraq War.

“You need to know,” the group wrote, “that accu­sa­tions of a major Russ­ian ‘inva­sion’ of Ukraine appear not to be sup­port­ed by reli­able intel­li­gence. Rather, the ‘intel­li­gence’ seems to be of the same dubi­ous, polit­i­cal­ly ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘jus­ti­fy’ the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.”

But these doubts and con­cerns are not reflect­ed in the Post’s edi­to­r­i­al or oth­er MSM accounts of the dan­ger­ous Ukraine cri­sis. Indeed, Amer­i­cans who rely on these pow­er­ful news out­lets for their infor­ma­tion are as shel­tered from real­i­ty as any­one liv­ing in a total­i­tar­i­an soci­ety.


4a. Illus­trat­ing the direct line of insti­tu­tion­al evo­lu­tion from the OUN/B to the present, Pravy Sek­tor is the polit­i­cal arm of the UNA-UNSO. It elect­ed Yuriy Shukheyvch as its head. Shukheyvch is the son of OUN/B com­man­der Roman Shukhevych, declared a “Hero of Ukraine” by the Yuschenko gov­ern­ment. Roman also head­ed the Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion in their liq­ui­da­tion of the Lvov Ghet­to in 1941.

Note that the UNA/UNSO organization–the polit­i­cal par­ent of Pravy Sektor–has appar­ent­ly been active in Chech­nya as well.

“The Dura­bil­i­ty of Ukrain­ian Fas­cism” by Peter Lee; Strate­gic Cul­ture; 6/9/2014.

. . . . One of Bandera’s lieu­tenants was Roman Shukhevych.  In Feb­ru­ary 1945, Shukhevych issued an order stat­ing, “In view of the suc­cess of the Sovi­et forces it is nec­es­sary to speed up the liq­ui­da­tion of the Poles, they must be total­ly wiped out, their vil­lages burned … only the Pol­ish pop­u­la­tion must be destroyed.”

As a mat­ter of addi­tion­al embar­rass­ment, Shukhevych was also a com­man­der in the Nachti­gall (Nightin­gale) bat­tal­ion orga­nized by the Wehrma­cht.

Today, a major pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist his­tor­i­cal schol­ar­ship is beat­ing back rather con­vinc­ing alle­ga­tions by Russ­ian, Pol­ish, and Jew­ish his­to­ri­ans that Nachti­gall was an impor­tant and active par­tic­i­pant in the mas­sacre of Lviv Jews orches­trat­ed by the Ger­man army upon its arrival in June 1941. . . .

. . . . Yuriy Shukhevych’s role in mod­ern Ukrain­ian fas­cism is not sim­ply that of an inspi­ra­tional fig­ure­head and reminder of his father’s anti-Sovi­et hero­ics for proud Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists.  He is a core fig­ure in the emer­gence of the key Ukrain­ian fas­cist for­ma­tion, Pravy Sek­tor and its para­mil­i­tary.

And Pravy Sektor’s para­mil­i­tary, the UNA-UNSO, is not an “unruly” col­lec­tion of week­end-war­rior-wannabes, as Mr. Hig­gins might believe.

UNA-UNSO was formed dur­ing the tur­moil of the ear­ly 1990s, large­ly by eth­nic Ukrain­ian vet­er­ans of the Sovi­et Union’s bit­ter war in Afghanistan.  From the first, the UNA-UNSO has shown a taste for for­eign adven­tures, send­ing detach­ments to Moscow in 1990 to oppose the Com­mu­nist coup against Yeltsin, and to Lithua­nia in 1991.  With appar­ent­ly very good rea­son, the Rus­sians have also accused UNA-UNSO fight­ers of par­tic­i­pat­ing on the anti-Russ­ian side in Geor­gia and Chech­nya.

After for­mal Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence, the mili­tia elect­ed Yuriy Shukhevych—the son of OUN‑B com­man­der Roman Shukhevych– as its leader and set up a polit­i­cal arm, which lat­er became Pravy Sek­tor. . . .

5. Some of the best schol­ar­ship on the per­pet­u­a­tion of the OUN/B milieu has been done by Pro­fes­sor Per Anders Rudling of Lund Uni­ver­si­ty in Swe­den. Dis­cussing Roman Shukhevych (as with oth­er Ukrain­ian names, orig­nal­ly from the Cyril­lic alpha­bet, the translit­er­at­ed names vary, some­what.)

Rudling notes the enthu­si­asm of Jaroslav Stet­sko, Shukhevych and Stephan Ban­dera for Nazi eth­nic cleans­ing meth­ods, which they rig­or­ous­ly imple­ment­ed in Ukraine dur­ing World War II.

“School­ing in Mur­der: Schutz­mannschaft Bat­tal­ion 201 and Haupt­mann Roman Shukhevych in Belarus, 1942” by Per Anders Rudling; academia.edu

. . . . . Roman Shukhevych, its omman­der, had dis­tin­guished him­self in Ger­man ser­vice. Serv­ing in Ger­man uni­form since 1938, Shukhevych com­bined his polit­i­cal activism as a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist with a dis­tin­guished mil­i­tary record. In 1941, he was a com­man­der of the Nachti­gall bat­tal­ion, a Wehrma­cht for­ma­tion con­sist­ing of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists. . . . .

[Foot­note 90] . . . .

90 The OUN(b) blue­print for its wartime activ­i­ties, “Borot’ba i diial’nist’ OUN pid chas viiny” from May, 1941, authored by Shukhevych, Stets’ko, Lenkavs’kyi and [ Stephan] Ban­dera, out­lined the cre­ation of an OUN “People’s mili­tia,” the estab­lish­ment of  “intern­ment camps, set up for Jews, aso­cial ele­ments and cap­tives.” [“Tabir inter­novanykh,  pryz­nachenyi dlia zhy­div, asotsial’nykh ele­men­tiv ta polo­nenykh”] It demand­ed “Ukraine for the Ukrainians!...Death to the Mus­covite-Jew­ish com­mune! Beat the com­mune, save Ukraine!”[“Ukraina dlia Ukraintsiv!...Smert’ moskovs’ko-zhydivs’kyi komu­ni! Byi komunu, spa­sai Ukrainu!”], demand­ing a “dog’s death” for the Mus­covite-Jew­ish out­siders [“moskovs’ko-zhydivs’kykh zaid”]. TsDA­VO Ukrainy, f. 3833, op. 2, spr. 1, ark. 57–76. Kopi­ia. Mashynopys and TsDA­VO Ukrainy, f. 3855, op. 1, spr. 2, ark. 1–2. Kopi­ia. Mashynopys. Both pub­lished in Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi et al (eds.), OUN v 1941 roki. Doku­men­ty, Chasty­na 1. (Kyiv: Natsional’na akademi­ia nauk Ukrainy, Insty­tut istorii Ukrainy, 2006), 143, 159, 165.

6. The pro­gram next sum­ma­rizes the insti­tu­tion­al evo­lu­tion of the OUN/B through the Cold War years and its per­pet­u­a­tion through CIA and its sub­sidiary orga­ni­za­tion the Office of Pol­i­cy Coor­di­na­tion, the Cru­sade for Free­dom, the GOP’s Eth­nic Her­itage orga­ni­za­tion, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion and the Yuschenko gov­ern­ment in Ukraine.

7. The pro­gram con­cludes with an arti­cle not­ing the mil­i­tary prowess and sophis­ti­ca­tion of ISIS. Crit­i­cal to this analy­sis is the appar­ent role of the Chechens in the tac­ti­cal devel­op­ment of the group. In FTR #381. we not­ed the role of the Al-Taqwa milieu in the fund­ing of the Chechen seper­atists, which appears to have con­tin­ued, as we saw in our analy­sis of the Boston Marathon Bomb­ing.

In the con­text of U.S. and West­ern sup­port for the OUN/B milieu in Ukraine, includ­ing the UNA-UNSO fight­ers who fought with the Chechens and else­where in the Cau­ca­sus, we may well be see­ing “blow­back” from our poli­cies vis a vis Ukraine in the devel­op­ment of ISIS’ sophis­ti­ca­tion. As dis­cussed in para­graph 4a, the UNA-UNSO fight­ers were ini­tial­ly com­posed large­ly of Ukrain­ian vet­er­ans of the Afghan war. The orga­ni­za­tion gave rise direct­ly to Pravy Sek­tor.

“ISIS an ‘Incred­i­ble’ Fight­ing Force, Spe­cial Ops Sources Say” by James Gor­don Meek; ABC News; 8/25/2014.

With the Oba­ma White House left reel­ing from the “sav­age” slaugh­ter of an Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist held hostage by ISIS ter­ror­ists, mil­i­tary options are being con­sid­ered against an adver­sary who offi­cials say is grow­ing in strength and is much more capa­ble than the one faced when the group was called “al Qae­da-Iraq” dur­ing the U.S. war from 2003–2011.

ISIS, the Islam­ic State of Iraq and Syr­ia, has been mak­ing a “tac­ti­cal with­draw­al” in recent days in the face of with­er­ing U.S. airstrikes from areas around Erbil in north­ern Iraq and from the major dam just north of Mosul it con­trolled for two nail-bit­ing weeks, accord­ing to mil­i­tary offi­cials mon­i­tor­ing their move­ments.

“These guys aren’t just bug­ging out, they’re tac­ti­cal­ly with­draw­ing. Very pro­fes­sion­al, well trained, moti­vat­ed and equipped. They oper­ate like a state with a mil­i­tary,” said one offi­cial who tracks ISIS close­ly. “These aren’t the same guys we fought in OIF (Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom) who would just scat­ter when you dropped a bomb near them.”

ISIS appeared to have a sophis­ti­cat­ed and well thought-out plan for estab­lish­ing its “Islam­ic Caliphate” from north­ern Syr­ia across the west­ern and north­ern deserts of Iraq, many experts and offi­cials have said, and sup­port from hostage-tak­ing, rob­bery and sym­pa­thet­ic dona­tions to fund it. They use drones to gath­er over­head intel on tar­gets and effec­tive­ly com­man­deer cap­tured mil­i­tary vehi­cles – includ­ing Amer­i­can Humvees — and muni­tions.

“They tried to push out as far as they thought they could and were ful­ly pre­pared to pull back a lit­tle bit when we beat them back with airstrikes around Erbil. And they were fine with that, and ready to hold all of the ground they have now,” a sec­ond offi­cial told ABC News.

ISIS did­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly count on hold­ing Mosul Dam, offi­cials said, but scored a major pro­pa­gan­da vic­to­ry on social media when they hoist­ed the black flag of the group over the facil­i­ty that pro­vides elec­tric­i­ty and water to a large swath of Iraq, or could drown mil­lions if breached.

U.S. spe­cial oper­a­tions forces under the Joint Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand and U.S. Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand keep close tabs on the mil­i­tary evo­lu­tion of ISIS and both its com­bat and ter­ror­ism — called “asym­met­ric” — capa­bil­i­ties, offi­cials told ABC News. A pri­ma­ry rea­son is in antic­i­pa­tion of pos­si­bly fight­ing them, which a full squadron of spe­cial mis­sion unit oper­a­tors did in the Inde­pen­dence Day raid on an ISIS camp in Raqqah, Syr­ia.

“They’re incred­i­ble fight­ers. ISIS teams in many places use spe­cial oper­a­tions TTPs,” said the sec­ond offi­cial, who has con­sid­er­able com­bat expe­ri­ence, using the mil­i­tary term for “tac­tics, tech­niques and pro­ce­dures.”

In sober­ing press con­fer­ence Fri­day, Sec­re­tary of Defense Chuck Hagel said ISIS has shown that it is “as sophis­ti­cat­ed and well-fund­ed as any group that we have seen.”

“They’re beyond just a ter­ror­ist group. They mar­ry ide­ol­o­gy, a sophis­ti­ca­tion of strate­gic and tac­ti­cal mil­i­tary prowess. They are tremen­dous­ly well-fund­ed,” he said. “This is beyond any­thing that we’ve seen.”

Pri­or ISIS’s recent pub­lic suc­cess­es, the for­mer chair­man of the 9/11 Com­mis­sion, which just released a tenth anniver­sary report on the threat of ter­ror­ism cur­rent­ly fac­ing the home­land, said he was shocked at how lit­tle seems to be known inside the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty about the Islamist army bru­tal­iz­ing Iraq as it has Syr­ia.

“I was appalled at the igno­rance,” for­mer New Jer­sey Gov­er­nor Tom Kean, who led the 9/11 Com­mis­sion, told ABC News last week.

Kean, a Repub­li­can, who with vice chair­man Lee Hamil­ton, a Demo­c­rat, recent­ly met with about 20 top intel­li­gence offi­cials in prepa­ra­tion of the commission’s lat­est threat report, said many offi­cials seemed both blind-sided and alarmed by the group’s rise, growth and com­pe­ten­cy.

“One offi­cial told me ‘I am more scared than at any time since 9/11,’” Kean recount­ed in a recent inter­view.

A spokesper­son for the Office of the Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence defend­ed the intel­li­gence community’s track­ing of ISIS, say­ing offi­cials had “expressed con­cern” about the threat as far back as last year.

“The will to fight is inher­ent­ly dif­fi­cult to assess. Ana­lysts must make assess­ments based on per­cep­tions of com­mand and con­trol, lead­er­ship abil­i­ties, qual­i­ty of expe­ri­ence, and dis­ci­pline under fire — none of which can be under­stood with cer­tain­ty until the first shots are fired,” ODNI spokesper­son Bri­an Hale said.

Where did ISIS learn such sophis­ti­cat­ed mil­i­tary meth­ods, shown clear­ly after the first shots were fired?

“Prob­a­bly the Chechens,” the one of the U.S. offi­cials said.

A Chechen com­man­der named Abu Omar al-Shis­hani — who offi­cials say may have been killed in fight­ing near Mosul — is well known for com­mand­ing an inter­na­tion­al brigade with­in ISIS. Oth­er Chechens have appeared with­in pro­pa­gan­da videos includ­ing one com­man­der who was killed on video by an artillery burst near his SUV in Syr­ia.

Ear­li­er this year, ABC News report­ed on the secret his­to­ry of U.S. spe­cial oper­a­tions forces’ expe­ri­ences bat­tling high­ly capa­ble Chechen fight­ers along the Afghanistan-Pak­istan bor­der since 2001. In addi­tion, for decades Chechen sep­a­ratists have waged asym­met­ric war­fare against Russ­ian forces for con­trol of the North­ern Cau­ca­sus.

The Secret Bat­tles Between US Forces and Chechen Ter­ror­ists

In the bat­tle against ISIS, many with­in Amer­i­can “SOF,” a term that com­pris­es oper­a­tors from all branch­es of the mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence, are frus­trat­ed at being rel­e­gat­ed by the Pres­i­dent only to enabling U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. They are eager to fight ISIS more direct­ly in com­bat oper­a­tions — even if unteth­ered, mean­ing unof­fi­cial­ly and with lit­tle if any U.S. gov­ern­ment sup­port, accord­ing to some with close ties to the com­mu­ni­ty.

“ISIS and their kind must be destroyed,” said a senior coun­tert­er­ror­ism offi­cial after jour­nal­ist James Foley was behead­ed on high-def­i­n­i­tion ISIS video, echo­ing strong-word­ed state­ments of high-lev­el U.S. offi­cials includ­ing Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry.

Discussion

10 comments for “FTR #808 Walkin’ the Snake in Ukraine, Part 3 (“How Many Lies Can You Allow Yourself to Believe Before You Belong to the Lie?”)”

  1. Anne Apple­baum has a hor­ri­fy­ing thought or two in Wash­ing­ton Post about Ukraine that she want­ed to share with the world: If the West does­n’t pre­pare for war with Rus­sia, get ready for pre­emp­tive nuclear strikes:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    War in Europe is not a hys­ter­i­cal idea
    By Anne Apple­baum
    Colum­nist August 29

    WARSAW

    Over and over again — through­out the entire­ty of my adult life, or so it feels — I have been shown Pol­ish pho­tographs from the beau­ti­ful sum­mer of 1939: The chil­dren play­ing in the sun­shine, the fash­ion­able women on Krakow streets. I have even seen a pic­ture of a fam­i­ly wed­ding that took place in June 1939, in the gar­den of a Pol­ish coun­try house I now own. All of these pic­tures con­vey a sense of doom, for we know what hap­pened next. Sep­tem­ber 1939 brought inva­sion from both east and west, occu­pa­tion, chaos, destruc­tion, geno­cide. Most of the peo­ple who attend­ed that June wed­ding were soon dead or in exile. None of them ever returned to the house.

    In ret­ro­spect, all of them now look naive. Instead of cel­e­brat­ing wed­dings, they should have dropped every­thing, mobi­lized, pre­pared for total war while it was still pos­si­ble. And now I have to ask: Should Ukraini­ans, in the sum­mer of 2014, do the same? Should cen­tral Euro­peans join them?

    I real­ize that this ques­tion sounds hys­ter­i­cal, and fool­ish­ly apoc­a­lyp­tic, to U.S. or West­ern Euro­pean read­ers. But hear me out, if only because this is a con­ver­sa­tion many peo­ple in the east­ern half of Europe are hav­ing right now. In the past few days, Russ­ian troops bear­ing the flag of a pre­vi­ous­ly unknown coun­try, Novorossiya, have marched across the bor­der of south­east­ern Ukraine. The Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences recent­ly announced it will pub­lish a his­to­ry of Novorossiya this autumn, pre­sum­ably trac­ing its ori­gins back to Cather­ine the Great. Var­i­ous maps of Novorossiya are said to be cir­cu­lat­ing in Moscow. Some include Kharkiv and Dnipropetro­vsk, cities that are still hun­dreds of miles away from the fight­ing. Some place Novorossiya along the coast, so that it con­nects Rus­sia to Crimea and even­tu­al­ly to Transnis­tria, the Russ­ian-occu­pied province of Moldo­va. Even if it starts out as an unrec­og­nized rump state — Abk­hazia and South Osse­tia, “states” that Rus­sia carved out of Geor­gia, are the mod­els here — Novorossiya can grow larg­er over time.

    Russ­ian sol­diers will have to cre­ate this state — how many of them depends upon how hard Ukraine fights, and who helps them — but even­tu­al­ly Rus­sia will need more than sol­diers to hold this ter­ri­to­ry. Novorossiya will not be sta­ble as long as it is inhab­it­ed by Ukraini­ans who want it to stay Ukrain­ian. There is a famil­iar solu­tion to this, too. A few days ago, Alexan­der Dug­in, an extreme nation­al­ist whose views have helped shape those of the Russ­ian pres­i­dent, issued an extra­or­di­nary state­ment. “Ukraine must be cleansed of idiots,” he wrote — and then called for the “geno­cide” of the “race of bas­tards.”

    But Novorossiya will also be hard to sus­tain if it has oppo­nents in the West. Pos­si­ble solu­tions to that prob­lem are also under dis­cus­sion. Not long ago, Vladimir Zhiri­novsky — the Russ­ian mem­ber of par­lia­ment and court jester who some­times says things that those in pow­er can­not — argued on tele­vi­sion that Rus­sia should use nuclear weapons to bomb Poland and the Baltic coun­tries — “dwarf states,” he called them — and show the West who real­ly holds pow­er in Europe: “Noth­ing threat­ens Amer­i­ca, it’s far away. But East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries will place them­selves under the threat of total anni­hi­la­tion,” he declared. Vladimir Putin indulges these com­ments: Zhirinovsky’s state­ments are not offi­cial pol­i­cy, the Russ­ian pres­i­dent says, but he always “gets the par­ty going.”

    A far more seri­ous per­son, the dis­si­dent Russ­ian ana­lyst Andrei Pio­ntkovsky, has recent­ly pub­lished an arti­cle argu­ing, along lines that echo Zhirinovsky’s threats, that Putin real­ly is weigh­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of lim­it­ed nuclear strikes — per­haps against one of the Baltic cap­i­tals, per­haps a Pol­ish city — to prove that NATO is a hol­low, mean­ing­less enti­ty that won’t dare strike back for fear of a greater cat­a­stro­phe. Indeed, in mil­i­tary exer­cis­es in 2009 and 2013, the Russ­ian army open­ly “prac­ticed” a nuclear attack on War­saw.

    Is all of this noth­ing more than the rav­ing of lunatics? Maybe. And maybe Putin is too weak to do any of this, and maybe it’s just scare tac­tics, and maybe his oli­garchs will stop him. But “Mein Kampf” also seemed hys­ter­i­cal to West­ern and Ger­man audi­ences in 1933. Stalin’s orders to “liq­ui­date” whole class­es and social groups with­in the Sovi­et Union would have seemed equal­ly insane to us at the time, if we had been able to hear them.

    ...

    So there we have it: Unless the west attempts to flood Ukraine with enough mil­i­tary hard­ware to turn the con­flict in the east into a bloody enough stale­mate to turns the Russ­ian opin­ion against any assis­tance for the rebels, the ultra­na­tion­al­ist fas­cists like Vladimir Zhiri­novsky and Alexan­der Dug­in will con­vince Putin to uni­lat­er­al­ly nuke var­i­ous cities in the Baltics just to demon­strate the hol­low­ness of the West.

    Putting aside the hys­ter­ics of pre­dict­ing that Putin will launch pre­emp­tive nuclear strikes on NATO cities just “to prove that NATO is a hol­low, mean­ing­less enti­ty that won’t dare strike back for fear of a greater cat­a­stro­phe”, the col­umn does indi­rect­ly raise a valid ques­tion: what types of sce­nar­ios are going to increase or decrease the odds of a far right ultra­na­tion­al­ist chal­lenge from Putin’s right actu­al­ly suc­ceed­ed and tak­ing con­trol of the Krem­lin and then pos­si­bly engag­ing in the same type of eth­nic cleans­ing that groups like Svo­bo­da and Right Sek­tor have been pin­ing for? Will pri­or­i­tiz­ing a cease­fire and peace­ful end to the cur­rent con­flict actu­al­ly empow­er the Dugin/Zhirinovsky wing of Russ­ian pol­i­tics? How about the West try­ing to turn this into the blood­i­est con­flict pos­si­ble while warn­ing that Putin is con­sid­er­ing a Hit­ler­ian-style Russ­ian blitzkrieg across east­ern Europe with lim­it­ed nuclear strikes along the way just to show the world who’s the boss. Might that increase the odds of a Dugin/Zhirinovsky fac­tion even­tu­al­ly tak­ing over?

    Also, when can we final­ly tran­si­tion to the Roller­ball era of con­flict res­o­lu­tion? Yes, there would cer­tain­ly be issues with that kind of alter­na­tive approach to war, but it’ll sure­ly be an improve­ment.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 31, 2014, 6:53 pm
  2. Yasha Levine has been report­ing form the Russian/Ukraine bor­der, turn­ing his twit­ter feed into a must-read source for on the ground per­spec­tives on the con­flict. Take this recent tweet...

    My read from talk­ing to peo­ple in Ukraine: pro-Maid­an folks are geared for more war, while non-polit­i­cal peo­ple are tired of it.— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) Sep­tem­ber 1, 2014

    So, at least from Levine’s obser­va­tions, the Ukrain­ian pop­u­lace is split at this point over whether to con­tin­u­ing the war or not. And it’s a split that appears to include mem­bers of the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary. This divide could be quite sig­nif­i­cant right now, because the rebels just made a big shift in their demands for peace: The rebels are call­ing for auton­o­my and not full inde­pen­dence:

    Pro-Russ­ian rebels would respect Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty in exchange for auton­o­my
    Pro-Russ­ian rebels soft­en their demand for inde­pen­dence on Mon­day, say­ing they would respect Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty in exchange for auton­o­my.

    By: Vladimir Isachenkov And Jim Heintz
    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press, Pub­lished on Mon Sep 01 2014

    MOSCOW— Pro Russ­ian rebels soft­ened their demand for full inde­pen­dence Mon­day, say­ing they would respect Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty in exchange for auton­o­my — a shift that reflects Moscow’s desire to strike a deal at a new round of peace talks.

    The insur­gents’ plat­form, released at the start of Monday’s nego­ti­a­tions in Min­sk, the Belaru­sian cap­i­tal, rep­re­sent­ed a sig­nif­i­cant change in their vision for the future of Ukraine’s east­ern, main­ly Russ­ian-speak­ing region.

    It remains unclear, how­ev­er, whether the talks can reach a com­pro­mise amid the bru­tal fight­ing that has con­tin­ued in east­ern Ukraine. On Mon­day, the rebels pushed Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment forces from an air­port near Luhan­sk, the sec­ond-largest rebel-held city, the lat­est in a series of mil­i­tary gains.

    The peace talks in Min­sk fol­low last week’s meet­ing between Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and his Ukrain­ian coun­ter­part, Petro Poroshenko. The nego­ti­a­tions involve for­mer Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Leonid Kuch­ma; Russia’s ambas­sador to Ukraine; an envoy from the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the rebels.

    Yet sim­i­lar talks ear­li­er this sum­mer pro­duced no vis­i­ble results.

    Unlike the pre­vi­ous rounds, this time rebels said in a state­ment car­ried by Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency that they are will­ing to dis­cuss “the preser­va­tion of the unit­ed eco­nom­ic, cul­tur­al and polit­i­cal space of Ukraine.” In return, they demand­ed a com­pre­hen­sive amnesty and broad local pow­ers that would include being able to appoint their own local law enforce­ment offi­cials.

    This deal is only for east­ern Ukraine. There are no nego­ti­a­tions on hand­ing back Crimea, the Black Sea penin­su­la that Rus­sia annexed in March, a move that cost Ukraine sev­er­al major ports, half its coast­line and untold bil­lions in Black Sea oil and min­er­al rights.

    The talks last­ed for sev­er­al hours Mon­day and were adjourned until Fri­day, when the par­ties are to dis­cuss a cease-fire and an exchange of pris­on­ers, rebel nego­tia­tor Andrei Pur­gin said, accord­ing to RIA Novosti.

    The rebels’ more mod­er­ate nego­ti­at­ing plat­form appeared to reflect Putin’s desire to make a deal that would allow Rus­sia to avoid more puni­tive West­ern sanc­tions while pre­serv­ing a sig­nif­i­cant degree of lever­age over its neigh­bour.

    Over the week­end, the Euro­pean Union lead­ers agreed to pre­pare a new round of sanc­tions that could be enact­ed in a week, after NATO accused Rus­sia of send­ing tanks and troops into south­east­ern Ukraine. A NATO sum­mit in Wales on Thurs­day is also expect­ed to approve mea­sures designed to counter Russia’s aggres­sive actions in Ukraine.

    ...

    Could we be see­ing the begin­ning of the end for this con­flict? That has to be an amaz­ing­ly tempt­ing offer for the Ukrain­ian pop­u­lace, although it’s unclear if the oli­garchs will be open to such an offer, espe­cial­ly those with empires con­cen­trat­ed in the east. The con­flict could end the destruc­tion of their phys­i­cal assets in the east but with costs to their pow­er and influ­ence over the region yet to be deter­mined. So let’s hope the oli­garchs are at least enter­tain­ing the offer, for every­one’s sake (includ­ing their own).

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 1, 2014, 2:08 pm
  3. Well, it does­n’t sound like Kiev is going to be recep­tive towards the rebels’ ceasefire/autonomy pro­pos­al. Kiev’s Defense Min­is­ter just dou­bled down on the WWII analo­gies

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    Rus­sia calls for cease-fire with rebels, but Ukraine vows to keep up the fight

    By Karoun Demir­jian Sep­tem­ber 1 at 5:30 PM

    MOSCOW — Russ­ian offi­cials pressed Ukraine on Mon­day to declare a cease-fire with sep­a­ratists, but Ukraini­ans say they are locked in a war not just against the rebels but also against Rus­sia — on behalf of Europe.

    “A great war has come, the likes of which Europe has not seen since the Sec­ond World War,” Ukrain­ian Defense Min­is­ter Valeriy Heletey said on his Face­book page Mon­day, adding that the fight must go on to “show that Ukraini­ans are not going to give up.”

    Lost ter­ri­to­ry, trapped sol­diers and increas­ing reports of Russ­ian tanks and troops oper­at­ing in east­ern Ukraine have changed the course of events in the past few days. New­ly embold­ened sep­a­ratist forces are bear­ing down on strate­gic tar­gets, such as the port city of Mar­i­upol — which the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary main­tains it can defend — and the air­port in Luhan­sk, where troops retreat­ed in the face of a rebel onslaught Mon­day.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 1, 2014, 3:44 pm
  4. On the 75th anniver­sary of the Nazi inva­sion of Poland, Ger­many breaks a taboo and pledges to arm the Kurds:

    The New York Times
    Ger­many to Arm Kurds Bat­tling ISIS

    By ALISON SMALESEPT. 1, 2014

    BERLIN — Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel told law­mak­ers on Mon­day that her gov­ern­ment had decid­ed to break with a taboo on deliv­er­ing weapons to con­flict zones because Ger­many and all of Europe faced a secu­ri­ty threat from the extrem­ists of the Islam­ic State in Iraq and Syr­ia.

    Ms. Merkel and top min­is­ters decid­ed Sun­day to deliv­er thou­sands of machine guns, as well as anti­tank mis­siles and armored vehi­cles, to Kur­dish forces bat­tling ISIS in north­ern Iraq. The deliv­er­ies — from exist­ing Ger­man Army stocks, and worth an esti­mat­ed 70 mil­lion euros, or almost $92 mil­lion — will take place in stages in the com­ing weeks, the Defense Min­istry said.

    On what was the 75th anniver­sary of the Nazi inva­sion of Poland, Ms. Merkel went before Par­lia­ment on Mon­day to jus­ti­fy the arms deci­sion. She evoked scenes of mass ter­ror­ism and killings in the Mid­dle East, and said of ISIS, “Any­thing which does not con­form to their view of the world they sim­ply expunge from the scene.” In sum, she said, “A reli­gion is being abused in the most ter­ri­ble way.”

    ...

    Before going into detail on Iraq, she recalled that Nazi Ger­many invad­ed Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, start­ing a war which, togeth­er with Nazi crimes, caused mil­lions to die. “We Ger­mans will nev­er for­get this,” and it has under­pinned post-1945 Germany’s reluc­tance to enter into con­flict, she said.

    But in the case of ISIS, she argued, her gov­ern­ment believed it had to make an excep­tion.

    The par­lia­men­tary debate on the weapons deliv­er­ies was sym­bol­ic, since the gov­ern­ment can decide to deliv­er arms where it wish­es with­out the autho­riza­tion of leg­is­la­tors.

    In a non­bind­ing vote, law­mak­ers over­whelm­ing­ly backed the gov­ern­ment.

    Is this the begin­ning of a new era of Ger­many get­ting direct­ly involved in con­flicts around the globe? Per­haps, but keep in mind that recent polls indi­cate 2/3 of Ger­mans oppose arm­ing the Kurds right now, so that new era might meet resis­tance:

    Defend­ing arm­ing of Kurds, Merkel calls Islam­ic State a threat to Europe

    By Noah Barkin

    BERLIN Mon Sep 1, 2014 4:48pm BST

    (Reuters) — Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel defend­ed her gov­ern­men­t’s taboo-break­ing deci­sion to send arms to Kurds fight­ing Islam­ic State mil­i­tants in Iraq, telling par­lia­ment on Mon­day that the group posed a major secu­ri­ty threat to Ger­many and Europe.

    ...

    Ger­many, weighed down by its Nazi past, has shied away from direct involve­ment in mil­i­tary mis­sions for much of the post-war era. And even in those con­flicts where Ger­man troops have been involved, such as Afghanistan, politi­cians have tend­ed to describe the mis­sions as human­i­tar­i­an, rebuild­ing exer­cis­es rather than war.

    Recent polls show that two in three Ger­mans believe the gov­ern­ment should not be send­ing weapons to Kur­dish fight­ers despite reports of atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by Islam­ic State insur­gents.

    Crit­ics fear the arms could end up in the hands of jihadists. Oth­ers wor­ry that Ger­many, which has not expe­ri­enced a major attack on its own soil, could become a tar­get itself if it inter­venes.

    But Merkel not­ed in her speech that over 400 Ger­mans and hun­dreds of oth­er Euro­peans had trav­elled to the region to join the fight along­side Islam­ic State, some­times referred to as ISIS. These fight­ers could return home at any time, she said, and there­fore already rep­re­sent­ed a direct threat to Ger­many.

    STUNG BY CRITICISM

    “We faced a choice: not to take any risks, not to deliv­er (arms) and to accept the spread of ter­ror; or to sup­port those who are des­per­ate­ly but coura­geous­ly fight­ing the bar­barous ter­ror of ISIS with lim­it­ed resources,” Merkel said.

    “We are aware of the risks of this sup­port, of course we con­sid­ered them. But we also asked our­selves about the acute risks from ISIS if we do not deliv­er arms.”

    Ger­many has already shipped human­i­tar­i­an aid and defen­sive equip­ment, such as hel­mets and body armour, to Iraqi Kurds.

    On Sun­day, the gov­ern­ment released a new list which includes 16,000 G3 and G36 assault rifles, 30 Milan anti-tank mis­sile sys­tems, 240 rock­et-pro­pelled grenade launch­ers (RPGs) and 10,000 hand grenades.

    The move comes three years after Ger­many came under sharp crit­i­cism from its allies and some crit­ics at home for sid­ing with Chi­na and Rus­sia in refus­ing to back mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Libya in a Unit­ed Nations vote.

    Stung by that crit­i­cism, mem­bers of Merkel’s new “grand coali­tion” gov­ern­ment, includ­ing For­eign Min­is­ter Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier and Defence Min­is­ter Ursu­la von der Leyen, spoke out ear­li­er this year about the need for Ger­many to assume more respon­si­bil­i­ty in for­eign affairs.

    Since then, Berlin has played an active role in medi­at­ing in the Ukraine cri­sis and push­ing for Euro­pean sanc­tions against Rus­sia. The deci­sion to send arms to Iraq rep­re­sents yet anoth­er step in the direc­tion of a more active for­eign pol­i­cy.

    “What is new is that in an acute cri­sis sit­u­a­tion, Ger­man arms are being deliv­ered in order to influ­ence the cri­sis, to help a part­ner and to pre­vent dan­ger. This has­n’t hap­pened before,” Volk­er Perthes, the head of the Ger­man Insti­tute for Inter­na­tion­al and Secu­ri­ty Affairs told Reuters. “It is clear that some­thing is chang­ing in Ger­many.”

    Giv­en the pub­lic oppo­si­tion to arm­ing the Kurds you have to won­der how those polls might shift if arm­ing Kiev becomes a top pri­or­i­ty. Maybe it won’t mat­ter.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 2, 2014, 1:42 pm
  5. And the cease-fire is final­ly here. Whether or not it’s a per­ma­nent cease-fire remains to be seen, but this is huge progress:

    The New York Times
    Fight­ing Tapers Off in Ukraine as Cease-Fire Takes Effect

    By NEIL Mac­FAR­QUHAR
    SEPT. 5, 2014

    KIEV, Ukraine — Gov­ern­ment forces and the Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratist rebels fight­ing in south­east­ern Ukraine will observe a cease-fire start­ing Fri­day, nego­tia­tors from all sides announced at a news con­fer­ence in Min­sk, Belarus.

    Speak­ing from Min­sk, nego­tia­tors rep­re­sent­ing the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, the sep­a­ratists, Rus­sia and the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe said that the cease-fire would come into force at 6 p.m. local time, or 11 a.m. East­ern Day­light Time.

    As the truce went into effect, fight­ing that had raged through­out the day around the strate­gic port city of Mar­i­upol tapered off, and Ukrain­ian sol­diers could be seen pulling back to their bases. But in inter­views, the troops said they had not yet received orders to stand down.

    At a news con­fer­ence at a NATO sum­mit meet­ing in Wales, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma said he was “hope­ful but, based on past expe­ri­ence, also skep­ti­cal” about the prospects of the truce hold­ing.

    The Ukrain­ian nation­al infor­ma­tion agency released a list of the 14 points includ­ed in the plan: some focused on the cease-fire itself, some on prac­ti­cal steps to get the gov­ern­ment func­tion­ing again, and some on the polit­i­cal future of the Don­bass region.

    The agree­ment fol­lowed, almost ver­ba­tim, a cease-fire pro­pos­al issued by Pres­i­dent Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine in June.

    It includ­ed amnesty for all those who dis­arm and who did not com­mit seri­ous crimes, as well as the release of all hostages. Mili­tias will be dis­band­ed and a 10-kilo­me­ter buffer zone — about six miles — estab­lished along the Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian bor­der. A pris­on­er exchange was set to begin as ear­ly as Sat­ur­day, accord­ing to Inter­fax-Ukraine.

    The area will be sub­ject to joint patrols. The sep­a­ratists agreed to leave the admin­is­tra­tive build­ings they con­trol and to allow broad­casts from Ukraine to resume on local tele­vi­sion.

    For the future, the agree­ment said pow­er would be decen­tral­ized and the Russ­ian lan­guage pro­tect­ed. An ear­ly, failed attempt by more extreme ele­ments in the Ukrain­ian Par­lia­ment to ban Russ­ian as an offi­cial lan­guage was one of the ele­ments that Moscow seized upon to help inspire the upris­ing.

    The agree­ment said the exec­u­tive in con­trol of each region, the equiv­a­lent of a gov­er­nor, would be appoint­ed after con­sul­ta­tions with each region. It also promised ear­ly elec­tions and a job-cre­ation pro­gram.

    Mr. Poroshenko con­firmed the agree­ment in a state­ment post­ed on the pres­i­den­tial web­site.

    “The whole world is striv­ing for peace. The whole of Ukraine is striv­ing for peace, includ­ing mil­lions of cit­i­zens in Don­bass,” the state­ment said, refer­ring to the region that includes the sep­a­ratist strong­holds.

    Mr. Poroshenko said he had ordered the Ukrain­ian Army to stop fir­ing and called for strict mon­i­tor­ing of the cease-fire by inter­na­tion­al observers.

    The cease-fire pro­pos­als includ­ed a rough out­line of a pos­si­ble polit­i­cal out­come to the con­flict, but nego­ti­at­ing that could be a sig­nif­i­cant hur­dle. Pres­i­dent Vladimir V. Putin of Rus­sia has been press­ing for region­al auton­o­my for the south­east­ern regions, which would allow Moscow to influ­ence events in Kiev, the Ukrain­ian cap­i­tal. But the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has thus far sup­port­ed only the idea of decen­tral­iza­tion.

    Tim­o­thy Ash, a mar­ket ana­lyst at Stan­dard Bank in Lon­don who close­ly mon­i­tors devel­op­ments in Ukraine and Rus­sia, said the agree­ment appeared like­ly to ush­er in a long, frozen con­flict. It could effec­tive­ly become a polit­i­cal stale­mate like those in oth­er Russ­ian-dom­i­nat­ed, qua­si-inde­pen­dent “gray zones,” includ­ing Transnis­tria in Moldo­va and Abk­hazia along the bor­der with Geor­gia.

    “Russ­ian reg­u­lar and irreg­u­lar forces are not going to with­draw unless Poroshenko deliv­ers on Putin’s agen­da for a fed­er­al solu­tion for Ukraine, which is real­ly a non­starter for any Ukrain­ian politi­cian and polit­i­cal sui­cide, in effect,” Mr. Ash wrote on Fri­day in a note to clients. Had Mr. Poroshenko refused to nego­ti­ate a cease-fire, how­ev­er, Ukraine would have risked los­ing Mar­i­upol.

    The agree­ment had been expect­ed after both Mr. Poroshenko and Mr. Putin said ear­li­er this week that a truce was like­ly to emerge from the talks.

    ...

    Ukrain­ian forces had suf­fered heavy set­backs in the last two weeks, with the sep­a­ratists break­ing out of their iso­la­tion in the cities of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk and open­ing a third front along the strate­gic south­ern coast around Mar­i­upol.

    The Russ­ian-backed rebels, who seized con­trol of the coastal town of Novoa­zovsk last week, had advanced about halfway from Novoa­zovsk to Mar­i­upol, and they had said repeat­ed­ly before the cease-fire was announced that an attack on Mar­i­upol was immi­nent.

    Offi­cials inter­pret­ed the open­ing of a new, south­ern front as an attempt by Moscow to force Mr. Poroshenko to nego­ti­ate with the rebels, whom he has called ter­ror­ists.

    Although some Ukraini­ans reject the idea of a com­pro­mise, a major­i­ty are weary of upheaval. The cur­rent cri­sis start­ed with demon­stra­tions in Kiev in Novem­ber that result­ed in the over­throw of the Russ­ian-allied gov­ern­ment and, even­tu­al­ly, a con­flict in the east in which more than 2,600 peo­ple have died, by the Unit­ed Nations’ count.

    The con­flict has devel­oped into the most severe con­fronta­tion between Rus­sia and the West since the Sovi­et Union col­lapsed in 1991, with repeat­ed rounds of West­ern sanc­tions against Moscow and, this week, the reju­ve­na­tion of NATO to act as a deter­rent against the Krem­lin.

    Ana­lysts were divid­ed on whether the cease-fire would hold, not least because there were divi­sions among the sep­a­ratists them­selves about what they want­ed. “We are plan­ning to con­tin­ue the course toward seces­sion,” said Igor Plot­nit­skiy, the prime min­is­ter of the self-declared Luhan­sk People’s Repub­lic, accord­ing to the RIA Novosti news ser­vice. “The cease-fire is a nec­es­sary mea­sure. There is a lot of work ahead of us.”

    The Ukrain­ian side also demon­strat­ed a hard line. Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy P. Yat­senyuk said on Twit­ter that trans­form­ing the cease-fire into a last­ing peace would require three things: a long-term cease-fire, the with­draw­al of the Russ­ian Army and a wall along the bor­der.

    Ukraine and many West­ern observers have accused Rus­sia of back­ing the rebels with fight­ers and equip­ment, and of mov­ing its own troops, armor and artillery into Ukrain­ian ter­ri­to­ry to car­ry the fight to the gov­ern­ment. Mr. Putin and his gov­ern­ment have denied those accu­sa­tions and insist­ed that Rus­sia is not a par­ty to the con­flict.

    The pause in the vio­lence came as NATO lead­ers, seek­ing to counter Russ­ian aggres­sion, approved plans for a rapid-reac­tion force in East­ern Europe that could mobi­lize if an alliance coun­try in the region came under attack.

    “Should you even think of attack­ing one ally, you will be fac­ing the whole alliance,” Anders Fogh Ras­mussen, NATO’s sec­re­tary gen­er­al, said at the meet­ing in New­port, Wales, accord­ing to The Asso­ci­at­ed Press. Although Ukraine is not a NATO mem­ber, alliance nations in Cen­tral and East­ern Europe have expressed alarm at the Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists’ fight for con­trol of regions in east­ern Ukraine.

    ...

    Putting aside the threat of a cease-fire break down, one of the big ques­tions now is what on earth can avoid turn­ing this into anoth­er “frozen con­flict”. A frozen con­flict is cer­tain­ly bet­ter than a hot con­flict, but it’s also transna­tion­al can­cer. On the sur­face, at least, it looks like there’s a chance for some sort of con­sen­sus to emerge: Prime min­is­ter Yat­senyuk is call­ing for “a long-term cease-fire, the with­draw­al of the Russ­ian Army and a wall along the bor­der”. Well, a long-term cease-fire is basi­cal­ly what every­one wants at some point so that should be achiev­able. The with­draw­al of the Russ­ian Army should also be pret­ty straight­for­ward since Rus­sia asserts that it’s troops aren’t in the first place. And that just leaves the giant wall, which is such an insane and point­less waste of an idea that it should­n’t be too hard to get Kiev to back off of that plan. The asser­tion by the prime min­is­ter of Luhan­sk that the region will con­tin­ue to push for seces­sion could be more or an stick­ing point for any long-term res­o­lu­tion, but that assumes some sort of decen­tral­iza­tion plan can’t be devel­oped that is just so appe­tiz­ing that the peo­ple of Luhan­sk and Donet­sk over­whelm­ing­ly choose to just accept the decen­tral­iza­tion deal and go for­ward from there. So west­ern Ukraine appears to desire secu­ri­ty assur­ances more than any­thing else (ide­al­ly by join­ing NATO), while the regions on the east appear to be much more con­cerned with not being ruled by Kiev. The West seems to want Ukraine into the EU as soon as pos­si­ble, with NATO mem­ber­ship maybe com­ing in the future, while Rus­sia wants to avoid anoth­er NATO mem­ber on its bor­der at all costs. Every­one wants a secu­ri­ty guar­an­tee of some sort, with the EU also strong­ly desir­ing that Ukraine join the EU (and Rus­sia pre­sum­ably not very hap­py about the idea).

    Aside from expand­ing NATO into NATO-R‑U (which could be awe­some for every­one), one of the big ques­tions going for­ward is whether the peo­ple of east­ern Ukraine, either as “decen­tral­ized” regions or a ful­ly inde­pen­dent state(s), would pos­si­bly want to join the EU at this point because if they adamant­ly don’t want a future in the EU is there way to allow just half of a coun­try join the EU while the oth­er half stays out? Could just Kiev become an EU vas­sal state? That sounds impos­si­ble. And if a decen­tral­ized Ukraine can’t join the EU that seems like some­thing the EU lead­ers are going to rather miffed about while nego­ti­at­ing a long-term peace deal that involves keep­ing Ukraine intact in a decen­tral­ized man­ner. And EU lead­ers are going to be need­ed here for any long-term peace. So if it turns out that the east wants out of the EU, will the EU’s lead­ers and Kiev be will­ing to put that goal aside for the fore­see­able future in order to keep Ukraine intact? And will Rus­sia agree to put of expan­sion of the Com­mon­wealth Union too for now? Could there be a joint EU/Russian trade deal with Ukraine that guar­an­tees nat­ur­al gas flows to Europe while both sides show­er Ukraine with the resources (and export mar­kets) need­ed to rebuild its coun­try after decades of cor­rup­tion and a civ­il war? Of the many open ques­tions going for­ward these seems like a big ones.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 5, 2014, 1:52 pm
  6. Here’s a reminder that the soon­er a per­ma­nent peace can be agreed upon in Ukrainethe soon­er the ‘vol­un­teer batal­lions’ can be dis­band­ed, which is some­thing near­ly every­one should be root­ing for:

    NBC News
    Ger­man TV Shows Nazi Sym­bols on Hel­mets of Ukraine Sol­diers
    Andy Eckardt

    First pub­lished Sep­tem­ber 9th 2014, 7:07 am

    Ger­mans were con­front­ed with images of their country’s dark past on Mon­day night, when Ger­man pub­lic broad­cast­er ZDF showed video of Ukrain­ian sol­diers with Nazi sym­bols on their hel­mets in its evening news­cast. In a report on the frag­ile cease-fire in east­ern Ukraine, Moscow cor­re­spon­dent Bern­hard Lichte used pic­tures of a sol­dier wear­ing a com­bat hel­met with the “SS runes” of Hitler’s infa­mous black-uni­formed elite corps. A sec­ond sol­dier was seen with a swasti­ka on his gear. “Vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions from near­ly every polit­i­cal spec­trum are rein­forc­ing the gov­ern­ment side,” the ZDF cor­re­spon­dent said in his report.

    The video was shot last week in Ukraine by a cam­era team from Nor­we­gian broad­cast­er TV2. “We were film­ing a report about Ukraine’s AZOV bat­tal­ion in the east­ern city of Urzuf, when we came across these sol­diers,” Oys­ten Bogen, a cor­re­spon­dent for the pri­vate tele­vi­sion sta­tion, told NBC News. Min­utes before the images were taped, Bogen said he had asked a spokesper­son whether the bat­tal­ion had fas­cist ten­den­cies. “The reply was: absolute­ly not, we are just Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists,” Bogen said.

    And here’s a reminder that a durable peace in Ukraine prob­a­bly isn’t going to hap­pen before more war:

    Ukraine cri­sis: Renewed fight­ing threat­ens frag­ile cease­fire
    5 NATO mem­bers to send weapons to Ukrain­ian forces, pres­i­den­tial aide says

    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press Post­ed: Sep 07, 2014 6:04 AM ET Last Updat­ed: Sep 07, 2014 2:01 PM ET

    Clash­es broke out Sun­day out­side the main rebel-held city in east­ern Ukraine, throw­ing the fresh­ly forged cease­fire agree­ment between gov­ern­ment troops and Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists into fur­ther doubt.

    At least two hous­es blazed in the rur­al vil­lage of Spar­tak, which lies just north of Donet­sk and adja­cent to the air­port, after they were hit by fire. A man whose house was struck by a shell said rebels had fired from a spot near­by, which appeared to have pro­voked a retal­ia­to­ry attack from Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment troops. This pat­tern has been reg­u­lar­ly observed in the near­ly five-month-long mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion.

    A group of rebel fight­ers in the vil­lage danced and drank Sun­day morn­ing in cel­e­bra­tion after what they said was a suc­cess­ful assault on a Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary encamp­ment in the vicin­i­ty. One said their group had cap­tured eight gov­ern­ment troops, although none of these cap­tives could be seen.

    The fight­er, who pro­vid­ed only the nom de guerre Khokhol, freely acknowl­edged that the cease­fire was not being respect­ed by either side.

    “There was mor­tar shelling around 20 min­utes ago here in Spar­tak,” he said. “There is no cease­fire for any­one.”

    The truce signed on Fri­day appeared to be hold­ing for much of the fol­low­ing day, but was shat­tered late Sat­ur­day by shelling on the out­skirts of the south­east­ern port town of Mar­i­upol, where Ukrain­ian troops retain defen­sive lines against the rebels. The city coun­cil said Sun­day that one civil­ian was killed there and a ser­vice­man wound­ed.

    Mar­i­upol is locat­ed on the coast of the Sea of Azov, 115 kilo­me­tres south of Donet­sk. Rebels recent­ly opened a new front on the coast, lead­ing to fears that they were try­ing to secure a land cor­ri­dor between Rus­sia and the Crimean Penin­su­la, which Rus­sia annexed in March.

    ‘Dis­re­gard for civil­ian lives’

    Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al on Sun­day con­demned all those engaged in the grind­ing con­flict that accord­ing to UN esti­mates has claimed at least 2,600 civil­ian lives and forced hun­dreds of thou­sands out of their homes.

    “All sides in this con­flict have shown dis­re­gard for civil­ian lives and are bla­tant­ly vio­lat­ing their inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions,” Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Salil Shet­ty said in a state­ment.

    ...

    Con­flict­ing claims over NATO weapons

    Mean­while, a senior aide to Ukraine’s Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko said Sun­day that Kyiv had reached agree­ment dur­ing the NATO sum­mit in Wales on the pro­vi­sion of weapons and mil­i­tary advis­ers from five mem­ber states of the alliance.

    “At the NATO sum­mit agree­ments were reached on the pro­vi­sion of mil­i­tary advis­ers and sup­plies of mod­ern arma­ments from the Unit­ed States, France, Italy, Poland and Nor­way,” the aide, Yuri Lyt­senko, said on his Face­book page.

    He gave no fur­ther details and it was not imme­di­ate­ly pos­si­ble to con­firm his state­ment. NATO offi­cials have said the alliance will not send weapons to Ukraine, which is not a mem­ber state, but they have also said indi­vid­ual allies may choose to do so.

    How­ev­er, three of those five swift­ly denied mak­ing any such pledge.

    Asked about Lyt­senko’s com­ments, defence min­istry offi­cials in Italy, Poland and Nor­way denied plans to pro­vide arms.

    “This news is incor­rect. Italy, along with oth­er EU and NATO coun­tries, is prepar­ing a pack­age of non-lethal mil­i­tary aid such as bul­let-proof vests and hel­mets for Ukraine,” an Ital­ian defence min­istry offi­cial told Reuters.

    Ukraine, Rus­sia, the Krem­lin-backed sep­a­ratists and the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe signed the cease­fire deal in the Belaru­sian cap­i­tal, Min­sk, on Fri­day evening in an effort to end the blood­shed. The nego­tia­tors agreed on the with­draw­al of all heavy weapon­ry, the release of all pris­on­ers and the deliv­ery of human­i­tar­i­an aid to dev­as­tat­ed cities in east­ern Ukraine.

    The 12-point agree­ment, pub­lished Sun­day by the OSCE, also oblig­es Kyiv to give greater pow­ers to the sep­a­ratist Donet­sk and Luhan­sk regions and calls for local elec­tions to be held in those Russ­ian-speak­ing regions.

    West­ern lead­ers voiced skep­ti­cism over Rus­si­a’s com­mit­ment to the deal. A pre­vi­ous 10-day cease­fire, which each side repeat­ed­ly accused the oth­er of vio­lat­ing, yield­ed few results at the nego­ti­at­ing table.

    Unless some new “game chang­er” weapons get intro­duced to the con­flict (which does­n’t seem like­ly since they would prob­a­bly kill a lot of civil­ians), it’s look­ing more and more like the plan on both sides is for a bat­tle of attri­tion. And with win­ter approach­ing, life poten­tial­ly about to get much much worse for East Ukraini­ans. So the ques­tion is raised of how the pub­lic sen­ti­ment can be expect­ed to change as the con­flict drags on. Is sup­port for the rebels expect­ed to grow or shrink amongst the East Ukraini­ans if the con­flict ends in a bloody stale­mate that nev­er real­ly gets resolved and does­n’t allow for any sem­blance of nor­mal­cy? It seems like sen­ti­ment is only going to grow against the side that does the most shelling of civil­ian areas, and right now that’s Kiev. Isn’t a Pyrrhic vic­tor the best Kiev can hope for if this con­flict drags on past the the win­ter or will most peo­ple just be hap­py for any end to the fight­ing at that point and ready to move on?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 9, 2014, 11:34 am
  7. I’m enjoy­ing this show, but you real­ly ought to do some bet­ter fact check­ing of the var­i­ous claims you are mak­ing. In this show lis­ten­ers are told to “nev­er lose sight of” the fact that Ukraine has 25% of the worlds proven nat­ur­al gas reserves, and I have seen this claim being made in ear­li­er shows too.

    How­ev­er, a quick search on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_natural_gas_proven_reserves) would have told you that the proven gas reserves of Ukraine are actu­al­ly esti­mat­ed to be 0.5% of the world total, not 25%.

    Posted by GM | September 10, 2014, 2:58 am
  8. @GM–

    Here’s the source for my state­ment:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/talking-numbers/this-oil-giant-could-get-crush-by-ukraine-200317976.html;_ylt=A0SO8wmkeB5TWxEAKjpXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0c3FzZHNsBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDI2NF8x

    EXCERPT: ” . . . .Ukraine sits on 39 tril­lion cubic feet of nat­ur­al gas reserves. That’s about one-quar­ter of the world’s entire proven reserves. One com­pa­ny that has bet big on Ukraine’s nat­ur­al gas is US-based Chevron. . . .”

    I source all of my mate­r­i­al. Per­son­al­ly, I can nei­ther con­firm nor dis­prove CNBC/Yahoo News’ state­ment.

    CNBC–though not beyond reproach, certainly–is some­what more cred­i­ble than Wikipedia.

    En Garde!

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | September 10, 2014, 6:26 pm
  9. The casu­al embrace of dou­ble-edge swords does­n’t always end well:

    The Guardian
    Azov fight­ers are Ukraine’s great­est weapon and may be its great­est threat
    The bat­tal­ion’s far-right vol­un­teers’ desire to ‘bring the fight to Kiev’ is a dan­ger to post-con­flict sta­bil­i­ty

    Shaun Walk­er in Mar­i­upol
    Wednes­day 10 Sep­tem­ber 2014 08.36 EDT

    “I have noth­ing against Russ­ian nation­al­ists, or a great Rus­sia,” said Dmit­ry, as we sped through the dark Mar­i­upol night in a pick­up truck, a machine gun­ner posi­tioned in the back. “But Putin’s not even a Russ­ian. Putin’s a Jew.”

    Dmit­ry – which he said is not his real name – is a native of east Ukraine and a mem­ber of the Azov bat­tal­ion, a vol­un­teer group­ing that has been doing much of the front­line fight­ing in Ukraine’s war with pro-Rus­sia sep­a­ratists. The Azov, one of many vol­un­teer brigades to fight along­side the Ukrain­ian army in the east of the coun­try, has devel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for fear­less­ness in bat­tle.

    But there is an increas­ing wor­ry that while the Azov and oth­er vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions might be Ukraine’s most potent and reli­able force on the bat­tle­field against the sep­a­ratists, they also pose the most seri­ous threat to the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, and per­haps even the state, when the con­flict in the east is over. The Azov caus­es par­tic­u­lar con­cern due to the far right, even neo-Nazi, lean­ings of many of its mem­bers.

    Dmit­ry claimed not to be a Nazi, but waxed lyri­cal about Adolf Hitler as a mil­i­tary leader, and believes the Holo­caust nev­er hap­pened. Not every­one in the Azov bat­tal­ion thinks like Dmit­ry, but after speak­ing with dozens of its fight­ers and embed­ding on sev­er­al mis­sions dur­ing the past week in and around the strate­gic port city of Mar­i­upol, the Guardian found many of them to have dis­turb­ing polit­i­cal views, and almost all to be intent on “bring­ing the fight to Kiev” when the war in the east is over.

    The bat­tal­ion’s sym­bol is rem­i­nis­cent of the Nazi Wolf­san­gel, though the bat­tal­ion claims it is in fact meant to be the let­ters N and I crossed over each oth­er, stand­ing for “nation­al idea”. Many of its mem­bers have links with neo-Nazi groups, and even those who laughed off the idea that they are neo-Nazis did not give the most con­vinc­ing denials.

    “Of course not, it’s all made up, there are just a lot of peo­ple who are inter­est­ed in Nordic mythol­o­gy,” said one fight­er when asked if there were neo-Nazis in the bat­tal­ion. When asked what his own polit­i­cal views were, how­ev­er, he said “nation­al social­ist”. As for the swasti­ka tat­toos on at least one man seen at the Azov base, “the swasti­ka has noth­ing to do with the Nazis, it was an ancient sun sym­bol,” he claimed.

    The bat­tal­ion has drawn far-right vol­un­teers from abroad, such as Mikael Skillt, a 37-year-old Swede, trained as a sniper in the Swedish army, who described him­self as an “eth­nic nation­al­ist” and fights on the front line with the bat­tal­ion.

    Despite the pres­ence of these ele­ments, Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da that claims Kiev’s “fas­cist jun­ta” wants to cleanse east Ukraine of Russ­ian speak­ers is overblown. The Azov are a minor­i­ty among the Ukrain­ian forces, and even they, how­ev­er unpleas­ant their views may be, are not anti-Russ­ian; in fact the lin­gua fran­ca of the bat­tal­ion is Russ­ian, and most have Russ­ian as their first lan­guage.

    Indeed, much of what Azov mem­bers say about race and nation­al­ism is strik­ing­ly sim­i­lar to the views of the more rad­i­cal Russ­ian nation­al­ists fight­ing with the sep­a­ratist side. The bat­tal­ion even has a Russ­ian vol­un­teer, a 30-year-old from St Peters­burg who refused to give his name. He said he views many of the Russ­ian rebel com­man­ders pos­i­tive­ly, espe­cial­ly Igor Strelkov, a for­mer FSB offi­cer who has a pas­sion for mil­i­tary re-enact­ments and appears to see him­self as a tsarist offi­cer. He “wants to res­ur­rect a great Rus­sia, said the vol­un­teer; but Strelkov is “only a pawn in Putin’s game,” he said, and he hoped that Rus­sia would some time have a “nation­al­ist, vio­lent Maid­an” of its own.

    ..

    For the com­man­ders and the gen­er­als in Kiev, who many in Azov and oth­er vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions see as respon­si­ble for the awful loss­es the Ukrain­ian army has suf­fered in recent weeks, espe­cial­ly in the ill-fat­ed retreat from Ilo­vaysk, there was only con­tempt. “Gen­er­als like those in charge of Ilo­vaysk should be impris­oned for trea­son,” said Skillt. “Heads are going to roll for sure, I think there will be a bat­tle for pow­er.”

    The Ukrain­ian armed forces are “an army of lions led by a sheep”, said Dmit­ry, and there is only so long that dynam­ic can con­tin­ue. With so many armed, bat­tle-hard­ened and angry young men com­ing back from the front, there is a dan­ger that the rolling of heads could be more than a metaphor. Dmit­ry said he believes that Ukraine needs “a strong dic­ta­tor to come to pow­er who could shed plen­ty of blood but unite the nation in the process”.

    Many in the Azov bat­tal­ion with whom the Guardian spoke shared this view, which is a long way from the dri­ve for Euro­pean ideals and democ­ra­cy that drove the protests in Kiev at the begin­ning. The Russ­ian vol­un­teer fight­ing with the Azov said he believes Ukraine needs “a jun­ta that will restrict civ­il rights for a while but help bring order and unite the coun­try”. This dis­ci­pli­nar­i­an streak was vis­i­ble in the bat­tal­ion. Drink­ing is strict­ly for­bid­den. “One time there was a guy who got drunk, but the com­man­der beat him in his face and legs until he could not move; then he was kicked out,” recalled one fight­er proud­ly.

    Oth­er vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions have also come under the spot­light. This week, Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al called on the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment to inves­ti­gate rights abus­es and pos­si­ble exe­cu­tions by the Aidar, anoth­er bat­tal­ion.

    “The fail­ure to stop abus­es and pos­si­ble war crimes by vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions risks sig­nif­i­cant­ly aggra­vat­ing ten­sions in the east of the coun­try and under­min­ing the pro­claimed inten­tions of the new Ukrain­ian author­i­ties to strength­en and uphold the rule of law more broad­ly,” said Salil Shet­ty, Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al sec­re­tary gen­er­al, in Kiev.

    Fight­ers from the bat­tal­ion told the Guardian last month they expect­ed a “new rev­o­lu­tion” in Ukraine that would bring a more deci­sive mil­i­tary leader to pow­er, in sen­ti­ments sim­i­lar to those of many Azov fight­ers.

    Despite the desire of many in the Azov to bring vio­lence to Kiev when the war in the east is over, the bat­tal­ion receives fund­ing and assis­tance from the gov­er­nor of Donet­sk region, the oli­garch Ser­hiy Taru­ta. An aide to Taru­ta, Alex Kovzhun, said the polit­i­cal views of indi­vid­ual mem­bers of Azov were not an issue, and denied that the bat­tal­ion’s sym­bol had Nazi under­tones.

    “The views of some of them is their own affair as long as they do not break the law,” said Kovzhun in writ­ten answers to ques­tions. “And the sym­bol is not Nazi. Trust me – some of my fam­i­ly died in con­cen­tra­tion camps, so I have a well-devel­oped nose for Nazi shit.”

    As well as their front­line duties, the Azov bat­tal­ion also func­tions as “a kind of police unit”, said a pla­toon com­man­der who goes by the nom de guerre Kirt. A medieval his­to­ry buff who takes part in Viking bat­tle reen­act­ments and once ran a tour firm in Thai­land, Kirt returned to east Ukraine to join the Azov. He took the Guardian on an overnight patrol through the out­skirts of Mar­i­upol and the vil­lages around the front line.

    Part sep­a­ratist hunters, part city cops with no rules to restrain them, they trav­elled in a con­voy of three vehi­cles, all heav­i­ly armed. As mid­night approached we set off across the bumpy tar­mac roads to the out­skirts of Mar­i­upol, and soon came across a parked car by the side of the road that the men found sus­pi­cious.

    Fight­ers dashed from the front two cars and rushed at the vehi­cle point­ing their guns at it. A star­tled man got out of the pas­sen­ger seat, then a sheep­ish look­ing woman in a cock­tail dress and hold­ing a half-smoked cig­a­rette emerged, smooth­ing her hair. The Azov fight­ers apol­o­gised, but only after demand­ing doc­u­ments and thor­ough­ly search­ing the car.

    As we edged clos­er to the front line, Kirt and the oth­ers scanned the sky­line with binoc­u­lars, on the look­out for snipers and sep­a­ratists. Lat­er, fight­ers sprint­ed towards a sus­pi­cious jeep parked on the beach while the sea was scanned for hos­tile sup­port ves­sels, but it turned out that again the men had stum­bled upon peo­ple just try­ing to have a good time: a group of women drink­ing sparkling wine out of plas­tic cups on the beach­front.

    The Azov have been par­tial­ly brought into the mil­i­tary and offi­cial­ly func­tion as a spe­cial police unit. There are dis­cus­sions that Azov and oth­er bat­tal­ions could be inte­grat­ed into the army or spe­cial forces when the con­flict is over.

    Some of them, how­ev­er, are hop­ing Ukraine will look very dif­fer­ent in the not-so-dis­tant future. And while they may be a tiny minor­i­ty when it comes to Ukraine as a whole, they have a lot of weapons.

    Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko will be killed in a mat­ter of months, Dmit­ry said, and a dic­ta­tor will come to pow­er.

    “What are the police going to do? They could not do any­thing against the peace­ful pro­test­ers on Maid­an; they are hard­ly going to with­stand armed fight­ing units.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 10, 2014, 6:50 pm
  10. A peek into the future of Ukraine’s par­lia­ment: “There might be no oppo­si­tion at all in this par­lia­ment. But there might be com­pe­ti­tion to see who can be the best nation­al­ist and the biggest ene­my of Rus­sia”:

    War heroes and activists to shape new-look Ukraine par­lia­ment

    Reuters, 21/10 18:54 CET

    By Richard Balm­forth and Pavel Poli­tyuk

    KIEV (Reuters) – Out will go the body­guards and mis­tress­es, in are like­ly to come the street activists and war vet­er­ans: Ukraine’s next par­lia­ment will be pro-West­ern and strong­ly nation­al­ist, and it won’t be to Russia’s lik­ing.

    Can­di­date lists for the Oct. 26 elec­tions show how per­son­al favourites backed by old school power­bro­kers in the out­go­ing par­lia­ment are set to make way for peo­ple who made their names in Kiev’s “Maid­an” rev­o­lu­tion last win­ter, or in resist­ing Russ­ian encroach­ment in east­ern Ukraine.

    > Army pilot Nadia Savchenko is top can­di­date for one of Ukraine’s biggest par­ties – even though she is being held in a Moscow psy­chi­atric clin­ic, accused of involve­ment in the deaths of Russ­ian jour­nal­ists.

    > Air­force colonel Yuly Mam­chur – who became an instant hero in March when he defied pro-Russ­ian forces by refus­ing to leave his post in Crimea – is run­ning for the bloc of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko and is set to win a seat on Sun­day.

    > The bat­tered face of Tetyana Chornovil, an activist beat­en by thugs of the oust­ed rul­ing elite, made her a Maid­an icon. Already a war wid­ow at 35, she is a can­di­date for Prime Min­is­ter Arse­ny Yatseniuk’s par­ty.

    With many out­go­ing deputies in the pay of busi­ness oli­garchs, the old 450-seat par­lia­ment was a mar­ket place for deals to be cut rather than vot­ers’ inter­ests to be defend­ed. This may be about to change.

    “We shan’t be see­ing any more body­guards and mis­tress­es in the new par­lia­ment. We will see peo­ple with a mil­i­tary back­ground, though they will not have polit­i­cal and juridi­cal knowl­edge,” said polit­i­cal ana­lyst Mikhai­lo Pogre­bin­sky.

    The make-up of the new assem­bly will reflect months of war and a con­fronta­tion with Rus­sia that has cre­at­ed a Cold War-style cri­sis between Moscow and the West around Ukraine and redrawn its polit­i­cal land­scape.

    The Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion drove out Moscow-backed pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovich in Feb­ru­ary. Krem­lin alarm at his oust­ing and the prospect of a pro­nounced shift west­wards by Kiev led to Rus­sia annex­ing Crimea in March and pro­voked pro-Moscow sep­a­ratist rebel­lions in Ukraine’s east.

    The loss of Crimea and pre­ven­tion of nor­mal vot­ing in the east, where vio­lence per­sists despite a cease­fire between Ukrain­ian forces and the rebels, will mean the num­ber of seats occu­pied in the new par­lia­ment will shrink to 424, accord­ing to cen­tral elec­tion author­i­ties. The oth­ers – and Savchenko’s if as expect­ed she is elect­ed – will remain vacant.

    Com­men­ta­tors expect a strong pro-Europe major­i­ty to emerge. “At least half of par­lia­ment, at the very least, will be changed now. There will be utter­ly dif­fer­ent par­ty struc­ture in par­lia­ment,” said Volodymyr Fes­enko of the Pen­ta think-tank. “The absolute major­i­ty will be with those polit­i­cal forces linked to Euro­pean inte­gra­tion and the ‘Maid­an’.”

    Even in the new-look assem­bly, Poroshenko will have to work hard to win sup­port for his plan to bring peace in the east as sev­er­al oth­er pro-Europe par­ties fear a sell-out to Rus­sia and the sep­a­ratists.

    ...

    Pro-West­ern Poroshenko called the elec­tion to secure fur­ther legit­i­ma­cy after the rev­o­lu­tion, which Rus­sia denounced as a fas­cist coup to jus­ti­fy its back­ing of the sep­a­ratists.

    But there is lit­tle sign of nation­al rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, with the rebels threat­en­ing to hold their own elec­tions in ear­ly Novem­ber, peo­ple still dying every day in the east despite the cease­fire and anti-Russ­ian feel­ing high in the cap­i­tal.

    Ukraini­ans are also express­ing increas­ing dis­en­chant­ment with the slow pace of reforms to improve liv­ing stan­dards.

    “There is a risk of a protest mood spring­ing up again if there is no reform. Time is not on Poroshenko’s side. I hope he under­stands this and will under­take steps towards reform,” said Mustafa Nayem, a jour­nal­ist and Maid­an activist who is run­ning for the Poroshenko bloc.

    THE MAIDAN VOTE

    Pro-Russ­ian forces, includ­ing Yanukovich’s Regions Par­ty, are cer­tain to go from the assem­bly. The Com­mu­nists, who usu­al­ly backed him, might lose all rep­re­sen­ta­tion for the first time since inde­pen­dence in 1991.

    All oth­er par­ties are seek­ing the vote of the Maid­an – the local name for Kiev’s Inde­pen­dence Square where tens of thou­sands protest­ed against Yanukovich and which com­mands moral author­i­ty in polit­i­cal life.

    With the par­ties enlist­ing war vet­er­ans, vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion lead­ers and heroes such as Savchenko, Chornovil, Mam­chur, the new assem­bly is like­ly to be hos­tile to Moscow.

    “There might be no oppo­si­tion at all in this par­lia­ment. But there might be com­pe­ti­tion to see who can be the best nation­al­ist and the biggest ene­my of Rus­sia,” Pogre­bin­sky said.

    Poroshenko is hop­ing for a man­date to pur­sue the peace plan for the east which he reluc­tant­ly accept­ed after bat­tle­field defeats in which hun­dreds of Ukrain­ian sol­diers may have died.

    But even with a strong pro-Euro­pean major­i­ty, Poroshenko, a 49-year-old con­fec­tionery tycoon, may not find it easy to win sup­port for his plan and his deal­ings with Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

    Anti-Krem­lin feel­ing runs high in the cap­i­tal. On the Maid­an, stalls are sell­ing toi­let paper print­ed with Putin’s image. At inter­na­tion­al foot­ball match­es an obscene chant about Putin is now as much a fix­ture as the singing of the Ukrain­ian nation­al anthem.

    Some sup­port­ers of the old elite have come under attack while out cam­paign­ing. Sev­er­al have been seized, pelt­ed with eggs and dumped in rub­bish bins.

    POROSHENKO’S PLAN

    Opin­ion polls sug­gest Poroshenko’s bloc, which includes the Udar par­ty of retired heavy­weight box­ing cham­pi­on Vitaly Klitschko, could take up to 30 per­cent of the par­ty list vote which decides 225 of parliament’s seats.

    He is assured of the sup­port of Prime Min­is­ter Yatseniuk’s People’s Front Par­ty if the lat­ter – a favourite of the West because of his role in nego­ti­at­ing a $17 bil­lion bailout from the IMF – man­ages to reach the five per­cent thresh­old for rep­re­sen­ta­tion in par­lia­ment.

    But he could still find him­self in need of sup­port from two poten­tial­ly cru­cial play­ers – for­mer prime min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko, an old adver­sary who heads the Father­land par­ty, and pop­ulist fire­brand Oleh Lyashko who leads the Rad­i­cal Par­ty.

    Both have sharply crit­i­cised parts of Poroshenko’s peace plan and say his pro­pos­al for giv­ing lim­it­ed self-rule to the sep­a­ratists for a pro­vi­sion­al peri­od will only encour­age the rebels to press ahead with plans to form a break­away enti­ty.

    Keep in mind that Oleh Lyashko is one of the fig­ure pop­u­lar­iz­ing the “trash­ing” of oppo­si­tion politi­cians, so with oppo­si­tion elect­ed offi­cials about to become a thing of the past the ques­tion aris­es of which group Lyashko and his fel­low far right nut jobs will tar­get next. So who’s going to be the new offi­cial scape­goat once every­one asso­ci­at­ed with the old Yanukovich gov­ern­ment is removed from pow­er? It’s pos­si­ble they could start tar­get­ing the oli­garchs liv­ing in man­sions, but giv­en Lyashko’s man­sion-liv­ing lifestyle, maybe not. So who’s next?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 21, 2014, 11:43 am

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