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FTR #832 Walkin’ the Snake in Ukraine, Part 5: “We All Remember Well the Soviet Invasion of Ukraine and Germany”

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This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment

Oleh Tia­hany­bok--leader of OUN/B successor party Svoboda--salutes

Introduction: Developments in Ukraine continue to conform to the paradigm set forth in the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk, in which the SS go underground in the aftermath of World War II, build up their economic muscle, buy into the opinion-forming media, infiltrate the American military, and–following a series of terrorist incidents in the U.S. which cause the declaration of martial law–take over the United States.

Central to this takeover is the use of the Nazi-controlled mainstream media to fundamentally revise history in a pro-Hitler fashion.

In Ukraine, the institutional heirs to the OUN/B Nazi allies are cementing their control over that strategic country, strengthening their strategic grip over Western political, economic and military policy and, through that control, successfully manipulating ideological and journalistic coverage of events in Ukraine and historical portrayal of World War II and the Third Reich in a fashion that would make Hitler proud.

(We have covered the ascension of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a number of programs: FTR #’s 777778779780781782, 783784794800803804, 808811817, 818, 824, 826, 829.)

As the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Union approaches, Russian president Putin has been excluded from the ceremonial observation of that event!

Putin’s exclusion exemplifies the perversion of policy and history attendant on the Nazi ascension to power in Ukraine.

As will be discussed below, much of the Auschwitz staff was composed of OUN/B personnel. The direct, institutional successors to the OUN/B are in power in Kiev.

Note Ukrainian official Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s statement: “We all remember well the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany.” He is talking about World War II!

Yatsenyuk is an important part of the renascent National Socialist government now ruling Ukraine. As discussed by George Eliason, declassified U.S. FOIA documents confirm that the OUN/B and the closely-allied Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations constituted an OUN/B National Socialist government-in-exile. The Maidan coup of 2014–itself a well-documented covert operation–brought that government to power.

We present a courageously accurate op-ed piece by Chris Martenson in the mainstream Market Watch blog that correctly notes that the West (and the United States in particular) are waging war against Russia.

Part and parcel to that is an organized NATO effort to propagandize on behalf of the pro-Nazi government in Ukraine and its Western-supported policies. One wonders if this will ultimately entail efforts against those hardy few in the West willing to swim against the daunting current of Serpent’s Walk-style propaganda.

Among the events being effectively neutralized in mainstream media coverage of the Ukraine crisis is the deliberate cut-off of badly-needed entitlements to elderly residents of Eastern Ukraine. This is a war crime that endangers the lives of hundreds of thousands!

Program Highlights Include: The use of relativistic language by Western media, characterizing documented historical fact as “Russian” or “Kremlin” propaganda; review of the rejection by the EU, the U.S., Canada and Ukraine of a resolution introduced in the U.N. General Assembly that condemns the celebration of Nazi collaborators; the subtle, revisionist pro-Nazi rhetoric of German president Joachim Gauck; the probability that a Westerner–possibly an American–will head the Ukraine’s “anti-corruption” bureau.

 

1a. With warfare continuing in Eastern Ukraine, Russian president Putin has been “disinvited” to the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. That liberation was effected by Soviet troops. As will be discussed below, much of the Auschwitz staff was composed of OUN/B personnel. The direct, institutional successors to the OUN/B are in power in Kiev.

Note Ukrainian official Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s statement: “We all remember well the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany.”

“Liberation without Liberators”; german-foreign-policy.com; 1/16/2015.

Through their virtual disinvitation, EU countries are preventing the Russian president from participating at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The highest representative of the country, whose army had halted the mass murder in the German extermination camp January 27, 1945, is thereby excluded from the commemoration ceremonies. However, Germany’s president, will participate. Joachim Gauck had already used his speech on the 75th anniversary of Germany’s invasion of Poland, to massively stir up sentiments against Moscow and to transform the commemoration of Nazi crimes into an appeal for closing ranks against Russia. In his memoirs, Gauck described Red Army soldiers, who had liberated Germany, as beings “with Asian facial features,” “reeking of Vodka,” who “requisitioned and stole.” A few years ago, he complained, “the occurrence of the German Judeocide has been inflated to a uniqueness,” because “certain milieus of post religious societies” were seeking “a certain shudder in face of the unspeakable.” In 2010, he was quoted saying, he “wonders how much longer we Germans want to nurture our culture of chagrin.”

“Just Like Nazi Troops”

The commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the German Auschwitz extermination camp had been the focus of political intrigues already last year. At the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of its liberation, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s participation was still taken for granted. After having suffered severe losses, the Soviet Army reached Auschwitz January 27, 1945, putting an end to the ghastly murders Germans were committing. First attempts to exclude Putin from the commemoration of the 70th Anniversary were made in Poland in the summer 2014. A parliamentarian was quoted saying that the Red Army “had been an aggressor” in WW II, “just like Nazi troops,” which is why the Russian President should only be allowed to make a “penitential pilgrimage” to Poland.[1] At the time, Bronisław Komorowski could see nothing wrong with Putin’s participation at the Auschwitz commemoration. However, anti-Russian forces have prevailed and the Russian President’s invitation was cancelled through diplomatic channels. According to reports, Poland’s Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz has also campaigned to prevent Putin from participating at a parallel commemoration ceremony in Prague. This would exclude the president of the country, whose army had lost more than a million soldiers just to liberate the German Reich and the Polish territories under German occupation.

Turned against Russia

The anti-Russian instrumentalization of the memory of German crimes against humanity is making headway with Putin’s virtual disinvitation. Already on September 1, 2014, German President Joachim Gauck used his memorial address in Gdansk – commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the German invasion of Poland – to stir up anti-Russian sentiments. Referring to the Ukraine conflict, Gauck accused Russia of giving a higher priority to “a quest for power,” rather than to “maintaining stability and peace.” Completely blotting out western support for the Ukrainian putsch and the civil war, while ignoring all the wars waged by the West from Yugoslavia to Iraq on up to Libya, Gauck alleged that Russia had “violated international law” and “annexed foreign territory.”[2] Alluding to Great Britain and France’s approbation for Germany’s occupation of parts of Czechoslovakia in October 1938, targeting Russia, Gauck declared, “history teaches us that territorial concessions often whet the appetite of the aggressors.” The commemoration of Nazi crimes was thereby transformed into an appeal to close ranks against Russia, which Germany had invaded.

A “Culture of Chagrin”

On various occasions before becoming president, Gauck, who, unlike Russia’s President Putin, will be present at Auschwitz January 27, had made public statements showing how he views Germany’s 1945 liberation and the Shoah. In his memoires, he wrote on the subject of Germany’s liberation, that it arrived as “horrible news,” he depicted the Red Army soldiers as beings “with Asian facial features,” reeking “of vodka,” who “requisitioned and stole” and systematically raped women.[3] 2006, Gauck remorsefully claimed that there is “a tendency toward sanctifying the Holocaust,” wherein “the occurrence of German Judeocide is inflated to a uniqueness that ultimately escapes comprehension and analysis.” “Certain milieus of post-religious societies” were persistently searching “for the dimension of the absolute, a certain shudder in face of the unspeakable.” This could also be achieved by “the absolute evil” and is “paradoxically of psychological advantage.”[4] Gauck has stated several times that “the Germans” would be well advised to change their approach to history. In the fall of 2010, he mused, “I ask myself, how much longer do we Germans want to nurture our culture of chagrin.”[5] This was after he had positively responded to the question whether “the majority of the Germans” are mature enough for a “reorientation toward their own victims, the reorientation toward the patriotic.” “That’s how I see it.”[6]

Broad Brush

Until he was inaugurated president, Gauck’s historical views were criticized in German public opinion, For example, he has a knack for using the “broad brush,” in reference to his remarks on the “Black Book of Communism.”[7] Gauck had written that “the communists had also made themselves unpopular, when they … approved Poland’s westward acquisition of territory and thereby Germany’s loss of its eastern territories.” “To both the natives and the expellees, this loss of the homeland was considered a great injustice, which the communists sealed in 1950, by recognizing the Oder-Neisse as the new German-Polish border,”[8] alleges Gauck. In the conflict over the “Centre against Expulsions,” he took the side of the president at the time, Erika Steinbach, who was sharply criticized for her historical revisionist statements, particularly in Poland. Gauck is quoted on the German League of Expellees’ (BdV) website saying, Berlin is most certainly the best location for a “Centre against Expulsions.” It blends in, because Berlin is where “there are various ‘topographies of terror,’ the location of the Wannsee Conference and the Stasi Headquarters, the former seat of government of brown and red despots.”[9]

Yatsenyuk’s “Soviet Invasion”

Gauck’s Auschwitz speech and Putin’s disinvitation coincide with Berlin’s open cooperation with the fascist successors of Nazi collaborators to stage a pro-western coup in Kiev. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[10]) The Kiev government has adopted their anti-Russian standpoints, which are also increasingly having an influence on the German debate where they dovetail with old anti-Russian sentiments. Arseniy Yatsenyuk recently caused a stir with his interview on German television. He literally alleged, “We all remember well the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany.”[11] This statement has remained unchallenged.

[1] Streit in Polen über Einladung Putins zu Auschwitz-Gedenken 2015. www.tt.com 09.05.2014.
[2] Gedenkfeier zum deutschen Überfall auf Polen 1939. www.bundespraesident.de 01.09.2014.
[3] Joachim Gauck: Winter im Sommer, Frühling im Herbst. München 2009. See Hans-Rüdiger Minow: Der Zug der Erinnerung, die Deutsche Bahn und der Kampf gegen das Vergessen.
[4] Joachim Gauck: Welche Erinnerungen braucht Europa? www.robert-bosch-stiftung.de. See The Consensus President.
[5] “Mutige Politiker ziehe ich vor”. www.sueddeutsche.de 30.09.2010.
[6] Gauck: Erinnerung an Vertreibung leugnet nicht den Nazi-Terror. www.dradio.de 31.08.2006.
[7] Daniela Dahn: Gespalten statt versöhnt. www.sueddeutsche.de 10.06.2010.
[8] Stéphane Courtois et al.: Das Schwarzbuch des Kommunismus. Unterdrückung, Verbrechen und Terror. München 1998.
[9] www.z-g-v.de.
[10] See Vom Stigma befreit
[11] www.facebook.com/tagesschau/posts/10152968920374407

Combat helmets of the Ukrainian government's Azov Battalion

1b.  The U.S. was one of three countries to vote against a U.N. resolution condemning the celebration of Nazi collaborators as “freedom fighters”–something the U.S. has been promoting since the end of World War II. Germany and the EU nations abstained.

Ukraine itself and Canada were the other countries that voted against the resolution. The OUN/B diaspora and its influence in the GOP and intelligence services of the U.S. is the primary consideration to be weighed in connection with this disgraceful episode.

The large OUN/B  diaspora population in Canada undoubtedly has much to do with that nation’s behavior in this context.

“Honoring Collaborators;” german-foreign-policy.com; 11/26/2014.

The Federal Republic of Germany has refused to vote in favor of a United Nations resolution condemning the glorification of National Socialism and Nazi collaboration. Last week, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution strongly criticizing the edification of memorials to Nazi functionaries and the stylization of Nazi collaborators as “freedom fighters.” Germany and the other EU nations abstained, the USA, Canada, and Ukraine voted against the document, with 115 nations voting in favor. Berlin and Brussels use the excuse of not wanting to support a resolution initiated by Russia. In fact, a vote in favor of the document would have caused hefty disputes within the EU, and between the EU and important allies. With growing frequency, notorious Nazi collaborators are being publicly honored in such EU countries as Hungary or the Baltic countries and in Ukraine, in some cases by officials of the respective governments.

Deep Concern

The UN resolution expresses its “deep concern about the glorification, in any form, of the Nazi movement, neo-Nazism, and former members of the Waffen SS organization.”As examples the document names erecting monuments and memorials and holding public demonstrations in the name of the glorification of the Nazi past but also by “attempting to declare such members and those who fought against the anti-Hitler coalition and collaborated with the Nazi movement participants in national liberation movements.” The resolution explicitly “emphasizes that any commemorative celebration of the Nazi regime, its allies and related organizations, whether official or unofficial” should be prohibited by UN member states. The resolution especially expresses its condemnation “of any denial or attempt to deny the Holocaust.”[1]

Nazi Glorification not rejected

Last Friday, when the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly put the resolution to a vote, the German Ambassador to the UN found himself unable to cast his vote in favor. All other EU nations also abstained, along with countries, dependent, in one way or the other, on the EU, such as Andorra, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Mali. Ukraine, the United States, and Canada voted pointblank against the resolution. The latter two countries are sheltering rather influential Ukrainian exile communities, characterized by former Nazi collaborators of the “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” (OUN). The reason generally given last Friday was that they did not want to support a resolution initiated by Russia. The Soviet Union – of which Russia had been its core – was the country accounting for the most casualties from Nazi terror – 27 million. However, had Germany and the other EU nations voted in favor of the resolution, it would have necessarily caused hefty disputes. Today, collaborators, who had joined the Nazis in the war against Moscow, are commemorated in several European countries.

In the Struggle against Russia

This is particularly true of Ukraine, where, since early 2012, German organizations have been working – and intensively so, since 2013 – to incorporate the Svoboda Party and its affiliated forces into an anti-Russian alliance of organizations. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[2]) Svoboda honors the OUN and particularly its commander Stepan Bandera, who is very popular throughout West Ukraine. In 1941, Bandera’s militias actively supported Nazi Germany in its attack on the Soviet Union. Svoboda also honors the “Ukrainian Partisan Army” (UPA), which, in the wake of the German war of extermination, had participated in mass murders of European Jews.[3] In the course of the Maidan protests, both this party and other fascist organizations, receiving vigorous support from Germany, were playing a growing role. Consequently, since the end of February, Svoboda has had several ministers in the Ukrainian putsch regime. Today, fascist battalions are among the most resolute combatants in East Ukraine’s civil war. Some of their commanders have been elected to parliament in the Verchovna Rada on electoral tickets of the parties forming the future government. At the beginning of the month, an activist of the fascist “Right Sector” and deputy commander of the fascist “Asov Battalion,” had been named police chief of the District of Kiev. In their struggle against Russia, Ukraine is uninhibitedly developing the traditions of its anti-Soviet Nazi collaboration – at the side of Germany.

Freedom Fighters

Nazi collaborators are also being honored in EU member countries, for example, in the Baltic nations. Regular commemoration honor parades for the Waffen SS, sponsored by their national Waffen SS veterans are organized in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In Latvia, one of the most recent marches was held last spring, with approx. 2,000 participants – which, in proportion to the size of the population, would correspond to a demonstration of 80,000 in Germany. Observers point out that in Riga’s state-run Latvian “Occupation Museum” the Latvian Waffen SS militias are referred to as “freedom fighters” in the struggle against Moscow. Organizers of the Waffen SS memorial march are invited to schools to teach courses in “patriotism.”[4] The “All for Latvia” national alliance party, which has consistently been in the government since 2011, supports these memorial parades. The party recurringly raises the issue of the deportation (“repatriation”) of the country’s Russian-speaking minority. One of the party’s leaders had once declared that the Russian minority – nearly one quarter of the population – are “occupiers” or “illegal colonialists.” A critical appraisal of Nazi collaboration is not welcome in this country. As the historian Maris Ruks notes, Latvian scholars risk “setbacks in their careers, if they engage in too detailed research into the Holocaust.”[5] In the current confrontation with Russia, the Baltic countries are among the EU’s most aggressive forces.

Hitler’s Partner is being rehabilitated

Also in Hungary fascist traditions are becoming more prevalent. Showcase examples are the new memorials to the “Reich’s Deputy” and Nazi collaborator Miklós Horthy, which have been inaugurated since 2012. After changing the name “Freedom Square” to “Horthy Square,” in April 2012, in Gyömrö, near Budapest, a Horthy statue was erected in the village of Kereki in southern Hungary.[6] A Horthy commemorative plaque was installed on its premises of the Calvinist College in Debrecen in May 2012. Other memorials have followed. For example, in June 2013 in the East Hungarian village of Hencida [7] and in November of the same year right in Budapest. “Hitler’s Hungarian partner is being rehabilitated,” wrote German press organs back in 2012, attentively noting that, at Hitler’s side, Horthy had led Hungary “into war against the Soviet Union.”[8] However, currently, Hungary is not one of those countries taking a particularly aggressive stand toward Russia. The rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators extends far beyond Horthy. Since the 1990s, there have been many commemorative plaques dedicated to the ethnic, anti-Semitic writer, Albert Wass, who had been a loyal follower of Horthy and the Nazi Reich. His writings have been as accepted into the country’s curriculums as those of Jozsef Nyiro, who still in 1944 was active in the Nazi Arrow Cross Party.[9] Hungary’s “Jobbik” Party – which polled 20.5 percent in the April 6, 2014 elections, its greatest success ever – stands in the tradition of the Arrow Cross Party.

“Counter Insurgency”

This is hardly an exhaustive list of EU countries publicly honoring Nazi collaborators. In Croatia, for example, monuments to Nazi opponents were destroyed, while, streets were being named after Mile Budak, the fascist Ustasha’s leading propagandist and, for awhile, Croatia’s Foreign Minister during the period of Nazi collaboration. In Italy’s Affile, to the east of Rome, a mausoleum to the fascist war criminal, Rodolfo Graziani was inaugurated in 2012. Graziani, who had initially been engaged in “counter insurgency” in Libya, ordered hostages shot and used poisoned gas in Ethiopia. Toward the end of the war, he was having Italians executed for refusing to collaborate with the Nazi puppet regime in Salò. Had Germany and the other EU countries not refused to vote in favor of last Friday’s UN resolution, they would – had they taken the document seriously – be facing serious conflicts with one another and with their close allies, e.g. their partners in Ukraine.

[1] United Nations General Assembly: Sixty-ninth session of the Third Committee. Agenda item 66 (a): Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. A/C.3/69/L.56/Rev.1. 19.11.2014.
[2] See A Broad-Based Anti-Russian AllianceTermin beim Botschafter and Juschtschenkos Mythen.
[3] See Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (IV).
[4] See Tag der Kollaborateure and “Liberation Fighters” and “Occupier”.
[5] Frank Brendle: International gegen SS-Verherrlichung. www.neues-deutschland.de 17.03.2014.
[6] György Dalos: Horthy im Hoch. www.nzz.ch 03.07.2012.
[7] Jobbik und Neue Ungarische Garde weihen neues Horthy-Denkmal ein. pusztaranger.wordpress.com 23.06.2013.
[8] Paul Jandl: Hitlers ungarischer Partner wird rehabilitiert. www.welt.de 05.06.2012.
[9] See Ein positives Ungarn-Bild.

“Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”

2. For further understanding of how the Orwellian re-write of history is taking place, note the relativistic language in the story below, which subtly attributes the [accurate] characterization of the Nazi/fascist character of the SS-aligned OUN/B formations to “Russian” or “Kremlin” propaganda.

“Thousands of Ukraine Nationalists March in Kiev” by Dimitry Zaks [Agence France Presse]; Yahoo News; 1/1/2015.

Thousands of Ukrainian nationalists held a torchlight procession across Kiev on Thursday in honour of a 1940s anti-Soviet insurgent branded by Moscow as a Nazi collaborator whom Europe must reject.

The march on what would have been Stepan Bandera’s 106th birthday moved along the same streets on which hundreds of thousands rallied for three months last winter before ousting a Moscow-backed president.

Some wore World War II-era army uniforms while others draped themselves in the red and black nationalist flags and chanted “Ukraine belongs to Ukrainians” and “Bandera will return and restore order”.

“The Kremlin is afraid of Bandera because he symbolises the very idea of a completely independent Ukraine,” Lidia Ushiy said while holding up a portrait of the far-right icon at the head of the march.

Bandera is a mythical but immensely divisive figure in Ukraine whom some compare to Cuba’s Che Guevara.

His movement’s slogan — “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!” — was also the catchphrase of last year’s pro-European revolt.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in March called that uprising’s leaders “the ideological heirs of Bandera, Hitler’s accomplice during World War II.”

Bandera was the ideological patron of resistance fighters who fought alongside invading German forces during World War II. . . .

14th Waffen SS "Galician Division" troops inspected by Himmler

3. One of the relatively few media people dealing with the substance of the Ukraine is George Eliason. Early last year, he asked a rhetorical question:

“Is the Rebellion in Ukraine Really Aimed at Creating a National Socialist State?” by George Eliason; OpEdNews; 2/26/2014.

The award-winning journalist Max Blumenthal is exactly right to suggest, as he does in his recent AlterNet piece, that the U.S. has ties to Nazi and fascist protesters in Ukraine. The CIA agrees with him, and so did George Bush Sr. The only difference in their appraisal is the use of the term Neo-Nazi , rather than Nazi. It is just too hard for anyone to fathom that large communities of World War II Nazis not only survived, but have thrived and been protected all these years in Lviv (a city and provincial district in western Ukraine), the USA, and Canada.

After World War II, many in the Waffen SS went home to their native Lviv region in the Ukraine. Others immigrated there, including members of three Waffen SS divisions: the Waffen SS Galician, Waffen SS Nightingale, and Waffen SS Roland. These Hitler minions were barely investigated and never tried for crimes against humanity–although a part of their training was to serve as guards in concentration camps like Auschwitz. In that capacity, they were responsible for the deaths of 200,000 Jews, 100,000 Poles, and at least 150,000 Ukrainians.

CIA documents certify what every white paper I have come across states clearly: Each successive generation that derived from the initial post-war Waffen SS settlement in Lviv was brought up to be more committed than the one before to making Ukraine a National Socialist state.

Roles of the UCCA and the UWC

Two important players in the unfolding events in Ukraine are the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC). The UCCA is understood to support the West-leaning rebels in the conflict, and the UWC, organized as an international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora, is believed to support Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.

However, three separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents, released under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, provide all the information needed to understand the true objectives of these non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The only freedom these groups want is a National Socialist Ukraine. . . . .

. . . . Another FOIA-released document goes as far as to say that the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), led by Ukrainian independence leader Slava Stetsko until her death in 2003, was in fact the National Socialist government in exile:

“OUN/B is the originator and a decisive factor in the ABN (Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations), which includes representatives of various non-Russian emigre organizations. In the USA the activities of the ABN are conducted by….”

From the 1930s until today, these groups have been preparing for the revolution that is underway.

A 2007 FOIA-released document entitled “Major Ukrainian Emigre Political Organizations Worldwide ” lists member groups in the UCCA and UWC as OUN-B active organizations at the date of publication. This document makes it very clear that even in the 1970s the Ukrainian National Socialist political machine continued to demonstrate pre-World War II aggressiveness. We learn that:

“At the beginning of the 1970s the Ukrainian political spectrum had many features of the prewar Ukrainian political groupings. The decisive political role was played by three factions of the OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists): OUN/B (Bandera), OUN/M (Melnyk) and OUN/z (za kordonom – abroad).”

The document then goes on to discuss Yaroslav Stetsko, the husband of Slava Stetsko and head of the Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN):

“In August of 1941 Stetsko wrote his autobiography…. He states that although he considers Moscow rather than Jewry to be the main enemy of imprisoned Ukraine, he absolutely endorses the idea of the indubitable harmful role of Jews in the enslavement of Ukraine by Moscow. He finally states that he absolutely endorses the extermination of Jews as opposed to assimilating them, and the rationality of the German methods of extermination.”

Further excerpts from “Major Ukrainian Emigré Political Organizations Worldwide” include the following:

” In Canada, in May 2010 , [Senior Ukrainian opposition leader Oleh] Tyahnybok received the golden cross “for his service to Ukraine’ from the Brotherhood of the Veterans of the First Ukrainian Division of the Ukrainian National Army, veterans of the Waffen SS Galizien….”

Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine : “OUN/B is closely associated with SUM (Association of Ukrainian Youth) and such civic organizations as e.g. 00ChSU in the USA (Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine). Similarly, OUN/M has its adherents among the members of the UNO & Ukrainian National Unity) in Canada. The members and followers of OUN/z are active in the USA in OPVBU (Association for Free Ukraine). OUN/z, as well as 0kVUPA (Association of Former Members of the UPA-Ukrainian Insurgent Army), recognize ZP/UHVR (Foreign Representation of the Supreme Ukrainian liberation Council) as their representative political body.”

OUN/B (Bandera faction) : “After 1991, the OUN faced considerable difficulties re-establishing itself in an independent Ukraine. It split between the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (KUN) in Ukraine and the émigré OUN/B)…. No fewer than four organizations claim to be the heirs to Stepan Bandera–KUN and the émigré OUN/B, the clandestine “Tryzub imeni Bandery (“Trident”), and VO Svoboda, whose ideology was inspired by Stets’ko’s ideology of “two revolutions,” one national and one social.”

Pravy Sektor

Trizub (Trident) is the Nationalist group leading the fighting today. Its leader, Dmitri Yarosh, has been one of the few voices people only wanted to hear in passing until today. He has the only honest voice of the revolution. From the beginning he stated he is here to lead the war.

“The recent events in Ukraine show that the revolutionary way of gaining Freedom, Justice and Wellbeing leaves no alternatives for the Ukrainian people,” Yarosh said. In this situation, indistinct positions of the leaders of the parliamentary opposition parties and their fear to make revolution have forced me to assume responsibility for the revolutionary process and for all related events–in particular, for the events that happened in Ukraine earlier, are happening now, and, what is most important, for those that will shape the future of our State.”

Dmitri Yarosh is quoted as saying that the current government only has the power given to it by the far-right Pravy Sektor group–which rejects the original protesters’ goal of closer links to the European Union and demands instead “national revolution.” Further, Yarosh states that the new government will only be in power as long as he himself decides it will.

How much power does Yarosh actually wield? Ask Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minster whose leadership Pravy Sektor rejects. Ask Arseniy Yatsenyuk , now being considered for the position of Premier in Ukraine’s new government, and the man the West has pinned its hopes for stability on. What does it take to make a World Champion look demure? Ask Vitali Kitschko, the professional boxer who has announced he will run for the presidency of the new government.

Who is running the revolution? Ask Dmitri Yarosh, who in a video stated clearly that Ukraine is only the beginning. Europe is next.

Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), former head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, once advocated three ways of dealing with non-Ukrainians.

“It’s very simple. You deal with them as comrades — and this is for those who fight with you for Ukraine, regardless of their nationality. You deal with them in a tolerant way — for those who live on the land and do not oppose our struggle; thus, we treat them normally, Ukraine has a place for all. The third way of dealing with them is in a hostile way — and this is for those who oppose the Ukrainian people’s national liberation struggle.”

And, as Dmitri Yarosh has said, “This is how it is in any state; any people takes exactly these positions.”

Funding

Today, the same allied forces that fought for the Third Reich in World War II are setting up a Nazi Ukraine. It’s beyond belief. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), and associated organizations are powerful lobbying groups. They have successfully lobbied the U.S. Congress to provide unquestioning support for their view of Ukraine. Their influence may be the result of the success they had in the cold war against the Soviets .

Go to any of their chapter websites. All the associated groups are supporting the so-called “Maidan” opposition movement (named after Kiev’s central square where the protests picked up steam) by donating themselves and by soliciting donations from the public. The people making the donations are probably not aware that the money will fund, among other things, the Trizub (Trident) group led by Dmitri Yarosh.

For any of the leaders of these groups to say they are not supporting and funding National Socialism (Nazism) in Ukraine is a slap in the face of reality.

Ironically, this year marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

4. Over a month ago, Kiev began imple­ment­ing a new strat­egy in the civil war: cut off East Ukraine’s pen­sions and social ser­vices entirely:

“Cash Cut to Ukraine Rebel Areas in Risky Strat­egy” by Peter Leonard and Balint SzlankoAP Big Story; 11/25/2014.

For hours, small crowds in Donetsk hud­dle hope­fully in the cold around cash machines that never get filled, as artillery rum­bles in the distance.

Money is run­ning short in the rebel heart­land since the gov­ern­ment announced this month that it will sus­pend bank­ing ser­vices as it piles on the pres­sure. Almost all ATMs have stopped work­ing and the remain­der are expected to stop oper­at­ing over the next two weeks.

The move is part of Ukraine’s plan to suf­fo­cate its sep­a­ratist foe, now that its costly mil­i­tary cam­paign has foundered. Author­i­ties say they are also with­draw­ing all state ser­vices from rebel areas, although hos­pi­tal and school work­ers in the rebel strong­hold of Donetsk say it has been a while since they last saw fund­ing anyhow.

Yet if the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko hopes to turn peo­ple in east­ern Ukraine against the sep­a­ratist lead­er­ship, evi­dence on the ground sug­gests the strat­egy may only be hard­en­ing their resolve.

“What Poroshenko is say­ing to us is: ‘You are no longer Ukraini­ans. You won’t get pen­sions, you won’t get social pay­ments. When you croak, then we’ll stop this war against you,’” said Donetsk retiree Georgy Sharov. “But I don’t want to go to Ukraine and beg for their mercy.”

The lines have typ­i­cally formed in front of cash machines belong­ing to state sav­ings bank Oshchad­bank, which han­dles pen­sions and social sup­port payments.

“Even they don’t always have money,” said Donetsk res­i­dent Sergei Smo­tovsky, stand­ing out­side a branch of the bank. “The worst thing is that not only can you not get social pay­ments. You can’t even with­draw money that you earned, your salary.”

Even though cash machines don’t work, account-holders wait from early morn­ing until lunchtime in the hope that bank work­ers will top them up, but the doors to the banks often remain firmly shut.

Despite the unremit­ting fight­ing tak­ing place across Donetsk and Luhansk, the two regions affected by the armed sep­a­ratist con­flict, large super­mar­kets are still rea­son­ably stocked.

Sup­plies come from other parts of Ukraine and cus­tomers often use bank cards to pay for shop­ping. Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment is now about to block bank cards, cut­ting off another means of sustenance.

Hard-pressed recip­i­ents of state ben­e­fits have for months turned expec­tantly to the rebel gov­ern­ment for cash. Crowds of pen­sion­ers and sin­gle moth­ers assem­ble daily before the sep­a­ratist head­quar­ters. When any­body in the crowd becomes espe­cially vocal, one of the gun­men guard­ing the build­ing rushes to bun­dle them away, accus­ing them of being “provocateurs.”

The brunt of the rage, how­ever, is still directed at the Ukrain­ian government.

“Ukraine says Donetsk is Ukrain­ian ter­ri­tory, and yet they came here with tanks and weapons instead of pay­ing pen­sions prop­erly,” said Donetsk retiree Ana­toly Visly. “I am a dis­abled vet­eran and I haven’t received my pen­sion for three months.”

Many pen­sion­ers have re-registered in towns out­side rebel zones, mean­ing pay­ments have still accrued to their accounts. The chal­lenge for those peo­ple will now become mak­ing the monthly trip to banks in government-controlled areas, which can be costly and dif­fi­cult, espe­cially for the most infirm.

Prospects for the rebels to set up a wel­fare sys­tem any time soon are bleak.

Anna Kharzhevskaya, an offi­cial with the rebel social affairs and labor min­istry, said sep­a­ratist author­i­ties have only a crude notion of how many peo­ple are eli­gi­ble for social payments.

Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment has been block­ing access to state records and is try­ing to spirit away hard copies of data­bases still in rebel-held areas, Kharzhevskaya said.

Sep­a­ratist author­i­ties say mili­ti­a­men are under instruc­tions to stop any unsanc­tioned removals of gov­ern­ment records by Ukrain­ian authorities.

With­out a prop­erly func­tion­ing tax sys­tem in place, there is no imme­di­ately obvi­ous and trans­par­ent way for money to be raised. As a result, Kharzhevskaya said she could not esti­mate when her depart­ment would begin pay­ing reg­u­lar pensions.

5. Note that, accord­ing to the arti­cle below, the cut off pen­sioner accounts are report­edly still accru­ing value. Pen­sion­ers just won’t be able to access those accounts unless they can leave the rebel-controlled regions or the war ends.

“Retirees Starve in Rebel-Held East­ern Ukraine” by Tatyana Gory­a­chova and Hal Fos­ter; USA Today; 12/25/2014.

Retirees in Donetsk, the largest city in east­ern Ukraine held by pro-Russian sep­a­ratists, are dying of hunger because their pen­sions have been cut off by the national gov­ern­ment, rebel offi­cials and res­i­dents say.

Though Ukraine has not pub­licly dis­cussed star­va­tion deaths, it acknowl­edges there is a human­i­tar­ian cri­sis in the east­ern region because of the con­flict and blames the sep­a­ratists and Rus­sia for sup­port­ing the rebels.

The gov­ern­ment cut off pen­sions this month to peo­ple in all areas of east­ern Ukraine con­trolled by sep­a­ratists to under­cut sup­port for pro-Russian rebels.

The num­ber of star­va­tion deaths in Donetsk is hard to pin down, largely because the con­flict between Ukraine and sep­a­ratist forces has crip­pled gov­ern­ment func­tions in the east, includ­ing med­ical and coro­ners’ offices that record causes of deaths.

The siege of the city that began in August has led to 40% of the city’s 1 mil­lion peo­ple fleeing.

Dmitry Pono­marenko, pas­tor of the City of Light Protes­tant church, said he believes the star­va­tion toll is in the hun­dreds, per­haps thou­sands. His assess­ment is based largely on accounts from parish­ioners and 300 seniors who come to his church daily for a free meal. In one month, they reported more than 100 star­va­tion deaths of pen­sion­ers in Donetsk, he said.

The Ukrain­ian Inde­pen­dent Infor­ma­tion Agency, cit­ing aid work­ers, reported that 22 seniors in Donetsk, mostly sin­gle men, died of hunger in September.

The aver­age Ukrain­ian pen­sion is mea­ger — $107 a month — but it can be the dif­fer­ence between life and death for many.

A num­ber of aid groups are fight­ing hunger in Donetsk and other cities in the war zone, includ­ing the United Nations Food Pro­gram and the char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion of Rinat Akhme­tov, Ukraine’s rich­est man, who fled to Kiev when sep­a­ratists threat­ened to kill him. These efforts are spo­radic and lim­ited to a few thou­sand peo­ple at a time. They don’t come any­where near replac­ing the pensions.

The sep­a­ratists and Rus­sia have decried the pen­sion cut­off as inhu­mane. Kiev says rebels and crim­i­nals have taken much of the money it sends to the east­ern region.

The cut­off, announced Nov. 5, means pay­ments will no longer “be stolen by pro-Russian ban­dits,” Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk said.

Donetsk’s mayor in exile, Alexan­der Lukyanchenko, who fled to Kiev in August after receiv­ing sep­a­ratist death threats, has crit­i­cized the gov­ern­ment for the cutoff.

The only way for res­i­dents of neigh­bor­ing Donetsk and Luhansk provinces to get their pen­sions back is to go to a city out­side the war zone to re-register for ben­e­fits. Many retirees lack the health or money to travel so far from their homes, Lukyanchenko said.

Yat­senyuk, the prime min­is­ter, said the pen­sions the gov­ern­ment with­holds are accru­ing for the ben­e­fi­cia­ries and will be paid once the east­ern region is free of sep­a­ratist control.

Pono­marenko, the pas­tor, and oth­ers who help the retirees fear a lot more will suc­cumb to starvation.

“We have only enough money to help a few pen­sion­ers who are able to walk to our church each day,” he said, adding that’s a small frac­tion of the retirees going hungry.

Emblem of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion whose commanders occupy key positions in that country's government

6. “Attempt­ing to cre­ate unbear­able con­di­tions of life is a whole new ball­game… using star­va­tion of civil­ians as a method of war­fare is a war crime”:

“More than 1 Mil­lion Flee, Ukraine Close to ‘Human­i­tar­ian Catastrophe’ ” by Kieran Guilbert; Reuters; 1/8/2015.

More than one mil­lion peo­ple have been dri­ven from their homes by the con­flict in Ukraine, ham­per­ing aid efforts and leav­ing the coun­try on the verge of a human­i­tar­ian cat­a­stro­phe, aid agen­cies said on Thursday.

The num­ber of peo­ple uprooted within Ukraine, 610,000, and of refugees who have fled to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, 594,000, has more than tripled since August, fig­ures from the United Nations Office for the Coor­di­na­tion of Human­i­tar­ian Affairs (OCHA) show.

The U.N. said an esti­mated 5.2 mil­lion peo­ple in Ukraine were liv­ing in con­flict zones, of whom 1.4 mil­lion were highly vul­ner­a­ble and in need of assis­tance as they face finan­cial prob­lems, a lack of ser­vices and aid, and harsh win­ter conditions.

The con­flict between Ukraine and pro-Russia sep­a­ratists, killed more than 4,700 peo­ple last year and pro­voked the worst cri­sis in rela­tions between Rus­sia and the West since the Cold War.

Denis Krivosheev, deputy direc­tor of Europe and Cen­tral Asia at Amnesty Inter­na­tional, said res­i­dents in separatist-controlled Luhansk and Donetsk could barely afford food and med­i­cines, espe­cially vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple such as pensioners.

“While it may be too early to call this a human­i­tar­ian cat­a­stro­phe, it’s clearly pro­gress­ing in that direc­tion,” Krivosheev told the Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion by email.

The pro­vi­sion of human­i­tar­ian aid was being ham­pered by pro-Kiev vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions that were increas­ingly pre­vent­ing food and med­i­cine from reach­ing those in need in east­ern Ukraine, he said.

“Attempt­ing to cre­ate unbear­able con­di­tions of life is a whole new ball­game… using star­va­tion of civil­ians as a method of war­fare is a war crime.”

The bat­tal­ions often act like “rene­gade gangs” and urgently need to be brought under con­trol, Krivosheev added.

Social ben­e­fits, includ­ing pen­sions, have also become a major con­cern for those in east­ern Ukraine fol­low­ing Kiev’s deci­sion to trans­fer the pay­ments to government-controlled areas, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said those unable to leave their homes, such as the elderly and the sick, and peo­ple liv­ing in insti­tu­tions were not receiv­ing the help they needed.

7. A courageously accurate op-ed piece was penned by Chris Martenson for Market Watch.

“OPINION: Perhaps You Missed It: We’re at War with Russia” by Chris Martenson; MarketWatch; 1/20/2015. 

The U.S. has been waging economic, financial, trade, and political war against Russia and even kinetic war-by-proxy in Ukraine. Worryingly, nobody in power in the U.S. or Europe really seems willing to tell us exactly why.

From the Russian point of view, everything from their plunging ruble to bitter sanctions to the falling price of oil are the fault of the U.S., either directly or indirectly. Whether that is fair or not is irrelevant; that’s the view of the Russians right now. So no surprise, it doesn’t dispose them towards goodwill negotiations with the West generally, and the U.S. specifically.

Recently the anti-Russian stance in the U.S. press has quieted down, presumably because the political leadership has moved its attention on to other things, and that means Russia is largely out of the U.S. news cycle. However, there’s plenty of serious action going on in Russia and Ukraine, as well as related activity in the U.S. that deserves our careful attention.

The U.S. (via John Kerry) and NATO have steadily accused Russia of having funneled hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers and other heavy equipment to the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

These assertions bring to mind the Sherlock Holmes case of the dog that did not bark where the absence of a piece of evidence leads us to a very different conclusion than the one the U.S. political establishment would like us to believe.

The sorts of weaponry that NATO and the U.S. have charged Russia with providing are virtually impossible to conceal from the air. Snapping high-resolution photos of such war machinery is child’s play for today’s military satellites, and even civilian ones too. If the assertions were true, we should have seen a flood of photographs of Russian heavy equipment every step of the way as it passed into Ukraine.

But none have been offered, not even one so far. And the simplest explanation for this is that none exist. If they did, you can be 100% certain they’d have been released and replayed over and over again on CNN until everybody and their uncle could distinguish a T-72 tank outline from that of a T-64.

What concerns me even more than these undocumented charges are two especially ill-conceived, if not overtly confrontational, pieces of legislation passed by the Congress in December.

The first is H.Res 758 passed on Dec. 4, which, among other charges, accused Russia of having invaded Ukraine again without providing or referring to any sort of evidence photographic or otherwise. Entitled “Strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination” the resolution is packed with a variety of one-sided assertions and leaves no diplomatic wiggle room for the possibility that Russia has a different view of what has transpired in Ukraine. . . .

. . . . The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, or S.2828, was passed by the Senate on Dec. 11. This goes even further than merely condemning Russia and authorizes the distribution of both lethal and non-lethal military aid to Kiev, including sniper and assault rifles, mortars and shells, stinger missiles, anti-tank missiles, night vision goggles, radar systems and a host of other hardware items.

If the tables were turned, and it were the Russian lawmakers passing a resolution condemning the U.S. for a variety of international crimes for which exactly zero proof was offered, and then were actively arming a dangerous conflict right on the U.S. border, I think we all know just how ablaze with indignity the U.S. political leadership would be. And rightly so.

So is it any surprise that Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in response, “Both houses of the U.S. Congress have approved the Ukraine Freedom Support Act bypassing debates and proper voting. The overtly confrontational message of the new law cannot but evoke profound regret. Once again Washington is leveling baseless sweeping accusations against Russia and threatening more sanctions.”

The really bizarre part of this story is that I cannot yet find any credible analysis or commentary explaining exactly what the U.S.’s interests are in Ukraine that are so compelling as to risk increasing confrontation with Russia. And it bothers a great many analysts that the U.S. is on an increasingly combative course with yet another country without providing any evidence in support of its accusations and actions. Again.

In response, Russia is rapidly withdrawing from additional dialog with the U.S. and Europe, while drawing ever closer to China, Turkey and India. Russians feel that they are already under siege from the U.S., and that acts of war have already been committed.

Despite being almost completely out of the U.S. news cycle, events are in and around the Ukraine situation are actually picking up pace. On Jan. 15, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree mobilizing 50,000 new servicemen to the front lines, and Russia just announced that Europe will have to accept gas via Turkey as the Ukraine route is being shut down.

This situation remains much more fluid and nuanced than we’re being told by the Western media, with much more to this story than a short column allows. Those interested in delving deeper can read our latest report here.

But in short, the situation is getting more strained, not less, and it has the very real chance of blossoming into something far larger and more deadly than the sparse coverage in the Western press might imply.

If it looks like a war, acts like a war and smells like a war, it may just be a war. Everyone should be very concerned by these events, but especially European readers.

8a. In keep­ing with Kiev’s new trend of hir­ing for­eign­ers for high-level gov­ern­ment posi­tions, it looks like the head of Ukraine’s new anti-corruption bureau might not be Ukrain­ian:

“For­eigner May Head Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau”; Zik.ua; 1/11/2015.

Address­ing a 9-member com­mit­tee which is to appoint 3 can­di­dates to head the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Pres Poroshenko said the ACB is to oper­ate inde­pen­dently and openly, his Jan. 10 press ser­vice report runs.

Cor­rup­tion is Ukraine’s major enemy today, the incum­bent stressed.

There are anti-corruption struc­tures in the exec­u­tive and police, he stressed, but their work is not effec­tive since they are infested with cor­rup­tion, Poroshenko said.

The ACB is to become an effec­tive and trans­par­ent orga­ni­za­tion. Only this will help it to gain the con­fi­dence of Ukraini­ans, he said.

The fight should be started with graft, with ACB bring­ing to account­abil­ity high-level offi­cials, and then pro­ceed to low-level cor­rup­tion, he stressed.

The key fig­ure in the ACB is its direc­tor. He did not exclude the pos­si­bil­ity for a for­eigner to occupy this position.

8b. This prob­a­bly shouldn’t be a sur­prise given the other for­eign­ers that have already been given cab­i­net posi­tions. That, and the fact that the three-member   panel for select­ing the new head of the anti-corruption bureau includes the Ital­ian head of the EU’s anti-corruption agency:

“Coali­tion Pro­poses Ital­ian Anti-Corruption Fighter for Selec­tion Com­mis­sion of ACB Head”; Zik.au; 12/22/2014.

All the coali­tion fac­tions sup­port Ital­ian Jovanni Kesler, the direc­tor of Euro­pean anti-corruption bureau, for mem­ber­ship of a 0-member com­mis­sion that will choose 3 can­di­dates for Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau head, Oleh Lyashko wrote in Face­book Dec. 22.

Verk­hovna Rada has to nom­i­nate 3 mem­bers of the commission.

Of the three nom­i­nated can­di­date Pres Poroshenko will choose the ACB head.

The cab­i­net and pres­i­dent have already nom­i­nated their 6 mem­bers.

Accord­ing to the media and NGOs, the 6 are Ukrain­ian par­tiots with impec­ca­ble pub­lic record.

9. As we peruse the “journalism” pertaining to Ukraine, it is important to bear in mind that NATO is organizing a propaganda campaign to sanitize the deliberate, pre-conceived re-institution of the OUN fascists in Ukraine. We wonder how extreme this is likely to become? Will active retaliation be implemented against journalists who dare to tell the truth?

“NATO Seeks Weapons to Counter Russia’s Information War” by Sam Jones; Financial Times; 12/7/2014.

A casual consumer of Russian media might conclude the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, one of the strongholds of the country’s pro-EU uprising, has been overrun by violent fascists.

So a video recently uploaded to YouTube will prove disappointing. Called “Where are all the fascists in Lviv?”, it features a correspondent walking the city’s peaceful streets, interviewing slightly bemused — decidedly un-militant — shoppers.

The online video was produced and published by Nato. It is a modest new weapon the alliance is deploying as it seeks to fight back against a Kremlin information campaign that is posing a new worry for western policy makers alongside Russian bombs and espionage.

“Russia is weaponizing information in this crisis,” says James Appathurai, the alliance’s deputy assistant secretary general for political affairs. “They are reaching deep into our own electorates to affect politics.”

National intelligence agencies in the alliance point to what they say is alarming anti-Nato and anti-European rhetoric in the Russian media. The Kremlin has been particularly masterful, they believe, at using a web of disinformation to generate doubt internationally over its huge military support for separatists in Ukraine.

The fear among Nato officials and western policy makers is that the Russian campaign could fatally fracture an already fragile European consensus to maintain tough economic sanctions against Moscow for its behaviour in Ukraine.

In Germany, for example, Chancellor Angela Merkel is contending with a sizable faction sympathetic to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, whether for business or historical reasons. Other EU members also appear vulnerable to the Kremlin efforts to sow discord, particularly the impoverished former Soviet countries in southeast Europe.

“Information warfare is the spearhead of almost everything Russia is doing,” says Jonathan Eyal, international director at the Royal United Services Institute.

Nato planners accept that Mr Putin “is not mad”, says Mr Eyal, and therefore unlikely to rush headlong into an armed conflict by, for example, sending tanks into the Baltics. “We are talking about dealing with a long-term propaganda campaign instead.”

High-level delegations from across Europe have begun meeting at Nato’s headquarters in Brussels and in national capitals to discuss the challenge. The Lviv video — what Russian agitprop practitioners would call pokazukha, or a propagandistic publicity stunt — is one of the fruits of those meetings.

It has garnered 40,000 views so far. Most normal Nato video uploads manage fewer than 2,000. Nato insiders say more such material should be expected in the future.

There is even talk of reviving cold war ghosts, such as the UK Foreign Office’s Information Research Department, a secretive operation to feed news of Soviet misdeeds to sympathetic journalists. It was shut in 1977.

But even national governments once well-versed in Kremlinology are still somewhat bewildered by the threat.

The recent expansion into Britain of Moscow’s international news channel RT, or Russia Today, has prompted a series of national security discussions at some of the highest levels in the British government, say officials. Yet policy makers are at a loss when it comes of proposals to deal with the threat they perceive, particularly when no laws have been broken.

“Our response to propaganda can’t be more propaganda,” says Oana Lungescu, Nato’s official spokesperson.

In the meantime, the alliance is seeking to try to redress a Russian effort that Ms Lungescu says is intended “to confuse, divert and divide”.

The alliance has also put together a new “web portal” called “setting the record straight”. It is available in Russian, Ukrainian, English and French and fleshed out with dozens of documents, statements, videos and images. One section lists 25 “myths” about the alliance coupled with “factual” rebuttals.

Another “timeline” of events compiles links to every single Nato pronouncement, press conference, speech or official Q&A relating to Ukraine and Russia since February.

Perhaps most significantly, the alliance has begun to co-ordinate “messaging” among its members, a senior official said. Shared lines are now being sent out to strategic communications teams working in the foreign ministries of members for use. Shortly before the Nato summit in Wales this September, the alliance also opened a new “centre of excellence” for strategic communications in Riga, Latvia, which is intended to serve as a clearinghouse for anti-propaganda ideas and research.

While Nato has joined the information war, many in the alliance acknowledge its efforts are still in their infancy, particularly when set against a vast Russian campaign.

“[We have] come a long way in responding . . . but clearly it is not enough,” Mr Appathurai says. “There are 20 or so people in Nato’s public diplomacy team who are at work trying to counter an organised, multi-faceted, well-funded Russian operation that is going on across the world.”

 

Discussion

9 comments for “FTR #832 Walkin’ the Snake in Ukraine, Part 5: “We All Remember Well the Soviet Invasion of Ukraine and Germany””

  1. The US plans announced last year to provide military training for Kiev’s national guard units (which includes the neo-Nazi volunteer battalions) are set to begin this spring:

    Defense News
    US Trainers To Deploy To Ukraine
    By Paul McLeary 12:17 p.m. EST January 22, 2015
    Also Will Begin Shipment of US-funded Armored Vehicles

    WASHINGTON — American soldiers will deploy to Ukraine this spring to begin training four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard, the head of US Army Europe Lt. Gen Ben Hodges said during his first visit to Kiev on Wednesday.

    The number of troops heading to the Yavoriv Training Area near the city of L’viv — which is about 40 miles from the Polish border — is still being determined, however.

    The American training effort comes as part of a US State Department initiative “to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman told Defense News.

    The training was requested by the Ukrainian government “as they work to reform their police forces and establish their newly formed National Guard,” Hillman added. Funding for the initiative is coming from the congressionally-authorized Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF), which was requested by the Obama administration in the fiscal 2015 budget to help train and equip the armed forces of allies around the globe.

    The training mission has been the subject of plenty of discussion among US policy makers for months, and the United States has already earmarked $19 million to help build the Ukrainian National Guard.

    “We’re very open to the idea that this becomes a first step in further training for the Ukrainian military,” Derek Chollet, former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told Defense News just before he left the Pentagon on Jan. 17.

    He was quick to add that he doesn’t anticipate that this training mission “will require significant US presence.”

    The mission comes at a time of increasing concern among Eastern European countries that Russian aggression in the region will increase, and as fighting around the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk between government forces and Russian-backed separatist rebels rages on.

    Speaking at the Davos conference on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of sending 9,000 troops into the eastern part of his country to back the rebels, a contention that NATO officials have backed up, but without providing their own estimates for the number of Russian forces in country.

    Chollet said Russian military incursions into the Crimea and eastern Ukraine have refocused American attention on the region after a decade of fighting two wars in the Middle East.

    “A year ago we were worried about the future of the trans-Atlantic relationship, how would it be relevant to people,” he said. “And of course, the events of the last year with Russia and Ukraine has focused people again on threats to European security and the unfinished business, really, still coming out of the end of the Cold War.”

    One of the biggest challenges for US policy makers is trying to discern “where could this lead and how does this make us think anew about European security issues and force posture issues or defense spending issues?” he added.

    In addition to US trainers, Washington is beginning to provide heavier military equipment to the government in Kiev. On Monday, the United States delivered the first prototype of an armored “Kozak” vehicle for use with the Ukrainian border guard, according to the US Embassy there.

    A posting on a US government contracting site put the cost of the vehicle at $189,000.

    The vehicle is built on a chassis manufactured by Italian company Iveco and features a V-shaped armored hull to help protect against mines and roadside bombs. The embassy said that to date, “the United States has delivered dozens of armored pickup trucks and vans to the Ukrainian Border Guard Service. The Kozak is larger and offers a higher level of protection.”

    “One of the biggest challenges for US policy makers is trying to discern “where could this lead and how does this make us think anew about European security issues and force posture issues or defense spending issues?”

    Those are indeed good questions to be asking. The answers might not be as good.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 27, 2015, 10:08 am
  2. Linked on Drudge Report, widely seen. Serpents walk revisionist history from the New York Times?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/sunday-review/surviving-the-nazis-only-to-be-jailed-by-america.html?_r=1

    “Surviving the Nazis, Only to Be Jailed by America”
    “Largely lost to history, however, is the cruel reality of what “liberation” actually meant for hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors discovered barely alive in the Nazi camps.”

    Posted by GK | February 8, 2015, 1:46 pm
  3. Imagine that:

    BuzzFeed
    Here’s The Ukrainian Delegation That Gave Misleading Photos To Senator’s Office

    An obscure group duped Senator Inhofe’s office. The delegation’s U.S. leader says it was a “misunderstanding.”
    Originally posted on Feb. 12, 2015, at 5:51 p.m. Updated on Feb. 13, 2015, at 10:50 a.m.

    Rosie Gray
    BuzzFeed News Reporter

    WASHINGTON — A delegation consisting of Ukrainian members of parliament, a paramilitary leader, and one Georgetown professor gave a senator’s office photos purportedly of the Russian military invading Ukraine that were later debunked.

    Several photos allegedly showing the Russian military in eastern Ukraine that ran on the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday were quickly shown to actually be photos from other conflicts, some from years earlier. A spokesperson for Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Free Beacon that the office had procured the photos from a “Ukrainian delegation” in December.

    Inhofe’s office provided BuzzFeed News the list of names of the people who provided the misleading photos:
    [see list]

    None of the Ukrainians on the list are particularly well-known to Westerners and the list does not include high-level government officials.

    A spokesperson for Inhofe said that the delegation had provided the images in print form when Inhofe was the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and that Karber, who led the delegation, had recently said that the photos were authentic when staff reached out to him.

    “Prior to using these photos this week, staff reached out to the Georgetown professor who said he could confirm that these photos were taken between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5 in Eastern Ukraine,” Inhofe spokesperson Donelle Harder said. “We scanned them in to provide to the Free Beacon. Since they were in print form and we had other sources confirm that these photos match the scenario on the ground, we failed to Google image search them.” Harder said that the office had learned that one of the photos is an AP photo from the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, and the office was able to find two others online here and here..

    “The Ukrainian parliament members who gave us these photos in print form as if it came directly from a camera really did themselves a disservice,” Inhofe said in a statement. “We felt confident to release these photos because the images match the reporting of what is going on in the region. I was furious to learn one of the photos provided now appears to be falsified from an AP photo taken in 2008. This doesn’t change the fact that there is plenty of evidence Russia has made advances into the country with T-72 tanks and that pro-Russian separatists have been killing Ukrainians in cold blood.”

    Karber, who co-wrote a paper last year with former General Wesley Clark urging the U.S. to provide more nonlethal military aid to the Ukrainians, said in an email to BuzzFeed News that there had been “basically a misunderstanding compounded by miscommunication.”

    Karber described bringing Semenchenko, Bereza and Teteruk to meet with members of the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence Committees in November. He said that Bereza brought “several packets” of 3×5 photographs; one packet, Karber said, included photos taken by Bereza’s men of casualties, and a second included photos that Bereza’s men could not have taken of Russian arms.

    Karber said that some of the Senate staffers asked to keep some of the photos. He said that on Wednesday while packing to go to Ukraine, he received an email from Inhofe’s office asking for the time when the photos were taken. He sent the following email to Bereza’s staff, he said:
    “The Senate Armed Services Committee and Senator Inhof [sic] want to use some of the photos that Yuri showed to Congress — the ones showing badly burned troops, etc. BUT they need to know when they were taken; and they need that INFO today! I told them that I believe that the photos were taken during the summer Russian “backstab” invasion between 24 Aug and 5 Sept when Bereza and his men were surrounded at Iliovsk battle. If that’s the case just give me a confirmation. If NOT, try to give me a range of dates.” A staffer for Bereza confirmed those dates with Karber, who relayed the message to Inhofe’s staff.

    “In terms of yesterday, from my perspective there was no intention to mislead anyone, and particularly a US Senator or his staff,” Karber said. “In the haste of running for the airport and trying to respond to a last minute request with short time fuse, I made the mistake of believing we were talking about the same photos — i.e. burned casualties (which were 6 of the nine used) and it never occurred to me that the 3 photos of Russian armor were part of that package or being considered. Had I seen them, I know I would have raised immediate objection to the use of at least one and insisted that none of the armor photos be used until Bereza himself confirmed each and every one by looking at the photos personally. That is hindsight, but it does not excuse what happened or rectify the embarrassment it has caused.”

    Note that one of the members of the list, Anatolli Pinchuk, is listed as “president of the UPA”. Is that a reference to the UPA? Because, if so, that adds and extra level of ‘yikes‘ to the whole situation.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 14, 2015, 5:45 pm
  4. Austerity giveth and taketh away, although it really only giveth bad excuses for the inexcusable:

    BBC
    Ukraine: UK and EU ‘badly misread’ Russia
    20 February 2015 Last updated at 11:36 ET

    The UK and the EU have been accused of a “catastrophic misreading” of the mood in the Kremlin in the run-up to the crisis in Ukraine.

    The House of Lords EU committee claimed Europe “sleepwalked” into the crisis.

    The EU had not realised the depth of Russian hostility to its plans for closer relations with Ukraine, it said.

    It comes as French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about the crisis at a joint news conference in Paris.

    Prime Minister David Cameron said blame for what had happened in Ukraine “lies absolutely squarely with Vladimir Putin and Russia”.

    Ill-equipped

    The committee’s report said Britain had not been “active or visible enough” in dealing with the situation in Ukraine.

    It blamed Foreign Office cuts, which it said led to fewer Russian experts working there, and less emphasis on analysis.

    A similar decline in EU foreign ministries had left them ill-equipped to formulate an “authoritative response” to the crisis, it said.

    The report claimed that for too long the EU’s relationship with Moscow had been based on the “optimistic premise” that Russia was on a trajectory to becoming a democratic country.

    The result, it said, was a failure to appreciate the depth of Russian hostility when the EU opened talks aimed at establishing an “association agreement” with Ukraine in 2013.

    Mr Cameron rejected claims Britain “sleepwalked” into the crisis in Ukraine.

    He said: “What we need to do now is deliver the strongest possible message to Putin and to Russia that what has happened is unacceptable.

    “These ceasefires need to hold and if they don’t, there’ll be more consequences, more sanctions, more measures.”

    The report also follows comments from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a “real and present danger” to three Baltic states.

    He was speaking after RAF jets were scrambled to escort two Russian military aircraft seen off the Cornwall coast on Wednesday.

    Elsewhere, shelling was reported in several parts of eastern Ukraine on Thursday, including around the rebel-held city of Donetsk.

    The Ukraine crisis began in November 2013 when pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych’s government abandoned the EU agreement in favour of stronger ties with Russia – prompting mass protests that eventually led to his downfall.

    Subsequent unrest in Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea led to its annexation by Russia – which is accused by the West of stoking further conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces in the east of the country.

    ‘Unjustifiable and illegal’

    Committee chairman Lord Tugendhat said: “The lack of robust analytical capacity, in both the UK and the EU, effectively led to a catastrophic misreading of the mood in the run-up to the crisis.”

    The UK had a particular responsibility to Ukraine because it was one of four signatories to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum which pledged to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the committee said.

    Neither Britain nor the EU had a strategic response on how to handle Russia for the long term, it added.

    A Foreign Office spokeswoman said no-one could have predicted the scale of the “unjustifiable and illegal” Russian intervention and it was for the people of Ukraine to decide on its relationship with the EU.

    Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said it was “vital” the EU had a “united approach” and that the UK government helped to find a “diplomatic resolution” to the conflict.

    Sir Andrew Wood, former British ambassador to Russia, agreed with the report’s assessment, calling the situation a “dangerous moment” because Russia’s frustrations could overspill into other areas, with increasing pressure on Baltic states.

    During a speech in London, Nato’s military chief in Europe, Gen Sir Adrian Bradshaw, referred to plans to build Nato force integration units in eastern Europe to respond to potential new threats against Nato states in eastern Europe.

    He said they would “send a strong signal”, and help support eastern members in an era of “constant competition” with Russia.

    Nato’s information and warning system will focus on a “range of hybrid threats” including cyber attacks and political agitation, he said.

    As we can see, part of the fun about this “we never saw it coming” claim is now
    officials can feel free to overestimate their predictions of Russia’s responses to ongoing tensions. For instance:


    Sir Andrew Wood, former British ambassador to Russia, agreed with the report’s assessment, calling the situation a “dangerous moment” because Russia’s frustrations could overspill into other areas, with increasing pressure on Baltic states.

    During a speech in London, Nato’s military chief in Europe, Gen Sir Adrian Bradshaw, referred to plans to build Nato force integration units in eastern Europe to respond to potential new threats against Nato states in eastern Europe.

    He said they would “send a strong signal”, and help support eastern members in an era of “constant competition” with Russia.

    Behold, A new era has arrived! An era of “constant competition” with Russia’s military.

    Of course, there’s the question of whether or not this new assessment of Russia’s Baltic ambitions are part of another austerity-induced hallucination. Regardless, an era of “constant competition” for military superiority isn’t going to be cheap so at least we have a better idea of how Europe will probably decide to end the austerity madness: With more MADness, of course.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 20, 2015, 10:45 am
  5. Warlords for freedom! Huzzah!

    Actually, maybe that’s not such a good idea:

    Vox.com
    Pro-Kiev militias are fighting Putin, but has Ukraine created a monster it can’t control?

    Updated by Amanda Taub on February 20, 2015, 10:10 a.m. ET

    The eastern Ukraine conflict is typically seen as a war between the Ukrainian military, on one side, and Russian-backed rebels, fighting alongside unacknowledged Russian forces, on the other. But there is another faction fighting as well, one that has gone largely overlooked: the dozens of private “volunteer” militias that share Ukraine’s goal of crushing the separatists, but that aren’t necessarily operating under its control. These groups have proved useful to the Ukrainian government’s war effort, but they pose a serious threat to the long-term stability of Ukraine.

    By many estimates, there are approximately 30 of these private armies fighting on the Ukrainian side. Their fighters are accused of serious human rights violations, including kidnappings, torture, and extrajudicial executions.

    The longer these groups continue to operate, the greater the chances that their leaders will exploit their power for personal or political gain, and cement their own power to operate without constraint from the central government. That undermines the power of Ukraine’s government, risks chaos in a part of the country that has already suffered too much, and raises the possibility that even if separatist forces are defeated, eastern Ukraine might be left as an ungoverned collection of warlord-dominated fiefdoms.

    Volunteer militias are fighting on the front lines — and growing in power

    There are estimated to be about 30 volunteer, pro-Ukraine militia groups operating in eastern Ukraine. And while they collectively field thousands of fighters, their exact numbers are uncertain. Some, like the right-wing Azov Battalion, grew out of pre-existing groups that militarized when the conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Others, such as the oligarch-funded Dnipro Battalion, were created more recently.

    The militias are allies of Ukraine’s central government, and most coordinate with it, but they are not under its full control. The Azov Battalion, for instance, answers to the Ministry of the Interior, and receives considerable government support. By contrast, the unaffiliated Right Sector operates independently, and has refused to even register with the government.

    As the conflict has gone on, these groups have proliferated and grown more powerful, making them useful in Ukraine’s war effort, but also more of a long-term threat to the country and its government. Although most of the groups nominally report to either the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Defense, that can break down on the battlefield. Steven Pifer of the Brookings Institution told me he found that military commanders on the front line cannot rely on the militias to follow orders. That is a worrying sign that the government does not have full control over the volunteer militias now, and that they could grow more independent in the future.


    The eastern Ukraine conflict made these groups of thugs more powerful
    The nature of the eastern Ukraine conflict has given those thugs a battlefield — and turned them into better-organized, better-armed, and better-funded militias that are far more dangerous to Ukraine’s future.

    The militias have also gained more power because the Ukrainian government, led by new President Petro Poroshenko, brought them friends in high places. For instance, Arsen Avakov, Poroshenko’s Minister of Internal Affairs, was previously the leader of former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko’s political bloc in eastern Ukraine. He has a longstanding alliance with members of the Azov Battalion, a far-right organization whose members have a history of promoting anti-Semitism and neo-Nazi views. Avakov has has used his position to support the group, going so far as to appoint Vadim Troyan, an Azov deputy leader, as the chief of police for the whole Kiev region. And Azov’s leader, Andriy Biletsky, is now a member of parliament as well.

    Igor Kolomoisky, an oligarch who is now the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region of eastern Ukraine, funded the Dnipro Battalion, a private army that, according to the Wall Street Journal, has 2,000 battle-ready fighters and another 20,000 in reserve. Newsweek reported that he also publicly backs the Aidar battalion and has funded other militia groups as well, including the Azov, Donbas, Dnepr-1 and Dnepr-2 battalions.

    The militias pose a serious threat to Ukraine’s future

    At some point, the Ukrainian government needs to be able to govern Ukraine. It can’t do that if parts of the country are dominated by militias that don’t obey any official authority.

    The fact that powerful oligarchs are supporting some of the militias — and that Ukraine’s oligarchs have a long history of resisting the state — raises the worrying possibility that these wealthy Ukrainians could use the militias to protect their interests from state interference.

    Simply by existing, those private armies could be “creating enough of an implicit threat that the government can’t move against, say, corrupt schemes,” Karatnycky warned.

    These groups pose a serious threat to Ukrainian civilians as well. In December 2014, pro-Kiev militias blocked humanitarian aid from reaching rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine. Amnesty International researcher Denis Krivosheev said in a statement that the militias were starving civilians as a weapon of warfare, calling the tactic a war crime.

    Another militia, the Aydar Battalion, has kidnapped and tortured civilians in eastern Ukraine. On dozens of occasions, militia members abducted civilians, tortured and interrogated them, and stole their money and valuables before either releasing them or handing them over to the Security Service, Amnesty International reported in 2014. The battalion was also reportedly running a secret detention center in the city of Severodonetsk, in which “detainees were forced to recite the Ukrainian national anthem and beaten if they failed.”

    Local police told Amnesty International that they had registered more than 38 criminal cases against Aydar members, but that they lacked the power to take any further action against the group — a worrying sign of the militias’ power.

    As time goes on, the things that made the militias useful for Ukraine will also make them dangerous. Their strength and autonomy in eastern Ukraine, particularly compared to the relatively weak government, could potentially give them tremendous power there. These are the conditions for warlordism — for militias turning their pieces of territory into little fiefdoms that they or their wealthy patrons would be free to govern, or exploit, as they wished.

    Inevitably, Ukraine’s government will have to take on the militias — which could spark a new conflict

    The experts I spoke to agreed that the militias represent a threat to the long-term stability of Ukraine, and ought to be dissolved and incorporated into the regular security forces. But it’s not clear whether Poroshenko’s government sees that as a priority — or whether the government is equipped to take them on at all.

    Karatnycky, of the Atlantic Council, said the militias had served an important purpose but that it was time for Ukraine to move to a purely professional military. Pifer agreed, saying that the militias are a threat to Ukrainian democracy, and that any increase in US military assistance to Ukraine — which he supports — should be tied to a commitment to dissolve the volunteer battalions.

    However, it is not clear whether Poroshenko views that as a priority. Pifer said that he is certain that Poroshenko would agree, if pressed, that professionalizing the fighting forces is a good idea — but that it’s not clear where that falls on the Ukrainian president’s list of priorities. Poroshenko may be too focused on winning the conflict now, or on implementing other types of reforms, to take this potentially difficult step for long-term stability.

    And it’s not clear that he has the political capital to do so anyway. Avakov, his interior minister, backs the Azov Battalion, so would be unlikely to support any policy that would undermine it. And Avakov is a key supporter of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who would likely need to be on board with any major change in policy on the militias.

    It is likewise unclear whether oligarchs like Kolomoisky would be willing to give up their ties to militias and the power that they bring — and how they might respond if the Ukrainian government moved to disperse the groups.

    The militias themselves might not go quietly either. In early February, when Poroshenko was rumored to be considering disbanding the Aydar battalion, the group marched on Kiev. Its fighters blocked access to the ministry of defense and burned tires outside its gates until Poroshenko backed down. In September 2014, The Guardian’s Shaun Walker embedded with the Azov Battalion in Mariupol, and found “almost all to be intent on ‘bringing the fight to Kiev’ when the war in the east is over.”

    If they get their wish, it could be yet another disaster for a country that recently seems to have had little else.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 26, 2015, 8:41 pm
  6. Just FYI, we’re about halfway through what Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff dubbed “Baltic Neo-Nazi/Ultranationalist March Month”: Four parades of lunatics, one awful theme:

    i24 news
    Four Baltic marches, one dangerous racist trend
    Efraim Zuroff
    Published February 15th 2015

    This coming week will see the opening of what I refer to as “Baltic Neo-Nazi/Ultranationalist March Month.” Within exactly 29 days, four such marches will take place in the capital cities of the Baltic European Union members – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. And while there obviously are different local nuances, the similarities between the marches are far too numerous to ignore, reflecting a dangerous trend, which deserves to be treated seriously by Brussels.

    All the marches are being sponsored by right-wing organizations with fascist sympathies and zero tolerance for local minorities. At past marches in Lithuania, the most popular slogan shouted was “Lietuva lietuvams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians); and in Estonia, it has already been announced that the theme of this year’s march will be “Eesti eestlastele” (Estonia for Estonians). In other words, as far as they are concerned, only ethnic Lithuanians or Estonians belong in their country.

    The sponsors also share a critical view of the accepted narrative of World War II and the Holocaust, which includes the extensive and zealous collaboration by tens of thousands of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians in the mass annihilation of not only their fellow Jewish citizens, but also of thousands of Jews deported from elsewhere in Europe to the Baltic countries to be murdered there, as well as tens of thousands of Jews murdered by security police units from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in Belarus. As far as the organizers are concerned, the real “genocide” was that supposedly committed in the Baltics by the Communists, whereas the Holocaust was primarily a respite from the two periods of Soviet repression and persecution in 1940-1941 and 1944-1991.

    The revisionist bent of the marchers was boldly evident in both Lithuania and Latvia in previous such events. Thus, for example, the Latvian march is ostensibly to honor the locals who fought alongside the Nazis in the two Latvian SS divisions, whom the marchers seek to portray as Latvian freedom fighters. They conveniently forget three important historical facts: that the goal of these divisions was a victory of the Third Reich, that Nazi Germany had absolutely no intention of granting Latvia independence even if it had won the war, and that among these so-called “Latvian heroes” were quite a few former members of the Latvian Security Police who had actively participated in the mass murder of Jews, local and foreign. In Lithuania, prominently displayed among the nationalist heroes was Juozas Ambrazevicius, the Prime Minister of the Lithuanian Provisional Government established in July 1941, which fully supported the Third Reich and encouraged Lithuanians to participate in the mass murder of their fellow Jewish citizens, hardly a qualification for glorification. At these marches, Lithuanian swastikas, a slightly altered version of the Nazi original to avoid legal problems, were a very common sight.

    All four marches are being held in the main avenues of the capital cities, and three of them are celebrations of local independence days. The first march, on February 16 in Kaunas, which was the capital of the first Lithuanian republic in modern times, marks the independence granted in 1918. The second, a week later, on February 23 in Tallinn, marks Estonian independence, and the third, which will be held in the center of Vilnius on March 11, marks the renewal of Lithuanian independence in 1990. (The Latvian march, which will be held in Riga on March 16, is linked to a historic battle of the Latvian Legion.) The combination of exclusionist nationalist slogans with the achievement of freedom for the Baltic peoples is a toxic combination which sends a racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic message which, at least in theory, runs counter to the values of the European Union.

    Four neo-Nazis marches within a month held in the main avenues of the capital cities and three of them are celebrations of local independence days?! Yikes! That sounds like it should be big news, especially for the rest of the EU since we’re talking about three EU members here AND these same members have spent the last year warning about a Russian invasion.

    Of course, when big news is big unpleasant news, it just might end up as no news:

    IB Times
    Nazi Hunter: Even Putin would condemn Nuremberg-esque parades in Estonia
    By Dr. Efraim Zuroff
    Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    The torchlight parade held by right-wing ultranationalists last week in the Estonian capital of Tallinn reminded the Russian journalists covering the event of similar spectacles in Nazi Germany, but this was more wishful thinking on their part than actual reality.

    They were out in full force this past Tuesday night, but unfortunately, they were the only foreign television journalists covering the event, with not a single representative of any European Union member country’s media in attendance.

    The European Union, on the other hand, does not appear to be particularly perturbed by genuinely disturbing phenomena in the Baltic countries and elsewhere, which, of course, would in no way justify Russian aggression, but deserve to be handled seriously and promptly before they get out of hand.

    Tuesday’s march, which was sponsored by the Sinine Aratus (Blue Awakening) youth movement, closely affiliated with the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), was a good example of at least one of the major problems we increasingly encounter in post-Communist Eastern Europe, and especially in the Baltics. I am referring to the rise of ethnocentric sentiment, a euphemism for racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.

    Thus the march was publicised under the slogan of ‘Estonia for Estonians,’ an explicit message of zero tolerance for Estonia’s minorities, among them families who have lived in the country for generations. The announcement also bore the symbols of the “sister” parties in Lithuania and in Latvia, whose platforms advocate the same ethnocentricity.

    In addition, the only sign I saw besides the one held by the lead marchers which said ‘For Estonia,’ bore a white supremacy message. In fact, IBTimes UK reported not that long ago on a statement by Mart Helme, a leading member of the EKRE, who said that the policy in Estonia towards Africans should be, “If you’re black, go back.” When questioned about this statement by the Estonian daily Postimees, Helme responded that he would not allow political correctness to silence his opinions.

    Rewriting Nazi history

    The other omnipresent problem in the Baltics was not in evidence this past Tuesday night, but is definitely in the background.

    As past marches by Baltic ultranationalists have clearly demonstrated, one of their key goals is to rewrite the narrative of World War II and the Holocaust to hide the extensive lethal complicity of local Nazi collaborators and promote the canard of historical equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes, often commonly referred to as the “double genocide theory.”

    A very important element of this campaign is the glorification of certain anti-Communists, despite their participation in the persecution and murder of their fellow Jewish citizens during the Holocaust.

    This element was on display last week in Kaunas, Lithuania and will certainly be featured in Vilnius and Riga in the marches scheduled for mid-March. In Estonia, this revisionism is on display at the annual gathering of SS veterans held in Sinimae every summer, and hosted by the veterans of the 20th Estonian Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, which is attended by SS veterans from many European countries in which such gatherings are illegal.

    In Estonia, a country in which local Nazi collaborators participated in the murder of practically every single one of the 1,000 Estonian Jews who lived there under the Nazi occupation, as well as of thousands of foreign Jews deported by the Nazis to Estonia, and local Jews killed by the 36th Estonian Security battalion unit in Nowogrudok, Belarus, they should know better.

    Well that was some alarming no news. And note that the end of “Baltic Neo-Nazi/Ultranationalist March Month” doesn’t mean the end of the state-sanctioned neo-Nazi gatherings. For instance:

    A very important element of this campaign is the glorification of certain anti-Communists, despite their participation in the persecution and murder of their fellow Jewish citizens during the Holocaust.

    This element was on display last week in Kaunas, Lithuania and will certainly be featured in Vilnius and Riga in the marches scheduled for mid-March. In Estonia, this revisionism is on display at the annual gathering of SS veterans held in Sinimae every summer, and hosted by the veterans of the 20th Estonian Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, which is attended by SS veterans from many European countries in which such gatherings are illegal.

    Yep, the annual gathering of SS veterans in Sinimae, Estonia each year is yet to come. And don’t assume that it’s just a gathering of increasingly elderly old-school Estonian Nazis. It’s not:

    the algemeiner
    The Waffen-SS as Freedom Fighters
    January 31, 2012 12:58 pm
    Per Anders Rudling

    Despised and ostracized, the Swedish community of Waffen-SS volunteers long gathered in secrecy on “The Day of the Fallen,” for obscure ritualistic annual gatherings at a cemetery in a Stockholm suburb.

    Since the 1990s, the rituals have not needed to be clandestine: the few, now very elderly survivors now head to Sinimäe, Estonia, where they feel they are now getting the honor to which they are entitled. Here, Swedish, Norwegian, Austrian, German and other Waffen-SS veterans from Western Europe meet up with their Estonian comrades. The annual gatherings include those who volunteered for ideological reasons, and who are today actively passing on the experiences to a new generation of neo-Nazis.

    In previous years, Mart Laar, the Estonian minister of defense sent official greeting to the veterans. Estonian government endorsement of these events means in effect that an EU member state is underwriting the Waffen-SS veterans’ own claims that they constituted a pan-European force, who were moreover pioneers of European unification.

    According to the Tageszeitung, this March the Estonian parliament will consider a law, which would formally designate the Estonian Waffen-SS veterans as “Freedom Fighters.” The law, promoted by Mart Laar’s right-wing nationalist Isamaa party, represents a fourth attempt by the Isamaa to pass such a law. Previous efforts were made in 2005, 2006, and 2010. Last winter the Estonian prime minister Andrus Ansip sent the Estonian Waffen-SS veterans a letter, in which he thanked them for their service to the Estonian people.

    In doing so, Estonia would confirm its leading role in rehabilitating the Waffen-SS. Across Europe, Waffen-SS veterans and their admirers are following the developments in Estonia and Latvia. Nowhere in Europe have these veterans been recognized by governments . The Estonians and Latvians were (and are) breaking a taboo, setting a precedent for others to follow.

    Like their Scandinavian comrades, the German Waffen-SS veterans perceive themselves as a victimized and misunderstood group, second class citizens, victims of victors’ justice. They have generally not been entitled to state pensions for veterans.

    Outside of Europe, Waffen-SS veterans have been more successful in gaining acceptance for their own narrative. In Canada, government authorities, in the name of multiculturalism have agreed to share the construction cost for monuments with the association of the Ukrainian veterans of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Ukrainian), better known at the Waffen-SS Galizien. Public institutions of higher education institute endowments in the honor of Ukrainian Waffen-SS volunteers.

    To the disappointment of the extreme right, former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko (in office 2005-2010) did not follow up his rehabilitation of the most important interwar Ukrainian fascist organization, the OUN, with a rehabilitation of the Waffen-SS Galizien. To the Ukrainian far right, Latvia and Estonia have become a source of inspiration and an example to emulate. Much like the current Estonian prime minister, Andrus Ansip, the leading Ukrainian ultra-nationalist party, the All Ukrainian Association Svoboda, which dominates local politics in several Western Ukrainian cities, denies that honoring Waffen-SS veterans has anything to do with neo-Nazi ideology.

    Note that Viktor Yuschenko may not have technically “rehabilitated” the Waffen-SS Galizien division, he came pretty damn close, as Per Anders Rudling has discussed in other pieces.

    Continuing…


    In April 2011 Svoboda celebrated the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the Waffen-SS Galizien. Lviv was decorated with billboards referring to the veterans of the Waffen-SS Galizien as “the treasure of the nation,” accompanied by the slogan “They defended Ukraine.” The far right marched through Lviv with cries like “Galicia – Division of heroes!,” and “One race, one nation, one Fatherland!” In time for the Euro 2012, a Waffen-SS Galizien taxi company was established.

    These processes are interlinked. The Estonian and Latvian governments’ partial recognition granted their presumably heroic Waffen-SS veterans is part of a larger narrative of apologetics and obfuscation.

    In fact, a Nazi victory, for which the Waffen-SS was employed, would have meant the permanent disappearance of Estonia, the population of which was earmarked for destruction by the Generalplan Ost, which stipulated that only 50% of Estonians could be Germanized. That discussion would have thereby precluded this discussion in the first place.

    Thus, that government that has itself profiled from an elaborate victimization narrative making Estonia a European center of gravity for Waffen-SS nostalgists is deeply ironic.

    Unlike most plants, these sort of cults grow in the shade. The Estonian government does not want international exposure on this. Yet, that is exactly what is needed.

    The nostalgia for the Waffen-SS “freedom fighters” is not merely an Estonian concern It is a European concern. It is an international concern.

    “Unlike most plants, these sort of cults grow in the shade. The Estonian government does not want international exposure on this. Yet, that is exactly what is needed.”

    Well, as we saw above, it doesn’t look like “international exposure” should be much of a concern for pro-Waffen-SS governments.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 4, 2015, 6:58 pm
  7. Lithuania’s government is apparently so fearful of a Russian invasion (even though its in NATO) that it’s about to bring back the draft:

    Worried over Russia, Lithuania plans military conscription

    By Andrius Sytas

    VILNIUS Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:27pm GMT

    (Reuters) – Lithuania plans to restart military conscription, which it ended in 2008, to address growing concerns about Russian assertiveness in the Baltic region, President Dalia Grybauskaite said on Tuesday.

    “Today’s geopolitical environment requires us to strengthen the army, and do it as fast as possible,” Grybauskaite said after a meeting of the country’s defence council.

    The Baltic states are concerned that Russian annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in east Ukraine may be a foretaste of it reasserting itself in other former Soviet territories.

    Latvia’s defence minister has suggested increasing army numbers by 2,000 to 7,000 men, but there are no plans to introduce the draft. Estonia has maintained conscription.

    Lithuania’s new conscription would apply to men between the ages of 19 and 26 with exemptions for certain categories, such as university students and single fathers and would recruit around 3,500 men per year. It would be up for renewal after a 5-year period.

    Lithuania’s parliament still needs to approve the plan.

    “Lithuania’s new conscription would apply to men between the ages of 19 and 26 with exemptions for certain categories, such as university students and single fathers and would recruit around 3,500 men per year. It would be up for renewal after a 5-year period.” Well, at least Lithuania’s universities should get a much needed boost in enrollment.

    Also note that while the law hasn’t been approved by Lithuania’s parliament, experts seeing its passage as likely:

    Newsweek
    Lithuania to Vote on Conscription to Combat Russian Threat
    By Felicity Capon
    3/6/15 at 1:02 PM

    The prospect of military conscription in Lithuania will spark a fierce debate in the country’s parliament when it is put to a vote next week, analysts say.

    Conscription in the Baltic state was technically suspended in 2008, although the law stayed in force and is still valid. However, there has recently been increasing talk of lifting the suspension and resuming conscription for the next five years as an emergency measure in the wake of perceived Russian aggression.

    The Lithuanian government approved the motion this week after president Dalia Grybauskaite announced at the end of February that conscription was needed due to the “current geopolitical environment”. The Lithuanian parliament must still approve the plan.

    On Wednesday Grybauskaite told Lithuanian journalists that “with a changing geopolitical situation around our borders, we realise that the threats are very real. The threats are real for our whole region, all Baltic states, and our neighbourhood has become less predictable and more aggressive, I mean Russia.”

    Grybauskaite would like to see the first draft for serviceman issued as early as September, but parliament and the broader Lithuanian society remain divided over the controversial measure. Parliament is set to vote on the matter next week, as a matter of emergency.

    “From what I hear from some MPs, the discussion is probably going to be very heated,” said the prime minister Algirdas Butkevicius on the radio Žiniu Radijas on Thursday morning.

    Tomas Jermalavicius, a research fellow at the International Centre for Defence Studies in Tallinn, Estonia, believes the motion is likely to pass, but only after a serious debate.

    “Lithuanian society is split on the issue,” he says. “A number clearly feel that Russia poses a great threat, and they are already making moves to sign up to voluntary paramilitary organisations and national defence volunteers. They certainly support the resumption of conscription.”

    “But a lot of other people feel that state cannot coerce its citizens in this way,” he continues. “People want to pursue careers, to study and there has been a backlash from some sections of society, from sportsmen, celebrities and economists speaking out in public. There’s certainly as interesting debate in the public space right now.”

    There is growing alarm throughout Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that the current conflict in eastern Ukraine could spill over into the Baltic States. Increasingly frequent snap military drills are being carried out by Russia near its eastern European neighbours, and experts have warned that the situation should not be taken lightly.

    Yet despite the Russian threat, there is anger in Lithuania that the announcement on conscription was made so suddenly. “It came as a great surprise and was not properly explained”, says Jermalavicius.

    A selection of EU foreign ministers met in Riga today to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, with talks focusing on the need to introduce further sanctions against Russia. Latvia’s defence minister has also suggested strengthening his country’s military, by increasing army numbers to 7,000 men, although the country isn’t currently planning on introducing compulsory service.

    While experts believe that the law will likely be passed, certain amendments and assurances have been made in order to make the law a more attractive and palatable prospect. The Ministry of National Defence submitted amendments to the law which will limit the numbers of conscripts to 3,000-3,500 and will expand a range of benefits for the troops.

    Fear of Russian aggression is not just being felt in the Baltics. This week, it was announced that Polish MPs will be offered military training, due to fears that the conflict in Ukraine could spread. Parliamentary speaker Radoslaw Sikorski announced that parliamentarians will be trained at an army firing range, adding that these are “troubled times”.

    It sure sounds like Lithuania is going to get a draft soon. And since a “number clearly feel that Russia poses a great threat, and they are already making moves to sign up to voluntary paramilitary organisations and national defence volunteers,” it will be interesting to see how the national debate over the draft evolves, especially since the largest paramilitary unit, the “Lithuania Riflemen’s Union”, is already almost as big as Lithuania’s armed forces:

    Russian threat sees rebirth of Lithuania paramilitary group
    Agence France-Presse September 2, 2014 10:52pm

    In thick pine forests hidden in the remote wilderness of eastern Lithuania, young professionals are ditching their suits and ties for camouflage gear, and swapping iPads for rifles.

    These weekend warriors also proudly wear bracelets with emblems of green fir trees on their wrists, symbols of their small Baltic country’s wartime resistance against the Soviet Union, which occupied it in 1940.

    Now, Russia’s takeover of Crimea and increasing signs of its involvement in Ukraine’s east, coupled with sabre rattling in its Kaliningrad exclave bordering Lithuania, are sparking a sharp rise in paramilitary recruits here.

    Like others in the region, Lithuania is calling on NATO to put permanent boots on the ground in the Baltics to ward off any potential threat from their Soviet-era master.

    But while they await a decision that could come at a key two-day alliance summit starting Thursday in Wales, Lithuanian civilians are lacing up their own combat boots.

    Students, businessmen, civil servants, journalists and even politicians are among the hundreds who have joined the government-sponsored Lithuania Riflemen’s Union, a group first set up in 1919 but banned in 1940 under Soviet rule.

    “The Vilnius unit has tripled in size since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine,” says Mindaugas Balciauskas, unit commander of the group which boasts about 7,000 members in the nation of three million, a number almost on par with its 7,000 military personnel and 4,200 reservists.

    – ‘Take up arms’ –

    President Dalia Grybauskaite, a karate black belt dubbed Lithuania’s ‘Iron Lady’ for her tough stance on Russia, has also sworn to “take up arms” herself in the unlikely case Moscow would attack this 2004 NATO and EU member of three million.

    “Being in a paramilitary unit will give me privileged access to information and make me better prepared than those who don’t join,” Arturas Bortkevicius, a 37-year-old finance specialist, told AFP, adding that he wants to learn the skills he needs to defend his country and family.

    Members spend weekends on manoeuvres deep in the woods or at a military training range in Pabrade, north of the capital Vilnius.

    Liberal MP Remigijus Simasius says that while his place “would be in parliament” given a crisis, he joined the riflemen in the wake of Russia’s Crimea land grab in the hope of encouraging others to follow suit.

    Even some Lithuanians with Russian roots have joined up amid the Ukraine crisis.

    “I’m a Lithuanian citizen of Russian origin. I am who I am, and I am Lithuanian patriot,” photographer Vladimiras Ivanovas, 40, who also joined up, told AFP.

    – Checkered past –

    The Rifleman’s Union “has left an indelible mark on the history of Lithuania,” says historian Arvydas Anusauskas.

    It was created after World War I in 1919 during a series of “Wars of Independence” fought by Lithuanians in 1918-1920 against Russian Bolsheviks, mixed Russian and German forces and Poles.

    Aside from Lithuanians, from 1919-1940 research shows its members also included Russian, Poles, Jews and even Chinese, reflecting the ethnic complexity of and tensions in the region.

    Its reputation is however tainted by allegations that certain members were involved in a series of Nazi massacres between 1940-44 that claimed the lives of an estimated 80,000-100,000 Jews, Poles and Russians in Panierai, a suburb skirting the capital Vilnius.

    The Riflemen’s Union was banned in 1940 by the Soviet Union when the Red Army swept in from the east to occupy Lithuania during World War II, but members fought a guerilla war against the Soviets until the early 1950s.

    Its revival in 1989 came as the Soviet bloc began to crumble and now its large new crop of members say they are willing to fight again should their country come under attack.

    “The Vilnius unit has tripled in size since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine,” says Mindaugas Balciauskas, unit commander of the group which boasts about 7,000 members in the nation of three million, a number almost on par with its 7,000 military personnel and 4,200 reservists.”

    Well, it’s pretty clear that a lot of Lithuanians are freaked out and getting ready for some sort of imminent war. Presumably it will be WWIII since Lithuania is in NATO. WWIII fought with tank howitzers?

    Germany prepared to sell tank howitzers to Lithuania: Der Spiegel

    BERLIN Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:53am EST

    (Reuters) – Germany is prepared to sell tank howitzers to Lithuania, German magazine Der Spiegel said on Saturday.

    Deputy defense minister Katrin Suder said in a defense committee meeting it would be possible to sell howitzers to Lithuania as the German armed forces had a sufficient number of them, the magazine said.

    It added that Suder had stressed Germany wanted to help its NATO partner modernize its forces and would “favorably examine” a potential request for tank howitzers.

    A spokesman for the German defense ministry said Lithuania had not made an official request but the country had expressed an interest and Germany was prepared to help.

    Keep in mind that Germany is also looking at upgrading its military forces, so selling the existing equipment to the Baltics might be part of a larger military overhaul. After all, you can’t have a new Cold War without lots of new weapons!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 6, 2015, 1:26 pm
  8. “serpent’s walk” can now be found for free on the internet: https://archive.org/details/CalverhallRandolphO.SerpentsWalk

    Posted by Piet Bess | March 20, 2015, 1:33 am
  9. The following article has a March 31st publication date so hopefully it’s just a preemptive April Fools joke:

    US forces to hold exercises in Ukraine

    The Associated Press
    Published: March 31, 2015

    KIEV, Ukraine — The United States plans to send soldiers to Ukraine in April for training exercises with units of the country’s national guard.

    Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a Facebook post on Sunday that the units to be trained include the Azov Battalion, a volunteer force that has attracted criticism for its far-right sentiments including brandishing an emblem widely used in Nazi Germany.

    Avakov said the training will begin April 20 at a base in western Ukraine near the Polish border and would involve about 290 American paratroopers and some 900 Ukrainian guardsmen.

    Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the troops would come from the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy.

    The training of the Azov Battalion is scheduled to begin on April 20.

    So that happened.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 4, 2015, 3:55 pm

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