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

For The Record  

FTR #1072 Doin’ Wind Sprints with the Snake in Ukraine

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by the fall of 2017. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.)

WFMU-FM is pod­cast­ing For The Record–You can sub­scribe to the pod­cast HERE.

You can sub­scribe to e‑mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

Please con­sid­er sup­port­ing THE WORK DAVE EMORY DOES.

This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Cel­e­bra­tion of the 75th Anniver­sary of the 14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion in Lviv, Ukraine in sum­mer of 2018.

Intro­duc­tion: We pro­ceed from our pre­vi­ous pro­gram with con­tin­ued read­ing of an arti­cle about the rise of fas­cism in Ukraine that details the numer­ous, mul­ti-faceted exam­ples of the cap­ture of Ukrain­ian soci­ety and gov­ern­ment by the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions ele­vat­ed to pow­er through the Maid­an coup.

* The ele­va­tion of the neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion that was for­mal­ly incor­po­rat­ed into Ukraine’s armed forces yet remains a neo-Nazi bat­tal­ion.
* Azov is now engaged in polic­ing with its Nation­al Druzhi­na street patrol units that have engaged in anti-Roma pogroms
* Azov’s cam­paign to turn Ukraine into an inter­na­tion­al hub of white suprema­cy
* Andriy Parubiy’s role in cre­at­ing Ukraine’s Nazi Par­ty that he con­tin­ues to embrace and that’s rou­tine­ly ignored as he has become the par­lia­ment speak­er
* The deputy min­is­ter of the Interior—which con­trols the Nation­al Police—is a vet­er­an of Azov, Vadim Troy­an
* Gov­ern­ment spon­sor­ship of his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism and holo­caust denial though agen­cies like Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry
* Torch­light parades are now nor­mal
* With­in sev­er­al years, an entire gen­er­a­tion will be indoc­tri­nat­ed to wor­ship Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors as nation­al heroes
* Books that crit­i­cize the now-glo­ri­fied WWII Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors like Stepan Ban­dera are get­ting banned
* Pub­lic offi­cials make threats against Ukraine’s Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty with no reper­cus­sions
* The neo-Nazi C14’s street patrol gangs are both respon­si­ble for anti-Roma pogroms and also the recip­i­ent of gov­ern­ment funds to run a children’s edu­ca­tion­al camp. Last Octo­ber, C14 leader Ser­hiy Bon­dar was wel­comed at Amer­i­ca House Kyiv, a cen­ter run by the US gov­ern­ment
* It’s open sea­son on the LGBT com­mu­ni­ty and far right groups rou­tine­ly attack LGBT gath­er­ings
* Ukraine is extreme­ly dan­ger­ous for jour­nal­ists and the gov­ern­ment has sup­port­ed the doxxing and intim­i­da­tion of jour­nal­ist by the far right like Myrovorets group
* The gov­ern­ment is try­ing to repeal laws pro­tect­ing the many minor­i­ty lan­guages used in Ukraine

Yet, as the arti­cle notes at the end, its many exam­ples were just a small sam­pling of what has tran­spired in Ukraine since 2014.

We have spo­ken repeat­ed­ly about the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk, in which the Third Reich goes under­ground, buys into the opin­ion-form­ing media and, even­tu­al­ly, takes over.

Hitler, the Third Reich and their actions are glo­ri­fied and memo­ri­al­ized. The essence of the book is syn­op­sized on the back cov­er:

“It assumes that Hitler’s war­rior elite — the SS — did­n’t give up their strug­gle for a White world when they lost the Sec­ond World War. Instead their sur­vivors went under­ground and adopt­ed some of their tac­tics of their ene­mies: they began build­ing their eco­nom­ic mus­cle and buy­ing into the opin­ion-form­ing media. A cen­tu­ry after the war they are ready to chal­lenge the democ­rats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Amer­i­cans, who have begun to have their fill of gov­ern­ment-enforced mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism and ‘equal­i­ty.’ ”

Some­thing anal­o­gous is hap­pen­ing in Ukraine and India.

In Ukraine, fas­cism in being remade as a hero­ic bul­wark against com­mu­nism and Rus­sia. In India, it is being remade as a lib­er­at­ing anti-colo­nial, anti-impe­r­i­al force.

In FTR #889, we not­ed that Pierre Omid­yar, a dar­ling of the so-called “pro­gres­sive” sec­tor for his found­ing of The Inter­cept, was deeply involved with the financ­ing of the ascent of both Naren­dra Mod­i’s Hin­dut­va fas­cist BJP and the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions in Ukraine.

Omid­yar’s anoint­ment as an icon of inves­tiga­tive report­ing could not be more iron­ic, in that jour­nal­ists and crit­ics of his fas­cist allies in Ukraine and India are being repressed and mur­dered, there­by fur­ther­ing the sup­pres­sion of truth in those soci­eties. This sup­pres­sion of truth feeds in to the Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario.

The Snake is doing wind sprints in the  U.S. as well.

We have not­ed the pho­to of Bara­boo, Wis­con­sin high school stu­dents giv­ing the Nazi salute at their junior prom.

Now, Bara­boo Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can youth have erect­ed stat­ues of Ukrain­ian pogromist Simonon Petlu­ra (translit­er­at­ed spellings vary), along with Ukrain­ian Nazi lead­ers Roman Shukhevych and Stephan Ban­dera.

This is to be seen against the back­ground of the re-insti­tu­tion of OUN/B fas­cists in Ukraine.

To pro­vide his­tor­i­cal and polit­i­cal con­text to the dis­cus­sion, we con­clude the broad­cast with infor­ma­tion sup­ple­ment­ing pre­vi­ous analy­sis of the devel­op­ment of “The Chris­t­ian West.” It is with­in the cre­ation of The Chris­t­ian West that the foun­da­tion of the present, unfor­tu­nate devel­op­ments is to be found.In FTR #‘s 1058, 1059, 1060, we revis­it­ed the con­cept of “The Chris­t­ian West”: ” . . . . When it became clear that the armies of the Third Reich were going to be defeat­ed, it opened secret nego­ti­a­tions with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the West­ern Allies. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on both sides belonged to the transat­lantic finan­cial and indus­tri­al fra­ter­ni­ty that had active­ly sup­port­ed fas­cism. The thrust of these nego­ti­a­tions was the estab­lish­ment of The Chris­t­ian West. Viewed by the Nazis as a vehi­cle for sur­viv­ing mil­i­tary defeat, ‘The Chris­t­ian West’ involved a Hitler-less Reich join­ing with the U.S., Britain, France and oth­er Euro­pean nations in a transat­lantic, pan-Euro­pean anti-Sovi­et alliance. In fact, The Chris­t­ian West became a real­i­ty only after the ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties. The de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of Ger­many was abort­ed. Although a few of the more obvi­ous and obnox­ious ele­ments of Nazism were removed, Nazis were returned to pow­er at vir­tu­al­ly every lev­el and in almost every capac­i­ty in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. . . .”

In FTR #1009, we detailed “Chris­t­ian West” nego­ti­a­tions to have a Hitler-less Third Reich join with the West­ern Allies, under­tak­en by OSS rep­re­sen­ta­tives Allen Dulles and William Dono­van, net­work­ing with Prince Max Egon von Hohen­lo­he, a proxy for SD offi­cer Wal­ter Schel­len­berg.

In in his 1985 vol­ume Amer­i­can Swasti­ka, the late author Charles High­am pro­vides us with insight into the Chris­t­ian West con­cept, reveal­ing the extent to which these SS/OSS nego­ti­a­tions set the tem­plate for the post-World War II world, as well as the degree of res­o­nance that key Amer­i­cans, such as Allen Dulles, had with Nazi ide­ol­o­gy, anti-Semi­tism in par­tic­u­lar.

The post­war polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic real­i­ties of the Dulles, Hohen­lo­he, Schel­len­berg meet­ings were fur­ther solid­i­fied when William (Wild Bill) Dono­van entered into his “M” Project.

Impor­tant to note in this con­text, is the dom­i­nant role in world affairs played by car­tels, the fun­da­men­tal ele­ment in the indus­tri­al and finan­cial axis that was essen­tial to the cre­ation and per­pet­u­a­tion of fas­cism. Much of the Third Reich’s mil­i­tary indus­tri­al com­plex, the pri­ma­cy of Ger­many in the post­war EU, as well as the cor­re­la­tion between post­war Europe as con­struct­ed in the Chris­t­ian West nego­ti­a­tions and long-stand­ing Ger­man plans for Euro­pean dom­i­na­tion are deriv­a­tive of the pow­er of car­tels.

The Chris­t­ian West and “M” Projects:

  1. Revealed that Allen Dulles’ views res­onat­ed with Third Reich anti-Semi­tism, and that his opin­ions were shared by oth­er, like-mind­ed Amer­i­can pow­er bro­kers: ” . . . . He said that it would be unbear­able for any decent Euro­pean to think that the Jews might return some­day, and that there must be no tol­er­a­tion of a return of the Jew­ish pow­er posi­tions. . . . He made the curi­ous asser­tion that the Amer­i­cans were only con­tin­u­ing the war to get rid of the Jews and that there were peo­ple in Amer­i­ca who were intend­ing to send the Jews to Africa. . . .”
  2. Set the tem­plate for the post­war Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many and the EU: ” . . . . He [Dulles] reit­er­at­ed his desire for a greater Euro­pean polit­i­cal federation–and fore­saw the fed­er­al Ger­many that in fact took place. . . . Ger­many would be set up as the dom­i­nat­ing force in indus­try and agri­cul­ture in con­ti­nen­tal Europe, at the heart of a con­ti­nen­tal state run by Ger­many, the U.S.A., and Great Britain as a focus of trade. . . .”
  3. Were the vehi­cle for Allen Dulles to betray much of the Allied mil­i­tary plans for South­ern Europe to the Third Reich: “. . . . Dulles now pro­ceed­ed to sup­ply Hohen­lo­he with dol­lops of secret intel­li­gence, announc­ing that the U.S. Army would not land in Spain but, after con­quer­ing Tunisia, would advance from Africa toward the Ploesti oil fields to cut off the Ger­man oil sup­plies. He said it was like­ly the Allies would land in Sici­ly to cut off Rom­mel and con­trol Italy from there, and thus secure the advance in the Balka­ns. Hav­ing giv­en vir­tu­al­ly the entire bat­tle plan for Europe, top secret at the time, to one of Ger­many’s agents, Allen Dulles pro­ceed­ed to the almost unnec­es­sary rid­er that he had very good rela­tions with the Vat­i­can. . . .”
  4. Direct­ly fore­shad­owed the con­fronta­tion between the U.S. and the Sovi­et Union which became the Cold War.  “. . . . In oth­er meet­ings, Dulles . . . . pre­dict­ed that ‘the next world war would be between the U.S.A. and the Sovi­et Union.’ . . . .”
  5. Were the occa­sion for Dulles to laud the “genius” of Nazi pro­pa­gan­da min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels: “He . . . . described a recent speech by Dr. Goebbels as ‘a work of genius; I have rarely read a speech with such ratio­nal plea­sure.’ . . . .”

1. We pro­ceed from our pre­vi­ous pro­gram with an arti­cle about the rise of fas­cism in Ukraine that details the numer­ous, mul­ti-faceted exam­ples of the cap­ture of Ukrain­ian soci­ety and gov­ern­ment by the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions ele­vat­ed to pow­er through the Maid­an coup.

* The ele­va­tion of the neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion that was for­mal­ly incor­po­rat­ed into Ukraine’s armed forces yet remains a neo-Nazi bat­tal­ion.
* Azov is now engaged in polic­ing with its Nation­al Druzhi­na street patrol units that have engaged in anti-Roma pogroms
* Azov’s cam­paign to turn Ukraine into an inter­na­tion­al hub of white suprema­cy
* Andriy Parubiy’s role in cre­at­ing Ukraine’s Nazi Par­ty that he con­tin­ues to embrace and that’s rou­tine­ly ignored as he has become the par­lia­ment speak­er
* The deputy min­is­ter of the Interior—which con­trols the Nation­al Police—is a vet­er­an of Azov, Vadim Troy­an
* Gov­ern­ment spon­sor­ship of his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism and holo­caust denial though agen­cies like Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry
* Torch­light parades are now nor­mal
* With­in sev­er­al years, an entire gen­er­a­tion will be indoc­tri­nat­ed to wor­ship Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors as nation­al heroes
* Books that crit­i­cize the now-glo­ri­fied WWII Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors like Stepan Ban­dera are get­ting banned
* Pub­lic offi­cials make threats against Ukraine’s Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty with no reper­cus­sions
* The neo-Nazi C14’s street patrol gangs are both respon­si­ble for anti-Roma pogroms and also the recip­i­ent of gov­ern­ment funds to run a children’s edu­ca­tion­al camp. Last Octo­ber, C14 leader Ser­hiy Bon­dar was wel­comed at Amer­i­ca House Kyiv, a cen­ter run by the US gov­ern­ment
* It’s open sea­son on the LGBT com­mu­ni­ty and far right groups rou­tine­ly attack LGBT gath­er­ings
* Ukraine is extreme­ly dan­ger­ous for jour­nal­ists and the gov­ern­ment has sup­port­ed the doxxing and intim­i­da­tion of jour­nal­ist by the far right like Myrovorets group
* The gov­ern­ment is try­ing to repeal laws pro­tect­ing the many minor­i­ty lan­guages used in Ukraine

And yet, as the arti­cle notes at the end, its many exam­ples were just a small sam­pling of what has tran­spired in Ukraine since 2014:

“Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine” by Lev Golinkin; The Nation; 02/22/2019.

Five years ago, Ukraine’s Maid­an upris­ing oust­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, to the cheers and sup­port of the West. Politi­cians and ana­lysts in the Unit­ed States and Europe not only cel­e­brat­ed the upris­ing as a tri­umph of democ­ra­cy, but denied reports of Maidan’s ultra­na­tion­al­ism, smear­ing those who warned about the dark side of the upris­ing as Moscow pup­pets and use­ful idiots. Free­dom was on the march in Ukraine.

Today, increas­ing reports of far-right vio­lence, ultra­na­tion­al­ism, and ero­sion of basic free­doms are giv­ing the lie to the West’s ini­tial eupho­ria. There are neo-Nazi pogroms against the Roma, ram­pant attacks on fem­i­nists and LGBT groups, book bans, and state-spon­sored glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors.

These sto­ries of Ukraine’s dark nation­al­ism aren’t com­ing out of Moscow; they’re being filed by West­ern media, includ­ing US-fund­ed Radio Free Europe (RFE); Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions such as the World Jew­ish Con­gress and the Simon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter; and watch­dogs like Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al, Human Rights Watch, and Free­dom House, which issued a joint report warn­ing that Kiev is los­ing the monop­oly on the use of force in the coun­try as far-right gangs oper­ate with impuni­ty.

Five years after Maid­an, the bea­con of democ­ra­cy is look­ing more like a torch­light march.

Com­bat hel­mets of the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

A neo-Nazi bat­tal­ion in the heart of Europe

Vol­un­teer Ukrain­ian Unit Includes Nazis.”—USA Today, March 10, 2015

The DC establishment’s stan­dard defense of Kiev is to point out that Ukraine’s far right has a small­er per­cent­age of seats in the par­lia­ment than their coun­ter­parts in places like France. That’s a spu­ri­ous argu­ment: What Ukraine’s far right lacks in polls num­bers, it makes up for with things Marine Le Pen could only dream of—paramilitary units and free rein on the streets.

Post-Maid­an Ukraine is the world’s only nation to have a neo-Nazi for­ma­tion in its armed forces. The Azov Bat­tal­ion was ini­tial­ly formed out of the neo-Nazi gang Patri­ot of Ukraine. Andriy Bilet­sky, the gang’s leader who became Azov’s com­man­der, once wrote that Ukraine’s mis­sion is to “lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade…against the Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen.” Bilet­sky is now a deputy in Ukraine’s par­lia­ment.

In the fall of 2014, Azov—which is accused of human-rights abus­es, includ­ing tor­ture, by Human Rights Watchand the Unit­ed Nations—was incor­po­rat­ed into Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard.

While the group offi­cial­ly denies any neo-Nazi con­nec­tions, Azov’s nature has been con­firmed by mul­ti­ple West­ern out­lets: The New York Times called the bat­tal­ion“open­ly neo-Nazi,” while USA TodayThe Dai­ly BeastThe Tele­graph, and Haaretzdoc­u­ment­ed group mem­bers’ pro­cliv­i­ty for swastikas, salutes, and oth­er Nazi sym­bols, and indi­vid­ual fight­ers have also acknowl­edged being neo-Nazis.

In Jan­u­ary 2018, Azov rolled out its Nation­al Druzhi­na street patrol unit whose mem­bers swore per­son­al feal­ty to Bilet­sky and pledged to “restore Ukrain­ian order” to the streets. The Druzhi­na quick­ly dis­tin­guished itself by car­ry­ing out pogroms against the Roma and LGBTorga­ni­za­tions and storm­ing a munic­i­pal coun­cil. Ear­li­er this year, Kiev announced the storm­ing unit will be mon­i­tor­ing polls in next month’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

In 2017, Con­gress­man Ro Khan­na led the effort to ban Azov from receiv­ing U.S. arms and train­ing. But the dam­age has already been done: The research group Belling­cat proved that Azov had already received access to Amer­i­can grenade launch­ers, while a Dai­ly Beast inves­ti­ga­tion showed that US train­ers are unable to pre­vent aid from reach­ing white suprema­cists. And Azov itself had proud­ly post­ed a video of the unit wel­com­ing NATO rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

(Azov isn’t the only far-right for­ma­tion to get West­ern affir­ma­tion. In Decem­ber 2014, Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al accused the Dnipro‑1 bat­tal­ion of poten­tial war crimes, includ­ing “using star­va­tion of civil­ians as a method of war­fare.” Six months lat­er, Sen­a­tor John McCain vis­it­ed and praised the bat­tal­ion.)

Par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cern­ing is Azov’s cam­paign to trans­form Ukraine into a hub for transna­tion­al white suprema­cy. The unit has recruit­ed neo-Nazis from Ger­many, the UKBrazilSwe­den, and Amer­i­ca; last Octo­ber, the FBI arrest­ed four Cal­i­for­nia white suprema­cists who had alleged­ly received train­ing from Azov. This is a clas­sic exam­ple of blow­back: US sup­port of rad­i­cals abroad ric­o­chet­ing to hit Amer­i­ca.

Far right ties to gov­ern­ment

Ukrain­ian police declare admi­ra­tion for Nazi collaborators”—RFE, Feb­ru­ary 13, 2019

Speak­er of Par­lia­ment Andriy Paru­biycofound­ed and led two neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tions: the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine(lat­er renamed Svo­bo­da), and Patri­ot of Ukraine, whose mem­bers would even­tu­al­ly form the core of Azov.

Although Paru­biy left the far right in the ear­ly 2000’s, he hasn’t reject­ed his past. When asked about it in a 2016 inter­view, Paru­biy replied that his “val­ues” haven’t changed. Paru­biy, whose auto­bi­og­ra­phy shows him march­ing with the neo-Nazi wolf­san­gel sym­bol used by Aryan Nationsreg­u­lar­ly meets with Wash­ing­ton think tanksand politi­cians; his neo-Nazi back­ground is ignored or out­right denied.

Even more dis­turb­ing is the far right’s pen­e­tra­tion of law enforce­ment. Short­ly after Maid­an, the US equipped and trainedthe new­ly found­ed Nation­al Police, in what was intend­ed to be a hall­mark pro­gram but­tress­ing Ukrain­ian democ­ra­cy.

The deputy min­is­ter of the Interior—which con­trols the Nation­al Police—is Vadim Troy­an, a vet­er­an of Azov and Patri­ot of Ukraine. In 2014, when Troy­an was being con­sid­ered for police chief of Kiev, Ukrain­ian Jew­ish lead­ers were appalled by his neo-Nazi back­ground. Today, he’s deputy of the depart­ment run­ning US-trained law enforce­ment in the entire nation.

Ear­li­er this month, RFE report­edon Nation­al Police lead­er­ship admir­ing Stepan Bandera—a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor and Fas­cist whose troops par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Holocaust—on social media.

The fact that Ukraine’s police is pep­pered with far-right sup­port­ers explains why neo-Nazis oper­ate with impuni­ty on the streets.

State-spon­sored glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors

Ukrain­ian extrem­ists cel­e­brate Ukrain­ian Nazi SS divisions…in the mid­dle of a major Ukrain­ian city”—Anti-Defama­tion League Direc­tor of Euro­pean Affairs, April 28, 2018

It’s not just the mil­i­tary and street gangs: Ukraine’s far right has suc­cess­ful­ly hijacked the post-Maid­an gov­ern­ment to impose an intol­er­ant and ultra­na­tion­al­ist cul­ture over the land.

In 2015, the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment passed leg­is­la­tion mak­ing two WWII paramilitaries—the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) and the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA)—heroes of Ukraine, and made it a crim­i­nal offenseto deny their hero­ism. The OUN had col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Nazis and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Holo­caust, while the UPA slaugh­tered thou­sands of Jews and 70,000–100,000 Poles on their own voli­tion.

The gov­ern­ment-fund­ed Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry is insti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing the white­wash­ing of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors. Last sum­mer, the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment fea­tured an exhib­it com­mem­o­rat­ing the OUN’s 1941 procla­ma­tion of coop­er­a­tion with the Third Reich (imag­ine the French gov­ern­ment installing an exhib­it cel­e­brat­ing the Vichy state!).

Torch­light march­es in hon­or of OUN/UPA lead­ers like Roman Shukhevych (a com­man­der in a Third Reich aux­il­iary bat­tal­ion) are a reg­u­lar fea­ture of the new Ukraine. The recu­per­a­tion even extends to SS Galichi­na, a Ukrain­ian divi­sion of the Waf­fen-SS; the direc­tor of the Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry pro­claimed that the SS fight­ers were “war vic­tims.” The government’s embrace of Ban­dera is not only deplorable, but also extreme­ly divi­sive, con­sid­er­ing the OUN/UPA are reviledin east­ern Ukraine.

Pre­dictably, the cel­e­bra­tion of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors has accom­pa­nied a rise in out­right anti-Semi­tism.

Jews Out!” chant­ed thou­sands dur­ing a Jan­u­ary 2017 march hon­or­ing OUN leader Ban­dera. (The next day the police denied hear­ing any­thing anti-Semit­ic.) That sum­mer, a three-day fes­ti­valcel­e­brat­ing the Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Shukhevych capped off with the fire­bomb­ing of a syn­a­gogue. In Novem­ber 2017, RFE report­ed Nazi salutes as 20,000 marched in hon­or of the UPA. And last April, hun­dreds marched in L’viv with coor­di­nat­ed Nazi salutes hon­or­ing SS Galichi­na; the march was pro­mot­edby the L’viv region­al gov­ern­ment.

The Holo­caust revi­sion­ism is a mul­ti-pronged effort, rang­ing from gov­ern­ment-fund­ed sem­i­narsbrochures, and board games, to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of plaquesstat­ues, and streetsrenamed after butch­ers of Jews, to far-right chil­dren camps, where youth are incul­cat­ed with ultra­na­tion­al­ist ide­ol­o­gy.

With­in sev­er­al years, an entire gen­er­a­tion will be indoc­tri­nat­ed to wor­ship Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors as nation­al heroes.

Book bans

No state should be allowed to inter­fere in the writ­ing of his­to­ry.”—British his­to­ri­an Antony Beevor, after his award-win­ning book was banned in Ukraine, The Tele­graph, Jan­u­ary 23, 2018

Ukraine’s State Com­mit­tee for Tele­vi­sion and Radio Broad­cast­ing is enforc­ing the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Ukraine’s new heroes by ban­ning“anti-Ukrain­ian” lit­er­a­ture that goes against the gov­ern­ment nar­ra­tive. This ide­o­log­i­cal cen­sor­ship includes acclaimed books by West­ern authors.

In Jan­u­ary 2018, Ukraine made inter­na­tion­al head­lines by ban­ning Stal­in­grad by award-win­ning British his­to­ri­an Antony Beevor because of a sin­gle para­graphabout a Ukrain­ian unit mas­sacring 90 Jew­ish chil­dren dur­ing World War II. In Decem­ber, Kiev bannedThe Book Thieves by Swedish author Anders Rydell (which, iron­i­cal­ly, is about the Nazis’ sup­pres­sion of lit­er­a­ture) because he men­tioned troops loy­al to Symon Petliu­ra(an ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry nation­al­ist leader) had slaugh­tered Jews.

This month, the Ukrain­ian embassy in Wash­ing­ton export­ed this intol­er­ance to Amer­i­ca by brazen­ly demand­ing the Unit­ed States ban a Russ­ian movie from Amer­i­can the­aters. Appar­ent­ly, the bil­lions Wash­ing­ton invest­ed in pro­mot­ing democ­ra­cy in Ukraine have failed to teach Kiev basic con­cepts of free speech.

Anti-Semi­tism

“I’m telling you one more time—go to hell, kikes. The Ukrain­ian peo­ple have had it to here with you.”—Security ser­vices reserve gen­er­al Vasi­ly Vovk, May 11, 2017

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, gov­ern­ment-led glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors was a green light for oth­er forms of anti-Semi­tism. The past three years saw an explo­sion of swastikas and SS runes on city streets, death threats, and van­dal­ism of Holo­caustmemo­ri­als, Jew­ish cen­tersceme­ter­iestombs, and places of wor­ship, all of which led Israel to take the unusu­al step of pub­licly urg­ing Kiev to address the epi­dem­ic.

Pub­lic offi­cials make anti-Semit­ic threats with no reper­cus­sions. These include: a secu­ri­ty ser­vices gen­er­al promis­ing to elim­i­nate the zhi­di (a slur equiv­a­lent to ‘kikes’); a par­lia­ment deputy going off on an anti-Semit­ic rant on tele­vi­sion; a far-right politi­cian lament­ing Hitler didn’t fin­ish offthe Jews; and an ultra­na­tion­al­ist leader vow­ing to cleanse Odessa of zhi­di.

For the first few years after Maid­an, Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions large­ly refrained from crit­i­ciz­ing Ukraine, per­haps in the hope Kiev would address the issue on its own. But by 2018, the increas­ing fre­quen­cy of anti-Semit­ic inci­dents led Jew­ish groups to break their silence.

Last year, the Israeli government’s annu­al reporton anti-Semi­tism heav­i­ly fea­tured Ukraine, which had more inci­dents than all post-Sovi­et states com­bined. The World Jew­ish Con­gress, the US Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Muse­um, and 57 mem­bersof the US Con­gress all vocif­er­ous­ly con­demned Kiev’s Nazi glo­ri­fi­ca­tion and the con­comi­tant anti-Semi­tism.

Ukrain­ian Jew­ish lead­ers are also speak­ing out. In 2017, the direc­tor of one of Ukraine’s largest Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions pub­lished a New York Times op-ed urg­ing the West to address Kiev’s white­wash­ing. Last year, 41 Ukrain­ian Jew­ish lead­ers denounced the growth of anti-Semi­tism. That’s espe­cial­ly telling, giv­en that many Ukrain­ian Jew­ish lead­ers sup­port­ed the Maid­an upris­ing.

None of these con­cerns have been addressed in any mean­ing­ful way.

Roma pogroms

“‘They want­ed to kill us’: masked neo-fas­cists strike fear into Ukraine’s Roma.”—The Guardian , August 27, 2018

Ukraine’s far right has resist­ed car­ry­ing out out­right attacks on Jews; oth­er vul­ner­a­ble groups haven’t been so lucky.

Last spring, a lethal wave of anti-Roma pogroms swept through Ukraine, with at least six attacks in two months. Footage from the pogroms evokes the 1930s: Armed thugs attack women and chil­dren while raz­ing their camps. At least one man was killed, while oth­ers, includ­ing a child, were stabbed.

Two gangs behind the attacks—C14 and the Nation­al Druzhi­na—felt com­fort­able enough to proud­ly post pogrom videos on social mediaThat’s not sur­pris­ing, con­sid­er­ing that the Nation­al Druzhi­na is part of Azov, while the neo-Nazi C14 receives gov­ern­ment fund­ing for “edu­ca­tion­al” pro­grams. Last Octo­ber, C14 leader Ser­hiy Bon­dar was wel­comed at Amer­i­ca House Kyiv, a cen­ter run by the US gov­ern­ment.

Appeals from inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions and the US embassy fell on deaf ears: Months after the Unit­ed Nations demand­ed Kiev end “sys­tem­at­ic per­se­cu­tion” of the Roma, a human-rights group report­ed C14 were alleged­ly intim­i­dat­ing Roma in a jointpatrol with the Kiev police.

LGBT and Women’s‑rights groups

“‘It’s even worse than before’: How the ‘Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty’ Failed LGBT Ukraini­ans.”—RFE, Novem­ber 21, 2018

In 2016, after pres­sure from the US Con­gress, the Kiev gov­ern­ment began pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the annu­al Kiev Pride parade. How­ev­er, this increas­ing­ly looks like a Potemkin affair: two hours of pro­tec­tion, with wide­spread attacks on LGBT indi­vid­u­als and gath­er­ings dur­ing the rest of the year. Nation­al­ist groups have tar­get­ed LGBT meet­ings with impuni­ty, going so far as to shut down an event host­ed by Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al as well as assault a West­ern jour­nal­ist at a trans­gen­der rights ral­ly. Women’s‑rights march­es have also been tar­get­ed, includ­ing brazen attacks in March.

Attacks on press

“The Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists con­demns a Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment raid at the Kiev offices of Media Hold­ing Vesti…more than a dozen masked offi­cers ripped open doors with crow­bars, seized prop­er­ty, and fired tear gas in the offices.”—The Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists, Feb­ru­ary 9, 2018

In May 2016, Myrotvorets, an ultra­na­tion­al­ist web­site with links to the gov­ern­ment, pub­lished  the per­son­al data of thou­sands of jour­nal­ists who had obtained accred­i­ta­tion from Rus­sia-backed rebels in east­ern Ukraine. Myrotvorets labeled the jour­nal­ists “ter­ror­ist col­lab­o­ra­tors.”

A gov­ern­ment-tied web­site declar­ing open sea­son on jour­nal­ists would be dan­ger­ous any­where, but it is espe­cial­ly so in Ukraine, which has a dis­turb­ing track record of jour­nal­ist assas­si­na­tions. This includes Oles Buz­i­na, gunned down in 2015, and Pavel Sheremet, assas­si­nat­ed by car bomb a year lat­er.

The Myrotvorets dox­ing was denounced by West­ern reporters, the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists, and ambas­sadorsfrom the G7 nations. In response, Kiev offi­cials, includ­ing Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov, praised the site: “This is your choice to coop­er­ate with occu­py­ing forces,” Avakov told jour­nal­ists, while post­ing“I Sup­port Myrotvorets” on Face­book. Myrotvorets remains oper­a­tional today.

Last fall brought anoth­er attack on the media, this time using the courts. The Pros­e­cu­tor General’s office was grant­ed a war­rant to seize records of RFE anti-cor­rup­tion reporter Natal­ie Sedlet­s­ka. An RFE spokes­woman warned that Kiev’s actions cre­at­ed “a chill­ing atmos­phere for jour­nal­ists,” while par­lia­ment deputy Mustafa Nayyem called it “an exam­ple of creep­ing dic­ta­tor­ship.”

Lan­guage laws

“[Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk] also made a per­son­al appeal to Russ­ian-speak­ing Ukraini­ans, pledg­ing to support…a spe­cial sta­tus to the Russ­ian lan­guage.”—US Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ryApril 24, 2014

Ukraine is extra­or­di­nar­i­ly mul­ti­lin­gual: In addi­tion to the mil­lions of Russ­ian-speak­ing east­ern Ukraini­ans, there are areas where Hun­gar­i­an, Roman­ian, and oth­er tongues are preva­lent. These lan­guages were pro­tect­ed by a 2012 region­al-lan­guage law.

The post-Maid­an gov­ern­ment alarmed Russ­ian-speak­ing Ukraini­ans by attempt­ing to annul that law. The US State Depart­ment and Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry sought to assuage fears in 2014 by pledg­ingthat Kiev would pro­tect the sta­tus of Russ­ian. Those promis­es came to naught.

A 2017 law man­dat­ed that sec­ondary edu­ca­tion be con­duct­ed strict­ly in Ukrain­ian, which infu­ri­at­edHun­gary, Roma­nia, Bul­gar­ia, and Greece. Sev­er­al regions passed leg­is­la­tion ban­ningthe use of Russ­ian in pub­lic life. Quo­tas enforce Ukrain­ian usage on TV and radio. (This would be akin to Wash­ing­ton forc­ing Span­ish-lan­guage media to broad­cast most­ly in Eng­lish.)

And in Feb­ru­ary 2018, Ukraine’s supreme court struck down the 2012 region­al lan­guage law—the one Ker­ry promised east­ern Ukraini­ans would stay in effect.

Cur­rent­ly, Kiev is prepar­ing to pass a dra­con­ian law that would man­date the use of Ukrain­ian in most aspects of pub­lic life. It’s anoth­er exam­ple of Kiev alien­at­ing mil­lions of its own cit­i­zens, while claim­ing to embrace West­ern val­ues.

The price of will­ful blind­ness

These exam­ples are only a tiny frac­tion of Ukraine’s slide toward intol­er­ance, but they should be enough to point out the obvi­ous: Washington’s deci­sion to ignore the pro­lif­er­a­tion of armed neo-Nazi groups in a high­ly unsta­ble nation only led to them gain­ing more pow­er.

In essay after essay, DC for­eign-pol­i­cy heads have denied or cel­e­brat­ed the influ­ence of Ukraine’s far right. (Curi­ous­ly, the same ana­lysts vocif­er­ous­ly denounce ris­ing nation­al­ism in Hun­gary, Poland, and Italy as high­ly dan­ger­ous.) Per­haps think-tankers delud­ed them­selves into think­ing Kiev’s far-right phase would tuck­er itself out. More like­ly, they sim­ply embraced DC’s go-to strat­e­gy of “my enemy’s ene­my is my friend.” Either way, the ram­i­fi­ca­tions stretch far beyond Ukraine.

America’s back­ing of the Maid­an upris­ing, along with the bil­lions DC sinks into post-Maid­an Kiev, make it clear: Start­ing Feb­ru­ary 2014, Ukraine became Washington’s lat­est democ­ra­cy-spread­ing project. What we per­mit in Ukraine sends a green light to oth­ers.

By tol­er­at­ing neo-Nazi gangs and bat­tal­ions, state-led Holo­caust dis­tor­tion, and attacks on LGBT and the Roma, the Unit­ed States is telling the rest of Europe: “We’re fine with this.” The implications—especially at a time of a glob­al far-right revival—are pro­found­ly dis­turb­ing.

2. The essence of the book Ser­pen­t’s Walk  is pre­sent­ed on the back cov­er:

Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X.

It assumes that Hitler’s war­rior elite — the SS — did­n’t give up their strug­gle for a White world when they lost the Sec­ond World War. Instead their sur­vivors went under­ground and adopt­ed some of the tac­tics of their ene­mies: they began build­ing their eco­nom­ic mus­cle and buy­ing into the opin­ion-form­ing media. A cen­tu­ry after the war they are ready to chal­lenge the democ­rats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Amer­i­cans, who have begun to have their fill of gov­ern­ment-enforced mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism and ‘equal­i­ty.’

3. This process is described in more detail in a pas­sage of text, con­sist­ing of a dis­cus­sion between Wrench (a mem­ber of this Under­ground Reich) and a mer­ce­nary named Less­ing.

Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X; pp. 42–43.

. . . . The SS . . . what was left of it . . . had busi­ness objec­tives before and dur­ing World War II. When the war was lost they just kept on, but from oth­er places: Bogo­ta, Asun­cion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mex­i­co City, Colom­bo, Dam­as­cus, Dac­ca . . . you name it. They real­ized that the world is head­ing towards a ‘cor­po­racra­cy;’ five or ten inter­na­tion­al super-com­pa­nies that will run every­thing worth run­ning by the year 2100. Those super-cor­po­ra­tions exist now, and they’re already divid­ing up the pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing of food, trans­port, steel and heavy indus­try, oil, the media, and oth­er com­modi­ties. They’re most­ly con­glom­er­ates, with fin­gers in more than one pie . . . . We, the SS, have the say in four or five. We’ve been com­pet­ing for the past six­ty years or so, and we’re slow­ly gain­ing . . . . About ten years ago, we swung a merg­er, a takeover, and got vot­ing con­trol of a super­corp that runs a small but sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the Amer­i­can media. Not open­ly, not with bands and trum­pets or swastikas fly­ing, but qui­et­ly: one huge cor­po­ra­tion cud­dling up to anoth­er one and gen­tly munch­ing it up, like a great, gub­bing amoe­ba. Since then we’ve been replac­ing exec­u­tives, push­ing some­body out here, bring­ing some­body else in there. We’ve swing pro­gram con­tent around, too. Not much, but a lit­tle, so it won’t show. We’ve cut down on ‘nasty-Nazi’ movies . . . good guys in white hats and bad guys in black SS hats . . . lov­able Jews ver­sus fiendish Ger­mans . . . and we have media psy­chol­o­gists, ad agen­cies, and behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion spe­cial­ists work­ing on image changes. . . .

4. The broad­cast address­es the grad­ual remak­ing of the image of the Third Reich that is rep­re­sent­ed in Ser­pen­t’s Walk. In the dis­cus­sion excerpt­ed above, this process is fur­ther described.

Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X; pp. 42–44.

. . . . Hell, if you can con granny into buy­ing Sug­ar Turds instead of Bran Farts, then why can’t you swing pub­lic opin­ion over to a cause as vital and impor­tant as ours?’ . . . In any case, we’re slow­ly replac­ing those neg­a­tive images with oth­ers: the ‘Good Bad Guy’ rou­tine’ . . . ‘What do you think of Jesse James? John Dillinger? Julius Cae­sar? Genghis Khan?’ . . . The real­i­ty may have been rough, but there’s a sort of glit­ter about most of those dudes: mean hon­chos but respectable. It’s all how you pack­age it. Opin­ion is a godamned com­mod­i­ty!’ . . . It works with any­body . . . Give it time. Aside from the media, we’ve been buy­ing up pri­vate schools . . . and help­ing some pub­lic ones through phil­an­thropic foun­da­tions . . . and work­ing on the church­es and the Born Agains. . .

5. We have not­ed the pho­to of Bara­boo, Wis­con­sin high school stu­dents giv­ing the Nazi salute at their junior prom.

Now, Bara­boo Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can youth have erect­ed stat­ues of Ukrain­ian pogromist Simonon Petlu­ra (translit­er­at­ed spellings vary), along with Ukrain­ian Nazi lead­ers Roman Shukhevych and Stephan Ban­dera.

This is to be seen against the back­ground of the re-insti­tu­tion of OUN/B fas­cists in Ukraine. We  will resume our exam­i­na­tion of the return of fas­cism to Ukraine in a For The Record series to begin next week.

What a shame! US based Ukrain­ian Youth Union in sum­mer camp in Bara­boo, Wis­con­sin erect­ed mon­u­ments in hon­or of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, anti­semites, orga­niz­ers of Jew­ish pogroms, per­pe­tra­tors of Holo­caust, mass killings of Poles: Simon Petlu­ra, Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Ban­dera

6. To pro­vide his­tor­i­cal and polit­i­cal con­text to the dis­cus­sion, we present infor­ma­tion sup­ple­ment­ing pre­vi­ous analy­sis of the devel­op­ment of “The Chris­t­ian West.” It is with­in the cre­ation of The Chris­t­ian West that the foun­da­tion of the present, unfor­tu­nate devel­op­ments is to be found.In FTR #‘s 1058, 1059, 1060, we revis­it­ed the con­cept of “The Chris­t­ian West”: ” . . . . When it became clear that the armies of the Third Reich were going to be defeat­ed, it opened secret nego­ti­a­tions with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the West­ern Allies. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on both sides belonged to the transat­lantic finan­cial and indus­tri­al fra­ter­ni­ty that had active­ly sup­port­ed fas­cism. The thrust of these nego­ti­a­tions was the estab­lish­ment of The Chris­t­ian West. Viewed by the Nazis as a vehi­cle for sur­viv­ing mil­i­tary defeat, ‘The Chris­t­ian West’ involved a Hitler-less Reich join­ing with the U.S., Britain, France and oth­er Euro­pean nations in a transat­lantic, pan-Euro­pean anti-Sovi­et alliance. In fact, The Chris­t­ian West became a real­i­ty only after the ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties. The de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of Ger­many was abort­ed. Although a few of the more obvi­ous and obnox­ious ele­ments of Nazism were removed, Nazis were returned to pow­er at vir­tu­al­ly every lev­el and in almost every capac­i­ty in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. . . .”

In FTR #1009, we detailed “Chris­t­ian West” nego­ti­a­tions to have a Hitler-less Third Reich join with the West­ern Allies, under­tak­en by OSS rep­re­sen­ta­tives Allen Dulles and William Dono­van, net­work­ing with Prince Max Egon von Hohen­lo­he, a proxy for SD offi­cer Wal­ter Schel­len­berg.

In in his 1985 vol­ume Amer­i­can Swasti­ka, the late author Charles High­am pro­vides us with insight into the Chris­t­ian West con­cept, reveal­ing the extent to which these SS/OSS nego­ti­a­tions set the tem­plate for the post-World War II world, as well as the degree of res­o­nance that key Amer­i­cans, such as Allen Dulles, had with Nazi ide­ol­o­gy, anti-Semi­tism in par­tic­u­lar.

The post­war polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic real­i­ties of the Dulles, Hohen­lo­he, Schel­len­berg meet­ings were fur­ther solid­i­fied when William (Wild Bill) Dono­van entered into his “M” Project.

Impor­tant to note in this con­text, is the dom­i­nant role in world affairs played by car­tels, the fun­da­men­tal ele­ment in the indus­tri­al and finan­cial axis that was essen­tial to the cre­ation and per­pet­u­a­tion of fas­cism. Much of the Third Reich’s mil­i­tary indus­tri­al com­plex, the pri­ma­cy of Ger­many in the post­war EU, as well as the cor­re­la­tion between post­war Europe as con­struct­ed in the Chris­t­ian West nego­ti­a­tions and long-stand­ing Ger­man plans for Euro­pean dom­i­na­tion are deriv­a­tive of the pow­er of car­tels.

The Chris­t­ian West and “M” Projects:

  1. Revealed that Allen Dulles’ views res­onat­ed with Third Reich anti-Semi­tism, and that his opin­ions were shared by oth­er, like-mind­ed Amer­i­can pow­er bro­kers: ” . . . . He said that it would be unbear­able for any decent Euro­pean to think that the Jews might return some­day, and that there must be no tol­er­a­tion of a return of the Jew­ish pow­er posi­tions. . . . He made the curi­ous asser­tion that the Amer­i­cans were only con­tin­u­ing the war to get rid of the Jews and that there were peo­ple in Amer­i­ca who were intend­ing to send the Jews to Africa. . . .”
  2. Set the tem­plate for the post­war Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many and the EU: ” . . . . He [Dulles] reit­er­at­ed his desire for a greater Euro­pean polit­i­cal federation–and fore­saw the fed­er­al Ger­many that in fact took place. . . . Ger­many would be set up as the dom­i­nat­ing force in indus­try and agri­cul­ture in con­ti­nen­tal Europe, at the heart of a con­ti­nen­tal state run by Ger­many, the U.S.A., and Great Britain as a focus of trade. . . .”
  3. Were the vehi­cle for Allen Dulles to betray much of the Allied mil­i­tary plans for South­ern Europe to the Third Reich: “. . . . Dulles now pro­ceed­ed to sup­ply Hohen­lo­he with dol­lops of secret intel­li­gence, announc­ing that the U.S. Army would not land in Spain but, after con­quer­ing Tunisia, would advance from Africa toward the Ploesti oil fields to cut off the Ger­man oil sup­plies. He said it was like­ly the Allies would land in Sici­ly to cut off Rom­mel and con­trol Italy from there, and thus secure the advance in the Balka­ns. Hav­ing giv­en vir­tu­al­ly the entire bat­tle plan for Europe, top secret at the time, to one of Ger­many’s agents, Allen Dulles pro­ceed­ed to the almost unnec­es­sary rid­er that he had very good rela­tions with the Vat­i­can. . . .”
  4. Direct­ly fore­shad­owed the con­fronta­tion between the U.S. and the Sovi­et Union which became the Cold War.  “. . . . In oth­er meet­ings, Dulles . . . . pre­dict­ed that ‘the next world war would be between the U.S.A. and the Sovi­et Union.’ . . . .”
  5. Were the occa­sion for Dulles to laud the “genius” of Nazi pro­pa­gan­da min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels: “He . . . . described a recent speech by Dr. Goebbels as ‘a work of genius; I have rarely read a speech with such ratio­nal plea­sure.’ . . . .”

 Amer­i­can Swasti­ka by Charles High­am; Dou­ble­day & Co. [HC]; Copy­right 1985 by Charles High­am; ISBN 0–385-17874–3; pp. 191–194.

. . . . Dulles pressed ahead. He said that it would be unbear­able for any decent Euro­pean to think that the Jews might return some­day, and that there must be no tol­er­a­tion of a return of the Jew­ish pow­er posi­tions. He reit­er­at­ed his desire for a greater Euro­pean polit­i­cal federation–and fore­saw the fed­er­al Ger­many that in fact took place. . . . He made the curi­ous asser­tion that the Amer­i­cans were only con­tin­u­ing the war to get rid of the Jews and that there were peo­ple in Amer­i­ca who were intend­ing to send the Jews to Africa. This was Hitler’s dream of course: that the Jews would go to Mada­gas­car and stay there. . . .

. . . . Dulles now pro­ceed­ed to sup­ply Hohen­lo­he with dol­lops of secret intel­li­gence, announc­ing that the U.S. Army would not land in Spain but, after con­quer­ing Tunisia, would advance from Africa toward the Ploesti oil fields to cut off the Ger­man oil sup­plies. He said it was like­ly the Allies would land in Sici­ly to cut off Rom­mel and con­trol Italy from there, and thus secure the advance in the Balka­ns.

Hav­ing giv­en vir­tu­al­ly the entire bat­tle plan for Europe, top secret at the time, to one of Ger­many’s agents, Allen Dulles pro­ceed­ed to the almost unnec­es­sary rid­er that he had very good rela­tions with the Vat­i­can. . . .

. . . . In oth­er meet­ings, Dulles . . . . pre­dict­ed that “the next world war would be between the U.S.A. and the Sovi­et Union.” . . . . Dulles obtained a great deal of infor­ma­tion relat­ing to Ger­many and plans for its recon­struc­tion after the war. He . . . . described a recent speech by Dr. Goebbels as “a work of genius; I have rarely read a speech with such ratio­nal plea­sure.” . . . .

. . . . In July, [OSS chief William] Dono­van and the OSS began to take mat­ters into their own hands. No doubt inspired by the invig­o­rat­ing meet­ing in Switzer­land, Dono­van embarked on the so-called “M” project. . . .

. . . . By now, the Ger­man [Franz Von Papen] had read the details of the peace pro­pos­al on micro­film and learned that it was more or less on the same lines as the Dulles pro­pos­als. Ger­many would be set up as the dom­i­nat­ing force in indus­try and agri­cul­ture in con­ti­nen­tal Europe, at the heart f a con­ti­nen­tal state run by Ger­many, the U.S.A., and Great Britain as a focus of trade. . . .

 

 

Discussion

12 comments for “FTR #1072 Doin’ Wind Sprints with the Snake in Ukraine”

  1. This is an unex­pect­ed turn of events for Ukraine: The dis­trict admin­is­tra­tive court of Kiev ordered the rever­sal of the 2016 renam­ing of two main streets in Kiev. The streets were renamed after Stepan Ban­dera and Roman Shukhevych. The court has­n’t revealed the rea­son­ing for its rul­ing yet, and the actu­al­ly renam­ing of the streets back to their old names won’t take place until an appeal is con­sid­ered, so it’s pos­si­ble the return of the old names won’t actu­al­ly hap­pen, but giv­en the aggres­sive offi­cial embrace of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors as nation­al heroes it’s still pret­ty remark­able that this even being con­sid­ered at all:

    UNIAN.info

    Kyiv court over­turns City Coun­cil deci­sion on nam­ing avenues after Ban­dera, Shukhevych

    Until the appeal is con­sid­ered, the deci­sion of the Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tive Court of Kyiv to return the avenues their old names – Moscow Avenue and Gen­er­al Vatutin Avenue – will not take effect.

    23:10, 25 June 2019

    The Kyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tive Court over­turned the deci­sion of the Kyiv City Coun­cil to rename two avenues in hon­or of Stepan Ban­dera and Roman Shukhevych, lawyer Dmytro Bilovchuk told an UNIAN cor­re­spon­dent.

    He said that today, June 20, the court par­tial­ly sat­is­fied the claims of the direc­tor of the Insti­tute of Legal Pol­i­cy and Social Pro­tec­tion Ole­na Berezh­na and two pub­lic orga­ni­za­tions, by restor­ing the Sovi­et-era names of the two Kyiv avenues: Moskovsky [Moscow] (now – Ban­dera) Avenue and Gen­er­al Vatutin (now – Shukhevych) Avenue.

    How­ev­er, the lawyer not­ed that the court had not read out the rea­son­ing part of the rul­ing, there­fore he does not know what the court was guid­ed by when draft­ing its deci­sion.

    At the same time, the lawyer stat­ed that as soon as he receives the full text of the rul­ing, he will file an appeal.

    Also, he added that until the appeal is con­sid­ered, the deci­sion of the Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tive Court of Kyiv to return the avenues their old names will not take effect.

    ...

    ———-

    “Kyiv court over­turns City Coun­cil deci­sion on nam­ing avenues after Ban­dera, Shukhevych”, UNIAN.info, 06/25/2019

    “Also, he added that until the appeal is con­sid­ered, the deci­sion of the Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tive Court of Kyiv to return the avenues their old names will not take effect.”

    So this name rever­sal might hap­pen, but it’s an open ques­tion. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, the court’s rul­ing does not have the sup­port of Kiev’s May­or Vitaly Klitschko, who announced that the city will be appeal­ing the rul­ing:

    Jew­ish Tele­graph­ic Agency

    2 streets in Kiev will no longer be named for Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors

    By Cnaan Liphshiz
    June 27, 2019 5:59 am

    (JTA) — A court in Ukraine issued an injunc­tion against the nam­ing of two streets in Kiev after nation­al­ists who col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Nazis dur­ing World War II.

    The dis­trict admin­is­tra­tive court of Kiev ordered the munic­i­pal­i­ty to undo the 2016 renam­ing of two main streets for Stepan Ban­dera and Roman Shukhevych on Tues­day.

    But May­or Vitaly Klitschko on Wednes­day wrote on Face­book that the city will appeal the rul­ing, the Reg­num news agency report­ed. In the mean­time, the streets in ques­tion will be renamed Moscow Avenue and anoth­er will be named for Niko­lai Vatutin, a Sovi­et gen­er­al who was killed in 1944 by sol­diers from Shukhevych’s Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army, or UPA.

    ...

    Despite protests by Jews, this glo­ri­fi­ca­tion became main­stream fol­low­ing the 2014 over­throw of the gov­ern­ment of for­mer pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, whose crit­ics call him a cor­rupt Russ­ian stooge. It ush­ered in a wave of nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment.

    In 2015, a law passed mak­ing it ille­gal to insult the mem­o­ry of any anti-Sovi­et fight­er, includ­ing war crim­i­nals, declared a nation­al hero.

    In Lviv last year, hun­dreds of men marched wear­ing the SS uni­forms of Ukrain­ian col­lab­o­ra­tors in a city-approved event. At least three Ukrain­ian munic­i­pal­i­ties in recent years have unveiled stat­ues for Bandera’s deputy, Yaroslav Stet­sko, who dur­ing the Holo­caust open­ly called for “the exter­mi­na­tion of the Jews.”

    ———-

    “2 streets in Kiev will no longer be named for Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors” by Cnaan Liphshiz, Jew­ish Tele­graph­ic Agency, 06/27/2019

    But May­or Vitaly Klitschko on Wednes­day wrote on Face­book that the city will appeal the rul­ing, the Reg­num news agency report­ed. In the mean­time, the streets in ques­tion will be renamed Moscow Avenue and anoth­er will be named for Niko­lai Vatutin, a Sovi­et gen­er­al who was killed in 1944 by sol­diers from Shukhevych’s Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army, or UPA.”

    So this is going to be a sto­ry to watch, in part because it’s unclear at this point how much pop­u­lar sup­port there is for return­ing the names of those streets to Moscow Avenue and Niko­lai Vatutin Ave. But it’s worth not­ing that chang­ing the name of Vatutin Ave to Shukhevych Ave was­n’t uncon­tro­ver­sial at the time. There were protests. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, when the Kiev City Coun­cil vot­ed to rename the street Roman Shukhevych Avenue back in June of 2017, the Kyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tive Court banned the City Coun­cil from sign­ing and pub­lish­ing this res­o­lu­tion. As the arti­cle also notes, the renam­ing to Shukhevych Ave was done at the rec­om­men­da­tion of the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Remem­brance. So the Nazi-cod­dling Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Remem­brance will pre­sum­ably be involved in any upcom­ing fights over these name changes:

    Inter­fax-Ukraine

    Activists march­ing in protest against renam­ing Vatutin Avenue in Kyiv in hon­or of Shukhevych

    By Inter­fax-Ukraine.
    Pub­lished June 16, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Activists in Kyiv have start­ed a flash-mob under the mot­to ‘Vatutin Avenue Wel­comes You!’ against the idea of renam­ing the avenue in hon­or of Roman Shukhevych, for­mer ‘com­man­der-in-chief of the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army’.

    About 200 elder­ly peo­ple car­ry­ing pink flags with the inscrip­tion ‘Social­ists,’ accom­pa­nied by about 50 young and ath­let­i­cal­ly-built men, marched along Vatutin Avenue toward Moscow Bridge on the side­walk, not imped­ing traf­fic, an Inter­fax-Ukraine cor­re­spon­dent report­ed from the scene.

    At the same time, about 100 mem­bers of the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tion Nation­al Corps have also arrived at the scene.

    The atmos­phere at the venue is calm at the moment, and there are no law enforce­ment offi­cials.

    ...

    It was report­ed ear­li­er that a toponymy com­mis­sion at Kyiv City Coun­cil rec­om­mend­ed in June 2016 that the Kyiv may­or sub­mit a motion to the City Coun­cil on renam­ing a num­ber of city toponyms, includ­ing renam­ing Vatutin Avenue Roman Shukhevych Avenue, in line with a pro­pos­al by the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Remem­brance. How­ev­er, Kyiv City Coun­cil did not sup­port this pro­pos­al in Decem­ber 2016.

    On June 1, 2017, Kyiv City Coun­cil vot­ed to rename Gen. Vatutin Avenue Roman Shukhevych Avenue. How­ev­er, the Kyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tive Court banned the City Coun­cil from sign­ing and pub­lish­ing this res­o­lu­tion.

    Shukhevych is a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure in Ukraine, with some see­ing him as a nation­al hero and free­dom fight­er and oth­ers as a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor and war crim­i­nal.

    Roman Shukhevych was a mem­ber of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists and lat­er, after 1943, its leader. From Jan­u­ary 1944 until his death in 1950, Shukhevych was com­man­der-in-chief of the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army.

    Gen. of the Army Niko­lai Vatutin, a Hero of the Sovi­et Union, was com­man­der of the 1st Ukrain­ian Front that took part in lib­er­at­ing Kyiv and Ukraine from the Nazis. Vatutin was bad­ly wound­ed when his auto­mo­bile was attacked by Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army mem­bers near Rivne in Feb­ru­ary 1944 and lat­er died in hos­pi­tal.
    ———-

    “Activists march­ing in protest against renam­ing Vatutin Avenue in Kyiv in hon­or of Shukhevych”, Inter­fax-Ukraine, 06/16/2017

    “It was report­ed ear­li­er that a toponymy com­mis­sion at Kyiv City Coun­cil rec­om­mend­ed in June 2016 that the Kyiv may­or sub­mit a motion to the City Coun­cil on renam­ing a num­ber of city toponyms, includ­ing renam­ing Vatutin Avenue Roman Shukhevych Avenue, in line with a pro­pos­al by the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Remem­brance. How­ev­er, Kyiv City Coun­cil did not sup­port this pro­pos­al in Decem­ber 2016.”

    And note how, in addi­tion to the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Remem­brance (Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry), there were around 100 mem­bers of the Azov’s Nation­al Corps counter-protest­ing:

    ...
    About 200 elder­ly peo­ple car­ry­ing pink flags with the inscrip­tion ‘Social­ists,’ accom­pa­nied by about 50 young and ath­let­i­cal­ly-built men, marched along Vatutin Avenue toward Moscow Bridge on the side­walk, not imped­ing traf­fic, an Inter­fax-Ukraine cor­re­spon­dent report­ed from the scene.

    At the same time, about 100 mem­bers of the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tion Nation­al Corps have also arrived at the scene.
    ...

    And that points towards one of the more omi­nous out­comes to watch out for: Ukraine’s far right has long threat­ened to ‘march on Kiev’ and over­throw the gov­ern­ment. Pla­cat­ing far right had been the Poroshenko gov­ern­men­t’s pri­ma­ry defense against this threat. So it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that kind of street name bat­tle is exact­ly the kind of sym­bol­ic issue the far right could use as a dan­ger­ous ral­ly­ing cry.

    Along those lines, the city coun­cil of Kharkiv just vot­ed to return the name of Petro Hry­horenko Avenue back to Mar­shal Geor­gy Zhukov Avenue. This was a cou­ple of weeks after Nation­al Corps mem­bers tore down the stat­ue of Zhukov, a Sovi­et mil­i­tary hero, and cov­ered it with red paint. How did the Nation­al Corps respond to the city coun­cil vote revers­ing the name change? By stag­ing a mock exe­cu­tion of Kharkiv’s city coun­cil deputies. It’s an exam­ple of why we should­n’t assume the good news of these street name rever­sals won’t be fol­lowed by some real­ly bad news about Ukraine’s Nazis behav­ing like Nazis.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 3, 2019, 1:04 pm
  2. Ukraine polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment just expe­ri­enced anoth­er earth­quake over the week­end: a snap elec­tion called for by Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky (Zelen­skiy) result­ed in his par­ty win­ning big and poten­tial­ly hold­ing the first ever one-par­ty major­i­ty in the par­lia­ment. Ear­ly results put Zelen­sky’s Ser­vant of the Peo­ple Par­ty at more than 42 per­cent of the vote. The Oppo­si­tion Bloc (for­mer­ly the Par­ty of Regions) came in sec­ond place with around 12 per­cent of the sup­port. Three oth­er small­er pro-EU par­ties were each expect­ed to get around 6–9 per­cent of the vote. Zelen­sky main­tained his pledged to So if Zelen­sky’s par­ty can end up with a major­i­ty of the MP it can form its own rul­ing gov­ern­ment but oth­er­wise it will pre­sum­ably need to form a coali­tion with one of those small­er pro-EU par­ties.

    A key part of Zelen­sky’s polit­i­cal appeal has been his pledge to tack­le cor­rup­tion. Recall that anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paigns were a key part of the Poroshenko gov­ern­men­t’s cam­paign strat­e­gy, man­i­fest­ing as the “lus­tra­tion laws” demand­ed by the far right and designed to sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly remove and inves­ti­gate peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment. The lus­tra­tion laws also legal­ly banned crit­i­cisms of Ukraine’s Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor groups like the UPA and OUN. Lus­tra­tion was sup­port­ed by Kiev’s West­ern back­ers fol­low­ing the 2014 Maid­an protests. Inter­est­ing­ly, Kiev’s West­ern back­ers don’t seem to be very sup­port­ive of Zelen­sky sim­i­lar calls for inves­ti­ga­tions into the Poroshenko gov­ern­men­t’s cor­rup­tion, with G7 gov­ern­ments com­ing out against this lat­est round of lus­tra­tion.

    One area that does appear to have West­ern gov­ern­ments pleased along with inter­na­tion­al investors is the hope that Zelen­sky will fol­low through with the IMF’s “reform” pro­gram. This is basi­cal­ly going to be aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies because that’s what vir­tu­al­ly all IMF ‘reform’ pack­ages are cen­tered on. Tax cuts for busi­ness and the gut­ting of pub­lic pro­grams, with the promise that this will cre­ate a boom­ing econ­o­my that rarely ever emerges. Zelen­sky has hint­ed at his com­mit­ment to these ‘reforms’ by sug­gest­ing that the next prime min­is­ter should be a “tech­no­crat­ic” and an “inde­pen­dent econ­o­mist”. That’s a strong sig­nal that he’s going to be imple­ment­ing harsh aus­ter­i­ty and using garbage sup­ply-side eco­nom­ic argu­ments to jus­ti­fy it to the pub­lic. So Zelen­sky has achieved a his­toric lev­el of pop­u­lar sup­port, but he also has the sup­port of the inter­na­tion­al invest­ment class that demands exact­ly the kind of aus­ter­i­ty the right­ful­ly hates. How’s that going to work out?

    The oth­er obvi­ous ques­tion raised by the like­ly embrace of aus­ter­i­ty is whether or not the inevitable back­lash is going to end up cre­at­ing a polit­i­cal oppor­tu­ni­ty for Ukraine’s far right. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle reminds us, part of Zelen­sky’s sup­port comes from oli­garch Ihor Kolo­moisky, an ear­ly spon­sor of the neo-Nazi Azov Batal­lion. So it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how Kolo­moisky’s sup­port for Zelenksy’s par­ty shapes the like­ly far right threats against the gov­ern­ment, espe­cial­ly if the IMF aus­ter­i­ty ‘reforms’ end up pre­dictably destroy­ing Zelen­sky’s pop­u­lar sup­port:

    The Finan­cial Times

    Zelensky’s par­ty set to tri­umph in Ukraine par­lia­men­tary elec­tion
    Like­ly major­i­ty for novice pres­i­dent rais­es hopes for reform

    Roman Olearchyk in Kiev
    07/22/2019 4:47 am

    Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelensky’s par­ty of neo­phyte politi­cians appears to have deci­sive­ly won Sunday’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion in Ukraine, poten­tial­ly becom­ing the country’s first polit­i­cal par­ty since inde­pen­dence in 1991 to sin­gle-hand­ed­ly muster a rul­ing major­i­ty.

    On Mon­day, with almost half of the bal­lot count­ed by the elec­tion com­mis­sion, Mr Zelensky’s Ser­vant of the Peo­ple par­ty had won more than 42 per cent of the vote.

    The result, if con­firmed, sug­gests the novice president’s new­ly formed par­ty stands to secure more than 240 seats in par­lia­ment — a com­fort­able major­i­ty — cement­ing his pow­er in form­ing the country’s next gov­ern­ment.

    Tomas Fiala, head of Kiev-based invest­ment bank Drag­on Cap­i­tal, said the ini­tial reac­tion from investors to the elec­tion result was “pos­i­tive”.

    “Investors want Zelen­sky to be in a posi­tion to be able to deliv­er on his reform promises...without being blocked by vest­ed inter­ests,” Mr Fiala said. He said the government’s pri­or­i­ties should be com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion, strength­en­ing the rule of law by reform­ing Ukraine’s courts and sanc­tion­ing the sale of agri­cul­tur­al land.

    Named after a TV series in which Mr Zelen­sky, a for­mer come­di­an, played an hon­est pres­i­dent, the Ser­vant of the Peo­ple par­ty is com­posed large­ly of fresh-faced politi­cians, includ­ing activists and entre­pre­neurs. Some can­di­dates among its ranks have been linked to Igor Kolo­moisky, an oli­garch whose tele­vi­sion chan­nel pro­vid­ed strong cov­er­age of the poll.

    Mr Zelen­sky called par­lia­men­tary elec­tions upon tak­ing office in late May, pledg­ing to ush­er a new gen­er­a­tion into pow­er. He had beat­en vet­er­an politi­cian Petro Poroshenko in the April 21 pres­i­den­tial run-off with 73 per cent of the vote, gar­ner­ing a wave of anti-estab­lish­ment sup­port in the war-scarred coun­try.

    After cast­ing his vote in Kiev on Sun­day, Mr Zelen­sky said he envi­sioned a tech­no­crat as prime min­is­ter.

    “I think that this per­son should be a very pro­fes­sion­al economist...a com­plete­ly inde­pen­dent per­son” from out­side pol­i­tics, he said.

    Strip­ping immu­ni­ty from pros­e­cu­tion for MPs remained a pri­or­i­ty, Mr Zelen­sky added in com­ments geared towards address­ing con­cerns about polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion.

    Ahead of the vote, investors expressed hope that Mr Zelensky’s par­ty would keep Kiev in a multi­bil­lion dol­lar IMF reform pro­gramme by form­ing a reformist coali­tion with the new Voice par­ty, found­ed by pop singer Svy­atoslav Vakarchuk. Also stacked with new polit­i­cal faces, it is one of three small­er pro-west­ern par­ties that exit polls pro­ject­ed had mus­tered between 6 and 9 per cent of the vote.

    Speak­ing from his party’s cam­paign head­quar­ters after the vote, Mr Zelen­sky invit­ed Mr Vakarchuk to hold coali­tion talks.

    But as the bet­ter than expect­ed elec­tion results were announced on Mon­day Dmytro Razumkov, leader of the Ser­vant of the Peo­ple par­ty, ques­tioned whether his camp would need coali­tion part­ners.

    “It’s prob­a­bly not nec­es­sary to hold talks about form­ing a coalition...we see our pret­ty good results,” he said.

    Mr Zelen­sky has pre­served Kiev’s defi­ant stance towards Moscow and ruled out part­ner­ing with the pro-Russ­ian Oppo­si­tion Plat­form — For Life par­ty. It fin­ished sec­ond with 11–13 per cent sup­port, accord­ing to exit polls.

    Vot­ing took place nation­wide with the excep­tion of Russ­ian-annexed Crimea and break­away east­ern regions that Kiev and its west­ern back­ers con­sid­er to be “occu­pied” by Rus­sia.

    Mr Zelen­sky, who has pledged to speed up reforms while keep­ing Kiev on a path for EU and Nato inte­gra­tion, has been warm­ly greet­ed by Kiev’s for­eign back­ers. But his recent call to purge offi­cials who served under his pre­de­ces­sor was con­demned by G7 coun­tries.

    Con­cern deep­ened ahead of Sunday’s vote as law enforce­ment author­i­ties con­duct­ed probes on Fri­day and Sat­ur­day into busi­ness­es linked to Mr Poroshenko and into the country’s largest steel fac­to­ry, which is owned by Arcelor­Mit­tal, the top nation­al investor.

    Dur­ing the cam­paign, Mr Zelen­sky accused Mr Poroshenko of cor­rup­tion and ArcelorMittal’s fac­to­ry, locat­ed in his home­town of Kryviy Rih, of pol­lu­tion.

    ———-

    “Zelensky’s par­ty set to tri­umph in Ukraine par­lia­men­tary elec­tion” by Roman Olearchyk, The Finan­cial Times, 07/22/2019

    “The result, if con­firmed, sug­gests the novice president’s new­ly formed par­ty stands to secure more than 240 seats in par­lia­ment — a com­fort­able major­i­ty — cement­ing his pow­er in form­ing the country’s next gov­ern­ment.”

    The first ever one par­ty par­lia­men­tary major­i­ty. It’s quite a his­toric moment for Ukraine, espe­cial­ly giv­en the con­text of the civ­il war of that last 5 years. And one of the key ele­ments of this wide­spread pop­u­lar sup­port is appar­ent­ly the IMF’s aus­ter­i­ty agen­da, as Zelen­sky sig­nals with his call for a pro­fes­sion­al econ­o­mist tech­no­crat­ic prime min­is­ter. That’s why inter­na­tion­al investors are so pleased with the results:

    ...
    Tomas Fiala, head of Kiev-based invest­ment bank Drag­on Cap­i­tal, said the ini­tial reac­tion from investors to the elec­tion result was “pos­i­tive”.

    “Investors want Zelen­sky to be in a posi­tion to be able to deliv­er on his reform promises...without being blocked by vest­ed inter­ests,” Mr Fiala said. He said the government’s pri­or­i­ties should be com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion, strength­en­ing the rule of law by reform­ing Ukraine’s courts and sanc­tion­ing the sale of agri­cul­tur­al land.

    ...

    Ahead of the vote, investors expressed hope that Mr Zelensky’s par­ty would keep Kiev in a multi­bil­lion dol­lar IMF reform pro­gramme by form­ing a reformist coali­tion with the new Voice par­ty, found­ed by pop singer Svy­atoslav Vakarchuk. Also stacked with new polit­i­cal faces, it is one of three small­er pro-west­ern par­ties that exit polls pro­ject­ed had mus­tered between 6 and 9 per cent of the vote.

    Speak­ing from his party’s cam­paign head­quar­ters after the vote, Mr Zelen­sky invit­ed Mr Vakarchuk to hold coali­tion talks.

    But as the bet­ter than expect­ed elec­tion results were announced on Mon­day Dmytro Razumkov, leader of the Ser­vant of the Peo­ple par­ty, ques­tioned whether his camp would need coali­tion part­ners.

    “It’s prob­a­bly not nec­es­sary to hold talks about form­ing a coalition...we see our pret­ty good results,” he said.

    ...

    After cast­ing his vote in Kiev on Sun­day, Mr Zelen­sky said he envi­sioned a tech­no­crat as prime min­is­ter.

    I think that this per­son should be a very pro­fes­sion­al economist...a com­plete­ly inde­pen­dent per­son” from out­side pol­i­tics, he said.
    ...

    At the same time, Kiev’s West­ern back­ers don’t appear to be very inter­est­ed in see­ing Zelen­sky pur­sue the anti-cor­rup­tion agen­da he cam­paigned on if that means an inves­ti­ga­tion of the West­ern-backed Poroshenko gov­ern­ment:

    ...

    Mr Zelen­sky called par­lia­men­tary elec­tions upon tak­ing office in late May, pledg­ing to ush­er a new gen­er­a­tion into pow­er. He had beat­en vet­er­an politi­cian Petro Poroshenko in the April 21 pres­i­den­tial run-off with 73 per cent of the vote, gar­ner­ing a wave of anti-estab­lish­ment sup­port in the war-scarred coun­try.

    ...

    Strip­ping immu­ni­ty from pros­e­cu­tion for MPs remained a pri­or­i­ty, Mr Zelen­sky added in com­ments geared towards address­ing con­cerns about polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion.

    ...

    Mr Zelen­sky, who has pledged to speed up reforms while keep­ing Kiev on a path for EU and Nato inte­gra­tion, has been warm­ly greet­ed by Kiev’s for­eign back­ers. But his recent call to purge offi­cials who served under his pre­de­ces­sor was con­demned by G7 coun­tries.

    Con­cern deep­ened ahead of Sunday’s vote as law enforce­ment author­i­ties con­duct­ed probes on Fri­day and Sat­ur­day into busi­ness­es linked to Mr Poroshenko and into the country’s largest steel fac­to­ry, which is owned by Arcelor­Mit­tal, the top nation­al investor.

    Dur­ing the cam­paign, Mr Zelen­sky accused Mr Poroshenko of cor­rup­tion and ArcelorMittal’s fac­to­ry, locat­ed in his home­town of Kryviy Rih, of pol­lu­tion.
    ...

    So Zelen­sky wins big on an anti-cor­rup­tion and ‘reform’ agen­da, he calls for a snap elec­tions, wins that elec­tion, and now his par­ty might have enough votes to form its own gov­ern­ment. And while Kiev’s West­ern back­ers are very much in favor of the ‘reform’ (aus­ter­i­ty), they aren’t so keen on seen a new round of anti-cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions tar­get­ed at the out­go­ing Poroshenko gov­ern­ment. Poroshenko him­self is obvi­ous­ly not hap­py about the idea either. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle also describes, Poroshenko is char­ac­ter­iz­ing this new lus­tra­tion push as a Krem­lin plot. He also lists exam­ples of elect­ed offi­cials who could, unfair­ly in his mind, end up being tar­get­ed by lus­tra­tion this time around. He lists Right Sec­tor neo-Nazi leader Dmytro Yarosh on that list. It points towards the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the out­go­ing gov­ern­ment offi­cials and the oli­garchs behind them might end up try­ing to enlist the help of the far right mili­tias in intim­i­dat­ing the gov­ern­ment into end the anti-cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions.

    At the same time, the arti­cle notes that one of the con­cerns the IMF has with the lus­tra­tion law is that it might be use to push out the cur­rent head Ukraine’s cen­tral bank and replace them with some­one close to Kolo­moisky. This is a touchy sub­ject because Kolo­moisky is locked in an ongo­ing legal dis­pute with the cen­tral bank over the 2016 nation­al­iza­tion of his Pri­vat­Bank, pre­vi­ous­ly the largest bank in the coun­try. The IMF feels that nation­al­iza­tion as a major vic­to­ry in the push to clean up Ukraine’s bank­ing sec­tor. So Kolo­moisky, spon­sor of the neo-Nazi Azov Batal­lion, has an addi­tion­al incen­tive to pro­mote a new round of lus­tra­tion at the same time Poroshenko appears to be enlist­ing Right Sec­tor in oppos­ing it. That’s all part of what makes the lat­est lus­tra­tion push poten­tial­ly so explo­sive

    bne IntelliNews

    Ukraine’s pres­i­dent under fire over plan to expand lus­tra­tion

    By bne IntelliNews
    July 15, 2019

    The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine is not com­pa­ra­ble to the one after the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, the G7 ambas­sadors said in a state­ment on July 12, react­ing to a pro­pos­al by new­ly elect­ed Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­skiy to expand the lus­tra­tion of the nation’s offi­cials to those who held high-lev­el posts fol­low­ing the 2014 Euro­maid­an, includ­ing for­mer pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko.

    “Elec­toral change and polit­i­cal rota­tion are the norm in democ­ra­cies. Indis­crim­i­nate bans on all par­tic­i­pants in exec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive gov­er­nance are not,” read the state­ment of the G7 ambas­sadors.

    “Since 2014, we have been appre­cia­tive of reform progress achieved in some impor­tant areas. While it is right to hold those guilty of abus­ing their office to account, the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine today is, in our con­vic­tion, not com­pa­ra­ble to that after the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty [in 2013–2014].”

    Zelen­skiy wants the lus­tra­tion law to apply to Ukrain­ian MPs and gov­ern­ment mem­bers of this peri­od as well as oth­ers hold­ing high-lev­el posi­tions, the president’s media office said in a state­ment on July 11.

    “I com­mu­ni­cate with offi­cials of dif­fer­ent lev­els on a dai­ly basis and realise: it is a hope­less diag­no­sis. White and blue, red and white, orange, bur­gundy, pink — in fact, they are all the same. All of them do not care,” the pres­i­den­tial media office quot­ed Zelen­skiy as say­ing. “I think the least we can do now is to per­ma­nent­ly deprive them all of the oppor­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in state gov­er­nance.”

    The next day, July 12, draft amend­ments to the lus­tra­tion law were sub­mit­ted by Zelen­skiy to the nation’s par­lia­ment. Accord­ing to the doc­u­ment, the ban on hold­ing impor­tant offi­cial posi­tions for 10 years should apply, specif­i­cal­ly, to the gov­er­nor of the Nation­al Bank of Ukraine (NBU), the head of the Anti­mo­nop­oly Com­mit­tee of Ukraine, head of the State Prop­er­ty Fund (FPF), the sec­re­tary of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty and Defence Coun­cil (NSDC) and heads of defence enter­pris­es that held their posi­tions from Feb­ru­ary 23, 2014 to May 19, 2019.

    “Pro-Russ­ian revanche”

    The state­ment from G7 ambas­sadors shows Zelenskiy’s pro­posed lus­tra­tion bill has also caused con­cern out­side Ukraine. Steven Pifer, for­mer US ambas­sador to Ukraine, tweet­ed on July 12 that it was “an over­reach”. “G7 ambas­sadors in Ukraine are cor­rect,” he added.

    Mean­while, Poroshenko believes that Zelen­sky’s idea to extend the effect of the law on lus­tra­tion to Poroshenko-era pub­lic offi­cials would result in vacat­ing offices for the “fifth col­umn”.

    “This [lus­tra­tion] list is very much rem­i­nis­cent of anoth­er list — the list of those on whom the aggres­sor state [Rus­sia] has imposed sanc­tions, the peo­ple who defend­ed Ukraine, who defend­ed the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty,” he said on July 12. “This ini­tia­tive has been inspired by anti-Ukrain­ian forces and is proof of an undis­guised pro-Russ­ian revanche, as some want to replace patri­ot­ic politi­cians with pup­pets obey­ing orders from the Krem­lin.”

    Accord­ing to Poroshenko, many rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the new mod­ern Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics who have proved their pro­fes­sion­al­ism and love for Ukraine by real deeds could be lus­trat­ed in line with the declared cri­te­ria.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent men­tioned, specif­i­cal­ly, the leader of the Crimean Tatar peo­ple and a mem­ber of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc fac­tion in the nation’s par­lia­ment, Mustafa Jemilev, one of the lead­ers of Ukraine’s nation­al­ists, MP Dmytro Yarosh, the incum­bent Defence Min­is­ter Stepan Poltorak, and For­eign Min­is­ter Pavlo Klimkin.

    Cen­tral bank’s inde­pen­dence under threat?

    The inclu­sion of the NBU’s head could fuel sus­pi­cions among Kyiv-based experts and reform-mind­ed offi­cials about the pos­si­ble replace­ment of the NBU’s gov­er­nor, Yakiv Smolii, and his deputies after Zelen­skiy’s vic­to­ry. The new pres­i­dent is wide­ly con­sid­ered to be spon­sored and men­tored by oli­garch Ihor Kolo­moisky, who is an implaca­ble ene­my of the NBU.

    Kolo­moisky is locked a snow­balling legal dis­pute over the Decem­ber 2016 nation­al­i­sa­tion of his bank, Pri­vat­Bank. On April 18, the Kyiv Admin­is­tra­tive Court backed Kolo­moisky’s law­suit, rul­ing that Pri­vat­Bank’s nation­al­i­sa­tion was unlaw­ful. This deci­sion had unset­tled the likes of the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF), which saw the nation­al­i­sa­tion of the bank as a major vic­to­ry for the government’s efforts to clean up a rot­ten bank­ing sec­tor.

    On April 8, Kolo­moisky said that he was going to seek $2bn in com­pen­sa­tion from the gov­ern­ment. “I don’t need [to get back] Pri­vat­Bank. But there was $2bn in cap­i­tal there. Let them [the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment] return it to me and there will be no prob­lems,” Kolo­moisky said in an inter­view with the Eko­nomich­na Prav­da online out­let.

    ...

    Zelen­skiy’s head of staff

    On May 21, Zelen­skiy appoint­ed Andriy Bohdan as head of the pres­i­den­tial staff. Bohdan is a chief lawyer for Kolo­moisky.

    Accord­ing to Ukrain­ian anti-cor­rup­tion activists, Bohdan’s appoint­ment vio­lates the incum­bent lus­tra­tion leg­is­la­tion because the offi­cial worked as the Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion­er for Anti­cor­rup­tion Pol­i­cy in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment led by pro-Russ­ian PM Myko­la Azarov (2010–2014). Dur­ing the Euro­maid­an, Bohdan did not resign.

    In May, Kyiv-based NGO Pub­lic Lus­tra­tion Com­mit­tee filed a law­suit in a local court over Bohdan’s appoint­ment. The organ­i­sa­tion believes that the lus­tra­tion law defines the posi­tion of the head of the pres­i­den­tial staff as the one which is sub­ject to gov­ern­ment cleans­ing mea­sures (lus­tra­tion).

    On top of this, more than 25,000 Ukraini­ans have already signed the elec­tron­ic peti­tion for the dis­missal of Bohdan from his post, which is the nec­es­sary min­i­mum for the pres­i­dent to con­sid­er the issue. How­ev­er, Zelen­skiy refus­es to dis­miss Bohdan.

    ———-

    “Ukraine’s pres­i­dent under fire over plan to expand lus­tra­tion”, bne IntelliNews, 07/15/2019

    “Zelen­skiy wants the lus­tra­tion law to apply to Ukrain­ian MPs and gov­ern­ment mem­bers of this peri­od as well as oth­ers hold­ing high-lev­el posi­tions, the president’s media office said in a state­ment on July 11.”

    Zelen­sky wants to treat the last gov­ern­ment the same way the last gov­ern­ment treat­ed the pre­vi­ous pre-Maid­an gov­ern­ment: as so cor­rupt that offi­cials from that gov­ern­ment need to be kept out of the new gov­ern­ment. It’s the kind of pitch that pre­sum­ably appealed to much of the Ukrain­ian elec­torate giv­en the elec­tion results. But the G7 sees the Poroshenko gov­ern­ment as fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent and less cor­rupt than the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment and the US ambas­sador to Ukraine agrees with that assess­ment:

    ...
    The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine is not com­pa­ra­ble to the one after the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, the G7 ambas­sadors said in a state­ment on July 12, react­ing to a pro­pos­al by new­ly elect­ed Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­skiy to expand the lus­tra­tion of the nation’s offi­cials to those who held high-lev­el posts fol­low­ing the 2014 Euro­maid­an, includ­ing for­mer pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko.

    “Elec­toral change and polit­i­cal rota­tion are the norm in democ­ra­cies. Indis­crim­i­nate bans on all par­tic­i­pants in exec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive gov­er­nance are not,” read the state­ment of the G7 ambas­sadors.

    “Since 2014, we have been appre­cia­tive of reform progress achieved in some impor­tant areas. While it is right to hold those guilty of abus­ing their office to account, the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine today is, in our con­vic­tion, not com­pa­ra­ble to that after the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty [in 2013–2014].”

    ...

    The state­ment from G7 ambas­sadors shows Zelenskiy’s pro­posed lus­tra­tion bill has also caused con­cern out­side Ukraine. Steven Pifer, for­mer US ambas­sador to Ukraine, tweet­ed on July 12 that it was “an over­reach”. “G7 ambas­sadors in Ukraine are cor­rect,” he added.
    ...

    So the same inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty that is demand­ing harsh aus­ter­i­ty for the Ukrain­ian peo­ple wants to see Zelen­sky go easy on the last gov­ern­ment.

    Poroshenko, unsur­pris­ing­ly, is por­tray­ing this all as a Krem­lin plot. A Krem­lin plot tar­get­ing patri­ot­ic politi­cians like neo-Nazi Right Sec­tor leader Dmytro Yarosh:

    ...
    Mean­while, Poroshenko believes that Zelen­sky’s idea to extend the effect of the law on lus­tra­tion to Poroshenko-era pub­lic offi­cials would result in vacat­ing offices for the “fifth col­umn”.

    “This [lus­tra­tion] list is very much rem­i­nis­cent of anoth­er list — the list of those on whom the aggres­sor state [Rus­sia] has imposed sanc­tions, the peo­ple who defend­ed Ukraine, who defend­ed the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty,” he said on July 12. “This ini­tia­tive has been inspired by anti-Ukrain­ian forces and is proof of an undis­guised pro-Russ­ian revanche, as some want to replace patri­ot­ic politi­cians with pup­pets obey­ing orders from the Krem­lin.”

    Accord­ing to Poroshenko, many rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the new mod­ern Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics who have proved their pro­fes­sion­al­ism and love for Ukraine by real deeds could be lus­trat­ed in line with the declared cri­te­ria.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent men­tioned, specif­i­cal­ly, the leader of the Crimean Tatar peo­ple and a mem­ber of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc fac­tion in the nation’s par­lia­ment, Mustafa Jemilev, one of the lead­ers of Ukraine’s nation­al­ists, MP Dmytro Yarosh, the incum­bent Defence Min­is­ter Stepan Poltorak, and For­eign Min­is­ter Pavlo Klimkin.
    ...

    Adding to the com­plex polit­i­cal dynam­ic here is the fact that lus­tra­tion could end up replac­ing the IMF-favored head of the Ukrain­ian cen­tral bank (the NBU) and Kolo­moisky has a big ongo­ing dis­pute with cen­tral bank of the nation­al­ism of Pri­vat­Bank. A nation­al­iza­tion that the IMF feels was the right move:

    ...
    Cen­tral bank’s inde­pen­dence under threat?

    The inclu­sion of the NBU’s head could fuel sus­pi­cions among Kyiv-based experts and reform-mind­ed offi­cials about the pos­si­ble replace­ment of the NBU’s gov­er­nor, Yakiv Smolii, and his deputies after Zelen­skiy’s vic­to­ry. The new pres­i­dent is wide­ly con­sid­ered to be spon­sored and men­tored by oli­garch Ihor Kolo­moisky, who is an implaca­ble ene­my of the NBU.

    Kolo­moisky is locked a snow­balling legal dis­pute over the Decem­ber 2016 nation­al­i­sa­tion of his bank, Pri­vat­Bank. On April 18, the Kyiv Admin­is­tra­tive Court backed Kolo­moisky’s law­suit, rul­ing that Pri­vat­Bank’s nation­al­i­sa­tion was unlaw­ful. This deci­sion had unset­tled the likes of the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF), which saw the nation­al­i­sa­tion of the bank as a major vic­to­ry for the government’s efforts to clean up a rot­ten bank­ing sec­tor.

    On April 8, Kolo­moisky said that he was going to seek $2bn in com­pen­sa­tion from the gov­ern­ment. “I don’t need [to get back] Pri­vat­Bank. But there was $2bn in cap­i­tal there. Let them [the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment] return it to me and there will be no prob­lems,” Kolo­moisky said in an inter­view with the Eko­nomich­na Prav­da online out­let.
    ...

    On top of all that is the fact that Zelen­sky’s chief of staff, Andriy Bohdan, is a top lawyer for Kolo­moisky and Bohdan is, him­self, some­one who’s appoint­ment might tech­ni­cal­ly vio­late the exist­ing lus­tra­tion law. So at the same time there’s oppo­si­tion to Zelen­sky’s new push for lus­tra­tion, there’s also a call for the old lus­tra­tion laws to apply against Zelen­sky’s appoint­ments:

    ...
    Zelen­skiy’s head of staff

    On May 21, Zelen­skiy appoint­ed Andriy Bohdan as head of the pres­i­den­tial staff. Bohdan is a chief lawyer for Kolo­moisky.

    Accord­ing to Ukrain­ian anti-cor­rup­tion activists, Bohdan’s appoint­ment vio­lates the incum­bent lus­tra­tion leg­is­la­tion because the offi­cial worked as the Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion­er for Anti­cor­rup­tion Pol­i­cy in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment led by pro-Russ­ian PM Myko­la Azarov (2010–2014). Dur­ing the Euro­maid­an, Bohdan did not resign.

    In May, Kyiv-based NGO Pub­lic Lus­tra­tion Com­mit­tee filed a law­suit in a local court over Bohdan’s appoint­ment. The organ­i­sa­tion believes that the lus­tra­tion law defines the posi­tion of the head of the pres­i­den­tial staff as the one which is sub­ject to gov­ern­ment cleans­ing mea­sures (lus­tra­tion).

    On top of this, more than 25,000 Ukraini­ans have already signed the elec­tron­ic peti­tion for the dis­missal of Bohdan from his post, which is the nec­es­sary min­i­mum for the pres­i­dent to con­sid­er the issue. How­ev­er, Zelen­skiy refus­es to dis­miss Bohdan.

    So while Kiev’s back­ers in the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty are clear­ly excit­ed about the prospects of a new round of aus­ter­i­ty and pro-inter­na­tion­al investor leg­is­la­tion, there’s a lot less enthu­si­asm for his anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign now that the anti-cor­rup­tion isn’t exclu­sive­ly tar­get­ing the Par­ty of Regions/Opposition Bloc. Some might call that a rather cor­rupt anti-cor­rup­tion posi­tion.

    At the same time, the point about not want­i­ng to nor­mal­ize lus­tra­tion after each elec­tion is a valid com­plaint. It would just be a lot more valid if the last gov­ern­ment had­n’t been so cor­rupt.

    At this point, it’s look­ing like aus­ter­i­ty is basi­cal­ly guar­an­teed for Ukraine’s future while Zelen­sky’s sig­na­ture anti-cor­rup­tion dri­ve is very much an open ques­tion. So Zelen­sky bet­ter enjoy his wide­spread pop­u­lar­i­ty while he’s still got it. Hope­ful­ly he uses it for some­thing that will actu­al­ly help the Ukrain­ian pub­lic.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 22, 2019, 2:08 pm
  3. Fol­low­ing up on the report of mon­u­ments recent­ly erect­ed in hon­or of Simon Petlu­ra, Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Ban­dera at a Ukrain­ian Youth Union sum­mer camp in Bara­boo, Wis­con­sin, here’s an inter­est­ing report in the Kyiv Post about the New York-based Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can Youth Asso­ci­a­tion camp and resort. The report most­ly just describes the kinds of activ­i­ties that go on that camp and notes that it’s one of four camps run by the group in the US. The Bara­boo camp is also one of these camps. So giv­en the reports of mon­u­ments those mon­u­ments at the camp in Bara­boo, we should­n’t be sur­prised that the descrip­tion of activ­i­ties at the camp in New York includes a focus on Ban­dera along with lessons on “Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion and dis­tor­tion of Ukraine’s his­to­ry in the past and present attempts by Moscow to per­vert the truth and per­cep­tions about Ukraine using “hybrid-war” tech­niques”:

    Kyiv Post

    Ukrain­ian youth orga­ni­za­tion CYM thriv­ing in Amer­i­ca

    By Askold Krushel­ny­cky.
    Pub­lished July 29, 2019.
    Updat­ed July 29, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    ELLENVILLE, New York — The Kyiv Post joined hun­dreds of peo­ple who came to a Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can Youth Asso­ci­a­tion camp and resort in New York state for an extend­ed week­end that includ­ed cel­e­brat­ing America’s Inde­pen­dence Day and com­mem­o­rat­ing Ukrain­ian heroes who fought through­out the ages for their country’s free­dom.

    The asso­ci­a­tion is known by the Ukrain­ian acronym CYM – pro­nounced “SUM” – of its name “Spilka Ukrayin­skoyi Molo­di.” Along with the Ukrain­ian Scout­ing move­ment, Plast, it is one of the two main youth groups that flow­ered in the post-World War II dias­po­ra and taught younger gen­er­a­tions about their her­itage and ensured that the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty remained vibrant.

    CYM has four camps in var­i­ous parts of the U.S. The New York one named after the near­est small town of 4,000 res­i­dents, Ellenville, is set in pic­turesque undu­lat­ing coun­try­side near the Catskill For­est Pre­serve nation­al park and its ter­ri­to­ry includes hills, woods and a stream filled with trout and bass. It was bought by the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty in the 1960s.

    The asso­ci­a­tion orga­nizes three camps there every sum­mer by dif­fer­ent age groups. They each run for two weeks, begin­ning with one for the old­er mem­bers – between 14 and very ear­ly 20s, fol­lowed by a camp for ages 7 to 13. The third camp con­cen­trates most­ly on sports, includ­ing soc­cer, vol­ley ball, track, weightlift­ing, and soft­ball for ages 10 to 14.

    This year there are around 100 par­tic­i­pants in each camp, split rough­ly equal­ly between boys and girls. They stay in sin­gle-sex bar­racks with 12 in each, using sleep­ing bags on mil­i­tary-style wood­en and can­vas cots. Each bar­rack has bath­rooms and show­ers and air con­di­tion­ing to bring relief from sum­mer humid­i­ty and tem­per­a­tures which can rise into the high 30s cel­sius.

    The first two camps have an edu­ca­tion­al com­po­nent, with lessons about Ukraine’s his­to­ry and con­tem­po­rary events. But the instruc­tors delib­er­ate­ly try to style them more as inter­ac­tive dis­cus­sions rather than school­room lessons. These talks are leav­ened with choir singing and out­door activ­i­ties such as hikes and swim­ming.

    Par­ents pay $500 per week to send their chil­dren to the camp. There are sub­si­dies avail­able for fam­i­lies who have finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties.

    There are ele­ments of mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline in CYM, as there are in oth­er youth orga­ni­za­tions such as the Scout­ing move­ment. They learn drill so that they can march or assem­ble in for­ma­tion.

    They wear uni­forms for Sun­day church ser­vices and on some oth­er spe­cial occa­sions. Uni­forms con­sist of gray shirts with match­ing trousers or skirts. Dif­fer­ent col­ored ties denote age groups with green for the youngest, bur­gundy for teenagers, blue for young adults and brown for the over-thir­ties. CYM mem­bers around the world wear the same uni­form except for a shoul­der patch say­ing which coun­try they belong to.

    But dai­ly morn­ing and evening assem­blies they wore more relaxed out­fits where the uni­for­mi­ty came in the green t‑shirts every­one wore embla­zoned with a tree design.

    There is a camp com­man­der who has a team of around 10 per­sons, some in the old­er teens, who help orga­nize the camp sched­ule and act as instruc­tors for the var­i­ous activ­i­ties. They also act as coun­sel­lors to the camp par­tic­i­pants advis­ing them, lis­ten­ing to any com­plaints or prob­lems and gen­er­al­ly look­ing after their well­be­ing. One of the team is always some­one with med­ical qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

    Among the most pop­u­lar activ­i­ties are mil­i­tary-style games where campers are divid­ed into two teams that have to dodge or cap­ture their oppo­nents by mov­ing stealth­ily and orga­niz­ing ambush­es. There are also dis­co dances and bon­fires where the campers sing, recite poems, and per­form com­e­dy skits of their own inven­tion.

    On a typ­i­cal day camp mem­bers wake ear­ly and do gym­nas­tic exer­cis­es and runs before a for­mal assem­bly, around 8 am, where they line up in ranks to haul up the Ukrain­ian and Amer­i­can flags that flut­ter above a cen­tral, grassy parade ground sur­round­ed by the sleep­ing quar­ters and the camp admin­is­tra­tion build­ing.

    Then they march off to the can­teen for break­fast before pro­ceed­ing to the first of the sched­uled activ­i­ties which might be a les­son or an out­door activ­i­ty.

    The top­ics that fea­tured in talks for the old­er mem­bers this month includ­ed the his­to­ry of Ukraine’s strug­gles in the 20th cen­tu­ry for free­dom. Much time was devot­ed to the leader of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists, Stepan Ban­dera, as 2019 sees the 110th anniver­sary of his birth and 60th anniver­sary of his assas­si­na­tion by the Sovi­et KGB.

    Oth­er top­ics includ­ed the more recent his­to­ry of the Euro­Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion, the mass demon­stra­tions that drove Krem­lin-backed for­mer Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych from pow­er in 2014, trig­ger­ing Moscow’s war against Ukraine that con­tin­ues today.

    Speak­ers also talked about Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion and dis­tor­tion of Ukraine’s his­to­ry in the past and present attempts by Moscow to per­vert the truth and per­cep­tions about Ukraine using “hybrid-war” tech­niques.

    CYM sprang up in the 1920s in the Sovi­et Ukraine imposed by the Krem­lin on a defeat­ed, short-lived Ukrain­ian Repub­lic whose army had been crushed by com­mu­nist forces. It began as a secret soci­ety for stu­dents and oth­er young peo­ple who want­ed to keep alive the spir­it of a free Ukraine.

    The group, orga­nized in five-mem­ber cells, spread rapid­ly caus­ing alarm to the Sovi­et gov­ern­ment. Com­mu­nist agents pen­e­trat­ed the groups and in 1929 hun­dreds of its mem­bers were round­ed up and sen­tenced to the Gulags from which few returned.

    One of CYM’s founders, Myko­la Pavlushkov, and some 300 mem­bers were exe­cut­ed by fir­ing squad at one of the Soviet’s first con­cen­tra­tion camps in the Solovet­sky Islands on the White Sea in 1937 as part of the Kremlin’s 20th anniver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 1917 Bol­she­vik Rev­o­lu­tion.

    After World War II, CYM start­ed to be rebuilt by refugees from Ukraine, tens of thou­sands of whom lived for sev­er­al years in dis­placed per­sons’ camps in Ger­many and Aus­tria. Ban­dera sup­port­ers were instru­men­tal in reviv­ing CYM in the West after the war and the asso­ci­a­tion is clear­ly streaked with their style of impas­sioned Ukrain­ian patri­o­tism.

    It also flour­ished in every coun­try with sig­nif­i­cant Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ties includ­ing the Unit­ed King­dom, Cana­da, Ger­many, Bel­gium, France, the Nether­lands, Argenti­na, Brazil, Aus­tralia and New Zealand. CYM has some 1,600 mem­bers in the U.S. in its 28 branch­es in 12 of America’s states.

    The man head­ing up, for the fourth time, the camp for old­er CYM mem­bers this year is Myko­la Hryck­owian. His par­ents came to the U.S. after World War Two and both had staunch­ly patri­ot­ic back­grounds.

    Hryck­owian said: “The pri­ma­ry pur­pose of these camps is to give the kids a chance to be in a camp envi­ron­ment where they learn inde­pen­dence and can social­ize among their peers.” Also, he said, to allow the par­tic­i­pants “to get some Ukrain­ian spir­it – they learn about their ances­tral home­land.”

    Hryck­owian said anoth­er impor­tant aspect was to encour­age CYM mem­bers to take part in the wider Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty. He said that he had seen many young peo­ple who had spent sum­mers at the camps, who became active mem­bers of the dias­po­ra, have got mar­ried and had chil­dren of their own who are now attend­ing the camps.

    This year the camp strad­dled the July Fourth Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions and, on July 7, the day called “Svy­a­to Heroyiv,” a fes­ti­val of heroes, when many dias­po­ra Ukraini­ans com­mem­o­rate Ukraini­ans who have led the strug­gle for their country’s free­dom in years past.

    Hryck­owian said that part of CYM’s role is to instill patri­o­tism among its mem­bers for both Ukraine and the coun­try they live in.

    He said: “We are cit­i­zens of the Unit­ed States – the best democ­ra­cy in the world. We teach that you’re born here, you are an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen and that’s to be respect­ed. Our name is Ukrain­ian Amer­i­can Youth Asso­ci­a­tion. On Fourth of July the kids came out at mid­night and they sang the Amer­i­can nation­al anthem. So, yes, we try to teach our mem­bers to be good cit­i­zens.”

    Hun­dreds of par­ents of the campers and oth­ers from the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty vis­it­ed the camp to take part in events com­mem­o­rat­ing the impor­tant Amer­i­can and Ukrain­ian dates. Some of the vis­i­tors stayed at a lit­tle hotel oper­at­ed by CYM which caters to vis­i­tors from the Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty. Oth­ers pitched their own tents with­in the resort.

    On the Sat­ur­day evening there was an out­door con­cert for the campers and vis­i­tors with a tra­di­tion­al dance group and a choir from the dias­po­ra and rock band called “Doox” (pro­nounced “Dookh”) from Ukraine fol­lowed by a dance with music that spanned waltzes to dis­cotheque.

    On July 7, with CYM mem­bers in full uni­form, and vis­i­tors also tak­ing part, there was a church ser­vice at the camp’s own chapel. That was fol­lowed by a wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mo­ny at a near­by mon­u­ment ded­i­cat­ed to all Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence heroes.

    Dmitri Lenzcuk, as chief instruc­tor, was respon­si­ble for work­ing out the sched­ule of lessons and activ­i­ties for the camp. He is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­can whose grand­par­ents arrived in the U.S. after the war and he said he was three or four years old when he first put on a CYM uni­form.

    Lenczuk, who lives in Pas­sa­ic, New Jer­sey, where he is an Eng­lish teacher at a school, said: “My num­ber one focus is help­ing chil­dren to devel­op a nation­al con­scious­ness about Ukraine while not liv­ing in Ukraine. Coun­ter­ing assim­i­la­tion. A lot of the kids who come to this camp are already sec­ond, third, fourth gen­er­a­tion Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can. The pur­pose of CYM is to con­tin­ue that nation­al con­scious­ness. But also as a teacher, as with my own stu­dents in school, I want them to have prac­ti­cal knowl­edge and to devel­op their own lead­er­ship skills.”

    ...

    Adri­an Dlabo­ha, the leader of CYM in the U.S., said he wants to encour­age CYM mem­bers to vis­it Ukraine to increase with first­hand expe­ri­ence their own knowl­edge of the coun­try and to even help in its devel­op­ment: “We would like them to trav­el there, become vol­un­teers in dif­fer­ent aspects of nation-building……..there’s a great need to engage with those peo­ple who are direct­ly or indi­rect­ly affect­ed by the war.”

    He also aims to cre­ate a wel­com­ing envi­ron­ment for more recent Ukrain­ian immi­grants to the U.S. since 1991 inde­pen­dence to encour­age them to join CYM. He said that a new chap­ter of CYM is about to be cre­at­ed in the Brook­lyn area of New York City, where many new­com­ers from Ukraine have set­tled.

    Since Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence both CYM and Plast have replant­ed their move­ments in the orig­i­nal Ukrain­ian soil they sprang from and both have helped fill the vac­u­um caused by the dis­ap­pear­ance of the Sovi­et-era “Kom­so­mol” and “Pio­neer” youth orga­ni­za­tions that were rid­dled with com­mu­nist and athe­is­tic ide­ol­o­gy.

    CYM start­ed to recruit mem­bers in Ukraine short­ly before 1991 inde­pen­dence and in 1996 Ukrain­ian CYM offi­cial­ly became a ful­ly-fledged mem­ber of the association’s world­wide struc­ture.

    Since the con­flict began in Ukraine in 2014, CYM has orga­nized sum­mer camps for chil­dren affect­ed by the war. Christya Bihun, a long­time CYM mem­ber from New York City, has been one of the peo­ple run­ning the “Bla­hodiynyi Tabir” or “Benev­o­lent Camp” for the last four years.

    This year, she said it will be held from July 29 to August 10 at an upgrad­ed for­mer Sovi­et-era children’s vaca­tion resort near the city of Cherni­hiv.

    Up to 120 chil­dren will take part with the costs being cov­ered by CYM orga­ni­za­tions in var­i­ous west­ern coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S.

    Bihun said that local branch­es of CYM in Ukraine coor­di­nate with mil­i­tary cen­ters and non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions around the coun­try to select chil­dren for the camps. Many of the chil­dren have par­ents who are serv­ing in the mil­i­tary or who have been killed in the war. Oth­ers live in front­line areas in the east Ukrain­ian con­flict areas of Luhan­sk and Donet­sk, while some are refugees who have fled from ter­ri­to­ry occu­pied by pro-Russ­ian forces.

    She said: “Many of these chil­dren think that nobody knows or cares about them; that they are invis­i­ble. When they real­ize that some peo­ple, even from far-away Amer­i­ca, say ‘we know who you are, we know what you are going through and what hap­pened’ their eyes grow big and they are com­plete­ly tak­en aback.”

    ———-

    “Ukrain­ian youth orga­ni­za­tion CYM thriv­ing in Amer­i­ca” by Askold Krushel­ny­cky; Kyiv Post; 07/29/2019

    “Lenczuk, who lives in Pas­sa­ic, New Jer­sey, where he is an Eng­lish teacher at a school, said: “My num­ber one focus is help­ing chil­dren to devel­op a nation­al con­scious­ness about Ukraine while not liv­ing in Ukraine. Coun­ter­ing assim­i­la­tion. A lot of the kids who come to this camp are already sec­ond, third, fourth gen­er­a­tion Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can. The pur­pose of CYM is to con­tin­ue that nation­al con­scious­ness. But also as a teacher, as with my own stu­dents in school, I want them to have prac­ti­cal knowl­edge and to devel­op their own lead­er­ship skills.””

    Coun­ter­ing assim­i­la­tion and help­ing the kids devel­op­ing a nation­al con­scious­ness about Ukraine while not liv­ing in Ukraine. That was the descrip­tion of Dmitri Lenzcuk, the cam­p’s chief instruc­tor who is respon­si­ble for work­ing out the lessons and activ­i­ties for the camp. And a big part of the devel­op­ment of that nation­al con­scious­ness about Ukraine appears to be teach­ing the kids about Stepan Bandera...along with lessons on Russ­ian “hybrid war­fare”, which is pre­sum­ably a ‘les­son’ about how the kids should ignore all the hor­ri­ble things they might hear about Ban­dera:

    ...
    The top­ics that fea­tured in talks for the old­er mem­bers this month includ­ed the his­to­ry of Ukraine’s strug­gles in the 20th cen­tu­ry for free­dom. Much time was devot­ed to the leader of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists, Stepan Ban­dera, as 2019 sees the 110th anniver­sary of his birth and 60th anniver­sary of his assas­si­na­tion by the Sovi­et KGB.

    Oth­er top­ics includ­ed the more recent his­to­ry of the Euro­Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion, the mass demon­stra­tions that drove Krem­lin-backed for­mer Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych from pow­er in 2014, trig­ger­ing Moscow’s war against Ukraine that con­tin­ues today.

    Speak­ers also talked about Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion and dis­tor­tion of Ukraine’s his­to­ry in the past and present attempts by Moscow to per­vert the truth and per­cep­tions about Ukraine using “hybrid-war” tech­niques.
    ...

    The indoc­tri­na­tion of kids with Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism. That’s exact­ly what we should expect and that’s what we find. So there isn’t any­thing par­tic­u­lar­ly sur­pris­ing in that descrip­tion of these Ukrain­ian Youth camps. Unfor­tu­nate­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 8, 2019, 10:13 am
  4. Oh look, a Ukrain­ian court just ruled in favor C14 in its law­suit against the Ukraine news out­let Hro­madske TV. The suit was over Hro­madske TV label­ing C14 a neo-Nazi group in a May 2018 tweet. That’s seri­ous­ly what the suit was about. A lawyer for C14 asserts that the group, while nation­al­ist, is not neo-Nazi in nature and label­ing it a neo-Nazi group hurt its “busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion”. And the Kyiv City Com­mer­cial Court agreed, rul­ing that Hro­madske TV could­n’t estab­lish that C14 — a group named after David Lane’s “14 words” white supra­macist slo­gan — was actu­al­ly a neo-Nazi group. As a result, Hro­madske TV has to retract its tweet and pay 3,500 hryvnyas ($136) in court fees for C14.

    It’s a sign of how far along the main­stream­ing of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi groups is in Ukraine: if you call the open neo-Nazis “neo-Nazis”, they can sue you and win:

    Radio Free Europe
    Radio Lib­er­ty

    Ukrain­ian Court Rules Against News Out­let That Called Vio­lent Far-Right Group ‘Neo-Nazi’

    By Christo­pher Miller
    August 06, 2019 15:29 GMT

    KYIV — A Ukrain­ian court has ruled in favor of a vio­lent far-right orga­ni­za­tion labeled a “nation­al­ist hate group” by the U.S. State Depart­ment that claimed a news out­let dam­aged its rep­u­ta­tion when it labeled it as “neo-Nazi” in a tweet last year.

    The inde­pen­dent Hro­madske TV said in a state­ment on August 6 that the Kyiv City Com­mer­cial Court decid­ed that the out­let could not pro­vide suf­fi­cient evi­dence to sup­port its claim that C14, which takes its name from a 14-word phrase used by white suprema­cists, and whose own mem­bers have admit­ted to join­ing it because of its neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy, was, in fact, a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion.

    The rul­ing orders Hro­madske TV to retract its tweet and pay 3,500 hryvnyas ($136) in court fees for C14.

    “The deci­sion is incor­rect and ille­gal, it intro­duces an egre­gious ten­den­cy that sup­press­es free­dom of speech. We will appeal it,” said Oksana Tchaikovs­ka, an attor­ney for Hro­madske TV.

    Hro­madske TV’s edi­tor in chief, Angeli­na Karyak­i­na, said she was “sur­prised by the deci­sion.”

    ...

    Karyak­i­na said that Hro­madske stood by its char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of C14 as neo-Nazi despite the rul­ing.

    RFE/RL could not reach C14 mem­bers for com­ment. Hro­madske TV said C14 had declined its request for com­ment on the rul­ing, but it spoke to a lawyer who rep­re­sent­ed the group at a pre­vi­ous court hear­ing.

    “The posi­tion of C14 is that they are not a neo-Nazi group in their activ­i­ties or in the nature of their activ­i­ties,” Vic­tor Moroz was quot­ed by Hro­madske TV as say­ing. “They are a nation­al­ist group, but they are by no means neo-Nazi.”

    He said that Hro­madske TV call­ing the orga­ni­za­tion neo-Nazi harmed the “busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion” of C14.

    Oth­er media out­lets, as well as human rights orga­ni­za­tions such as the Kharkiv Human Rights Pro­tec­tion Group, have also referred to C14 as neo-Nazi.

    The tweet that led to the law­suit was pub­lished by Hro­madske TV’s Eng­lish-lan­guage account on May 4, 2018.

    In the tweet, Hro­madske called C14 a “neo-Nazi group” when report­ing that sev­er­al of its mem­bers had seized a Brazil­ian man who fought on the side of Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratists against Ukrain­ian forces dur­ing the five-year war still rag­ing in the coun­try’s east­ern Don­bas region.

    The Brazil­ian, Rafael Lus­varghi, had been dis­cov­ered ear­li­er by RFE/RL in Kyiv.

    C14, whose social-media pages show the group’s use of white-suprema­cist sym­bols, has a long his­to­ry of vio­lence. Two of its mem­bers, Andriy Medved­ko and Denys Pol­ishchuk, are cur­rent­ly on tri­al in Ukraine for the high-pro­file 2015 mur­der of Ukrain­ian reporter Oles Buzy­na. They deny the charges.

    Oth­er mem­bers of C14 have been behind sev­er­al vio­lent attacks against minor­i­ty groups, includ­ing the Romany com­mu­ni­ty. In some cas­es, they have live-streamed and post­ed videos and pho­tographs of those attacks on social media.

    The group’s vio­lent actions and imagery, along with its hate­ful posts have led to it being banned from Face­book, com­pa­ny offi­cials told RFE/RL.

    Nev­er­the­less, C14 has received state fund­ing for two years run­ning from the Min­istry of Youth and Sport to con­duct “nation­al-patri­ot­ic edu­ca­tion” cours­es at sum­mer camps for the coun­try’s youth.

    ———-

    “Ukrain­ian Court Rules Against News Out­let That Called Vio­lent Far-Right Group ‘Neo-Nazi’ ” by Christo­pher Miller, Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty, 08/06/2019

    “The inde­pen­dent Hro­madske TV said in a state­ment on August 6 that the Kyiv City Com­mer­cial Court decid­ed that the out­let could not pro­vide suf­fi­cient evi­dence to sup­port its claim that C14, which takes its name from a 14-word phrase used by white suprema­cists, and whose own mem­bers have admit­ted to join­ing it because of its neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy, was, in fact, a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion.”

    The Kyiv City Com­mer­cial Court appears to enjoy the same kind of trolling neo-Nazis are known to love. It’s also some­what com­i­cal that C14 claims its “busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion” was dam­aged by the label, a claim that pre­sumes some peo­ple are doing busi­ness with C14 and don’t real­ize its a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tions. So it’s worth keep­ing in mind one of the pri­ma­ry ‘busi­ness­es’ that C14 engages in at this point: run­ning state-fund­ed youth camps:

    ...
    RFE/RL could not reach C14 mem­bers for com­ment. Hro­madske TV said C14 had declined its request for com­ment on the rul­ing, but it spoke to a lawyer who rep­re­sent­ed the group at a pre­vi­ous court hear­ing.

    “The posi­tion of C14 is that they are not a neo-Nazi group in their activ­i­ties or in the nature of their activ­i­ties,” Vic­tor Moroz was quot­ed by Hro­madske TV as say­ing. “They are a nation­al­ist group, but they are by no means neo-Nazi.”

    He said that Hro­madske TV call­ing the orga­ni­za­tion neo-Nazi harmed the “busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion” of C14.

    ...

    C14, whose social-media pages show the group’s use of white-suprema­cist sym­bols, has a long his­to­ry of vio­lence. Two of its mem­bers, Andriy Medved­ko and Denys Pol­ishchuk, are cur­rent­ly on tri­al in Ukraine for the high-pro­file 2015 mur­der of Ukrain­ian reporter Oles Buzy­na. They deny the charges.

    ...

    Nev­er­the­less, C14 has received state fund­ing for two years run­ning from the Min­istry of Youth and Sport to con­duct “nation­al-patri­ot­ic edu­ca­tion” cours­es at sum­mer camps for the coun­try’s youth.

    Who knows, maybe being labeled a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion lim­it­ed the num­ber of par­ents who want­ed to send their kids to the C14 youth camps for “nation­al-patri­ot­ic edu­ca­tion.” Prob­lem solved.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 15, 2019, 1:11 pm
  5. There’s a dis­turb­ing, if pre­dictable, emer­gency unfold­ing in Ukraine right now: In protest of the peace plan agen­da that was at the heart of the plat­form that got Ukraine’s pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­skiy elect­ed in a land­slide, Ukraine’s far right par­ties have staged a large street march through Kyiv to oppose any such peace plans. Even more dis­turb­ing is that for­mer pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko is open­ly back­ing this anti-peace protest.

    On Octo­ber 1, Ukraine, Rus­sia, and medi­a­tors Ger­many and France signed a ten­ta­tive agree­ment with the sep­a­ratists on guide­lines for hold­ing local elec­tions in east­ern Ukraine and spe­cial self-gov­ern­ing sta­tus fol­low­ing the removal of all armed forces for the sep­a­ratist areas. This pro­pos­al trig­gered an ini­tial round of street protests through Kyiv, pri­mar­i­ly by the far right.

    The far right protests have con­tin­ued. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle also notes, the Zelen­skiy gov­ern­ment had been try­ing appease the far right in recent days. Zelen­skiy him­self held a closed-door meet­ing with far right ‘nation­al­ist’ groups last week. And on Sun­day night, Ukrain­ian prime min­is­ter Olek­siy Hon­charuk spoke at a ral­ly orga­nized by Andriy Medved­ko, a promi­nent mem­ber of C14 (it’s labeled “S14” in the arti­cle). There are pic­tures avail­able.

    And now we’re get­ting reports that the far right has issued a 10-day ulti­ma­tum to Zelenskey that warns of a “polit­i­cal col­lapse of the gov­ern­ment” and a “social explo­sion that will sweept them away” if Zelen­skiy does­n’t end the peace nego­ti­a­tions:

    Far-right, nation­al­ist orga­niz­ers tak­ing cred­it for Octo­ber 14 ral­lies in Kyiv: Issue a 10-day ulti­ma­tum to Zelen­skiy, warn of “polit­i­cal col­lapse of the gov­ern­ment”, “social explo­sion that will sweep them [gov­er­ment] away” ‑while ex-Pres­i­dent Poroshenko’s par­ty embraces protests pic.twitter.com/gnGfeep7kf&mdash, Olek­siy Kuz­menko (@kooleksiy) Octo­ber 15, 2019

    So it’s look­ing like Zelen­skiy’s efforts to direct­ly pla­cate the far right have failed and now the far right is using the threat of polit­i­cal vio­lence to end a peace process that was over­whelm­ing­ly sup­port­ed by the elec­torate. And the for­mer Poroshenko forces might be sup­port­ive of that threat:

    The Guardian

    Far right and nation­al­ists march in Kyiv to oppose east Ukraine peace plan

    Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent calls on pro­test­ers to avoid vio­lence as he is crit­i­cised for ‘capit­u­la­tion’

    Andrew Roth in Kyiv

    Mon 14 Oct 2019 09.53 EDT
    Last mod­i­fied on Mon 14 Oct 2019 10.52 EDT

    Thou­sands of peo­ple have joined a march through Kyiv led by far right groups and nation­al­ist par­ties to protest against changes to a peace plan for east Ukraine that they have called a “capit­u­la­tion” to Rus­sia.

    Police deployed around Ukraine’s cap­i­tal closed off sev­er­al major avenues for the demon­stra­tions, as the Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent, Volodymyr Zelen­skiy, urged par­tic­i­pants to avoid vio­lence. He also warned that images from the protests could be used by Russ­ian state media to dis­cred­it Ukraine.

    ...

    The protests are part of a back­lash against Zelenskiy’s poli­cies on the war against Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists in east Ukraine. This month, the pres­i­dent approved a plan that would allow elec­tions in sep­a­ratist-held Ukraine and then grant spe­cial sta­tus to the region on the con­di­tion the vote was seen as free and fair.

    Zelen­skiy main­tains a 70% approval rat­ing but recent polling showed a major­i­ty of Ukraini­ans opposed giv­ing spe­cial sta­tus to the regions held by sep­a­ratists. Dur­ing a 14-hour press con­fer­ence last week, Zelen­skiy said end­ing the war was the most impor­tant mis­sion of his pres­i­den­cy and that he would have to meet with Vladimir Putin to achieve that goal.

    But his state­ments have sparked anger among for­mer fight­ers and have been crit­i­cised by mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion. One vet­er­an on Mon­day called it a “betray­al”. Yevhen Pylypenko, one of sev­er­al men wear­ing fatigues on their way to a protest near a stat­ue of the 19th-cen­tu­ry Ukrain­ian writer Taras Shevchenko, said the plan was a step towards “for­giv­ing the peo­ple who fought against us. I think that’s unfor­giv­able.”

    The for­mer Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko has also opposed the plan, which would amend the stalled Min­sk agree­ment nego­ti­at­ed under his pres­i­den­cy.

    “We will nev­er agree to that,” Poroshenko, now the leader of the Euro­pean Sol­i­dar­i­ty par­ty, said last week. “We feel sol­i­dar­i­ty with the present actions and calls heard from among vet­er­ans and we will not allow the ruin of the Ukrain­ian state.”

    Zelen­skiy has sought a com­pro­mise with nation­al­ist groups, and report­ed­ly met last week with the lead­ers of vet­er­ans’ organ­i­sa­tions, as well as promi­nent far-right lead­ers.

    Many are con­tro­ver­sial. On Sun­day night, the Ukrain­ian prime min­is­ter, Olek­siy Hon­charuk, spoke at a ral­ly in sup­port of vet­er­ans report­ed­ly organ­ised by Andriy Medved­ko, a promi­nent mem­ber of the rad­i­cal nation­al­ist organ­i­sa­tion S14. Sokyra Peruna, a white-nation­al­ist met­al band whose sup­port­ers have made Nazi salutes at their con­certs, also played at the bar where the event was held.

    Hon­charuk on Mon­day con­firmed he spoke at the event to sup­port vet­er­ans but said he was not famil­iar with the band, say­ing he did not endorse any “hate-filled ide­ol­o­gy – nei­ther Nazism, nor fas­cism, nor com­mu­nism”.

    ———-

    “Far right and nation­al­ists march in Kyiv to oppose east Ukraine peace plan” by Andrew Roth, The Guardian, 10/14/2019

    “The protests are part of a back­lash against Zelenskiy’s poli­cies on the war against Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists in east Ukraine. This month, the pres­i­dent approved a plan that would allow elec­tions in sep­a­ratist-held Ukraine and then grant spe­cial sta­tus to the region on the con­di­tion the vote was seen as free and fair.

    Peace with the sep­a­ratist is the ‘line’ that can­not be crossed for Ukraine’s far right. Even Petro Poroshenko, who Zelen­skiy sound­ed defeat­ed in this year’s elec­tion, appears to be voic­ing his sup­port of the far right protests. That’s how much Ukraine’s embrace of the far right has bro­ken Ukraine’s democ­ra­cy and poten­tial­ly doomed the coun­try to per­pet­u­al war:

    ...
    Zelen­skiy main­tains a 70% approval rat­ing but recent polling showed a major­i­ty of Ukraini­ans opposed giv­ing spe­cial sta­tus to the regions held by sep­a­ratists. Dur­ing a 14-hour press con­fer­ence last week, Zelen­skiy said end­ing the war was the most impor­tant mis­sion of his pres­i­den­cy and that he would have to meet with Vladimir Putin to achieve that goal.

    But his state­ments have sparked anger among for­mer fight­ers and have been crit­i­cised by mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion. One vet­er­an on Mon­day called it a “betray­al”. Yevhen Pylypenko, one of sev­er­al men wear­ing fatigues on their way to a protest near a stat­ue of the 19th-cen­tu­ry Ukrain­ian writer Taras Shevchenko, said the plan was a step towards “for­giv­ing the peo­ple who fought against us. I think that’s unfor­giv­able.”

    The for­mer Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko has also opposed the plan, which would amend the stalled Min­sk agree­ment nego­ti­at­ed under his pres­i­den­cy.

    “We will nev­er agree to that,” Poroshenko, now the leader of the Euro­pean Sol­i­dar­i­ty par­ty, said last week. “We feel sol­i­dar­i­ty with the present actions and calls heard from among vet­er­ans and we will not allow the ruin of the Ukrain­ian state.”
    ...

    As one of the marchers put it, the pro­posed peace plan was a step towards “for­giv­ing the peo­ple who fought against us. I think that’s unfor­giv­able.” That’s how doomed Ukraine is at this point. The only accept­able res­o­lu­tion to the civ­il war is the mil­i­tary slaugh­ter of the sep­a­ratists.

    And as a sign of just how pow­er­ful the far right is in Ukraine, both Zelen­skiy and Prime Min­is­ter Olek­siy Hon­charuk have been hold­ing direct meet­ings with far right groups. Meet­ings that clear­ly failed in pla­cat­ing the far right’s demands. Large­ly because those demands appear to be that there is no peace plan at all:

    ...
    Zelen­skiy has sought a com­pro­mise with nation­al­ist groups, and report­ed­ly met last week with the lead­ers of vet­er­ans’ organ­i­sa­tions, as well as promi­nent far-right lead­ers.

    Many are con­tro­ver­sial. On Sun­day night, the Ukrain­ian prime min­is­ter, Olek­siy Hon­charuk, spoke at a ral­ly in sup­port of vet­er­ans report­ed­ly organ­ised by Andriy Medved­ko, a promi­nent mem­ber of the rad­i­cal nation­al­ist organ­i­sa­tion S14. Sokyra Peruna, a white-nation­al­ist met­al band whose sup­port­ers have made Nazi salutes at their con­certs, also played at the bar where the event was held.

    Hon­charuk on Mon­day con­firmed he spoke at the event to sup­port vet­er­ans but said he was not famil­iar with the band, say­ing he did not endorse any “hate-filled ide­ol­o­gy – nei­ther Nazism, nor fas­cism, nor com­mu­nism”.
    ...

    As Ukraine’s far right has made clear, the only end to Ukraine’s civ­il war that they will accept is one where the sep­a­ratists have been mil­i­tar­i­ly crushed. For­give­ness is unfor­giv­able. Keep in mind that the pri­ma­ry dri­ver of the sep­a­ratism in the first place was the promi­nent role these far right groups were giv­en in the post-Maid­an gov­ern­ment and the fact that these groups are overt­ly big­ot­ed against Ukraine’s eth­nic Russ­ian pop­u­la­tion. So, in dis­turbing­ly pre­dictable fash­ion, the same groups that sparked this civ­il war are now cred­i­bly threat­en­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment if it tries to end it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 15, 2019, 1:07 pm
  6. Uh oh. We’re get­ting more warn­ings about an immi­nent Russ­ian inva­sion plot threat­en­ing Ukraine. A false-flag plot that will be designed to pro­vide a pre­text for a Russ­ian inva­sion. And it’s a warn­ing based on cred­i­ble intel­li­gence. That’s the warn­ing we were get­ting from both the Biden admin­is­tra­tion and the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice on Fri­day. An extreme­ly explic­it warn­ing at that, with White House press sec­re­tary Jen Psa­ki blunt­ly assert, “Rus­sia is lay­ing the ground­work to have the option of fab­ri­cat­ing a pre­text for inva­sion, includ­ing through sab­o­tage activ­i­ties and infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions, by accus­ing Ukraine of prepar­ing an immi­nent attack against Russ­ian forces in east­ern Ukraine.” Sab­o­tage and infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions, includ­ing accu­sa­tions that Ukraine is prepar­ing an immi­nent attack against Russ­ian forces in east­ern Ukraine.

    Once senior Biden admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial was warn­ing of pos­si­ble false flag attacks in Kiev that could cre­ate the pre­text for a coup. Ukraine’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice expand­ed on the plot by sug­gest­ing it could involve an attack on Russ­ian troops sta­tioned in ‘a dis­put­ed region of Moldo­va’, which is obvi­ous­ly a ref­er­ence to Transnis­tria.

    So there’s two pos­si­ble false-flag plots we are being warned about: a false-flag attack in Kiev that could pro­voke a coup or a false-flag attack on Russ­ian troops that could pro­voke a Russ­ian inva­sion. And at the same time, we’re being warned about infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions that accuse Ukraine of get­ting ready for an attack on Russ­ian troops in east­ern Ukraine.

    All in all, it’s kind of a mud­dled mess of warn­ings. And yet we are assured from the US that it’s based on “very cred­i­ble” intel­li­gence. Although we don’t get to see it. Not reveal­ing any of the intel­li­gence these claims are based on is one of the con­cerns expres­sion by offi­cials in the sto­ry but we are assured that it’s all very cred­i­ble.

    But there’s anoth­er part of the con­text about this report that we can’t ignore: this came a day after the exclu­sive Yahoo! News report about the CIA’s covert para­mil­i­tary train­ing pro­gram in Ukraine that’s been up and run­ning since 2015 and poised to expand dra­mat­i­cal­ly in the event of a con­flict. And as we saw, that report was based exclu­sive­ly on anony­mous US intel­li­gence offi­cials. It was a delib­er­ate leak. So first we get a delib­er­ate US intel­li­gence leak warn­ing tout­ing a CIA para­mil­i­tary train­ing pro­gram, and the next day we get this twin PR push by the US and Ukraine warn­ing the world about a “very cred­i­ble” plot to exe­cute false-flag attacks that sound like the kind of attacks that would be pinned on those exact same Ukrain­ian para­mil­i­taries. After all, while it would be pos­si­ble to exe­cute a false flag fram­ing the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary, it would be a lot eas­i­er to frame an irreg­u­lar para­mil­i­tary unit.

    This is also prob­a­bly a good time to recall the recent coup plot accu­sa­tions by Volodymyr Zelen­skiy cen­tered on Ukrain­ian oli­garch Rinat Akhme­tov. A coup plot that nev­er looked seri­ous and obvi­ous­ly nev­er came to fruition. And now this. ‘Tis the sea­son of coup plots for the US and Ukraine:

    The New York Times

    U.S. Says Rus­sia Sent Sabo­teurs Into Ukraine to Cre­ate Pre­text for Inva­sion

    The Biden admin­is­tra­tion said the oper­a­tives were trained in urban war­fare and explo­sives and could try to stage an inci­dent.

    By David E. Sanger
    Jan. 14, 2022

    WASHINGTON — The White House accused Moscow on Fri­day of send­ing sabo­teurs into east­ern Ukraine to stage an inci­dent that could pro­vide Pres­i­dent Vladimir V. Putin of Rus­sia with a pre­text for order­ing an inva­sion of the coun­try.

    The admin­is­tra­tion did not release details of the evi­dence it had col­lect­ed, but Jen Psa­ki, the White House press sec­re­tary, said the oper­a­tives were trained in urban war­fare and explo­sives.

    “Rus­sia is lay­ing the ground­work to have the option of fab­ri­cat­ing a pre­text for inva­sion,” Ms. Psa­ki said, “includ­ing through sab­o­tage activ­i­ties and infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions, by accus­ing Ukraine of prepar­ing an immi­nent attack against Russ­ian forces in east­ern Ukraine.”

    She said the Russ­ian mil­i­tary planned to begin these activ­i­ties sev­er­al weeks before a mil­i­tary inva­sion, which could begin between mid-Jan­u­ary and mid-Feb­ru­ary. She said Moscow was using the same play­book as it did in 2014, when Rus­sia annexed the Crimean Penin­su­la, a part of Ukraine.

    John F. Kir­by, the Pen­ta­gon spokesman, called the intel­li­gence about the oper­a­tion “very cred­i­ble” when asked about it at a news brief­ing on Fri­day.

    Two oth­er Amer­i­can offi­cials, speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss intel­li­gence, said the U.S. assess­ment was the result of a com­bi­na­tion of inter­cepts and move­ments on the ground of par­tic­u­lar indi­vid­u­als. That could explain the administration’s reluc­tance to declas­si­fy gran­u­lar infor­ma­tion, for fear of alert­ing the Russ­ian oper­a­tives whose move­ments are being tracked.

    The Amer­i­can alle­ga­tions were clear­ly part of a strat­e­gy to try to pre­vent an attack by expos­ing it in advance. But with­out releas­ing the under­ly­ing intel­li­gence — some of which has been pro­vid­ed to allies and shown to key mem­bers of Con­gress — the Unit­ed States opened itself up to Russ­ian charges that it was fab­ri­cat­ing evi­dence. In past years, Rus­sia fre­quent­ly recalled the deeply flawed intel­li­gence case that the Unit­ed States built for invad­ing Iraq, as part of an effort to dis­cred­it the C.I.A. and oth­er Amer­i­can intel­li­gence agen­cies as polit­i­cal oper­a­tives.

    The accu­sa­tion by the Unit­ed States came a day after the con­clu­sion of a week of diplo­mat­ic encoun­ters with Rus­sia, mov­ing from Gene­va to Brus­sels to Vien­na, in an effort to de-esca­late the con­fronta­tion. But those talks end­ed with­out any agree­ment to pull back the approx­i­mate­ly 100,000 Russ­ian troops massed on the Ukrain­ian bor­der, or for the Unit­ed States or NATO to accept Moscow’s demands that they pull back all forces from for­mer War­saw Pact coun­tries that have joined NATO.

    Rus­sia has also demand­ed that the Unit­ed States remove all of its nuclear weapons from Europe, and that Ukraine, Belarus and Geor­gia, three sur­round­ing states that once were part of the Sovi­et empire, nev­er join NATO.

    It is still unclear whether Mr. Putin believes those are real­is­tic strate­gic objec­tives — Wendy R. Sher­man, the deputy sec­re­tary of state, called them “non­starters” this week — or whether his true focus is on bring­ing Ukraine to heel. The Russ­ian pres­i­dent wants to expand his country’s sphere of influ­ence to include more of the old Sovi­et bloc, espe­cial­ly for­mer Sovi­et republics like Ukraine.

    The Unit­ed States has vowed both severe finan­cial and tech­no­log­i­cal sanc­tions if Rus­sia invades, and it has said it would con­sid­er arm­ing a Ukrain­ian insur­gency to make any Russ­ian occu­pa­tion expen­sive and bloody. Both Defense Sec­re­tary Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Mil­ley, the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have warned their Russ­ian coun­ter­parts in recent tele­phone calls that any swift Russ­ian vic­to­ry in Ukraine would prob­a­bly be fol­lowed by a bloody insur­gency sim­i­lar to the one that drove the Sovi­et Union from Afghanistan.

    After the Biden admin­is­tra­tion made the new accu­sa­tion against Rus­sia, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam B. Schiff, Demo­c­rat of Cal­i­for­nia and the chair­man of the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, said the news under­scored the need to “pro­vide Ukraine with the defen­sive weapons need­ed to deter aggres­sion, and, if unsuc­cess­ful at deter­rence, make a Russ­ian inva­sion cost­ly to the invaders.”

    The Krem­lin pushed back against the intel­li­gence assess­ment. “So far, all these state­ments have been unfound­ed and have not been con­firmed by any­thing,” Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, told TASS, a state-run news agency.

    ...

    One senior Biden admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said there was con­cern that sabo­teurs or provo­ca­teurs could stage an inci­dent in Kyiv, the Ukrain­ian cap­i­tal, cre­at­ing a pos­si­ble pre­text for a coup. Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky of Ukraine declared sev­er­al months ago that he believed a coup attempt was under­way, but it nev­er mate­ri­al­ized.

    Ukraine’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice announced ear­li­er on Fri­day that it had inter­cept­ed infor­ma­tion about a plot by Russ­ian spies to start a sab­o­tage oper­a­tion from dis­put­ed ter­ri­to­ry in Moldo­va, south of Ukraine, where Rus­sia main­tains a large con­tin­gent of troops. The plan, accord­ing to the intel­li­gence ser­vice, was to attack Russ­ian troops sta­tioned at a weapons depot near the bor­der with Ukraine and blame it on Ukrain­ian forces.

    A senior Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary offi­cial, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss intel­li­gence mat­ters, said that while not all details of the plot were known, any provo­ca­tion in that region could be used to jus­ti­fy an attack on Ukraine’s south­ern flank, pos­si­bly from Russ­ian naval resources in the Black Sea.

    Just as Ukraine was mak­ing that accu­sa­tion, a cyber attack hit the web­sites of its for­eign min­istry and a range of oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies. But the attack appeared some­what ama­teur­ish, pro­duc­ing pro­pa­gan­da but doing lit­tle real dam­age. Cyber ana­lysts con­clud­ed it could eas­i­ly have been mount­ed by hack­ers, includ­ing pro-Russ­ian hack­ers, and showed none of the sophis­ti­ca­tion of recent gov­ern­ment-led Russ­ian attacks..

    In its alle­ga­tions against Rus­sia, the Unit­ed States also warned of dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tions. A state­ment from the admin­is­tra­tion out­lin­ing the charges said that “Russ­ian influ­ence actors are already start­ing to fab­ri­cate Ukrain­ian provo­ca­tions in state and social media to jus­ti­fy a Russ­ian inter­ven­tion and sow divi­sions in Ukraine.” Those include “empha­siz­ing nar­ra­tives about the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of human rights in Ukraine and the increased mil­i­tan­cy of Ukrain­ian lead­ers.”

    In his Pen­ta­gon news brief­ing, Mr. Kir­by said that when “we talk about Russ­ian oper­a­tives, it could rep­re­sent a blend of indi­vid­u­als inside the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, whether it’s from their intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ties, their secu­ri­ty ser­vices or even their mil­i­tary.”

    He said that the Rus­sians fre­quent­ly worked in ways where it was “not nec­es­sar­i­ly real­ly clear who they specif­i­cal­ly report to in the con­duct of some of these more covert and clan­des­tine oper­a­tions.”

    That was the case in 2014, when Moscow sent mil­i­tary forces with­out uni­forms into the Don­bas region of east­ern Ukraine, where Russ­ian-backed forces have been fight­ing a grind­ing war of attri­tion with the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment.

    ————

    “U.S. Says Rus­sia Sent Sabo­teurs Into Ukraine to Cre­ate Pre­text for Inva­sion” by David E. Sanger; The New York Times; 01/14/2022

    ““Rus­sia is lay­ing the ground­work to have the option of fab­ri­cat­ing a pre­text for inva­sion,” Ms. Psa­ki said, “includ­ing through sab­o­tage activ­i­ties and infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions, by accus­ing Ukraine of prepar­ing an immi­nent attack against Russ­ian forces in east­ern Ukraine.””

    That’s some extreme­ly non-ambigu­ous lan­guage. No warn­ings about a pos­si­ble false-flag plot. It’s a warn­ing about an active plot that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment is cur­rent­ly lay­ing the ground­work to exe­cute. Based on evi­dence we are told is “very cred­i­ble”. Just don’t ask to see any of that evi­dence:

    ...
    She said the Russ­ian mil­i­tary planned to begin these activ­i­ties sev­er­al weeks before a mil­i­tary inva­sion, which could begin between mid-Jan­u­ary and mid-Feb­ru­ary. She said Moscow was using the same play­book as it did in 2014, when Rus­sia annexed the Crimean Penin­su­la, a part of Ukraine.

    John F. Kir­by, the Pen­ta­gon spokesman, called the intel­li­gence about the oper­a­tion “very cred­i­ble” when asked about it at a news brief­ing on Fri­day.

    Two oth­er Amer­i­can offi­cials, speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss intel­li­gence, said the U.S. assess­ment was the result of a com­bi­na­tion of inter­cepts and move­ments on the ground of par­tic­u­lar indi­vid­u­als. That could explain the administration’s reluc­tance to declas­si­fy gran­u­lar infor­ma­tion, for fear of alert­ing the Russ­ian oper­a­tives whose move­ments are being tracked.

    The Amer­i­can alle­ga­tions were clear­ly part of a strat­e­gy to try to pre­vent an attack by expos­ing it in advance. But with­out releas­ing the under­ly­ing intel­li­gence — some of which has been pro­vid­ed to allies and shown to key mem­bers of Con­gress — the Unit­ed States opened itself up to Russ­ian charges that it was fab­ri­cat­ing evi­dence. In past years, Rus­sia fre­quent­ly recalled the deeply flawed intel­li­gence case that the Unit­ed States built for invad­ing Iraq, as part of an effort to dis­cred­it the C.I.A. and oth­er Amer­i­can intel­li­gence agen­cies as polit­i­cal oper­a­tives.
    ...

    It sounds like the plot might involv­ing stag­ing attacks in Kiev. But accord­ing to Ukraine’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice, it also might instead be an attack on Russ­ian troops sta­tions in Transnis­tria (the ‘dis­put­ed ter­ri­to­ry in Moldo­va’), cre­at­ing a pre­text for a Russ­ian inva­sion. It’s worth recall­ing how Russ­ian ana­lysts were warn­ing about an anal­o­gous sce­nario back in 2015, after Ukraine’s par­lia­ment vot­ed to restrict Rus­si­a’s mil­i­tary rights to trav­el through Ukraine to reach Transnis­tria, which bor­ders Odessa. The point being that Transnis­tria has long been seen as one of the ‘frozen-con­flict’ flash points that could act as a spark for a broad­er region­al con­flict. It’s that time again:

    ...
    One senior Biden admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said there was con­cern that sabo­teurs or provo­ca­teurs could stage an inci­dent in Kyiv, the Ukrain­ian cap­i­tal, cre­at­ing a pos­si­ble pre­text for a coup. Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky of Ukraine declared sev­er­al months ago that he believed a coup attempt was under­way, but it nev­er mate­ri­al­ized.

    Ukraine’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice announced ear­li­er on Fri­day that it had inter­cept­ed infor­ma­tion about a plot by Russ­ian spies to start a sab­o­tage oper­a­tion from dis­put­ed ter­ri­to­ry in Moldo­va, south of Ukraine, where Rus­sia main­tains a large con­tin­gent of troops. The plan, accord­ing to the intel­li­gence ser­vice, was to attack Russ­ian troops sta­tioned at a weapons depot near the bor­der with Ukraine and blame it on Ukrain­ian forces.

    A senior Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary offi­cial, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss intel­li­gence mat­ters, said that while not all details of the plot were known, any provo­ca­tion in that region could be used to jus­ti­fy an attack on Ukraine’s south­ern flank, pos­si­bly from Russ­ian naval resources in the Black Sea.
    ...

    And in a twist that has echos to the 2016 hack of the DNC, just as this plot is being revealed by Ukraine’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence, an ama­teur­ish cyber attack hits the for­eign min­istry’s web­site. It sure was con­ve­nient for the nar­ra­tive the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment was try­ing to build at that very moment:

    ...
    Just as Ukraine was mak­ing that accu­sa­tion, a cyber attack hit the web­sites of its for­eign min­istry and a range of oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies. But the attack appeared some­what ama­teur­ish, pro­duc­ing pro­pa­gan­da but doing lit­tle real dam­age. Cyber ana­lysts con­clud­ed it could eas­i­ly have been mount­ed by hack­ers, includ­ing pro-Russ­ian hack­ers, and showed none of the sophis­ti­ca­tion of recent gov­ern­ment-led Russ­ian attacks..
    ...

    But it’s the recent sto­ry about a CIA insur­gent train­ing pro­gram that’s been in place in 2015 and ready to ramp up sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the event of a con­flict that makes the warn­ings about this plot tru­ly chill­ing. Because as we saw, that sto­ry was based on a num­ber of anony­mous US intel­li­gence offi­cials. In oth­er words, the sto­ry about the CIA train­ing Ukrain­ian para­mil­i­taries under a pre­vi­ous­ly-covert pro­gram was an inten­tion­al leak by the US intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. Along with this report about a false flag plot. Two reports pub­lished with­in a day of each oth­er based on US intel­li­gence sources. One warn­ing of a false-flag plot to pro­voke a con­flict. A false-flag plot that would like­ly involve imper­son­at­ing Ukrain­ian para­mil­i­taries. And a sec­ond warn­ing about the CIA’s ongo­ing and grow­ing sup­port for those Ukrain­ian para­mil­i­taries. It’s awful­ly omi­nous:

    ...
    The Unit­ed States has vowed both severe finan­cial and tech­no­log­i­cal sanc­tions if Rus­sia invades, and it has said it would con­sid­er arm­ing a Ukrain­ian insur­gency to make any Russ­ian occu­pa­tion expen­sive and bloody. Both Defense Sec­re­tary Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Mil­ley, the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have warned their Russ­ian coun­ter­parts in recent tele­phone calls that any swift Russ­ian vic­to­ry in Ukraine would prob­a­bly be fol­lowed by a bloody insur­gency sim­i­lar to the one that drove the Sovi­et Union from Afghanistan.

    After the Biden admin­is­tra­tion made the new accu­sa­tion against Rus­sia, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam B. Schiff, Demo­c­rat of Cal­i­for­nia and the chair­man of the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, said the news under­scored the need to “pro­vide Ukraine with the defen­sive weapons need­ed to deter aggres­sion, and, if unsuc­cess­ful at deter­rence, make a Russ­ian inva­sion cost­ly to the invaders.”

    The Krem­lin pushed back against the intel­li­gence assess­ment. “So far, all these state­ments have been unfound­ed and have not been con­firmed by any­thing,” Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, told TASS, a state-run news agency.
    ...

    Adding to the omi­nous nature of this report are the warn­ings from the US about how Russ­ian influ­ence actors are already up to no good by “empha­siz­ing nar­ra­tives about the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of human rights in Ukraine and the increased mil­i­tan­cy of Ukrain­ian lead­ers.” So we’re already see­ing the pre­text for dis­miss­ing reports of human rights abus­es by the Ukrain­ian neo-Nazi para­mil­i­taries as Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da:

    ...
    In its alle­ga­tions against Rus­sia, the Unit­ed States also warned of dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tions. A state­ment from the admin­is­tra­tion out­lin­ing the charges said that “Russ­ian influ­ence actors are already start­ing to fab­ri­cate Ukrain­ian provo­ca­tions in state and social media to jus­ti­fy a Russ­ian inter­ven­tion and sow divi­sions in Ukraine.” Those include “empha­siz­ing nar­ra­tives about the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of human rights in Ukraine and the increased mil­i­tan­cy of Ukrain­ian lead­ers.”
    ...

    Get ready for reports about awful events tran­spir­ing in Ukraine. Fol­low­ing by reports about how some of those awful events were actu­al­ly just Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da. Pre­sum­ably fol­lowed by more reports about more of those awful events. Rinse and repeat. We’ve been warned. Repeat­ed­ly and omi­nous­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 15, 2022, 5:21 pm
  7. Here’s a report on the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion that under­scores one of the lessons we are forced to repeat­ed­ly learn about fas­cist move­ments: despite all the nation­al­ist rhetoric, fas­cism is an inter­na­tion­al move­ment.

    The lat­est exam­ple of this les­son comes from the inves­ti­ga­tions into the ori­gins of the Oath Keep­er’s plan­ning and actions lead­ing up to the breach of the Capi­tol. In par­tic­u­lar, the days imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the Nov 3, 2020 Elec­tion Day, when the Oath Keep­ers more or less put them­selves on a tra­jec­to­ry for pre­cise­ly what end­ed up tran­spir­ing. Recall how Oath Keep­ers found Stew­art Rhodes — who was recent­ly indict­ed on sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy charges — was pub­licly post­ing in an encrypt­ed chat group about how “We must now do what the peo­ple of Ser­bia did when Milo­se­vic stole their elec­tion”, and “Refuse to accept it and march en-masse on the nation’s Capi­tol.” For all the nor­mal­iza­tion of far right weird­ness in recent years, it was still kind of weird see­ing Ser­bia’s anti-Milo­se­vic protests end up as the Oath Keep­ers’ inter­nal ral­ly­ing cry. What was up with that?

    So it turns out the anti-Milo­se­vic ral­ly­ing cry came from a video titled “STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE, HOW WE WON WHEN MILOSEVIC STOLE OUR ELECTIONS.” It’s described as a guide to over­turn­ing Biden’s elec­tion, cit­ing the mod­el of the pop­u­lar revolt which end­ed the rule of Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic twen­ty years ear­li­er. This was a ref­er­ence to the “Bull­doz­er Rev­o­lu­tion” of 2000, when pro­tes­tors occu­pied the fed­er­al par­lia­ment build­ing and the offices of Ser­bian state tele­vi­sion in the mid­dle of a con­test­ed elec­tion that Miloso­vic was look­ing to post­pone. Part of what’s so inter­est­ing about this is the unde­ni­able par­al­lels between that Bull­doz­er Rev­o­lu­tion and Ukraine’s Maid­an’s rev­o­lu­tion in 2014. That’s the broad­er con­text here: Rhodes was inspired by a video that was cel­e­brat­ing the Ser­bia rev­o­lu­tion mod­el, but also dou­bled as an instruc­tion man­u­al for start­ing a Maid­an-like occu­pa­tion of the Capi­tol. As we’re going to see in the sec­ond arti­cle excerpt below, the head of the Oath Keep­er­s’s “Quick Reac­tion Force” (QRF) bragged about hav­ing 30 days of food stored in their hotel in DC. They were pre­pared for an extend­ed occu­pa­tion.

    But Rhodes was­n’t just inspired by this video. Rhodes sent that video to a group of Oath Keep­ers and claimed to be in con­tact with the video’s cre­ator who was advis­ing his group with a plan of action. A Nov 11, 2020, post on the Oath Keep­ers’ web­site shows a let­ter from Rhodes embed­ded with the same video, thank­ing its cre­ator, a “patri­ot from Ser­bia,” for “show[ing] us the way.”

    That “patri­ot from Ser­bia” is Ser­bian-born Alek­san­dar Sav­ic, now liv­ing in Texas. Sav­ic has a PhD in phys­i­cal chem­istry and worked as a researcher in acad­e­mia and the pri­vate sec­tor in Europe before com­ing to the U.S. in ear­ly 2021. Sav­ic is fea­tured in the video itself, telling the audi­ence, “When they declare their fake vic­to­ry, you need to start mas­sive civ­il dis­obe­di­ence.” Sav­ic also says explic­it­ly that vio­lence might be need­ed. “This is what you must put in their hearts: They must feel fear. And while they are count­ing fake bal­lots, they must think about, are they going to get out of there alive?” Sav­ic says. “Yes, I’m call­ing you for vio­lence, if that is the only way. Who cares? Yes, I do. Here: taboo, bro­ken.”

    Today, when inter­viewed by TPM, Sav­ic denies his video played any role in the actions the Oath Keep­ers took and that the video was “noth­ing but reca­pit­u­la­tion of the things that peo­ple already knew.” Sav­ic also tells TPM that he has­n’t met with Rhodes or any Oath Keep­ers in per­son since arriv­ing in Texas, which isn’t exact­ly shock­ing giv­en their legal trou­bles. Of course, in the era of mod­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tions, it’s not like meet­ing in per­son is real­ly nec­es­sary.

    So it turns out Stew­art Rhodes was inspired by a rev­o­lu­tion tem­plate being pushed by a ‘patri­ot from Ser­bia’ in the days fol­low­ing the 2020 elec­tion. A tem­plate that fol­lows along the Ser­bian Bull­doz­er Rev­o­lu­tion mod­el of 2000, but sure looks awful­ly sim­i­lar to the Ukraine’s Maid­an tem­plate of 2014:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Muck­rak­er

    How A Ser­bian Sci­en­tist Helped Inspire The Oath Keep­ers To March On The Capi­tol
    Alek­san­dar Sav­ic spoke to TPM about his inter­ac­tions with the Oath Keep­ers and back­ground.

    By Josh Koven­sky
    Jan­u­ary 18, 2022 6:16 p.m.

    Days after the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion, the Oath Keep­ers were prepar­ing.

    The group’s leader Stew­art Rhodes had been warn­ing of con­flicts around the elec­tion — includ­ing a poten­tial “civ­il war” — for months. But by Nov. 7, the day major news net­works called the elec­tion for Biden, pros­e­cu­tors allege, Rhodes had a plan.

    The tar­get was to be the U.S. Capi­tol. Accord­ing to a fed­er­al grand jury indict­ment last week, Rhodes shared his plan to march on the Capi­tol after com­ing across a video titled “STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE, HOW WE WON WHEN MILOSEVIC STOLE OUR ELECTIONS.” It was a guide to over­turn­ing Joe Biden’s elec­tion, cit­ing the mod­el of the pop­u­lar revolt which end­ed the rule of Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic twen­ty years ear­li­er.

    Rhodes sent that video to a group of Oath Keep­ers, pros­e­cu­tors say, and claimed to be in con­tact with the video’s cre­ator who was advis­ing his group with a plan of action.

    An archived Nov. 11, 2020 ver­sion of the Oath Keep­ers’ web­site shows a let­ter from Rhodes embed­ded with the same video, thank­ing its cre­ator, a “patri­ot from Ser­bia,” for “show[ing] us the way.”

    TPM spoke on Mon­day with that “patri­ot from Ser­bia.” Now a Texas res­i­dent, the Ser­bian-born Alek­san­dar Sav­ic dis­cussed the video, his inter­ac­tions with Rhodes, and his back­ground. The news web­site Mint­Press first iden­ti­fied Sav­ic as the cre­ator of the video in Jan­u­ary 2021.

    Sav­ic denied that his words incit­ed vio­lence.

    “There are some very angry peo­ple cit­ing oth­er books, there are some peo­ple com­mit­ting crimes from lis­ten­ing to rap songs,” Sav­ic told TPM. “So, in lying that the one who is send­ing the words/message/whatever is sole­ly respon­si­ble, is some­thing that is not true.”

    ‘You Can Lose, Or You Can Fight’

    The video, uploaded on Nov. 6, 2020 when Sav­ic was still liv­ing in Europe, offers those upset by Trump’s defeat an “exam­ple” from Savic’s home coun­try: Milo­se­vic, Serbia’s auto­crat­ic leader in the 1990s, left pow­er fol­low­ing the dis­put­ed 2000 elec­tion.

    Irreg­u­lar­i­ties in that elec­tion appeared to give Milo­se­vic extra votes that put him over the top, result­ing in mass demon­stra­tions.

    Work­ers went on strike, and pro­tes­tors massed in Bel­grade, even­tu­al­ly storm­ing the country’s par­lia­ment. The same day, Milo­se­vic resigned.

    In the video, Sav­ic likens the 2020 elec­tion in the U.S. to the 2000 elec­tion in Ser­bia, telling the audi­ence: “When they declare their fake vic­to­ry, you need to start mas­sive civ­il dis­obe­di­ence.”

    He also says explic­it­ly that vio­lence might be need­ed.

    “This is what you must put in their hearts: They must feel fear. And while they are count­ing fake bal­lots, they must think about, are they going to get out of there alive?” Sav­ic says. “Yes, I’m call­ing you for vio­lence, if that is the only way. Who cares? Yes, I do. Here: taboo, bro­ken.”

    “We were in that sit­u­a­tion,” Sav­ic added. “You can lose, or you can fight.”

    ...

    For the Oath Keep­ers, Savic’s video came at a piv­otal moment on roller­coast­er of emo­tion that Trump sup­port­ers went through that week. With the elec­tion held on Nov. 3 and the major news net­works not call­ing the results until Nov. 7, Trump diehards were able to hold onto hope for the first few days.

    By Nov. 5, when Sav­ic released an ini­tial, some­what more vanil­la video going over what he regard­ed as the his­tor­i­cal par­al­lels between Ser­bia 2000 and the U.S. 2020, hope was start­ing to fade that Trump would win.

    It was in that cli­mate of des­per­a­tion that on Nov. 6 Sav­ic post­ed a sequel: the “step-by-step” video that pros­e­cu­tors cite as inspir­ing Rhodes’ plan of action for Jan. 6.

    As that video pro­gress­es, video of Ser­bia in 2000 plays in the back­ground. At one point, the text “TO THE CAPITAL!!!” appears. Towards the end, music — what Sav­ic describes as a “Ser­bian march from World War I” — plays, while the video’s descrip­tion notes: “we stormed the par­lia­ment.”

    For Rhodes, Savic’s video cap­tured what would be nec­es­sary to turn the tide against Biden, and a his­tor­i­cal prece­dent in which the good guys won. Pros­e­cu­tors say in the indict­ment that Rhodes told Oath Keep­ers on Nov. 7, one day after the video was pub­lished, that the group “must now do what the peo­ple of Ser­bia did when Milo­se­vic stole their elec­tion. Refuse to accept it and march en-mass on the nation’s Capi­tol.”

    The videos gained broad­er trac­tion beyond Rhodes; Ari­zona GOP chair Kel­li Ward appeared to cite it at a Decem­ber 2020 ral­ly in Phoenix — an inci­dent first not­ed by Mint­Press. Ward asked a crowd: “How many of you saw the video of the guy from Ser­bia say­ing that their elec­tions were stolen? And what did he say? If you lose now, you lose for­ev­er.”

    Sav­ic agreed to speak on the con­di­tion that both TPM and he make audio record­ings of the con­ver­sa­tion. In his con­ver­sa­tion with TPM, Sav­ic denied his video played any role in the actions that the Oath Keep­ers lat­er took.

    “That video of mine is noth­ing but reca­pit­u­la­tion of the things that peo­ple already knew,” Sav­ic told TPM. “In that video, I haven’t said any­thing par­tic­u­lar­ly new. All I said was his­tor­i­cal event that every­body can find on Wikipedia, that was fac­tu­al­ly more or less true.”

    “It was said in such a voice that was reflect­ing my eth­nic tra­di­tion of speak­ing oral­ly, we are not very lit­er­al peo­ple [when] we are speak­ing our sto­ries,” he con­tin­ued. “Maybe that was super emo­tion­al, maybe that trig­gered some peo­ple, but that video is still on YouTube, so I still haven’t bro­ken com­mu­ni­ty stan­dards of YouTube.”

    “So imply­ing that there is some­thing spec­tac­u­lar there is a bit dis­hon­est,” he added.

    Equal­i­ty Of Out­come

    When he record­ed the video, Sav­ic had nev­er been to the Unit­ed States. He told TPM that he moved to Texas from Europe soon after — in ear­ly 2021.

    Sav­ic is a cre­den­tialed sci­en­tist with a PhD in phys­i­cal chem­istry. He worked as a researcher in acad­e­mia and in the pri­vate sec­tor in Europe before com­ing to the U.S.

    “Before me, Tes­la, the bright­est mind ever, also chose Amer­i­ca,” Sav­ic said. “[Alek­san­dr] Solzhen­it­syn came to Amer­i­ca.”

    Sav­ic said he was born in Ser­bia in 1986, and he grew up as a straight‑A stu­dent. But all around him, he said, were chil­dren earn­ing low­er grades than him, yet end­ing up with the same result.

    To Sav­ic, that was social­ism — a focus on “equal­i­ty of out­come,” a rea­son “why for the peo­ple who are indi­vid­u­al­is­tic like myself, Amer­i­ca is the place to be.”

    Sav­ic left Ser­bia, liv­ing in France and Slove­nia while work­ing as a sci­en­tist.

    By 2020, Sav­ic had been gear­ing up to move to Aus­tria: he would have his own lab there, he said — until “this whole mad­ness with COVID start­ed.”

    “See­ing what is going to hap­pen in Europe, it was some­thing pret­ty bib­li­cal in my mind, that there is a flood com­ing,” Sav­ic said. “And it is nec­es­sary to build an ark to put all the ideas into that ark to pre­serve them and go to some oth­er land where the free­dom still pre­vailed.”

    ‘Step by Step’

    When TPM asked Sav­ic why he made the video cit­ed by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors, Sav­ic, in turn, cit­ed Alek­san­dr Solzhen­it­syn, the famed Sovi­et dis­si­dent writer and author of The Gulag Arch­i­pel­ago. He direct­ed TPM to a Har­vard lec­ture that Solzhen­it­syn gave, and to his Nobel speech, titled “one word of truth shall out­weigh the whole world.”

    “With $200 bud­get in equip­ment, I decid­ed to say some­thing that all those sports stars, movie stars, … politi­cians, main­stream media, every­body — nobody want­ed to say a word,” Sav­ic said. “That year, every­body decid­ed to be silent, and this was some­thing that I was not capa­ble of bear­ing on my shoul­ders.”

    Sav­ic post­ed two videos on BitChute, an alter­na­tive video shar­ing web­site that offers refuge to those who have been banned from YouTube, and which the ADL described in August 2020 as a “hotbed of hate.”

    On Nov. 5, 2020, he uploaded his nar­ra­tive of how Ser­bia con­test­ed its stolen elec­tions.

    The fol­low­ing day, he uploaded a “step by step” guide for Amer­i­cans seek­ing to con­test the elec­tion, includ­ing an aggres­sive call to action.

    A YouTube user named Mrgun­sandgear sub­se­quent­ly uploaded the first Sav­ic video to YouTube on Nov. 6 where it gar­nered hun­dreds of thou­sands of views.

    Pros­e­cu­tors allege that Rhodes was inspired by the sec­ond, “step-by-step” video, which is only on BitChute.

    The Oath Keep­ers

    Sav­ic told TPM that he reached out to Rhodes to thank him for shar­ing the video. Mint­Press also report­ed last year that Sav­ic reached out to the Oath Keep­er first.

    He char­ac­ter­ized his inter­ac­tion as brief: In his telling, Rhodes asked, “are you real­ly that guy?”

    Sav­ic pur­port­ed­ly replied, “yeah, I’m that guy.”

    When TPM asked about the fed­er­al indict­ment, in which Rhodes said that he was “in con­tact” with Sav­ic and that Sav­ic had sent what he described as “writ­ten advice” on what to do, Sav­ic main­tained that he “reca­pit­u­lat­ed” what he had already said, and told TPM in a lat­er email that Rhodes was “brag­ging” about their inter­ac­tions.

    He declined to share his emails with Rhodes with TPM, say­ing that it was a pri­va­cy issue and sug­gest­ing that pro­vid­ing those emails to a reporter might be a vio­la­tion of the law.

    “In every coun­try in the world, there are laws about pri­vate, writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” Sav­ic said. “It is as old as let­ters.”

    Sav­ic also said that if the gov­ern­ment want­ed access to his mes­sages, they could have it — but, he said, he had not yet been con­tact­ed by the gov­ern­ment.

    Jan. 6

    The Ser­bia-born sci­en­tist told TPM that he had not met Rhodes or any Oath Keep­ers in per­son since arriv­ing in Texas, empha­siz­ing that their con­tact was lim­it­ed.

    On Jan. 6, Sav­ic said, he was “thou­sands of miles away, watch­ing YouTube.”

    When asked whether he thought there was legit­i­mate cause to delay the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion that day, Sav­ic grew less stri­dent.

    “I have no idea what hap­pened,” he said. “I don’t have enough infor­ma­tion. As a sci­en­tist, with­out infor­ma­tion, I can­not say any­thing. This is what I was trained for.”

    Sav­ic main­tained that his mes­sage was its own, sep­a­rate nar­ra­tive, inde­pen­dent of Jan. 6; any­one who com­mit­ted vio­lent acts was mis­in­ter­pret­ing his text, he said.

    ...

    ———

    “How A Ser­bian Sci­en­tist Helped Inspire The Oath Keep­ers To March On The Capi­tol” by Josh Koven­sky; Talk­ing Points Memo; 01/18/2022

    “The tar­get was to be the U.S. Capi­tol. Accord­ing to a fed­er­al grand jury indict­ment last week, Rhodes shared his plan to march on the Capi­tol after com­ing across a video titled “STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE, HOW WE WON WHEN MILOSEVIC STOLE OUR ELECTIONS.” It was a guide to over­turn­ing Joe Biden’s elec­tion, cit­ing the mod­el of the pop­u­lar revolt which end­ed the rule of Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic twen­ty years ear­li­er.

    A step by step guide to over­turn­ing the elec­tion results. Just fol­low Ser­bia’s 2000 Bull­doz­er Rev­o­lu­tion tem­plate of occu­py­ing the Capi­tol. A tem­plate that dou­ble’s as the start of a Maid­an-style extend­ed occu­pa­tion, includ­ing the pos­si­ble use of vio­lence:

    ...
    In the video, Sav­ic likens the 2020 elec­tion in the U.S. to the 2000 elec­tion in Ser­bia, telling the audi­ence: “When they declare their fake vic­to­ry, you need to start mas­sive civ­il dis­obe­di­ence.”

    He also says explic­it­ly that vio­lence might be need­ed.

    “This is what you must put in their hearts: They must feel fear. And while they are count­ing fake bal­lots, they must think about, are they going to get out of there alive?” Sav­ic says. “Yes, I’m call­ing you for vio­lence, if that is the only way. Who cares? Yes, I do. Here: taboo, bro­ken.”

    “We were in that sit­u­a­tion,” Sav­ic added. “You can lose, or you can fight.”

    ...

    As that video pro­gress­es, video of Ser­bia in 2000 plays in the back­ground. At one point, the text “TO THE CAPITAL!!!” appears. Towards the end, music — what Sav­ic describes as a “Ser­bian march from World War I” — plays, while the video’s descrip­tion notes: “we stormed the par­lia­ment.”

    For Rhodes, Savic’s video cap­tured what would be nec­es­sary to turn the tide against Biden, and a his­tor­i­cal prece­dent in which the good guys won. Pros­e­cu­tors say in the indict­ment that Rhodes told Oath Keep­ers on Nov. 7, one day after the video was pub­lished, that the group “must now do what the peo­ple of Ser­bia did when Milo­se­vic stole their elec­tion. Refuse to accept it and march en-mass on the nation’s Capi­tol.”
    ...

    And as a sign of the viral poten­cy of Sav­ic’s video at that moment when it was released in the days fol­low­ing the elec­tion, note who else was cit­ing it: far right con­gress­woman Kel­li Ward, a long-stand­ing ally of move­ments threat­en­ing polit­i­cal vio­lence. Ward is like the tar­get audi­ence for a video like that:

    ...
    The videos gained broad­er trac­tion beyond Rhodes; Ari­zona GOP chair Kel­li Ward appeared to cite it at a Decem­ber 2020 ral­ly in Phoenix — an inci­dent first not­ed by Mint­Press. Ward asked a crowd: “How many of you saw the video of the guy from Ser­bia say­ing that their elec­tions were stolen? And what did he say? If you lose now, you lose for­ev­er.”
    ...

    And now, here’s anoth­er TPM piece about the sedi­tion charges fac­ing a sec­ond Oath Keep­er, Edward Valle­jo. It was Valle­jo who was actu­al­ly sit­ting with the large cache of weapons await­ing orders to move the weapons to their com­rades at the Capi­tol. Those orders nev­er hap­pened, but recall how we’ve seen evi­dence that they were lit­er­al­ly await­ing orders from Trump him­self. Its one of those details to under­scores how this entire dis­cus­sion can’t be com­part­men­tal­ized into a sto­ry about the Oath Keep­ers. It’s a sto­ry about the Oath Keep­ers secret­ly schem­ing with the Trump White House. And those schemes appar­ent­ly involved plan­ning for an extend­ed occu­pa­tion of the Capi­tol. As Valle­jo was brag­ging to his fel­low Oath Keep­ers on the evening of Jan 6, “We’ll be back to 6am to do it again. We got food for 30 days”:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    Oath Keep­er Charged In Sedi­tion Con­spir­a­cy Had A Weapons Cache Ready, Feds Say

    By Matt Shuham
    Jan­u­ary 19, 2022 11:02 a.m.

    One of the Oath Keep­ers charged in a sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy for alleged­ly plan­ning to dis­rupt the trans­fer of pow­er on Jan. 6 had a cache of sup­plies and weapons with him in a hotel in Vir­ginia, pros­e­cu­tors said Tues­day.

    In a court fil­ing argu­ing that Edward Valle­jo should stay behind bars pend­ing his tri­al, pros­e­cu­tors also not­ed that Valle­jo had alleged­ly been pre­pared to bring in firearms and oth­er equip­ment to the Capi­tol on the day of the attack, and that he con­tin­ued to look for a way “to sup­port the co-con­spir­a­tors’ mis­sion” even after Jan. 6.

    While most of the alleged sedi­tion plot took place at the Capi­tol itself — in the form of mil­i­taris­tic “stacks” of Oath Keep­ers who alleged­ly moved in for­ma­tion to breach the Capi­tol — pros­e­cu­tors say Valle­jo was part of the group’s “quick reac­tion force,” staged at a hotel across the Potomac Riv­er in Arling­ton, Vir­ginia. There were alleged­ly three teams on the force, one each from Flori­da, North Car­oli­na and Ari­zona, the lat­ter of which includ­ed Valle­jo.

    Sur­veil­lance video stills from the hotel includ­ed in the government’s fil­ing Tues­day pur­port­ed to show Valle­jo (left) in the process of wheel­ing in “bags and large bins of weapons, ammu­ni­tion, and essen­tial sup­plies to last 30 days.”

    Pros­e­cu­tors said Valle­jo was “await­ing deploy­ment,” even though orders nev­er came for him to join the fight. Nonethe­less, they said, he was a “cen­tral play­er” in the plot to oppose the trans­fer of pow­er.

    “He vol­un­teered to trav­el across the coun­try to sup­port this plot; sta­tioned him­self in a hotel room full of firearms, ammu­ni­tion, and equip­ment; affirmed his com­mit­ment to the mis­sion dur­ing the Capi­tol attack; and expressed sup­port for the plot in the imme­di­ate after­math of the attack,” pros­e­cu­tors wrote.

    Valle­jo, they added, “was pre­pared to use force against the gov­ern­ment of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca and there is noth­ing to sug­gest that he has changed his views.”

    ...

    Valle­jo was one of just two new­ly named indictees in the recent sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy indict­ment announced last week. The rest of the alleged co-con­spir­a­tors in the indict­ment had already been charged with oth­er offens­es. Stew­art Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keep­ers, was the only oth­er indictee who had not been charged before.

    Accord­ing to the indict­ment, as the attack hap­pened, Valle­jo remind­ed oth­er Oath Keep­ers that the QRF was ready to go.

    “QRF stand­ing by at hotel,” he alleged­ly wrote to a group chat. “Just say the word…”

    And lat­er, after alleged­ly declar­ing “We are at WAR,” pros­e­cu­tors say Valle­jo tried unsuc­cess­ful­ly to launch a cam­era-equipped drone.

    By night­fall, Valle­jo alleged­ly wrote, “We’ll be back to 6am to do it again. We got food for 30 days” and “We have only [begun] to fight … ‘After Action Reports’ will be dat­ed 1/21/21” — an appar­ent ref­er­ence to Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inau­gu­ra­tion day.

    The court fil­ing Tues­day assert­ed that Vallejo’s appeals to vio­lence dur­ing the attack weren’t spur-of-the-moment.

    In a pod­cast inter­view on the morn­ing of Jan. 6, pros­e­cu­tors alleged, Valle­jo “announced his inten­tion to use vio­lence” to fix what he per­ceived as a bro­ken elec­toral sys­tem.

    “You know what I’ve been telling peo­ple? I’ve been telling peo­ple for years I’m the guy that every­body said, ‘no Ed, you can’t shoot them yet, it’s too soon. No Ed, you can’t shoot the bas­tards yet, it’s too soon,’” he alleged­ly said. “Well I’ve been telling them for about five, six months ago. They quit telling me.”

    Pros­e­cu­tors say Valle­jo stayed active even after police had tak­en back con­trol of the Capi­tol. At 5:46 a.m. the morn­ing fol­low­ing the attack, for exam­ple, he mes­saged a group chat, “We are going to probe their defense line right now 6 am they should let us in. We’ll see.”

    Cit­ing a Twit­ter account that they said belonged to Valle­jo, pros­e­cu­tors argued that he was still defend­ing the Jan. 6 attack — “There was NO INSURRECTION on J6 just a peace­ful protest,” the account wrote recent­ly — and announc­ing his will­ing­ness to use vio­lence.

    Last month, they not­ed, he wrote: “I HAVE NEWS FOR YOU … you will NEVER achieve ‘vac­cine equal­i­ty’ as long as I, and oth­ers like me, are alive! … I will DIE first, and that’s only when I run out of AMMUNITION!”

    ———–

    “Oath Keep­er Charged In Sedi­tion Con­spir­a­cy Had A Weapons Cache Ready, Feds Say” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 01/19/2022

    “By night­fall, Valle­jo alleged­ly wrote, “We’ll be back to 6am to do it again. We got food for 30 days” and “We have only [begun] to fight … ‘After Action Reports’ will be dat­ed 1/21/21” — an appar­ent ref­er­ence to Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inau­gu­ra­tion day.”

    We got food for 30 days. They had an abun­dance of food and ambi­tion. Edward Valle­jo was­n’t just ready for a Bull­doz­er-Rev­o­lu­tion-style short occu­pa­tion of the Capi­tol. He was think­ing about weeks of occu­pa­tion. And he was still think­ing along these lines on the morn­ing of Jan 7. It’s as if every­thing that hap­pened on Jan 6 was more or less expect­ed. In oth­er words, they weren’t plan­ning on storm­ing the Capi­tol in order to force the gov­ern­ment into keep­ing Trump in office. They were plan­ning on storm­ing the Capi­tol and poten­tial­ly hold­ing it for weeks in order to force their demands:

    ...
    Pros­e­cu­tors say Valle­jo stayed active even after police had tak­en back con­trol of the Capi­tol. At 5:46 a.m. the morn­ing fol­low­ing the attack, for exam­ple, he mes­saged a group chat, “We are going to probe their defense line right now 6 am they should let us in. We’ll see.”
    ...

    Except this was­n’t just some pro-Trumpian ‘Occu­py DC’. Like the Maid­an, it was to be an occu­pa­tion with guns they were ready to use:

    ...
    In a pod­cast inter­view on the morn­ing of Jan. 6, pros­e­cu­tors alleged, Valle­jo “announced his inten­tion to use vio­lence” to fix what he per­ceived as a bro­ken elec­toral sys­tem.

    “You know what I’ve been telling peo­ple? I’ve been telling peo­ple for years I’m the guy that every­body said, ‘no Ed, you can’t shoot them yet, it’s too soon. No Ed, you can’t shoot the bas­tards yet, it’s too soon,’” he alleged­ly said. “Well I’ve been telling them for about five, six months ago. They quit telling me.”
    ...

    And that gives us a greater lev­el of clar­i­ty on what exact­ly Trump’s most mil­i­tant sup­port­ers had in mind for Jan 6. But, of course, this was­n’t just the plan for Jan 6. It was a much larg­er, longer-term plan. And a plan with obvi­ous poten­tial appli­ca­tions for Jan 6 2025. So we had bet­ter hope this inves­ti­ga­tion can mean­ing­ful­ly dis­rupt any future plots for an Amer­i­can Maid­an. The polit­i­cal vio­lence might take dif­fer­ent forms the next time around accord­ing as long as they’re fol­low­ing this gen­er­al play­book. An inter­na­tion­al fas­cist play­book with a glob­al audi­ence.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 19, 2022, 5:46 pm
  8. And just like that, it’s a call to war. A bare­ly veiled war cry made by Don­ald Trump at a ral­ly in Texas over the week­end. It was a two-part war cry: First, Trump start­ed with pledge to poten­tial­ly par­don any of the peo­ple pros­e­cut­ed in rela­tion to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. It’s the kind of pledge that dou­bles as an obvi­ous pledge to par­don any­one involved with any upcom­ing insur­rec­tions in 2024/25. It’s a ‘get me into pow­er through any means nec­es­sary and I’ll absolve you of the con­se­quences as long as you suc­ceed’ call to action.

    Keep in mind the recent con­text of this speech: the grow­ing indi­ca­tions that the Jan 6 con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors real­ly have obtained com­pelling evi­dence that Trump was direct­ly involved in plan­ning and foment­ing the vio­lence on Jan 6. He’s guilty, he knows it, and he knows they know it

    But that pledge to par­don the insur­rec­tion­ists was­n’t only ter­ri­fy­ing part of Trump’s speech. And was­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly the most ter­ri­fy­ing part. Because it sounds like Trump is basi­cal­ly call­ing for a nation­al Maid­an-like move­ment of mass protests in major cities around the coun­try should Trump him­self face any legal con­se­quences over the insur­rec­tion or oth­er crim­i­nal probes of Trump’s busi­ness. Yep, we could see a mul­ti-city Maid­an move­ment erupt over some­thing as sad as Trump’s crim­i­nal tax prac­tices. As Trump put it, “If these rad­i­cal, vicious racist pros­e­cu­tors do any­thing wrong or ille­gal I hope we are going to have in this coun­try the biggest protest we have ever had ... in Wash­ing­ton D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and else­where because our coun­try and our elec­tions are cor­rupt.

    Don’t for­get that we’ve already seen evi­dence sug­gest­ing that the Oath Keep­ers’ plans for the insur­rec­tion were inspired by a Ser­bian activist who was pro­mot­ing the idea of fol­low­ing the tem­plate used by Ser­bian pro­tes­tors to dri­ve Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic out of office in 2000. A plan that had a num­ber of par­al­lels with what played out in Ukraine in 2014. And as we also saw, the Oath Keep­ers not only had a “Quick Reac­tion Force” in place in a DC area hotel with a stock­pile of weapons they had ready to trans­port to the insur­rec­tion­ists at the Capi­tol, but they also had food and water sup­plies for a month and plans to poten­tial­ly camp out for a month. In oth­er words, they were plan­ning on a poten­tial Maid­an. You have to won­der how long it will be before we get reports about Azov send­ing the GOP spe­cial ‘advi­sors’ to help with the effort.

    Final­ly, Trump did­n’t just make a call for nation­wide Maid­an-like mas­sive protests larg­er than any­thing seen before. By call­ing the pros­e­cu­tors inves­ti­gat­ing him “rad­i­cal, vicious racist pros­e­cu­tors”, Trump is implic­it­ly fram­ing the call to civ­il war in race war terms. They’re com­ing after him because they’re com­ing after white peo­ple. He did­n’t have to say any­thing more than strate­gi­cal­ly drop­ping that “racists pros­e­cu­tors” phrase. The dog whis­tle was heard loud and clear.

    So that’s the lat­est devel­op­ment in Amer­i­ca’s ongo­ing descent into a smol­der­ing pile of sociopo­lit­i­cal chaos. Trump issue his call to war. A call for a nation­al ‘Maid­an’ in the name of both keep­ing Trump out of jail and then putting him back into office, or burn­ing it all down. Either/or:

    The Philadel­phia Inquir­er

    At Texas ral­ly, Trump all but promised a racial­ly charged civ­il war if he’s indict­ed | Will Bunch

    In one of the most incen­di­ary, dan­ger­ous speech­es in U.S. his­to­ry, Don­ald Trump promised at a Texas ral­ly may­hem if he’s crim­i­nal­ly charged.
    For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks at a ral­ly Sat­ur­day in Con­roe, Texas.

    by Will Bunch | Colum­nist
    Pub­lished Jan 30, 2022

    For a nation that’s awak­ened every morn­ing for near­ly two years to a Ground­hog Day of pan­dem­ic and para­noia, the scenes from Don­ald Trump’s lat­est come­back ral­ly on Sat­ur­day at a fair­ground in the East Texas flat­lands of Con­roe could cer­tain­ly numb the Amer­i­can mind with an over­whelm­ing sense of déjà vu.

    The mile-long line of Trump fanat­ics, brav­ing the Jan­u­ary prairie chill to see the twice-impeached ex-pres­i­dent and pass­ing rows of ven­dors, includ­ing the occa­sion­al Con­fed­er­ate flag. Then the viral clips of the true believ­ers — the woman in her Trump 2024 hat expound­ing that the “Joe Biden” cur­rent­ly in the White House is fake and that the real one was assas­si­nat­ed at Git­mo in March 2019, anoth­er woman ped­dling a book con­tain­ing all of Trump’s tweets before he was banned from Twit­ter, and the guy ped­dling dos­es of the quack COVID-19 cure Iver­mectin while lash­ing out at any­one wear­ing a mask for try­ing to “save Grand­ma.”

    As dark­ness fell and the crowd swelled to the thou­sands, the sound sys­tem blared the late Lau­ra Branigan’s “Glo­ria,” the same tune that had elec­tri­fied Trump’s most diehard fol­low­ers at the D.C. Ellipse on the morn­ing of Jan. 6, 2021. Over at the zeal­ous­ly pro-Trump One Amer­i­ca News Net­work, or OANN, ana­lysts await­ed the 45th pres­i­dent as their anti­dote to what they called “the divi­sive­ness” of Pres­i­dent Biden’s first year, insist­ing in the words of Liz Har­ring­ton that “Trump will unite us.” But more main­stream out­lets like CNN were busy obsess­ing on the pos­si­ble retire­ment of football’s Tom Brady, hav­ing decid­ed — wise­ly — after Jan. 6 not to cov­er Trump’s words live but to only revis­it his ral­lies if he actu­al­ly makes any news.

    Hey, guys ... Trump made some news! Unfor­tu­nate­ly.

    After rant­i­ng about the pros­e­cu­tors inves­ti­gat­ing him, Trump calls the pros­e­cu­tors racist and says if they do any­thing ille­gal, he hopes there are mas­sive protests in DC, New York, and Atlanta pic.twitter.com/RnY6F5OJNv— Acyn (@Acyn) Jan­u­ary 30, 2022

    In fact, the man who’d occu­pied the White House lit­tle more than one year ago deliv­ered one of the most incen­di­ary and most dan­ger­ous speech­es in America’s 246-year his­to­ry. It includ­ed an appeal for all-out may­hem in the streets to thwart the U.S. jus­tice sys­tem and pre­vent Trump from going to jail, as the vise tight­ens from over­lap­ping crim­i­nal probes in mul­ti­ple juris­dic­tions. And it also fea­tured a stun­ning cam­paign promise — that Trump would look to abuse the pow­er of the pres­i­den­cy to par­don those involved in the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion.

    It’s impos­si­ble for me to under­state or down­play the impor­tance of this moment, and I hope that my col­leagues in the media — who too often over the last year have craved or even pre­tend­ed about a return to the pol­i­tics of “nor­mal,” when we are nowhere near nor­mal — will wake up and see this. Of course, Biden’s pres­i­den­cy deserves our full scruti­ny, with praise for what’s gone right (an eco­nom­ic boom) and crit­i­cism for what’s gone wrong (bro­ken promis­es on cli­mate and stu­dent debt). But while Biden is seek­ing to restore demo­c­ra­t­ic norms, a shad­ow ex-pres­i­dent — unpun­ished so far for his role in an attempt­ed coup on Jan. 6 — is rebuild­ing a cult-like move­ment in the heart­land of Amer­i­ca, with all the per­son­al griev­ance and appeals to Brown­shirts-style vio­lence that marked the low­est moments of the 20th cen­tu­ry. On the 89th anniver­sary of the date (Jan. 30, 1933) that Adolf Hitler — reha­bil­i­tat­ed after his attempt­ed coup — assumed pow­er in Ger­many, are we repeat­ing the past’s mis­takes of com­pla­cen­cy and under­es­ti­ma­tion?

    Amid the pre­dictable reit­er­a­tions of the Big Lie that Biden’s legit­i­mate 2020 elec­tion was stolen and his oth­er nar­cis­sis­tic blath­er, Trump’s lengthy speech in Con­roe con­tained three ele­ments that marked a dan­ger­ous esca­la­tion of his post-pres­i­den­tial, post-Jan. 6 rhetoric. Let’s digest and ana­lyze each of them:

    For the first time, Trump — if some­how elect­ed again in 2024 and upon return­ing to the White House in Jan­u­ary 2025 — dan­gled par­dons before peo­ple con­vict­ed of crimes in the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion on Capi­tol Hill. “If I run and I win, we will treat those peo­ple from Jan. 6 fair­ly,” he told the ral­ly, adding: “And if it requires par­dons, we will give them par­dons, because they are being treat­ed so unfair­ly.” The state­ment rais­es as many ques­tions as it answers — for exam­ple, was he includ­ing many or all of the more than 700 most­ly low-lev­el insur­rec­tion­ists, or send­ing a mes­sage to his high­er-up friends like Rudy Giu­liani, Steve Ban­non, Mark Mead­ows and oth­ers who could be sub­ject to crim­i­nal probes?

    But two things are clear. The first is that Trump — fac­ing probes over Jan. 6 in Geor­gia and pos­si­bly from the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment — is com­mit­ting a form of obstruc­tion of jus­tice in full pub­lic view, since the future pos­si­bil­i­ty of a par­don offers an incen­tive to stay on the ex-president’s good side and not tes­ti­fy against him. The oth­er is that abus­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al pow­er of a pres­i­den­tial par­don — intend­ed by the framers for grace and true clemen­cy — to clear the jails of his polit­i­cal allies is banana repub­lic-type stuff, the ulti­mate rock bot­tom made inevitable when Trump was allowed to abuse his par­don pow­ers while in office 2017–21.

    In a sign that Trump is increas­ing­ly wor­ried about the over­lap­ping probes — the remark­able evi­dence uncov­ered by the House Jan. 6 Com­mit­tee that will like­ly be referred to the Jus­tice Depart­ment, the Ful­ton Coun­ty grand jury inves­ti­ga­tion into Geor­gia elec­tion tam­per­ing, and the unre­lat­ed probe into dodgy Trump fam­i­ly finances in New York, he explic­it­ly called for mob action if charges are lodged in any of these juris­dic­tions. Said Trump: “If these rad­i­cal, vicious racist pros­e­cu­tors do any­thing wrong or ille­gal I hope we are going to have in this coun­try the biggest protest we have ever had ... in Wash­ing­ton D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and else­where because our coun­try and our elec­tions are cor­rupt.”

    Of course, the last time that Trump used his mega­phone to sum­mon a large crowd (”Will be wild!” he famous­ly tweet­ed) was last Jan. 6, and we all remem­ber how that “protest” turned out. Experts call Trump’s prac­tices here “sto­chas­tic ter­ror­ism” — broad state­ments in the media that are meant to stoke spon­ta­neous acts of vio­lence, in this case to intim­i­date the pros­e­cu­tors or even the grand jurors who are weigh­ing charges against Trump. While his Jan. 6 exhor­ta­tions were the pre­lude to an attempt­ed coup, Trump’s incen­di­ary remarks in Con­roe sound like a call for a new civ­il war — nam­ing both the locales and the casus bel­li.

    But let’s take a step back and drill down on arguably the most impor­tant and alarm­ing word in Trump’s state­ment: “Racist.” At first blush, it seems to come out of left field, in the sense of what could be racist about look­ing into a white man’s role in an attempt­ed coup or his cooked finan­cial books? Except that it hap­pens that three of the key pros­e­cu­tors inves­ti­gat­ing Trump — the Ful­ton Coun­ty, Ga., dis­trict attor­ney, Fani Willis, New York State Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James, and new Man­hat­tan pros­e­cu­tor Alvin Bragg — as well as the chair of the House com­mit­tee, Rep. Ben­nie Thomp­son of Mis­sis­sip­pi, are all Black.

    Thus, it’s both alarm­ing and yet utter­ly pre­dictable that Trump would toss the gaso­line of racial alle­ga­tions onto his flam­ing pile of griev­ances, know­ing how that will play with the Con­fed­er­ate flag afi­ciona­dos with­in the ex-president’s cult. In tying skin col­or into his call for mobs in Atlanta or New York, Trump is seek­ing to start a race war — no dif­fer­ent, real­ly, from Dylann Roof. Roof used a .45-cal­iber Glock hand­gun, while Trump uses a podi­um and the ser­vices of fawn­ing right-wing cable TV net­works. Sad­ly, the lat­ter method could prove more effec­tive.

    What hap­pened in Con­roe, Texas, on Sat­ur­day night was not pol­i­tics. A politi­cian seek­ing to regain the White House might craft a nar­ra­tive around Biden’s strug­gles with infla­tion or with COVID-19 and make a case — no mat­ter how absurd, giv­en Trump’s fail­ings on the pan­dem­ic and else­where — that he could do bet­ter for the vot­ers. But increas­ing­ly Trump is less a politi­cian and more the leader of a pol­i­tics-adja­cent cult. He does not want to make Amer­i­ca great again so much as he wants to keep Don­ald Trump out of prison, and the most nar­cis­sis­tic POTUS of all time is will­ing to rip the Unit­ed States in two to make this hap­pen.

    ...

    ———-

    “At Texas ral­ly, Trump all but promised a racial­ly charged civ­il war if he’s indict­ed | Will Bunch” by Will Bunch; The Philadel­phia Inquir­er; 06/30/2022

    In fact, the man who’d occu­pied the White House lit­tle more than one year ago deliv­ered one of the most incen­di­ary and most dan­ger­ous speech­es in America’s 246-year his­to­ry. It includ­ed an appeal for all-out may­hem in the streets to thwart the U.S. jus­tice sys­tem and pre­vent Trump from going to jail, as the vise tight­ens from over­lap­ping crim­i­nal probes in mul­ti­ple juris­dic­tions. And it also fea­tured a stun­ning cam­paign promise — that Trump would look to abuse the pow­er of the pres­i­den­cy to par­don those involved in the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion.”

    It rais­es the ques­tion: can any­one think of any speech giv­en by a cur­rent or for­mer US pres­i­dent that’s more dan­ger­ous than the speech Trump just gave? After all, it’s not like Trump mere­ly obstruct­ed jus­tice in plain view. Or mere­ly called for a nation­al insur­rec­tion should he face pros­e­cu­tion. Or mere­ly frame this insur­rec­tion as a race war. It was all of that in a sin­gle speech. He man­aged to effec­tive squeeze in a call to arms for a Civ­il Race War, fought for the glo­ry of Trump, into a sin­gle ram­bling speech. First he promis­es to par­don the insur­rec­tion­ists. A pledge that implic­it­ly applies to future insur­rec­tion­ists:

    ...
    — For the first time, Trump — if some­how elect­ed again in 2024 and upon return­ing to the White House in Jan­u­ary 2025 — dan­gled par­dons before peo­ple con­vict­ed of crimes in the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion on Capi­tol Hill. “If I run and I win, we will treat those peo­ple from Jan. 6 fair­ly,” he told the ral­ly, adding: “And if it requires par­dons, we will give them par­dons, because they are being treat­ed so unfair­ly.” The state­ment rais­es as many ques­tions as it answers — for exam­ple, was he includ­ing many or all of the more than 700 most­ly low-lev­el insur­rec­tion­ists, or send­ing a mes­sage to his high­er-up friends like Rudy Giu­liani, Steve Ban­non, Mark Mead­ows and oth­ers who could be sub­ject to crim­i­nal probes?

    But two things are clear. The first is that Trump — fac­ing probes over Jan. 6 in Geor­gia and pos­si­bly from the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment — is com­mit­ting a form of obstruc­tion of jus­tice in full pub­lic view, since the future pos­si­bil­i­ty of a par­don offers an incen­tive to stay on the ex-president’s good side and not tes­ti­fy against him. The oth­er is that abus­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al pow­er of a pres­i­den­tial par­don — intend­ed by the framers for grace and true clemen­cy — to clear the jails of his polit­i­cal allies is banana repub­lic-type stuff, the ulti­mate rock bot­tom made inevitable when Trump was allowed to abuse his par­don pow­ers while in office 2017–21.
    ...

    And that implic­it applic­a­bil­i­ty of the par­don pledge towards future insur­rec­tions obvi­ous­ly also applies to the call for “biggest protest we have ever had ... in Wash­ing­ton D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and else­where because our coun­try and our elec­tions are cor­rupt.” If he’s call­ing for the biggest protests the US has ever had he’s basi­cal­ly call­ing for a Maid­an-style para­mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion. A para­mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion of mul­ti­ple cities. And the trig­ger for this was­n’t that Trump be pros­e­cut­ed for his role in Jan 6. Any pros­e­cu­tions tar­get­ing Trump, includ­ing pros­e­cu­tions over his cor­rupt tax prac­tices, are poten­tial trig­gers. The US could fight a civ­il war over Trump’s tax­es. That’s now an acute pos­si­bil­i­ty. This is how dan­ger­ous­ly stu­pid the sit­u­a­tion has got­ten:

    ...
    — In a sign that Trump is increas­ing­ly wor­ried about the over­lap­ping probes — the remark­able evi­dence uncov­ered by the House Jan. 6 Com­mit­tee that will like­ly be referred to the Jus­tice Depart­ment, the Ful­ton Coun­ty grand jury inves­ti­ga­tion into Geor­gia elec­tion tam­per­ing, and the unre­lat­ed probe into dodgy Trump fam­i­ly finances in New York, he explic­it­ly called for mob action if charges are lodged in any of these juris­dic­tions. Said Trump: “If these rad­i­cal, vicious racist pros­e­cu­tors do any­thing wrong or ille­gal I hope we are going to have in this coun­try the biggest protest we have ever had ... in Wash­ing­ton D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and else­where because our coun­try and our elec­tions are cor­rupt.”

    Of course, the last time that Trump used his mega­phone to sum­mon a large crowd (”Will be wild!” he famous­ly tweet­ed) was last Jan. 6, and we all remem­ber how that “protest” turned out. Experts call Trump’s prac­tices here “sto­chas­tic ter­ror­ism” — broad state­ments in the media that are meant to stoke spon­ta­neous acts of vio­lence, in this case to intim­i­date the pros­e­cu­tors or even the grand jurors who are weigh­ing charges against Trump. While his Jan. 6 exhor­ta­tions were the pre­lude to an attempt­ed coup, Trump’s incen­di­ary remarks in Con­roe sound like a call for a new civ­il war — nam­ing both the locales and the casus bel­li.
    ...

    Final­ly, there’s the fact that Trump did­n’t just lay out a call for a civ­il war to be fought to keep him out of jail. It’s going to be a Civ­il Race War. That’s how Trump framed it by call­ing the pros­e­cu­tors “racists” when warn­ing about the “these rad­i­cal, vicious racist pros­e­cu­tors.” It was the kind of strate­gic dog whis­tle that ensure the rest of his rhetoric should be viewed in the same kind of world­view frame­work as Dylann Roof, where con­ser­v­a­tive white Amer­i­ca faces an exis­ten­tial threat from a lib­er­al anti-white glob­al­ist plot to destroy white Amer­i­ca. So, you know, you’re not just fight­ing to keep Trump out of jail. You’re also fight­ing for the white race:

    ...
    But let’s take a step back and drill down on arguably the most impor­tant and alarm­ing word in Trump’s state­ment: “Racist.” At first blush, it seems to come out of left field, in the sense of what could be racist about look­ing into a white man’s role in an attempt­ed coup or his cooked finan­cial books? Except that it hap­pens that three of the key pros­e­cu­tors inves­ti­gat­ing Trump — the Ful­ton Coun­ty, Ga., dis­trict attor­ney, Fani Willis, New York State Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James, and new Man­hat­tan pros­e­cu­tor Alvin Bragg — as well as the chair of the House com­mit­tee, Rep. Ben­nie Thomp­son of Mis­sis­sip­pi, are all Black.

    Thus, it’s both alarm­ing and yet utter­ly pre­dictable that Trump would toss the gaso­line of racial alle­ga­tions onto his flam­ing pile of griev­ances, know­ing how that will play with the Con­fed­er­ate flag afi­ciona­dos with­in the ex-president’s cult. In tying skin col­or into his call for mobs in Atlanta or New York, Trump is seek­ing to start a race war — no dif­fer­ent, real­ly, from Dylann Roof. Roof used a .45-cal­iber Glock hand­gun, while Trump uses a podi­um and the ser­vices of fawn­ing right-wing cable TV net­works. Sad­ly, the lat­ter method could prove more effec­tive.
    ...

    Keep in mind that this speech was prob­a­bly just the open­ing sal­vo in what will like­ly be a grow­ing war of words between Trump and the pros­e­cu­tors inves­ti­gat­ing him. We should expect more of this as Trump’s legal threats grow clos­er. It’s going to be a a war of words fought with new pub­lic indict­ments by the pros­e­cu­tors and new calls for civ­il war by Trump.

    So the good news is that at least it looks like Trump is final­ly fear­ing real con­se­quences for his numer­ous high crimes. The bad news is it looks like Trump is final­ly fear­ing real con­se­quences for his numer­ous high crimes, and is now des­per­ate enough to try a some high­er crimes that he hopes might get him out of this sit­u­a­tion. A nation­al Maid­an civ­il race war cyn­i­cal­ly waged to stay out of jail. If that’s not the high­est crime, it’s got to be close.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 31, 2022, 5:35 pm
  9. Here’s a pair of arti­cles about the ongo­ing COVID-relat­ed truck­er protests in Cana­da that appears to be on the verge of spread­ing to the US:

    First, Josh Mar­shall has a post point­ing us towards a very dis­turb­ing real­i­ty that’s unfold­ing in Ottawa: the author­i­ties have effec­tive­ly lost con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion on the ground as the same time the most non-vio­lent pro­tes­tors have become infused with groups of anti-democ­ra­cy far right street brawlers. And it appears this cap­ture of the capi­tol almost hap­pened overnight with­out author­i­ties rec­og­niz­ing what was hap­pen­ing. The truck block­ades effec­tive­ly cre­at­ed protest fortress­es author­i­ties can’t enter.

    Then, as we see in the sec­ond TPM piece below, it looks like one of the lead­ers to emerge from this move­ment is a Cal­i­for­nia far right attor­ney, Leigh Dun­das, who also hap­pens to be a Sci­en­tol­o­gist. Dun­das has been work­ing with the Cana­di­an pro­tes­tors to iden­ti­fy strate­gic loca­tions for block­ades along the US-Cana­di­an bor­der. But she’s inter­est­ed in far more than just oppos­ing vac­cine man­dates. As we should expect, Dun­das spoke in DC on Jan 6 and remains a fig­ure push­ing the ‘stolen elec­tion’ nar­ra­tive about 2020, hav­ing appeared along­side peo­ple like Michael Fly­nn and Patrick Byrne at an event in Oct 2021.

    Don’t for­get what Don­ald Trump him­self recent­ly called for: mas­sive occu­pa­tions of major cities should he face jail time over his role in the insur­rec­tion. And then there’s the fact that Stew­art Rhodes and the Oath Keep­ers appeared to have plans and sup­plies to poten­tial­ly occu­py DC for at least a month dur­ing the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. A grow­ing num­ber of signs point towards a far right strat­e­gy of Maid­an-like occu­pa­tions in cities across the US. It’s becom­ing a ‘when’, not ‘if’, sit­u­a­tion.

    So we have a sit­u­a­tion where the far right has learned that it can shut down cities with mobile truck fortress­es and big plans to expand that tac­tic to cities across the US. Far right truck­er Maid­ans across North Amer­i­ca. That’s the plan:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    The Sit­u­a­tion in Cana­da is Worse Than It Looks

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Feb­ru­ary 11, 2022 2:14 p.m.

    I want­ed to share with you this post about the sit­u­a­tion in Ottawa, sent along TPM Read­er JK. I rec­om­mend read­ing the whole thing. But this is the gist.

    What’s hap­pen­ing in Ottawa, they were clear, is two sep­a­rate events hap­pen­ing in tan­dem: there is a broad­ly non-vio­lent (to date) group of Cana­di­ans with assort­ed COVID-relat­ed gripes, rang­ing from the some­what jus­ti­fied to total­ly frickin’ insane. But that larg­er group, which has knocked Ottawa and too many of our lead­ers into what my col­league Jen Ger­son so per­fect­ly described as “stun-fuc ked sta­sis,” is now pro­vid­ing a kind of (most­ly) unwit­ting cov­er to a cadre of sea­soned street brawlers whose pri­ma­ry goal is to fur­ther erode the legit­i­ma­cy of the state — not just the city of Ottawa, or Ontario or Cana­da, but of democ­ra­cies gen­er­al­ly.

    Part of what reporter and colum­nist Matt Gur­ney dis­cuss­es in the arti­cle is an encamp­ment of peo­ple in the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry, which has become a fortress type set­ting. (You can build a pret­ty pow­er­ful fortress if you can move around a bunch of 18 wheel­ers.) It seems clear – and the police chief in Ottawa has been say­ing this – that local police can’t resolve this sit­u­a­tion. The coun­try has essen­tial­ly lost con­trol of its own cap­i­tal. And now those ‘pro­tes­tors’ are expand­ing toward shut­ting down trade links between the two coun­tries.

    ...

    One thing that becomes clear read­ing this is that the impor­tant stuff hap­pened before the author­i­ties in Ottawa even knew what was hap­pen­ing. And then it was too late. Once you have an orga­nized, for­ti­fied encamp­ment of far-right agi­ta­tors you can’t just dis­man­tle that with­out the poten­tial or maybe cer­tain­ty of a lot of vio­lence. I real­ly hope US author­i­ties are watch­ing this close­ly to pre­vent things like this hap­pen­ing on the US side of the bor­der. At the begin­ning you can deal with it in a pret­ty straight­for­ward way. If you let it get out of con­trol, as they did in Ottawa, the options become real­ly bad.

    This isn’t just more right wing crazy or the kind of white priv­i­lege per­for­mance art that we’re used to see­ing from the Bundy clan here in the US. It’s both of those things. But this is a much more grave chal­lenge to the author­i­ty of the Cana­di­an state itself. They are show­ing that, at least so far, the Cana­di­an state is unable to defend itself or the civic and com­mer­cial lives of its cit­i­zens.

    ———

    “The Sit­u­a­tion in Cana­da is Worse Than It Looks” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo; 02/11/2022

    “Part of what reporter and colum­nist Matt Gur­ney dis­cuss­es in the arti­cle is an encamp­ment of peo­ple in the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry, which has become a fortress type set­ting. (You can build a pret­ty pow­er­ful fortress if you can move around a bunch of 18 wheel­ers.) It seems clear – and the police chief in Ottawa has been say­ing this – that local police can’t resolve this sit­u­a­tion. The coun­try has essen­tial­ly lost con­trol of its own cap­i­tal. And now those ‘pro­tes­tors’ are expand­ing toward shut­ting down trade links between the two coun­tries.

    Cana­da has essen­tial­ly lost con­trol of its own Capi­tol and it seem­ing­ly hap­pened overnight. The trucks pulled up, the street brawlers moved in, and now Ottawa has its own Maid­an-like occu­pa­tion. And as the fol­low­ing TPM piece makes clear, this Maid­an-like move­ment isn’t going to stay in Ottawa. There are much big­ger plans in mind. Plans that will syn­er­gize heav­i­ly with the ongo­ing right-wing nar­ra­tive about a stolen 2020 elec­tion:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Muck­rak­er

    The Insur­rec­tion Evan­ge­list Push­ing To Bring Anti-Vax Truck­er Protests To The US
    Leigh Dun­das, an attor­ney who appeared at an anti-vax pan­el run by Sen. Ron John­son last month, is a play­er in the efforts to orga­nize a U.S. con­voy.

    By Josh Koven­sky
    Feb­ru­ary 11, 2022 11:38 a.m.

    On Jan. 5, 2021, Orange Coun­ty attor­ney Leigh Dun­das was enraged — and she was in D.C.

    “We would be well with­in our rights to take any alleged Amer­i­can who act­ed in a turn­coat fash­ion and sold us out and com­mit­ted trea­son — we would be well with­in our right to take them out back and shoot them or hang them,” Dun­das thun­dered, speak­ing from a stage.

    Leigh Dun­das, mak­ing Sci­en­tol­ogy proud. Here’s our first sto­ry about her, from last sum­mer: https://t.co/iIU7MKGZbu https://t.co/iOFOMvuNGi
    — Tony Orte­ga (@TonyOrtega94) Jan­u­ary 6, 2021

    Now, Dun­das is lead­ing a dif­fer­ent kind of charge: the effort to bring Canada’s anti-vax truck­er protests to the Unit­ed States.

    Politi­co first report­ed the involve­ment of Dun­das and her non-prof­it, Free­dom Fight­er Nation, on Wednes­day. TPM reviewed Telegram chats focused on orga­niz­ing a U.S. con­voy in which orga­niz­ers referred to Dun­das and her non­prof­it as part of the movement’s lead­er­ship, say­ing that they are play­ing a role in plan­ning upcom­ing ral­lies.

    Dun­das claimed in a lit­tle-noticed inter­view pub­lished on far-right video shar­ing net­work Rum­ble that she first got involved sev­er­al weeks ago when a group of Cana­di­an truck­ers invit­ed her to help with their protest.

    “We start­ed work­ing with them to iden­ti­fy the strate­gic bor­der cross­ings and how we could sup­port them from the Unit­ed States side and also what this looked like,” Dun­das said in the video, pub­lished Jan. 31.

    Now, she and oth­ers are work­ing to ignite a sim­i­lar series of anti-vax protests in the U.S., start­ing with a ral­ly planned for California’s Coachel­la Val­ley in ear­ly March that’s been pro­mot­ed across sev­er­al of the main social media pro­files for the would-be Amer­i­can con­voy.

    ...

    Over the past two years, Dun­das’ appear­ances illus­trate the nexus of right-wing activism around anti-COVID mea­sures, Jan. 6, and, now, the move­ment of truck­ers aimed at snarling up sup­ply chains and bring­ing an end to vac­cine require­ments. It’s a jum­ble of dif­fer­ent threads with Dun­das pop­ping up in each, pro­mot­ing both con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and her own involve­ment in orga­niz­ing around them.

    In par­tic­u­lar, Dun­das has had a For­rest Gump-like habit of pop­ping up at COVID-relat­ed imbroglios. First in Orange Coun­ty, and most recent­ly on Capi­tol Hill.

    On Jan. 24, Dun­das appeared at a pan­el con­vened by Sen. Ron John­son (R‑WI) devot­ed to pro­mot­ing bogus claims that the COVID-19 vac­cines are harm­ful.

    “There’s at least sus­pi­cions that the Defense Depart­ment is doc­tor­ing the data,” John­son said at one point in the hear­ing.

    “I would con­tend, sen­a­tor, that there’s not just a sus­pi­cion,” Dun­das inter­ject­ed grave­ly, launch­ing into a mono­logue that accused the Pen­ta­gon of cov­er­ing up mass vac­cine death.

    “Who are you?” John­son, appar­ent­ly unaware of who she was, then asked Dun­das.

    Dun­das replied that Thomas Renz, an attor­ney who has made his name on anti-vax law­suits, brought her.

    When the pan­dem­ic first began, Dun­das was one of a group that suc­ceed­ed in expelling a local coun­ty offi­cial from office over COVID man­dates that, TPM point­ed out at the time, were non-exis­tent.

    That’s also when Tony Orte­ga, a for­mer Vil­lage Voice edi­tor-in-chief and cur­rent inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ist who cov­ers Sci­en­tol­ogy, first noticed Dun­das.

    He cot­toned on to Dun­das’ con­nec­tions to sci­en­tol­ogy, specif­i­cal­ly as an attor­ney for what he described as a front group oper­at­ed by a sci­en­tol­o­gist chi­ro­prac­tor. Then, in Jan­u­ary 2021, he was sur­prised to receive a tip plac­ing her out­side the Capi­tol on Jan. 6.

    “You stand the hell up,” Dun­das said in a video of a speech she gave in D.C. around the time of the insur­rec­tion, post­ed to YouTube by Orte­ga. “Because you are far bet­ter off liv­ing a life on your feet and being pre­pared to die on your feet than liv­ing a life on your damned knees.”

    Orte­ga told TPM that that was Dundas’s last U.S. appear­ance for a while. Social media posts reviewed by TPM place her in Mex­i­co not long after.

    “Right after that event, she went right down to Mex­i­co. It seemed like she knew she stepped over the line,” Orte­ga added. “There’s an enclave being built by sci­en­tol­o­gists down there.”

    Dun­das has since returned to the U.S. She appeared at an Octo­ber 2021 con­fer­ence in Salt Lake City devot­ed to COVID denial, the Big Lie, and oth­er issues that loom large in the QAnon uni­verse. There, she spoke along­side Michael Fly­nn and Patrick Byrne, both of whom advo­cat­ed for Trump to abuse his pow­ers to sub­vert the 2020 elec­tion.

    In the Jan. 31 Rum­ble video, Dun­das dis­cussed an ear­li­er plan for mass, anti-vax protests: a so-called “Nation­al Walk­out” to be held in Novem­ber 2021, meant as a gen­er­al strike against employ­ers with vac­cine man­dates.

    That effort did not catch on. It did lead to some noto­ri­ety, after a car hit five peo­ple try­ing to con­trol a protest that Dun­das orga­nized on the Gold­en Gate bridge in sup­port of the walk­out.

    Lat­er in the Jan. 31 Rum­ble video, Dun­das said that the Cana­di­an truck­ers reached out to her after hear­ing about her role in the walk­out.

    She likened the truck­ers’ move­ment to a 2014 episode in Thai­land, where, as she told it, farm­ers used their equip­ment to bring a “coup d’etat” to an end.

    “For what­ev­er rea­son, god had me on the ground in Feb­ru­ary 2014 when the Thai­land farm­ers did a sim­i­lar move — they block­ad­ed or threat­ened to block­ade and make an island of Bangkok Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, as a way to bring the coup to an end,” she said. “They were hav­ing a coup d’etat. There was no defin­i­tive win­ner com­ing out of it.”

    (The sto­ry seems to con­flate events in 2014 — a planned Feb­ru­ary farm­ers protest that was sub­se­quent­ly called off, and the suc­cess­ful May mil­i­tary coup. Dun­das has said she was in Thai­land work­ing on anti-human traf­fick­ing issues.)

    Dun­das added that it end­ed when “much like the Cana­da truck dri­vers,” Thai farm­ers drove large trucks to block off Bangkok’s main inter­na­tion­al air­port.

    “That was it — no more coup,” she said. “I had been wait­ing for any­body in a first-world coun­try to do that over the past cou­ple years as things got more tyran­ni­cal, and real­ly since March 2020.”

    ———-

    Politi­co first report­ed the involve­ment of Dun­das and her non-prof­it, Free­dom Fight­er Nation, on Wednes­day. TPM reviewed Telegram chats focused on orga­niz­ing a U.S. con­voy in which orga­niz­ers referred to Dun­das and her non­prof­it as part of the movement’s lead­er­ship, say­ing that they are play­ing a role in plan­ning upcom­ing ral­lies.

    Leigh Dun­das is clear­ly a leader in this move­ment. Both on the US side and Cana­di­an side, facil­i­tat­ing the bor­der-cross­ing shut­downs. But her plans aren’t lim­it­ed to Cana­da. Dun­das wants to see these anti-vax protests spread across the US:

    ...
    Dun­das claimed in a lit­tle-noticed inter­view pub­lished on far-right video shar­ing net­work Rum­ble that she first got involved sev­er­al weeks ago when a group of Cana­di­an truck­ers invit­ed her to help with their protest.

    “We start­ed work­ing with them to iden­ti­fy the strate­gic bor­der cross­ings and how we could sup­port them from the Unit­ed States side and also what this looked like,” Dun­das said in the video, pub­lished Jan. 31.

    Now, she and oth­ers are work­ing to ignite a sim­i­lar series of anti-vax protests in the U.S., start­ing with a ral­ly planned for California’s Coachel­la Val­ley in ear­ly March that’s been pro­mot­ed across sev­er­al of the main social media pro­files for the would-be Amer­i­can con­voy.
    ...

    But Dun­das’s focus isn’t lim­it­ed to vac­cine man­dates and COVID restric­tions. She spoke in DC on Jan 6, and has con­tin­ued to appear at events with fig­ures like Michael Fly­nn and Patrick Byrne. In oth­er words, the protests Dun­das has in mind for the US prob­a­bly won’t be lim­it­ed to protest­ing COVID mea­sures:

    ...
    When the pan­dem­ic first began, Dun­das was one of a group that suc­ceed­ed in expelling a local coun­ty offi­cial from office over COVID man­dates that, TPM point­ed out at the time, were non-exis­tent.

    That’s also when Tony Orte­ga, a for­mer Vil­lage Voice edi­tor-in-chief and cur­rent inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ist who cov­ers Sci­en­tol­ogy, first noticed Dun­das.

    He cot­toned on to Dun­das’ con­nec­tions to sci­en­tol­ogy, specif­i­cal­ly as an attor­ney for what he described as a front group oper­at­ed by a sci­en­tol­o­gist chi­ro­prac­tor. Then, in Jan­u­ary 2021, he was sur­prised to receive a tip plac­ing her out­side the Capi­tol on Jan. 6.

    “You stand the hell up,” Dun­das said in a video of a speech she gave in D.C. around the time of the insur­rec­tion, post­ed to YouTube by Orte­ga. “Because you are far bet­ter off liv­ing a life on your feet and being pre­pared to die on your feet than liv­ing a life on your damned knees.”

    ...

    Dun­das has since returned to the U.S. She appeared at an Octo­ber 2021 con­fer­ence in Salt Lake City devot­ed to COVID denial, the Big Lie, and oth­er issues that loom large in the QAnon uni­verse. There, she spoke along­side Michael Fly­nn and Patrick Byrne, both of whom advo­cat­ed for Trump to abuse his pow­ers to sub­vert the 2020 elec­tion.
    ...

    And that’s part of what makes Ottawa’s appar­ent loss of con­trol, seem­ing­ly overnight, so dis­turb­ing. It’s not just an exam­ple of how easy these kinds of move­ments can cre­ate what amounts to a fortress of trucks right in a nation’s cap­i­tal. It’s lit­er­al­ly prac­tice for Maid­an-like mil­i­tant occu­pa­tions. So if you thought the globe’s sup­ply-chain cri­sis was bad, get ready for the far right mul­ti-city Maid­an phase of the sup­ply-chain cri­sis.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 11, 2022, 4:44 pm
  10. Fol­low­ing up on the sto­ry of the far right ‘truck­er con­voy block­ades’ grip­ping Cana­da and the grow­ing enthu­si­asm for repli­cat­ing those block­ade with Maid­an-like occu­pa­tions of cities across the US, here’s a pair of arti­cles about how the exist­ing online finan­cial infra­struc­ture that has long been fuel­ing move­ments like QAnon is being rapid­ly repur­posed for con­voy fundrais­ing. Even for­eign troll farms are get­ting in on the action, although it sounds like they’ve been hired to do this by the move­ment orga­niz­ers in Cana­da. Fig­ures like Tuck­er Carl­son and Rand Paul are even sup­port­ing the spread of these block­ades to the US, so the main­stream rightwing media is already onboard. And as we should expect, Face­book appears to be at the cen­ter of this online fundrais­ing effort. So the ‘usu­al sus­pects’ are up to their usu­al activ­i­ty. Which means we should prob­a­bly expect a con­tin­ued explo­sion of these truck­er block­ades:

    NBC News

    As U.S. ‘truck­er con­voy’ picks up momen­tum, for­eign med­dling adds to fray

    Face­book said Fri­day it removed truck­er and con­voy groups run by over­seas actors. Many anti-vac­cine and con­spir­a­cy-dri­ven groups have moved to embrace con­voy orga­niz­ing.

    By Ben Collins
    Feb. 11, 2022, 5:45 PM CST / Updat­ed Feb. 11, 2022, 6:21 PM CST

    There is grow­ing momen­tum in the U.S. anti-vac­ci­na­tion com­mu­ni­ty to con­duct ral­lies sim­i­lar to Canada’s “Free­dom Con­voy” that has par­a­lyzed Ottawa, Ontario, and the effort is receiv­ing a boost from a famil­iar source: over­seas con­tent mills.

    Some Face­book groups that have pro­mot­ed Amer­i­can “truck­er con­voys” sim­i­lar to demon­stra­tions that have clogged roads in Ottawa are being run by fake accounts tied to con­tent mills in Viet­nam, Bangladesh, Roma­nia and sev­er­al oth­er coun­tries, Face­book offi­cials told NBC News on Fri­day.

    The groups have popped up as extrem­ism researchers have begun to warn that many anti-vac­cine and con­spir­a­cy-dri­ven com­mu­ni­ties in the U.S. are quick­ly piv­ot­ing to embrace and pro­mote the idea of dis­rup­tive con­voys.

    Researchers at Har­vard University’s Shoren­stein Cen­ter on Media, Pol­i­tics and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy first not­ed that large pro-Trump groups had been chang­ing their names to go with con­voy-relat­ed themes ear­li­er this week. Grid News report­ed on Fri­day that one major truck­er con­voy Face­book group was being run by a Bangladesh con­tent farm.

    Many of the groups have changed names mul­ti­ple times, going from those that tap hot-but­ton polit­i­cal issues such as sup­port for for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump or oppo­si­tion to vac­cine man­dates, to names with key­words like “truck­er,” “free­dom” and “con­voy.” Face­book allows groups on its plat­forms to change names but tracks the changes in each page’s “about” sec­tion.

    The moti­va­tions of the peo­ple behind the con­tent mills are not clear, but Joan Dono­van, direc­tor of the Shoren­stein Cen­ter, said the pat­tern fits exist­ing efforts to make mon­ey off U.S. polit­i­cal divi­sions.

    “In some ways, it’s nor­mal polit­i­cal activ­i­ty,” Dono­van said. “In oth­er ways, we have to look at how some of the engage­ment online is fake but can be a way to mobi­lize more peo­ple.”

    “When we see real­ly effec­tive dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns, it’s when the finan­cial and polit­i­cal motives align,” she added.

    The groups fre­quent­ly direct­ed users away from Face­book toward web­sites that sold pro-Trump and anti-vac­cine mer­chan­dise, a spokesper­son for Meta, the par­ent com­pa­ny of Face­book, said. The spokesper­son not­ed that the major­i­ty of the con­tent post­ed in these groups came from real accounts and that the com­pa­ny has removed the groups tied to for­eign con­tent mills.

    “Voic­ing oppo­si­tion to gov­ern­ment man­dates is not against Meta’s poli­cies,” the spokesper­son said in a state­ment. “How­ev­er, we have removed mul­ti­ple groups and Pages for repeat­ed­ly vio­lat­ing our poli­cies pro­hibit­ing QAnon con­tent and those run by spam­mers in dif­fer­ent coun­tries around the world. We con­tin­ue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and take action.”

    The details of for­eign inter­fer­ence come as anti-vac­cine pro­test­ers, pro-Trump groups and QAnon sup­port­ers have shift­ed their full atten­tion to mak­ing truck­er con­voys a real­i­ty on Amer­i­can roads. Anti-vac­cine pro­test­ers, some of whom are truck­ers, have clogged roads in Ottawa for more than a week, demand­ing the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment remove mask and vac­cine man­dates.

    Amer­i­can far-right groups on Face­book, Telegram and the voice chat app Zel­lo have aimed to repli­cate the demon­stra­tion in cities across the Unit­ed States. Peo­ple have passed around fly­ers in group chats urg­ing truck­ers to stop traf­fic at this Sunday’s Super Bowl in Los Ange­les, but the groups have found a three-day win­dow to be too short for suf­fi­cient mobi­liza­tion.

    Dis­cus­sion in the anti-vac­cine com­mu­ni­ties has large­ly coa­lesced around a dif­fer­ent date for road clo­sures — March 5 — with plans for con­voys head­ed toward Wash­ing­ton D.C. and Los Ange­les in the days pri­or.

    Major web­sites and social media accounts behind the anti-vac­cine man­date protest that marched on Wash­ing­ton last month are rebrand­ing as “truck­er con­voys,” part of a wide­spread effort to bring ver­sions of Ottawa’s anti-vac­cine road clo­sures to Amer­i­can cities.

    The offi­cial web­site for the “Defeat the Man­dates” event has changed its home­page and is now adver­tis­ing a truck­er con­voy in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in March.

    “There’s a mis­con­cep­tion that every par­tic­i­pant in these chats is a truck­er, but that’s not true at all. It’s real­ly any­body who’s been a part of these move­ments who’ve been wait­ing for an excuse to do some­thing — QAnon, anti-vac­cine, sov­er­eign cit­i­zens,” said extrem­ism researcher Sara Ani­ano, who recent­ly pub­lished a report on QAnon’s growth after Jan. 6 for the Inter­na­tion­al Cen­tre for the Study of Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, a Lon­don-based non­prof­it group. ”This feels like the cul­mi­na­tion of every­thing that’s hap­pened since Jan. 6th.”

    ...

    Dono­van, of Har­vard University’s Shoren­stein Cen­ter, said Viet­namese spam­mers specif­i­cal­ly sell what they call “Nick” accounts at scale, which are cred­i­ble-seem­ing Face­book accounts that mod­er­ate high-pro­file groups.

    Once pur­chased, the accounts and the groups they run can be used for any pur­pose, from sell­ing T‑shirts to exe­cut­ing a for­eign influ­ence cam­paign.

    Some con­tent mills even offer to help if Face­book takes action against a cer­tain page or group.

    “The fake account trade is alive and well,” Dono­van said. “Real­ly, they act as some­thing like cus­tomer ser­vice. Whether it’s a per­son or an orga­ni­za­tion, if you bought an account from a per­son, and they do get tak­en away, you can con­tact him and he will reim­burse you with more accounts. It has some dark mar­ket­ing aspects to it.”

    The point of renam­ing larg­er groups is not only to retain and spam the already-exist­ing com­mu­ni­ty but to also appear high­er in Facebook’s search and rec­om­men­da­tions bar, which helps lend cred­i­bil­i­ty to those curi­ous about the move­ment.

    Face­book said it would “con­tin­ue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion” for more inau­then­tic activ­i­ty.

    “We con­tin­ue to see scam­mers latch onto any hot-but­ton issue that draws people’s atten­tion, includ­ing the ongo­ing protests,” the Meta spokesper­son said. “Over the past week, we’ve removed groups and Pages run by spam­mers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries around the world who used abu­sive tac­tics to mis­lead peo­ple about the ori­gin and pop­u­lar­i­ty of their con­tent to dri­ve them to off-plat­form web­sites to mon­e­tize ad clicks.”

    Ani­ano, who said she recent­ly spent sev­er­al days lis­ten­ing in on audio chats in con­voy-relat­ed Telegram groups, said the com­mu­ni­ties large­ly con­sist of a mish­mash of anti-vac­cine groups and QAnon sup­port­ers.

    Ani­ano said the groups, which have tens of thou­sands of sub­scribers, flow between logis­ti­cal dis­cus­sions about essen­tials to bring on a long-haul car trip and get­ting fol­low­ers up to date on QAnon-based con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    ———-

    “As U.S. ‘truck­er con­voy’ picks up momen­tum, for­eign med­dling adds to fray” by Ben Collins; NBC News; 02/11/2022

    “Some Face­book groups that have pro­mot­ed Amer­i­can “truck­er con­voys” sim­i­lar to demon­stra­tions that have clogged roads in Ottawa are being run by fake accounts tied to con­tent mills in Viet­nam, Bangladesh, Roma­nia and sev­er­al oth­er coun­tries, Face­book offi­cials told NBC News on Fri­day.”

    The mali­cious social-media prof­it-dri­ven com­mer­cial­iza­tion of the right-wing truck­er con­voy move­ment is already under­way, ampli­fy­ing the truck­ers’ mes­sage across social media land­scape with promis­es to expand the con­voy block­ades to cities across the US. All of a sud­den, one QAnon group after anoth­er is rebrand­ing as a con­voy group. It’s like QAnon 2.0, now with street block­ades:

    ...
    The moti­va­tions of the peo­ple behind the con­tent mills are not clear, but Joan Dono­van, direc­tor of the Shoren­stein Cen­ter, said the pat­tern fits exist­ing efforts to make mon­ey off U.S. polit­i­cal divi­sions.

    “In some ways, it’s nor­mal polit­i­cal activ­i­ty,” Dono­van said. “In oth­er ways, we have to look at how some of the engage­ment online is fake but can be a way to mobi­lize more peo­ple.”

    “When we see real­ly effec­tive dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns, it’s when the finan­cial and polit­i­cal motives align,” she added.

    ...

    Amer­i­can far-right groups on Face­book, Telegram and the voice chat app Zel­lo have aimed to repli­cate the demon­stra­tion in cities across the Unit­ed States. Peo­ple have passed around fly­ers in group chats urg­ing truck­ers to stop traf­fic at this Sunday’s Super Bowl in Los Ange­les, but the groups have found a three-day win­dow to be too short for suf­fi­cient mobi­liza­tion.

    Dis­cus­sion in the anti-vac­cine com­mu­ni­ties has large­ly coa­lesced around a dif­fer­ent date for road clo­sures — March 5 — with plans for con­voys head­ed toward Wash­ing­ton D.C. and Los Ange­les in the days pri­or.

    Major web­sites and social media accounts behind the anti-vac­cine man­date protest that marched on Wash­ing­ton last month are rebrand­ing as “truck­er con­voys,” part of a wide­spread effort to bring ver­sions of Ottawa’s anti-vac­cine road clo­sures to Amer­i­can cities.

    The offi­cial web­site for the “Defeat the Man­dates” event has changed its home­page and is now adver­tis­ing a truck­er con­voy in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in March.

    “There’s a mis­con­cep­tion that every par­tic­i­pant in these chats is a truck­er, but that’s not true at all. It’s real­ly any­body who’s been a part of these move­ments who’ve been wait­ing for an excuse to do some­thing — QAnon, anti-vac­cine, sov­er­eign cit­i­zens,” said extrem­ism researcher Sara Ani­ano, who recent­ly pub­lished a report on QAnon’s growth after Jan. 6 for the Inter­na­tion­al Cen­tre for the Study of Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, a Lon­don-based non­prof­it group. ”This feels like the cul­mi­na­tion of every­thing that’s hap­pened since Jan. 6th.”
    ...

    And as we should expect, Face­book remains a key plat­form in putting out this mes­sage. Fake accounts pre­vi­ous push­ing QAnon and anti-vac­cine con­tent have been sud­den­ly retooled into truck­er con­voy sites. This real­ly is like the next-gen QAnon:

    ...
    Dono­van, of Har­vard University’s Shoren­stein Cen­ter, said Viet­namese spam­mers specif­i­cal­ly sell what they call “Nick” accounts at scale, which are cred­i­ble-seem­ing Face­book accounts that mod­er­ate high-pro­file groups.

    Once pur­chased, the accounts and the groups they run can be used for any pur­pose, from sell­ing T‑shirts to exe­cut­ing a for­eign influ­ence cam­paign.

    Some con­tent mills even offer to help if Face­book takes action against a cer­tain page or group.

    “The fake account trade is alive and well,” Dono­van said. “Real­ly, they act as some­thing like cus­tomer ser­vice. Whether it’s a per­son or an orga­ni­za­tion, if you bought an account from a per­son, and they do get tak­en away, you can con­tact him and he will reim­burse you with more accounts. It has some dark mar­ket­ing aspects to it.”
    ...

    Now here’s the report from GRID on their inves­ti­ga­tion into this online fund­ing infra­struc­ture. An exist­ing infra­struc­ture that was sim­ply retooled from QAnon-relat­ed fundrais­ing to con­voy fundrais­ing almost overnight. And it was­n’t until Grid informed Face­book about this activ­i­ty that it was stopped. For now. Until Face­book allows it to start up again as usu­al

    GRID

    The Cana­di­an ‘Free­dom Con­voy’ is backed by a Bangladeshi mar­ket­ing firm and right-wing fringe groups

    As Amer­i­can politi­cians call for state­side con­voys, a Grid inves­ti­ga­tion finds signs that for­eign actors, QAnon and hate per­vade the movement’s sup­port.

    Steve Reil­ly, Inves­tiga­tive Reporter,
    Matt Stiles, Senior Data Visu­al­iza­tion Reporter,
    Ben­jamin Pow­ers, Tech­nol­o­gy Reporter,
    Anya van Wag­ten­donk, Mis­in­for­ma­tion Reporter,
    and Jason Pal­adi­no, Inves­tiga­tive Reporter
    Feb­ru­ary 11, 2022

    A Bangladeshi firm appears to have played a key role in pro­mot­ing the Ottawa protest online, and Grid has found increas­ing evi­dence of fringe con­spir­a­cies and vio­lent extrem­ism through­out the move­ment.

    Online groups on plat­forms like Face­book and Telegram, togeth­er with fundrais­ing cam­paigns on the GiveSend­Go site, have formed dig­i­tal life­lines for the ongo­ing Cana­di­an action. They fun­nel moral sup­port, sup­plies, man­pow­er and mon­ey to the effort, even as they help spread base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and tox­ic rhetoric.

    Grid reviewed the mem­ber­ship and con­tent of those forums, spoke with extrem­ist experts and con­duct­ed a com­pre­hen­sive review of over 80,000 record­ed dona­tions to the convoy’s pri­ma­ry online fundrais­er. Com­bined, they show how QAnon adher­ents and fringe, even suprema­cist, ide­olo­gies per­vade the move­ment.

    The ongo­ing con­voy action cen­tered in Ottawa has last­ed near­ly two weeks and dis­rupt­ed traf­fic at three U.S.-Canada bor­der cross­ings. Cana­di­an author­i­ties Thurs­day froze mil­lions of dol­lars in funds from the chief crowd­fund­ing cam­paign on GiveSend­Go, the plat­form orga­niz­ers used to raise finan­cial sup­port for truck­ers protest­ing covid vac­cine man­dates in Cana­da.

    A Bangladeshi firm behind pro-truck­er Face­book groups

    Grid found that a Bangladeshi dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing firm was behind two of the largest Face­book groups relat­ed to the Cana­di­an Free­dom Con­voy — at least until Facebook’s par­ent com­pa­ny, Meta, removed them Thurs­day fol­low­ing inquiries from Grid. The groups, “Free­dom Con­voy 2022″ and “Con­voy to Ottawa 2022,” attract­ed a com­bined mem­ber­ship of more than 170,000 since the firm cre­at­ed them on Jan. 27 and Jan. 30, respec­tive­ly.

    Admin­is­tra­tors for these Face­book groups includ­ed accounts tied to the Bangladeshi firm, as well as an appar­ent­ly fraud­u­lent “pub­lic fig­ure” page claim­ing to belong to Free­dom Con­voy leader Tama­ra Lich. The page was among many deac­ti­vat­ed by Meta. Lich did not respond to Grid’s requests for com­ment.

    The Face­book groups tied to the Bangladeshi firm pro­mot­ed calls for dona­tions to the Ottawa orga­niz­ers’ GiveSend­Go cam­paign and point­ed mem­bers to con­voy-relat­ed events in Cana­da.

    Grid reached a man Thurs­day who said he was Jakir Saikot, the founder of the firm. Saikot agreed to an inter­view on the con­di­tion the reporter con­duct it by video call so Saikot could con­firm the reporter’s iden­ti­ty. Saikot did not make him­self vis­i­ble for the call.

    He was not involved in the fake Lich page, Saikot said, but con­firmed he was behind the “Free­dom Con­voy 2022” and “Con­voy to Ottawa 2022” groups.

    “It was my own choice because I believe in free­dom,” he said. “We have a right to talk freely.”

    Saikot said he start­ed the groups because he believes in the mis­sion of the pro­test­ers. He said he received no pay­ment to con­duct his social media activ­i­ty sup­port­ing a protest on the oth­er side of the world.

    “The big rea­son is free­dom, and oth­er­wise noth­ing,” he said. “No one paid us.”

    Naz­mul Ahasan, a reporter at the Inves­tiga­tive Report­ing Pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia-Berke­ley, said he sep­a­rate­ly con­tact­ed Saikot last week and Saikot told him a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of events.

    In an inter­view with Grid after this sto­ry first pub­lished, Ahasan said Saikot told him he charged the equiv­a­lent of $23 per day to pro­mote Face­book pages with hun­dreds of thou­sands of fol­low­ers, and indi­cat­ed that he worked with orga­niz­ers of the protests in Cana­da on the Free­dom Con­voy Face­book groups.

    ”I asked about whether [he was] con­tact­ed by some­one in Cana­da,” Ahasan said. “He said ‘Yeah.’”

    For the Ottawa con­voy, impos­tors and fraud in its online orga­niz­ing appear to recur. Grid report­ed ear­li­er this week on fraud­u­lent Face­book groups sup­port­ing the Cana­di­an con­voy, which were admin­is­tered by a hacked Face­book account belong­ing to a woman in Mis­souri.

    The Ottawa action is not the only con­voy effort that has received pur­port­ed Bangladeshi sup­port. In Aus­tralia, one major Face­book group pro­mot­ing the “Con­voy to Can­ber­ra” is report­ed­ly con­trolled by a sin­gle Bangladeshi admin­is­tra­tor. The same report found anoth­er Aussie con­voy group con­trolled by an account using an AI-gen­er­at­ed face as its pro­file pic­ture.

    Fol­low the mon­ey

    A Grid analy­sis of the more than $8 mil­lion con­tributed to the Ottawa orga­niz­ers’ GiveSend­Go con­voy cam­paign as of Thurs­day revealed most of the tens of thou­sands of dona­tions were made anony­mous­ly and were for amounts of $100 or less. The largest record­ed dona­tion, for $215,000, had a note that it was “processed but not record­ed.” GiveSend­Go did not respond to inquiries from Grid.

    Of the more than 80,000 dona­tions we reviewed, donors did not enter any name to appear pub­licly on about half of the trans­ac­tions. Dozens of donors includ­ed ref­er­ences to spe­cif­ic right-wing move­ments based in the U.S., like the QAnon acronym WWG1WGA (for the group’s slo­gan, “Where We Go One, We Go All”).

    Thou­sands entered pseu­do­nyms, often using names belong­ing to promi­nent fig­ures includ­ing Cana­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau or Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. Many used phras­es men­tion­ing “free­dom,” “man­date” or “tyran­ny.” Hun­dreds men­tioned “Let’s Go, Bran­don,” a minced oath used to express dis­plea­sure with Biden.

    While most dona­tions were small, sev­er­al dozen back­ers gave $1,000 or more. Grid attempt­ed to ver­i­fy the iden­ti­ty of more than a dozen indi­vid­u­als pub­licly iden­ti­fied as large-dol­lar donors on the site. Most did not respond.

    One who did is Peter Deck­er, a weld­ing com­pa­ny own­er from Mot­ley, Min­neso­ta. Deck­er told Grid he donat­ed $3,000 to express his frus­tra­tion with covid-19 rules that com­pli­cate his family’s abil­i­ty to vis­it their rel­a­tives in Cana­da. His frus­tra­tions include require­ments of neg­a­tive tests and quar­an­ti­ning when the fam­i­ly arrived in Cana­da.

    “It’s a peace­ful protest that has and is spread­ing hope to the world,” he wrote in an email to Grid. “You see all the pain and hurt in just my fam­i­ly for no rea­son at all!”

    Con­spir­a­cies, anti­semitism and white suprema­cy are laced through­out

    The fringe right, from QAnon to white suprema­cy, is present through­out the Ottawa action. One of the convoy’s lead orga­niz­ers is Cana­di­an James Baud­er, report­ed­ly a believ­er in the QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry move­ment. Anoth­er, Lich, was an offi­cial for a wild­ly unpop­u­lar west­ern Cana­di­an sep­a­ratist move­ment.

    Beyond the orga­niz­ers, the con­voy has attract­ed even more extreme fig­ures. On Thurs­day, Grid cov­er­age not­ed in Ottawa the pres­ence of a swasti­ka, Con­fed­er­ate flags, extrem­ist sym­bols and alle­ga­tions of vio­lent intol­er­ance tied to con­voy sup­port­ers.

    Chris Sac­coc­cia, who has livestreamed from Ottawa ral­lies, is a far-right influ­encer who goes by the name Chris Sky. The group Cana­di­an Anti-Hate Net­work has report­ed on Sac­coc­cia traf­fick­ing anti­se­mit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, includ­ing Holo­caust denial. At least one mem­ber of the white suprema­cist Diagolon move­ment has report­ed­ly also been present the protests.

    Telegram, a Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates-based social media plat­form that boasts 500 mil­lion users world­wide, is home to sev­er­al pro-con­voy chan­nels. An admin­is­tra­tor in one con­voy chan­nel post­ed a para­graphs-long con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry of how elites traf­fic chil­dren inter­na­tion­al­ly using planes, which is why bar­ri­cad­ing bridges on the U.S.-Canada bor­der was insuf­fi­cient. The chan­nel claims more than 80,000 sub­scribers, although such num­bers are dif­fi­cult to ver­i­fy.

    In anoth­er chan­nel devot­ed to the Cana­di­an con­voy, a Telegram user post­ed, “It is not Trudeau’s choice to step down or to attempt to stay. It is the deci­sion of the World Eco­nom­ic Forum (WEF). Frankly, the WEF can­not afford for Trudeau to step down. If he falls, Biden falls, Aus­tralia falls, New Zealand falls and all of Europe falls. Then the rest of the world joins in.”

    Telegram chan­nels devot­ed to QAnon and oth­er con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries are light­ing up with con­voy dis­cus­sions.

    “The ELITES from the high­est gov­ern­ment offi­cials have giv­en the orders for MASS ARRESTS AND TOTAL MEDIA BLACKOUT AND CELL PHONE BLACKOUTS ( NO LIVE BROADCASTING),” reads one post. “~Orders com­ing from UN, DAVOS GROUP, CIA and world ELITES Who CONTROL the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment~”

    ...

    “I hope they clog up cities”

    Right-wing U.S. politi­cians and media out­lets have been sup­port­ive of the Ottawa con­voy and expressed hope the action could be repli­cat­ed state­side, even as con­voy enthu­si­asts debate actions like dis­rupt­ing Sunday’s Super Bowl.

    “The Cana­di­an truck­er con­voy is the sin­gle most suc­cess­ful human rights protest in a gen­er­a­tion,” Fox News’ Tuck­er Carl­son said Thurs­day.

    “I hope the truck­ers do come to Amer­i­ca,” Sen. Rand Paul, R‑Ky., told the Dai­ly Sig­nal, a pub­li­ca­tion of the right-wing Her­itage Foun­da­tion. “I hope they clog up cities.”

    At least nine mem­bers of Con­gress, all Repub­li­cans, have pub­li­cized their sup­port for con­voy par­tic­i­pants on Twit­ter. Self-appoint­ed orga­niz­ers for a U.S.-based con­voy have found quick sup­port from con­ser­v­a­tive out­lets.

    U.S. con­voy orga­niz­er Bri­an Brase has been mak­ing the rounds on Fox News, sit­ting down with Carl­son as well as the network’s “Fox and Friends” morn­ing show. Brase says he hopes to orga­nize a cross-coun­try con­voy from Indio, Cal­i­for­nia, to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., start­ing March 4. He did not reply to Grid’s inquiries.

    The first Face­book group Brase cre­at­ed for a U.S. con­voy attract­ed more than 130,000 fol­low­ers — and was deac­ti­vat­ed after some report­ed­ly post­ed QAnon-relat­ed con­tent, which vio­lates Facebook’s rules. A sec­ond group now has 60,000 fol­low­ers.

    “We’re try­ing to get the rout­ing com­plet­ed where they link up at cer­tain meet points,” Brase explained on a radio inter­view Feb. 4. “And then of course we all con­verge on D.C. from all direc­tions at the same exact time.” The group’s Telegram chan­nel is solic­it­ing vol­un­teers and dona­tions of items like tents, gen­er­a­tors and PA sys­tems.

    On Tues­day, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty released a bul­letin to law enforce­ment warn­ing that truck­er protests trav­el­ing from Cal­i­for­nia to the nation’s cap­i­tal had the poten­tial to “severe­ly dis­rupt trans­porta­tion, fed­er­al gov­ern­ment oper­a­tions, com­mer­cial facil­i­ties, and emer­gency ser­vices through grid­lock and poten­tial coun­ter­protests.”

    Brase’s group is encour­ag­ing truck­ers to keep gas receipts, promis­ing that they will reim­burse the expens­es upon arrival in Indio.

    “We are doing this. Non­prof­it bank accounts, lawyers, CPAs — it’s legit,” Brase said in the Feb. 4 inter­view. He acknowl­edged that they did not have an online fundrais­ing mech­a­nism yet but were get­ting to that “short­ly.”

    ———–

    “The Cana­di­an ‘Free­dom Con­voy’ is backed by a Bangladeshi mar­ket­ing firm and right-wing fringe groups” by Steve Reil­ly, Matt Stiles, Ben­jamin Pow­ers, Anya van Wag­ten­donk, and Jason Pal­adi­no; GRID; 02/11/2022

    Online groups on plat­forms like Face­book and Telegram, togeth­er with fundrais­ing cam­paigns on the GiveSend­Go site, have formed dig­i­tal life­lines for the ongo­ing Cana­di­an action. They fun­nel moral sup­port, sup­plies, man­pow­er and mon­ey to the effort, even as they help spread base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and tox­ic rhetoric.”

    Face­book and Telegram have emerged as the dig­i­tal life­lines for this con­voy move­ment. Because of course they have. How could we expect any­thing dif­fer­ent? Just as we should also expect that Face­book only removed the fake groups that com­prise this dig­i­tal life­line after the Grid study point­ed them out:

    ...
    Grid found that a Bangladeshi dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing firm was behind two of the largest Face­book groups relat­ed to the Cana­di­an Free­dom Con­voy — at least until Facebook’s par­ent com­pa­ny, Meta, removed them Thurs­day fol­low­ing inquiries from Grid. The groups, “Free­dom Con­voy 2022″ and “Con­voy to Ottawa 2022,” attract­ed a com­bined mem­ber­ship of more than 170,000 since the firm cre­at­ed them on Jan. 27 and Jan. 30, respec­tive­ly.
    ...

    Also note how the founder of the Bangladeshi troll farm, Jakir Saikot, appar­ent­ly told reporters that the cost of his com­pa­nies ser­vices are only ~$23/day. Foment­ing the nation­al truck­er shut­down is remark­ably afford­able these days:

    ...
    Grid reached a man Thurs­day who said he was Jakir Saikot, the founder of the firm. Saikot agreed to an inter­view on the con­di­tion the reporter con­duct it by video call so Saikot could con­firm the reporter’s iden­ti­ty. Saikot did not make him­self vis­i­ble for the call.

    He was not involved in the fake Lich page, Saikot said, but con­firmed he was behind the “Free­dom Con­voy 2022” and “Con­voy to Ottawa 2022” groups.

    “It was my own choice because I believe in free­dom,” he said. “We have a right to talk freely.”

    Saikot said he start­ed the groups because he believes in the mis­sion of the pro­test­ers. He said he received no pay­ment to con­duct his social media activ­i­ty sup­port­ing a protest on the oth­er side of the world.

    “The big rea­son is free­dom, and oth­er­wise noth­ing,” he said. “No one paid us.”

    Naz­mul Ahasan, a reporter at the Inves­tiga­tive Report­ing Pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia-Berke­ley, said he sep­a­rate­ly con­tact­ed Saikot last week and Saikot told him a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of events.

    In an inter­view with Grid after this sto­ry first pub­lished, Ahasan said Saikot told him he charged the equiv­a­lent of $23 per day to pro­mote Face­book pages with hun­dreds of thou­sands of fol­low­ers, and indi­cat­ed that he worked with orga­niz­ers of the protests in Cana­da on the Free­dom Con­voy Face­book groups.

    ”I asked about whether [he was] con­tact­ed by some­one in Cana­da,” Ahasan said. “He said ‘Yeah.’”
    ...

    Also note how the bulk of the online dona­tions fuel­ing this move­ment appear to be large­ly anony­mous. So while it appears the ~$8 mil­lion raised by this move­ment online was most­ly small donors, we don’t actu­al­ly know that’s the case. It’s not like large donors can’t break these dona­tions up:

    ...
    A Grid analy­sis of the more than $8 mil­lion con­tributed to the Ottawa orga­niz­ers’ GiveSend­Go con­voy cam­paign as of Thurs­day revealed most of the tens of thou­sands of dona­tions were made anony­mous­ly and were for amounts of $100 or less. The largest record­ed dona­tion, for $215,000, had a note that it was “processed but not record­ed.” GiveSend­Go did not respond to inquiries from Grid.

    Of the more than 80,000 dona­tions we reviewed, donors did not enter any name to appear pub­licly on about half of the trans­ac­tions. Dozens of donors includ­ed ref­er­ences to spe­cif­ic right-wing move­ments based in the U.S., like the QAnon acronym WWG1WGA (for the group’s slo­gan, “Where We Go One, We Go All”).

    Thou­sands entered pseu­do­nyms, often using names belong­ing to promi­nent fig­ures includ­ing Cana­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau or Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. Many used phras­es men­tion­ing “free­dom,” “man­date” or “tyran­ny.” Hun­dreds men­tioned “Let’s Go, Bran­don,” a minced oath used to express dis­plea­sure with Biden.

    While most dona­tions were small, sev­er­al dozen back­ers gave $1,000 or more. Grid attempt­ed to ver­i­fy the iden­ti­ty of more than a dozen indi­vid­u­als pub­licly iden­ti­fied as large-dol­lar donors on the site. Most did not respond.
    ...

    But what is per­haps the biggest devel­op­ment in this sto­ry is the fact that major right-wing per­son­al­i­ties like Tuck­er Carl­son and Rand Paul are already voic­ing full sup­port. At Paul put it, “I hope they clog up cities”. That’s the kind of rhetoric that can eas­i­ly become a self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cy:

    ...
    Right-wing U.S. politi­cians and media out­lets have been sup­port­ive of the Ottawa con­voy and expressed hope the action could be repli­cat­ed state­side, even as con­voy enthu­si­asts debate actions like dis­rupt­ing Sunday’s Super Bowl.

    “The Cana­di­an truck­er con­voy is the sin­gle most suc­cess­ful human rights protest in a gen­er­a­tion,” Fox News’ Tuck­er Carl­son said Thurs­day.

    “I hope the truck­ers do come to Amer­i­ca,” Sen. Rand Paul, R‑Ky., told the Dai­ly Sig­nal, a pub­li­ca­tion of the right-wing Her­itage Foun­da­tion. “I hope they clog up cities.”

    At least nine mem­bers of Con­gress, all Repub­li­cans, have pub­li­cized their sup­port for con­voy par­tic­i­pants on Twit­ter. Self-appoint­ed orga­niz­ers for a U.S.-based con­voy have found quick sup­port from con­ser­v­a­tive out­lets.

    U.S. con­voy orga­niz­er Bri­an Brase has been mak­ing the rounds on Fox News, sit­ting down with Carl­son as well as the network’s “Fox and Friends” morn­ing show. Brase says he hopes to orga­nize a cross-coun­try con­voy from Indio, Cal­i­for­nia, to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., start­ing March 4. He did not reply to Grid’s inquiries.

    ...

    On Tues­day, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty released a bul­letin to law enforce­ment warn­ing that truck­er protests trav­el­ing from Cal­i­for­nia to the nation’s cap­i­tal had the poten­tial to “severe­ly dis­rupt trans­porta­tion, fed­er­al gov­ern­ment oper­a­tions, com­mer­cial facil­i­ties, and emer­gency ser­vices through grid­lock and poten­tial coun­ter­protests.”
    ...

    How soon can we expect full blown truck­er ‘protest’ to erupt in the US? Pre­sum­ably as soon as the peo­ple orga­niz­ing this move­ment can man­age to whip up enough peo­ple into join­ing them. So any time now it seems. Soon­er rather than lat­er.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 12, 2022, 3:53 pm
  11. Was it an esca­la­tion or a reit­er­a­tion of the sta­tus quo that’s exist­ed since 2014? That’s one of the big ques­tions raised by Rus­si­a’s for­mal recog­ni­tion of the sep­a­ratists republics of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk. On the one hand, the for­mal recog­ni­tion of these republics as inde­pen­dent does rep­re­sent an aban­don­ment of any plau­si­ble peace­ful reuni­fi­ca­tion of Ukraine. But on the oth­er hand, it’s not like there has any mean­ing­ful attempt to find a plau­si­ble peace­ful res­o­lu­tion for the con­flict at all since the con­flict broke out, in large part because there’s nev­er been a mean­ing­ful recog­ni­tion by Ukraine and the West that those sep­a­ratist republics had the over­whelm­ing back­ing of pop­u­la­tions liv­ing there and weren’t sim­ply ‘Russ­ian occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries’. Fol­low­ing the their dec­la­ra­tions of inde­pen­dence, there was always only two real­is­tic options for ful­ly reuni­fy­ing Ukraine: Kiev mil­i­tar­i­ly recon­quer­ing those break­away republics or some sort of peace­ful set­tle­ment the pop­u­la­tions of those republics agree to. In oth­er words, more war or the mean­ing­ful imple­men­ta­tion of the Min­sk II Agree­ment of 2015.

    The fact that coun­tries like France and Chi­na have been call­ing for a renewed push to actu­al­ly attempt to imple­ment Min­sk II under­scores the real­i­ty that it was nev­er actu­al­ly imple­ment­ed, large­ly because the Min­sk II agree­ment was wild­ly unpop­u­lar with Ukraine’s far right ‘nation­al­ists’. Recall the August 2015 grenade attack on Ukraine’s par­lia­ment by a far right nation­al­ist that killed mul­ti­ple police offi­cers and injured over 100. The attack came amid a wave of riots by Ukrain­ian far right groups against the imple­men­ta­tion of the Min­sk II peace accords that would have grant­ed the sep­a­ratist republics greater auton­o­my. Ukraine’s far right would not allow for a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of this con­flict. That’s been the case all along, which is why the for­mal recog­ni­tion of these sep­a­ratist republics rais­es the ques­tion of what’s actu­al­ly changed? Ukraine’s far right was nev­er going to allow for a peace­ful set­tle­ment any­way. This was a frozen con­flict with no real­is­tic end in sight.

    So with that con­text in mind, here’s a reminder that groups like the Azov Bat­tal­ion are absolute­ly gid­dy with the oppor­tu­ni­ties a new out­break of war presents them. Oppor­tu­ni­ties for greater glo­ry on the bat­tle­field that can be con­vert­ed into real polit­i­cal pow­er. The kind of polit­i­cal pow­er that comes from the wide­spread pub­lic adu­la­tion Azov is hop­ing to achieve now that open war­fare is back on the agen­da:

    Buz­zFeed News

    Ukraine’s Far-Right Forces See An Oppor­tu­ni­ty In Russia’s Inva­sion Threat To Grow Their Vio­lent Move­ment

    The US sees the Azov move­ment as a “nation­al­ist hate group,” and human rights groups have accused it of tor­tur­ing civil­ians. But the far-right group is also pre­pared to fight for Ukraine, which is in need of troops against Russia’s stronger forces.

    Christo­pher Miller Buz­zFeed News Reporter
    Report­ing From Kyiv, Ukraine
    Post­ed on Jan­u­ary 31, 2022, at 5:59 p.m. ET

    KYIV — The first weapon pulled from the brown sacks deliv­ered in the back of a van was a shoul­der-fired rock­et-pro­pelled grenade launch­er. A machine gun fol­lowed. Then came oth­er high-pow­ered guns and explo­sives.

    The weapons were dis­played by burly men wear­ing mil­i­tary uni­forms adorned with an array of Nazi sym­bols: the SS-favored Totenkopf, per­haps bet­ter known as death’s head; the son­nen­rad, or black sun; the Wolf­san­gel; and many more. One patch with a masked skull read, “Born to kill for Ukraine.”

    As more sacks streamed in, it became appar­ent that the men had brought a small arse­nal. Where the arms came from is some­what of a mys­tery. One man said he had tak­en sev­er­al from the front line in east­ern Ukraine after fight­ing there in 2014 and 2015; anoth­er said it was a “state secret.”

    The weapons didn’t belong to any offi­cial mil­i­tary force but to mem­bers of Ukraine’s far-right Azov move­ment.

    As the world waits to see whether Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin uses the more than 100,000 troops massed at Ukraine’s bor­der to esca­late his 8‑year-long war against the coun­try, Ukraini­ans are prepar­ing to fight back. Among them are far-right para­mil­i­tary forces that also see this moment as a way to raise their pro­file, secure pop­u­lar favor, and pos­si­bly gain polit­i­cal influ­ence.

    And as they pre­pare, far-right extrem­ists across the West are watch­ing close­ly to see whether they will be suc­cess­ful — in both bat­tling Russ­ian forces and cement­ing their move­ment in the main­stream.

    The US State Depart­ment has called Azov a “nation­al­ist hate group,” human rights orga­ni­za­tions have accused it of abus­ing and tor­tur­ing civil­ians, and Face­book banned it for vio­lat­ing its hate speech rules. Experts who mon­i­tor transna­tion­al extrem­ism have warned that Azov has served as inspi­ra­tion for far-right groups in the US and the EU, and Buz­zFeed News has report­ed on Amer­i­can extrem­ists who went to Ukraine to train with the move­ment and learn from it in hopes of repli­cat­ing it back home.

    But many Ukraini­ans view the group’s mem­bers favor­ably, for their role in fight­ing Russia’s army and sep­a­ratist proxy forces in 2014 and play­ing a key role in keep­ing the strate­gic east­ern port city of Mar­i­upol from falling into Moscow’s hands.

    The far right are not just attract­ed to Ukraine. Russ­ian far-right para­mil­i­tary forces with neo-Nazi mem­bers have also fought in the war. And there are some clues that per­haps they are look­ing to also return to the bat­tle­field.

    The Azov move­ment, born from the war as a vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion eight years ago, is com­posed of a para­mil­i­tary wing, a polit­i­cal branch, and youth and cul­tur­al groups. The bat­tal­ion is now an offi­cial reg­i­ment in Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard. Tak­en togeth­er, Azov has thou­sands of mem­bers, includ­ing hun­dreds of heav­i­ly armed and bat­tle-hard­ened fight­ers who enjoy a cozy rela­tion­ship with Ukraine’s secu­ri­ty struc­tures.

    On Sun­day, Buz­zFeed News got an up-close look at just how cozy, when dozens of them brought weapons to a mil­i­tary train­ing ses­sion for Ukraini­ans who want to be ready to fight Russ­ian troops if they enter the cap­i­tal. Azov’s var­i­ous fac­tions pro­mot­ed the event on Telegram with the catch­phrase, “Don’t pan­ic! Pre­pare your­self!” Some 350 par­tic­i­pants turned out for it at the movement’s sprawl­ing train­ing base on the grounds of a defunct state trac­tor fac­to­ry out­side cen­tral Kyiv.

    “Will there be a full-scale Russ­ian inva­sion? Nobody knows. But what I know for sure is that we need to pre­pare for any devel­op­ment,” Maksym Zhorin, a 32-year-old for­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion com­man­der who now serves as a leader of its polit­i­cal wing, the Nation­al Corps, told a group of trainees stand­ing in for­ma­tion. “Pan­ic comes when peo­ple do not know how to react, how to use a weapon, how to defend them­selves, what to do in case of shoot­ing.”

    But in this pre­car­i­ous moment, Azov also sees an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pol­ish its image in Ukraine and abroad, grow its ranks, and earn some polit­i­cal and social cap­i­tal.

    “I believe our role is high­ly impor­tant because it’s an exam­ple of a grass­roots Ukrain­ian move­ment that’s proven itself to be a suf­fi­cient defense force,” Ole­na Semenya­ka, a pub­lic rela­tions offi­cial for Azov, told Buz­zFeed News at the train­ing event. “I think [Azov] can also play a big­ger role [in Ukraine] in the future.”

    That prospect con­cerns experts who have tracked Azov and oth­er mil­i­ta­rized far-right groups in Ukraine that use their sta­tus as war “heroes” to attack minor­i­ty groups with impuni­ty and their street mus­cle to try to influ­ence Ukrain­ian domes­tic pol­i­cy.

    “I wor­ry that a new war with Rus­sia could not only help the Azov move­ment, but basi­cal­ly be the wind in its sails that it needs to grow its ranks and influ­ence,” Michael Col­borne, author of From the Fires of War: Ukraine’s Azov Move­ment and the Glob­al Far Right and a jour­nal­ist who cov­ers extrem­ism for Belling­cat, told Buz­zFeed News. “A new war or some new inter­ven­tion by Rus­sia could very well pro­vide them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fur­ther solid­i­fy their pres­ence in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics and soci­ety, a fur­ther oppor­tu­ni­ty to brand and frame them­selves as the truest defend­ers of the nation and thus fur­ther swat away accu­sa­tions that come from peo­ple like me about their far-right nature.”

    Azov is at home at war.

    In 2014, Ukraine’s under-equipped and unpre­pared mil­i­tary fal­tered as a much larg­er and more sophis­ti­cat­ed Russ­ian army seized Crimea and foment­ed a faux sep­a­ratist war in the east­ern Don­bas region. Many Ukraini­ans believe Russ­ian forces would have tak­en more ter­ri­to­ry if it weren’t for dozens of vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions like Azov and Right Sec­tor, anoth­er far-right vol­un­teer unit, who leaped into the fray and filled the void left by Ukraine’s mil­i­tary.

    The groups quick­ly became some of Russia’s favorite tar­gets, and the coun­try used them to jus­ti­fy attacks against Ukraine as fight­ing against “fas­cists” who had seized con­trol in Kyiv after the pro-Russ­ian pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych, was oust­ed in Feb­ru­ary 2014.

    The truth is that Azov and Right Sec­tor fight­ers nev­er came to pow­er in Kyiv, although sev­er­al mem­bers did serve stints in par­lia­ment and the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, and some cur­rent­ly serve as mil­i­tary advis­ers. And Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment was then and is still today a demo­c­ra­t­ic one, if flawed.

    But Azov’s neo-Nazi links are clear. In 2010, the battalion’s founder, Andriy Bilet­sky, said that Ukraine should “lead the white races of the world in a final cru­sade … against Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen [sub­hu­mans].” (He couldn’t be reached for com­ment.) And mem­bers of Azov boast tat­toos of swastikas and oth­er Nazi sym­bols, and they have been seen mak­ing the Hitler salute.

    That rep­u­ta­tion is what attracts many Ukraini­ans, like Dany­lo Hrabovskiy, a 21-year-old who’s study­ing to be a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer at the Ivan Chernyakhovsky Nation­al Defense Uni­ver­si­ty of Ukraine in Kyiv. Buz­zFeed News shad­owed him as he trudged through shin-deep snow on Sun­day. Hrabovskiy’s father, Yaroslav, a retired Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer, was there too. He said he want­ed his son to get prac­ti­cal train­ing in bat­tle­field med­i­cine and han­dling a weapon.

    Hrabovskiy, who wore fatigues adorned with the patch of his uni­ver­si­ty, said he felt like he was among “fam­i­ly” with the Azov group. “It’s like when you come to church and you feel some­thing in your heart,” he explained.

    He said he aligned with Azov ide­o­log­i­cal­ly and hopes the group will rise to pow­er from the ash­es of a war with Rus­sia to form a “nation­al­ist-social­ist” gov­ern­ment. And if he could help in his role as a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer when he grad­u­ates in four months, he said, all the bet­ter.

    Some­one say­ing they are in favor of “nation­al social­ism,” Col­borne said, “whether in Eng­lish or in Russ­ian or Ukrain­ian, is an unam­bigu­ous ref­er­ence to Nazism and Nazi-inspired ide­olo­gies.”

    Asked explic­it­ly if what he meant was Nazism, Hrabovskiy said with a seri­ous stare that he want­ed to con­vey “some­thing that in your coun­try you can’t say.”

    “If the far-right forces can unite, then we will go to par­lia­ment and make laws that reflect our ideas and goals,” he added.

    Not every­one at the Azov train­ing was ide­o­log­i­cal­ly aligned with the group. Sofia and Solomiya, twin 30-year-old mil­i­tary para­medics from the west­ern city of Lviv, said they chose to come to the Azov event as opposed to oth­er sim­i­lar ones in Kyiv because of the group’s rep­u­ta­tion for being “strong” and “skilled,” Sofia said.

    Solomiya said the pair had nev­er fired a weapon, but with the threat of renewed large-scale war with Rus­sia loom­ing, they felt it was time to learn how to do so.

    Inside an aban­doned build­ing spray-paint­ed with nation­al­ist slo­gans, the pair were giv­en wood­en cutouts of Kalash­nikov rifles and instruct­ed how to hold them. The twins’ instruc­tor was a beard­ed Azov Bat­tal­ion vet­er­an with a col­lec­tion of far-right nation­al­ist patch­es on his uni­form. A black death’s head was vis­i­ble on his bul­let­proof vest beside a “Val­hal­la tick­et” that includ­ed the num­bers 88 and 14 — numer­i­cal codes for “Heil Hitler” and the 14 words, a pop­u­lar white suprema­cist slo­gan.

    The instruc­tor showed the twins how to hold their wood­en weapon with their left hand firm­ly grasp­ing the low­er guard and their right com­fort­ably wrapped around the grip with their trig­ger fin­ger straight­ened at the side.

    As the women stood in a fir­ing posi­tion, he pushed on the bar­rels of their rifles, test­ing to see whether they were in a strong stance and couldn’t be knocked over.

    “Move your left leg back a bit,” the instruc­tor said. “And bring up the rifle more.”

    Near­by, dozens of oth­ers trained to clear rooms of “ter­ror­ists.” An instruc­tor taught a young man with a shaved head and a Nazi sym­bol on his sleeve how to effec­tive­ly swing his rifle around to check his six o’clock.

    Azov is train­ing the Ukrain­ian pop­u­la­tion because, Zhorin said, Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky, who also serves as the country’s supreme com­man­der in chief, hasn’t done enough to mil­i­ta­rize soci­ety and pre­pare it for war and has down­played the threat.

    Zhorin didn’t explic­it­ly say that he hoped Azov’s pres­ence would trans­late to future polit­i­cal suc­cess. “The first things we have to do is pre­pare for this [war], pre­pare the local pop­u­la­tion, pre­pare the army, pre­pare the econ­o­my,” he said. “Pol­i­tics are in the back­ground.”

    But in doing so, Zhorin said, Azov would help to ensure Ukraine’s sur­vival “so there will be elec­tions.”

    ...

    ————

    “Ukraine’s Far-Right Forces See An Oppor­tu­ni­ty In Russia’s Inva­sion Threat To Grow Their Vio­lent Move­ment” by Christo­pher Miller; Buz­zFeed News; 1/31/2022

    “As the world waits to see whether Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin uses the more than 100,000 troops massed at Ukraine’s bor­der to esca­late his 8‑year-long war against the coun­try, Ukraini­ans are prepar­ing to fight back. Among them are far-right para­mil­i­tary forces that also see this moment as a way to raise their pro­file, secure pop­u­lar favor, and pos­si­bly gain polit­i­cal influ­ence.

    This is their moment. Ukraine’s far right is poised to shine like nev­er before. Well, ok, the last eight years since the out­break of civ­il war have been their moment. But that moment is going to become a lot more pow­er­ful should we see a renew­al of the full blown war­fare between sep­a­ratists and these ‘vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions’ that marked the ear­ly phas­es of the civ­il war. Azov offi­cial sta­tus in this war has been ele­vat­ed sig­nif­i­cant­ly from 2014: the unit has already been incor­po­rat­ed into Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard and appears to be receiv­ing secret mil­i­tary train­ing from for­eign mil­i­taries. Recall the implau­si­ble denials issued by Canada’s mil­i­tary after Canada’s train­ing of Azov Bat­tal­ion mem­bers was revealed last year. The group is clear­ly viewed by Ukraine’s west­ern allies as a high­ly use­ful tool in a con­flict with Rus­sia. Azov has been main­streamed inside Ukraine at the same time its received out­side train­ing. Giv­en that incred­i­bly warm embrace, it’s no sur­prise that Azov views the cur­rent cri­sis as the moment when Azov goes main­stream:

    ...
    And as they pre­pare, far-right extrem­ists across the West are watch­ing close­ly to see whether they will be suc­cess­ful — in both bat­tling Russ­ian forces and cement­ing their move­ment in the main­stream.

    ...

    The Azov move­ment, born from the war as a vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion eight years ago, is com­posed of a para­mil­i­tary wing, a polit­i­cal branch, and youth and cul­tur­al groups. The bat­tal­ion is now an offi­cial reg­i­ment in Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard. Tak­en togeth­er, Azov has thou­sands of mem­bers, includ­ing hun­dreds of heav­i­ly armed and bat­tle-hard­ened fight­ers who enjoy a cozy rela­tion­ship with Ukraine’s secu­ri­ty struc­tures.

    ...

    But in this pre­car­i­ous moment, Azov also sees an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pol­ish its image in Ukraine and abroad, grow its ranks, and earn some polit­i­cal and social cap­i­tal.

    “I believe our role is high­ly impor­tant because it’s an exam­ple of a grass­roots Ukrain­ian move­ment that’s proven itself to be a suf­fi­cient defense force,” Ole­na Semenya­ka, a pub­lic rela­tions offi­cial for Azov, told Buz­zFeed News at the train­ing event. “I think [Azov] can also play a big­ger role [in Ukraine] in the future.”

    That prospect con­cerns experts who have tracked Azov and oth­er mil­i­ta­rized far-right groups in Ukraine that use their sta­tus as war “heroes” to attack minor­i­ty groups with impuni­ty and their street mus­cle to try to influ­ence Ukrain­ian domes­tic pol­i­cy.

    “I wor­ry that a new war with Rus­sia could not only help the Azov move­ment, but basi­cal­ly be the wind in its sails that it needs to grow its ranks and influ­ence,” Michael Col­borne, author of From the Fires of War: Ukraine’s Azov Move­ment and the Glob­al Far Right and a jour­nal­ist who cov­ers extrem­ism for Belling­cat, told Buz­zFeed News. “A new war or some new inter­ven­tion by Rus­sia could very well pro­vide them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fur­ther solid­i­fy their pres­ence in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics and soci­ety, a fur­ther oppor­tu­ni­ty to brand and frame them­selves as the truest defend­ers of the nation and thus fur­ther swat away accu­sa­tions that come from peo­ple like me about their far-right nature.”

    ...

    The truth is that Azov and Right Sec­tor fight­ers nev­er came to pow­er in Kyiv, although sev­er­al mem­bers did serve stints in par­lia­ment and the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, and some cur­rent­ly serve as mil­i­tary advis­ers. And Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment was then and is still today a demo­c­ra­t­ic one, if flawed.
    ...

    But part of what makes the main­stream­ing of Azov so dis­turb­ing is that the group does­n’t appear to be inter­est­ed in obscur­ing the extrem­ist nature of its ide­ol­o­gy. Azov isn’t doing the “we’re not actu­al­ly extrem­ists” song and dance we so often see from far right groups try­ing to broad­en their appeal. Instead, it looks like Azov is just hop­ing the over­all cri­sis sit­u­a­tion cre­ates the kind of envi­ron­ment where open Nazis can be open­ly embraced by the pub­lic. Azov’s sup­port­ers aren’t inter­est­ed in sim­ply see­ing Azov mem­bers elect­ed to office. They want a “nation­al­ist-social­ist” gov­ern­ment and aren’t scared of say­ing it:

    ...
    But Azov’s neo-Nazi links are clear. In 2010, the battalion’s founder, Andriy Bilet­sky, said that Ukraine should “lead the white races of the world in a final cru­sade … against Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen [sub­hu­mans].” (He couldn’t be reached for com­ment.) And mem­bers of Azov boast tat­toos of swastikas and oth­er Nazi sym­bols, and they have been seen mak­ing the Hitler salute.

    That rep­u­ta­tion is what attracts many Ukraini­ans, like Dany­lo Hrabovskiy, a 21-year-old who’s study­ing to be a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer at the Ivan Chernyakhovsky Nation­al Defense Uni­ver­si­ty of Ukraine in Kyiv. Buz­zFeed News shad­owed him as he trudged through shin-deep snow on Sun­day. Hrabovskiy’s father, Yaroslav, a retired Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer, was there too. He said he want­ed his son to get prac­ti­cal train­ing in bat­tle­field med­i­cine and han­dling a weapon.

    ...

    He said he aligned with Azov ide­o­log­i­cal­ly and hopes the group will rise to pow­er from the ash­es of a war with Rus­sia to form a “nation­al­ist-social­ist” gov­ern­ment. And if he could help in his role as a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer when he grad­u­ates in four months, he said, all the bet­ter.

    Some­one say­ing they are in favor of “nation­al social­ism,” Col­borne said, “whether in Eng­lish or in Russ­ian or Ukrain­ian, is an unam­bigu­ous ref­er­ence to Nazism and Nazi-inspired ide­olo­gies.”

    Asked explic­it­ly if what he meant was Nazism, Hrabovskiy said with a seri­ous stare that he want­ed to con­vey “some­thing that in your coun­try you can’t say.”

    “If the far-right forces can unite, then we will go to par­lia­ment and make laws that reflect our ideas and goals,” he added.
    ...

    So as we can see with this lat­est look at Ukraine’s far right, the sta­tus quo will indeed remain intact. But it’s also an esca­la­tion. A sta­tus quo of esca­lat­ing Nazism. That sta­tus quo of the esca­lat­ing main­stream­ing of extrem­ist move­ments in Ukraine will indeed con­tin­ue.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 22, 2022, 4:55 pm
  12. All eyes are on the war break­ing out in Ukraine. Or rather, one of the pos­si­ble wars that might break out in Ukraine: a war between Rus­sia and Ukraine. But as we’ve seen, when you have neo-Nazi mil­i­tant group like Azov open­ly gloat­ing about their prospects of trans­lat­ing mil­i­tary glo­ry into into polit­i­cal pow­er, we have to keep in mind the risks of anoth­er civ­il war break­ing out in Ukraine: a civ­il war between the fas­cists who want to use this con­flict to seize con­trol of what remains of Ukraine and those who would oppose them.

    So with that ele­vat­ed risk of far right coup in Ukraine in mind, here’s an inter­est­ing Feb 2019 piece by Jonathan Brun­son — no fan of the Krem­lin — pub­lished in War on the Rocks dis­cussing how the Min­sk agree­ments were already dead. Killed by deep oppo­si­tion held by the Ukrain­ian pub­lic at large to the under­ly­ing frame­work of the Min­sk agree­ments. Oppo­si­tion ini­tial­ly lead by Ukraine’s far right ‘nation­al­ists’ but even­tu­al­ly adopt­ed by main­stream politi­cians include for­mer pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, one of the authors of the agree­ment.

    So what was it that the Ukrain­ian pub­lic found so unac­cept­able about the Min­sk agree­ments? The fact that they were pred­i­cat­ed on a peace­ful rein­te­gra­tion of the sep­a­ratist republics back in to Ukraine and a nation­al dis­course to help resolve their dif­fer­ences. That was deemed to be total­ly polit­i­cal­ly unac­cept­able. For­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov — noto­ri­ous­ly friend­ly with Ukraine’s far right — open­ly declared “Min­sk is dead”.

    So as the world watch­es to see what’s next from Rus­sia, the his­to­ry of Ukraine’s open reject­ed the Min­sk accords hints at what to expect next from Ukraine. And that would be an ongo­ing polit­i­cal ele­va­tion of Ukraine’s far right as the over­all sit­u­a­tion plays out exact­ly the way they’ve been try­ing force it ever since the prospect of peace was dan­gled over sev­en years ago:

    War on the Rocks

    Imple­ment­ing the Min­sk Agree­ments Might Dri­ve Ukraine to Civ­il War. That’s Been Russia’s Plan All Along

    Jonathan Brun­son
    Feb­ru­ary 1, 2019

    In less than five years, a peace agree­ment nego­ti­at­ed between Rus­sia, Ukraine, and West­ern Europe has become the object of acri­mo­nious oppo­si­tion and anti-Putin con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. All pro-West­ern Ukrain­ian pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates crit­i­cize the Min­sk Agree­ments. How did this hap­pen?

    ...

    The mech­a­nism intend­ed to bring about peace in Don­bas, the 2014–15 Min­sk Agree­ments, is unlike­ly to suc­ceed. Ukraine, Rus­sia, the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE), and two deposed sep­a­ratist lead­ers signed these doc­u­ments, which stopped heavy fight­ing and eased suf­fer­ing, but also pro­voked nation­al­ists who quick­ly cast it as favor­ing defi­ant rebels over oth­er loy­al Ukraini­ans. In an effort to lev­el the play­ing field, strength­en dis­tant loy­al­ties, and ensure equal con­sti­tu­tion­al rights for all cit­i­zens, Min­sk also calls for nation­wide gov­ern­ment decen­tral­iza­tion as an olive branch to remain­ing pro-Russ­ian fed­er­al­ists in Ukraine’s restive south­east.

    But Min­sk is broad­ly per­ceived as a bad agree­ment that Ukraine has lit­tle incen­tive to imple­ment because its essence runs direct­ly counter to Ukrain­ian inter­ests of Euro-Atlantic inte­gra­tion, nation­al uni­ty, social cohe­sion, and true equal rights for all. Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin was the only one smil­ing when it was final­ized in Feb­ru­ary 2015. Russia’s loom­ing region­al pres­ence, Euro­pean eager­ness to make a deal with the continent’s largest army, and U.S. reluc­tance to ever fight that army have left Kyiv with Min­sk as its only option. While it has not stopped Russia’s inter­ven­tion, the agree­ment has been a use­ful tool to keep all par­ties at the table and kinet­ic activ­i­ty low. But as usu­al, Moscow remains poised to invade; Russ­ian forces have been arrayed along the bor­der ever since it was cre­at­ed in 1991. Ukraine will always be where Rus­sia wants it: right next door and at the Kremlin’s mer­cy.

    If Ukraine can­not pre­vail mil­i­tar­i­ly, there are real­ly just two alter­na­tives: Par­ti­tion is the only way to resolve the con­flict, but Ukraine and allies have opt­ed for long-term non-recog­ni­tion instead. No oth­er humane solu­tion aside from mass reset­tle­ment exists. “Frozen con­flict is bet­ter than a hot one” has become ver­nac­u­lar. Dras­tic res­o­lu­tions have dis­ap­peared from debate: Either sur­ren­der seces­sion­ist enclaves to focus on realign­ing the rest of the coun­try West; or swap Crimea for Don­bas, long the fear of many as a sur­rep­ti­tious goal of any Trump-Rus­sia chan­nel. Oth­ers hope more quixot­i­cal­ly for Russia’s implo­sion — a fan­ta­sy that ani­mates Ukraini­ans regard­ing not only the future of occu­pied Don­bas and annexed Crimea, but also of long-lost Kuban, the Cos­sack region of south­ern Rus­sia adja­cent to Ukraine’s sep­a­ratist areas. This region was large­ly depop­u­lat­ed of eth­nic Ukraini­ans by the Holodomor and is hence sub­ject of the under­ground irre­den­tist slo­gan, “On to Kuban!”

    There is lit­tle polit­i­cal space for de-esca­la­tion in Ukraine, but also lit­tle like­li­hood of esca­la­tion. No Ukrain­ian senior offi­cials real­ly believe they can win a war against Rus­sia. The prob­lem is that some don’t think Rus­sia can win either, gen­er­at­ing false hope that Ukraine can some­how pre­vail in the stale­mate. From 2015–18, I inter­viewed hun­dreds of Ukraini­ans and inter­na­tion­al experts about con­flict sce­nar­ios in Don­bas and used those insights to map out­comes for gov­ern­ment, human­i­tar­i­an, and peace­build­ing orga­ni­za­tion cri­sis man­age­ment. I came to the unpleas­ant con­clu­sion that Putin’s Rus­sia wins all vari­ants: sta­tus quo, de-esca­la­tion, and esca­la­tion.

    The prob­lem­at­ic nature of Min­sk is just one of many con­trol mech­a­nisms that give Putin’s Rus­sia the upper hand in its tug of war with the West over the fate and future of Ukraine.

    From Nor­mandy to Min­sk: How the Accords Were Born

    The Min­sk for­mat was cre­at­ed by the “Nor­mandy Quar­tet,” which con­sists of Ukraine, Rus­sia, Ger­many, and France at heads of state lev­el, and the Tri­lat­er­al Con­tact Group, com­pris­ing Ukraine, Rus­sia, and OSCE at the work­ing lev­el. To assuage Ukraine’s nation­al­ists and dele­git­imize the Kremlin’s nar­ra­tive of the con­flict as a civ­il war instead of an act of Russ­ian aggres­sion, Ukraine and its West­ern allies have attempt­ed to exclude sep­a­ratists from offi­cial nego­ti­a­tions. Yet pro-Russ­ian rebels have nev­er­the­less remained involved in the Min­sk process: They have signed key doc­u­ments; are iden­ti­fied in them as “rep­re­sen­ta­tives of cer­tain areas of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk regions;” and work in the four polit­i­cal, secu­ri­ty, human­i­tar­i­an, and eco­nom­ic sub­groups.

    After Ukraine’s igno­min­ious retreat from Don­bas fol­low­ing the Ilo­vaisk encir­clement six months into the cri­sis, Tri­lat­er­al Con­tact Group nego­tia­tors signed a cease­fire agree­ment in Min­sk in Sep­tem­ber 2014. The OSCE chose the cap­i­tal of Belarus because it is con­ve­nient for all sides to reach, viewed at least super­fi­cial­ly as a neu­tral bro­ker, and has host­ed nego­ti­a­tions since 1992 on anoth­er frozen con­flict root­ed in Bol­she­vik-era con­cepts of eth­nic auton­o­my for nation­al minori­ties: Nagorno-Karabakh. The Ukraine cease­fire swift­ly col­lapsed when sep­a­ratists, with Russ­ian help, dealt Kyiv two strate­gic defeats at Donet­sk air­port and the Debalt­seve rail hub.

    Talks con­tin­ued into 2015, and sep­a­ratists con­tin­ued to con­sol­i­date strate­gic gains. In Feb­ru­ary 2015, the Nor­mandy Quar­tet drew up a new peace plan known as Min­sk II. Hopes for its suc­cess were always low. The New York Times point­ed out:

    … none of the lead­ers them­selves signed the agree­ments, but left it to oth­er rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the antag­o­nists and Euro­pean truce observers, send­ing a dis­creet sig­nal that they were not tak­ing full respon­si­bil­i­ty for the out­come. [Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela] Merkel not­ed Mr. Putin had to pres­sure the rebel lead­ers to sign.

    Min­sk lays out the con­di­tions nec­es­sary for cease­fire and the peace­ful rein­te­gra­tion of occu­pied Don­bas back into Ukraine, but also pre­sumes sep­a­ratists should have a voice. Ini­tial­ly, all sides — Ukraine, Rus­sia, the Euro­pean Union, and the Unit­ed States — called for nego­ti­a­tions includ­ing the rebels. How­ev­er, West­ern demands for a change in sep­a­ratist lead­er­ship have at the same time been a chief obsta­cle to talks. Now Rus­sia can absurd­ly claim to have met this long­stand­ing pre­con­di­tion, fol­low­ing the over­throw of Luhan­sk proxy Igor Plot­nit­sky, assas­si­na­tion of his Donet­sk coun­ter­part Alexan­der Zakharchenko, and unrec­og­nized elec­tions in the Luhan­sk and Donet­sk People’s Republics (LDPR) last year. LDPR first held elec­tions in Novem­ber 2014, but only Rus­sia rec­og­nized them.

    In a sign of the accords’ dimin­ished cred­i­bil­i­ty, one of the orig­i­nal authors is now back­ing away from his achieve­ment. Much of what even­tu­al­ly became the Min­sk accords hails from Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s June 2014 peace plan, on which he cam­paigned and won elec­tion at a time when peace was still pop­u­lar and not yet per­ceived as just anoth­er tool for Moscow to desta­bi­lize Kyiv. But now, Poroshenko pub­licly dis­so­ci­ates from the agree­ments. In 2018, he mol­li­fied nation­al­ists by assert­ing, “There is no Min­sk … only Nor­mandy.” In ear­ly 2019, Poroshenko again pub­licly sided with ultra-nation­al­ists, agree­ing that Don­bas should nev­er get con­sti­tu­tion­al spe­cial sta­tus, in spite of spend­ing four years lead­ing par­lia­ment to extend that same sta­tus.

    The People’s Front, a coali­tion par­ty, has now mutinied against Min­sk too: Its inte­ri­or min­is­ter Arsen Avakov says “Min­sk is dead,” con­trary to the offi­cial state posi­tion that Ukraine will meet its Min­sk oblig­a­tions. Despite this party’s mod­er­ate reformer image and close rela­tion­ships with West­ern diplo­mats, People’s Front is also home to sev­er­al MPs aligned with para­mil­i­tarism and social-nation­al­ism, who loud­ly crit­i­cize Min­sk and any com­pro­mise with Rus­sia. A year out from Ukraine’s 2019 elec­tions, this par­ty — which, at less than one per­cent approval, no longer even meets the sta­tis­ti­cal mar­gin of error in most opin­ion polls any­more — still led par­lia­ment to leg­is­late that Rus­sia is an occu­pi­er and aggres­sor in Don­bas and Crimea when pass­ing Ukraine’s rein­te­gra­tion/de-occu­pa­tion law. People’s Front also worked close­ly with pro-West­ern inde­pen­dent MP and Maid­an fire-starter Mustafa Nayem — Ukraine’s clos­est thing to a lib­er­al — to pre­vent any ref­er­ence to Min­sk under con­sti­tu­tion­al law.

    For­mer French pres­i­dent François Hol­lande says in his mem­oirs that Merkel large­ly wrote Min­sk II. But nation­al­ists adopt the sep­a­ratist spec­u­la­tion that the real author is Putin min­ion Vladislav Surkov — osten­si­ble archi­tect of the Kremlin’s long-term plot to dis­man­tle Ukraine into suc­ces­sor states. The Surkov the­o­ry con­vinces many Ukraini­ans that Min­sk cements sep­a­ratist and Russ­ian gains more than it affords just res­o­lu­tion of a con­flict they say Rus­sia start­ed in their coun­try and then rebrand­ed as a civ­il war to mis­lead out­siders.

    Why Are Ukraini­ans So Skep­ti­cal of Min­sk?

    At this point, only pro-Russ­ian Ukraini­ans sup­port Min­sk, putting West­ern allies like France and Ger­many in the strange posi­tion of advo­cat­ing a peace deal that they nego­ti­at­ed but that many think is a boon to Putin and the sep­a­ratists. A broad under­stand­ing has devel­oped that set­tle­ment per Min­sk makes unwant­ed con­ces­sions to Rus­sia. Indeed, Ukraine has fought a war for five years against exact­ly what Min­sk calls for: increased auton­o­my and lan­guage priv­i­leges for rebel­lious regions that no oth­er cit­i­zens now enjoy after Russia’s annex­a­tion of sim­i­lar­ly autonomous Crimea. Min­sk could make Don­bas — like Crimea — ripe for the pick­ing too.

    Accord­ing to this preva­lent view, Minsk’s ulti­mate goal — peace­ful polit­i­cal rein­te­gra­tion and social rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of Don­bas back into a uni­tary state — is not in Ukraine’s nation­al inter­est. It risks sub­vert­ing Kyiv’s fledg­ling tran­si­tion­al democ­ra­cy. Min­sk also essen­tial­ly gives Don­bas auton­o­my like Crimea had, cul­ti­vat­ing per­cep­tions of a dou­ble stan­dard where­by the occu­pied areas of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk get spe­cial priv­i­leges not enjoyed by oth­er regions of Ukraine that have remained loy­al since Maid­an.

    From Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence in 1991 until Rus­sia annexed Crimea in 2014, Crimean Tatar eth­nic auton­o­my — the Bol­she­vik answer to the nation­al­i­ties ques­tion — pro­voked Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, who argued that it cre­at­ed an enabling envi­ron­ment for sep­a­ratism. Revan­chist fears led Ukraine to not extend sim­i­lar priv­i­leges to oth­er regions with sig­nif­i­cant eth­nic minori­ties, like Roman­ian Bessara­bia and Cher­nivt­si, or Hun­gar­i­an Tran­scarpathia. After Maid­an, oth­er eth­nic Russ­ian regions out­side Don­bas dal­lied with autonomous sep­a­ratism too — most notably Ode­sa and Kharkiv — but Kyiv quick­ly sup­pressed this move­ment, also known as “anti-Maid­an.”

    To para­phrase pre­em­i­nent Ukraine schol­ar Alexan­der Motyl, rein­te­grat­ing mil­lions of pro-Russ­ian vot­ers into a democ­ra­cy that also aspires to NATO and E.U. mem­ber­ship is a bad idea. Resumed rep­re­sen­ta­tion of occu­pied Don­bas in par­lia­ment is not an ele­ment of Min­sk, but remains a wide­ly under­stood end result of rein­te­gra­tion. Ukraine might even vio­lent­ly oppose the idea of pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists back in the nation­al par­lia­ment; any elec­tion lead­ing to peace in Don­bas could desta­bi­lize the rest of the coun­try. Min­sk serves Russia’s inter­est by forc­ing Ukraine to amnesty anti-gov­ern­ment mil­i­tants, wel­come them back into Ukrain­ian democ­ra­cy, and reward their insur­rec­tion with increased sov­er­eign­ty. Re-includ­ing either Crimea or Don­bas in Ukrain­ian elec­tions could plau­si­bly jeop­ar­dize the country’s Euro-Atlantic ambi­tions and social cohe­sion.

    For these rea­sons, sus­pi­cions of the agree­ments run deep, with asser­tions that ex-KGB still work­ing for the Krem­lin wrote Minsk’s spe­cial sta­tus and amnesty ele­ments specif­i­cal­ly to pro­voke Ukrain­ian patri­ot­ic pride and force the coun­try to either fed­er­al­ize or frac­ture. Nego­ti­a­tions loaded with charged names only fuel such spec­u­la­tion; these include con­tro­ver­sial ex-pres­i­dent Leonid Kuch­ma and oli­garchs who are alleged­ly also close Putin con­fi­dants, like Vik­tor Medved­chuk and Nestor Shufrych. Via­bil­i­ty and cred­i­bil­i­ty of the entire process is low.

    Despite Ukraine’s many good rea­sons to be skep­ti­cal of Min­sk, it remains the only offi­cial for­mat for bro­ker­ing peace in the Don­bas con­flict. It is, how­ev­er, diplo­mat­ic the­ater because nei­ther Kyiv nor Wash­ing­ton wants to imple­ment it — they just say so pub­licly to neu­tral­ize crit­i­cism. Kyiv right­ly sus­pects every out­come is to Moscow’s ben­e­fit and hence recoils. Why West­ern allies don’t is the real ques­tion.

    What’s Next?

    Ful­ly imple­ment­ing Min­sk could push Ukraine toward anoth­er rev­o­lu­tion or civ­il war by strong-arm­ing Kyiv into enact­ing con­tro­ver­sial polit­i­cal pro­vi­sions on an unsus­tain­able time­line. This, of course, serves Russ­ian inter­ests nice­ly. NATO allies coerc­ing Kyiv to imple­ment peace accords that nation­al­ist activists swear will pro­voke vio­lence and unrest is just one exam­ple of reflex­ive con­trol: rel­a­tive­ly unam­bi­tious goals set by the Krem­lin that serve its own inter­ests, yet that Ukraine and the West also pur­sue.

    Rus­sia is unlike­ly to back down from its aggres­sion in Ukraine. Dis­put­ing rumors that sus­tain­ing Don­bas is too cost­ly for Moscow to bear, a defense attaché at a Five Eyes embassy in Kyiv told me pri­vate­ly that allied inter­a­gency experts cal­cu­late it costs the Krem­lin less than one per­cent of its annu­al GDP. Ukraine will also lack ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty so long as it dis­putes Russia’s Crimea claim and Don­bas nar­ra­tive. Sim­i­lar to Cyprus, this may not keep Ukraine out of the Euro­pean Union but will keep it out of NATO — the key Russ­ian goal — per the alliance’s enlarge­ment study of 1995.

    The first obsta­cle to imple­ment­ing Min­sk is that there is no plau­si­ble way to rein­te­grate Don­bas into Ukraine. Two MPs have now pub­licly referred to Don­bas as gan­grene that must be sev­ered before it infects the rest of Ukraine. “Tro­jan horse” is a term used to slur the idea of rein­te­grat­ing the at least half-mil­lion remain­ing pro-Rus­sians esti­mat­ed to still inhab­it Don­bas; this rhetoric was semi-vin­di­cat­ed when it was revealed that Russia’s plot to erode cen­tral gov­ern­ment con­trol in neigh­bor­ing Zaporyzhya region was code­named Oper­a­tion Troy. Don­bas has also now twice flirt­ed with seces­sion. Its gam­bit dur­ing Ukraine’s Orange Rev­o­lu­tion result­ed in con­sti­tu­tion­al changes ben­e­fit­ing Ukraine’s pro-Russ­ian fifth col­umn, lay­ing the basis for renewed con­flict 10 years lat­er in 2014. It is not in the nation­al inter­est of a sta­ble, coher­ent democ­ra­cy reori­ent­ing West to rein­te­grate Don­bas again.

    Nation­al­ist oppo­si­tion to Min­sk also con­tributes to its unim­ple­mentabil­i­ty. After the sup­pres­sion of anti-Maid­an sep­a­ratists in regions beyond Don­bas, only far-right extrem­ists are still armed to the teeth and full of dis­grun­tled mil­i­tary-aged males deeply invest­ed in block­ing con­ces­sion to Rus­sia. Andriy Bilet­skiy, leader of the ultra-nation­al­ist Azov Bat­tal­ion, said in 2017 that “Min­sk imple­men­ta­tion means fed­er­al­iza­tion and col­lapse of the coun­try.” To the delight of anti-Ukrain­ian press, the move­ment he leads holds torch march­es against Min­sk that also evoke Third Reich imagery, fuel­ing Krem­lin pro­pa­gan­da about creep­ing eth­nic nation­al­ism. But although Ukraine has a rich tra­di­tion of under­ground, right-wing para­mil­i­tarism, many today argue that Rus­sia has a hand in stok­ing the fringe far right to make this young democ­ra­cy look bad. That con­spir­a­to­r­i­al view also pre­dom­i­nates among West­ern offi­cials, where the con­sen­sus is large­ly that Ukraine’s rad­i­cals are a Krem­lin-ampli­fied phe­nom­e­non.

    Despite great poten­tial for esca­la­tion, it remains unlike­ly. Rus­sia doesn’t want a failed state on its bor­der, sep­a­ratist capa­bil­i­ties are lim­it­ed with­out Moscow’s bless­ing, and Kyiv doesn’t want to risk more deaths — or the chance its West­ern allies might choose not to pro­tect it — by launch­ing an offen­sive. At the same time, nei­ther side wants to win, as evi­denced by both Ukrain­ian and Russ­ian unwill­ing­ness to assume recon­struc­tion costs. A com­mon joke is, “Los­er gets Don­bas.”

    But how might the con­flict esca­late? Vic­to­ry by pro-Russ­ian revan­chists in Ukraine’s 2019 elec­tions could lead to this out­come, as might rapid far-right growth and vio­lent resis­tance to Min­sk should Rus­sia ever cre­ate con­di­tions in Don­bas that oblige Ukraine to imple­ment the agree­ments. In either case, rad­i­cals at both extremes might be embold­ened, poten­tial­ly lead­ing to protests or renewed vio­lence out­side the con­flict zone that Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da could use to fur­ther slan­der Ukraine as illib­er­al and ungovern­able. Bar­ring that, how­ev­er, it seems like­ly that the con­flict will freeze fur­ther.

    Can Ukraine imple­ment Min­sk? No. Does Ukraine want to rein­te­grate res­i­dents of pro-Russ­ian break­aways Crimea and Don­bas? No. Do anti-Ukrain­ian sep­a­ratists want to reuni­fy with Ukraine? No. Ukrain­ian patri­ots think Min­sk is designed to destroy their coun­try. Ukraini­ans — espe­cial­ly the nation­al­ist activist part of civ­il soci­ety — care a lot about the dam­age they claim Min­sk could inflict on their coun­try, and remain prone to rev­o­lu­tion­ary rhetoric a mere five years after their last unfin­ished rev­o­lu­tion. Only a pro-Russ­ian gov­ern­ment would ever dare to imple­ment Min­sk as cur­rent­ly writ­ten — and that might spark a real civ­il war.

    ———-

    “Imple­ment­ing the Min­sk Agree­ments Might Dri­ve Ukraine to Civ­il War. That’s Been Russia’s Plan All Along” by Jonathan Brun­son; War on the Rocks; 02/01/2019

    Can Ukraine imple­ment Min­sk? No. Does Ukraine want to rein­te­grate res­i­dents of pro-Russ­ian break­aways Crimea and Don­bas? No. Do anti-Ukrain­ian sep­a­ratists want to reuni­fy with Ukraine? No. Ukrain­ian patri­ots think Min­sk is designed to destroy their coun­try. Ukraini­ans — espe­cial­ly the nation­al­ist activist part of civ­il soci­ety — care a lot about the dam­age they claim Min­sk could inflict on their coun­try, and remain prone to rev­o­lu­tion­ary rhetoric a mere five years after their last unfin­ished rev­o­lu­tion. Only a pro-Russ­ian gov­ern­ment would ever dare to imple­ment Min­sk as cur­rent­ly writ­ten — and that might spark a real civ­il war.”

    Min­sk is unim­ple­mentable because none of the par­ties involved actu­al­ly want real peace. The sep­a­ratists don’t want to rein­te­grate with the rest of Ukraine. But, cru­cial­ly, it appears that a dom­i­nant por­tion of Ukraini­ans don’t want to see the Don­bass rein­te­grat­ed into Ukraine either, fol­low­ing a nar­ra­tive that treats the break­away republics as an anti-Ukrain­ian rot that can’t be wel­comed back into the fold. It points towards one of the more remark­able aspects of this civ­il war: despite deep open antipa­thy between the sep­a­ratists and the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists that poi­sons any hope of a reuni­fi­ca­tion, the sep­a­ratist republics are rou­tine­ly char­ac­ter­ized as mere­ly occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries that Rus­sia invad­ed and not regions that gen­uine­ly want­ed to break away as a result of these deep social divi­sions. And yet Ukraine has demand­ed that the sep­a­ratists them­selves not take part in the peace talks. It the kind of delu­sion­al frame­work that’s am exam­ple of why any peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of this con­flict has remained out of reach:

    ...
    The mech­a­nism intend­ed to bring about peace in Don­bas, the 2014–15 Min­sk Agree­ments, is unlike­ly to suc­ceed. Ukraine, Rus­sia, the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE), and two deposed sep­a­ratist lead­ers signed these doc­u­ments, which stopped heavy fight­ing and eased suf­fer­ing, but also pro­voked nation­al­ists who quick­ly cast it as favor­ing defi­ant rebels over oth­er loy­al Ukraini­ans. In an effort to lev­el the play­ing field, strength­en dis­tant loy­al­ties, and ensure equal con­sti­tu­tion­al rights for all cit­i­zens, Min­sk also calls for nation­wide gov­ern­ment decen­tral­iza­tion as an olive branch to remain­ing pro-Russ­ian fed­er­al­ists in Ukraine’s restive south­east.

    But Min­sk is broad­ly per­ceived as a bad agree­ment that Ukraine has lit­tle incen­tive to imple­ment because its essence runs direct­ly counter to Ukrain­ian inter­ests of Euro-Atlantic inte­gra­tion, nation­al uni­ty, social cohe­sion, and true equal rights for all. Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin was the only one smil­ing when it was final­ized in Feb­ru­ary 2015. Russia’s loom­ing region­al pres­ence, Euro­pean eager­ness to make a deal with the continent’s largest army, and U.S. reluc­tance to ever fight that army have left Kyiv with Min­sk as its only option. While it has not stopped Russia’s inter­ven­tion, the agree­ment has been a use­ful tool to keep all par­ties at the table and kinet­ic activ­i­ty low. But as usu­al, Moscow remains poised to invade; Russ­ian forces have been arrayed along the bor­der ever since it was cre­at­ed in 1991. Ukraine will always be where Rus­sia wants it: right next door and at the Kremlin’s mer­cy.

    ...

    The Min­sk for­mat was cre­at­ed by the “Nor­mandy Quar­tet,” which con­sists of Ukraine, Rus­sia, Ger­many, and France at heads of state lev­el, and the Tri­lat­er­al Con­tact Group, com­pris­ing Ukraine, Rus­sia, and OSCE at the work­ing lev­el. To assuage Ukraine’s nation­al­ists and dele­git­imize the Kremlin’s nar­ra­tive of the con­flict as a civ­il war instead of an act of Russ­ian aggres­sion, Ukraine and its West­ern allies have attempt­ed to exclude sep­a­ratists from offi­cial nego­ti­a­tions. Yet pro-Russ­ian rebels have nev­er­the­less remained involved in the Min­sk process: They have signed key doc­u­ments; are iden­ti­fied in them as “rep­re­sen­ta­tives of cer­tain areas of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk regions;” and work in the four polit­i­cal, secu­ri­ty, human­i­tar­i­an, and eco­nom­ic sub­groups.

    ...

    Min­sk lays out the con­di­tions nec­es­sary for cease­fire and the peace­ful rein­te­gra­tion of occu­pied Don­bas back into Ukraine, but also pre­sumes sep­a­ratists should have a voice. Ini­tial­ly, all sides — Ukraine, Rus­sia, the Euro­pean Union, and the Unit­ed States — called for nego­ti­a­tions includ­ing the rebels. How­ev­er, West­ern demands for a change in sep­a­ratist lead­er­ship have at the same time been a chief obsta­cle to talks. Now Rus­sia can absurd­ly claim to have met this long­stand­ing pre­con­di­tion, fol­low­ing the over­throw of Luhan­sk proxy Igor Plot­nit­sky, assas­si­na­tion of his Donet­sk coun­ter­part Alexan­der Zakharchenko, and unrec­og­nized elec­tions in the Luhan­sk and Donet­sk People’s Republics (LDPR) last year. LDPR first held elec­tions in Novem­ber 2014, but only Rus­sia rec­og­nized them.
    ...

    And then there’s the fact that the Ukrain­ian lead­ers open­ly came out against Min­sk, includ­ing authors of the agree­ment like for­mer Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko. Also, regard­ing for­mer inte­ri­or min­is­ter Arsen Avakov’s dec­la­ra­tion that “Min­sk is dead”, recall how Avakov’s Peo­ple’s Front coali­tion par­ty filled with neo-Nazis was one of Poroshenko’s main gov­ern­ing part­ners dur­ing Poroshenko’s time in office. Accord­ing to Brun­son, only the ‘pro-Russ­ian’ par­ties actu­al­ly sup­port­ed Min­sk in 2019 because the far right views on rein­te­grat­ing the Don­bass — see­ing rein­te­gra­tion and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion as a dia­bol­i­cal Russ­ian plot — had gone com­plete­ly main­stream. Min­sk real­ly has been dead for years now:

    ...
    In a sign of the accords’ dimin­ished cred­i­bil­i­ty, one of the orig­i­nal authors is now back­ing away from his achieve­ment. Much of what even­tu­al­ly became the Min­sk accords hails from Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s June 2014 peace plan, on which he cam­paigned and won elec­tion at a time when peace was still pop­u­lar and not yet per­ceived as just anoth­er tool for Moscow to desta­bi­lize Kyiv. But now, Poroshenko pub­licly dis­so­ci­ates from the agree­ments. In 2018, he mol­li­fied nation­al­ists by assert­ing, “There is no Min­sk … only Nor­mandy.” In ear­ly 2019, Poroshenko again pub­licly sided with ultra-nation­al­ists, agree­ing that Don­bas should nev­er get con­sti­tu­tion­al spe­cial sta­tus, in spite of spend­ing four years lead­ing par­lia­ment to extend that same sta­tus.

    The People’s Front, a coali­tion par­ty, has now mutinied against Min­sk too: Its inte­ri­or min­is­ter Arsen Avakov says “Min­sk is dead,” con­trary to the offi­cial state posi­tion that Ukraine will meet its Min­sk oblig­a­tions. Despite this party’s mod­er­ate reformer image and close rela­tion­ships with West­ern diplo­mats, People’s Front is also home to sev­er­al MPs aligned with para­mil­i­tarism and social-nation­al­ism, who loud­ly crit­i­cize Min­sk and any com­pro­mise with Rus­sia. A year out from Ukraine’s 2019 elec­tions, this par­ty — which, at less than one per­cent approval, no longer even meets the sta­tis­ti­cal mar­gin of error in most opin­ion polls any­more — still led par­lia­ment to leg­is­late that Rus­sia is an occu­pi­er and aggres­sor in Don­bas and Crimea when pass­ing Ukraine’s rein­te­gra­tion/de-occu­pa­tion law. People’s Front also worked close­ly with pro-West­ern inde­pen­dent MP and Maid­an fire-starter Mustafa Nayem — Ukraine’s clos­est thing to a lib­er­al — to pre­vent any ref­er­ence to Min­sk under con­sti­tu­tion­al law.

    ...

    At this point, only pro-Russ­ian Ukraini­ans sup­port Min­sk, putting West­ern allies like France and Ger­many in the strange posi­tion of advo­cat­ing a peace deal that they nego­ti­at­ed but that many think is a boon to Putin and the sep­a­ratists. A broad under­stand­ing has devel­oped that set­tle­ment per Min­sk makes unwant­ed con­ces­sions to Rus­sia. Indeed, Ukraine has fought a war for five years against exact­ly what Min­sk calls for: increased auton­o­my and lan­guage priv­i­leges for rebel­lious regions that no oth­er cit­i­zens now enjoy after Russia’s annex­a­tion of sim­i­lar­ly autonomous Crimea. Min­sk could make Don­bas — like Crimea — ripe for the pick­ing too.

    Accord­ing to this preva­lent view, Minsk’s ulti­mate goal — peace­ful polit­i­cal rein­te­gra­tion and social rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of Don­bas back into a uni­tary state — is not in Ukraine’s nation­al inter­est. It risks sub­vert­ing Kyiv’s fledg­ling tran­si­tion­al democ­ra­cy. Min­sk also essen­tial­ly gives Don­bas auton­o­my like Crimea had, cul­ti­vat­ing per­cep­tions of a dou­ble stan­dard where­by the occu­pied areas of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk get spe­cial priv­i­leges not enjoyed by oth­er regions of Ukraine that have remained loy­al since Maid­an.
    ...

    And regard­ing the obser­va­tion by ‘pre­em­i­nent Ukraine schol­ar Alexan­der Motyl’ that rein­te­grat­ing mil­lions of eth­nic Rus­sians back into Ukrain­ian soci­ety would be a bad idea, recall how Motyl not only endorsed Ukraine’s Orwellian ‘his­to­ry reg­u­la­tion laws’ — which essen­tial­ly ban open dis­cus­sion of Ukrain­ian his­to­ry involv­ing Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tion and the Holo­caust — but he com­pared the his­to­ry laws to civ­il rights laws, wom­en’s rights, and laws pro­tect­ing the gay com­mu­ni­ty in the US. So we prob­a­bly should­n’t be shocked to learn that Motyl is in favor or rel­e­gat­ing the pop­u­la­tions of the sep­a­ratist regions to some sort of ‘not-actu­al­ly-Ukrain­ian’ sec­ond-class sta­tus going for­ward:

    ...
    To para­phrase pre­em­i­nent Ukraine schol­ar Alexan­der Motyl, rein­te­grat­ing mil­lions of pro-Russ­ian vot­ers into a democ­ra­cy that also aspires to NATO and E.U. mem­ber­ship is a bad idea. Resumed rep­re­sen­ta­tion of occu­pied Don­bas in par­lia­ment is not an ele­ment of Min­sk, but remains a wide­ly under­stood end result of rein­te­gra­tion. Ukraine might even vio­lent­ly oppose the idea of pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists back in the nation­al par­lia­ment; any elec­tion lead­ing to peace in Don­bas could desta­bi­lize the rest of the coun­try. Min­sk serves Russia’s inter­est by forc­ing Ukraine to amnesty anti-gov­ern­ment mil­i­tants, wel­come them back into Ukrain­ian democ­ra­cy, and reward their insur­rec­tion with increased sov­er­eign­ty. Re-includ­ing either Crimea or Don­bas in Ukrain­ian elec­tions could plau­si­bly jeop­ar­dize the country’s Euro-Atlantic ambi­tions and social cohe­sion.

    For these rea­sons, sus­pi­cions of the agree­ments run deep, with asser­tions that ex-KGB still work­ing for the Krem­lin wrote Minsk’s spe­cial sta­tus and amnesty ele­ments specif­i­cal­ly to pro­voke Ukrain­ian patri­ot­ic pride and force the coun­try to either fed­er­al­ize or frac­ture. Nego­ti­a­tions loaded with charged names only fuel such spec­u­la­tion; these include con­tro­ver­sial ex-pres­i­dent Leonid Kuch­ma and oli­garchs who are alleged­ly also close Putin con­fi­dants, like Vik­tor Medved­chuk and Nestor Shufrych. Via­bil­i­ty and cred­i­bil­i­ty of the entire process is low.

    ...

    The first obsta­cle to imple­ment­ing Min­sk is that there is no plau­si­ble way to rein­te­grate Don­bas into Ukraine. Two MPs have now pub­licly referred to Don­bas as gan­grene that must be sev­ered before it infects the rest of Ukraine. “Tro­jan horse” is a term used to slur the idea of rein­te­grat­ing the at least half-mil­lion remain­ing pro-Rus­sians esti­mat­ed to still inhab­it Don­bas; this rhetoric was semi-vin­di­cat­ed when it was revealed that Russia’s plot to erode cen­tral gov­ern­ment con­trol in neigh­bor­ing Zaporyzhya region was code­named Oper­a­tion Troy. Don­bas has also now twice flirt­ed with seces­sion. Its gam­bit dur­ing Ukraine’s Orange Rev­o­lu­tion result­ed in con­sti­tu­tion­al changes ben­e­fit­ing Ukraine’s pro-Russ­ian fifth col­umn, lay­ing the basis for renewed con­flict 10 years lat­er in 2014. It is not in the nation­al inter­est of a sta­ble, coher­ent democ­ra­cy reori­ent­ing West to rein­te­grate Don­bas again.
    ...

    But, of course, oppo­si­tion to some sort of peace­ful rec­on­cil­i­a­tion was­n’t just a prod­uct of Ukrain­ian ‘nation­al­ists’ mak­ing clear that they’re burn the coun­try down should Min­sk actu­al­ly be imple­ment­ed. The will­ful blind­ness across the West — from gov­ern­ments to media — about the degree to which the far right has been main­streamed in Ukraine also played a role. For exam­ple, we told that West­ern offi­cials tell them­selves that when the Ukrain­ian far right engages in march­es evok­ing Third Reich imagery, it’s all part of Krem­lin plot to make Ukraine’s democ­ra­cy look bad. That kind of mali­cious will­ful stu­pid­i­ty and decep­tion (self-decep­tion or oth­er­wise), and more or less made this cur­rent cri­sis inevitable. As Brun­son puts it, actu­al­ly imple­ment­ing Min­sk would have sent Ukraine into a civ­il war. Ukraine’s Nazis would­n’t allow for the rein­te­gra­tion of Don­bass. This has been a frozen con­flict more or less from the begin­ning. Either par­ti­tion the coun­try, or engage in a mass reset­tle­ment of eth­nic Rus­sians out of Ukraine. Those were the only real­is­tic options after a peace­ful rein­te­gra­tion was tak­en off the table:

    ...
    If Ukraine can­not pre­vail mil­i­tar­i­ly, there are real­ly just two alter­na­tives: Par­ti­tion is the only way to resolve the con­flict, but Ukraine and allies have opt­ed for long-term non-recog­ni­tion instead. No oth­er humane solu­tion aside from mass reset­tle­ment exists. “Frozen con­flict is bet­ter than a hot one” has become ver­nac­u­lar. Dras­tic res­o­lu­tions have dis­ap­peared from debate: Either sur­ren­der seces­sion­ist enclaves to focus on realign­ing the rest of the coun­try West; or swap Crimea for Don­bas, long the fear of many as a sur­rep­ti­tious goal of any Trump-Rus­sia chan­nel. Oth­ers hope more quixot­i­cal­ly for Russia’s implo­sion — a fan­ta­sy that ani­mates Ukraini­ans regard­ing not only the future of occu­pied Don­bas and annexed Crimea, but also of long-lost Kuban, the Cos­sack region of south­ern Rus­sia adja­cent to Ukraine’s sep­a­ratist areas. This region was large­ly depop­u­lat­ed of eth­nic Ukraini­ans by the Holodomor and is hence sub­ject of the under­ground irre­den­tist slo­gan, “On to Kuban!”

    ...

    Despite Ukraine’s many good rea­sons to be skep­ti­cal of Min­sk, it remains the only offi­cial for­mat for bro­ker­ing peace in the Don­bas con­flict. It is, how­ev­er, diplo­mat­ic the­ater because nei­ther Kyiv nor Wash­ing­ton wants to imple­ment it — they just say so pub­licly to neu­tral­ize crit­i­cism. Kyiv right­ly sus­pects every out­come is to Moscow’s ben­e­fit and hence recoils. Why West­ern allies don’t is the real ques­tion.

    ...

    Ful­ly imple­ment­ing Min­sk could push Ukraine toward anoth­er rev­o­lu­tion or civ­il war by strong-arm­ing Kyiv into enact­ing con­tro­ver­sial polit­i­cal pro­vi­sions on an unsus­tain­able time­line. This, of course, serves Russ­ian inter­ests nice­ly. NATO allies coerc­ing Kyiv to imple­ment peace accords that nation­al­ist activists swear will pro­voke vio­lence and unrest is just one exam­ple of reflex­ive con­trol: rel­a­tive­ly unam­bi­tious goals set by the Krem­lin that serve its own inter­ests, yet that Ukraine and the West also pur­sue.

    ...

    Nation­al­ist oppo­si­tion to Min­sk also con­tributes to its unim­ple­mentabil­i­ty. After the sup­pres­sion of anti-Maid­an sep­a­ratists in regions beyond Don­bas, only far-right extrem­ists are still armed to the teeth and full of dis­grun­tled mil­i­tary-aged males deeply invest­ed in block­ing con­ces­sion to Rus­sia. Andriy Bilet­skiy, leader of the ultra-nation­al­ist Azov Bat­tal­ion, said in 2017 that “Min­sk imple­men­ta­tion means fed­er­al­iza­tion and col­lapse of the coun­try.” To the delight of anti-Ukrain­ian press, the move­ment he leads holds torch march­es against Min­sk that also evoke Third Reich imagery, fuel­ing Krem­lin pro­pa­gan­da about creep­ing eth­nic nation­al­ism. But although Ukraine has a rich tra­di­tion of under­ground, right-wing para­mil­i­tarism, many today argue that Rus­sia has a hand in stok­ing the fringe far right to make this young democ­ra­cy look bad. That con­spir­a­to­r­i­al view also pre­dom­i­nates among West­ern offi­cials, where the con­sen­sus is large­ly that Ukraine’s rad­i­cals are a Krem­lin-ampli­fied phe­nom­e­non.
    ...

    As Brun­son point­ed out in 2019, it’s the only Ukrain­ian far right para­mil­i­taries who remain armed to the teeth. Yes, if Rus­sia does actu­al­ly invade the whole of Ukraine we can expect those arms to be used against Rus­sians. But as the far right keeps warn­ing us every time they threat­en revolt over peace, it’s not like those weapons only shoot Rus­sians. And that’s why one of the big ques­tions we should be ask­ing regard­ing the evolv­ing civ­il war in Ukraine is how many more Ukrain­ian civ­il wars there are going to be before this con­flict is over.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 23, 2022, 4:08 pm

Post a comment