Why Should Ukraine Not Split?

by craig on February 25, 2014 8:10 am in Uncategorized

There had never been an Ukrainian nation state until the last twenty five years.  The boundaries of the old Soviet Socialist Republics were never intended to define nation states, and indeed were in part designed to guard against forming potentially dangerous cohesive units.  The Ukrainians are a nation and f they wish are certainly entitled to a state, but that its borders must be those defined, and changed several times, by the Soviet Union for the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic is not axiomatic.

It is not true that there is a general desire for secession for Ukraine on the linguistic and broadly West East split.  It is true that key political attitudes do correlate closely to the linguistic split, with Russian speakers identifying with the ousted government, and favouring closer ties with Russian over closer ties with the West, while Ukrainian speakers overwhelmingly favour EU integration.  But that does not translate into a general desire by the Russian speakers to secede from a Ukraine that goes the other way.  The key to this is that two thirds of Russian speaking Ukrainian nationals view themselves as ethnically Ukrainian, not Russian.  Only a third of Russian speakers, a sixth of the general population, regard themselves as ethnically Russian.  It does appear to be true that among those who view themselves as ethnically Russian, there is a significant desire for union with Russia, and that there is probably a majority in some Eastern provinces for that idea, probably including Crimea.  But the area involved is far smaller than the linguistically Russian area.

Ethnicity is of course a less tangible concept than linguistic identity, and has little claim to objective reality, particularly in an area with such turbulent history of population movement.  But it is futile to pretend it has no part in the idea of a nation state, and is best regarded as a cultural concept of self-identification.

The historical legacy is extremely complex.  Kievan Rus was essential to the construction of Russian identity, but for Russia to claim Kiev on that basis would be like France claiming Scandinavia because that is where the Normans came from.  Kievan Rus was destroyed and or displaced by what historical shorthand calls the Mongal hordes, almost a millennium ago.  Ukrainian history is fascinating, the major part of it having been at various times under Horde, Lithuanian, Polish, Krim Tartar, Galician, Cossack Federation, Russian and Soviet rule.

Still just within living memory, one in seven Ukrainians, including almost the entire intellectual and cultural elite, was murdered by Stalin.  An appalling genocide.  Like Katyn a hundred times over.  That is the poisonous root of the extreme right nationalism that has rightly been identified as a dangerous element in the current revolution.  Pro-western writers have largely overlooked the fascists and left wing critics have largely overlooked Stalin.  His brutal massacre and ethnic cleansing of the Krim Tartar is also relevant – many were forcibly deported to Uzbekistan, and I have heard the stories direct.

Having served in the British Embassy in Poland shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I regard as blinkered those who deny that membership of the European Union would be a massive advantage to Ukraine.  In 1994 there was very little difference in the standard of living in both countries – I saw it myself. The difference is now enormous, and that really means in the standard of living of ordinary working people.  Poland’s relationship with, and eventual membership of, the European Union has undoubtedly been a key factor.  Those who wish Ukraine instead to be linked to the raw commodity export economy of Putin’s Russia are no true friends of the working people. Ukraine’s accidental boundaries include, of course, the great formerly Polish city of Lvov.

Ukraine is an accidental state and its future will be much brighter if it is a willing union.  It needs not just Presidential and Parliamentary elections, but also a federal constitution and a referendum on whether any of its provinces would prefer to join Russia.  That can give an agreed way forward to which Russia might also subscribe, and defuse the current crisis.  It would suit the long term interest of both the Ukraine and the West.  I fear however that the politicians will be too macho to see it.

 

 

 

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357 Comments

  1. And here, to be explicit, is the plan for Ukraine and beyond as spelled out by your very own Lord Con Black, Neocon, ex-Con, ex-tycoon, and plutocrat (now of somewhat reduced circumstances).

  2. Some forked tongues were in use in Washington yesterday.

    Kerry says ‘Ukraine not East-West battle’

    World powers are trying to ease tensions over Ukraine – now battling economic
    collapse and growing separatism – amid fears that the nation could be torn apart
    http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1435592/kerry-says-ukraine-not-east-west-battle

    If you saw the video you were left wondering why Hague said nothing and why he looked so sweaty and shifty. He is definitely subordinate to Kerry.

  3. Ukraine has been dropped like a hot potato by the British mainstream media. Absolutely nothing on today’s front pages.

    It is top on the BBC website though.

    Ukraine is not caught in East-West battle, says US
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26347042

    Hague is shown sitting down with Kerry but nary a peep from him.

  4. Who is in charge of the fifteen nuclear reactor power plants at the present time?

    Nuclear Power in Ukraine
    (Updated January 2014)

    •Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy – it has 15 reactors generating about half of its electricity.
    •Ukraine receives most of its nuclear services and nuclear fuel from Russia.
    •In 2004 Ukraine commissioned two large new reactors. The government plans to maintain nuclear share in electricity production to 2030, which will involve substantial new build.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/Ukraine/

  5. OK Canspeccy, I’ll read your link later. Blair’s advisor thought Colonisation is the cure for chaos? Sounds like Blair was the one being colonised, by a swarm of Neo-con devils.

  6. Only a third of Russian speakers, a sixth of the general population, regard themselves as ethnically Russian.

    I would take that “one sixth” figure with an enormous pinch of salt. People aren’t either ‘Ukrainian’ or ‘Russian’.

    The figure comes from an official census. Many people with Ukrainian citizenship – and for that matter, many people with Russian citizenship – have something recorded as their nationality which isn’t very meaningful to them at all. That dates back to the Soviet period.

    Some report ‘Ukrainian’ but feel Russian; others report ‘Russian’ but feel Ukrainian; and a large group don’t really give a toss. May that group grow! I’m talking about people who are from where they are from, who speak what they speak, and who probably have views on the corrupt state which governs the territory where they live and its relations with corrupt neighbouring states. For many people, ‘ethnicity’ in the either-or ‘Ukrainian or Russian’ sense doesn’t come into any of that much.

    Those damned ‘white men’ with their ‘burden’! With their ‘ethnographic’ preconceptions, whether got from Wikipedia or the FCO! A bunch of little Lawrences of Arabia. Seeking to ‘build nations’. Professing respect for ‘the wogs who try hard’, referring to concepts such as ‘ethnos’ and ‘nation’ as they ignore the power of finance-capital which really rules every country. The can all fuck off back to the stockbroker belt as far as I am concerned.

    They and the psy-ops boys and the mercenaries are all part of the same effort.

    Many people from the eastern or mid Ukraine, if they live in Russia or go to Russia, will be viewed as ‘southerners’ – either southern Russian or Ukrainian. In a lot of contexts, there isn’t really a distinction.

    The blue-and-yellow nationalists hate that.

    One of the biggest linguistic markers is the distinctive ‘g’ sound. This is used in Ukrainian and it’s also used in Russian in the ‘southern’ pronunciation.

    So, as I was saying, a lot of people don’t give a toss about this ‘Ukrainian vs Russian’ shit. The position has been made worse by nationalist fuckers. Like all nationalists of all descriptions, they are xenophobes.

    The hell with all nations!

    Craig, nothing about the Treaty of Arbroath… oops sorry, I mean nothing about the Mongol conquest is relevant to how anybody should see themselves today. That crap is used by nationalists to stir up ethnic strife. Money is coming in from the US, the UK, and Germany stirring up civil conflict.

  7. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    26 Feb, 2014 - 10:34 am

    Clark and BrianFujusan

    But there is absolutely no need for you to apologise! Unless memory fails, I don’t recall your posts addressed to me having gone over the line from vigorous response and debate to insult.

    Judging by the reaction of Macky (00h33 this morning) to your suggestion, I doubt that a multi-lateral agreement will be possible; there will always be some who resort to insult and innuendo as an easy way of “answering” unwelcome points or questions. But bi-lateral agreements – why not?

    And in that vein, I wish you both a good day :)

  8. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    26 Feb, 2014 - 10:42 am

    Mary

    “Kerry says ‘Ukraine not East-West battle’

    World powers are trying to ease tensions over Ukraine – now battling economic
    collapse and growing separatism – amid fears that the nation could be torn apart
    http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1435592/kerry-says-ukraine-not-east-west-battle

    If you saw the video you were left wondering why Hague said nothing and why he looked so sweaty and shifty. He is definitely subordinate to Kerry.”
    ________________________

    And interesting post and link, but what is your point, exactly?

    If Secretary Kerry is sincere in saying that Ukraine should not be a source of East-West conflict, then I should have thought that Hague being “subordinate” to him would be a cause for rejoicing, surely?

  9. More than one (?) commentator here regards nationalism as an undiluted evil. One even seems to suggest that Ukraine must be independent of Russia but abandon any nationalist aspirations…the premiss being that nationalism always leads to bad things. I’d just like to suggest that it is no less true to say that bad things lead to nationalism. Cause and effect are easy to confuse.

  10. Nu Da,

    I fear I do not agree with you. From old Soviet practice, all official documents separate your citizenship and your ethnicity, and everyone understands what is being understood perfectly well.

    Forgive me, it is ten years since I spoke Russian and I have forgotten the two terms, and whic is which. I have a vague recollection it is something like narodnosh and gradzvanstva, though the second I could be completely wrong about.

    All of the people to whom I refer put their citizenship as Ukrainian. Only one sixth of them put their ethnicity as Russian. Two thirds of Russian speaking Ukrainians put their ethnicity as Ukrainian. It is exactly analogous to people who speak English, but are nevertheless Welsh or Scottish. It is just wrong to say all the Russian speakers are Russian, and certainly even more wrong to say they all want to secede to Russia. The area where there is significant support for that is much smaller than the linguistic divide.

  11. Russia Says Ukraine ‘Fascism’ Must Be Condemned

    Moscow employs Cold War language to warn its neighbours, as pro-Russia protesters face off with pro-European activists in Crimea.

    26 February 2014

    Pro-Russia separatists and supporters of Ukraine’s new leaders have come head to head outside Crimea’s regional parliament before a key debate.

    Around 2,000 people, many of them ethnic Tatars who are the indigenous group on the Black Sea peninsula, gathered outside the parliament building in support of the ‘Euro-Maidan’ movement which ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.

    Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov photo

    Meanwhile, several hundred pro-Russia demonstrators chanted their loyalty to Moscow and denounced the “bandits” who had seized power in Ukrainian capital Kiev.

    The two sides, who were held apart by police lines, staged their actions ahead of an emergency session at the parliament to discuss the crisis.

    Crimea was gifted to Ukraine in 1954 in the Soviet-era by then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. With a part of Russia’s Black Sea fleet based in the port of Sevastopol, it remains the only region of Ukraine where ethnic Russians dominate in numbers.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent drill to test the combat readiness of the armed forces across western Russia.

    “In accordance with an order from the president of the Russian Federation, forces of the Western Military District were put on alert at 1400 (10am UK time) today,” Interfax quoted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.

    Russia’s foreign minister said the “nationalist and neo-fascist” sentiment in western Ukraine must be “decisively condemned”.

    /..
    http://news.sky.com/story/1217514/russia-says-ukraine-fascism-must-be-condemned

  12. The Russians are Rumbling Mary.

    Same Tactics as were used in Syria…. Snipers –

    Who was behind these targeted sniper killings of innocent civilians? What was the underlying purpose? The Daily Telegraph reported that on the 20th of February:

    “at least 21 protesters were killed in the space of a few hours”…”… ten corpses were laid out on the pavement beneath the awning of a cafe on the northern edge of Independence Square, where thousands of demonstrators are still camped. At least three of the bodies displayed single bullet wounds to the heads.

    The report suggests that the deaths were the result of a precise targeted killing operation pointing to the work of professional snipers:

    Moreover, most of the Western media reports failed to acknowledge the role of armed Neo-Nazi gunmen and thugs who had integrated the protest movement and who were involved in systematically inciting violence.

    We are dealing with a diabolical agenda: the deaths of protesters in Maidan square triggered by Neo-Nazi elements have been used to break the legitimacy of a duly elected government.

    It was not in the interest of Yanukovych to order the targeted killings of civilians by roof-top snipers.

    Underlying US foreign policy and CIA intelligence ops, civilian deaths are often triggered deliberately with a view to accusing the enemy and demonizing a foreign head of State or head of government

    The Maidan sniper killings are, in this regard reminiscent of what occurred in Syria in mid-March 2011 at the very outset of the insurgency: civilians were killed by rooftop snipers in the border city of Daraa. The resulting casualties –without further investigation– were blamed on the government of Bashar al Assad. It was subsequently confirmed by Israeli and Lebanese press reports, that the snipers were hired mercenaries.

    By Prof Michel Chossudovsky @

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraines-democratic-coup-detat-killing-civilians-as-a-pretext-for-regime-change/5370705

    Eh Macky… got you’re name wrong Again… Soz

  13. craig 26 Feb, 2014 – 11:40 am

    Narodnost (with a soft sign at the end) is nationality and grazhdanstvo is citizenship, I think.

  14. In Soviet Russia it was like the UK today forms (anketi I think) for everything. I was there in 1982 for a month, there was a derzhernaya, a woman who sat by the entrance to every building, making notes of when you left the building and when you came back. Don’t need them any more because cameras do all that east and west. All the tomatoes were scarred but there were queues to buy them, queues for everything. (Tomato is one of those words that can have a double-meaning in Russian, it also being a word for prostitute.) Tomatoes for export were different, beautiful red and firm. I joined a very large queue for tomatoes where the boxes had been stamped exportny but people were buying them in such large quantities that I never got to the front of this queue before they sold out and the queue dispersed. Buses and trams were never full even when they were full by western standards, people crushed and pushed themselves in (Pushkins I called them), it was cosy but a little too close for comfort.

    Things have got to be better today. I wish I knew a bit more about the Ukraine but on the two occasions I got to the border, one on my bike, I was refused entry, and was not prepared to bribe my way in, but I did see a shady deal at the border with a Polish taxi-driver taking on board vast quantities of what I can only assume was contraband goods through the floor of his taxi.

  15. Seems to me what the West has triggered a confrontation with Putin which will ultimately lead to the disintegration of Ukraine, its ethnic Poles joining Poland, the Crimea and the area north of the Sea of Azov joining Russia, and other areas joining Belarus, Moldova, and Romania.

    Ukraine is a basket case where most Ukrainians want to belong somewhere else.

    The moronic West in wanting to bust up Russia in some kind of zero sum game has overlooked that its neighbors are even more unstable and insecure.

  16. ‘The moronic West in wanting to bust up Russia in some kind of zero sum game has overlooked that its neighbors are even more unstable and insecure.’ (Trowbridge)

    But it hasn’t overlooked the fact that the FSU countries control a major energy source, to which the West would like to retain access. The original US policy in the MidEast is even more valid here (since no aspiring power in the region has an effective US lobby group); rather than try to control the area directly, split it, bribe and prop up friendly clients and keep the arsenal over the horizon.

  17. But Ukraine and the countries surrounding it have almost no moveable energy sources, so causing a disintegration of the Ukraine just helps Russia and the FSU.

    America hoped to have the confrontation in Sochi but Putin prevented it by telling Washington that there would be a war which it would lose if it tried to use a convenient act of terrorism there as grounds for removing the Americans effected.

    If Putin had not done this, there would have been chaos there, helping open up the area of Georgia and beyond to the rich energy areas.

    The Americans have few ideas about how to really promote their interests and ambitions, only how to use all kinds of means to cause unpredictable trouble.

  18. Its great to see the blog back in good health, the comments back in good health and Craig, given the rapid posts, seemingly in good health.

    Good wishes to all including the Mod(s).

  19. Uzbek in the UK

    26 Feb, 2014 - 3:09 pm

    Trowbridge H. Ford

    Very primitive knowledge of Ukrainian history and its ethnology exposes your primitive conclusion about Ukrainians wanting to break up into pieces and join others with which it has borders. Suggesting that some would even like to join Belarus (which is 15 times smaller) is something that should straight be given the rotten tomatoes sort of award.

    This is type of narrow-mindness I was talking about yesterday.

  20. ‘…so causing a disintegration of the Ukraine just helps Russia and the FSU.’

    Therefore the idea is to retain it intact. And independent. And West-looking. Might even work, given that no-one in their right minds would want Putin running their country, including, I’d guess, a lot of the ethnic Russians.

  21. Relevantly, today’s news from Afghanistan foreshadows a quick, complete withdrawal by the US, (Karzai can’t wait to make lucrative deals with the various warlords) who will then be looking for bases in the region. Cue a lot of smooching with Uzbekistan and the other FSU entities. Ukraine would be a nice demonstration to those, of benevolent intentions.

  22. ‘But Ukraine and the countries surrounding it have almost no moveable energy sources’

    Fact. Indeed Russia has been able to blackmail it by interrupting oil and gas supplies by pipeline from the FSU producers. On the other hand, this may be quite relevant to the discussion-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odessa%E2%80%93Brody_pipeline

    Ukraine has as much de facto control over Russian energy reaching the West as Russia does…much better that it understands the West’s requirements, no? One hostile hand on the tap is quite enough.

  23. Anyone who looks more deeply at the relations between the Ukraine and its neighbors have to conclude that it is flying apart.

    Even with Belarus, the Ukrainians are learning of their common roots, and their complementary goals.

    Belarusians have come in numbers across the borders to help the protest against the Yanukovych government, but in the process, they have shown the domestic protesters that they come from a richer, though smaller country which is far more equitable than the Ukraine despite its autocratic government which is now in the process of becoming more normal.

    I see similar mixes occurring all along Ukraine’s borders.

    And thanks for the rotten tomatoes – I can always use some.

  24. “In this wide-ranging interview, author and geopolitical analyst William Engdahl of WilliamEngdahl.com breaks down the history and context of the geopolitical machinations in Ukraine. We talk about the US/NATO encirclement of Russia and the evidence of western intervention in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. We also discuss the breakdown of the Saudi-US relationship and the destabilization of the Middle East, as well as China’s increasing geopolitical influence around the globe.”

    http://www.corbettreport.com/interview-830-william-engdahl-exposes-the-western-agenda-in-ukraine/

  25. Countering all the anti Putin and anti Russian propaganda on attitudes to and treatment of the LGBT community prior to Sochi, we learn that American right wing evangelicals are behind the Ugandan president’s recent pronouncement.

    U.S. Christian Right Behind Anti-Gay Law Passed in Uganda
    by The Real News Network (TRNN) / February 26th, 2014

    Rev. Kapya Kaoma: New Ugandan law that makes homosexual acts punishable by life imprisonment was modeled after the talking points of right-wing U.S. evangelicals.

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/02/u-s-christian-right-behind-anti-gay-law-passed-in-uganda/

  26. Kievan Rus was essential to the construction of Russian identity, but for Russia to claim Kiev on that basis would be like France claiming Scandinavia because that is where the Normans came from.

    More bollocks there. Ukraine entered into a treaty of protection with Russia in 1654 following 13 years of war with Poland, and remained, thereafter, within the Russian orbit. Following the Russian and Revolution, Ukraine became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union.

    So if for some reason you want an analogy of the relationship between Russia and Kiev, that between Britain and Ireland would have at least some relevance. There was even a “genocide” by starvation, when English settlers exported grain, dairy products and pork to England while the Irish starved as their potato crops withered from the blight.

    And Ireland has always been considered within the British orbit, and the subject of contingency plans for occupation, as necessary, in the face of a threat to British security.

    And the implication that Ukraine was some kind of Russian colony is belied by the role of Ukrainians in Russian politics, military, arts and literature, for example: Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Gogol and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Leonid Brezhnev, and Nikita Kruschchev, Leon Trotsky (founder of the Red Army) and Volodymyr Kuts (Olympic Gold medalist in the five and ten thousand metres [Note that the commentator refers to Kuts, the guy in the Red shirt, as “the Russian”).

    So no, Ukrainians to Russians are not the same as Norwegians to the French.

  27. Greenwald; “Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:”

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/

  28. @Craig. I’ve long admired your stand against US/UK intervention in the case of Uzbekistan and Iraq. So why have you, all of a sudden, come out in favour US/EU (and UK) meddling into the internal affairs of another country. Your bias in favour of further EU enlargement seems to reflect the real unstated goal of much recent UK-funded diplomacy and skullduggery in weak states, namely to pursue the interests of transnational corporations over those of workers’ rights and social stability anywhere. EU expansion and its much-championed “freedom of movement” is all about weakening the power of nation states and any other nominally democratic institutions that may challenge the hegemony of multinationals.
    Ukraine has only enjoyed its current rather artificial borders since 1954. Much of the true Ukrainian-speaking region was for many centuries in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and later in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Other parts fell under the rule of the Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire, before being conquered by Russia around 300 years ago. As part of the Soviet Union, both Russians and Ukrainians were resettled as boundaries shifted, so Russian and Ukrainian history have long been very intertwined.
    You correctly note how Ukraine has fallen behind Poland, but fail to mention its GDP per capita in 2012 ( $7,600) was under half that of Russia’s ( $17,700) and also lower than Turkey ($15,000) and Iran (13,100). Joining the EU would almost certainly lead to a higher cost of living, an influx of foreign service providers, financial straitjackets and an exodus of its best and brightest young people to the wealthier countries of the EU, already inundated by an unprecedented wave of mass immigration. This would heighten labour market competition, push down wages and create greater job insecurity. Ukrainians would be competing with Greeks, Portuguese and Poles for jobs in Germany, Sweden or England. If the experience of the last 15 years of EU expansion and globalisation is anything to go by, we will see an ever widening gulf between wealthy entrepreneurial and professional classes and the working / welfare-dependent classes. The former will have villas by the Black Sea with cheap servants, the latter will be forced to migrate to serve large unaccountable multinationals.

  29. GCHQ are definitely active on this site. Surely everyone cannot be unemployed?Meaning some of us must be employed.And MI5 and 6 for that matter have no love for Craig.
    It’s not enough to own and make the news.They have to destroy and discredit the activists,blogs and forums where those seeking truth and an alternative to “their” version of events communicate.I hope they choke on their own body odour.

    http://21stcenturywire.com/2014/02/25/snowden-training-guide-for-gchq-nsa-agents-infiltrating-and-disrupting-alternative-media-online/

  30. @Neil Gardner

    Your bias in favour of further EU enlargement seems to reflect the real unstated goal of much recent UK-funded diplomacy and skullduggery in weak states, namely to pursue the interests of transnational corporations over those of workers’ rights and social stability anywhere

    You got that right.

    CM is a globalist and an advocate of the New World Order, if not in name certainly in reality, which means as you note, destruction of the nation states of Europe as racial, cultural and religious communities to facilitate the free movement of labor, capital and goods for the maximization of corporate profits. It’s genocide, as that term was originally defined, in the name of anti-racism.

  31. Got Gas?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/26/why-putin-hates-fracking.html

    “While you’re at it, consider the many European countries that depend on Russia for their natural gas or might compete with it as suppliers. Think of Bulgaria, Romania, Poland; and think, especially, of Ukraine…..
    ..snip….

    Last November, Yanukovych’s government signed a $10 billion deal for shale gas exploration and exploitation with the American-based multinational Chevron, following on another massive deal with Royal Dutch Shell. Together, Yanukovych claimed, those agreements would enable Ukraine “to have full sufficiency in gas by 2020 and, under an optimistic scenario, even enable us to export energy.”
    You can imagine how happy Putin was about that.

    Just a week later, Yanukovych was supposed to sign a deal with the European Union that would take his country further into the Western orbit when, suddenly, under ferocious pressure from Putin and with the promise of $15 billion in loans and cheap gas, Yanukovych walked away from the European deal. In a response few people expected, huge protests by pro-European crowds filled Kiev’s Independence Square day after day, month after month, until, last week, blood flowed in the streets, the uprising spread, and the government crumbled.”

  32. Neil,

    I am genuinely fond of the EU. I think it is the best place in the world to live, in very many ways. Indeed, that is why I am here. Everything you say would happen to the Ukraine in the EU also happened to Poland, yet nonetheless the result was a massive increase in standard of living for ordinary, working class Poles. That the EU is a terrible place where the workers starve, and ordinary people are better off in Russia, is wildly untrue. Russian GDP per capita is about $14,000 but because it is so heavily based on raw commodity export and so little on manufacturing and services, unemployment is much worse than it is in Poland. It is peculiar the left are so fond of Russia when in truth the wealth gap there is even worse than here, appalling though it is here.

  33. “US Warns Russia Over “Provocative” Actions In Ukraine”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-26/us-warns-russia-over-provocative-actions-ukraine

  34. That the EU is a terrible place where the workers starve, and ordinary people are better off in Russia, is wildly untrue.

    Except for:

    nearly half of those [in Spain] under 30 – almost 2 million people – cannot find a job. Suicide rates are up and the young fear they have no future in their own country.

    Ditto, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and next up, Ukraine.

    But the Ukrainians will have real democracy, i.e., the kind bought by Western corporations, not the kind owned by a handful of local oligarchs. That’s the way forward. Democrats for corporate control, and reduction of the masses to the condition of domestic beasts to be bred, brainwashed, and turned against one another through mass migration and multi-culturalism under the tyranny of legally sanctioned politically correctness.

  35. Wait until the full effects of this t1e up are felt. The screws will really tighten then.

    Proposed agreement between the European Union and the United States of America
    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP; also known as the Transatlantic Free Trade Area, abbreviated as TAFTA) is a proposed free-trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Trade_and_Investment_Partnership

    I read today that a Dupont supercorn GMO has been foisted on us due to abstentions in the voting process. Monsanto, Cargill et al are waiting in the wings.

    EU allows DuPont Pioneer’s GM supercorn
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1393418787.html

  36. Wait until the full effects of this tie up are felt.

    Yeah. All the talk about democracy is flim-flam. Any “democratic” government that fails to put out a sign: “available for rape and pillage,” is liable to be ousted and charged with crimes against humanity, as in Egypt and Ukraine.

    The project for a New World Order will place every country under the control of global institutions subject to back-room corporate control, thereby negating sovereign state democracy. Then we’ll really know how wonderful it is to live in the EU.

  37. Erich Friesen

    27 Feb, 2014 - 1:17 am

    Even if all that you say about Ukraine being an accidental state were true (and it did have a very short lived independence in the 1920’s) the case for not dividing the Ukraine is still very strong.Splitting a state is not something that should be lightly done, as it would be extraordinarily difficult to re-join what might be broken. Witness how long it took to rejoin Germany. Given the turmoil and economic uncertainty, it is likely that some would decide to split based on ephemeral concerns, so it is fair to require the process be long, and require something more than a majority decision.

    Another reason that a split is to be avoided is that it raises the specter of awarding territorial gains based on ethnic cleansing, and we all know how well that worked in Bosnia.

    We should work hard first for peace, and than for a peaceful process. Those forced to co habitat have a tendency to work out their problems, which has been the case to some extent in South Africa and North Ireland.

  38. @craig
    Thanks for confirming my suspicions. Have you visited Italy, Spain, Portugal or Greece recently? Ever heard of Beppe Grillos’ Movimento Cinque Stelle? Lies, damned lies and official inflation rates? The EU has nothing to do with European cooperation, but rather serves to impose corporate globalisation on everyone. Social welfare serves merely to subsidise low wages and extortionate rents and to soften the blow of massive job losses and migratory pressures, in a very fuild labour market.
    You criticize economies based on “raw commodity export”, yet the economic growth that globalist economists seem so keen to promote depends on these resources, it’s just they would rather they be controlled by global multinationals. Compare this with the UK that suuceeds mainlyin producing hot air that noobody really needs, while its remaining manufacturing base mainly just assembles imported components. Actually the UK’s two biggest physical exports are weapons and pharmaceuticals (both of dubious necessity). How would the UK cope in the event of a global banking crisis ? Now untapped North Sea oil reserves are buried deep beneath the North Atlantic sea bed, the EU can let Scotland rebrand itself as nominally independent with London’s blessing? With rising energy prices and global financial meltdown looming, I’d rather live in a resource-rich country than a bankrupt one.

  39. BrianFujisan

    27 Feb, 2014 - 2:53 am

    Neil…

    From Crag’s post …we learn how deep his Insights Are…. But the Libya Catastrophe… Sickened me…. and then Syria… mutilations of all and anyone.. young girls..in front of crowds in the street…Ect Ect Ect.. I don’t know what Craig Knows…but i Know Who i believe these days… And it Aint Bush – sorry Obomironman…or agent Cnt Fuck em..

    This is more true than Any of the lying war mongering criminals of the west… –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKMyY2V0J0Y

  40. BrianFujisan

    27 Feb, 2014 - 2:57 am

    Enrich…

    i cant read your post…cos i cant take my eye off the avatar….

  41. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    27 Feb, 2014 - 8:48 am

    “So why have you {ie, Craig }, all of a sudden, come out in favour US/EU (and UK) meddling into the internal affairs of another country.
    _____________________

    As I predicted, Craig: your post didn’t press the anti-West button and now the displeasure boil, gently swelling over the last 24 hrs, has finally burst. The pus is there for all to see.

  42. ‘I am genuinely fond of the EU. I think it is the best place in the world to live, in very many ways.’

    Most of the ‘best places’ to live in the EU (Denmark,Netherlands, Sweden), also happen to be monarchies. Wtf does that prove ?

  43. Classic Beeb brainwashing by elision here-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26364891

    Note the repeated references (on whose testimony ?) to ‘gunmen’ seizing government buildings.

    Previously, Government buildings in Kiev were always reported as being seized by ‘demonstrators’. Presumably also, like 60s hippies, they were laden with flowers, and not carrying weapons.

    Four legs good, two legs bad.

  44. Unemployment shot up in Poland in 1990 and has remained very high ever since.

    There is much less social security now. That’s why so many Polish people take low-paid jobs abroad, such as in the UK.

    These facts can’t be got round by telling ‘lefties’ to get back to Russia or saying how wonderful it is to have the ‘freedom’ to leave a country (for the west). I am not defending the pro-Soviet regime.

    Most Polish people in Britain are economic migrants. They don’t come here because they think the social culture here is more attractive than the one in Poland. ‘Freedom’ is not an issue.

    (In case you are thinking of referring to material on ‘hidden’ and ‘disguised’ unemployment in the 1980s and before, let me add that the definitions used by western sovietologists who described such phenomena mostly concerned people whose labour-power was not in great demand; in the main, the definitions were not to do with people who weren’t in jobs and didn’t receive wages. A realistic figure for unemployment in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s should be higher than the official figure of 1%, but it should not be higher than about 2%.)

    Unemployment went up to 6% in 1990, 12% in 1991, and figures for the following years are as follows:

    1990 6%
    1991 12%
    1992 14%
    1993 16%
    1994-98 11-13%
    1999 14%
    2000-05 16-20%
    2006 14%
    2007-09 7-10%
    2010-14 10%

    Roughly speaking, the unemployment rate has been about 6 times higher than it was under the old regime, varying from about 4 times higher to about 10 times higher.

  45. Sorry, what was the answer to the question

    “why have you {ie, Craig }, all of a sudden, come out in favour US/EU (and UK) meddling into the internal affairs of another country?”

  46. Neither Frankfurt nor Moscow

    27 Feb, 2014 - 11:16 am

    There’s a lot of knowledge and sense in this comment above, by “НУ ДА”.

  47. Without resulting to ‘infectious’ nouns or misplaced chutzpah towards insight and knowledge here, one cannot I believe lose sight of the insidious role key players in Washington and certain EU countries are playing in relation to the situation in Ukraine. Their agenda was of course to force an immediate end of the elected Yanukovich government in Kiev and lock Ukraine into the EU and, ultimately, NATO. Washington’s agenda has little to do with “democracy and freedom,” and a lot to do with destabilizing Putin’s Russia.

    Examining William Hague’s ‘cup of tea’ we find contradicting friendliness and hostility towards Putin, the other player being former assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney,Victoria Nuland, herself married to neo-conservative guru, Robert Kagan. While ‘Billy’ stresses the importance of dialogue with Putin, secretary Nuland attacks Russia on several fronts:

    Victoria Nuland, Implications of the Crisis in Ukraine: Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, January 15, 2014

    I wonder when ‘Bandar Bush’ will direct his terrorist snipers and join with those ‘mercenaries’ provoking terror and mayhem in Crimea.

  48. Ba'al Zevul (Etc)

    27 Feb, 2014 - 12:19 pm

    Thanks for the links on Polish unemployment, N_. While I don’t/can’t dispute its or your generaL conclusions, I found this to be suspect-

    ‘Difficulties with finding a job are also experienced by women and people over 50 years. People of this last group spent at least half of their life under the communist system so they are not well adjusted to the capitalist system. They are unwilling or they do not have a chance to re-educate and move from their home to the areas where more jobs are available.’

    This is as much a problem in the UK, is my impression, and the UK didn’t experience the communist system. A major contributory factor is the unwillingness of HR departments even to look at the CV’s of people older than 50. I have personal experience of this despite then having (then) recently re-educated myself to a high standard in an industry-related field, and having been entirely willing to move – as, after two years of unemployment, I eventually did.

  49. Ba'al Zevul (Etc)

    27 Feb, 2014 - 12:30 pm

    On topic –

    http://world.time.com/2014/02/26/ukraine-donbass-yanukovych-kurkov/

    Don’t shoot the messenger; this looks balanced, and gives some background…also a couple of good comments.

    ‘(Putin’s) applying the same atavistic standards to Ukraine — rather than exploring new economic models that could create economic development and assuaging historical Russian-Ukrainian divisions — he insists on a union with his torpid kleptocracy and Russian dominance. The frequently shirtless Putin doesn’t seem to appreciate the subtleties of seduction, he seems convinced that mere muscularity is all that’s needed.

    These are the struggles of a second-rate intellect with modernity.’

    OTOH –

    ‘None of this lesses the stupidity of Americans who yearn for another major “enemy” in Russia, moved NATO eastward rather than disbanding it and encouraged the unrealistic ambitions of Georgians and Ukrainians who want to join NATO — and plans to put destabilizing missiles near Russia’s borders.’

  50. From old Soviet practice, all official documents separate your citizenship and your ethnicity, and everyone understands what is being understood perfectly well.

    Your last clause there is too elliptical for me to understand.

    I suspect, but haven’t checked, that the practice dates back to Tsarist times, although in those days they would have used ‘subjecthood’ (подданство) rather than ‘citizenship’.

    The distinction between ‘subjecthood’ and ‘citizenship’ is still sometimes employed in Russia to differentiate between the status of say British ‘subjects’ on the one hand and French or US ‘citizens’ on the other.

    I’m not sure whether your official duties ever took you to the USSR, but when Brits stayed in that country back in the day, they were advised by British authorities to record both their citizenship and nationality as ‘British’.

    ‘English’, ‘Scottish’, ‘Welsh’, and ‘Cornish’ were all out! Verboten! ‘Jedi’ probably would have been frowned on too!

    I wonder what Kim Philby put in his Soviet passport – ‘British’ or ‘English’? :-)

    Forgive me, it is ten years since I spoke Russian and I have forgotten the two terms, and whic is which. I have a vague recollection it is something like narodnosh and gradzvanstva, though the second I could be completely wrong about.

    You remember well! The passport terms are citizenship (grazhdanstvo – гражданство) and nationality (natsional’nost’ – национальность).

    The word narodnost’ (народность) is sometimes translated as ‘nationality’ but is roughly equivalent to ‘national spirit’, and wasn’t used on passports. Along with autocracy and orthodoxy, it was one of the pillars of the Tsarist regime. Funny how a number of state entities get described in terms of pillars, including the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the EU.

    (Wikipedia have down an awful job on that one, almost making pillarisation equivalent to ‘power-sharing’. The internet is where petty purveyors of ‘a little knowledge’ meet with the denizens of Christmas ’round robin’ land!)

    As for ‘ethnicity’, let’s leave that to the State of Israel, which writes on its citizens’ documents their ‘ethno-religious’ identity, allowing the police and all other official bodies to distinguish between Arab Christians and Arab Muslims without being able to distinguish in the same way between Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews. Nobody is allowed to have their ethno-religious identity recorded as ‘Arab Jew’ – nor, for that matter, as ‘Jewish Christian’ or simply as ‘Israeli’.

    The question of banned identities is an interesting one.

    Tennis-player Serena Williams presumably gives significant importance to her ‘Crip’ identity, but got a lot of flak for doing the ‘Crip walk’ in front of the Tories…I mean in front of the All-England Club officials at Wimbledon.

    I heard of a very few people in the USSR having ‘Gypsy’ (Цыган) recorded as their passport nationality, but that may have been a myth.

    ‘Cossack’ is certainly an ethnicity, but I doubt that it has ever been allowed to be recorded as a passport nationality. In the Polish and west-Ukrainian area, the ‘Szlachta’ were also a peculiar group. Friedrich Nietsche wanted to be from those origins, but people say he was a fake.

    ‘Cossack’ is, to judge by the experience of most of us who come to this blog, a ‘weird’ ethnicity – and a vivid illustration that if a person is intellectually honest and aware enough to want to hone their definitions to the max (and that’s exactly what we should want to do – to get to “definitions so rigorous that no tyranny can withstand them”), then they have got to accept that the same definitions of ‘ethnicity’, ‘nationality’, etc. etc. cannot reasonably be imposed on everybody everywhere.

    It really does suggest at least the remnants of an imperialist outlook to believe otherwise.

    People should be able to agree with that statement even if they don’t agree (yet) with what people like me say about getting rid of all national and nationalist feelings.

    In any case, nation-building has in many cases gone hand-in-hand with imperialism, since Woodrow Wilson and before.

    Most people who, shall we say, are the offspring of parents and grandparents who were born in Scotland and who lived in that country all their lives, and who themselves were brought up in Scotland but 10 or more years ago settled in England, view themselves as ‘Scottish’. If we change ‘Scotland’ and ‘England’ to ‘Ukraine’ and Russia’, the statement stops being true.

    All of the people to whom I refer put their citizenship as Ukrainian. Only one sixth of them put their ethnicity as Russian. Two thirds of Russian speaking Ukrainians put their ethnicity as Ukrainian.

    Yes, yes, but I was trying to get to the issue of why…and you won’t get a grip on that by saying…

    It is exactly analogous to people who speak English, but are nevertheless Welsh or Scottish.

    No it isn’t. You are just assuming that – and wrongly.

    It is just wrong to say all the Russian speakers are Russian, and certainly even more wrong to say they all want to secede to Russia.

    I agree. I am happy to let people define their own identities. But what is mistaken is to tell people that ‘national identity’ always means the same thing, because it doesn’t.

    The area where there is significant support for that is much smaller than the linguistic divide.

    Well, we have all seen some maps. One thing is for certain: only a small minority of people in any part of the Ukraine are getting out onto the streets waving blue and yellow flags.

  51. Does this qualify as dramatic irony? Ukraine’s acting President Aleksandr Turchinov says the Crimean parliament has been seized by “criminals in military fatigues”.

    After the events of the past week or so, that really did make me chuckle.

  52. Ukraine continues flying apart , with the ethnic-Russians taking over the Crimean parliament, and calling for provincial autonomy while Moscow allows a defiant Yanukovych to reappear.

    Apparently, the Crimea will go for independence if the Ukrainian President is not allowed to return to his office in the capital.

    Putin is playing the crisis like a master.

  53. If you are arguing from the idea that Russian speakers in the Ukraine (let’s say outside of the Crimea) are in an exactly analogous spread of positions to English speakers in Scotland, well at least we can both be glad that the ‘Gaelic mafia’ aren’t out on the streets carrying iron bars in Scotland!

    If they ever did, how the English Defence League would applaud!

    Ukrainian and Russian languages and identities merge into each other. Those who have sought to split them from each other and cause strife between them are arseholes. A lot of influence has been exerted by disgusting greedy aspiring asset-strippers in the US, UK, and Germany, who wield the foreign-policy instruments of those regimes. To say that is not in any way to defend the criminal regime in Russia.

    Putin and Yanukovych are as corrupt as each other. Timoshenko is also a crook. So is Klitschko. Everybody in the region knows that. I am not some Anti-EU Little Brit, but to see people on demonstrations waving the EU flag in Kiev screams ‘fake’.

    The level of understanding is higher than in the UK and Scandinavia – two places where most people still don’t quite suss that the public authorities are all a bunch of lying crooks. In most of the world, most people are practically born knowing that that’s true about the authorities everywhere. That was true in the Soviet period too, I might add.

    Hence the great popular Russian word дерьмократия.

  54. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    27 Feb, 2014 - 1:23 pm

    Old Mark lashes out at Craig:

    “‘I am genuinely fond of the EU. I think it is the best place in the world to live, in very many ways.’

    Most of the ‘best places’ to live in the EU (Denmark,Netherlands, Sweden), also happen to be monarchies. Wtf does that prove ?”
    _______________________

    It proves nothing, you Old Ass. Which is why Craig didn’t mention it. Capeeesh now?

  55. @Trowbridge – so you reckon Putin’s playing it like a master, then? You may well be right.

    Personally I think the KGB (FSR/FSB as now) hold a share in Wikileaks and Snowden too. There have been some really excellent releases of GCHQ documents by Glenn Greenwald recently. Not just ‘scandal’ stuff, but stuff that says a great deal about how society is controlled.

    What’s your take on why events in the Ukraine have been allowed to occur during the Olympics?

    Funny how the US bragged that they were going to send warships to defend Sochi and moaned that the Russians were being such a pain in the arse about it, and then, whaddayaknow, a US warship has a little accident in the Straits.

    Incidentally, as Craig will almost certainly know, no non-Black Sea country has the right to keep warships in the Black Sea for longer than 21 days. That’s under the Treaty of Montreux. If they do, I think I’m right in saying that Turkey is supposed to be held to account.

    Are you following the ‘credit card’ story in Turkey?

  56. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    27 Feb, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    N_

    “Sorry, what was the answer to the question

    “why have you {ie, Craig }, all of a sudden, come out in favour US/EU (and UK) meddling into the internal affairs of another country?””
    ____________________________

    Sorry, N_, but I don’t see anything in Craig’s post to justify you asking that question.

    Why are you trying to put words into Craig’s mouth?

    And why are you trying so hard to badmouth post-Communist Poland?

    Why, you’ll be defending the Berlin Wall and the 1956 injvasion of Hungary next!

  57. I was just repeating the question in the terms that someone else had asked it – someone who, unlike you, but like Craig and me, is probably here for honest reasons. I agree that the “all of a sudden” and “meddling” bits do put words into Craig’s mouth. If an apology is called for, I apologise. But the spirit of the question remains good.

    Your trolling rubbish with regard to Budapest 1956 is pathetic and I will ignore it.

  58. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    27 Feb, 2014 - 1:44 pm

    “The level of understanding is higher than in the UK and Scandinavia – two places where most people still don’t quite suss that the public authorities are all a bunch of lying crooks. In most of the world, most people are practically born knowing that that’s true about the authorities everywhere.”
    ______________________

    Mmmm – perhaps why the UK and the Scandinavian countries have enjoyed great political stability compared to the “all public authorities are lying crooks” countries?

  59. Mmmm –
    Are you eating something?

    perhaps why the UK and the Scandinavian countries have enjoyed great political stability compared to the “all public authorities are lying crooks” countries?

    You are only stating the obvious. If a regime in Latin America or Southern or Eastern Europe had got people into debt to the extent that many people in Britain are in debt, there would have been major unrest by now. Here, people have just laid down and taken it, because Mr Poshy Sir either doesn’t mention it or says it’s good.

    Don’t you get any social deference in your GCHQ doughnut, then, Habby? (Or should I call it a bagel?)

  60. I think you’re spot on, Trowbridge. As soon as the ethnic Russians have cause to cry “Protect Us!” Vlad will have all the legitimacy he needs to steam in there. Russian will have its Black Sea access and the industrial heartlands; the bankrupt half of the country can then be chewed up by the IMF while the brownshirts smash everything up.

  61. Thanks, Mike.

    Don’t see Russian tanks just rolling into anywhere, like they did after the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia and Akhazia- they will be invited in.

    Do you happen to be the Mike I had some nice dissuasions with on Sweden’s The Local?

  62. I don’t think to, THF. The world is full of Mikes.

  63. Uzbek in the UK

    27 Feb, 2014 - 2:34 pm

    Not interesting but amusing to read some hardcore leftists propaganda posts. Something we (in USSR) have been spoon fed since our brain was mature enough to understand words.

    “Russian word дерьмократия” mentioned by one of them came out straight from Lubyanka’s (KGB headquarters) propaganda department.

  64. Uzbek in the UK

    27 Feb, 2014 - 2:41 pm

    Those hardcore leftists who support the power of International Law please chew this:

    In 1994 Russia as well as US, UK and France signed the memorandum to support territorial integrity of Ukraine in return for Ukraine to disable its nuclear installations (similar was done with participation of Russia, US and China with regards to Kazakhstan).

    But I guess in the world when International Law is as good as Constitution of Uzbekistan (who knows what I mean will sense the irony) everything is good in pursue of the gains.

  65. Unfortunately, it is the US and the EU which have violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine, organizing a plot to overthrow its elected government, like they have done in Egypt.

  66. @Uzbek

    The KGB are a big factor still, and not just in Russia.

    If you think the word дерьмократия (for those who don’t know, this is a slightly amended version of the Russian word ‘democracy’, made into ‘shittocracy’) comes from the KGB, can you explain why they might have wanted to get people to believe that the new regime was just as corrupt and full of crap as the old regime?

    How did they think that helped them achieve a security aim?

    People just thought that anyway, because it was true.

    The KGB had been mates with the mafia for years. It’s not as if they wanted to keep the old regime going forever.

    If you think everyone ‘believed’ in the old regime when they lived under it, you’re wrong. Sure, they may have had its terminology rammed down their throats. That’s the same in every country, although that’s not to say that everywhere’s the same. Middle class people in the USSR couldn’t just up sticks and take what capital they had and go and start a business wherever they wanted. That’s why all the young well-off types wanted reform. Guess who they were the sons and daughters of?

    Most people in the USSR thought the leadership were a gang of thieves, and they also thought the political changes were a big con.

    They were right on both counts.

    People watched the ‘reformers’ on the telly – at the same time as the stories about aliens landing in UFOs – and they saw them in the same light as they saw the ‘reactionaries’: namely, in terms of the началство (bosses), their lies, and their жульё (thieving).

    By the way, do you think people in Kazakhstan or Uzkbekistan today are as contemptuous in public of Nazarbayev or Karimov as they often were in 1980s Russia about the four CPSU general secretaries of that decade? I think mostly the omnipotent secret police ensures they don’t. And lest anyone forget, both Nazarbayev and Karimov once sat on the CPSU’s Politburo in Moscow.

    Old regime – bunch of thieves. New regime – bunch of thieves. And often the same thieves. People aren’t so stupid as not to know that.

  67. Spetsnaz?

    ” Masked men with guns seized government buildings in the capital of Ukraine’s Crimea region on Thursday, barricading themselves inside and raising the Russian flag after mysterious overnight raids that appeared to be the work of militant Russian nationalists who want this volatile Black Sea region ruled from Moscow.”

  68. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    27 Feb, 2014 - 4:22 pm

    N_

    “I was just repeating the question in the terms that someone else had asked it – someone who, unlike you, but like Craig and me, is probably here for honest reasons.”

    __________________________

    Yes, I know you were repeating it. But why? What was your honest reason for repeating it?

    And now I’ll repeat my question to you : why are you doing your honest level best to badmouth post-Communist Poland? Are you more sympathetic to the wonderful Polish People’s Republic? Why are so so pissed that Craig Murray finds post-Communist Poland happier, freer and better-off than Communist Poland?

  69. We now have 3 Svoboda politicians in the new Ukraine parliament. Last year, the World Jewish Congress described this party as “neo Nazi”.

    Yay! What a day for Western liberalism!

    Or they good Nazis? I mean, guys we can do business with?

  70. Uzbek in the UK

    27 Feb, 2014 - 4:52 pm

    НУ ДА

    Are you suggesting anarchy? Old is bad, new is bad. What is good then? Russia without jews as Russian chauvinists have been dreaming throughout centuries? remember Pogroms or Stalin’s purges? Russians have always been blaming someone else (preferably non-Russian(s)) in their problems. Why?

    KGB is a big factor due to the insecurity dilemma in many former soviet republics including Russia. Their governments (or authoritarian presidents in most cases) are afraid of their own people more than external threats. External enemies are often made up to straighten internal security and closely watch the population. Remember Stalin’s SMERSH?

    Putin’s rating shoot sky high only after the incidents when two houses in Moscow and one in Volgograd have been blown (allegedly by Chechens). Since then and Putin’s famous “if we find terrorist in toilet we will smash (zamochim) him there” his rocketed. But then claver minded KGB officer made sure that media (exactly like great Lenin prescribed) is under strict government control, so nowadays every single criticism of Mr Putin is equated to the (Vrag Naroda) Enemy of the People status.

    Who knows Russians might indeed need Czar, But do Ukrainians need one?

  71. Also 60% of the inhabitants of the Crimean peninsula are ethic Russians , about 1,200,000 people. And the proportion in Sevastopol is even higher, so there is no need for Russian special forces to get involved.

    The West continues to make serious strategic mistakes by always underestimating the strength of its competitors or enemies.

    The USSR would still be in business if sensible Gorby had not realized that the Rambo West might blow up the whole world if he had not thrown in the sponge.

  72. Uzbek in the UK

    27 Feb, 2014 - 5:12 pm

    Trowbridge H. Ford

    USSR was a bankrupt state by 1991. If not Gorby its end might have been much worse- similar to Yugoslavia. Economic insolvency, rising nationalism within national republics, ideological bankruptcy, military demise after stalemate war in Afghanistan, galloping corruption (which by the way started in 1970th) have all contributed to the demise of USSR.

    Communist party was morally and ideologically bankrupted by corrupt elites and failed economic theory.

  73. The USA is a totally bankrupt state, but it is still able to attempt to take over the world, thanks to the fact that its creditors are its leading enemies, and the FR keeps printing loads of money.

    The USSR could have kept going, thanks to its internal resources.

    And Gorby threw in the sponge when he signed the 1987 arms treaty with loony Reagan, and embarked on his domestic reforms – what dictated not only the break up of the USSR but also the collapse of the communist regime in Moscow – what hardliners like Vladimir Krryuckov tried to atop but only learned of what was afoot until too late.

  74. What seems like rather a complex geopolitical chess game in Ukraine becomes clearer when the clock is wound back to the Iraq war and Ukraine’s ties to Britain and America. Ukraine had the sixth-largest contingent in the US-led ‘Coalition of the Willing’ in Iraq after the United States, Britain, South Korea, Italy and Poland.

    Russia had strongly opposed the UN sanctions maintained on Iraq after the Persian Gulf War and called on the UN to lift it. But the United States had strongly refused to support any lifting of the sanctions. Russia had strongly opposed the Iraq War and had refused to support military action against Iraq. President Vladimir Putin called it a serious mistake and said that only the United Nations can solve this dispute. Putin we realise in hindsight was right!

    Clearly the Iraq war embryo in the minds of PNAC terrorists was fertilised in early 2000 and delivered by the false-flag events of 2001. Much like Iraq and her ‘lakes of oil’ the fate of Ukraine is linked with its dependence on Russian natural gas and the revenue garnered via its transport of that gas to Europe.

    Yanukovych pissed off Putin by cutting a hydraulic fracturing deal with Chevron and Shell (remember Chevron placed its banner next to Nuland when giving her spiel at the National Press Club last December). To save his[Yanukovych] arse from a Putin at boiling point and the IMF economic hit-man, Yanukovych accepted Putin’s $3 billion down-payment to walk away from EU association and eventual integration.

    Moving to 2005 Britain(Blair) and US behind-the-scenes role in Ukraine’s orange revolution came to light after a team of US doctors admitted it secretly treated the country’s new pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko for poisoning during his election campaign. In fact my in information tells me it was MI6 together with American secret services who arranged contamination of President Viktor Yushchenko blood samples followed by a media ‘broadcast’ including images of a disfigured Yushchenko, with words that he was poisoned on the orders of a Russian “political technologist” working for the Kremlin? The ‘poison’ being a form of agent Orange (how weird).

    BBC News 22nd February 2005

  75. Better off in EU? Umm NO. I guess you live in UK and do not see the hordes of Polish, Bulgarians and Romanians your country does not want? Have you not wondered why they come? For workers wages actually stagnates or deteriorate after EU expansion.
    http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2913&context=ilrreview
    Social Failures of EU Enlargement: A Case of
    Workers Voting with Their Feet.

  76. Uzbek in the UK

    27 Feb, 2014 - 6:42 pm

    Kazakhstan must be watching very carefully developments in Crimea. It too has over 40% of Slavic population of whom more than 37% of Russian origin and in northern Kazakhstan ethno balances in very much in favour of Slavs with 70% majority.

    Precedent to current Crimean annexion and (most likely) future annexation of northern Kazakhstan was laid during Russian intervention to Georgia.

  77. Uzbek in the UK

    27 Feb, 2014 - 6:43 pm

    Bite one bullet and they will drop a bomb on you.

  78. In a review of the takeover of Ukraine’s democratic government by machine-gun wielding fascists, Paul Craig Roberts (former US Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service, etc., etc.) concludes that those who applaud the outcome of US/EU intervention in Ukraine are either whores or fools who think reality consists in their delusions.

  79. CanSpeccy; Imagine armed commentators on Craig’s blog.

  80. Stalin was a great man

  81. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    27 Feb, 2014 - 8:27 pm

    “Stalin was a great man”
    _____________________

    And a great prophet (“Life is getting better, life is getting merrier” – J. Stalin, ca. 1932)

  82. I’d love to hear from the Defenders Of The West on this blog opine on the subject of neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian cabinet.

    Since the coup obviously happened without any kind of foreign encouragement (cough) do the DOTW (Constant War and Surveillance are great) see this as a triumph of people power?

  83. Uzbek in the UK

    27 Feb, 2014 - 9:37 pm

    Mike

    Does the fact of Russian chauvinist in Kremlin makes Russia better or worse? There are (and have long time been) right wing Ukrainian nationalists. In political and power vacuum like this such forces usually surface. One of the reasons of such forces existence in Ukraine is (I repeat it again and again) historical tensions between two Slavic nations and over 7 centuries of Russian hegemony over Ukrainians, including 1 in 7 Ukrainians deliberate allowed to starve to death by Stalin. Taking this out of historical context and mixing with anti-western/russian chauvinist propaganda and the picture becomes very gloomy indeed.

  84. One insignificant, unexplained Russian navy ship in Cuba, and American commentators go wild about the resumption of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Actually, there were no significant Soviet surface vessels during that crisis, only all the cargo ships with Soviet medium-range missiles, with nuclear warheads, hidden on their decks under tarps.

    Putin knows how to read American counter-intelligence like a book.

  85. A fairly well-balanced, informative and interesting article. Interesting because it is written by a former ambassador with experience in Poland and what had been the Soviet Union.

    I find myself slightly at odds with two aspects, though – one by omission and one by commission.

    Taking the latter first: how relevant is it that Poland seems to have accelerated ahead of Ukraine economically? Though Ukrainians may be relatively poor by European standards, I don’t suppose they’re starving (unlike in the ’30s!) and they are probably not poor by wider international standards. How do they compare with contemporary Greece, for example, which has been in the E.U. for a while now? How much of Polish relative success can be attributed to the E.U. and how much freedom is it worth losing just to join the consumer society?

    Secondly, can there be any real doubt that the E.U. and the U.S.A. have engineered a coup in Kiev and that they only discovered their dislike of Yankovitch when he decided to refuse the E.U. offer in November. After all, he was just as corrupt, his election was just as dubious and Timoshyenko was just as banged up before that date as after, but they were quite happy to do business with the bugger until he turned towards Moscow. Now their much vaunted democratic principles have led to the selection of a new “government” by petrol bombs and bullets – very impressive! With their infantile and bungled meddling they have made what was already a potentially unstable situation much worse. They don’t learn very quickly, do they?

  86. A fine display of ignorance of Ukrainian (and Russian) history by all (with notable exception of Uzbek – thanks). CM’s post reminded me of one of Easop’s fables, the one about the cat and the mice.

    I noted a complete absence of Ukrainian news sources. Here’s one that I find adequate, with some Russian and English coverage (IE8 seems to struggle with it, Firefox OK).

    http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrayinska_Pravda

    Uzbek, I wonder if you have read СТРАНА МОКСЕЛЬ by Владимир Белинский. Unfortuately it’s in Russian and no English translation exists I think, but an interesting debunking of the fairy-tale version of the oppressor nation’s history that we were all spoon fed at school.

  87. ” can there be any real doubt that the E.U. and the U.S.A. have engineered a coup in Kiev ”

    Well, yes actually. Sometimes these things do kick off with no external influence. Like the armed take over of the Crimean Parliament buildings and the massing of Russian troops on the border which I’m sure is an unrelated military exercise planned months ago. Makes the “infantile and bungled” meddling of the west look subtle and professional.

  88. From a comment on Medialens.

    ‘A long time ago I worked for a while in a factory with a couple of guys who looked like two musketeers, except they were Italians with strong sympthies (sic) for Mussolini and his Fascists. They knew lots of Fascist marching songs. One we particularly liked to sing was ‘Onward black Fascists, onward, heroes never die!’ So imagine my surprise to hear the same words chanted in the centre of Kiev, brought back memories, of a long, hot, summer, slumming it with the scum of the earth. Ah, those were the days!’

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1393523180.html

  89. Good post, Craig. I have little knowledge of Ukrainian politics (except for some historical stuff I learnt about from the 1930’s, of course), so I am trying to piece things together from those who are knowledgeable on the subject.

    But you ask this question: “Why Should Ukraine Not Split?

    Reading from others, it seems there is an important reason why, and that is because as part of an agreement for Ukrainian nuclear weapons to be sent to Russia following Ukraine’s secession from the Soviet Union, the US, the UK and Russia agreed certain terms including the current borders and promises not to militarily intervene in Ukraine:

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ukraine._Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances

  90. Also interesting is that the Crimea is often mentioned as the most ethnically Russian area of Ukraine, yet the population figures show that Tatars are returning in much greater numbers from the Soviet times when they were driven off:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimea#Ethnic_groups

  91. An article which I found very informative was by the author of Bloodlands, called Timothy Snyder, who argues against the narrative that the protesters are all a bunch of neo-Nazis:

    “The protests in the Maidan, we are told again and again by Russian propaganda and by the Kremlin’s friends in Ukraine, mean the return of National Socialism to Europe. The Russian foreign minister, in Munich, lectured the Germans about their support of people who salute Hitler. The Russian media continually make the claim that the Ukrainians who protest are Nazis. Naturally, it is important to be attentive to the far right in Ukrainian politics and history. It is still a serious presence today, although less important than the far right in France, Austria, or the Netherlands. Yet it is the Ukrainian regime rather than its opponents that resorts to anti-Semitism, instructing its riot police that the opposition is led by Jews. In other words, the Ukrainian government is telling itself that its opponents are Jews and us that its opponents are Nazis.

    “The strange thing about the claim from Moscow is the political ideology of those who make it. The Eurasian Union is the enemy of the European Union, not just in strategy but in ideology. The European Union is based on a historical lesson: that the wars of the twentieth century were based on false and dangerous ideas, National Socialism and Stalinism, which must be rejected and indeed overcome in a system guaranteeing free markets, free movement of people, and the welfare state. Eurasianism, by contrast, is presented by its advocates as the opposite of liberal democracy.

    “The Eurasian ideology draws an entirely different lesson from the twentieth century. Founded around 2001 by the Russian political scientist Aleksandr Dugin, it proposes the realization of National Bolshevism. Rather than rejecting totalitarian ideologies, Eurasianism calls upon politicians of the twenty-first century to draw what is useful from both fascism and Stalinism. Dugin’s major work, The Foundations of Geopolitics, published in 1997, follows closely the ideas of Carl Schmitt, the leading Nazi political theorist. Eurasianism is not only the ideological source of the Eurasian Union, it is also the creed of a number of people in the Putin administration, and the moving force of a rather active far-right Russian youth movement. For years Dugin has openly supported the division and colonization of Ukraine.

    “The point man for Eurasian and Ukrainian policy in the Kremlin is Sergei Glazyev, an economist who like Dugin tends to combine radical nationalism with nostalgia for Bolshevism. He was a member of the Communist Party and a Communist deputy in the Russian parliament before cofounding a far-right party called Rodina, or Motherland. In 2005 some of its deputies signed a petition to the Russian prosecutor general asking that all Jewish organizations be banned from Russia…

    “What does it mean when the wolf cries wolf? Most obviously, propagandists in Moscow and Kiev take us for fools—which by many indications is quite justified.”

    This was written before the overthrow of Yanukovych, but it is definitely still worth reading in full here:
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/fascism-russia-and-ukraine/?pagination=false

  92. Angrysoba, good to see you again after so long.

    Interesting. Neo-Nazis or not, there seems to be a very violent faction among the protesters. I was finding it easy to assume that extreme Right-wing elements would be committing the violence. Your contribution challenges that. Any ideas?

  93. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 10:29 am

    Angrysoba

    Well spotted about Russian propaganda about neo-Nazis in Ukraine. There are no doubt some radical elements amongst protesters, but they are by far in minority even in western Ukraine. Russians tend to brand anyone who is opposing their hegemony either terrorist (if they are Muslims) or neo-Nazis (if they are not Muslims).

    Reading many Russians blogs, the main narrative about Ukraine uprising (that has been carefully invented by KGB and is reappearing more and more often) is that there are 2 groups of protesters. One group consists of ball-less pro westerners (Russian KGB invented a specific word for them Maydanshik or sometimes even more abusive Maydavoshka) and others are radical neo-Nazis who will start ethnic cleansing of everyone who is Jewish or Russian origin. Both claims have been carefully invented by KGB and bear only little truth. What is beneath however; it is over 7 centuries of oppression that cost Ukrainians over 4 millions of lives in 20th century alone.

  94. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 11:11 am

    Euroasianism as mentioned in the (mentioned) article was in fact not invented in 2001 but few years earlier. In the height of ethnic cleansings by Serbs in Yugoslavia, when NATO finally intervened and Russians were loosing grounds, Kremlin started rethinking their foreign policy and relationships’ with the West. Pro-Westerns foreign minister Kozyrev was replaced by former intelligence officer and knowledgeable orientalist (especially about Middle East) Evgeniy Primakov. Primakov drew heavily on Alexander Gorchakov’s (former Russian chancellor in second half of 19th century) policy which manifested in that Russia needs to reinforce itself in the east (Gorchakov took over after Russian defeat in Crimean War) in order to become strong and bargain with Western Powers. First decade of Gorachakov’s tenure Russia significantly decreased its western oriented foreign policy, went on occupying Central Asia (concerning Tashkent), dealing with the Caucasus, and implementing reforms (abolishing medieval serfdom in 1861). Gorchakov also made sure that nationalist in both Ukraine and Poland are silenced. As it happened Gorchakov’s policy was absolutely spot on. Western Powers fought and weakened each other in 3 further wars, after which Gorchakov abolished Treaty of Paris which prohibited Russia using Crimea as navy station. Russia then yet again became major European Power and was only second to Britain in the world stage by the time Gorchakov retired.

  95. Hi Clark,

    Nice to speak to you again. To be honest, I don’t really know very much about what is going on there. It does seem that there are some right-wing groups, certainly. And they may even be responsible for the violence. As well as the security forces, of course. But, as we know even from riots in the UK, we don’t need neo-Nazi groups to do that kind of thing.

    Uzbek in the UK,

    Good to see you too. I certainly wish I could read Russian, as it would be interesting to see those blogs. On another forum, somebody was arguing that even most of the ethnic Ukrainians in the East speak Russian as their first language, and they suggested it would make them more loyal to Russia. I think it is a bit of a stretch to make that claim, and language does not always indicate loyalty.

  96. “The Geopolitical Dimensions of the Coup in Ukraine – A Struggle for Power and Influence”

    ““When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, Dick wanted to see the dismantlement not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world,” wrote former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his recently published memoirs. Gates was referring to the then-Secretary of Defense, and later US Vice President, Dick Cheney.”

    http://rinf.com/alt-news/business-news/geopolitical-dimensions-coup-ukraine-struggle-power-influence/

  97. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 12:05 pm

    Well, russification (enforced education of Russian language, Russian culture and literature) was common in 19th century but became even more so after 1917 and with Communist modernity which followed. Most of so called intellectuals (to whom I might have impudence adding myself) spoke Russian as their/our first language and were more familiar with Russian culture and literature than with our own. And I repeat it again, it has peaked under Communists with their compulsory education (which was very positive in many areas of former Russian empire including Russia itself where by 1917 only 10% of population could read). The irony is that ideological narrative of Communists in USSR was creation of Soviet citizen without ethnic boundaries (which soviets called outdated thinking), but at the same time it was hidden russification which now has negative effects, not at least in Ukraine.

    For all their negative propaganda about imperialism, soviets have learnt and in many way more successfully implemented colonial policies. Especially the one which manifested in hegemony over colonised.

  98. Uzbek in the UK

    28 Feb, 2014 - 12:20 pm

    “and language does not always indicate loyalty”

    Yes, but at the same time watching Russian propaganda on Russian TV, reading Russian propaganda on Russian internet, reading Russian newspapers (and guess what, yes, yes, with Russian propaganda) is effective way of influencing ones opinion.

    There are many in Russia (and what is more surprising) in Central Asia, and (what is even more surprising) in Ukraine who think that Russian intervention to Georgia was necessary and was not at all Russian made trap in which Georgians walked it.

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