Chief neoliberal comprador
|News||Debt enslavement||Recommended Links||The first year of Poroshenko presidency||IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism|
|Nulandgate||Disaster capitalism||Predator state||Civil war in Ukraine||Casino Capitalism||Greece debt enslavement|
|Russian Ukrainian Gas wars||Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss||Provisional government as an instrument for Ukraine's debt enslavement||Galicia -- Ukrainian Benghazi, Lvov declares autonomy from Ukraine on February 19||Ukraine's oligarchs||Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?|
|Corruption of Regulators||Deregulation as crony capitalism||Cognitive Regulatory Capture||Privatization as a special case of corruption||Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime||Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite|
|Two Party System as polyarchy||Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||The Grand Chessboard||Foreign Agents Registration Act||Color revolutions||Etc|
It is probably true that Ukraine was thrown under the bus by the US elite, although the total online hate campaign in Russian press is way over the top. But in reality this is how neoliberalism works. Ukrainian elite, like Greek elite (political and business) completely failed their own country by exploiting the system and people. Since 1991 they were sucking the whole place dry. They are real traitors of the nation in very precise sense. Ukraine was already neoliberal country. And the last thing Ukrainians needed was yet another neoliberal coup d'état organized and financed by foreign powers (listen to Larry Wilkerson's presentation https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YM_MH_Bfq5c ). In its main events Ukraine neoliberal revolution repeats patterns of Pinochet coup d'état in Chile with only difference that victims among Civilian population are concentrated on the East of the country among Russian speaking population of Donbass.
EuroMaidan was a disaster for the ordinary Ukrainians, who lost their (already low) standard of living and now are forced to exist on the level of Central African poverty (with many categories getting less then $5 a day with food prices on the level close (and in some categories such as chicken meet, exceeding) the prices of the USA supermarkets. Minimum pension in Ukraine which is received by two million of Ukrainian citizens is $43 a month ($1.4 a day); this is really Central African level! Average salary our side Kiev is not much higher (around 2000 grivna, which with exchange rate 22 grivna (UAH) to dollar is around $90 or $3 a day). Many people can afford only bread and milk (the cost on milk is lower then in the USA).
EuroMaydan was the result of cynical manipulation of Ukrainian population by Western powers, which lured them into self-destructive actions by the carrot of European economic integration (which implicitly was associated with Northern Europe standard of living, not Bulgarian standard of living). Nobody tried to warn them about the destiny of Bulgaria and Romania within the EU.
Now it is clear that Ukraine can never repay a mounting amount of debt taking into account its shrinking economy. So population wellbeing dropped dramatically from corrupt Yanukovich days (and he was corrupt, no question about it, but he was yet another US neoliberal stooge). Turchinov tried to play General Pinochet with ATO, encouraged by the USA. ATO brought another round of misery and economic contraction, plus some asset stripping (cronies of Biden, Merkel, and some other figures). And Ukrainian population outside top 1% have found itself in a deeper hole. It's the dame mechanism like in Greece:
How do countries like Greece find themselves in such a debt jam? Here's an example of a typical process. A German company wants to do a project in Greece. It approaches the Greek government, with its lobbyists and debt from a German bank to finance the deal. Since it is coming in with the capital, it overprices the project. Greece gets an overpriced asset and debt - sometimes the asset is indeed worthless for example military white elephants that will never be used. The German company gets the windfall. The German banker is happy at placing more debt, they get paid by the amount of debt they sell. The German and Greek taxpayers ultimately pick up the bill for the overpriced asset. While the overpriced asset doesn't contribute as it should to the Greek economy (if indeed anything, e.g. in he case of a military white elephant), the Greek taxpayer - ironically the middle earners and poor, who don't have offshore tax accounts - is expected to pay for it. Public opinion is whipped up against the Greek pensioner, middle earning worker as if they somehow manipulated the system and pocketed the money, not a crony corporation of the German politicians.
When the Greek taxpayer obviously finds himself going bust trying to pay for an overpriced asset, Germany passes the bad debt to its own taxpayers, i.e. the Greeks now owe German taxpayers. They obviously can't pay this either. So now they are forced to sell assets - let's look at what assets are being proposed. These assets are monopolies like the electricity transmission grid and airports which the Greek taxpayer has to use and pay for in any case. In other words, compulsory taxpayer payments. Who will these assets go to? Foreign companies, cronies of the Troika's decision makers (where they will find jobs, advisory roles after public sector retirement). Will it help Greece grow again? No. Will it help Greek payments to the German taxpayer? Unlikely. But it does help certain opportunists make a lot of money in the short run, while others are left to suffer the consequences in the future.
Now compare with the following plan by the Ukrainian acting prime minister ( American PROFIT )
Recent data of the Ukrainian state statistics are shocking. During the first quarter of 2015, the Ukrainians began to spend on products for 20% less money than before. For a lot of people that means hunger. Real hunger. In the first place then refuse to buy canned fruit, meat and fish products - their sales fell by 37%. The demand for fish decreased 30%. Same decrease for variety of cereals, seafood, prepared meat products, sausage. Almost the same drop with eggs, fresh meat and vegetables - their sales have dropped by 25%. And much less dangerous (which should probably be welcomed) 20% drop of sales of soft drinks, butter, pasta and confectionery. Buyers increased purchases only salt - 11% more, and margarine - 2%.
Arseny Yatsenyuk held a closed meeting in the Ministry of Energy.
First, he instructed the head of the Energy Ministry Vladimir Demchishin resolve the issue of denunciation of the agreement with Russia on the completion of two units of Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant. Though experts have warned that it is impossible to denounce the agreement, for the construction of power is only suitable Russian equipment.
Secondly, Yatsenyuk announced that Ukraine's energy and nuclear power will be sold to US investors. Protection of nuclear facilities will be engaged in PMC.
This looks like well though out plan:
1) Raise the rates several times
2) Get the country to default or close to default (like Greece). r> 3) Sell the energy system and nuclear power plants for pennies on dollar to US investors
4) Move to Florida.
Data on the consumption of eggs, meat and vegetable are scary. It means that people save on the most valuable that could not be replaced - on their health. That is given when people reduced the consumption vital foodstaff. Foodstaff that is basis of any healthy diet. According to nutritionists, people over the age of 35 should consumed meat 2-3 times a week with lots of vegetables. In the remaining days of animal protein can be replaced with poultry and fish. Who among Ukrainian seniors (with average pension around 1000 grivna and exchange rate 25 grivna to one dollar) eat meat three times a week? Very few. Mainly pensioners who still are working.
In other words Yatsenyuk initiated economic shock therapy on already impoverished nation. Killing in process a lot of people. The top 1%, including Mr. Yatsenyuk himself, never feel this pain. It's only rank-and-file 90% Ukrainians who suffer. Yatsenyuk likes to compare himself with Margaret Thatcher, but while he is definitely a reckless neoliberal, not everybody is buying this self-characterization:
The Governor of the Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili criticised the actions of Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
The cause of his discontent was the situation around the Odesa port enterprise, the management of which Saakashvili had been charged with concluding unfavorable contracts for the supply of gas to the plant.
"in the government's response, announced by the head of state, and compares our attitude to the corrupt contracts at Odessa port plant and to the actions of the Cabinet of Yatsenyuk with the attacks on Margaret Thatcher some time ago. I have the opportunity to meet - in person I knew Margaret Thatcher, and I know premiere Yatsenyuk, and I am obliged to note That Arseniy Yatsenyuk is not Margaret Thatcher, " wrote Saakashvili on his page century
So far from economics view his action were disastrous for the country. Trade between Russia and Ukraine, in terms of overall turnover, fell 80% in 2015 and is likely to worsen in 2016.
In her groundbreaking book The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Naomi Klein has shown how from Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, neoliberals have repeatedly harnessed terrible shocks and violence to implement their radical policies or neoliberalization and debt enslavement of the weaker countries. This concept is closely related to the concepts of Military-Industrial Complex and Predator state. Amazon review of the book states:
Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.
"At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq'' civil war, a new law is unveiled that will allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves… Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly outsources the running of the 'War on Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater… After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts… New Orleans residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be re-opened." Klein not only kicks butt, she names names, notably economist Milton Friedman and his radical Chicago School of the 1950s and 60s which she notes "produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today." Stand up and take a bow, Donald Rumsfeld.
There's little doubt Klein's book--which arrived to enormous attention and fanfare thanks to her previous missive, the best-selling No Logo, will stir the ire of the right and corporate America. It's also true that Klein's assertions are coherent, comprehensively researched and footnoted, and she makes a very credible case. Even if the world isn't going to hell in a hand-basket just yet, it's nice to know a sharp customer like Klein is bearing witness to the backroom machinations of government and industry in times of turmoil. --Kim Hughes
Publishers Weekly review adds to this:
The neo-liberal economic policies—privatization, free trade, slashed social spending—that the Chicago School and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous—depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author's accounting—their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market reforms the public would normally reject. Journalist Klein (No Logo) chronicles decades of such disasters, including the Chicago School makeovers launched by South American coups; the corrupt sale of Russia's state economy to oligarchs following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the privatization of New Orleans's public schools after Katrina; and the seizure of wrecked fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami. Klein's economic and political analyses are not always meticulous. Likening free-market shock therapies to electroshock torture, she conflates every misdeed of right-wing dictatorships with their economic programs and paints a too simplistic picture of the Iraq conflict as a struggle over American-imposed neo-liberalism. Still, much of her critique hits home, as she demonstrates how free-market ideologues welcome, and provoke, the collapse of other people's economies. The result is a powerful populist indictment of economic orthodoxy.
In Western MSM the 17.6% year to year GDP drop in Ukraine in 2014 is mentioned as a just a number without any context. The IMF’s mission in Ukraine has said the country’s GDP is expected to shrink 9 percent this year, with annual inflation jumping to 46 percent. Ukraine’s national currency, the hryvnia, has two-third of its value . Exchange rate went from 8.5 to 25 per dollar or three times. Unresolved conflict in the country’s east took a big toll on the economy, and with economic ties with Russia severed there is no major market for Ukrainian goods. So the future does not look good, although some of agricultural exports can be absorbed by China.
Please note that during the Great Depression the US GDP contracted "only" 25%. In any given year of that depression it did not drop 17%. Also, in the case of Ukraine, it has already underwent its first Great Depression, which was far worse than the US depression. It happened after the dissolution of the USSR in early 1990th. So we are looking at The Second Great Depression in Ukraine. This is the meaning of this 17.6% drop. Ukrainian pensioners are brought by brave Western neocons with the help of local fifth column to the real starvation level. This is an important story and yet Western neoliberal MSM ignore it and concentrate on coverage of flight MH17 tragedy.
Instead we have overoptimistic "confidence enhancing" forecasts from Moody’s, the World Bank, the IMF, and other western agencies. Which are pure political fluff. When in reality we need to state that USA neocons (see Nulandgate) destroyed the Ukraine economics and plunge the country into another Great Depression.
That was clearly achieved in Ukraine where standards of living dropped to sub-Saharan Africa levels. In 2008, only 47 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lived on $1.25 a day or less. (United Nations 2012). And it is important to note that Germany in this story acted like a real neo-imperial power. It's the same behaviour it demonstrated with Greece: pay the debt poor Ukrainians.
davidt, August 21, 2014 at 4:28 amThe threat to the Bank was explicit enough. Alastair Crooke wrote: “And The Wall Street Journal in a front page tap on Angela Merkel’s shoulder- reminding her to vote “yes” on the next “level-3″ round of Russian sanctions- warned that “Deutsche Bank’s US operations suffer from a litany of problems…” The WSJ article is behind a pay wall.patient observer , August 21, 2014 at 5:22 am
http://www.conflictsforum.org/2014/ukraine-mh17-and-the-struggle-for-europe/Nude pictures? a lesbian? a murky past? Those are nothing that a little spin can’t take care of as pointed out above. Merkel serves at the pleasure of the German elites and she would be thrown under the bus if she became a serious liability. Merkel is not the problem.
The US has Germany by the short hairs for sure but its not through some personal scandal. The US may [have] a kill switch on the Germany/EU financial system. Further speculating, all that NSA spying may have led to discovery of vulnerabilities in the German financial system, again as mentioned above.
The US seems to have the ability to inflict massive pain on Germany, its elites and its general population to account for German obedience. It seems likely to be a financial bludgeon that the US is ready to swing. The blow back could take down the US financial system but, the Anglo elites will still do quite well in a material sense and that is the only thing that matters.
As an example of such views we can cite the opinion of the Pro-Russian leader of the coalition of NGOs "Eurasian choice - Georgia" Archil Chkoidze. Here is what he said about Poroshenko and his cabinet:
"This is controlled by the Americans puppet government, and their hands are used for carrying out genocide of the Russian people. The government Poroshenko is very similar to the former government of Georgia led by Saakashvili.
In 2008, the authorities of Georgia did the same when they bombed Tskhinvali,"
Nov 16, 2018 | thesaker.is
PeterP on November 12, 2018 , · at 9:06 pm EST/EDTFood scarcity and malnutrition of children under the age of 5, places the Ukraine in percentage terms lower than Pakistan, Ethiopia, Libya, Iraq .the Ukraine welcomes the Cookie Monster (stats National Geographic)
Nov 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
The Meaning Of A Multipolar World
by Tyler Durden Fri, 11/16/2018 - 00:05 4 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Saker Blog,
Right now, we live in a monopolar world.
Here is how U.S. President Barack Obama proudly, even imperially, described it when delivering the Commencement address to America's future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014 :
The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation . [Every other nation is therefore 'dispensable'; we therefore now have "Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt".] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will...
Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China's economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future U.S. military leaders that they are to fight for the U.S. aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.] ...
In Ukraine, Russia's recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn't the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. [He was proud of the U.S. Government's effectiveness at propaganda, just as Hitler was proud of the German Government's propaganda-effectiveness under Joseph Goebbels.] Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine's economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.
Actually, his - Obama's - regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup , and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there. It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine. What remains of Ukraine after the U.S. conquest is a nazi mess and a destroyed nation in hock to Western taxpayers and banks .
Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush's term about Saddam Hussein) "regime-change" in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the U.N. asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it. Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate against bombing by Syria's Government and by Syria's ally Russia, while the U.S. bombed Syria's army , which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to "regime-change" Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to "regime-change" Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the "U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This Is Insane." And Obama's successor Trump continues Obama's policies in this regard. And, of course, the U.S. and its ally UK invaded Iraq in 2003, likewise on the basis of lies to the effect that Iraq was the aggressor . (Even Germany called Poland the aggressor when invading Poland in 1939.)
No other nation regularly invades other nations that never had invaded it. This is international aggression. It is the international crime of "War of Aggression" ; and the only nations which do it nowadays are America and its allies, such as the Sauds, Israel, France, and UK, which often join in America's aggressions (or, in the case of the Sauds' invasion of Yemen, the ally initiates an invasion, which the U.S. then joins). America's generals are taught this aggression, and not only by Obama. Ever since at least George W. Bush, it has been solid U.S. policy. (Bush even kicked out the U.N.'s weapons-inspectors, so as to bomb Iraq in 2003.)
In other words: a mono-polar world is a world in which one nation stands above international law, and that nation's participation in an invasion immunizes also each of its allies who join in the invasion, protecting it too from prosecution, so that a mono-polar world is one in which the United Nations can't even possibly impose international law impartially, but can impose it only against nations that aren't allied with the mono-polar power, which in this case is the United States. Furthermore, because the U.S. regime reigns supreme over the entire world, as it does, any nations -- such as Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador -- that the U.S. regime (which has itself been scientifically proven to be a dictatorship ) chooses to treat as an enemy, is especially disadvantaged internationally. Russia and China, however, are among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and therefore possess a degree of international protection that America's other chosen enemies do not. And the people who choose which nations to identify as America's 'enemies' are America's super-rich and not the entire American population, because the U.S. Government is controlled by the super-rich and not by the public .
So, that's the existing mono-polar world: it is a world that's controlled by one nation, and this one nation is, in turn, controlled by its aristocracy, its super-rich .
If one of the five permanent members of the Security Council would table at the U.N. a proposal to eliminate the immunity that the U.S. regime has, from investigation and prosecution for any future War of Aggression that it might perpetrate, then, of course, the U.S. and any of its allies on the Security Council would veto that, but if the proposing nation would then constantly call to the international public's attention that the U.S. and its allies had blocked passage of such a crucially needed "procedure to amend the UN charter" , and that this fact means that the U.S. and its allies constitute fascist regimes as was understood and applied against Germany's fascist regime, at the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945, then possibly some members of the U.S.-led gang (the NATO portion of it, at least) would quit that gang, and the U.S. global dictatorship might end, so that there would then become a multi-polar world, in which democracy could actually thrive.
Democracy can only shrivel in a mono-polar world, because all other nations then are simply vassal nations, which accept Obama's often-repeated dictum that all other nations are "dispensable" and that only the U.S. is not. Even the UK would actually gain in freedom, and in democracy, by breaking away from the U.S., because it would no longer be under the U.S. thumb -- the thumb of the global aggressor-nation.
Only one global poll has ever been taken of the question "Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?" and it found that, overwhelmingly, by a three-to-one ratio above the second-most-often named country, the United States was identified as being precisely that, the top threat to world-peace . But then, a few years later, another (though less-comprehensive) poll was taken on a similar question, and it produced similar results . Apparently, despite the effectiveness of America's propagandists, people in other lands recognize quite well that today's America is a more successful and longer-reigning version of Hitler's Germany. Although modern America's propaganda-operation is far more sophisticated than Nazi Germany's was, it's not entirely successful. America's invasions are now too common, all based on lies, just like Hitler's were.
On November 9th, Russian Television headlined "'Very insulting': Trump bashes Macron's idea of European army for protection from Russia, China & US" and reported that "US President Donald Trump has unloaded on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, calling the French president's idea of a 'real European army,' independent from Washington, an insult." On the one hand, Trump constantly criticizes France and other European nations for allegedly not paying enough for America's NATO military alliance, but he now is denigrating France for proposing to other NATO members a decreasing reliance upon NATO, and increasing reliance, instead, upon the Permanent Structured Cooperation (or PESCO) European military alliance , which was begun on 11 December 2017, and which currently has "25 EU Member States participating: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden." Those are the European nations that are now on the path to eventually quitting NATO.
Once NATO is ended, the U.S. regime will find far more difficult any invasions such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2016-, and maybe even such as America's bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected Government of Ukraine and installed a racist-fascist or nazi anti-Russian regime there in 2014 . All of these U.S. invasions (and coup) brought to Europe millions of refugees and enormously increased burdens upon European taxpayers. Plus, America's economic sanctions against both Russia and Iran have hurt European companies (and the U.S. does almost no business with either country, so is immune to that, also). Consequently, today's America is clearly Europe's actual main enemy. The continuation of NATO is actually toxic to the peoples of Europe. Communism and the Soviet Union and its NATO-mirroring Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended peacefully in 1991, but the U.S. regime has secretly continued the Cold War, now against Russia , and is increasingly focusing its "regime-change" propaganda against Russia's popular democratic leader, Vladimir Putin, even though this U.S. aggression against Russia could mean a world-annihilating nuclear war.
On November 11th, RT bannered "'Good for multipolar world': Putin positive on Macron's 'European army' plan bashed by Trump (VIDEO)" , and opened:
Europe's desire to create its own army and stop relying on Washington for defense is not only understandable, but would be "positive" for the multipolar world, Vladimir Putin said days after Donald Trump ripped into it.
" Europe is a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and sovereign in the field of defense and security," Putin told RT in Paris where world leader gathered to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.
He also described the potential creation of a European army "a positive process," adding that it would "strengthen the multipolar world." The Russian leader even expressed his support to French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently championed this idea by saying that Russia's stance on the issue "is aligned with that of France" to some extent.
Macron recently revived the ambitious plans of creating a combined EU military force by saying that it is essential for the security of Europe. He also said that the EU must become independent from its key ally on the other side of the Atlantic, provoking an angry reaction from Washington.
Once NATO has shrunk to include only the pro-aggression and outright nazi European nations, such as Ukraine (after the U.S. gang accepts Ukraine into NATO, as it almost certainly then would do), the EU will have a degree of freedom and of democracy that it can only dream of today, and there will then be a multi-polar world, in which the leaders of the U.S. will no longer enjoy the type of immunity from investigation and possible prosecution, for their invasions, that they do today. The result of this will, however, be catastrophic for the top 100 U.S. 'defense' contractors , such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, because then all of those firms' foreign sales except to the Sauds, Israel and a few other feudal and fascist regimes, will greatly decline. Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep the Sauds to the agreements he reached with them back in 2017 to buy $404 billion of U.S. weaponry over the following 10 years . If, in addition, those firms lose some of their European sales, then the U.S. economic boom thus far in Trump's Presidency will be seriously endangered. So, the U.S. regime, which is run by the owners of its 'defense'-contractors , will do all it can to prevent this from happening.
* * *
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .
Nov 06, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
In their new book Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy (Até Books), doctors T.J. Coles and Matthew Alford debate the rationale of Anglo-American policy towards Russia.
Alford: There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale?
Coles: There's no consensus, except among European and American elites. Europe and America are not the world.
There are a lot of issues to consider with regards to Russia. Is it a threat? If so to whom? What kind of threat is Russia? So let's consider these questions carefully. As far as the British establishment is concerned, Russia is an ideological threat because it is a major power with a substantial population. It's also self-reliant where oil and gas is concerned, unlike Britain. So there's lots of potential for Russian political ideology to undermine Britain's status. In fact, there are European Council on Foreign Relations papers saying that Putin's Russia presents an "ideological alternative" to the EU. [i] And that's dangerous.
Britain, or more accurately its policymaking elites, have considered Russia a significant enemy for over a century. Under the Tsar, the so-called Great Game was a battle for strategic resources, trading routes, and so on. The historian Lawrence James calls this period the first Cold War, which went "hot" with the Crimean War (1853-56). [ii] Britain had a mixed relationship with the Tsars because, on the one hand, theirs' were repressive regimes and Britain tended to favour repressive regimes, hence their brief alliance with Russia's enemy, the Ottomans. On the other hand, Russia was a strategic threat to Britain's imperial interests, and thus the Crimean War (1853-56).
When the Bolsheviks took over Russia, beginning 1917, the relationship became much less ambiguous – Russians, and especially Bolsheviks, were clearly the enemy. Their ideology posed a threat internally. So Winston Churchill, who began as a Liberal and became a Conservative, considered the Labour Party, which was formed in 1900, as basically a front for Bolsheviks. [iii] That shows the level of paranoia among elites. The Labour Party, at least at the beginning, was a genuine, working man's political organisation – women couldn't vote then, remember. So by associating this progressive, grassroots party representing the working classes as an ideological ally or even puppet of the brutal Bolshevik regime, the Tories had an excuse to undermine the power of organised, working people. So you had the Zinoviev letter in 1924, which we now know was a literal conspiracy between the secret services and elements of the Tory party to fabricate a link between Labour and Moscow. And it famously cost Labour the general election, since the right-wing, privately-owned media ran with the story as though it was real. It's an early example of fake news. [iv]
That's the ideological threat that Russia has posed, historically. But where there's a threat, there's an opportunity. The British elites exploited the "threat" then and as they do today by associating organised labour with evil Bolshevism and, in doing so, alienate the lower classes from their own political interests. Suddenly, we've all got to be scared of Russia, just like in 1917. And let's not forget that Britain used chemical weapons – M-Devices, which induced vomiting – against the Bolsheviks. Chemical weapons were "the right medicine for the Bolshevist," in Churchill's words. This was in 1919, as part of the Allied invasion of Russia in support of the White Army. [v]
So if we're talking about the historical balance of forces and cause and effect, Britain not Russia initiated the use of chemical weapons against others. But this history is typically inverted to say that Russia poses a threat to the West, hence all the talk about Novichok, the Skripals, and Dawn Sturgess, the civilian who supposedly came into contact with Novichok and died in hospital a few days later.
The next question: What sort of threat is Russia? According to the US Army War College, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and since pro-US, pro-"free market" President Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999, Russia has pursued so-called economic nationalism. And the US doesn't like this because markets suddenly get closed and taxes are raised against US corporations. [vi] That's the real threat. But you can't tell the public that: that we hate Russia because they aren't doing what we say. If you look through the military documents, you can find almost nothing about security threats against the US in terms of Russian expansion, except in the sense that "security" means operational freedom. You can find references to Russia's nuclear weapons, though, which are described as defensive, designed "to counter US forces and weapons systems." [vii] Try finding that on the BBC. I should mention that even "defensive" nukes can be launched accidentally.
The real goal with regards to Russia is maintaining US economic hegemony and the culture of open "free markets" that goes with it, while at the same time being protectionist in real life. (US protectionism didn't start under Trump, by the way.) Liberal media like the New York Times run sarcastic articles about Russian state oil and gas being a front for Putin and his cronies. And yes, that may be true. But what threat is Russia to the US if it has a corrupt government? The threat is closing its markets to the US. The US is committed to what its military calls Full Spectrum Dominance. So the world needs to be run in a US-led neoliberal order, in the words of the US military, "to protect US interests and investment." [viii] But this cannot be done if you have "economic nationalism," like China had until the "reforms" of the '70s and '80s, and still has today to some extent. Russia and China aren't military threats. The global population on the whole knows this, even though the domestic US and British media say the opposite.
Alford: What about military threats?
Coles: The best sources you can get are the US military records. Straight from the horse's mouth. The military plans for war and defence. They have contingencies for when political situations change. So they know what they're talking about. There's a massive divide between reality, as understood from the military records, and media and political rhetoric. Assessments by the US Army War College, for instance, said years ago that any moves by NATO to support a Western-backed government in Ukraine would provoke Russia into annexing Crimea. They don't talk about Russia spontaneously invading Ukraine and annexing it, which is the image we get from the media. The documents talk about Russia reacting to NATO provocation. [ix]
If you look at a map, you see Russia surrounded by hostile NATO forces. The media don't discuss this dangerous and provocative situation, except the occasional mention of, say, US-British-Polish war-gaming on the border with Russia. When they do mention it, they say it's for "containment," the containment of Russia. But to contain something, the given thing has to be expanding. But the US military – like the annual threat assessments to Congress – say that Russia's not expanding, except when provoked. So at the moment as part of its NATO mission, the UK is training Polish and Ukrainian armed forces, has deployed troops in Poland and Estonia, and is conducting military exercises with them. [x]
Imagine if Scotland ceded from the UK and the Russians were on our border conducting military exercises, supposedly to deter a British invasion of Scotland. That's what we're doing in Ukraine. Britain's moves are extremely dangerous. In the 1980s, the UK as part of NATO conducted the exercise, Operation Able Archer, which envisaged troop build-ups between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. Now-declassified records show that the Russians briefly mistook this exercise for a real-world scenario. That could have escalated into nuclear war. This is very serious. [xi]
But the biggest player is the USA. It's using the threat of force and a global architecture of hi-tech militarism to shape a neoliberal order. Britain is slavishly following its lead. I doubt that Britain would position forces near Russia were it not for the USA. Successive US administrations have or are building a missile system in Europe and Turkey. They say it's to deter Iran from firing Scud missiles at Europe. But it's pointed at Russia. It's a radar system based in Romania and Turkey, with a battery of Patriot missiles based in Poland. The stationing of missiles there provoked Russia into moving its mobile nuclear weapons up to the border in its Kaliningrad exclave, as it warned it would do in 2008. [xii] Try to find any coverage of that in the media, except for a few articles in the print media here or there. If Western media were interested in survival, there would be regular headlines: "NATO provoking Russia."
But the situation in Ukraine is really the tipping point. Consider the equivalent. Imagine if Russia was conducting military exercises with Canada or Mexico, and building bases there. How would the US react? It would be considered an extreme threat, a violation of the UN Charter, which prohibits threats against sovereign states.
Alford: So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply.
Coles: There's no morality involved. States are abstract, amorphous entities comprised of dominant minorities and subjugated majorities who are conditioned to believe that they are relatively free and prosperous. The elites of those states act both in their self-interests – career, peer-pressure, kickbacks, and so on – and in the interests of their class, which is of course tied to international relations because their class thrives on profiting from resource exploitation. So you can't talk about morality in this context. Only individuals can behave morally. The state is made up of individuals, of course, but they're acting against the interests of the majority. As we speak, they are acting immorally – or at least amorally – but creating the geopolitical conditions that imperil each and every one of us.
As for invasion, we're not going to invade Russia. This isn't 1918. Russia has nuclear weapons and can deter an invasion. But that's not the point. Do we want to de-escalate an already tense geopolitical situation or make it worse to the point where an accident happens? So while it's not about invading Russia directly, the issue is about attacking what are called Russia's "national interests." Russia's "national interests" are the same as the elites' of the UK. National interest doesn't mean the interests of the public. It means the interests of the policymaking establishment and the corporations. For example, the Theresa May government sacrificed its own credibility to ensure that its Brexit White Paper (2018) appeased both the interests of the food and manufacturing industries that want a soft Brexit – easy trade with the EU – and the financial services sector which wants a hard Brexit – freedom from EU regulation. Everyone else be damned. That's the "national interest."
So for its real "national interest," Russia wants to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence because its oil and gas to Europe pass through Ukraine. About 80% of Russia's export economy is in the oil and gas sector. It's already had serious political tensions with Ukraine, which on several occasions hasn't paid its energy bills, so Russia has cut supplies. If Europe can bump Ukraine into its own sphere of influence it has more leverage over Russia. This is practically admitted in Parliamentary discussions by Foreign Office ministers, and so forth. [xiii] Again, omitted by the media. Also, remember that plenty of ethnic Russians live in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russia has a naval base in Crimea. That's not to excuse its illegal action in annexing Ukraine, it's to highlight the realpolitik missing in the media's coverage of the situation.
T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books.
Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is Union Jackboot (Até Books).
[i] Mark Leonard and Nicu Popescu (2007) 'A Power Audit of EU-Russia Relations' European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Paper, p. 1 http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR-02_A_POWER_AUDIT_OF_EU-RUSSIA_RELATIONS.pdf .
[ii] 'Anglo-Russian relations were severely strained; what was in effect a cold war lasted from the late 1820s to the beginning of the next century'. The Crimean War seems to have set a precedent for today. James writes:
[It] was an imperial war, the only one fought by Britain against a European power during the nineteenth century, although some would have regarded Russia as essentially an Asiatic power. No territory was at stake; the war was undertaken solely to guarantee British naval supremacy in the Mediterranean and, indirectly, to forestall any threat to India which might have followed Russia replacing Britain as the dominant power in the Middle East.
Lawrence James (1997) The Rise and Fall of the British Empire London: Abacus, pp. 180-82.
[iii] Churchill said in 1920:
All these strikes and rumours of strikes and threats of strikes and loss and suffering caused by them; all this talk of revolution and "direct action" have deeply offended most of the British people. There is a growing feeling that a considerable section of organized Labour is trying to tyrannize over the whole public and to bully them into submission, not by argument, not by recognized political measures, but by brute force
But if we can do little for Russia [under the Bolsheviks], we can do much for Britain. We do not want any of these experiments here
Whether it is the Irish murder gang or the Egyptian vengeance society, or the seditious extremists in India, or the arch-traitors we have at home, they will feel the weight of the British arm.
Winston Churchill (1920) Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition . Speech to United Wards Club. London: The International Churchill Society https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1915-1929-nadir-and-recovery/bolshevism-and-imperial-sedition/ .
[iv] The fake letter says:
A settlement of relations between the two countries [UK and Russia] will assist in the revolutionising of the international and British proletariat, [and] make it possible for us to extend and develop the propaganda and ideas of Leninism in England and the colonies.
It also says that 'British workmen' have 'inclinations to compromise' and that rapprochement will eventually lead to domestic '[a]rmed warfare'. It was leaked by the services to the Conservative party and then to the media. Richard Norton-Taylor (1999) 'Zinoviev letter was dirty trick by MI6' Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/politics/1999/feb/04/uk.politicalnews6 and Louise Jury (1999) 'Official Zinoviev letter was forged' Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/official-zinoviev-letter-was-forged-1068600.html . For media coverage at the time, see James Curran and Jean Seaton (1997) Power without Responsibility London: Routledge, p. 52.
[v] Paul F. Walker (2017) 'A Century of Chemical Warfare: Building a World Free of Chemical Weapons' Conference: One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences pp. 379-400 and Giles Milton (2013) Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot London: Hodder, eBook.
[vi] 'The Russian Federation has shown repeatedly that common values play almost no role in its consideration of its trading partners', meaning the US and EU. 'It often builds relationships with countries that most openly thwart Western values of free markets and democracy', notably Iran and Venezuela. 'In this regard, the Russian Federation behaves like "Russia Incorporated." It uses its re-nationalized industries to further its wealth and influence, the latter often at the expense of the EU and the U.S.'. Colonel Richard J. Anderson (2008) 'A History of President Putin's Campaign to Re-Nationalize Industry and the Implications for Russian Reform and Foreign Policy' Senior Service College, US Army War College, Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 52.
[vii] Daniel R. Coats (2017) Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Washington, DC: Office of the Director of
National Intelligence, pp. 18-19 https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/SSCI%20Unclassified%20SFR%20-%20Final.pdf .
[viii] US Space Command (1997) Vision for 2020 Colorado: Peterson Air Force Base https://ia802705.us.archive.org/10/items/pdfy-j6U3MFw1cGmC-yob/U.S.%20Space%20Command%20Vision%20For%202020.pdf .
[ix] The document also says: 'a replay of the West-sponsored coup against pro-Russian elites could result in a split, or indeed multiple splits, of the failed Ukraine, which would open a door for NATO intervention'.Pavel K. Baev (2011) 'Russia's security relations with the United States: Futures planned and unplanned' in Stephen J. Blank (ed.) Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future Strategic Studies Institute Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 170, www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1087.pdf.
[x] Forces Network (2016) 'British troops to deploy to Poland' https://www.forces.net/news/tri-service/british-troops-deploy-poland .
[xi] For example, Nate Jones, Thomas Blanton and Christian F. Ostermann (2016) 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History' Nuclear Proliferation International History Project Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/able-archer-83-the-secret-history .
[xii] It was reported in the ultra-right, neo-con press at the time that:
[Russian] President Dmitri Medvedev announced in his first state-of-the-nation address plans to deploy the short-range SS-26 ("Iskander") missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad if the U.S. goes ahead with its European Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Medvedev told parliament that the deployment would "neutralize" U.S. plans for a missile defense shield based in Poland and the Czech Republic [now in Romania), which the U.S. claims as vital in defending against missile attacks from 'rogue states' such as Iran.
Neil Leslie (2008) 'The Kaliningrad Missile Crisis' The New Atlanticist , available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/the-kaliningrad-missile-crisis.
[xiii] For example, a Parliamentary inquiry into British-Russian relations says of the newly-imposed US-British ally in Ukraine:
President Poroshenko's Government is more openly committed to economic reform and anti-corruption than any previous Ukrainian Administration. The reform agenda has made considerable progress and has enjoyed some successes including police reform, liberalisation of the energy market and the launch of an online platform for government procurement
The annexation of Crimea also resulted in a ban on importing products from Crimea, on investing in or providing services linked to tourism and on exporting certain goods for use in the transport, telecoms and energy sectors.
House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (2017) The United Kingdom's relations with Russia Seventh report of session 2016-17, HC 120 London: Stationary Office, pp. 28, 31 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/120/120.pdf
Nov 01, 2018 | www.wsws.org
As fascist far-right nationalist groups regularly parade through the country demanding "Ukraine for Ukrainians," Ukraine faces a massive depopulation crisis. Millions of people of all ethnicities are leaving the country, fleeing poverty and war.
Since the restoration of capitalism in 1991, the overall population of Ukraine has declined from just over 52 million to approximately 42 million today, a decrease of nearly 20 percent. If the separatist-controlled provinces of the Donbass region and Crimea are excluded, it is estimated that just 35 million people now live in the area controlled by the government of Petro Porosehnko.
Ukrainian governments, including the current one, have been loath to carry out an official census, as it is widely believed that the population estimates reported by the country's State Statistics Service (SSS) are inflated by including deceased individuals. One aim of this is to rig elections. An official country-wide census has not been held since 2001. In late 2015, the Poroshenko government postponed the 2016 census until 2020.
Despite the lack of reliable official numbers, all independent reports point to a sharp reduction in the population. According to Ukraine's Institute of Demography at the Academy of Sciences, by 2050 only 32 million people will live in the country. The World Health Organization has estimated that the population of the country will drop even further, to just 30 million people.
Ukraine's SSS has acknowledged that so far this year, the population has already decreased by 122,000.
Such data are a testament to the monumental failure of capitalism to provide a standard of living that matches, much less exceeds, that which existed during the Soviet period over 25 years ago.
While the country's low birth rate of approximately 1 birth for 1.5 deaths is a contributing factor to the country's depopulation, emigration is by far the biggest factor.
Between 2002 and 2017, an estimated 6.3 million Ukrainians emigrated with no plans to return.
Facing poor employment prospects, deteriorating social and medical services, marauding far-right gangs, and the ever-present prospect of a full-scale war with Russia, Ukrainian workers are fleeing the country in great numbers, either permanently or as temporary labor migrants.
According to a report from the Center for Economic Strategy (CES), almost 4 million people, or up to 16% of the working-age population, are labor migrants. Despite having Ukrainian citizenship and still technically living in Ukraine, they actually reside and work elsewhere. Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put the number of Ukrainian migrant workers even higher, at 5 million.
Through 2015 and 2017, as a result of the ongoing war in the Donbass region and the plunging value of the Ukrainian hryvnia, migration increased notably: 507,000 people went to Poland; 147,000 to Italy; 122,000 to the Czech Republic; 23,000 to the United States; and 365,000 to Russia or Belarus.
The easing of visa-free travel by the European Union (EU) in September 2017 only increased the flow of Ukrainians to countries such as Poland, which is facing its own demographic crisis and in need of workers. In 2018 alone, more than 3 million Ukrainians applied for passports that would allow them to work in Poland. Poland is the only EU country that allows Ukrainians to obtain seasonal work visas with just a passport. Ukrainians have received 81.7% of all work visas issued in Poland this year.
Between 1 and 2 million Ukrainian workers now reside in Poland, where they are often forced to take jobs "under the table," are easily exploited by employers, and work in dangerous conditions. Many Ukrainian laborers are recruited to Poland by scam offers of employment, only to then find themselves stranded and forced to work for whatever wage they can get.
While migrant workers in Poland are constantly subjected to anti-immigrant rhetoric from the right-wing PiS government in Warsaw, the Polish state classifies Ukrainian laborers as "refugees" in order to comply with EU quotas and reject refugees from Syria and elsewhere.
According to polls of Ukrainian migrants in Poland, over half are planning to move to Germany if the labor market there is ever open to them.
While Russia is constantly demonized in the Ukrainian and Western press as the eternal enemy of Ukraine, 2 million Ukrainian citizens now live or work in Russia. According to Olga Kirilova, between 2014 and 2017, 312,000 Ukrainians were granted Russian citizenship and Ukrainians make up the vast majority of immigrants to Russia.
The dearth of a working-age population in Ukraine is putting further strain on an already struggling pension system. According to Ukraine's SSS, as a result of widespread labor migration, only 17.8 million out of 42 million Ukrainians are economically active and paying into the pension system.
The migration of Ukrainian workers abroad has reached such a level that remittances from migrants now constitute 3 to 4 percent of the country's GDP. They exceed the amount of foreign investment in Ukraine. Nonetheless, such transfers are not nearly enough to make up for the negative impact of the currency's falling value, inflation, and the disappearance of skilled workers.
The Ukrainian ruling class acknowledges that the country is in serious trouble. "One of the main risks of the current scenario is the continuation of the outflow of labor from Ukraine, which will create a further increase in the imbalance between demand and supply in the labor market," noted a report from the country's national bank.
However, the government can do nothing to slow the mass emigration, as it is thoroughly under the control of international finance capital and committed to implementing the austerity programs demanded by Western states and banks.
Despite assurances from the Poroshenko regime that the economy will improve, the emigration and emptying of the country shows no signs of slowing.
John Upton • 5 hours agoThe Corrupt, extreme right wing government of Poroshenko, that has driven large proportions of the Ukrainian population into poverty and despair has only been able to take power and remain I office thanks to US imperialism and Angela Merkel's scheming and regime change program.Kalen • 7 hours ago
Without the working class intervening the only ones remaining in Ukraine will be those unable to leave and those that have their noses in the trough.Another excellent report of decaying of artificial entity of Ukraine (and capitalism specializes in collapsing societies) that never even existed before 1992 in European history and was resurrected ( from brief self declared by Bandera racist state status in 1941) and funded by Germany, Canada and US only to nurture their Fascist and actual Nazi traditions starting from Doncov to Bandera terror of hundreds of thousands dead 1941-1948 of OUN-B, UPA and Ukrainian SS, all against Russia, as Ukrainian "Country" was and is used as a Trojan horse to push Putin to submit to the west even more than he does now.solerso • 8 hours ago
Pain and suffering of Ukrainian people is enormous as only 5% of population of Ukrainian Nazi thugs terrorist nation like like Hitler street thugs in 1932-1934. It is tragedy that capitalism instigated, exasperated and augmented and should be a lesson for the left what nationalism does, divides working class that was rendered powerless in Ukraine as Ukrainian industry tied to Russia collapsed and forces massive migration and de-cohesion of communities, divisions of working class and eradication of any real leftist leadership via murder, intimidation and exile.
Just a note. All that anti Russia hoopla after 2014 and ensuing NATO belligerence and warmongering and sanctions all were focused on so called annexation of Crimea to Russia which was nothing but reunification of land under control of Russia since 1754.
I was shocked watching an episode of Columbo, crime series in 1970s when one of characters proudly referred to California joining in US 1845 as annexation from Mexico, with no shame or condemnation like hinting that it was international aggression of US as Alta California was never part of US before that.
Well, it was before 1984 and Orwellian newspeak.
Note that Crimea remained autonomous region, not a part of Russia but part of Russian Federation.Popular support for the "maidan" in the Ukraine was based on misleading and dishonest claims by pro EU and Pro US opportunistic political operators that such "regime change" would lead to total integration with Europe and open borders.... That would have allowed (so the misconception went) Ukrainians to flee the country much more openly with less red tape and hassle at the borders. So, far from being politically or ideologically supportive of Europe or the US or opportunist/nationalist Ukrainian politicians, the vast majority of Ukrainians only wanted to be allowed to flee, as they experience it, a social shipwreckCharles • 8 hours agoOne of the most horrific consequences of the dismantling of the Soviet Union was the explosion of sex trafficking and very large numbers of Ukrainian women were caught up in this horrific exploitation and continue to be.John Upton • 9 hours agoVictoria Newland and Geoffrey Pyatt, both US officials, were recorded at the time of the right wing and fascist led coup that overthrew Russian backed Yanakovic, boasting that Washington had poured $5 billion into Ukraine ensuring that their man, an ex World Bank executive, was elected.Warren Duzak • 13 hours ago
Since then the most rabid anti working class/ anti Russian governments have ruled the roost. Only those unable to flee this hell- hole and those whose snout is in the trough will soon be left there. Oh the benefits of US installed dictatorships.In addition to emigration, Ukraine's decreasing population is a result of a higher infant mortality rate than surrounding countries. High infant mortality rates always indicate economic and social stress.Terry Lawrence • 15 hours ago
According to The World Bank 2017 figures for infant mortality in that region, the rate per 1,000 births in Ukraine is 7.5 compared to the following rates in surrounding countries:
Poland - 4.0
Romania - 6.6
Russia - 6.5
Belarus - 2.8
Slovak Republic - 4.6
Only poor Moldova is higher at 13.3Kinda shot themselves in the foot with their "Revolution of Dignity" fascist coup. "Welcome to Europe, Ukraine. Here are your rubber gloves and toilet cleaning brush. Oh, you're a young woman? The red light district is three blocks that way".Richard Mod • 16 hours ago
Life in Crimea must be looking pretty good to them now.including the deceased in the population statistics brings to mind Gogol's "Dead Souls"!erika • 16 hours agoThis is an important update on developments in the Ukraine.Raycomeau • 17 hours agoThe puppet of the USA, Poroshenko , needs to go, and the USA should get the hell out of the Ukraine plus NATO has no business being on the borders of Russia. This is all the fault of the USA, And, the current immigration problem world wide is because the USA bombs countries eviscerating them yet the USA refuses to admit refugees which are fleeing from the USA wars.Terry Lawrence Raycomeau • 5 hours agoNATO has no business even existing, Ray.manchegauche • 18 hours agoVery illuminating article - great topic to choose. NIce oneлидия • 19 hours agoIn Baltic states after being "freed from communism and Soviet occupation" the population decline is also very prominent, the same reasons as in Ukraine too.Human6 лидия • 5 hours agoThese same right-wing, fascist Ukrainian Banderovitzes love to yell and scream about the bogus "Holodomor" hoax (which has been debunked by serious scholars such as Pers Anders Rudling, and others, as well as Thottle). They falsely claim that the USSR tried to "depopulate" Ukrainians, when they are the ones who have depopulated Ukraine.
They are such shameless, low down, dirty liars.
Nov 01, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Mark Chapman November 1, 2018 at 11:48 amSpeaking of Ukraine, the Russian sanctions against Ukraine have been announced. Predictably, Poroshenko considers them to be 'an award', or so he says. I don't know why he feels qualified to speak for those so honoured, since he was not on the list.
Trade between Russia and Ukraine hit a low of $10.26 Billion in 2016, but struggled back up to $12.9 Billion last year. Mind you, pre-glorious-Maidan it was more than $50 Billion annually. Never mind; I'm sure Yurrup will pick up the slack, just like it did after the glorious Maidan. Amazingly, the New York Times is still referring to Poroshenko as a 'chocolate tycoon', in the same sentence in which it calls Viktor Pinchuk an oligarch.
Oct 25, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
UKRAINE. " Entrepreneurs of political violence: the varied interests and strategies of the far-right in Ukraine" In Open Democracy no less.
Bit by bit the word is seeping out. IMF rates Ukraine the poorest country in Europe .
This piece gives a summary of its problems with Hungary, Poland and Belarus .
Oct 20, 2018 | www.unz.com
AP says: October 18, 2018 at 9:58 pm GMT 100 Words @Gerard2
This months gas tariff for "Ukrainians" increases by 24%!!
The context is that Ukrainian consumers have the lowest gas rate in Europe. Moldovan households pay more for gas than do Ukrainian ones. Even with a 24% price increase Ukraine will still have the cheapest gas in Europe for its consumers:
AP says: October 19, 2018 at 12:46 am GMT @Gerard2
The price increase will go past 40% in May
Which will make gas prices for Ukrainian consumers more or less tied with those in Moldova as the cheapest in Europe.
For whatever reason IMF wanted Ukrainian consumers not be subsidized as much as they have been.
AnonFromTN , says: October 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT@Anon According to Global Wealth Report ( https://www.credit-suisse.com/corporate/en/articles/news-and-expertise/global-wealth-report-2018-us-and-china-in-the-lead-201810.html ), by the personal wealth of the population Ukraine is in the 123rd place (out of 140 countries ranked).
By this measure Ukraine is behind Nepal, Cameroon, Kenia, Bangladesh, and Lesotho, just ahead of Zambia. But there are 135 people in Ukraine with personal wealth greater than $50 million.
A huge line for free food at the charity kitchen in Kiev can be seen here: http://rusvesna.su/news/1539952343 (those who read Russian can find details in the accompanying news item).
I guess all of this is a great achievement of Maidan. Ukies, please comment.
Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kadath , Oct 18, 2018 5:49:18 PM | link
just watched the Atlantic council's Championing the Frontlines of Freedom: Erasing the "Grey Zone", only interesting thing to come out of the conference was Kurt Volker's (US Special Representative for Ukraine) comments;
- Escalating sanctions vs Russia every 1-2 months there will be new & expanded sanctions on Russia.
- Stable borders should not be a requirement to be a part of NATO, "Occupied" states can be taken into NATO and receive support from NATO to liberate themselves (he stressed that the US would not be escalate the conflict, but how the hell could anyone guarantee that).
- Opposition to Russia is now bipartisan, regardless of the Nov elections, US Senate & Congress are unified against Russia
- when asked how "We" (the Atlantic council) can make political elites care about Baltic states (plus Ukraine/Georgia), WITHOUT knowing the historical and political details of these states he, unsurprisingly answered "this is about spreading our liberal values" (translation: the American people don't need to be informed about the region are changes are non-negotiable). the long and the short of the 3 hour conference was the new cold war vs Russia will continue indefinitely, I would say this is the start of another generation conflict that will last 10-20 years at least
Mark2 , Oct 18, 2018 5:55:03 PM | linkOk i'l stick my neck out !
It's over for America ! That's my assessment their day is d d d done ! Am basing my view on the worldwide picture politically, the mind set of the general public I talk to, the many sites I visit on the net left and right. Plus overall wisdom and overstanding (a Rasta thing) Empires fall, this one has more than had its day. If it was a buseness what does it produce ? And at what cost? It just robs other peoples hard earned resources and assets! For all it's wealth it treats it's own public like dirt milking them dry. It's intelligent public it curupt's. Nature abbor's greed, and wil correct that imbalance.
I think Putin understands this, and understands as I do 'desperate people do desperate things' hence his speech.
Censoring the truth on a massive network like the internet is truly impossible and plainly desperate !!!
May 31, 2015 | The Guardian
JordanFromLondon -> Havingalavrov 31 May 2015 12:26
"Look at the Moscow apartment bombings"... look at any number of CIA false flag operations. As for "most of the national T.V is Putin press." ... Murdoch has a controlling interest in printed press and a large share of TV news in Australia and the UK. Maybe you are one of the CIA-employed agitators against Russia, or maybe you have a chip on your shoulder about a failed relationship with a Russia bride. I can't be sure from your comments.
But it's very suspect when you say things like "Putin's created a criminal war in East Ukraine" when it was Kiev which started the violence in reaction to the Russian Ukrainians voting for Federalization in response to the coup in Kiev. It means that everything else you write has to be treated as suspect.
Huo Fu Yan 31 May 2015 12:24
I don't see a big issue with that list. If some people from that list travel anywhere, it will be considered wasting tax payer money anyways. They aren't even embraced by a majority in their own countries, some of them belonging to totally irrelevant weird initiative, shouting and crying about this and that.
For others on that list, being linked to military organisations, the should be banned naturally. As for vacation, I don't think Russia was on those guys list either
JordanFromLondon -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 12:14
alpamysh ... you've merely regurgitated the standard NeoCon list of justifications for why a democratically-elected leader needed to be overthrown (e.g. Egypt's Morsi). If we take your "Hitler was elected" argument, we can apply that one to any election outcome. If you won your high school "class monitor" election ... we'll Hitler won an election too. It's nothing more than a lazy smear by association. If we take your "rigs the right of the opposition" argument, well there goes Israel's claims to democracy. They arrest/ban viable Arab opposition figures to prevent them standing in elections. Also, we have to eliminate Ukraine, who have assassinated about 12 of Yanukovich's inner circle since the coup.
uzzername 31 May 2015 12:09
The article isn't worth the headline really. The new cold war is on and obviously they'll be barring each other.
Russia, along with the rest of BRICS is an emerging economy. While in the developed economies big corporations scramble for every penny they rip off off the consumers, the BRICS are a goldmine for adventurous capitalists as you can score quite a bit of dope in one scoop if you invest enough in it.
That's why some of them suits on the list are pissed off. Obvs not because their summer holiday in Siberia has gone into smithereens.
umweltAT2100 31 May 2015 12:04
According to a report in ARD (German state media) the entry ban is a reaction / retaliation in response to the entry ban imposed on Russians in connection with the Crimea annexation. Approximately 200 people are on the Russian black list. The largest number are from the USA, with the Republican John McCain declared "persona non grata", followed by Canadian politicians.
On the other hand the EU has also put an entry ban on leading Russian politicians, among which are the chairman of the Federation council, politicians from the state Duma and also close advisors to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is not anticipated that either side will lift the entry bans in the near future. (Excerpt and rough translation from German)
Russian entry ban for dozens of politicians – Moscow's black list is out. (Hermann Krause, ARD Radio studio, Moscow, 30.05.2015)
Russische Einreiseverbote für Dutzende Politiker Moskaus "schwarze Liste" ist raus. Von Hermann Krause, ARD-Hörfunkstudio Moskau, 30.05.2015
Danish5666 -> dralion 31 May 2015 12:03
Victoria Nuland and the neocons to be more precise,
"In December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," by which she meant into the West's orbit and away from Russia's.
But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine's economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych's decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country's western and more pro-European region.
Nuland was soon at work planning for "regime change," encouraging disruptive street protests by personally passing out cookies to the anti-government demonstrators. She didn't seem to notice or mind that the protesters in Kiev's Maidan square had hoisted a large banner honoring Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.
By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government.
"Yats is the guy," Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. "He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy you know." By "Yats," Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister - and who was committed to harsh austerity.
As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera's anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World War II.
With the crisis escalating and scores of people killed in the street fighting, Yanukovych agreed to a E.U.-brokered deal that called for moving up scheduled elections and having the police stand down. The neo-Nazi storm troopers then seized the opening to occupy government buildings and force Yanukovych and many of his aides to flee for their lives."
JordanFromLondon -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 11:53
What proof do you have that the Russian elections were phony ? The results were in line with independent opinion polls. Which referendums was phony ? The first Iraqi election after Sadam was toppled was certainly phony. The US military whisked away the ballot boxes for a week after voting was completed before announcing that the Shia (60% of Iraqis) had failed to get a majority (despite the 20% Bathist Sunni boycotting the election so only the 20% Kurds voted against the 60% Shia).
geedeesee -> SnarkyGrumpkin 31 May 2015 11:50
From article: He [Clegg] also argued that the country should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Russian troops allegedly downed the civilian airliner Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July.
Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned.
JordanFromLondon -> Havingalavrov 31 May 2015 11:45
"Putin wants sanctions" ... what a bunch of silly conjecture. As for "Putin style rule" and "Tzar" .. you presumably know that Russia held democratic elections which Putin won. That's more than many of the US/UK allies can say (take your pick of the Gulf state leaders). Don't buy into the mindless anti-Russian propaganda doing the rounds. I suspect that it's intended to soften public opnion for anti-Russian attrocities committed in our name to come.
Huo Fu Yan -> David Port 31 May 2015 11:36
It's true, 1/3 the list are politicians and military leader from Poland and baltics with no intend to enter Russia anyways. The rest are merely people engaged in military organisations (should be banned naturally) or weird political groups and initiatives.
Furthermore, there are a few irrelevant politicians on the list for whatever reason. To be frank, a few people from that list you wouldt want in your own country either.
meewaan 31 May 2015 11:07
let me guess, The list probably contains politicians whose real loyalty maybe is with the US? Judge from the 2 names mentioned, Malcolm Riffkind is Co-Vice Chair of the Global Panel Foundation – America – with Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, the former U.S Under-Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Armed Forces.
Not sure about banning Nick Clegg, - has his wife remunerated by her work for companies linked to the US? Take, for example, Mrs Clegg's firm's advertisement (again, on its website) of the fact it makes considerable sums from helping rich people avoid inheritance tax, saying that it offers 'personal estate planning advice and financial and tax-planning services to high net worth individuals'.
'We combine sophisticated estate planning skills with international resources . . . We help U.S. and non-U.S. trustees and beneficiaries transfer wealth efficiently through lifetime and testamentary trusts designed to minimise tax exposure.'
SuchindranathAiyer 31 May 2015 10:35
It required a "Tit for Tat" to establish that sanctions are working? Here is the geo-political back drop:
Reigan and Gorby arrived at certain agreements and understandings which Clinton (the husband) violated. He pulled Poland and others into NATO and bombed Russian ally Belgrade, violating international law, while a helpless Russia fumed, for 84 days to given Islam its first ethnically cleansed enclaves (Bosnia and Kosovo) after 1489.
Bush (the son), declared the "Star Wars" missile shield in direct violation of the Regan-Gorbachev agreements while Russia continued to fume, but began to re arm and prepare itself for war. Apart from, of course, violating International Law and invading Russian ally Iraq to distract anger over 9/11 from Saudi Arabia and its Nuclear-Terrorist sword arm Pakistan and threw thriving communities of Jews, Christians, Yazidis, discos and bars that the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis resented into the maws of Islam.
Russia fumed and continued to rearm and began to rally around Putin's nationalism. The US commenced "regime change" operations in Russian (and Iraqi) Secular ally Syria, throwing even more Jews, Christians, Yazidis and Kurds into the maws of Islam. US was to weakened by Iraq to wage war unilaterally in Syria. China and Russia blocked the US at the UN. Putin wrote an open letter to Obama on Syria in the NY Times which gained traction with the American Citizens, bending Obama's nose and driving the US regime change operation in Syria further under ground (covert). Prince Bandar (what an appropriate name!) head of Saudi intelligence went ot Moscow to bribe Putin to back the putsch in Syria. Putin refused and told Bandar that if Islam tried a Beslan at Sochi, he would bomb the Q'aba. This bent the Saudi nose. So the US commenced operation regime change in Ukraine. This sparked the secession of Crime to Russia. The US fumed and fretted because its more develoed and intelligent NATO allies (France and Germany) would not back the US backed fascist regime in Ukraine. The US shot down MH-17 in a false flag operation and started a canard against Russia to revive NATO. There is a NATO now imposing US-Saudi conceived sanctions on Russia. We are now in the Second Cold War so NATO won't go away. Russia and China will ally because, Clinton to Obama, the US has demonstrated the dangers of a unipolar world, particularly as Islamic Petro Dollars own the decision and opinion makers of the West and have used the US military to further the Islamic agenda as much as carry on with the old anti-Communist prejudices. (While Russia is not Totalitarian, China is. India is really the last Soviet franchise in the World with its "Animal Farm" totalitarian Constitution and thinking which is why the US is an ally of Pakistan and as hostile to India as to Russia. Consider that as recently as 2012, the man who lolls in Lutyen's drawing room today moved "retrospective" legislation in the same Parliament that nationalized 20% of private (non minority) education and removed the truth from Govt approved History text books, in the highest traditions of Nehru, Ambedkar and Indira Gandhi.)
wilpost37 -> AbsolutelyFapulous 31 May 2015 10:33
Almost all the tourists of Crimea were Ukrainians before 2014. They stopped coming, and likely are spending their vacation elsewhere.
Crimea is rebuilding its infrastructures (Kiev had neglected them for 22 years), and its tourist base.
It expects to have over 4 million visitors in 2015 and 5 million in 2016, because many Russians are no longer going to EU countries, and are going to Crimea, Sochi, etc., instead. It will take time, but Crimea is a beautiful area.
Crimea became part of the Russian Empire by conquest over the Tartars in 1793.
The Tartars had been kidnapping nearby people (several million over many decades) and selling them to the Turks. Catherine the Great put an end to that.
Khrushev was stupid to give it to Ukraine in 1954.
After the CIA/FBI-assisted coup of Kiev, the Crimean people, 67% Russian, feared for their future, as did the Donbas people.
SHappens 31 May 2015 10:24
"Just one thing remains unclear: did our European co-workers want these lists to minimise inconveniences for potential 'denied persons' or to stage a political show?"
It is pretty clear that it turned out to be another media circus.
Socraticus -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 10:12
Lesson 1 - everyone on this site is a guest, you included
Lesson 2 - the majority of posters herein are actually westerners, not 'Russian trolls'
Lesson 3 - all politicians lie to advance their own social/economic/political agendas
Lesson 4 - all MSM distort/suppress the truth to support governmental narratives
Lesson 5 - many of us westerners actually bother to investigate the true facts
Lesson 6 - if a leader's being demonized its because they won't capitulate to the US
Lesson 7 - every illicit invasion is preceded by demonization of a leader/country
Lesson 8 - your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll
Lesson 9 - you can educate yourself or remain blind to facts - your choice
Lesson 10 - you will learn the consequences of your choices
UnsleepingMind -> EssoBlue 31 May 2015 10:12
You realise that Russia is one the most important members of the BRICS and that they group has recently established a development bank? That's hardly the sign that the other BRICS nations are not reading from the same hymn sheet as Russia...
Russia has also joined China's Asian Infrastructure Bank. Another clear sign that it is strengthening its relations with other BRICS members.
44theorderofknights 31 May 2015 09:57
What did anyone expect flowers from russia from the unfair treatment it's getting. The west paying for Ukraine part nazi government and creating a coup in a democratically ekected president last february. Then sanctioning the Russian people expecting them to turn in yheir president. The west should be ashamed of what they accomplished that being fronting a proxy war against Russia.
Vijay Raghavan -> Huo Fu Yan 31 May 2015 09:54
Developing all-round military-to-military relations. China's armed forces will further their exchanges and cooperation with the Russian military within the framework of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia, and foster a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable framework to promote military relations in more fields and at more levels
They made that statement in their white paper issued last week.Offcourse Guardian or BBC will not keep up with such "Breaking News".
UnsleepingMind -> EssoBlue 31 May 2015 09:49
1) Yes, the BRICS countries are very much behind Russia.
2) Russia, unlike the US, has tabled a resolution to condemn Nazism and Nazi movements in the highest forum possible (the UN). The US, along with Canada, and its puppet government in Ukraine, voted against it (in defiance of most of the world's nations).
UnsleepingMind -> Tom20000 31 May 2015 09:43
You would think, with all the technology at the disposal of the US security state, that it might (just might) be able to provide us with real, irrefutable evidence of a ground invasion. You know, perhaps some high resolution satellite imagery, the odd photo of a modern Russian tank moving over the Ukrainian border, some chatter from the wires between embassy officials and security personnel, etc., etc.
But of course we have nothing of the sort. What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that.
UnsleepingMind -> ponott 31 May 2015 09:34
I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media -- who seem to have a daily axe to grind against the Russian state, but who say nothing about the warmongering actions of the US. I imagine I would have the same opinion of you if I was to uncritically swallow such toxic rubbish.
UnsleepingMind -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 09:30
'Because we have the right to ban people who invade other countries'.
That's why we've recently arrested George Bush (who, with the help of Tony Blair invaded Iraq and Afghanistan), Barack Obama (who bombed Libya, engineered coups in Honduras and Ukraine, and is now funding Islamic extremists in Syria)...
We reserve the right to ban, but we use that 'right' to ban official enemies (i.e. anyone daring to follow a geopolitical game plan that is distinctly at odds with our own).
Also, your suggestion that Putin's Russia has invaded 'other countries' is preposterous. The western media has been spewing this nonsense for months now and yet there is not a shred of real evidence (including hi-res satellite imagery) to back it up. And if you are referring to Crimea, let me say this: Russia troops have been staged in Crimea for many, many years; moreover, the people of Crimea voted to break with Ukraine in a recent referendum (not that that squares with your hectoring rhetoric).
PyrrhicVictory 31 May 2015 09:27
The doors of the gravy train for politicians like Clegg are fast closing. When we exit the EU, then the Brussels gravy train will also be beyond him. He might, just might, having to start behaving like an honest politician for once and earn a decent wage based on truth not lies.
johnsmith44 -> NegativeCamber 31 May 2015 09:25
Why dont you go spread democracy to some oil-producing Third World country, together with your poodles the brits? And make sure you do it properly, so that monstrosities like ISIS are guaranteed?
more democracy exporting: http://multipletext.com/2011/images/3-22-US-democracy.jpg
and more: https://syrianfreepress.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/we-will-help-the-syrian-people-to-achieve-democracy-20140603.jpg
and more: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/76/31/c0/7631c0787ae47cfc74cd8488390cc5d5.jpg
johnsmith44 -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 09:21
1) Google for "Operation Northwoods", that is, CIA's proposal to Kennedy to shoot down a passenger jet over Cuba.
2) Read here: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/29/obama-should-release-ukraine-evidence/
ex-CIA personnel openly describing their involvement in the dowining of Korean Airlines passenger flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983 and I believe it becomes apparent who downed MH-17.
Jerome Fryer -> Popeyes 31 May 2015 09:11
We're the global overlords, and so second-rate nations aren't allowed to reciprocate our petulant actions. When they do so it causes some people to question the assumed status of the 'Western' hegemony (and our claimed system of morally superior 'values'). We can't allow that sort of thing, Popeyes.
davidncldl 31 May 2015 09:10
The Guardian has a clear pro-EU/USA position on the new cold war against Russia. Mr Putin is their democratically elected leader and he is enormously popular. Only an imbecile would be surprised or indignant about Russia retaliating for unjust EU/US sanctions. What do the globalisers and bankers' friends at the Guardian expect? I imagine you think that the ruination of the Venezuelan and Russian economies by the manipulation of the oil price is just "free market" activity.
Hass Castorp 31 May 2015 09:07
"More than 6,200 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists."
This is a language of propaganda, Guardian. Last i checked Guardian advertised to be a newspaper, not a bulletin of The Ministry of Truth.
My reformulation; "More than 6200 (in some estimates up to 50.000) have been killed and up to 1 million civilians displaced (who mostly fled to Russia) by Ukrainian government troops and private terrorist kommandos of Ukrainian oligarchs."
Jerome Fryer -> henry919 31 May 2015 09:03
The only way to effectively block people from other regions (blanket censor them, in other words) would be to positively identify the source. All that you would likely achieve is blocking actual individual commentators and letting through the government astroturfers.
Why you would want to resort to such tactics is worth asking. The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer.
Repeated debunked claims in our media are also going to be far more damaging than anything similar in Russia. The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting.
(If your argument must be protected against criticism then it is a weak argument.)
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Secretary of Defense James Mattis acknowledges that U.S. instructors are training Ukrainian military units at a base in western Ukraine. Washington also has approved two important arms sales to Kiev's ground forces in just the past nine months. The first transaction in December 2017 was limited to small arms that at least could be portrayed as purely defensive weapons. That agreement included the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories, a sale valued at $41.5 million.
A transaction in April 2018 was more serious. Not only was it larger ($47 million) , it included far more lethal weaponry, particularly 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles -- the kind of weapons that Barack Obama's administration had declined to give Kiev.
Needless to say, the Kremlin was not pleased about either sale. Moreover, Congress soon passed legislation in May that authorized $250 million in military assistance, including lethal weaponry, to Ukraine in 2019. Congress had twice voted for military support on a similar scale during the last years of Obama's administration, but the White House blocked implementation. The Trump administration cleared that obstacle out of the way in December 2017 at the same time that it approved the initial small-weapons sale. The passage of the May 2018 legislation means that the path is now open for a dramatic escalation of U.S. military backing for Kiev.
On September 1, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker disclosed during an interview with The Guardian that Washington's future military aid to Kiev would likely involve weapons sales to Ukraine's air force and navy as well as the army. "The Javelins are mainly symbolic and it's not clear if they would ever be used," Aric Toler, a research scholar at the Atlantic Council, asserted . One could well dispute his sanguine conclusion, but even Toler conceded: "Support for the Ukrainian navy and air defence would be a big deal. That would be far more significant."
Volker's cavalier attitude about U.S. arms sales to a government locked in a crisis with Russia epitomizes the arrogance and tone-deaf nature of the views that too many U.S. foreign policy officials exhibit regarding the sensitive Ukraine issue. "We can have a conversation with Ukraine like we would with any other country about what do they need. I think that there's going to be some discussion about naval capability because as you know their navy was basically taken by Russia [when the Soviet Union dissolved]. And so they need to rebuild a navy and they have very limited air capability as well. I think we'll have to look at air defence."
One suspects that Americans would be incensed at comparable actions by Moscow if the geo-strategic situations were reversed. Imagine if Russia (even a democratic Russia) had emerged from the wreckage of the Cold War as the undisputed global superpower, and a weakened United States had to watch as the Kremlin expanded a powerful, Russian-led military alliance to America's borders, conducted alliance war games within sight of U.S. territory, interfered in Canada's internal political affairs to oust a democratically elected pro-American government, and then pursued growing military ties with the new, anti-U.S. government in Ottawa. Yet that would be disturbingly similar to what Washington has done regarding NATO policy and U.S. relations with Ukraine.The Much Diminished Russian Bear Let's See Who's Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians
Moreover, although Kiev's cheerleaders in the Western (especially U.S.) media like to portray Ukraine as a beleaguered democracy that plays the role of David to Russia's evil Goliath, the reality is far murkier. Putin's government overstates matters when it alleges that Ukraine's 2014 Maidan revolution was a U.S.-orchestrated coup that brought outright fascists to power in Kiev. Nevertheless, that version contains more than a little truth. Prominent, powerful U.S. figures, most notably the late Senator John McCain and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, openly sided with demonstrators seeking to unseat Ukraine's elected government. Indeed, Nuland was caught on tape with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt scheming about the desired composition of a new government in Kiev.
It is unfair to portray Ukraine's current administration led by President Petro Poroshenko as a neo-fascist regime. Post-revolution elections appear to have been reasonably free and fair, and there are major factions that are committed to genuine democratic values. But Ukraine also is hardly a model of Western-style democracy. Not only is it afflicted with extensive graft and corruption, but some extreme nationalist and even neo-Nazi groups play a significant role in the "new" Ukraine. The notoriously fascist Azov Battalion, for example, continues to occupy a prominent position in Kiev's efforts to defeat separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region. Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic in the pro-Russia rebel-occupied city of Donetsk, was assassinated on September 1 and officials there and in Russia are blaming Kiev. The Ukrainian government has denied involvement.
Other ultranationalist factions act as domestic militias that attempt to intimidate more moderate Ukrainians. Even the Poroshenko government itself has adopted troubling censorship measures and other autocratic policies. Officials in both the Obama and Trump administration have taken a much too casual attitude toward U.S. cooperation with extremist elements and a deeply flawed Ukrainian government.
Both the danger of stoking tensions with Moscow and becoming too close to a regime in Kiev that exhibits disturbing features should caution the Trump administration against boosting military aid to Ukraine. It is an unwise policy on strategic as well as moral grounds. Trump administration officials should refuse to be intimidated or stampeded into forging a risky and unsavory alliance with Kiev out of fear of being portrayed as excessively "soft" toward Russia. Instead, the president and his advisers need to spurn efforts to increase U.S. support for Ukraine. A good place to start would be to restore the Obama administration's refusal to approve arms sales to Kiev. Washington must not pour gasoline on a geo-strategic fire that could lead to a full-blown crisis between the United States and Russia.
Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at TAC , is the author of 10 books, the contributing editor of 10 books, and the author of more than 700 articles on international affairs .
Sep 08, 2018 | gordonhahn.com
Rather than dealing with secondary issues, those which are easiest to resolve, or those in which we have common interests, contacts must address the core problems in the inter-state US-Russian or larger Western-Russian relationship. Those issues are NATO expansion, EU expansion, U.S. missile defense, Ukraine, Syria, and interference in each other's domestic politics.
Rather, than expanding Western institutions in complete disregard of Russian interests, the West must work closely with Moscow. The West must acknowledge its responsibility in the making of the original crisis in Kiev, which equals if not exceeds that of Moscow's in deepening the crisis in Crimea and Donbass.
The crisis in Ukraine is a direct result of the two policies of NATO expansion and EU enlargement, which led NATO to declare Ukraine (and Georgia) will be NATO members at numerous NATO summits and in other fora, led the EU to push too hard and too early for an association agreement with the corrupt Viktor Yanukovych government, and led the West, especially Washington, to lend opposition-promotion assistance to revolutionaries and endorse a clearly illegal oligarch-ultranationalist revolt in February 2014 despite an agreement that essentially ensured Yanukovych's departure from the presidency in ten months. In Syria, Putin's Russia has won. Regime change is over.
The U.S. in its hubris miscalculated in going a bridge too far. Ambition led to supply weapons either intentionally or accidentally -- and in denial of the obvious -- to Islamists and jihadists. This was a direct consequence of US President Barak Obama's haste to carry forth his gravely misguided Muslim Brotherhood-based regime change strategy in the Islamic world. Syria's longstanding ties to Moscow and the presence of North Caucasus-based mujahedin within the ranks first of the Al Qa`ida-affiliated 'Jabhat al-Nusra' jihadi group and then of the Islamic State or ISIS prompted Putin's limited and strategically successful intervention.
More globally, the West has been and remains the 'champion' when it comes to interference in the politics of other states. For financial reasons alone, Russia cannot hold a candle to US efforts in this regard, no less those of the entire West. Rather than seeking to dominate or willfully 'transforming' Eurasia in the Western image, the West should more gently propose democratization and work on strengthening its own democratic order to serve as a model for non- and less democratic states to emulate.
Those living in non- or less democratic states who want change have access to all the information they need on the Internet, except in the most authoritarian countries. Even in the latter, access is possible if more difficult. The native population and opposition leaders understand the intricacies of their nation's culture far better than outsiders do and can therefore better fashion a peaceful, stable regime transformation. If this is not what they want, then they are unlikely to establish a democratic order when they seize power.
Change the Goal and Strategy
The core problem in Western-Russian relations has been Western, especially, NATO expansion. NATO expansion, carried forth on the back of EU expansion, effectively 'militarized' Western democracy-promotion and EU expansion, insulting Russian 'honor' and trust in the West in the wake of Cold War-ending Western promises that NATO would not expand beyond reunified Germany and turning Russia away from democracy. Washington and Brussels must discard, therefore, its basic goal of expanding the community of democracies in brinksmanship-like fashion–everywhere and immediately, regardless of those expansions' effects on the Russian and Chinese geostrategic calculation. This means abandoning the strategy of achieving that goal: NATO and EU expansion. These two prongs of the main strategy, especially NATO expansion, have added greater cost of driving Russia into China's increasingly powerful arms, as I predicted a quarter of a century ago.
New Goal and Strategy
Regarding security, the West should seek to integrate Europe and Eurasia first in the area of negotiating ongoing conflicts and preventing new conflicts by reinvigorating the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as the main multilateral forum for Western-Eurasian relations. It should also become the locus of negotiations between NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on building a new European security architecture (NESA). During the life of the NESA negotiations, the West should institute an openly declared moratorium on NATO expansion. After such the NESA is in place negotiations might begin with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on a Eurasia-wide security architecture. Similarly, the European Union should learn from its misbegotten unilateral expansionism and 'Eastern Partnership' and seek to negotiate a gradual integration of the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
... ... ...
There is very likely to be some agreement towards extending the START nuclear arms treaty by executive order as well as negotiating a replacement treaty to be signed at the end of the first or beginning of a second Trump term.
For the Ukrainian crisis, Trump might propose the creation of a US-Russian working group to assist the Minsk process. Should Trump be convinced that only US involvement can resolve the issue, perhaps the group could be incorporated into the Minsk process. He might also hint that in return for some Moscow concessions on Ukraine, such as backing a more expanded version of the proposed peacekeeping mission beyond the line of contact, he might be willing to put pressure on Kiev to finally fulfill its Minsk agreement obligation to engage a dialogue with the Donbass rebel regions' representatives:
(1) on the modalities related to conducting elections in the Donbass,
(2) on a Ukrainian law to be adopted according to Minsk-2 'On the temporary order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions,' or
(3) 'with respect to the future operation of these areas on the basis of the Law,' or, for that matter,
(4) on any other subject related to the crisis. Washington pressure on Kiev to talk directly with the rebels may be possible now that four years too late some of the Washington institutions that supported the Maidan revolt and illegal overthrow of Yanukovych such as the Atlantic Council and Freedom House, are waking up to the neofascist threat on the edges of the Maidan regime and in society.
About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California, www.cetisresearch.org .
Dr. Hahn is the author of Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the 'New Cold War (McFarland Publishers, 2017) and three previously and well-received books: Russia's Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction Publishers, 2002); Russia's Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007); and The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia's North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014).He has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media and has served as a consultant and provided expert testimony to the U.S. government.
Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. He has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Kennan Institute in Washington DC as well as the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Lyttenburgh, July 7, 2018 at 6:25 am
"and agreed to meet in neighboring Sweden"
"This suggests the level of distrust Putin has towards Washington, his low expectations for a successful summit, and the high price he is likely to demand for concessions on his part."
It suggests nothing of the sort. You are too dramatic.
"[T]he approach of dealing with issues that are easiest to resolve or where we have common interests alone is insufficient and a non-starter as far as putting the relationship where it should be. By definition, an approach that seeks to avoid areas where there are disagreements will not resolve a deeply troubled relationship that is putting international security and peace at risk. Only addressing the core differences complicating relations can a qualitatively new relationship be forged."
Finally someone is willing to admit that! You can't willy-nilly go and ask your neighbor to borrow some sugar after you wrecked his fence and expect him to "cooperate" on such small issue out of sheer goodness.
"It also means abandoning the approach of designing policies from hubris rooted in the sense that Western democracy is morally superior to authoritarianism. Although the latter is true"
In what way? I (and quite a lot of people) see particular Western "democracy" as morally bankrupt compared to what it seemingly randomly calls "authoritarianism"
"In Syria, Putin's Russia has won."
And that writes a man who detest the term, devoting so much ink and time to show to the ignorant that, no – it's Russia's Putin. Why not say Russia, or Moscow, or even "Pro-Assad coalition"?
"Rather than seeking to dominate or willfully 'transforming' Eurasia in the Western image, the West should more gently propose democratization and work on strengthening its own democratic order to serve as a model for non- and less democratic states to emulate."
What, you forgot the immortal words of Paul Wolfowitz so soon? For, you see, "We Are An Empire Now". Crawling back in the shell won't help to solve the domestic very partisan issues – finding a common enemy does that. Your tactics are good for a neutered housecat of a nation – not for the mighty Great Again (And Forever) lion which both the elite and the commoners of the West consider their Republic.
" and turning Russia away from democracy."
Wrong. It turned Russia away from liberalism – not democracy. You know the difference, right? Because your following analysis suggests otherwise:
"Washington and Brussels must discard, therefore, its basic goal of expanding the community of democracies"
"Putin's Russia" is democracy. As well as Poland under PiS, Hungary under Orban and Turkey under Erdogan. Hell, even Ukraine is democracy! Democracy is just a mode of rule.
"driving Russia into China's increasingly powerful arms"
Yeah, that's bad for the US. For the rest – not so.
"During the life of the NESA negotiations, the West should institute an openly declared moratorium on NATO expansion."
Absolutely meaningless and easily revertible promise that runs directly against the West self-identification as the only Empire on the planet.
The list of topics of your Grand Design that follows is too far fetch, unrealistic and abstract that they are basically the equivalent of "charming" Russian naïve natives with the glass beads. As for your fanatical support of the free trade – it's era has gone. Again. If you fail to grasp that it was precisely Russian objections of EU version of free trade coming to the Ukraine which lead to 2013-14 conflict on Maidan – well, nothing can help you.
"Non-Western partners must also be willing to sacrifice some of their present interests for the sake of the benefits of stability and cooperation that will accrue in future. "
Like I said – land for the glass beads.
"In Ukraine, the U.S. must get more involved in the Minsk 2 negotiating process."
No, they shouldn't.
"Without a clear signal from Trump that Washington is not interested in expanding NATO to Ukraine or using the crisis to isolate Moscow through sanctions and the like and intends to lead the search for a solution, Moscow is unlikely to make any meaningful concessions."
You don't see it, do you? It's Kiev for whom the conflict is more beneficial. It allows all sort of, yes, authoritarian things and policies without fear of the "real war". You can silence all your critics with – "but Putin might attack us!" or "are you a secret separ?!". Kiev has no other viable strategy but to commit an ethnic cleansing of DNR or LNR should they be returned to it. Simple as that.
BTW – have you read Minsk II accords? How about Kiev fulfils its part first?
"Washington could be able to convince Moscow to abandon its support for the elements of the Iran presence in Syria and Lebanon that arrived in the context of the Syrian civil war."
Nothing of the sort will happen. Sowing division among potential USA rivals is a viable tactic – but don't take everyone for an idiot.
"There is very likely to be some agreement towards extending the START nuclear arms treaty"
Wanna bet, that there won't be? Also – nothing of the Ukraine, nothing on NATO. A little something on Syria (officially) with, maybe, an unofficial concession of the defeat of the West-backed "unicorns".
Tl;dr. This is not about coming Trump-Putin summit. You are just venting off your fantasy about Bright Future. You present solely pro-US perspective of the summit, enumerating things that Trump must "ask", nay, "demand" either for free or some minor concessions on his part. Have you ever tried to think what Russia might want of the summit instead?
Salsibury Watchdog, July 11, 2018 at 2:19 am
"It also means abandoning the approach of designing policies from hubris rooted in the sense that Western democracy is morally superior to authoritarianism. Although the latter is true"
Mr. Khan, if what Western elites are doing to other sovereign nations is 'a democracy' why is it done so covertly: through murky slash funds, secrets coups and illegal bombings?
I've never seen a referendum asking people in the US whether they wanted to fund another war. Had they been asked, people would've chosen affordable healthcare, housing and access to education instead, and you know it as well I do.
Yet you're still talking about 'Western democracy'?
Aug 27, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com
The fact that Brussels euroclowns celebrated in triumph the exit of Greece from the memorandum agreement, should be taken only as a huge farce.
The Troika (ECB, European Commission, IMF) bailout program has officially ended and the result is a scenery of disaster. If you still believe that this program has been implemented to save the Greek economy and not the Franco-German banks , take a look at the situation today.
Greece entered the bailout program with national debt at 120% of GDP. Now, the debt remains close to 180% of GDP! Unemployment remains at record levels. Public property has been sold-off for pennies to foreign 'investors'. Labor rights almost vanished, the situation resembles the Middle Ages. Social state and benefits severely damaged. This is the Troika 'success story'.
So, in reality, the experiment was indeed successful for the goals of the international capitalist predators who transformed the country into a debt colony. For more than eight years, they boiled the frog slowly with the help of Troika, and now it's impossible to escape from the hot water.
While the clowns in Brussels had to present a 'success story' to cover their huge failure and slow down the centrifugal forces against eurozone's existence and unity, the mainstream media didn't exactly celebrate. Most of the headlines were quite moderate and even alarming for the future of the Greek economy.
This contradiction could be explained by the fact that the neoliberal regime apparatus wants to send a warning sign to Tsipras administration not to take any action without permission. It is more than certain that the tight scrutiny will be continued and Tsipras must prove to the Western neocolonialists that he will not even think to implement any anti-austerity policies.
It is worth to mention that most of the neutral/pessimistic headlines came from the Anglo-American mainstream media. This could be also considered another indication about the level of deterioration in the relations between the Anglo-American axis and the Brussels-Berlin axis, inside the Western camp.
Without a bailout program, Greece will be left alone now to swim with the bloodthirsty sharks of the global financial mafia in the wild sea of the supposedly 'free markets'. The fear of the Greek government in front of such a perspective became quite evident when Greece 'decided' to expel two Russian diplomats in order to take a small gift by Standard and Poor's .
Greece will have to give much more to the Western neoliberal predators. Otherwise, the rating agencies will be ordered to attack again and force the ruined Greek economy into another round of disastrous bailouts.
Either way, the debt colony will deliver to the predators every single asset that has been left untouched.
Aug 20, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
The Greece Bailout's Legacy of Immiseration | by James K. Galbraith 22/08/2018
Note from the author : As friends have quickly pointed out, the situation is even worse than described here. Quarterly reviews by the troika will continue. The German Bundestag will still vote on any debt deferrals, and -- as I do stress -- the crushing austerity will continue indefinitely. A nightmare.
2010 to 2018 will go down in Greek history as an epic period of colonization; of asset stripping and privatization; of unfunded health and education; of bankruptcies, foreclosures, homelessness, and impoverishment; of unemployment, emigration, and suicide. These were the years of the three memoranda, or "financial-assistance programs" accompanied by "structural reforms," enacted supposedly to promote Greek "recovery" from the slump and credit crunch of 2010. They were, in fact, a fraud perpetrated on Greece and Europe, a jumble of bad policies based on crude morality tales that catered to right-wing politics to cover up unpayable debts.This was a bailout? The word reeks of indulgence and implied disapproval. As it was often said, "The Greeks had their party and now they must pay." Yes, there was a party -- for oligarchs with ships and London homes and Swiss bank accounts, for the military, for engineering and construction and armaments companies from Germany and France and the United States. And yes, there was a bailout. It came from Europe's taxpayers, and went to the troubled banks of France and Germany. Greece was merely the pass-through, and the Greeks who paid dearly with their livelihoods were just the patsies in the deal. The third "memorandum of understanding" expires today. With Greece's completion of a three-year, 61.9-billion-euro eurozone emergency-loan package, it can once again borrow at market rates. The expiration of the memorandum also ends, for now, the direct control by Europe's "troika" -- the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank -- over the Greek government. But its conditions, constraints, and consequences will endure. Read also: Conference of the modern Left in Iceland: learning from each other
Back in 2010, Greece, along with Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy, was definitely in trouble. The Great Financial Crisis crashed into all of Europe, but it hit the weaker countries hardest -- and Greece was the weakest of them all. Its economy shrunk by a quarter, and youth unemployment rose to roughly 50 percent. The memorandum was, for all concerned, the easy way out. It started a game of "extend and pretend" on the Greek debt, based on optimistic forecasts and on policies of reform that had no basis in the reality of Greek economic conditions.
The policies came from the IMF -- its standard repertory of austerity and "reform." But its staff and directors knew from the beginning that these measures would not suffice. IMF executive directors from Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, and China voiced objections. Channels were therefore bypassed, objections ignored. The Fund was nearly out of work and money because of the failures of its programs -- and the relative success of countries that ignored them -- all over the world. And its managing director at the time wished to be the next president of France. So Greece, which is to say its creditors -- especially French and German banks -- received the largest loan in IMF history (relative to its ownership share). And that 289-billion-euro loan came largely from U.S. taxpayers.
In Athens, teams of functionaries from the Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission came to Greece, where they stayed in fancy hotels at Greek expense and were escorted by uniformed police from ministry to ministry to dictate policy in detail. (Such a nice gig, in a warm and sunny place, so close to the sea.) In 2015, they were lodged for a time in a four-star hotel, deprived of their convoys, and given protection by elite forces dressed in plain clothes. They didn't like that at all, and their bosses, Mario Draghi and Christine Lagarde, complained loudly on their behalf.Read also: Berlin goes on with self-defeating policies. Now they encourage Scotland to secede!
And what of the policies? Public assets were to be dumped en masse at fire-sale prices, but only if they were already profitable. (Regional airports making losses, for example, stayed with the state.) Dutch dairies and German drug companies were taken care of. Labor markets were deregulated while collective bargaining was wiped out -- an unethical experiment on an untenable premise. Neither German nor Chinese industry was moving to Greece even if the Greeks worked for free. The value-added tax was raised, pensions were cut, and hundreds of thousands of civil servants were sacked. Ministries lost cleaning ladies, who set up camp, bless them, in front of the Ministry of Finance. The Greeks rebelled in 2015, as they were right to do. But the European Central Bank held the high card: It could shut the banks and confiscate deposits, forcing Greece out of the euro and perhaps out of the European Union. The government, undermined from within, capitulated. The third memorandum was signed, and Syriza, the left-wing coalition that had swept into power in January, by that July had become the model prisoner of the European elites.
The irony is that in 2012 Greece's debts were already postponed, so that from late 2015 to 2022 there would be a grace period with relatively few major payments due. Now there is a primary-budget surplus and the markets need not be tested. So the memorandum can end, but austerity will not; the debt still looms in the long term, so the commitment to surplus extends for more than 40 years. In any event, the Greeks' will to resistance appears to have been broken, so it seems safe enough to leave them alone. For now.
But the damage done extends far beyond Greece. The cynicism and brutality of what happened there is for everyone to see. The fact that Europe imposed a policy of privation on one of its weakest members -- not for its own sake, and not with any expectation of economic success, but to intimidate the Italians and the French, as the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble conceded to the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis privately in 2015 -- was not lost on British voters who chose Brexit in 2016. The Greek debacle helped to turn the French left against Europe, and fueled the inchoate coalition now in power in Italy. The German and east European far right is surely not motivated by sympathy -- on the contrary, they despise the Greeks. But they do resent the supposed "solidarity" -- a fiction if ever there was one -- that Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and her allies invoked to sell their parliaments and voters on the idea of the Greek loans.Read also: The IMF wants to appoint Prime Ministers. They want a Greek Macron in Athens
Europe is therefore rotting Hat both ends. Its economy must remain unified, but it is coming apart at its political seams. It needs institutions and policies of social stabilization, financial reform, and full employment -- a dramatic change in ideas and action at the continental level to thwart the rising tide of nationalist reaction. There is therefore a growing sense, among those who are watching closely, that a major democratic reform -- a New Deal for Europe -- is the only way to hold it together in the long run.* James K. Galbraith is author of Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe . In 2015 he served as an informal assistant to the finance minister of Greece.
Aug 19, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile,This year, the Ukraine Prime Minister Groisman said that the external debt is 83% of the GDP. And by the end of the year, having been pressurized by the IMF, it will reach 90%. In order to service its external debts, the Ukraine spends $4.8 billion a year.
This is real slavery - only a new, improved version of it. From the 17th to the 19 centuries, slavery in [the North American British colonies and then - ME] the United States had a number of serious deficiencies: slaves had to be brought all the way from Africa; slaves were not extremely industrious; Americans themselves had to live amongst the slaves; and, most unpleasantly, all this led to civil war in the United States.
In this version of 21st century slavery, all these disadvantages have been eliminated! Slaves stay in their homecountry: there is no need to bring them from there, no need to live amongst them and to feed them! Slaves are forced to work hard in the hope of paying off their debt, so they are motivated and hardworking. And most importantly, no civil war in the USA!
Draw your own conclusions.
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Cortes August 10, 2018 at 9:02 pmLast post time, but a goodie (I think):Mark Chapman August 11, 2018 at 6:41 am
No intention to comment- read for yourselves.That is indeed an interesting piece – generally speaking, we most enjoy writing with which we agree, and I mostly agree with it and feel the ring of familiarity, because some of it is what we have been saying here for a couple of years. Notably that while the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the problem, the warning signs are there that Russia has no intention of bailing out an exhausted Ukraine, and that this time it is going to be allowed to fail all the way down. The west should be warned that nobody is riding to the rescue and pouring their resources into stabilizing Ukraine – if the west cannot do it, the alternative is collapse and draining emergency work to keep the population from starvation. Prosperity is an impossible dream now, and the people – I think – would be pretty happy to be back where they were before the glorious Maidan.Patient Observer August 11, 2018 at 8:17 am
Interestingly, something that was not touched upon in the 'Necessary' section was the elimination of the oligarchy in Kiev and other major cities. I will declare frankly that I have no idea how this might be achieved – as discussed before several times, the Ukrainian oligarchs control something in the order of 70% of Ukrainian GDP, and are not about to gift any of it back to the Ukrainian state.
But for so long as Ukraine continues to elect one oligarch after another to the office of President, the oligarch of the moment will be far more occupied with increasing his/her personal wealth and power, and settling scores with rivals, than with governance and accountability. At the same time, there is no use hoping the President will be a poor man or woman, because they generally do not have the worldly education to grasp the problem and envision solutions while being simultaneously beset from all sides by the oligarchy, seeking to retain its power and influence.
You'll know there's no more money in Ukraine when the oligarchs leave, and I see no sign of that so far, while it is evident they intend to be a big part of any future rebuilding. They've already successfully stolen most of the IMF money, and plainly think an even bigger payday is still in the offing.
The United States has largely forgotten Ukraine, as it was only ever a pretext for a full-court press against Russia anyway, and it now has enough Russophobia sustainment in its ditzy population to press forward without the need to invoke sympathy for Ukraine. Europe is still quite interested in a resolution, but only because of its fear that it is going to get stuck with the booby prize, and be made to assume responsibility for getting Ukraine on its feet somehow, perhaps even absorbing it. Eventually, if the USA is unsuccessful in forcing the outbreak of another world war, the west will get around to either asking Russia to help, or trying to dump Ukraine on Russia.
Whatever happens, the dream of Ukrainian nationalists to forge a great and powerful ... nation of Ukraine is always going to remain that – a dream. They're happy enough at present scampering about in the ruins and glorying in their imagination of great power, but they are kings of the dungheap without any clue of nation-building.
The few who both hated Russia and honestly aspired to a Great Ukraine – free of corruption and able to pay its way through judicious management of its undeniable resources and casting off the peasant mentality – have no influence, and operate at the pleasure of the power-brokers; they are allowed to dabble at anti-corruption until their probing becomes uncomfortable, and then they are discredited and fired, if not charged with the crimes they say they are investigating.Well said. Presumably, the Donbass will pull away from Ukraine and vote to joint Russia and Russia will approve for any number of reasons but certainly including humanitarian, ethnic/cultural connections and military considerations. Other regions such as Odessa could jump aboard as well.
There may be a mass exodus from what is left – the grifter to the West and those seeking a better life to the east. The Nazis will remain behind and may serve some purpose such as providing a pool of mercenaries for CIA projects.
I, for one, do not think the Donbass will be an overwhelming economic burden in the long run. The population has shown resolve and resilience. Given leadership and material aid, they can rebuild fairly quickly I think.
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Mark Chapman August 1, 2018 at 5:27 pmOh, dear; Ukraine has more or less lost its case before the WTO, in which it wept that Russia's unfair imposition of an embargo on its railway cars and rolling stock constituted a violation which caused a former $3.2 Billion in annual sales – more than it realizes from transit fees for carrying Russian gas to Europe – to collapse to $150 Million. The WTO bought the Russian rationale that Russian inspectors going to Ukraine to ensure the product conformed to Russian standards would be in fear of their lives.
But the WTO ruled that the security situation was such that Russian inspectors sent to check that Ukraine's exports complied with Russian standards would have been risking their lives, and Russia was therefore justified in not sending them to Ukraine.
"The panel fully agreed with Russia's position and recognized that there was no systematic restriction of imports of Ukrainian equipment by Russia," Russia's Ministry of Trade and Economy said in a statement.
The WTO did go on to say Russia could have carried out the inspections outside Ukraine, but therein lies a sandbag to the head that Ukraine probably spotted already – if Russian inspectors found shoddy work or any other reason to refuse the offered goods, to say nothing of the probability that no contracting position between the two countries even exists any more, then Ukraine would be out the sale plus whatever costs it incurred to ship the goods outside Ukraine.
Gosh! Is Ukraine's Russophobia beginning to blow up in its face?
Jul 09, 2018 | www.unz.com
Four years ago, on 17 July 2014, in the midst of a civil war raging in eastern Ukraine, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was destroyed with all 298 passengers and crew. On 25 May last, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) entrusted with the criminal investigation of the downing and composed of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and paradoxically, given its possible involvement, Ukraine, presented its second progress report. Like the first report in September 2016, it took the form of a press conference, with video animations supporting the investigation's findings.
This time there was even less to report; the main conclusion was that elements from the Russian 53rd Buk missile brigade were the culprits, a claim already made by the London-based investigative group Bellingcat two years before.
In February 2016 that assertion had still been dismissed as unfit for evidence by the Dutch chief prosecutor on the JIT, Fred Westerbeke, in a letter to victims' relatives. How can it possibly have become the core component of the case for the prosecution two years and two months later?
The JIT press conference was immediately followed by a formal declaration on the part of the Dutch and Australian governments that held Russia responsible. However, JIT member Malaysia dissociated itself from the accusation, whilst Belgium has remained silent.
The obviously over-hasty conclusion, on the heels of the alleged Skripal nerve gas incident in Salisbury and the likewise contested Syrian government gas attack on jihadist positions in Douma, all point in the same direction: Putin's Russia must be kept under fire and there is no time to wait for a court verdict.
In my book Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster (Manchester University Press), I have refrained from entering the slippery terrain of making claims about who pulled the trigger, intentionally or by accident, in the late afternoon of 17 July, or even which type of weapon was used. For the downing of the Malaysian plane has become part of a propaganda war that was already heating up prior to the catastrophe. Instead the book is about what we do know about the events surrounding it, in the preceding months, weeks, and days, indeed even on the day itself. Subsequent events have only underlined that it is this context that lends meaning to the tragedy.
Refocusing US Supremacy After the Soviet Collapse
Today, Western imperialism projects its global power, as far as capital is concerned, primarily from the perspective of speculative, financial asset investment. Long gone are the days of class and international compromise forced upon it after World War Two. Instead, the predatory instincts of dominant financial capital require forcibly opening up all states for commodification and exploitation. Given the global spread of product and commodity chains, the continued flow of profits to the West cannot be taken for granted as long as effective state sovereignty elsewhere persists. For the liberal, Anglophone heartland of capital, 'defence' is therefore not merely, or even primarily, a matter of upholding the territorial integrity of the states constituting it, but keeping open the arterial system of the global economy and maintaining the centrality of the West. Regime change is a logical corollary, and from this perspective we must view the coup in Ukraine in February 2014 and all ensuing events, including the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.
Right from the Soviet collapse in 1991, the US global perspective was articulated in several new strategic doctrines. The first and perhaps foundational one is the Wolfowitz Doctrine, named after Paul Wolfowitz, undersecretary of defence in the Bush Sr. administration, who commissioned a Defence Planning Guidance for Fiscal 1994-'99 (DPG) of 1992. It proclaims the United States the world's sole superpower, which must remain ahead of all possible contenders in arms technology and never again accept military parity, as with the USSR during the Cold War. The newly self-confident European Union, too, was obliquely warned that the US alone would handle global policing.
Additional doctrines, specifying on which grounds armed US intervention might be undertaken and justified, added elements such as humanitarian intervention (a Carnegie Endowment report of 1992, Self-Determination in the New World Order ); it was applied in Yugoslavia and again in Libya. Next, the'War on Terror', originally floated at Israeli Likud/US Neocon conferences between 1979 and 1984, was revived after the collapse of the USSR as the 'Clash of Civilizations' by Cold War strategist Samuel Huntington; Afghanistan and Iraq stand as monuments of the application of this doctrine. Finally, Zbigniew Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard of 1997 specifically dealt with reorganising the former USSR, including Ukraine.
Through the different episodes, NATO was transformed into a global policing structure serving the interests of Atlantic capital. 'Out of area operations', unthinkable in the Yalta epoch, were first tried out against the Bosnian Serbs in the mid-1990s. The enlargement of the alliance into the former Soviet bloc, which began around that time too, was obviously motivated to prevent European departures from US tutelage, hence its bold forward surge. Already in 1994, Ukraine became the first former Soviet republic to join the Partnership for Peace, the newly created waiting room for NATO membership. To quell Russian concerns about the advancing West, the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 laid down that no nuclear weapons and permanent troop deployments would take place in new member states. Yet Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova not long afterwards joined a low-key organisation of former Soviet republics (after the initials, GUAM), another oblique link up with NATO.
Mobilising Georgia and Ukraine against Resurgent Russia
Russia under Yeltsin had effectively surrendered its sovereignty to transnational capital and the West and as a result was left a social and economic disaster zone. Under his successor, Vladimir Putin, the country began to mutate back to a society led by a directive state, assisted by rising oil prices. After the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and announced a missile defence system deployed in the CzechRepublic, Poland, and Rumania, Russia shifted to a more robust international position. The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq on a false pretext made abundantly clear that the West was abandoning the rules of the post-war international order. 'Democracy promotion' intended to prevent national sovereignty from being mobilised against Western global governance, was now made a priority. The 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia in 2003 and the 'Orange Revolution' a year later in Ukraine, marked the lengths to which the United States was willing to go.
Yet even a colour revolution means little if there is no accompanying make-over of the fundamental state/society relation. Hence, the incoming policy planning director at the US State Department, Stanford professor Stephen Krasner, and Carlos Pascual, former US ambassador in Kiev, developed a comprehensive regime change doctrine in 2004. This would prove a key element in the subsequent Ukraine intervention. To ensure that countries incorporated into the US-NATO sphere of influence, really became neoliberal client states, Pascual and Krasner devised a strategy for preventive intervention with a rulebook listing the measures by which 'market democracy' was to be established. Ukraine was a key target and battleground, because by now, Russia was beginning to contest Western forward pressure.
At the Munich Security Conference in January 2007, Putin reminded his audience of the promises made to Gorbachev in 1991 not to expand the Atlantic alliance and warned that further attempts at enlargement (the Baltic states having been included in 2004) would imply great risks. Yet NATO and the EU were inexorably pressing forward. At the Bucharest NATO summit in April 2008 the Americans made the offer of NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine, only to have the offer vetoed by Germany and France. Possibly to force the issue, the pro-Western president brought to power by the Rose Revolution in Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, armed and encouraged by the US and Israel, later that year embarked on a military adventure to recapture the breakaway province of South Ossetia. It ended in a complete debacle, as a Russian army stood ready in North Ossetia to deal the invaders a major, if very costly, blow. This, then, was what Richard Sakwa calls, 'the war to stop NATO enlargement'. From now on, every post-Soviet republic tempted to join the Atlantic alliance would have to reckon with Russian protection for groups resisting such integration, irrespective of whether it concerned actual Russians or any other of the almost two hundred nationalities of the former USSR.
The EU-Russian Energy Equation and Ukraine
The gas from Russia that feeds Europe today was discovered back in the 1960s; the Friendship oil pipeline was built in 1964 and the Soyuz, Urengoi and Yamal pipelines followed after West Germany started purchasing Soviet gas. The link-up culminated in 1980 with the contract for a gas pipeline from Urengoi in north Siberia to Bavaria, signed by a heavy-industry consortium headed by Deutsche Bank.
After the collapse of the USSR, Russian gas had to pass through the pipeline grid of independent Ukraine, which in the meantime had become the prey of rival clans of oligarchs. For most of them, gas was the key source of rapid enrichment -- directly, as in the case of subsequent prime minister Yuliya Timoshenko, 'the Gas Princess', or indirectly, by supplying steel pipes for gas transport, as in the case of president Leonid Kuchma's son-in-law, Victor Pinchuk, the 'Pipeline King'. The economic mismanagement and infighting of the different oligarchic clans in Ukraine led to payment arrears and repeated shutdowns of the gas supply from Russia, and Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, early on began to look for ways to bypass the Ukrainian grid.
After Putin had come to power, he disciplined the Russian oligarchs as part of the restoration of state sovereignty. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the energy oligarch and richest of all Russian billionaires at the time, at the time was buying support in the Duma to build a trans-Siberian pipeline to China; whilst negotiating with ExxonMobil and Chevron about US participation in his Yukos concern, which he planned to merge with Sibneft into the world's largest oil company. In 2005 he was convicted to a long prison sentence. Yukos was brought back into the Russian patrimony via a proxy construction involving state-owned Rosneft and Gazprom, as part of broader subordination of the economy to the state.
Gazprom meanwhile began building alliances to avoid future disruption of supplies via Ukraine and secure its European market. In 2005 it agreed with the outgoing government of Gerhard Schröder to build a pipeline across the Baltic directly to Germany, 'Nord Stream', with a consortium of German companies. Schröder was made the chairman of the board of the joint venture, Achimgaz, and two years later, a South Stream pipeline across the Black Sea to Bulgaria was contracted with ENI of Italy. It was to be extended into south-eastern Europe as far as Austria. In this way Gazprom and the Russian state were outmanoeuvring various EU projects for pipelines aimed at by-passing Russia. Indeed it was the EU's plan to use a Nabucco pipeline across Turkey to connect to the Caspian energy reserves that prompted the $40 billion South Stream project. Romano Prodi, prime minister of Italy, who first discussed South Stream with Putin in late 2006, was offered the chairmanship, which he declined, perhaps in the knowledge the project would become highly contested.
The Eurasian connection by now posed a direct threat to the cohesion of the enlarged Atlantic bloc. Besides Nord Stream and South Stream, Gazprom's collaboration with NIOC of Iran and a joint venture with ENI in Libya set all alarm bells ringing in Washington. Already in May 2006, a few months after the gas shutdown to Ukraine, the US Senate unanimously adopted a resolution calling on NATO to protect the energy security of its members and have it develop a diversification strategy away from Russia. Senator Richard Lugar in a much-noted speech prior to the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, in November 2006, argued in favour of designating the manipulation of the energy supply as a 'weapon' that can activate Article 5 of the NATO treaty (common defence).
In a report to the European Parliament in 2008, the director of the EurasianPolicyCenter of the Hudson Institute in the US recommended that the EU should assist in liberalising and modernising the Ukrainian grid instead of supporting South Stream. Tension in the Black Sea area, her report noted candidly, might serve the purpose of blocking that pipeline altogether. However, after the 2010 election of president Victor Yanukovych, the front man of the powerful eastern and southern oligarchs, the lease of Russia's Crimean naval base at Sebastopol, home of its Black Sea fleet, had been extended to 2042, so the prospects for stirring up unrest there were mitigated by Moscow's enduring naval preponderance.
Regime Change in Kiev
One aspect of the resurgence of a sovereign Russia was the plan for a Eurasian economic union to rebuild relations with former Soviet republics (Ukraine obtained observer status early on). The EU's Eastern Partnership was a direct response. It was offered to former Soviet republics in 2008, in a gesture that signalled that Europe now effectively acted as a subcontractor to the larger anti-Russian design drafted in Washington. Concretely, the EU offered Ukraine and other former Soviet republics an Association Agreement that also included provisions for the country's alignment on NATO security policy, besides a neoliberal make-over in the spirit of the Krasner-Pascual doctrine. The envisaged reforms would be devastating for the country's existing power structure, not least for the Donbass oligarchs whose front man was Yanukovych. Their heavy industry assets would be swept away by EU competition, the country turned into an agricultural supplier, and Russian gas cut off.
Hence, when both the EU and Russia sought to win over Yanukovych to join their respective blocs and Brussels ruled out the triangular arrangement by which the Ukrainian president had hoped to postpone the choice, he could not but step back from signing the EU Association Agreement in November 2013 and accept a Russian counteroffer. By then, 'Europe' had become a code word for an end to oligarchic rapaciousness, in which Yanukovych and his sons had become involved as well. The president's decision triggered mass demonstrations and occupations, which this time included an armed insurrection by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists in the historically anti-Russian west of the country. It created the space for actual fascists to hijack the protests and prepare a coup. By their use of deadly force at the Maidan central square (ascribed by the coup plotters and in the West to the riot police), the Ukrainian ultras demonstrated they were ready to kill their own compatriots to achieve their aims.
To prevent the situation from getting out of hand completely, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland flew to Kiev on 20 February 2014. However, whilst they negotiated a deal with Yanukovych and the opposition, the US and other NATO ambassadors met with Andriy Parubiy, the co-founder of the fascist party of Ukraine and former head of its militia, Patriot of Ukraine . Parubiy, today the speaker of the Kiev parliament, was in command of the armed gangs at the Maidan; two days later these took power in the capital, installing a government of Ukrainian nationalist stripe, selected by US diplomats. Parubiy was appointed secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), a key post overseeing all military and intelligence operations, which he continued to hold until three weeks after the downing of MH17. With the Russian-Ukrainian half of the country effectively disenfranchised, the coup was responded to by the secession of Crimea and an armed insurrection in the Donbass. Stirrings of revolt in Odessa and Mariupol would be suppressed with deadly violence, in which Parubiy and other far right figures were directly involved.
Confronting the BRICS in Ukraine
From late March onwards the war party in the United States and NATO began to elaborate a strategy that would make Ukraine the testing ground for a trial of strength with Russia and China. The secession of Crimea and its re-incorporation into the Russian Federation was exploited to evoke the spectre of an impending Russian invasion on several fronts. General Philip Breedlove, commander of US Eucom (European Command, one of nine regional US military commands spanning the globe) and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Saceur), coordinated the Western position with General Wesley Clark, a former NATO Saceur at the time of the Yugoslavia wars. Clark was already advising Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine before the Donbass had actually risen in revolt. On 12April he asked Breedlove whether the NATO commander could not arrange a statement blaming Moscow for the violence because ' if the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative , the Russians will see it as an open door'. Clark then elaborated on the general geopolitical situation, giving further insights into why the war party in the US believed that Ukraine was to be 'held' and chosen as a battle ground to confront Russia and China. No time was wasted on market democracy here. Claiming that 'Putin has read US inaction in Georgia and Syria as US "weakness",' Clark went on to explain that
China is watching closely. China will have four aircraft carriers and airspace dominance in the Western Pacific within 5 years, if current trends continue. And if we let Ukraine slide away, it definitely raises the risks of conflict in the Pacific. For, China will ask, would the US then assert itself for Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, the South China Sea? If Russia takes Ukraine, Belarus will join the Eurasian Union, and, presto, the Soviet Union (in another name) will be back. Neither the Baltics nor the Balkans will easily resist the political disruptions empowered by a resurgent Russia. And what good is a NATO "security guarantee" against internal subversion? And then the US will face a much stronger Russia, a crumbling NATO, and [a] major challenge in the Western Pacific. Far easier to [hold] the line now, in Ukraine than elsewhere, later .
On the weekend of 13 to 14 April, CIA Director John Brennan was in the Ukrainian capital. The Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO, so called because the use of military force within the country is only warranted under that label) began right after Brennan's visit; Parubiy sent out a Twitter message on the 15th that veterans of the Maidan uprising were poised to join the fight. Since NATO had earlier implored Yanukovych not to use force against (armed) demonstrators, Moscow now asked the alliance to restrain the coup leaders in turn. But according to foreign minister Lavrov, the answer they got was that 'NATO would ask them to use force proportionately'.
In fact even the oligarch, Petro Poroshenko, elected president on 25 May 2014 to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the coup regime, proved unable to restrain the hardliners. On 30 June, following a four-hour NSDC meeting with Parubiy, interior minister Avakov, and others whose armed followers were demonstrating outside, Poroshenko declared that the ceasefire would be lifted and a new offensive launched. Three days later NATO naval manoeuvres in the Black Sea commenced with US participation and with electronic warfare a key component. On the ground, Kiev's forces made rapid progress, apparently drawing a ring around the large rebel city of Donetsk. NATO had its own concerns: an upcoming summit in Wales in September was expected to capitalise on the trope of a 'Russian invasion', vital after the Afghanistan debacle, and dovetailing with the emerging contest with the BRICS bloc.
The BRICS, coined first as a banker's gimmick, were never more than a loose collection of '(re-) emerging economies', but from Washington's perspective, sovereign entities not submitting to neoliberal global governance are unacceptable. So when on 16 July, the BRICS heads of state, hosted by the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff (removed by a rightwing conspiracy in May 2016), signed the statute establishing a New Development Bank, or BRICS bank, as a direct challenge to the US and Western-dominated World Bank and IMF, the US imposed new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, specifically targeting the energy link with the EU. The creation of an equivalent of the World Bank with a capital of $100 billion with a reserve currency pool of the same size (an equivalent of the IMF), laid the groundwork of a contender pole in the global political economy challenging the West's austerity regime frontally -- or so it seemed at the time.
Still in Brazil before flying back to Moscow, Russian president Putin on the fringes of the football world cup finals also agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pursue a comprehensive Land for gas deal. Its tentative provisions included normalising the status of Crimea in exchange for a massive economic rehabilitation plan and a gas price rebate for Ukraine. However, a special European Council meeting convened on the 16th could not reach agreement on whether the EU should follow the American lead this time, since countries with export interests to Russia and dependent on its gas, were balking. Instead, the Council stressed the EU's commitment 'to pursue trilateral talks on the conditions of gas supply from the Russian Federation to Ukraine' in order to 'safeguard the security of supply and transit of natural gas through Ukraine.'
The Downing of Flight MH17 and South Stream
The downing of MH17 on 17 July changed all that. As I said above, who did it and how remains obscure, although there are several pursued by people familiar with local circumstances, or revealed by insiders who know who which military assets were operating that day -- but all that remains inconclusive. The official reports by the Dutch Safety Board and the JIT may be conveniently dismissed although the DSB rightly pointed at the questionable decision by Kiev to allow civilian planes to fly over a war zone. However, irrespective of the actual perpetrator, and whether it was an intentional act or an accident, there is no doubt about the West's intent to exploit the event to the maximum.
Former secretary of state and then-presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in a TV interview on the 18th called for making 'Russia pay the price' once its culpability had been established. Her to-do list for the EU included, one, 'toughen sanctions'; two, find alternatives to Gazprom, and third, 'do more in concert with us to support the Ukrainians'. The 'Land for gas' negotiations were shelved and on the 22nd Europe dropped the remaining hesitations when it underwrote the US sanctions targeting Russia's role as an energy supplier. As Mark Leonard, founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, noted in a newspaper interview a year later, 'without MH17 it would have been pretty difficult to find sufficient support for the increased sanctions on the Russian economy' .
In 2009 the EU had introduced a new energy policy, dubbed a 'Third Energy Package'. It does not permit gas to be transported to the EU by the company producing it, effectively forcing Gazprom to sell even the gas piped through the Ukrainian grid to other companies before it could enter the EU. Nord Stream had still been exempted from EU competition rules, but the projected South Stream was not, never mind that most contracts with Gazprom had been signed before the Third Energy Package came into force. Even at the time of the Kiev coup, commentators wondered to what extent shale gas from the US might be used to offset Russian deliveries. LNG facilities planned in Florida and Maryland were projected to serve the European market at Gazprom's expense, a prospect meanwhile far more realistic.
The Crimean secession and incorporation into the Russian Federation obviously played its own role here. Crimea is a historically Russian region; having been assigned to Ukraine by a whim of Soviet party leader Khrushchev in 1954, it never reconciled itself to being part of an independent Ukraine. After the nationalist coup in late February, the status of the Russian naval base in Sebastopol was in the balance. In 1991, the Black Sea had been a Soviet/bloc inland sea, with one NATO country (Turkey) bordering it. Now there were two more NATO/EU countries and two pro-Western, aspiring NATO members on its littoral. So when one week after the coup, three former Ukrainian Presidents, Kravchuk, Kuchma, and Yushchenko, called on the coup government in Kiev to cancel the agreement under which the lease of Sebastopol, home to the Russian Black Sea fleet, had been extended to 2042, the question of who would be able to project naval power over the Black Sea became acute. The question now was whether Russia would be able to provide cover for a large-scale project such as South Stream, or not.
South Stream itself came into the firing line directly. The European Parliament, which never raised the issue of why the February agreement with Yanukovych the EU brokered had been sidelined by the coup, on 17 April 2014 adopted a non-binding resolution opposing the South Stream gas pipeline and recommended a search for alternative sources of gas. On 28 April, the United States imposed a ban on business transactions within its territory on seven Russian officials, including Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, as well as Gennady Timchenko, whose Volga Group controls Stroytransgaz, the company entrusted with building the Bulgarian section of South Stream. Nevertheless the Bulgarian parliament approved South Stream two weeks after the reincorporation of Crimea, circumventing the EU's anti-trust legislation by renaming the pipeline a 'sea-land connection'.The European Commission then instructed Bulgaria to stop work on South Stream and proceeded to cut off tens of millions of much-needed regional development funds, whilst the US ambassador warned Bulgarian companies against working with Timchenko. A final visit of US Senators John McCain and Ron Johnson, in combination with other punitive measures then led to the cancellation in early June. As Eric Draitser commented at the time, 'South Stream has become one of the primary battlegrounds in the economic war that the West is waging against Russia'.
The downing of Flight MH17 also definitively sealed the fate of South Stream. Russian banks financing the project, led by Gazprombank, were hit by new sanctions, so that the necessary capital could no longer be raised internationally. Putin earlier had hinted at moving the transit of gas for the EU to non-European countries; in August, it was reported there was a Plan B in the works to export via Turkey. On 1 December 2014, during a state visit to Ankara, the Russian president announced that in light of Western sanctions and the refusal of construction permits in the EU, South Stream would be replaced by a 'Turkish Stream' pipeline, besides the existing Blue Stream link. However, in November 2015, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian fighter jet over northern Syria, throwing relations between Moscow and Ankara into a deep crisis and entailing the cancellation of Turkish Stream. This was only overcome after the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdoğan, in which Russia sided with the Turkish president, possibly even warning him in advance. Since the F-16 that shot down the Russian jet was part of a pro-NATO unit based at Inçirlik airbase that took part in the coup attempt, the incident over Syria would appear to fit in a framework that may also have decided the fate of Flight MH17: a provocation to throw relations with Russia into disarray, but we don't know for sure.
Regime Change in Moscow?
The MH17 disaster occurred in the context of a deep crisis, in which capitalist discipline as imposed from its historic epicentre in the West, has become primarily predatory, relying to an ever-greater extent on violence.
Speculative financial operations in combination with the 'War on Terror' have spread economic risk and repression at home, war and regime change abroad. Human survival itself has been turned into a global gamble played out over the head of the affected populations for private gain.
The West, led by the effectively bankrupt United States, increasingly relies on force to sabotage the formation of any alternative, something its own social formation can no longer bring forth. Even the most promising, potentially revolutionary IT and media developments coming out of Silicon Valley have been mortgaged by a planetary project of communications surveillance to safeguard US imperial positions.
Back in the 1980s, when it launched the second Cold War, the Reagan administration intended to destabilise the Soviet bloc and bring about regime change in Moscow. This is also the aim of the current, new Cold War. A 2015 Chatham House report, 'The Russian Challenge', discusses this in some detail. Although it concedes that the West cannot have an interest in Russia sliding into complete anarchy, neither should the Putin presidency be protected 'against change, whether managed or violent '. Therefore, 'whether Putin was ousted by an internal coup, by illness or by popular unrest , it would nevertheless be sensible for the West to give further thought to how it might deal with the consequences of regime change in Russia.'
Effective communication with the Russian people and the defence of human values beforehand would be essential for Western credibility Planning for the future ought, lastly, to cover the scenarios from changes of leadership within the current structures, to the emergence of a group ready to pursue structural reform in some sort of accountable dialogue with the Russian population, to regime collapse .
The president of the National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman, in a piece for the Washington Post in October 2016 suggested launching a new, sustained anti-Putin campaign, for which the contract killing of the journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, ten years earlier, might be used as a vignette.
For such a campaign, George Soros' Open Society Foundation can be trusted to have elaborated the 'civil society'/colour revolution scenarios, whilst identifying the groups that might be mobilised for their execution. The OSF plan of action for 2014-17, titled Russia Project Strategy , identifies Russian intellectuals active in Western academic and opinion networks, the Russian gay movement, and others as potential levers for civil society protest against the conservative bloc in power in Moscow. From the OSF documents hacked by the CyberBerkut collective, Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation emerges as the key beneficiary, and discussion portals and liberal media such as Echo of Moscow radio station, RBK news agency, and the newspaper Vedomosti, as the preferred channels to disseminate content.
There is no need to repeat that all this is part a powerful offensive to derail the loose contender bloc around China and Russia, which had constituted itself in the face of Western aggressiveness and crisis. The seizure of power in Ukraine as well as the secession of Crimea and the civil war in the east, which has meanwhile cost the lives of more than 13,000 people and displaced a million, as well as economic warfare against Russia by the US and the EU, have brought the danger of a large European war several steps closer. Whether the actual downing of Flight MH17 was an intentional, premeditated act or an accident, whether it involved a jet attack, an anti-aircraft missile, or both, ultimately cannot be established with certainty. Yet both the NATO war party and the coup regime in Kiev, which on many occasions has demonstrated that its ultra-nationalist and fascist antecedents are very much alive, would have been perfectly capable of such an act and had the means for it. Most importantly, they had the motive. Those in power in Kiev had several times already attempted to draw Moscow into the civil war, directly and through a NATO intervention. If this indeed was their aim, it would also have served the Atlantic bloc's determined and long-standing commitment to force continental Europe into an antagonistic relation with Russia.
In the current global conjuncture, even the tentative contender coalition combining the Eurasian Union, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, constitutes an acute danger to a capitalist West in crisis. Whether the United States and NATO would therefore also be willing to take even greater risks than they are doing now is a prospect too frightening to contemplate. However, it must be confronted, or the fate of the 298 people on Flight MH17 may become that of humanity at large.
Kees van der Pijl is a Fellow, Centre for Global Political Economy and Professor Emeritus of the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex.
Jun 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Mark2 @ 81, Daniel @ 82:
I am halfway through watching a film of US actor Peter von Berg travelling through the Donetsk People's Republic and meeting Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko and various others to find out how the Donetsk rebels are creating a socialist state under a situation of war. The film is as much an implicit criticism of US society (and by extension, Western capitalist society generally) as it is an investigation of the reality on the ground on Donetsk, ignored by the Western MSM.
Von Berg visits a greenhouse farm growing tomatoes, a hospital and a factory among other places he travels to (including the capital, of course) in the DPR.
There is even a short history of the city of Donetsk and how it was founded by 19th-century Welsh engineer industrialist John Hughes, after whom it was originally named Yuzovka.
Posted by: Jen | Jun 25, 2018 7:06:44 PM | 89
Apr 01, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's government, and the silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding by all NATO-member governments, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.
This time the big-lie pretext is about the alleged poisoning by the Kremlin/Putin of a double-agent, usually a stock move in the espionage entertainments, but here with no evidence of the claimed origin of the lethal nerve-agent, but rather expert denial within British defence and weapons research itself, with devious political word games to get around the absence of any corroborated evidence in familiar denuciations of Russia full of aggression and hate. Not even a death is recorded while US-led nd UK-armed ally forces are still mass-murdering poor civilian Yeminis, drone-murdering endless targets and civilians abroad, continuing on unblamed for the ongoing NATO-executed eco-genocides of Iraq and Libya societies, and on the 19-years anniversary of the mass bombing of, once again a society, Yugoslavia, with the most evolved social infrastructures of health, education, housing and life security in the region.
What this latest war pretext for US and NATO-backed aggression is really about is justifying more war in the Ukraine now that the massive war preparations along all of Russia's Western borders following the self-declared Nazi-led and proven US- orchestrated and commanded mass-murder coup d'etat in February 2014 . As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's government, and the silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding by all NATO-member governments, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.
This time the big-lie pretext is about the alleged poisoning by the Kremlin/Putin of a double-agent traitor, usually a stock move in the espionage entertainments. Yet here there is no confirmed evidence whatever of the claimed origin of the lethal nerve-agent, but rather expert denial within British defence and weapons research itself that is silence in the press, with devious political word games crafted to get around the absence of any corroborated facts in the familiar denuciations of Russia full of team aggression and hate. Not even a death is recorded while US-led nd UK-armed ally forces are still mass-murdering poor civilian Yeminis, drone-murdering endless targets and civilians abroad, continuing on unblamed for the ongoing NATO-executed eco-genocides of Iraq and Libya societies, and on the 19-years anniversary of the mass bombing of Yugoslavia -- once again a socialist society with the most evolved social infrastructures of health, education, housing and life security in the region.
What this latest war pretext for US and NATO-backed aggression is really about is justifying more war in Ukraine now that the massive war preparations along all of Russia's Western borders following the self-declared Nazi-led and proven US- orchestrated and commanded mass-murder coup d'etat in February 2014 . As always, this US-directed mass murder was reverse-blamed on the ever shifting Enemy face -- Russia's allied but duly elected government of the Ukraine. It was only after this violent-coup Nazi-led and US directed overthrow of the elected government of the very resource-rich Ukraine -- "the breadbasket of Europe" and sitting on newly discovered rich fossil fuel deposits -- that Russia annexed its traditional territory of the Crimea next to Eastern Ukraine, the latter after the violent coup put under the rule of a US-Nazi-led government until its people fought back with Russia assistance for the now NATO-targeted zones of the new Donetsk and Lugansk republics.
What is new now is that we are about to enter yet another NATO-member war build-up against the cornerstone of Western ideology, the designated Enemy Russia. As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day US-led NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's UK government, and silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding in NATO-member states, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.
The UK and the US followed by Canada and some of the EU have by expulsion of Russia diplomats prepared the diplomatic way for war in the Ukraine to seize back these lost coup-territories, and it will be in the name of "freedom", "human rights" and "the rules of civilised nations". But there is much officially suppressed colour to the warring parties political conflict which reveals who the truly heinous suppressor of human rights is. Under mass media and corporate-state cover, the US-UK-NATO axis about to make war in Ukraine is doing so under the factually absurd but non-stop pretext of "Russia aggression" constructed out of the double-agent poisoning affair, with the guilty agents and poison having no proof but the ever louder UK-led and NATO-state assertion of it in unison. Yet there is a clear answer to the cui bono question -- which party does all this benefit? Clearly once the question is posed, as opposed to completely gagged in the corporate press, Theresa May's slow-motion collapsing Tory government -- now even challenged for its fraudulent Brexit referendum protecting the big London banks from EU regulation -- has to have such a war-drum distraction to survive. The old war of aggression pattern reverse-blamed on the official enemy unwinds yet again.
It is revealing in this context how Canada's government has no such ruler need of war -- unless it be its Ukraine-descendent Foreign Minister up front and the very powerful and widely Nazi-sympathizing Ukraine Liberal vote bank and leadership brought to Canada after 1945 to overwhelm the preceding active socialist Ukrainian community in Canada. Canada's government -- not its people -- is in any case used to being a puppet regime in foreign affairs as a twice-colonized rule by big business (why the NDP is not allowed to govern unless so subjugated).
The Human Rights Question
In light of all of this suppressed factual background and motive for more war in Ukraine which is unspeakable in the official news, interaction with the United Nations is of revealing interest. While it has been the cover for US-led NATO executed genocidal wars of aggression in the past as in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Korea, the pretexts of 'human rights', 'responsibility to protect' and 'stopping communist aggression', which are in fact always been the spectacular opposite on the ground in terms of diseased, mass-murdered and destituted bodies, these pretexts may not sell well when the background facts are no longer suppressed from public view.
It is worthwhile recalling how Science for Peace leadership used to be against but has since Afghanistan collaborated with these false-pretext wars in sustaining their illusions and thus the war crimes and crimes against proceeding underneath them.
The NATO-executed Ukraine war now being orchestrated is especially revealing in its actual record of 'protecting human rights' through 'international law' and 'norms of civilised nations'. Completely buried in official records is a United Nations resolution n on Ukraine that the US and Canada repudiated on November 20 2015 after the US-led bloody coup d'etat in Ukraine was in full motion of claiming all the vast tracts of land and resources that were Russia-speaking territory in the past.
The resolution was straightforwardly against "Nazi symbols and regalia" as well as "holocaust denial". The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee of the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted for a resolution to enable measures against "the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that facilitate the escalation of modern forms of racism, xenophobia and intolerance". A total of 126 member-states of the UN voted for it for the second time. Over 100 countries voted for a similar resolution in 2014 including "denial of the holocaust and glorification of the Nazi movement, former members of the Waffen SS organization, including the installation of memorials to them, and post-coup attempts to desecrate or destroy the monuments to those who fought against Nazism in Ukraine during World War II".
How could any civilised state vote against these United Nations Resolutions for human rights as Canada and the US have done and stood by ever since? Well instituted group hatred of the officially designated enemy can justify anything whatsoever, and does so right into next NATO-executed orgy of war crime and crimes against humanity, again inside Europe itself flaunting reverse-blame lies and slogans as red meat for psychotically trained masses. It is not by accident that Canada's Foreign Minister is in this near century-old Nazi loyalist vs Russia-speaking conflict was before her appointment the "proud "granddaughter of a leading Nazi war propagandist during its occupation of Poland and Ukraine described as a "fighter for freedom".
Yet on the other hand, we must not lose ourselves in ad hominem responsibility. Crystina Freeland, her Canada name, is interestingly propagandist in itself from her birth -- Christian Free Land -- but not observed in the corporate press. Minister Freeland is only a symptom of something far deeper and more systemically murderous and evil in state-executed unlimited greed and immiserization of innocent millions of people masked as 'human rights' , 'freedom' and 'rule of law' . Her more sinister double in the US is also a renamed person of the region, Victoria Nuland (read New Land) who orchestrated the whole 2014 mass-murder coup in Ukraine and now tub-thumps on public television for the 'need to teach Putin and Russia a hard lesson', aka another war attack by US-led NATO on Russia's borders.
The difference now is that the absurd pretext and geostrategic mechanisms now in motion beforehand can be seen in front of our eyes -- that is, if we can still see through the engineered prism of the US-UK led NATO war machine. This alone will stop it.
John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada whose work is translated from Latin America to Japan. His most recent book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure .
Mar 27, 2018 | www.unz.com
JR , Next New Comment March 27, 2018 at 6:24 am GMTWithin a week after Brennan's 'routine' visit in April 2014 to the Ukraine the Ukrainian army launched a civil war. That was within 2 weeks of the CIA instigated coup an the end of February 2014.
Mar 03, 2018 | www.fort-russ.com
The Ukrainian economy is in a catastrophic state after four years of "euro-reforms," said Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the public movement "Ukrainian Choice – People's Right." "At the end of 2013. Ukraine's state and publicly guaranteed debt was 40% of GDP, and by the end of 2017 it had more than doubled, exceeding 80% of GDP. In 2013, Ukraine's GDP per capita was more than $ 4,075, and in 2016 decreased to $ 2221.
The average monthly salary in 2017 as a whole for the country was $ 267 (in 2013 it exceeded $ 408), pensions are also 2.3 times lower than before the euro reform. Today, it is slightly more than $ 48, while in 2013 it was almost $ 112, " Medvedchuk said.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com
Dmitry , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 7:15 pm GMT@Felix KeverichFelix Keverich , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 8:16 pm GMT
Poland's level of GDP per capita is 6 times bigger than Ukraine's. They started out around the same level in 1991 and were supposed to follow the same playbook. To the extent that their paths diverged can be explained by Ukrainian corruption and incompetence.
Poland received hundreds of billions of dollars in EU subsidies and transfers. Not a fair comparison. Even still today they are receiving this transfer of wealth from net contributor countries in the EU (there's another good reason EU became unpopular in net contributor countries like the UK and the Netherlands):
Energy subsidies from Russia to the Ukraine are estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars since 1991. The Ukraine has been well subsidized since independence. What they have been desperately lacking is governance.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
YankeeFrank , February 25, 2018 at 7:38 amSkip Intro , February 25, 2018 at 11:03 am
Bill mentions the brain drain from Latvia, but I seem to recall a quite massive general emigration from the country during austerity, which also helped to "reduce unemployment" as well. The neoliberal "methodology" for "showing economic success" is moral and economic bankruptcy masquerading as "science". And wow. So we have Latvia to thank for the coming nuclear holocaust as well. A true neoliberal market miracle.
Lambert's two principles of neoliberalism are once again brought to mind:
#1 Because markets.
#2 Go die.The Rev Kev , February 25, 2018 at 8:40 am
All those 'excess' workers who left were helping keep wages low in the EU
In the sense that Latvia's future productivity is sacrificed for short-term benefits on the books, it starts to look like another asset-stripping scheme, and the costs are borne by workers in the EU.DJG , February 25, 2018 at 9:11 am
This is not the first time that Latvia has appeared on NC ( https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/latvias-economic-disaster-as-a-neoliberal-success-story-a-model-for-europe-and-the-us.html ) and probably won't be the last. What is it about neoliberalism that that seems to have corruption as part of its DNA?
Latvia already has one of the highest levels of poverty and income inequality in the EU and its population has dropped by about a fifth in the past 18 years which is a bit of a record considering that there was no war, that is, unless you count the neoliberal war on people. Some moved to the capital Riga but most bailed out of the country altogether and are not coming back. You can find whole blocks of empty buildings in some towns.
But don't worry. The Latvians are on the case. The head of the Latvian Central Bank detained for extortion and the Latvian Ministry of Defense both blame, you guessed it, Russia!
Lambert's two principles of neoliberalism may have to be updated. He already has
#1 Because markets.
#2 Go die.
He may have to modify the second one to say
#2 Go die or get the hell outta Dodge.edmondo , February 25, 2018 at 10:53 am
Now I may be prejudiced because the Gs came from deepest darkest Lithuania–and we're talking out in the endless woods in a village along a lake.
When people talk about population decline in Latvia, you are talking about part of the corruption. The native Latvians wanted a way of getting rid of the Russian population, many of whom are considered immigrants. So dropping 20 percent of the population means throwing out the Russians. When your "population policy " is based on something like that, you can image what the country's economic policies are like.
In contrast–although Lithuania, too, has lost some 10 – 15 percent of its population since restored independence–the Lithuanians came to terms, imperfect terms, with their smaller Polish and Russian minorities. Nevertheless, the Lithuanians didn't go whole-hog free-market fundamentalism. And when a recent president was found to be corrupt, they impeached him and threw him out.
So you have different models for how to survive as a Baltic State. Latvia has made a mess of its "model."Altandmain , February 25, 2018 at 12:15 pm
"Now of course that's still in a land where they had really severely repressed wages for the working class and for middle class, and continued to tolerate a fair degree of unemployment and underemployment for folks, as well. So, yeah it works really well for the oligarchs. And they do employ people. The unemployment rate drops, but the country invariably becomes extremely corrupt."
Was he still talking about Latvia or did he switch over to the USA?Massinissa , February 25, 2018 at 12:27 pm
There is a strong correlation between inequality and corruption.
Furthermore, in the medium term there is a causal relationship:
This would suggest that inflicting austerity on a population, which worsens inequality, will set the precedent for corruption in the future.Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm
Half a decade ago when Latvia was considered a success story for neoliberal austerity, one animator made this great satire video making fun of how farcical it was to consider it such.
Latvia also being part of that running sore which involves according to the US state department's last global estimate, about 800,000 to a million victims per annum of people trafficking. Of which around 80% are female, with a not stated amount being children, used for both labour & sexual purposes.
I suppose that it comes as little surprise that the 2 main flows of these commodities is from East to West & South to North.
Dec 25, 2017 | theduran.com
On Friday 21st December 2017 the Stockholm Arbitration Court made a ruling in the legal dispute between Ukraine's state owned gas monopoly Naftogaz and Russia's largely state owned gas monopoly Gazprom.
In the hours after the decision – which like all decisions of the Stockholm Arbitration Court – is not published, Naftogaz claimed victory in a short statement. However over the course of the hours which followed Gazprom provided details of the decision which suggests that the truth is the diametric opposite.The Duran recommends using WP Engine >>
Here is how the Financial Times reports the competing claims
Both Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom both on Friday claimed victory as a Stockholm arbitration tribunal issued the final award ruling in the first of two cases in a three-year legal battle between the state-controlled energy companies, where total claims stand at some $80bn.
An emailed statement from the Ukrainian company was titled:
"Naftogaz wins the gas sales arbitration case against Gazprom on all issues in dispute."Start your own website here >>
The Stockholm arbitration tribunal -- in its final award ruling in a dispute over gas supplies from prior years -- had, according to Naftogaz, struck down Gazprom's claim to receive $56bn for gas contracted but not supplied through controversial "take-or-pay" clauses. They were included in a supply contract Ukraine signed in 2009 after Gazprom dented supplies to the EU by cutting all flow amid a price dispute -- including transit through the country's vast pipeline systems. In a tweet Ukraine's foreign minister
Pavlo Klimkin wrote: "The victory of Naftogaz in the Stockholm arbitration: It's not a knockout, but three knockdowns with obvious advantage."
But later Gazprom countered that arbitors "acknowledged the main points of the contract were in effect and upheld the majority of Gazprom's demands for payment for gas supplies", worth over $2bn. A Naftogaz official responded that the company never refused to pay for gas supplied, but challenged price and conditions.
Given the tribunal does not make its decisions public, doubt loomed over which side was the ultimate winner. Anticipation also grew over the second and final tribunal award expected early next year over disputes both have concerning past gas transit obligations.
Friday's final Stockholm arbitration ruling follows a preliminary decision from last May after which both sides were given time to settle monetary claims outside of the tribunal but failed to reach agreement.
Here is the full Naftogaz statement:
"Today, the Tribunal at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has completely rejected Gazprom take-or-pay claims to Naftogaz amounting to USD 56 billion for 2009-2017.
- – Naftogaz succeeded at reducing future contract volume obligations by more than 10 times and made them relevant to its actual import needs.
- – Price for gas off-taken by Naftogaz in 2Q 2014 reduced 27% from USD 485/tcm to USD 352/tcm. – Naftogaz saved USD 1.8 billion on gas purchased in 2014-2015 due to revision of the contract price.
- – Destination clause and other discriminatory provisions were declared invalid to bring the contract in line with current European market standards.
- – Naftogaz estimates the total positive financial effect of the arbitration over the lifetime of the supply contract at over USD 75 billion.
- – Naftogaz claims up to USD 16 billion in transit contract arbitration against Gazprom; decision expected on 28 February 2018."
Gazprom said that in a separate decision on May 31 of this year, the tribunal denied Naftogaz's application to review prices from May 2011 to April 2014, ordered it to pay $14bn for gas supplies during that period, and said that the take-or-pay conditions applied for the duration of the contract. Gazprom claimed that Naftogaz would have to pay it $2.18bn plus interest of 0.03 per cent for every day the payments were late, and then pay for 5bn cm of gas annually starting next year.
When the different sides give opposite accounts of the same decision it obviously becomes difficult to say what the real decision actually is. However Gazprom says that the court upheld (1) the main provisions of the contract; (2) the contract's take-or-pay provisions, these being a particularly contentious issue in the contract; and (3) that Naftogaz has been ordered to pay Gazprom $2 billion, presumably immediately, with interest for every day the amount is unpaid.
By contrast the reduction in the gas price Naftogaz refers to from $485/tcm to $352 tcm which Naftogaz makes much of in its statement appears to apply only to gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom in the second quarter of 2014 and still sets the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom higher than was demanded by Ukraine during this period.
The key point here is that Russia agreed to reduce the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by an agreement Russia's President Putin reached with Ukraine's President Yanukovich in December 2013. After the Maidan coup the new Ukrainian government went back on the agreement causing the Russians to demand payment of the original price. However over the course of 2014, as energy prices began first to slide and then crashed, and as it became clear that Ukraine was simply not paying for its gas, Russia again reduced the price of the gas Ukraine had to pay.
What seems to have happened is that the Stockholm Arbitration Court decided to smooth out the price of gas payable by Ukraine throughout 2014, which is the sort of thing arbitration tribunals are regularly known to do, whilst leaving the essentials of the contract unchanged.
If so then this is not a victory by Ukraine but a clearcut defeat, which Naftogaz and the Ukrainian government have tried to spin into a victory by citing the reduction in the gas price in the second quarter of 2014 and the reduction in future gas import volumes, neither of which were contentious issues. By contrast it is clear that Ukraine and Naftogaz must pay the full contractual price and abide by the contract's take-or-pay provisions for the whole of the period of the contract prior to the second quarter of 2014.
What this means in terms of hard cash is that Ukraine must now pay Russia a further $2 billion on top of the $3 billion it was recently ordered to pay by the High Court in London. Just as it is holding back on paying the $3 billion it was ordered to pay by the High Court until the appeal process in London is finished, so it will try to hold off paying the $2 billion it has just been ordered to pay to Gazprom until the final decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Court (thus the brave talk of Naftogaz's claims of "up to $16 billion transit contract arbitration against Gazprom") but thereafter payment of the $2 billion will fall due. I say this because the claim Gazprom owes Naftogaz "up to" $16 billion in transit fees looks like it has been plucked out of the air.
What this means is that over the course of 2018 Ukraine will have to pay Russia $5 billion ($3 billion awarded by the High Court in London and $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court). Since the $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court is technically an arbitration award, Gazprom will need to convert it into a court Judgment before it can enforce it, but that is merely a formality. At that point this debt will become not merely due but legally enforceable as well.
Ukraine recently borrowed $3 billion on the international financial markets at very high interest almost certainly in order to pay the $3 billion the High Court in London has ordered it to pay Russia. Whilst the $2 billion is technically a debt owed by Naftogaz not Ukraine and its non-payment would does not place Ukraine in a state of sovereign default, Gazprom is in a position to enforce the debt against Naftogaz's assets (including gas it buys) in the European Economic Area. It is difficult to see how Naftogaz and Ukraine can avoid payment of this debt.
Has Ukraine actually gained anything from its long running gas dispute with Russia?
Naftogaz brags that Ukraine has saved up to $75 billion because it is no longer buying gas from Russia. However this begs the question of whether the gas Ukraine is now importing from Europe really is significantly cheaper than the gas Ukraine was buying from Russia? This is debatable and with energy prices rising it is likely to become even less likely over time.
Nov 29, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop , , November 28, 2017 at 2:13 pmHa, ha!!! The Victim Of The Aggressor Country seldom fails to entertain. Here we have VR Deputy Chairperson Ira Gerashchenko bossing Europe around , and telling it that the Victim Of The Aggressor Country's parliamentary delegation will continue to insist on Russia not returning to the Council of Europe. Because, she says, Russia has stolen part of the territory of the VOTAC which was a gift from Russia in the first place (although she doesn't mention that last part), thereby setting a precedent for every country which has a province 'liberated' by the west to term it stolen by the west. But that wasn't my favourite part. No; this is – "We live at the time of a certain degrading of European institutions and their external weakening, including by Russia. You can accept it and go with the flow but you can also recognize the fact try to resist it."
Beautiful, Ira!! Inspiring!! And how many degraded European leaders are Billionaires who openly own an impressive slate of businesses and media in their countries, which they continue to operate and profit from while piously declaring their only interest is the welfare of the country? Which is, by the bye, the most corrupt country in Europe ? How many Prosecutors-General has the VOTAC had since its glorious liberation from the yoke of the Moskali? Yes, you can certainly teach Yurrup a thing or two about integrity.
It must be embarrassing to be European these days. To be dressed down by the corrupt country you support on handouts because you are not doing enough to support it. First we had the 'Me' generation. Then we had the 'Me' country.
Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer , November 6, 2017 at 1:02 pmDid not the Kremlin Stooges predict this years ago?marknesop , November 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm
The international organization for migration has published official data which shows that every fourth prostitute in Europe is a citizen of Ukraine.
The article discusses pamphlets that are distributed to young Ukrainian girls/women advising them on how to survive and flourish in new realities of life in the EU.
the Ukrainian labor market is being formed and is growing. Even if there is no other work and none is expected, girls should know that Europe will take care of them. The younger generation of Ukrainian schoolgirls will find out how to apply themselves If you are involved in the sex business, then this brochure is for you," it is said in the introduction. "You have chosen a very dangerous profession, but if you always follow these simple rules, then you will get a chance to live a long life You shouldn't serve several clients alone, you should avoid drunk clients, and also always to take payment in advance. And when you go to the client's apartment, try to learn in what district of the city it is located, give preference to hotels".It's okay if you're a hooker, and all you have to sell is yourself. You have chosen a dangerous profession, but really the writing was on the wall, wasn't it, if only you'd had sense to read it? And the economic calamity which has come to pass in your country is really no concern of ours, while for our part we are not too upset at being offered the choice of some of the most beautiful young women on the planet, who will do anything you say for a handful of euros.
Here's to your bright new future in the EU. Incredible. I wonder if Poroshenko will tout this statistic as another validation of Ukrainians' confidence in his leadership.
Oct 10, 2017 | fish12a.livejournal.com
...The data were officially published on the website of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine. http://index.minfin.com.ua/index/debt/
Before the revolution, Ukraine's external debt was more than now: 142 billion dollars. Now, as of July 1, 2017 it is slightly less than 114 billion. How this can happen during civil war it is not very clear...
But the country's GDP in three years fell exactly two times. That's what typically happens during civil war. It was 183 billion dollars, and now became 93 billion. That means $2186 per capita in 2016 year... With the average salary around $150 a month and the average pension less then $80 a month.
Aug 26, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
moscowexile says: August 22, 2017 at 5:25 amDrutten says: August 22, 2017 at 6:49 am
The US has sent to the Ukraine its first consignment of coal
August 22, 11:28 UTC+3
The delivery price was $113 per ton
The beginning of the end for "Novorossiya"?
I am certain that is an interpretation that the resident troll will be eager to spout out.
Не секрет, что российский энергетический уголь Киев раньше закупал по 60-70 долларов за тонну. Донбасский обходился украинцам еще дешевле. Но затем официальный Киев под предлогом "войны с Москвой" отказался от дешевых энергоресурсов.
It is no secret that Kiev used to buy Russian power station coal at $60-70 per tonne. The Donbass made even cheaper deals with the Ukrainians . But then official Kiev, on the pretext of a "war with Moscow," refused cheap energy resources.
see: На Украину отправлена первая партия дорогого угля из СШАWho's paying for it? The IMF? So the money goes back to the U.S?moscowexile says: August 22, 2017 at 6:54 am
I've seen multiple instances of this occuring in Ukraine, i.e. the purchasing of unnecessarily expensive goods, with money they technically don't have. It's not always a "Russian substitution" thing either.
Somebody's laughing all the way to the bank, at least. Good on them.Somebody's laughing all the way to the bankmarknesop says: August 22, 2017 at 9:38 am
Swinish squeals of laughter coming from him above, that's for sure.
Furthermore, the pig is laughing all the way to the bank that he owns.That's their privilege. And they will be able to exercise it, in theory, for so long as the western taxpayer is prepared to see the IMF allot Ukraine money to buy energy at prices far higher than it could obtain it elsewhere. I daresay in the meantime someone else will buy Donbas coal. It's not like this is going to break them. Although the USA will pocket the taxpayers' money – again – which is one of its preferred ways of doing business.
Aug 25, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
August 23, 2017
Lyttenburgh , August 23, 2017 at 9:51 pm" seem to be smart enough not to concentrate in one region. "
Uh-huh. Thanks for update, et Al! Just recently the Ukrian Foreign ministry revealed data pertaining to the "success" of the Sacred BezViz. They claim that 200 000 of the Ukrainians used it since its inception on 11 June this year. How much is it compared to other years – I have no data ATM. The №1 destination place of these tourists surprised me – it's Barcelona! Second place hold Rome, third one – Paris, 4 – Milan, 5 – Lissabon Not Poland and not Germany though.
Meanwhile rumours abound about "New Europeans" (mostly – from the Baltic states) illegally transporting Ukrainians to Ireland and Britain to work as literally slaves there. Also there was a general noise about the increase of the Ukrainian gasterbaiters in Poland.
The idea that Germany should pay is not a new one. PiS just tries to make Poland enter the elite club of the "suffering nations", browbeat the entire world into accepting their own unique "tragic history" and then beg for monies. Their mistake is twofold. First – they disperse their energy and attention at many "tragedies" at once. Look at Israel and the Ukraine! They get this martyrology business model right – focus on one event (Shoah/Holodomor) and proclaim it as unique and reparations worthy.
And what the PiS does? Kaczynski has suggested to have a monthly anniversary of the Smolensk crash to be hosted in April 2018; for a grand total of 96 months (the number of victims). He also expressed a hopeful notion that "we will learn the truth by then" (aka "Tusk/KGB did it!").
Each progressive monthly anniversary costs more to field and takes more policemen to act as security. It is siad, that the previous monthlyversary required 2000 policemen for about 2.5 thousand people and about 500 people from the countermanifestation. First monthlyversaries only had 50 or so policemen standing guard.
Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Cortes , July 22, 2017 at 12:21 pmAnother scandal is the deteriorating public health situation in Banderastan.yalensis , July 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm
Do none of the "leaders" have even a smidgeon of shame over the disgraceful dismantling of a system built on lessons learned over two hundred years of advances in measures to improve public health?
Disgusting doesn't come close to summing up the effects of the "reforms.""Unfortunately, experts say that Ukrainian-American health minister Ulana Suprun, who replaced Kvitashvili in April 2016, is too busy lobbying for the closure of hospitals and clinics to pay attention to the looming crisis."
Suprun is the one we talked about before, the offspring of a Canadian Banderite family.
Dubious that her conscious goal is to destroy the Ukrainian people; but in essence, that's what she is doing, brought on by a false ideology.
Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
cartman , July 23, 2017 at 11:38 amG7 Ambassadors Support Cutting of Pensions in the Ukrainemarknesop , July 23, 2017 at 12:13 pmSo when you cut through all the steam and the boilerplate, how do they plan to do it so it's fairer to poor Ukrainians, but the state spends less?Cortes , July 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm
Ah. They plan to raise the age at which you qualify for a pension , doubtless among other money-savers. If the state plays its cards right, the target demographic wil work all its adult life and then die before reaching pensionable age. But as usual, we must be subjected to the usual western sermonizing about how the whole initiative is all about helping people and doing good.
This is borne out in one of the other 'critical reforms' the IMF insisted upon before releasing its next tranche of 'aid' – a land reform act which would allow Ukraine to sell off its agricultural land in the interests of 'creating a market'. Sure: as if. Land-hungry western agricultural giants like Monsanto are drooling at the thought of getting their hands on Ukraine's rich black earth plus a chink in Europe's armor against GMO crops. Another possible weapon to use against Russia would be the growing of huge volumes of GMO grain so as to weaken the market for Russian grains.And pollution of areas of Russian soil from blown in GMO seeds. Creating facts on the ground.Patient Observer , July 24, 2017 at 4:18 amAnother element of the plan to reduce pension obligations is the dismantling of whatever health care system that remain in the Ukraine. That is a twofer – save money on providing medical services and shortening the life span. This would be another optimization of wealth generation for the oligarchs and for those holding Ukraine debt.Jen , July 24, 2017 at 5:03 amI can just see Ukrainian health authorities giving away free cigarettes to patients and their families next!yalensis , July 24, 2017 at 2:30 pm
That remark was partly facetious and partly serious: life these days in the Ukraine sounds so surreal that I wouldn't put it past the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine to come up with the most hare-brained "reform" initiatives.Nine out of ten doctors recommend Camels.Patient Observer , July 24, 2017 at 6:09 pm
The other one doctor is a woman, who smokes Virginia Slims.
I recall a news story about the adverse effects of a reduction in smoking on the US Social Security Trust Fund. Those actuaries make those calculations for a living. The trouble with shortening life spans via cancer is that end-of-life treatment tends to be very expensive unless people do not have or have very basic health insurance, then there is a likely net gain. Alcohol, murder and suicides are generally much more efficient economically. I just depressed myself.kirill , July 24, 2017 at 8:09 pmSomething does not add up. Any government expenditure is an economic stimulus. The only potentially negative aspect is taxation. Since taxation is not excessive and in fact too small on key layers (e.g. companies and the rich), there is no negative aspect to government spending on pensions. So we have here narrow-definition accounting BS.Jen , July 25, 2017 at 4:56 amAgree that in a world where the people, represented by their governments, are in charge of money creation and governments ran their financial systems independently of Wall Street and Washington, any government spending would be welcomed as stimulating economic production and development. The money later recirculates back to the government when the people who have jobs created by government spending pay the money back through purchases of various other government goods and services or through their taxes.marknesop , July 25, 2017 at 9:18 am
But in capitalist societies where increasingly banks are becoming the sole creators and suppliers of money, government spending incurs debts that have to be paid back with interest. In the past governments also raised money for major public projects by issuing treasury bonds and securities but that doesn't seem to happen much these days.
Unfortunately also Ukraine is surviving mainly on IMF loans and the IMF certainly doesn't want the money to go towards social welfare spending.In fact, the IMF specifically intervenes to prevent spending loan money on social welfare, as a condition of extending the loan. That might have been true since time out of mind for all I know, but it certainly was true after the first Greek bailout, when leaders blew the whole wad on pensions and social spending so as to ensure their re-election. They then went sheepishly back to the IMF for a second bailout. So there are good and substantial reasons for insisting the loan money not be wasted in this fashion, as that kind of spending customarily does not generate any meaningful follow-on spending by the recipients, and is usually absorbed by the cost of living.Patient Observer , July 25, 2017 at 7:07 pm
But as we are all aware, such IMF interventions have a definite political agenda as well. In Ukraine's case, the IMF with all its political inveigling is matched against a crafty oligarch who will lift the whole lot if he is not watched. Alternatively, he might well blow it all on social spending to ensure his re-election, thus presenting the IMF with a dilemma in which it must either continue to support him, or cause him to fall.In an economy based on looting, it makes perfect sense. Money flows only one way until its all gone.
Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop , July 25, 2017 at 9:59 amHa, ha, ha!!! "Russia seems to have corrupted rational conversation about foreign policy"!!! I couldn't believe it – that suety smug dick Tucker was doing so well, but he had to blame Russia for the fact that the United States made up so many things that Russia allegedly did, but in fact did not. The reflex was just too strong.
You could almost hear heads exploding in Washington, too, when she said "Our so-called allies like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar "
Jul 20, 2017 | "https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/the-credibility-gap-that-ought-to-be/comment-page-6/#comment-175430"> marknesop.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile says: July 19, 2017 at 3:35 am The United States has almost tripled the cost of metallurgical coal for the Ukraine compared to 2016 (report of U.S. Department of Energy). In January-March 2017 Kiev bought coal at $206 per tonne, and a year earlier the price was $71 dollars. The volume of supply has increased from 355 thousand to 865 thousand tons over the same period this year the value of American coal for some countries has declined. In particular, Norway has purchased the fuel at $125 per ton, a year, and earlier for $140.
Who can answer the question why the Junta pays nearly twice the price for the same coal pay.
See: ,a href="http://mikle1.livejournal.com/7700305.html">Межгосударственная угольная коррупция
Interstate coal corruption
Тлеющая дружба: США почти в три раза увеличили цены на уголь для Украины в 2017 году
Smouldering friendship: up to 2017 the United States has almost threefold increased the price of coal for the Ukraine
Apr 12, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.comWarren , April 10, 2017 at 4:36 amUkraine's central bank chief resignsLyttenburgh , April 10, 2017 at 10:26 am
The governor of Ukraine's central bank, Valeriya Gontareva, has resigned the post after three years, following intense pressure from tycoons whose banks she shut down for conducting illegal transactions and loans.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39551699Meanwhile her personal wealth after 3 years in chrage of Ukraine's finances (read: of the Western donors money) MYSTERIOUSLY increased to 7 blns of hryvnias and entire squadron of luxury cars (from 3.5 mln hryvnas upwards each). What can I say? Здобулы!cartman , April 10, 2017 at 11:15 am
http://vesti-ukr.com/svetskie-vesti/90064-gontareva-ezdit-na-pjati-avto-i-uzhinaet-u-bassejnaI wonder if Nabiullina has a pink Barbie car. Probably not to her taste.Jen , April 10, 2017 at 10:43 pmI think we've found Dave Cameron's soul mate.Moscow Exile , April 10, 2017 at 10:47 pmYou are not suggesting that she resembles Miss Piggy, are you?Jen , April 11, 2017 at 12:49 amShe looks the type to put Call-Me-Dave in his place, which is in a pig sty.et Al , April 10, 2017 at 11:18 amNeuters: Ukraine president's grip weakens as central bank chief quits
If Ukraine's central bank chief needed any more incentive to quit, last week she woke up to find the image of a pig draped in a Russian flag spray-painted onto the wall of her house and a gaggle of young protesters calling her a Russian stooge.
After a sustained hate campaign that also included a coffin laid at her door, Valeria Gontareva finally quit on Monday.
Her departure, with no obvious candidate for a successor, leaves President Petro Poroshenko with one fewer ally in power at a time when lenders keeping Ukraine afloat already question his ability to follow through on promised reforms .
Ukraine has faded from the American national consciousness as other, even more recent and far more spectacular foreign policy fiascos - Syria, Libya and the Islamic State - overwhelm our capacity to catalog them.
... ... ...
Obama's delicate carrot-and-stick approach hasn't worked, and the long-simmering Ukrainian kettle threatens to boil into the worst crisis in relations between Moscow and Washington since the Cold War.
... ... ...
The optimism created by the 2013-2014 "EuroMaidan" street demonstrations was short-lived. Prime Minister Arseniy Petrovych Yatsenyuk was forced to resign in April against a backdrop of permanent political crisis and high-profile charges of corruption.
... ... ...
Perhaps most dispiriting of all, even those Ukrainian activists, politicians, and journalists who are portrayed as true reformers appear likewise unable to resist the temptation to engage in the systemic looting of the Ukrainian economy.
In early September, the New Yorker magazine dedicated several thousand words to three citizen-journalists who now serve in the Ukrainian Parliament. Like other western media outlets, the New Yorker portrayed Sergei Leshchenko, Svitlana Zalishchuk, and Mustafa Nayem as dedicated journalists - new faces who sought election to parliament as part of President Poroshenko's bloc in the wake of the Maidan street protests, which Nayem helped organize.
Now, however, Leshchenko's post-election acquisition of high-end housing has attracted the attention of the Anti-Corruption Agency of Ukraine, an investigatory body that was established at the urging of the United States. Last week, the Anti-Corruption Agency forwarded the Leshchenko file to the special prosecutor's office tasked with corruption fighting. Leshchenko could not explain the source of the income that allowed him to buy the residence, loan documents are missing, and the purchase price was allegedly below market
The owner of the building, according to Ukrainian media accounts, is Ivan Fursin, the partner of mega-oligarch Dmytro Firtash.
Recent reports have revealed that Leshchenko's expenses for attending international forums were paid for by the oligarch Viktor Pinchuk who also contributed $8,6 million to the Clinton Foundation While Leshchenko remains the toast of the western media and Washington think tanks, back at home, his fellow reformers in the Parliament are calling on him to resign until his name is cleared.
Meanwhile, the next president is sure to find Ukraine besieged on all sides: With Russian troops and pro-Russian rebels at its throat and corruption destroying it from within -and as the Leshchenko scandal suggests, not all in Ukraine is what it appears to be.
The new president must learn to discern Ukraine's true reformers from those who made anti-corruption crusades into a lucrative business, and be able to distinguish real action from empty words.
If not, the two and a half decades-long Ukrainian experiment with independence may boil over completely.
marknesop.wordpress.commarknesop , July 24, 2016 at 8:05 pmWow; there's still endemic corruption in Ukraine – who knew? And Poroshenko is the richest among the leaders of Europe, while he leads what must be just about Europe's poorest country. Ordinarily, the press would be all over a dichotomy like that. I guess reporting on Ukraine requires a suspension of curiosity.
"Anastasia Krasnosilska of the Anti-Corruption Action Center of Ukraine, said Poroshenko has only tackled abuses because of foreign pressure and then only after lengthy foot-dragging.
"All recent successes in the fight against corruption were made possible because of pressure from the EU, IMF, and civil society," she said to CBC News. "If it weren't for the conditionalities the foreign donors and lenders imposed, and the feeling that the eye of foreign governments is on Ukraine, there would have been no reform."
And it's starting to have an effect.
"According to the Kyiv Post, the IMF is planning to reduce a loan to Ukraine from a planned $1.7 billion to $1 billion over corruption concerns.
Valeria Gontareva, Poroshenko's Porsche-driving political ally and business partner who now heads the National Bank of Ukraine, says she isn't concerned. "It's not a big deal for us," she told the publication, although the shortfall is equal to the total amount Canada has given to Ukraine since the Maidan rebellion ended in February 2014."
And yet the Ukrainian government still keeps on mouthing it up to the country's most likely saviour – Russia. Although things have probably gone too far for that now, thanks to the west trying to muscle into a position where whatever Russia does to benefit Ukraine benefits the west.
Aug 18, 2016 | The New York Times
MOSCOW - The Ukrainian authorities, under pressure to bolster their assertion that once-secret accounting documents show cash payments from a pro-Russian political party earmarked for Donald J. Trump's campaign chairman, on Thursday released line-item entries, some for millions of dollars.
The revelations also point to an outsize role for a former senior member of the pro-Russian political party, the Party of Regions, in directing money to both Republican and Democratic advisers and lobbyists from the United States as the party tried to burnish its image in Washington.
The former party member, Vitaly A. Kalyuzhny, for a time chairman of the Ukraine Parliament's International Relations Committee, had signed nine times for receipt of payments designated for the Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, according to Serhiy A. Leshchenko, a member of Parliament who has studied the documents. The ledger covered payments from 2007 to 2012, when Mr. Manafort worked for the party and its leader, Viktor F. Yanukovych, Ukraine's former president who was deposed.
Mr. Kalyuzhny was also a founding board member of a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, that hired the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm that received $1.02 million to promote an agenda generally aligned with the Party of Regions.
Because the payment was made through a nongovernmental organization, the Podesta Group did not register as a lobbyist for a foreign entity. A co-founder of the Podesta Group, John D. Podesta, is chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and his brother, Tony Podesta, runs the firm now.
The role of Mr. Kalyuzhny, a onetime computer programmer from the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, in directing funds to the companies of the chairmen of both presidential campaigns, had not previously been reported. Mr. Kalyuzhny was one of three Party of Regions members of Parliament who founded the nonprofit.
The Associated Press, citing emails it had obtained, also reported Thursday that Mr. Manafort's work for Ukraine included a secret lobbying effort in Washington that he operated with an associate, Rick Gates, and that was aimed at influencing American news organizations and government officials.
Mr. Gates noted in the emails that he conducted the work through two lobbying firms, including the Podesta Group, because Ukraine's foreign minister did not want the country's embassy involved. The A.P. said one of Mr. Gates's campaigns sought to turn public opinion in the West against Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister who was imprisoned during Mr. Yanukovych's administration.
The Podesta Group, in a statement, said its in-house counsel determined the company had no obligation to register as a representative of a foreign entity in part because the nonprofit offered assurances it was not "directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party."
Reached by phone on Thursday, a former aide to Mr. Kalyuzhny said he had lost contact with the politician and was unsure whether he remained in Kiev or had returned to Donetsk, now the capital of a Russian-backed separatist enclave.
Ukrainian officials emphasized that they did not know as yet if the cash payments reflected in the ledgers were actually made. In all 22 instances, people other than Mr. Manafort appear to have signed for the money. But the ledger entries are highly specific with funds earmarked for services such as exit polling, equipment and other services.
On Monday, Mr. Manafort issued a heated statement in response to an article in The New York Times that first disclosed that the ledgers - a document described by Ukrainian investigators as an under-the-table payment system for the Party of Regions - referenced a total of $12.7 million in cash payments to him over a five-year period.
In that statement, Mr. Manafort, who was removed from day-to-day management of the Trump campaign on Wednesday though he retained his title, denied that he had personally received any off-the-books cash payments. "The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical," he said.
Mr. Manafort's statement, however, left open the possibility that cash payments had been made to his firm or associates. And details from the ledgers released Thursday by anticorruption investigators suggest that may have occurred. Three separate payments, for example, totaling nearly $5.7 million are earmarked for Mr. Manafort's "contract."
Another, from October 2012, suggests a payment to Mr. Manafort of $400,000 for exit polling, a legitimate campaign outlay.
Two smaller entries, for $4,632 and $854, show payments for seven personal computers and a computer server.
The payments do not appear to have been reported by the Party of Regions in campaign finance disclosures in Ukraine. The party's 2012 filing indicates outlays for expenses other than advertising of just under $2 million, at the exchange rate at the time. This is less than a single payment in the black ledger designated for "Paul Manafort contract" in June of that year for $3.4 million.
Ukrainian investigators say they consider any under-the-table payments illegal, and that the ledger also describes disbursements to members of the central election committee, the group that counts votes.
Correction: August 20, 2016
Because of an editing error, an article on Friday about the political activities in Ukraine of Donald J. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, misidentified the office once held by Yulia V. Tymoshenko, a rival of Mr. Manafort's client, the former president Viktor F. Yanukovych. Ms. Tymoshenko served as prime minister of Ukraine, not its president.
New documents released by hackers who compromised George Soros' Open Society Foundations raise serious questions about the Hungarian billionaire's role in Ukraine.A leaked document, from the massive 2,500 file dump by DC Leaks of George Soros' most sensitive Open Society Foundations communications, show the inordinate amount of power and authority the Hungarian billionaire wielded over Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of the Maidan government overthrow.
Soros, along with key executives from the Open Society Foundations, held extensive meetings with nearly every actor involved in the Maidan coup including Ukraine's Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Health and Education as well as US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and the regional director of USAID. However, the documents do exclude one key official, Victoria Nuland, who was allegedly involved in steering the opposition to the Yanukovych government.
The records focus on plans to minimize and counter Russian influence and cultural ties to Ukraine with a focus towards steering Kiev towards social and economic reforms that Soros favored. The Hungarian billionaire has not been bashful about his acts or intent to influence politics in Ukraine establishing the NGO, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) to spearhead the formation of the "New Ukraine."
Most troubling in the document leak appears to be a file titled "Breakfast with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt" to discuss Ukraine's future. In the meeting, which took place on March 31, 2014, just months after the Maidan coup and weeks prior to civil strife following Ukrainian forces assault on Donbass, US Ambassador Pyatt outlines a PR war against Putin, a position George Soros viewed favorably in the meeting.
"The short term issue that needs to be addressed will be the problem in getting the message out from the government through professional PR tools, especially given Putin's own professional smear campaigns," said the US Ambassador.
George Soros responded, "Agreement on the strategic communications issue – providing professional PR assistance to the Ukrainian government would be very useful."
Pyatt seemed open to the idea of guiding Ukraine towards a decentralization of power just short of Lavrov's recommendation for a federalized Ukraine, but George Soros pushed back stating that a federalization model would result in Russia gaining influence over eastern regions of the country which the Hungarian billionaire disapproved of.
The Ambassador noted that Secretary of State John Kerry "would be interested to hear George Soros' views on the situation directly, upon return from his trip" raising the question why one wealthy foreign individual, neither from Ukraine nor Russia, had such access to influence American policy.
Ambassador Pyatt's position towards decentralization also appeared to shake as the correspondence continued saying that the "Russian propaganda machine is telling Kharkhiv and Donbass residents that the government in Western Ukraine is looking to take away their resources and rights through the decentralization process, feeding into Lavrov's line that the Ukrainian government is dysfunctional and not successful as a unitary state, making it a necessity to have federalization.
Then, in a full capitulation, the American diplomat point blank asks George Soros, "what should the US government be doing and what is the US government currently doing."
To which, George Soros responded, "Obama has been too soft on Putin, and there is a need to impose potent smart sanctions." He then called on the US government to "impose sanctions on Russia for 90 days or until the Russian government recognizes the results of the presidential elections."
In a separate meeting, titled "Civil Society Roundtable Meeting," George Soros directly calls for the formation of a Ukrainian "fifth column" – a group whose sole purpose is to undermine a larger group – in order to push Ukraine away from Russia.
"We would rather have people there as fifth column – pivotal thing for future of Ukrainian society – continue to work with Crimean people" said the document regarding the disputed territory only highlighting that there was potentially improper interference by Soros in Ukraine's civil society.
Aug 19, 2016 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by Alex Christoforou via TheDuran.com,
Last week we reported on the DC Leaks hack of what was over 2,500 documents detailing how George Soros and his NGOs influence world leaders, drive foreign policy, and help to create unrest in sovereign nations, that many times leads to chaos and civil war.
One country of particular focus for George Soros and his NGOs is Ukraine. It is now accepted fact that Soros was deeply involved in the Maiden protests in 2014 and the violent coup, that saw a democratically elected government overthrown in the name of "EU values". What is even more troubling, as revealed by the DC Leaks hack, is how Soros and his network of "non-profit organisations" worked to lobby EU member states into not only buying his Ukraine "Maidan" narrative, but to also disavow any ties and support for Russia.
Leaked documents show that George Soros was active in mapping out the Greek media landscape with generous grants, so as to further his Ukraine project, while also using his deep pockets to get Greek media to turn against the Russian Federation…in what can only be described as a well-funded and orchestrated smear campaign.
In one document entitled: "Open Society Initiative For Europe (OSIFE). Mapping the Ukrainian debate in Greece" (Ukraine and Europe-greece-tor ukraine debate mapping greece.docx), Soros offers a consultant a remuneration of $6,500 (gross) for "at least 15 full working days in carrying out this task" plus all expenses paid.
The aim of this task:
The consultant is expected to chart the main players in the Greek debate on Ukraine, outline the key arguments and their evolution in the past 18 months. Specifically, the report will take stock of any existing polling evidence provide a 'who is who?' with information about at least
– 6 newspapers,
– 10 audiovisual outlets (TV and radio),
– 6 internet sites,
– About 50 opinion leaders and trends in social networks.
Categorize the main strains of discussion and eventually identify different sides / camps of the discussion.
Provide a brief account of how Russia has tried to influence the Greek debate on Ukraine through domestic actors and outlets
Include a section with recommendations on
– What are the spaces OSF should engage and would most likely to have impact?
– What are the voices (of reason or doubt) that should be amplified?
Open Society Initiative For Europe (OSIFE) selected Iannis Carras for the Greek media mapping grant. The justification why he was chosen…
All contracts were for the same amount. We needed to find highly specialized researchers to map the debate on Ukraine in Europe, therefore we identified a shortlist of candidates in consultation with colleagues in the Think Tank Fund, OSEPI and in consultation with members of the OSIFE board and chose the most qualified who could produce the report in the time allowed. I n the case of Greece we agreed that Iannis Carras, an economic and social historian of Balkan and Russian relations with expert knowledge of Greece's NGOs and social movements, was the best suited to the task.
What is even more interesting is not the grant from OSIFE, but a letter from grant winner Carras to a person named Mathew (another Greek speaker???), outlining his plan in detail for pushing Soros' Ukraine agenda in Greece.
Of significance is how Carras tells Mathew about Greek society's overall suspicion of The Open Society after the roll in played in seeding unrest in Yugoslavia. Carras even tells Mathew to not mention The Open Society in Greece.
"Do you want your name to appear alongside mine on the paper? Do make comments on all of the below.
In general, and at your discretion, do not say you are doing this for Open Society because it is likely to close down doors. There's a lot of suspicion about Open Society in Greece, mainly because of its positions vis-à-vis the former Yugoslavia. As I am simultaneously writing an article for Aspen Review Eastern Europe that can be used as the organisation for which research like this is taking place."
Carras then goes on to outline his approach in manipulating Greek society, covering topics such as:
2. Political parties and think tanks
3. Opinion polls.
4. Business relations.
5. Religious and cultural ties.
6. Migration and diaspora.
7. Greece and Ukraine in the context of Greece's economic crisis.
8. Greece, Ukraine and the Cyprus issue.
9. Names and brief description of significant actors: a 'who is who?' with information on at least 50 opinion leaders
Carras notes how Russia has much goodwill in Greece, exercising "significant soft power". Carras notes that Greece is, at this moment, a weak player in the Ukraine debate and the Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias realises this.
Summary: I am working on the hypotheses largely born out by the interviews carried out so far that Russia has significant soft power in Greece though this does not easily convert into hard power (e.g. vetoing EU sanctions). Greeks are basically not very interested in Ukraine and the crisis there. They reflect and understand that conflict through their own economic crisis and their relations with Europe (nowadays primarily Europe and not US). To the extent that relations with Europe remain the focus and do not go off the rails, Greece will bark but will not bite. If they improve, Greece might not even bark (as can be seen with Greece's policy on Israel, Kotzias can be very much a realist).
Carras does warn that should Greece's economic situation deteriorate further, than Greece may very well look to Russia for support, and this has implications on the Ukraine plan.
If they deteriorate however, Greece will be looking to Russia for increased support and will alter its Ukraine policies accordingly. Do you agree with these hypotheses? Can you find confirmation for or against them in the media outlets examined?
Carras places extra emphasis on influencing the media in Greece, citing various large news outlets that the Soros NGO can target, including approaching left wing and right wing blogs.
This is the bulk of the work (we have to think about how to divide the work up). We have to provide a 'who is who?' with information about at least 6 newspapers, 10 audio-visual outlets (TV and radio) and 6 internet sites. Some of these will be obvious, but, even in these cases, change over time (at least eighteen months) is an important consideration. Here are some suggestions for newspapers: Kathimerini, Avgi, Ta Nea, Vima, Efymerida Syntakton, Eleutherotypia, Proto Thema, Rizospastis? etc. What else? Protagon? Athens Review of Books? (info on Kotzias). As for TV, we'll just do the main ones. What about left wing blogs? What about commercial radio stations? I think we should cover Aristera sta FM. Sky. What else? Anything from the nationalist and far right? My choice would be Ardin (already looking at this) which at least tries to be serious. Patria is even more unsavoury. I'll deal with the religious web sites in the culture and religion appendix. I think we should interview Kostas Nisenko ( http://www.kathimerini.gr/757296/article/epikairothta/kosmos/viaih-epi8e... ) and Kostas Geropoulos of New Europe to get into the issues involved… not at all sure though that it's advisable to talk to the Russia correspondents Thanasis Avgerinos, Dimitris Liatsos, Achileas Patsoukas etc. (I know all of them). Also if we come across articles with interesting information on any one of the topics, we should mail them to one another.
Attention is placed on influencing political parties. Carras sees this as a more difficult task, as parties in Greece would not be warm towards turning their back on Russia.
Who if anyone deals with Russia / Ukraine within each of the political parties? How important are political parties in formulating policies? (my hunch is totally unimportant). I must admit I have little idea of how to proceed with this one, but I have written to the academic Vassilis Petsinis and I hope I'll get to skype with him soon. Think-tanks are easier, and, I think, more important. I have already interviewed Thanos Dokos (director Greek foreign policy institute, ELIAMEP) in person.
Carras notes how he has approached various religious leaders, academics and actors, to gauge a sense of how deep Russia's influence and "soft power" runs in Greek society and culture.
So far I have interviewed by telephone Metropolitan John of Pergamum (one of the top figures in the inner circle of the Istanbul based Ecumenical Patriarchate). I have read Metropolitan Nektarios of the Argolid's recent book (2014), "Two bullets for Donetsk". I have tried but so far not succeeded in contacting Metropolitan Nektarios himself, and have started work on two of the main religious news websites romfea.gr and amen.gr .
With respect to culture I intend to contact Georgos Livathinos, leading director of Russian and other plays and Lydia Koniordou, actress. Also the management of the Onassis Centre, particularly Afroditi Panagiotakou, the executive vice-director who is quite knowledgeable in this field having travelled to both Ukraine and Russia.
In 2016 Greece and Russia will be hosting each other as the focus of cultural events in the two respective countries. I will be looking to understand the extent to which Russia's unparalleled cultural soft-power might translate into Greek policy making.
Greek military is the final point of influence, with Carras interviewing Ambassadors and policy decision makers.
Foreign policy and the Greek military. So far I have interviewed in person Ambassador Elias Klis (formerly ambassador of Greece to Moscow, advisor to the current Foreign Minister, advisor to the Greek Union of Industrialists. He is perhaps the single most important person for understanding Greek-Russian diplomatic relations at present). Ambassador Alexandros Philon (formerly ambassador of Greece to Washington, to whom I am related). Captain Panos Stamou (submarines, extensive contacts in Crimea, also secretary and leading light of the Greek-Russian historical association) who emphasised the non-political tradition of the Greek armed forces. Tempted to talk to Themos Stoforopoulos for a nationalist left wing view. I have also read foreign minister Kotzias' latest book. All of this has provided me with useful insights for appendices 7 and 8, and particularly for the connection to the Cyprus issue (which at the moment Greece is very keen to downplay).
Carras places an emphasis on Cyprus, perhaps recognising the islands affinity to support Russia and its large Russian diaspora community.
The recommendations will be for the medium and the short term, cited here based on interviews carried out so far. Medium term recommendations will include a cultural event (to be specified later) and a one-day conference on Ukraine and international law, citing precedents for dealing with the situation in Ukraine (particularly Cyprus). Recommendations may include capacity building for local Ukrainian migrant spokesperson(s). Short term recommendations will include an action pack on what Greece has at stake in Ukraine, and ways to narrate parallels in interactions between nation and empire vis-à-vis Greece / Ukraine. Think about whether these work / what else we might recommend?
Both of the documents are below...
marknesop.wordpress.comMoscow Exile , July 26, 2016 at 9:34 am
... ... ...
The other day on the pages of "Correspondent" that quoted figures given by the State Statistics Service there was published data on the Ukrainian demographic catastrophe. It turns out that the population of the Ukraine (excluding the Crimea) as of January 1, 2016, amounted to 42,76,500 people, which is 6.3% or 2,873,000 persons fewer than there were in January 1, 2012 .
That is to say, the number of Ukrainian citizens has been reduced by approximately 3 million people over a period of 5 years. If this sad trend continues, then in 70 years no "Ukrainians" will remain.
Recent opinion polls show 70 percent of Ukrainians supporting Yatsenyuk's ouster and only one percent backing his People's Front parliamentary bloc.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned last week that it was "hard to see" how the bailout could continue without Ukraine pushing through the economic restructuring and anti-corruption measures it had signed on to when the package was agreed.
Ukraine's economy shrank by about 10 percent last year while annual inflation soared to more than 43 percent even with the Western assistance in place.
www.unz.comAnd make no doubt about it – a collapse is exactly what it is, and it afflicts way more of the country than just the war-wracked Donbass. Ukraine now vies with Moldova for the country with the lowest average wages in Europe.
Gabon with snow ? Saakashvili is hopelessly optimistic. That would actually be a big improvement!
GDP is at 60% of its 1990 Level
As of this year, the country with the most pro-Western revolutions is also the poorest performing post-Soviet economy bar none. This is a not unimpressive achievement considering outcomes here have tended to disappoint rather than elate. Russia itself, current GDP at about 110% of its 1990 level, has nothing to write home about (though "statist" Belarus, defying neoliberal conventional wisdom, at a very respectable 200% does have something to boast about).
Back in 2010 , although by far the worst performing heavily industrialized Soviet economy, Ukraine was still performing better relative to its position in 1990 than Moldova, Tajikistan, and Georgia. In the intervening 5 years – with a 7% GDP decline in 2014 which has widened to a projected 9% in 2015 – Ukraine has managed to slip to rock bottom .
How does this look like on a more human level?Housing Construction is Similar to That of 5 Million Population Russian Provinces
With a quarter of its population, Belarus is constructing as much new accomodation as is Ukraine. 16 million strong Kazakhstan is building more. Russia – more than ten times as much, even though it has less than four times as many people.
The seaside Russian province of Krasnodar Krai, which hosted the Sochi Winter Olympics, with its 5 million inhabitants, is still constructing more than half as much housing as all of Ukraine. No wonder the Crimeans were so eager to leave.New Vehicle Sales Collapse to 1960s Levels
The USSR might have famously concentrated on guns over butter, yet even so, even in terms of an item as infamously difficult to acquire as cars under socialism, Ukrainian consumers were better off during the 1970-1990 period than today. Now Ukrainians are buying as few new cars as they were doing in the catastrophic 1990s, and fewer even than during the depth of the 2009 recession.
And even so many Maidanists continue to giggle at "sovoks" and "vatniks." Well, at least they now make up for having even less butter than before with the Azovets "innovative tank." Armatas are quaking in fear looking at that thing.Debt to GDP Ratio at Critical Levels
And this figure would have risen further to around 100% this year.
Note that 60% is usually considered to be the critical danger zone for emerging market economies. This is the approximate level at which both Russia and Argentina fell into their respective sovereign debt crises.
To be fair, the IMF has indicated it will be partial to flouting its own rules to keep Ukraine afloat, which is not too surprising since it is ultimately a tool of Western geopolitical influence. And if as projected the Ukrainian economy begins to recover this year, then there is a fair chance that crisis will ultimately be averted.
But it will be a close shave, and so long as the "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" oligarchs who rule Ukraine continue siphoning off money by the billions to their offshore accounts with impunity, nothing can be ruled out.Resumption of Demographic Collapse
Much like the rest of the post-Soviet Slavic world, Russia had a disastrous 1990s in demographic terms, when mortality rates soared and birth rates plummeted. But like Russia – if to a lesser extent – it has since staged a modest recovery, incidentally with the help of a Russian-style "maternal capital" program. In 2008, it reached a plateau in birth rates, which was not significantly uninterrupted by the 2009 recession.
Since then, however, they have plummeted – exactly nine months after the February 2014 coup. The discreteness with which this happened together with the fact that the revolt in the Donbass took a further couple of months to get going after the coup proper implies that this fertility decline was likely a direct reaction to the Maidan and what it portended for the future.
This collapse is very noticeable even after you completely remove all traces of Crimea, Donetsk, and Lugansk oblasts which might otherwise muddy the waters (naturally, the demographic crisis in all its aspects has been much worse in the region that bore the brunt of Maidanist chiliastic fervor). Here are the Ukrstat figures for births and deaths in the first ten months of 2013, 2014, and 2015:
Births Deaths 2013 350658 441331 2014 354622 445236 2015 329308 450763
Furthermore, this period has seen a huge wave of emigration. Figures can only be guesstimated, but it is safe to say they are well over a million to both Russia and the EU.
The effects of this will continue to be felt long after any semblance of normalcy returns to Ukraine.
John Smith -> caliento , 4 Jan 2016 20:28
Jan 4, 2016 | theguardian.comBenladan , 4 Jan 2016 19:12The Guardian is politely silent about of hundreds productions, level of education, population (52 millions in 1991, 42 in 2015), infrastructure and other "products from glorifying communism" which have heard "farewell" too...abecedadeda -> Benladan , 4 Jan 2016 19:42Like if there wasn't for communism then there wouldn't be productions, educated population or infrastructure? How did they manage do build all of that in Western Europe even without communism i am wondering...Benladan -> abecedadeda , 4 Jan 2016 20:09
Communism f*cked up all natural relations and development and consequences are felt until these days.
Also, Ukraine was Russian vassal until two years ago, so almost everything that happened after 1991 in Ukraine is in the responsibility of the same bolshevik-KGB cronies that were in power during official communism.
Maybe it is a time to try to be a normal country like e.g. Czech republic or Slovenia are now (also ex-Bolshevik Moscow´s vassals) finally, even 25 years later, but better later than never.There is only little problem. Ukraine is not a Czech republic or Slovenia and even is not a Poland... Did you ever wondered why some countries live good as Germany, France, Poland, for example but some countries live bad? As South Africa when Europeans left it, Nigeria, Sudan... Why part of Ukraine was a captured by Poland but part of Poland never was captured by Ukraine? And why a you thinking that communism worse than capitalism, you even don't know how many was build in that time of communism.ruudvan -> abecedadeda , 4 Jan 2016 20:18Most of western Europe had about a 1000 year head start....so that is a nonsense comparison.abecedadeda -> Benladan , 4 Jan 2016 22:54
The achievements in a relatively short space of time once all the wars related to 1917 had ended, then in the 25 year period after the catastrophic loss following WW2 were incredible.
....and it is impossible to answer if Britain would have recovered as quickly from WW2 as the Soviets if they had suffered the equivalent (10 million) or the US (25 million ) deaths during this time.Years from the end of ww2 to early 70s were golden ages of world economy and development. Almost all countries heavily affected by ww2 recovered very quickly (Northern France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Soviet union, Japan, South Korea (not North Korea though), because those were simply very good times (economically and technologically). That has nothing to do with ruling ideology.John Smith , 5 Jan 2016 01:10
However, it was still much more done in capitalist countries (Japan, Germany, South Korea, Netherlands, Italy) than in communist. Just look at economically and culturally similar countries - look how much more developed was (and still is) Western Germany than Eastern Germany, Austria than Hungary, Finland than Estonia, South Korea than North Korea, Capitalist China (Taiwan) than Communist China...
I think from just these comparisations you can conclude all. Communism (or rather bolshevik cronyism) was the break on general development. The fact that under bolshevism there were some dams constructed in Ukraine doesn't change anything.I'll give a simple explanation. Ukraine defaulted on Russian loan. No one would invest any monies there except IMF and they are also reluctant because they stopped their investments because of corruption
Shad O , 4 Jan 2016 23:51CommieWealth , 4 Jan 2016 23:50
law has caused controversy, with many criticising an addendum which states that Ukrainian independence movements during the second world war some of which collaborated with the Nazis and were involved in massacres of Jews and Poles should be respected as "fighters for Ukrainian independence".
I'm beginning to recognise a familiar "Guardian euphmenism" touch there. Just like Syrian "moderate rebels" cause "controversy", as "some" of them call for jihad and eat people's hearts, and may have involved a massacre or two.This rejection of the cultural and political heritage of the Soviet Union (and its flavour of communism) is understandable, many former soviet states have gone through a similar process. However both the timing (amidst a civil war) and the extent (banning peaceful political movements and expression) are questionable. However, I assume some nuances have been lost in translation. What is the Russian word they use for "decommunisation"? Do they say this or "desovietisation"? As for the temptation to compare with post WW2 denazification in Germany, didn't the Soviet Union undergo an equivalent process in rejection of Stalin's heritage (trial and execution of Beria for example) in the late 50s and early 60s?CommieWealth -> luckyjohn , 5 Jan 2016 01:20A civil war does not preclude Russian interference. Apologies if you are offended at my ignorance of the subtle differences between Ukrainian and Russian.HollyOldDog -> luckyjohn , 5 Jan 2016 01:20I only have the Guardian as my source, dubious indeed.
Instead you follow events through dubious sources!!Ukraine = a border, no real identity at all.
How Poroshenko wished that Russia had invaded but it never happened.
The East Ukrainians were disenfranchised with the Regime change in their country but instead of sending in negotiators, the Kiev government sent in tanks and armored personnel carriers. What a way to run a country, they must have been inspired ( or instructed) by the best Regime changers in the business, the USA.gbg , 4 Jan 2016 23:35Seeing as the Ukrainians hate the Communists and Lenin, I trust we can expect them to reverse measures enacted by the Communists e.g. return to Russia the regions moved into the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by Lenin in the 1920s. By the same token, they should probably give Galicia back to Poland.Bosula -> jgbg 5 , Jan 2016 00:42And denounce the Communists gifting of Crimea to Ukraine in the 1950s...AGuenther , 4 Jan 2016 22:47Ukraine is a bit of the loosers aren't they.. borrow money from the EU to pay some relative or friend of those in Kyiv.. who just happens to own a sign, monument or statue company.. to bring about this ridiculously stupid change.. of 108 towns? They haven't got better things to do with whatever money they have?.. like take care of the needs of the people?ID125064 -> AGuenther , 4 Jan 2016 23:01Bosula -> ID125064 , 5 Jan 2016 00:43
And the longer this goes on the stronger Ukrainian identity becomes - symbolism is important.Partially based on fascist support for Hitler in WW2 and the murder of Jews and Poles?hcm1975 , 4 Jan 2016 22:41The old adage "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" comes readily to mind. Although perhaps "scoundrel" is too mild a word in this instance.Mark Court , 4 Jan 2016 22:39An incredibly weak article by one of the usual suspects. Walker confuses capitalist re-branding and renaming with de-communisation, a bizarre term he has dreamt up, just like de-nazification.La urence Johnson , 4 Jan 2016 22:39
Presumably, when the Marathon brand of chocolate bars were re-baptised Snickers, they were "de-communised" in the process. The subtle irony is that without suitable Stalinist role models, the mafia power-brokers running Ukraine in cahoots with their morally bankrupt western puppeteers haven't an ideological leg to stand on. Instead, Walker blathers on about how Dnipropetrovsk has, ahem, been re-branded as Dnipropetrovsk. Thanks Shaun.Irrespective of whether or not its a good idea, there must be an EU grant somewhere that would compensate for the damage caused . The Kiev government simply do not understand that in becoming members of the EU it is no good holding out the begging bowl. They need to become far more creative and hire in some experts to advise on the trillions of Euro's Ukraine could receive in grant aid. New railways, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, are all simply a few forms away from becoming a reality.frombrussels -> Laurence Johnson , 4 Jan 2016 23:24......EU does NOT want Ukraine, we can NOT afford yet another poverty stricken ex soviet country !! If our utterly useless leaders would ever consider this insanity because USA tells us to, and if EU pretends to be a democracy, there should at least be a European referendum on this matter; the answer would be clear : NO WAY jose --John Smith -> Laurence Johnson , 5 Jan 2016 01:14The latest answer from the EU was: " We aren't ready, they aren't ready"DiplomaticImmunity , 4 Jan 2016 22:06
Optimistic one for sure ))The same coat Baroness Ashton wore in February 2014 contains the same belt that now chokes the Kiev puppet government to death. "Glory to Ukraine", yeah ? Oki Doki. No problem. Good luck --CapeBill , 4 Jan 2016 21:35I can only imagine the destruction and/or defacement of many beautiful buildings and structures that will be occurring throughout Ukraine. Many of the metro stations in Kiev will be butchered.Valencia1984 , 4 Jan 2016 21:32obliterate the past and ideas by erasing the visible remnants will have the opposite effect to that desired particulary with the inquisitive youth and is so Talibanesque it's ludicrous.MichaelA12 -> Valencia1984 , 4 Jan 2016 21:41
In Spain, Italy, etc, taking down the dictators' statues, renaming streets, etc has not got rid of fascists and their thinking at all. Besides, the Ukies can't afford it and have they never heard of the sex pistols et al?They are just using the same methods to get rid of the Soviet names as were used to impose them in the first place, except without the shootings, torture, deportations and mass-starvation.EugeneGur , 4 Jan 2016 21:31Putzik -> EugeneGur , 4 Jan 2016 21:51It is not ersatz at all - it is perfectly real and is made in the real methode champenoise . The best champaign is made, of course, in Crimea. There is place there, Novyi Svet (New World) where the Champaign factory makes collection Bruts that can compete with the best of them and are still inexpensive by comparison with the French stuff.
Ersatz champagne with the "Soviet" brand name has been produced since 1937 . . . It is a popular drink on New Year's Eve and at other celebrations, and comes in sweet, semi-sweet and dry versions – and at a fraction of the price of real champagne.What exactly is "the Soviet worldview"? If it means not accepting Fackelzug (torch parade) in your cities Nazi-style, then most people Russia definitely have it, and a good proportion of people in Ukraine, too.
the younger generation who were born after the Soviet Union collapsed, but they are absolutely Soviet and have a totally Soviet world view."
If having the Soviet worldview means not accepting erasing history and collective memory and replacing it with some glorious but, unfortunately, fictitious history of the Ukrainian nation - yes, we certainly do have it. There are real achievements Ukrainians could be proud of - oh, Gosh, I forgot, they all involve Russian in one way or another, and that is, of course, unacceptable - otherwise that would be another manifestation of the Soviet worldview. Like we did it together, Russians and Ukrainians - can't get more Soviet than that.The USSR and Soviet history and the Russian language no more belong to the post soviet Russian Federation than they do to Ukraine. Each country can keep or reject what it likes.EugeneGur -> Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 22:18
But to claim all tsarist and Soviet achievements as somehow the property of today's Russian Federation, is nothing more than lies and theft.
The Russian Federation is, like Ukraine, Belarus and Tajikistan, only25 years old, and just another splinter of the tsarist and Soviet empires.HollyOldDog -> Putzik , 5 Jan 2016 01:56The history is the history - it's not for anybody to chose it. What happened happened, and there is nothing anybody can do about it.
Each country can keep or reject what it likes.
Like Germany, for example, can say that the Nazi past never happened - just reject it like that, and that it? Say, Holocaust never happened because we don't like it? It doesn't work that way, my dear.You want to claim the achievements - then you also claim the responsibilities as well. Ones don't go without the others. Either Ukraine, like Belorussia, is a part of the Russian/Soviet empires and is entitles to all their achievements as well as to all the faults or it is a long suffered colony of both and then it is entitled to none. Can't have it both ways.
But to claim all tsarist and Soviet achievements as somehow the property of today's Russian Federation, is nothing more than lies and theftIn the entrance lobby to the Kiev RADA there was a portrait of Stephen Bandera - that was covered with a black silk shroud when Americans visited. Bandera was not a hero as he actively aided the NAZI in Auschwitz , Poles, Jews and Russians were his favourites. The Ukraine Government hasn't left its past behind, it's only trying to camouflage it, trying to appear civilized.Putzik -> HollyOldDog , 5 Jan 2016 02:25You are rehashing the contemporary Russian propaganda line. The political parties supporting Bandera erc are less popular in Ukraine than UKIP in the UK and the National Front in France.laticsfanfromeurope, 4 Jan 2016 21:30
There may well have been, for a narrow period of time a photo of Bandera during the Maidan. So what? People have been carting around portraits of Stalin for the last 25 years.
Are you seriously suggesting Bandera is worse than Stalin, or that the current Ukrainian govt is run by Nazis? If you are, then I respectfully suggest you are doing so in a conscious effort to discredit Ukraine in Western media.Ukrainian say farewall to Soviet things, but welcome Nazi stuff. Lovely.rasquera -> laticsfanfromeurope , 4 Jan 2016 22:03What a vile, dishonest remark. But, of course, you think the Soviets were not as bad as the Na*is.TomFullery -> rasquera , 4 Jan 2016 22:23Dishonest? In my visits to Ukraine after the US-instigated Nazi putsch I saw more and more Nazi symbolism sprayed all over the city. There was even a shrine to the fascist Bandera on Independence Square.Gary Robinson , 4 Jan 2016 21:16
There is always a heavy paramilitary presence around main administrative buildings in Kiev - surprising that a regime that claims it came to power through a popular revolution should be scared of that same population.Probably passed the laws after "a good old book burning", nothing like the rewriting of history. Next they will be rehabilitating the Ukrainians who fought for the Nazis and staffed the concentration camps.Luschnig , 4 Jan 2016 20:52It is totally bizarre that Ukrainian vandals would deface a statue of Lenin with with the motto, "I am the butcher of Ukraine" since he was the one who had made the Ukraine an independent political entity.Gtardkgb , 4 Jan 2016 20:22Allright democracy on the march. Overthrow elected governments with foreign backing (remember McCain at Maidan). Now you ban one of the largest opposition parties (in 2012 they got 6 percennt of the vote or 2.7 million votes) because they are traitors (that's the language they use) to the revolutionary Maidan government. While banning symbols and names they don't agree with by order of thought police and proclaiming Nazi collaborators as heroes. Just wait for the statues of Stepan Bandera to replace Lenin. The e.u and the rest of the west says nothing cause this is the kind of "democracy" they are fine with get bent hypocritesBabeouf , 4 Jan 2016 20:20In that poor retched shrinking country local street names is all the Coup Crowd in Kyiv can actually control. So they have campaigns, led by fascists, for changing the names of things. Meanwhile it has become impossible to find out if the nitwits still claim to be at war with Russia or not.Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 20:20The author of this article neglects to mention that the Ukrainian laws are targeted both at Soviet and Nazi symbols.John Smith -> Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 20:44
As for the ww2 Ukrainian nationalists, most Ukrainians think of these groups poorly. The vast majority of Ukrainians fought on the Soviet side, and indeed made up more than one third of the Soviet army in ww2. Until recently, this was the source of pride and sorrow, just as in Russia.
So, It is wrong to think of Soviet past as being somehow foreign to Ukraine. But that is now all ancient history. And the Soviet past is also Ukraine's to reject.
There is a military invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Communist symbols are actively used to mobilise Russian fighters and domestic terrorists on Ukrainian territory. with the aim of destroying the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
I note in this regard that ISIS symbols are similarly banned in many high income liberal democracies.
http://m.christianpost.com/news/germany-bans-islamic-state-propaganda-symbols-and-activities-126450 /I don't see anyone is stopping this, that guy on that transparent there is a nazi collaborator. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weg-QnsTPs0Luschnig -> Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 21:02The WWII history of the Ukraine is full of eye witness accounts of how the German armed forces had to step in to save Jews from Ukrainian savagery because they preferred to eliminate Jews systematically rather than by anarchistic savagery. And incidentally in Western Ukraine a greater proportion of people volunteered for Hitler's armed forces than in Germany proper.mmmhhh888 -> Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 21:09You are wrong. There are numerous monuments dedicated to Stepan Bandera in Western Ukraine (at least in 20 towns). There are also numerous streets named after him.slorter , 4 Jan 2016 20:19
Quite a different situation is in Eastern Ukraine which hates Bandera and which has always weighed toward Russia - that's why that country cannot exist as one entity.Ukraine has bigger problems than street name changes! The IMF own the country it has lost it's sovereignty and has outsiders in its government as well as debts it cannot pay.lkongo , 4 Jan 2016 19:52Dnipropetrovsk was Ekaterinoslav before Communist rule. Off course, Ukraine would not revert to original name, as it points to Katherine the Great.1917bolche , 4 Jan 2016 19:48Nothing about the expiration of the deadline to fulfill the Minsk agreement compromises? The Ukranian government has failed to implement two very important ones: dialogue with the rebel leaders and giving some degree of autonomy to Donetsk and Lugansk. I think that's rather more serious than the champagne news but I have hardly seen any reflection on that subject in the Press.wellmyword , 4 Jan 2016 19:44Flip, I just spent ages writing something and my computer crashed. Bloody computers.EugeneGur , 4 Jan 2016 19:40
Haven't they got anything better to do?
The Ukranian Communists are meant to be a small and marginalised grouping of pensioners. Why pick on them?
Anti-Stalinism. Now, that would be much better. Anti right wing militias, that would be just as good. Saying goodbye to existing despots, that gets my vote.
Free social health care, now that would be even better still.
If Holly Old Dog is online, not that I've actually checked, I'm not American.
Don't like UKIP don't like Le Penn but do like the EU.
How controversial. No, not really.Ukraine wants to get rid of the Soviet past - well, then it has to be happy that Crimea is gone, for Crimea is the clearest vestige of the Soviet past having been "gifted" to Ukraine by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev over the objections of Crimea itself. Another vestige is as good as gone - Donbass, which agrees well with the removal of Lenin statutes, for it was Lenin himself who added Donbass to Ukraine in 1919. Stalin's legacy is next, which includes Western Ukraine and Transcarpathia.Trust the Guardian to find a very delicate turn of phrase - uneasy . Come on, those in Easter Ukraine hate their guts. Easter Ukraine hates Bandera and "banderovtsi" much more than Russia does. And for a good reason: they did not operate much in Russia but a lot in Ukraine, Belorussia and eastern Europe, where they killed thousands.Many of those in eastern cities who are pro-Kiev are uneasy about Ukrainian nationalist heroes
Poor Ukrainians. Now they are told what to drink, what language to speak, what songs to sing, what movies to watch, what holidays to celebrate, what fairy tales to tell their children. True European freedom finally has arrived as opposed to the Soviet totalitarian regime that somehow in Ukraine alone lasted 25 years past the existence of the Soviet Union.
This past New Year's Eve marked the last time Ukrainians could pop open "Soviet champagne"
BTW Artemovsk they want to rename so much is the site of a Champaign factory that used to make famous "Artemovsky" Champaign. I am not sure it's still operational but if it is, what would it be called now? The factory is yet another soviet "vestige" and did not exist in the "Bakhmut" times.
Putin is busy with his Turkish friends now anyway, his current mission is to deprive Russians of all their traditional holiday destinations:Benladan , 4 Jan 2016 19:12
Georgia - complete
Ukrainian Black sea - complete
Egypt - Done
Turkey - In progress
The Guardian is politely silent about of hundreds productions, level of education, population (52 millions in 1991, 42 in 2015), infrastructure and other "products from glorifying communism" which have heard "farewell" tooBeckow , 4 Jan 2016 18:47
Western media needs to address the economic mess in Ukraine. The name changing, marching and fist fights in Rada are a distraction. What happened in two years is an economic collapse. When is Guardian going to notice?vr13vr , 4 Jan 2016 18:39
Canigou , 4 Jan 2016 18:30
Are they removing the monuments to the same Lenin who created the first state of Ukraine? Whey are weird bunch, those Ukrainians.
Who cares what they call their champagne----the Ukraine is dead, economically----eckow , 4 Jan 2016 18:26
The real issue with Ukrainian champagne is that as of Jan 1 it cannot be called "champagne". With EU Association Agreement, the word "champagne" is reserved for the French stuff. That is by far more important than some "soviet" name games.BMWAlbert -> Beckow , 4 Jan 2016 19:32
In the same way Ukrainian "cognac" cannot use the term cognac. There are hundreds of others. EU AA means following the EU rules. It also means that EU can export to Ukraine at will. Given that Ukraine doesn't have much to sell to EU this will mean additional collapse in Ukr economy. The current markets in Russia are now closed.
Who is running Kiev? Do these people know math and have map? Or is there knowledge limited to knowing where to find a ticket to get out?
Just wait for the PL restitution proceedings in Lviv-Lwow-Lemberg....that will be interesting.Beckow -> BMWAlbert , 4 Jan 2016 20:45
Unfortunately there are many Ukrainians who think that 'restitution' will make them better off. They think that if Western people get rich (even Poles) that will be somehow good for Ukrainians as workers. It is low self-esteem combined with what can only be called servant mentality. The shouting and marching is there just to amuse, deep inside they all can't wait to serve.DiplomaticImmunity -> Beckow , 4 Jan 2016 22:28
Brilliant and insightful.Hanwell123 , 4 Jan 2016 18:11
How does a one party state get so close to the EU? It relies on massive loans from the IMF and EU but by all accounts is regarded, not least by its own citizens, to be getting more corrupt not less. A million are seeking Nationality in Poland to escape inflation set to be 44% this year as wages and jobs crash. Visa free travel to the EU in October might ease the internal pressure. The trade agreement with the EU is another blow to European agriculture, this time in grain, as surplus products flood the market along with even cheaper Turkish fruit and vegetables following their exclusion from the Russian market. One wonders whether the EU ever regrets putting this government in power?Jonathan Stromberg -> Kata L , 4 Jan 2016 19:56
Ukraine's De-communization laws were made by people with their own agenda and they are arguably a dark spot on Ukraine's striving towards some form of functional democracy. Saying that, when it comes to phony parties like the "Communist Party" of Ukraine, it is pretty hard to give a crap.
On the plus side, this anti-Communist law will put an end to corrupt, phony parties using the Communist name and symbols for their own benefit. Any Communist-style party that exists in Ukraine now will have to be genuine.
Exports of goods and services of Ukrainian production in 2015 will fall by about a third. And this is not surprising: as a result of "reforms" in the country almost died the industry lost its main Russian market, where Ukraine has supplied products with high added value. The cumulative figure of industrial production YTD is approximately -15%. The main export product of Ukraine for the first time since the pre-industrial era were products of agriculture. In the first place - corn.
marknesop, December 19, 2015 at 6:43 pmAccording to Madame Jaresko, their decision not to pay the $3 Billion bond to Russia has set Ukraine free, free as a bird, and allowed it to now be in full compliance with the financing requirements of the IMF program.
Start shovelin' in the money, IMF, because Ukraine has the magic formula – just refuse to pay what you owe, call it a 'temporary suspension of payments' instead of 'a default', and reap the reward for your display of responsibility.
I foresee the mileage Russia is going to get out of this will far exceed the value of the $3 Billion.
marknesop, December 19, 2015 at 8:47 pm
How could Ukraine's government deficit only be 4.1% when its currency has crashed, it has lost most of its sources of income and it has just defaulted on its debt? What the fuck are they talking about?
"The proposed budget would work to reduce the government's deficit from 4.1% to 3.7%, with measures including an increase in revenue by widening the tax base."
First, there is no way on God's green earth that there is a negative difference of only 4.1% between Ukraine's annual revenues and its annual expenditures, especially since it has almost no revenues except from taxation.
And now the IMF expects to realize more revenue from widening the tax base – yes, I can imagine what a popular initiative that is. Now you know how Yushchenko felt, Yatsie, when the IMF denied him a second big loan because he refused to eliminate the gas subsidies to residents.
Now the IMF has finally realized that triumph through a different leader, and it wants to see even more tax revenue. You are about to be as popular as a turd in the punch bowl; have fun with that.
kirill, December 20, 2015 at 12:58 pm
I would not trust any GDP numbers from the Kiev regime either. They lost 25% of the economy in the Donbas alone not counting Crimea. This has knock on effects to the rest of Banderastan. Yet they are yapping about some 12% contraction in 2015 after a 7% contraction in 2014. I see no clear indication that they are counting the GDP only for regime controlled Banderastan.
As for the budget, according to regime officials, Banderastan lost 30% of its hard currency revenues with the loss of the Donbass. I estimate the tax loss to Kiev to be about 30% as well.
The Donbass was the industrialized part of the country while western Banderastan is primarily agrarian. So talk about 4% shortfalls in revenue is utter rubbish. In most countries the money making parts of the economy subsidize the rest and sure as hell it was not western Banderastan that was subsidizing the Donbass. That was just virulent blood libel such as the claim that Russians settled eastern Ukraine only after the Holodomor.
marknesop, December 20, 2015 at 1:13 pm
Europe deserves Ukraine. Let them have it, the quicker the better. It's fine when Yats is selling that stinking mess to his simple-minded constituents, but European policymakers will see through it right away. Unfortunately, Brussels knows better than to bring Ukraine any closer into the fold, because if they get a visa-free regime, the place will empty out in a week as Ukrainians flee throughout Europe (which is already, everyone must know, full of refugees) looking for jobs.
December 18, 2015 | naked capitalism
By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book isKILLING THE HOST: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy
The nightmare scenario of U.S. geopolitical strategists seems to be coming true: foreign economic independence from U.S. control. Instead of privatizing and neoliberalizing the world under U.S.-centered financial planning and ownership, the Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration on the basis of Russian oil and tax exports and Chinese financing. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank programs that favor U.S. suppliers, banks and bondholders (with the United States holding unique veto power).
Russia's 2013 loan to Ukraine, made at the request of Ukraine's elected pro-Russian government, demonstrated the benefits of mutual trade and investment relations between the two countries. As Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov points out, Ukraine's "international reserves were barely enough to cover three months' imports, and no other creditor was prepared to lend on terms acceptable to Kiev. Yet Russia provided $3 billion of much-needed funding at a 5 per cent interest rate, when Ukraine's bonds were yielding nearly 12 per cent."
What especially annoys U.S. financial strategists is that this loan by Russia's sovereign debt fund was protected by IMF lending practice, which at that time ensured collectability by withholding new credit from countries in default of foreign official debts (or at least, not bargaining in good faith to pay). To cap matters, the bonds are registered under London's creditor-oriented rules and courts.
On December 3 (one week before the IMF changed its rules so as to hurt Russia), Prime Minister Putin proposed that Russia "and other Eurasian Economic Union countries should kick-off consultations with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a possible economic partnership." Russia also is seeking to build pipelines to Europe through friendly instead of U.S.-backed countries.
Moving to denominate their trade and investment in their own currencies instead of dollars, China and Russia are creating a geopolitical system free from U.S. control. After U.S. officials threatened to derange Russia's banking linkages by cutting it off from the SWIFT interbank clearing system, China accelerated its creation of the alternative China International Payments System (CIPS), with its own credit card system to protect Eurasian economies from the shrill threats made by U.S. unilateralists.
Russia and China are simply doing what the United States has long done: using trade and credit linkages to cement their geopolitical diplomacy. This tectonic geopolitical shift is a Copernican threat to New Cold War ideology: Instead of the world economy revolving around the United States (the Ptolemaic idea of America as "the indispensible nation"), it may revolve around Eurasia. As long as the global financial papacy remains grounded in Washington at the offices of the IMF and World Bank, such a shift in the center of gravity will be fought with all the power of the American Century (indeed, American Millennium) inquisition.
Imagine the following scenario five years from now. China will have spent half a decade building high-speed railroads, ports power systems and other construction for Asian and African countries, enabling them to grow and export more. These exports will be coming on line to repay the infrastructure loans. Also, suppose that Russia has been supplying the oil and gas energy needed for these projects.
To U.S. neocons this specter of AIIB government-to-government lending and investment creates fear of a world independent of U.S. control. Nations would mint their own money and hold each other's debt in their international reserves instead of borrowing or holding dollars and subordinating their financial planning to the IMF and U.S. Treasury with their demands for monetary bloodletting and austerity for debtor countries. There would be less need for foreign government to finance budget shortfalls by selling off their key public infrastructure privatizing their economies. Instead of dismantling public spending, the AIIB and a broader Eurasian economic union would do what the United States itself practices, and seek self-sufficiency in basic needs such as food, technology, banking, credit creation and monetary policy.
With this prospect in mind, suppose an American diplomat meets with the leaders of debtors to China, Russia and the AIIB and makes the following proposal: "Now that you've got your increased production in place, why repay? We'll make you rich if you stiff our New Cold War adversaries and turn to the West. We and our European allies will help you assign the infrastructure to yourselves and your supporters, and give these assets market value by selling shares in New York and London. Then, you can spend your surpluses in the West."
How can China or Russia collect in such a situation? They can sue. But what court will recognize their claim – that is, what court that the West would pay attention to?
That is the kind of scenario U.S. State Department and Treasury officials have been discussing for more than a year. The looming conflict was made immediate by Ukraine's $3 billion debt to Russia falling due by December 20, 2015. Ukraine's U.S.-backed regime has announced its intention to default. U.S. lobbyists have just changed the IMF rules to remove a critical lever on which Russia and other governments have long relied to enforce payment of their loans.
The IMF's Role as Enforcer of Inter-Government Debts
When it comes down to enforcing nations to pay inter-government debts, the International Monetary Fund and Paris Club hold the main leverage. As coordinator of central bank "stabilization" loans (the neoliberal euphemism for imposing austerity and destabilizing debtor economies, Greece-style), the IMF is able to withhold not only its own credit but also that of governments and global banks participating when debtor countries need refinancing. Countries that do not agree to privatize their infrastructure and sell it to Western buyers are threatened with sanctions, backed by U.S.-sponsored "regime change" and "democracy promotion" Maidan-style.
This was the setting on December 8, when Chief IMF Spokesman Gerry Rice announced: "The IMF's Executive Board met today and agreed to change the current policy on non-toleration of arrears to official creditors." The creditor leverage that the IMF has used is that if a nation is in financial arrears to any government, it cannot qualify for an IMF loan – and hence, for packages involving other governments. This has been the system by which the dollarized global financial system has worked for half a century. The beneficiaries have been creditors in US dollars.
In this U.S.-centered worldview, China and Russia loom as the great potential adversaries – defined as independent power centers from the United States as they create the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an alternative to NATO, and the AIIB as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank tandem. The very name, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, implies that transportation systems and other infrastructure will be financed by governments, not relinquished into private hands to become rent-extracting opportunities financed by U.S.-centered bank credit to turn the rent into a flow of interest payments.
The focus on a mixed public/private economy sets the AIIB at odds with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its aim of relinquishing government planning power to the financial and corporate sector for their own short-term gains, and above all the aim of blocking government's money-creating power and financial regulation. Chief Nomura economist Richard Koo, explained the logic of viewing the AIIB as a threat to the US-controlled IMF: "If the IMF's rival is heavily under China's influence, countries receiving its support will rebuild their economies under what is effectively Chinese guidance, increasing the likelihood they will fall directly or indirectly under that country's influence."
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov accused the IMF decision of being "hasty and biased." But it had been discussed all year long, calculating a range of scenarios for a long-term sea change in international law. The aim of this change is to isolate not only Russia, but even more China in its role as creditor to African countries and prospective AIIB borrowers. U.S. officials walked into the IMF headquarters in Washington with the legal equivalent of financial suicide vests, having decided that the time had come to derail Russia's ability to collect on its sovereign loan to Ukraine, and of even larger import, China's plan for a New Silk Road integrating a Eurasian economy independent of U.S. financial and trade control. Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the NATO-oriented Atlantic Council, points out:
The IMF staff started contemplating a rule change in the spring of 2013 because nontraditional creditors, such as China, had started providing developing countries with large loans. One issue was that these loans were issued on conditions out of line with IMF practice. China wasn't a member of the Paris Club, where loan restructuring is usually discussed, so it was time to update the rules.
The IMF intended to adopt a new policy in the spring of 2016, but the dispute over Russia's $3 billion loan to Ukraine has accelerated an otherwise slow decision-making process.
The Wall Street Journal concurred that the underlying motivation for changing the IMF's rules was the threat that Chinese lending would provide an alternative to IMF loans and its demands for austerity. "IMF-watchers said the fund was originally thinking of ensuring China wouldn't be able to foil IMF lending to member countries seeking bailouts as Beijing ramped up loans to developing economies around the world." In short, U.S. strategists have designed a policy to block trade and financial agreements organized outside of U.S. control and that of the IMF and World Bank in which it holds unique veto power.
The plan is simple enough. Trade follows finance, and the creditor usually calls the tune. That is how the United States has used the Dollar Standard to steer Third World trade and investment since World War II along lines benefiting the U.S. economy.
The cement of trade credit and bank lending is the ability of creditors to collect on the international debts being negotiated. That is why the United States and other creditor nations have used the IMF as an intermediary to act as "honest broker" for loan consortia. ("Honest broker" means in practice being subject to U.S. veto power.) To enforce its financial leverage, the IMF has long followed the rule that it will not sponsor any loan agreement or refinancing for governments that are in default of debts owed to other governments. However, as the afore-mentioned Aslund explains, the IMF could easily
change its practice of not lending into [countries in official] arrears … because it is not incorporated into the IMF Articles of Agreement, that is, the IMF statutes. The IMF Executive Board can decide to change this policy with a simple board majority. The IMF has lent to Afghanistan, Georgia, and Iraq in the midst of war, and Russia has no veto right, holding only 2.39 percent of the votes in the IMF. When the IMF has lent to Georgia and Ukraine, the other members of its Executive Board have overruled Russia.
After the rules change, Aslund later noted, "the IMF can continue to give Ukraine loans regardless of what Ukraine does about its credit from Russia, which falls due on December 20.
Inasmuch as Ukraine's official debt to Russia's sovereign debt fund was not to the U.S. Government, the IMF announced its rules change as a "clarification." Its rule that no country can borrow if it is in default to (or not seriously negotiating with) a foreign government was created in the post-1945 world, and has governed the past seventy years in which the United States Government, Treasury officials and/or U.S. bank consortia have been party to nearly every international bailout or major loan agreement. What the IMF rule really meant was that it would not provide credit to countries in arrears specifically to the U.S. Government, not those of Russia or China.
Mikhail Delyagin, Director of the Institute of Globalization Problems, understood the IMF's double standard clearly enough: "The Fund will give Kiev a new loan tranche on one condition that Ukraine should not pay Russia a dollar under its $3 billion debt. Legally, everything will be formalized correctly but they will oblige Ukraine to pay only to western creditors for political reasons." It remains up to the IMF board – and in the end, its managing director – whether or not to deem a country creditworthy. The U.S. representative naturally has always blocked any leaders not beholden to the United States.
The post-2010 loan packages to Greece are a notorious case in point. The IMF staff calculated that Greece could not possibly pay the balance that was set to bail out foreign banks and bondholders. Many Board members agreed (and subsequently have gone public with their whistle-blowing). Their protests didn't matter. Dominique Strauss-Kahn backed the US-ECB position (after President Barack Obama and Treasury secretary Tim Geithner pointed out that U.S. banks had written credit default swaps betting that Greece could pay, and would lose money if there were a debt writedown). In 2015, Christine Lagarde also backed the U.S.-European Central Bank hard line, against staff protests.
IMF executive board member Otaviano Canuto, representing Brazil, noted that the logic that "conditions on IMF lending to a country that fell behind on payments [was to] make sure it kept negotiating in good faith to reach agreement with creditors." Dropping this condition, he said, would open the door for other countries to insist on a similar waiver and avoid making serious and sincere efforts to reach payment agreement with creditor governments.
A more binding IMF rule is that it cannot lend to countries at war or use IMF credit to engage in warfare. Article I of its 1944-45 founding charter ban the fund from lending to a member state engaged in civil war or at war with another member state, or for military purposes in general. But when IMF head Lagarde made the last IMF loan to Ukraine, in spring 2015, she made a token gesture of stating that she hoped there would be peace. But President Porochenko immediately announced that he would step up the civil war with the Russian-speaking population in the eastern Donbass region.
The problem is that the Donbass is where most Ukrainian exports were made, mainly to Russia. That market is being lost by the junta's belligerence toward Russia. This should have blocked Ukraine from receiving IMF aid. Withholding IMF credit could have been a lever to force peace and adherence to the Minsk agreements, but U.S. diplomatic pressure led that opportunity to be rejected.
The most important IMF condition being violated is that continued warfare with the East prevents a realistic prospect of Ukraine paying back new loans. Aslund himself points to the internal contradictions at work: Ukraine has achieved budget balance because the inflation and steep currency depreciation has drastically eroded its pension costs. The resulting lower value of pension benefits has led to growing opposition to Ukraine's post-Maidan junta. "Leading representatives from President Petro Poroshenko's Bloc are insisting on massive tax cuts, but no more expenditure cuts; that would cause a vast budget deficit that the IMF assesses at 9-10 percent of GDP, that could not possibly be financed." So how can the IMF's austerity budget be followed without a political backlash?
The IMF thus is breaking four rules: Not lending to a country that has no visible means to pay back the loan breaks the "No More Argentinas" rule adopted after the IMF's disastrous 2001 loan. Not lending to countries that refuse in good faith to negotiate with their official creditors goes against the IMF's role as the major tool of the global creditors' cartel. And the IMF is now lending to a borrower at war, indeed one that is destroying its export capacity and hence its balance-of-payments ability to pay back the loan. Finally, the IMF is lending to a country that has little likelihood of refuse carrying out the IMF's notorious austerity "conditionalities" on its population – without putting down democratic opposition in a totalitarian manner. Instead of being treated as an outcast from the international financial system, Ukraine is being welcomed and financed.
The upshot – and new basic guideline for IMF lending – is to create a new Iron Curtain splitting the world into pro-U.S. economies going neoliberal, and all other economies, including those seeking to maintain public investment in infrastructure, progressive taxation and what used to be viewed as progressive capitalism. Russia and China may lend as much as they want to other governments, but there is no international vehicle to help secure their ability to be paid back under what until now has passed for international law. Having refused to roll back its own or ECB financial claims on Greece, the IMF is quite willing to see repudiation of official debts owed to Russia, China or other countries not on the list approved by the U.S. neocons who wield veto power in the IMF, World Bank and similar global economic institutions now drawn into the U.S. orbit. Changing its rules to clear the path for the IMF to make loans to Ukraine and other governments in default of debts owed to official lenders is rightly seen as an escalation of America's New Cold War against Russia and also its anti-China strategy.
Timing is everything in such ploys. Georgetown University Law professor and Treasury consultant Anna Gelpern warned that before the "IMF staff and executive board [had] enough time to change the policy on arrears to official creditors," Russia might use "its notorious debt/GDP clause to accelerate the bonds at any time before December, or simply gum up the process of reforming the IMF's arrears policy." According to this clause, if Ukraine's foreign debt rose above 60 percent of GDP, Russia's government would have the right to demand immediate payment. But no doubt anticipating the bitter fight to come over its attempts to collect on its loan, President Putin patiently refrained from exercising this option. He is playing the long game, bending over backward to accommodate Ukraine rather than behaving "odiously."
A more pressing reason deterring the United States from pressing earlier to change IMF rules was that a waiver for Ukraine would have opened the legal floodgates for Greece to ask for a similar waiver on having to pay the "troika" – the European Central Bank (ECB), EU commission and the IMF itself – for the post-2010 loans that have pushed it into a worse depression than the 1930s. "Imagine the Greek government had insisted that EU institutions accept the same haircut as the country's private creditors," Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov asked. "The reaction in European capitals would have been frosty. Yet this is the position now taken by Kiev with respect to Ukraine's $3 billion eurobond held by Russia."
Only after Greece capitulated to eurozone austerity was the path clear for U.S. officials to change the IMF rules in their fight to isolate Russia. But their tactical victory has come at the cost of changing the IMF's rules and those of the global financial system irreversibly. Other countries henceforth may reject conditionalities, as Ukraine has done, and ask for write-downs on foreign official debts.
That was the great fear of neoliberal U.S. and Eurozone strategists last summer, after all. The reason for smashing Greece's economy was to deter Podemos in Spain and similar movements in Italy and Portugal from pursuing national prosperity instead of eurozone austerity. Opening the door to such resistance by Ukraine is the blowback of America's tactic to make a short-term financial hit on Russia while its balance of payments is down as a result of collapsing oil and gas prices.
The consequences go far beyond just the IMF. The fabric of international law itself is being torn apart. Every action has a reaction in the Newtonian world of geopolitics. It may not be a bad thing, to be sure, for the post-1945 global order to be broken apart by U.S. tactics against Russia, if that is the catalyst driving other countries to defend their own economies in the legal and political spheres. It has been U.S. neoliberals themselves who have catalyzed the emerging independent Eurasian bloc.
Countering Russia's Ability to Collect in Britain's Law Courts
Over the past year the U.S. Treasury and State Departments have discussed ploys to block Russia from collecting under British law, where its loans to Ukraine are registered. Reviewing the repertory of legal excuses Ukraine might use to avoid paying Russia, Prof. Gelpern noted that it might declare the debt "odious," made under duress or corruptly. In a paper for the Peterson Institute of International Economics (the banking lobby in Washington) she suggested that Britain should deny Russia the use of its courts as an additional sanction reinforcing the financial, energy, and trade sanctions to those passed against Russia after Crimea voted to join it as protection against the ethnic cleansing from the Right Sector, Azov Battalion and other paramilitary groups descending on the region.
A kindred ploy might be for Ukraine to countersue Russia for reparations for "invading" it, for saving Crimea and the Donbass region from the Right Sector's attempt to take over the country. Such a ploy would seem to have little chance of success in international courts (without showing them to be simply arms of NATO New Cold War politics), but it might delay Russia' ability to collect by tying the loan up in a long nuisance lawsuit.
To claim that Ukraine's debt to Russia was "odious" or otherwise illegitimate, "President Petro Poroshenko said the money was intended to ensure Yanukovych's loyalty to Moscow, and called the payment a 'bribe,' according to an interview with Bloomberg in June this year." The legal and moral problem with such arguments is that they would apply equally to IMF and US loans. Claiming that Russia's loan is "odious" is that this would open the floodgates for other countries to repudiate debts taken on by dictatorships supported by IMF and U.S. lenders, headed by the many dictatorships supported by U.S. diplomacy.
The blowback from the U.S. multi-front attempt to nullify Ukraine's debt may be used to annul or at least write down the destructive IMF loans made on the condition that borrowers accept privatizations favoring U.S., German and other NATO-country investors, undertake austerity programs, and buy weapons systems such as the German submarines that Greece borrowed to pay for. As Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted: "This reform, which they are now trying to implement, designed to suit Ukraine only, could plant a time bomb under all other IMF programs." It certainly showed the extent to which the IMF is subordinate to U.S. aggressive New Cold Warriors: "Essentially, this reform boils down to the following: since Ukraine is politically important – and it is only important because it is opposed to Russia – the IMF is ready to do for Ukraine everything it has not done for anyone else, and the situation that should 100 percent mean a default will be seen as a situation enabling the IMF to finance Ukraine."
Andrei Klimov, deputy chairman of the Committee for International Affairs at the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia's parliament) accused the United States of playing "the role of the main violin in the IMF while the role of the second violin is played by the European Union. These are two basic sponsors of the Maidan – the symbol of a coup d'état in Ukraine in 2014."
Putin's Counter-Strategy and the Blowback on U.S.-European and Global Relations
As noted above, having anticipated that Ukraine would seek reasons to not pay the Russian loan, President Putin carefully refrained from exercising Russia's right to demand immediate payment when Ukraine's foreign debt rose above 60 percent of GDP. In November he offered to defer payment if the United States, Europe and international banks underwrote the obligation. Indeed, he even "proposed better conditions for this restructuring than those the International Monetary Fund requested of us." He offered "to accept a deeper restructuring with no payment this year – a payment of $1 billion next year, $1 billion in 2017, and $1 billion in 2018." If the IMF, the United States and European Union "are sure that Ukraine's solvency will grow," then they should "see no risk in providing guarantees for this credit." Accordingly, he concluded "We have asked for such guarantees either from the United States government, the European Union, or one of the big international financial institutions." 
The implication, Putin pointed out, was that "If they cannot provide guarantees, this means that they do not believe in the Ukrainian economy's future." One professor pointed out that this proposal was in line with the fact that, "Ukraine has already received a sovereign loan guarantee from the United States for a previous bond issue." Why couldn't the United States, Eurozone or leading commercial banks provide a similar guarantee of Ukraine's debt to Russia – or better yet, simply lend it the money to turn it into a loan to the IMF or US lenders?
But the IMF, European Union and the United States refused to back up their happy (but nonsensical) forecasts of Ukrainian solvency with actual guarantees. Foreign Minister Lavrov made clear just what that rejection meant: "By having refused to guarantee Ukraine's debt as part of Russia's proposal to restructure it, the United States effectively admitted the absence of prospects of restoring its solvency. … By officially rejecting the proposed scheme, the United States thereby subscribed to not seeing any prospects of Ukraine restoring its solvency."
In an even more exasperated tone, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev explained to Russia's television audience: "I have a feeling that they won't give us the money back because they are crooks. They refuse to return our money and our Western partners not only refuse to help, but they also make it difficult for us." Adding that "the international financial system is unjustly structured," he promised to "go to court. We'll push for default on the loan and we'll push for default on all Ukrainian debts."
The basis for Russia's legal claim, he explained was that the loan
was a request from the Ukrainian Government to the Russian Government. If two governments reach an agreement this is obviously a sovereign loan…. Surprisingly, however, international financial organisations started saying that this is not exactly a sovereign loan. This is utter bull. Evidently, it's just an absolutely brazen, cynical lie. … This seriously erodes trust in IMF decisions. I believe that now there will be a lot of pleas from different borrower states to the IMF to grant them the same terms as Ukraine. How will the IMF possibly refuse them?
And there the matter stands. As President Putin remarked regarding America's support of Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and other ISIS allies in Syria, "Do you have any idea of what you have done?"
Few have calculated the degree to which America's New Cold War with Russia is creating a reaction that is tearing up the world's linkages put in place since World War II. Beyond pulling the IMF and World Bank tightly into U.S. unilateralist geopolitics, how long will Western Europe be willing to forego its trade and investment interest with Russia? Germany, Italy and France already are feeling the strains. If and when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.
The oil and pipeline war designed to bypass Russian energy exports has engulfed the Near East in anarchy for over a decade. It is flooding Europe with refugees, and also spreading terrorism to America. In the Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015, the leading issue was safety from Islamic jihadists. Yet no candidate thought to explain the source of this terrorism in America's alliance with Wahabist Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and hence with Al Qaeda and ISIS/Daish as a means of destabilizing secular regimes seeking independence from U.S. control.
As its allies in this New Cold War, the United States has chosen fundamentalist jihadist religion against secular regimes in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and earlier in Afghanistan and Turkey. Going back to the original sin of CIA hubris – overthrowing the secular Iranian Prime Minister leader Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 – American foreign policy has been based on the assumption that secular regimes tend to be nationalist and resist privatization and neoliberal austerity.
Based on this fatal long-term assumption, U.S. Cold Warriors have aligned themselves not only against secular regimes, but against democratic regimes where these seek to promote their own prosperity and economic independence, and to resist neoliberalism in favor of maintaining their traditional mixed public/private economy.
This is the back story of the U.S. fight to control the rest of the world. Tearing apart the IMF's rules is only the most recent chapter. The broad drive against Russia, China and their prospective Eurasian allies has deteriorated into tactics without a realistic understanding of how they are bringing about precisely the kind of world they are seeking to prevent – a multilateral world.
Arena by arena, the core values of what used to be American and European social democratic ideology are being uprooted. The Enlightenment's ideals of secular democracy and the rule of international law applied equally to all nations, classical free market theory (of markets free from unearned income and rent extraction by special vested interests), and public investment in infrastructure to hold down the cost of living and doing business are to be sacrificed to a militant U.S. unilateralism as "the indispensible nation." Standing above the rule of law and national interests, American neocons proclaim that their nation's destiny is to wage war to prevent foreign secular democracy from acting in ways other than submission to U.S. diplomacy. In practice, this means favoring special U.S. financial and corporate interests that control American foreign policy.
This is not how the Enlightenment was supposed to turn out. Classical industrial capitalism a century ago was expected to evolve into an economy of abundance. Instead, we have Pentagon capitalism, finance capitalism deteriorating into a polarized rentier economy, and old-fashioned imperialism.
The Dollar Bloc's Financial Iron Curtain
By treating Ukraine's nullification of its official debt to Russia's Sovereign Wealth Fund as the new norm, the IMF has blessed its default on its bond payment to Russia. President Putin and foreign minister Lavrov have said that they will sue in British courts. But does any court exist in the West not under the thumb of U.S. veto?
What are China and Russia to do, faced with the IMF serving as a kangaroo court whose judgments are subject to U.S. veto power? To protect their autonomy and self-determination, they have created alternatives to the IMF and World Bank, NATO and behind it, the dollar standard.
America's recent New Cold War maneuvering has shown that the two Bretton Woods institutions are unreformable. It is easier to create new institutions such as the A.I.I.B. than to retrofit old and ill-designed ones burdened with the legacy of their vested founding interests. It is easier to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organization than to surrender to threats from NATO.
U.S. geostrategists seem to have imagined that if they exclude Russia, China and other SCO and Eurasian countries from the U.S.-based financial and trade system, these countries will find themselves in the same economic box as Cuba, Iran and other countries have been isolated by sanctions. The aim is to make countries choose between impoverishment from such exclusion, or acquiescing in U.S. neoliberal drives to financialize their economies and impose austerity on their government sector and labor.
What is lacking from such calculations is the idea of critical mass. The United States may use the IMF and World Bank as levers to exclude countries not in the U.S. orbit from participating in the global trade and financial system, and it may arm-twist Europe to impose trade and financial sanctions on Russia. But this action produces an equal and opposite reaction. That is the eternal Newtonian law of geopolitics. The indicated countermeasure is simply for other countries to create their own international financial organization as an alternative to the IMF, their own "aid" lending institution to juxtapose to the U.S.-centered World Bank.
All this requires an international court to handle disputes that is free from U.S. arm-twisting to turn international law into a kangaroo court following the dictates of Washington. The Eurasian Economic Union now has its own court to adjudicate disputes. It may provide an alternative Judge Griesa's New York federal court ruling in favor of vulture funds derailing Argentina's debt negotiations and excluding it from foreign financial markets. If the London Court of International Arbitration (under whose rules Russia's bonds issued to Ukraine are registered) permits frivolous legal claims (called barratry in English) such as President Poroshenko has threatened in Ukrainian Parliament, it too will become a victim of geopolitical obsolescence.
The more nakedly self-serving and geopolitical U.S. policy is – in backing radical Islamic fundamentalist outgrowths of Al Qaeda throughout the Near East, right-wing nationalist governments in Ukraine and the Baltics – the greater the catalytic pressure is growing for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, AIIB and related Eurasian institutions to break free of the post-1945 Bretton Woods system run by the U.S. State, Defense and Treasury Departments and NATO superstructure.
The question now is whether Russia and China can hold onto the BRICS and India. So as Paul Craig Roberts recently summarized my ideas along these lines, we are back with George Orwell's 1984 global fracture between Oceanea (the United States, Britain and its northern European NATO allies) vs. Eurasia.
... .... ....RabidGandhi December 18, 2015 at 9:16 am
My issue with Hudson is that he tends to paint things in a "good guys/bad guys" dichotomy viz. the IMF vs. the AIIB. Personally, I think it's quite positive that the international sovereign finance institutions will now be more international and less unipolar, but his scenario where
Nations would mint their own money and hold each other's debt in their international reserves instead of borrowing or holding dollars and subordinating their financial planning to the IMF and U.S. Treasury with their demands for monetary bloodletting and austerity for debtor countries.
is rather pie-in-the sky. What reason do we have to believe that concentrated Chinese capital would somehow be more benevolent than our current overlords? Oh because AIIB has the word "infrastructure" in its title (just as the Interamerican Development Bank is all about development) /sarc.
Furthermore, if US planners had half a clue about economics, they would be jumping for joy that the AIIB and the CIPS will finally help release them (eventually) from the burden of having the USD as the global reserve currency, thus relieving the US of the albatross of having to ship its internal demand to China and other net exporters.
All in all, yes AIIB should be positive, but as Hudson himself points out, this is not so much about economics as it is geopolitics. The world should tread with the utmost caution.
Dino Reno December 18, 2015 at 9:48 am
I think his main point is not so much about economics or geopolitics, it's about the rule of law, specifically international law and how it applies to the debt collection brokered between counties.
China and Russia harbored the fantasy that would be allowed redress in the Western Courts where international law is metered out. They are now no longer under that delusion.
Even if they come up with a lending facility, the West will thwart their ability to collect on those debts at every turn by simply declaring those debts null and void and extending new funds using the infrastructure build by the bad (Russian/Chinese) debt as collateral. The thirst for power and profit will always be with us, but now it will not be tempered by any international order under the rule of law.
Nick December 18, 2015 at 10:15 am
China is learning the hard way how the game is played. For example, they're discovering that much of the tens of billions in no-strings attached loans given to Africa will not provide the returns initially thought (even accounting for massive corruption on all sides), which is why they have been reduced for the first time in a decade this past year.
Alejandro December 18, 2015 at 10:41 am
Don't see how "economics" and "social" can be de-linked from "politics"…understanding the limits of "local" may provide an awareness of the "quid pro quo" of extending, direction of extension, and what defines (in/inter) "dependency"…how sacrifice is "shared" or imposed, and how "prosperity" is concentrated or distributed…
OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL December 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm
It's not Hudson but the US that has simplified the entire world situation into "good guys vs. bad guys", a policy enshrined in Rumsfeld's statement "you're either with us or you're against us".
It's like a playground with one big bully and lots of kids running scared, now a second bully appears and they all have to ask themselves whether Bully #2 will be nicer to them, in this case it appears Bully #2 is saying he won't tell them how to run their lives or steal their lunch money.
Post-comet in 2000 when everything started going to hell the worst casualty has been the rule of law, from hanging chads through to the Patriot Act, death by a thousand cuts of the Constitution, unprosecuted war crimes, unprosecuted financial crimes, and now the very fabric of international law being rent apart. I'm reminded of the Hunter Thompson scene where he has an expired driver's license and a cop pulls him over, he has two choices, hand over the license and get busted, or drive away and get busted… so he comes up with a third choice: he blows his nose all over the license and hands it over to the cop. The equivalent of Bully #1 taking the only soccer ball on the playground and kicking it over the fence so the game is screwed up for everybody, Pepe's "Empire of Chaos" indeed.
global123 December 18, 2015 at 9:47 am
stellar article michael hudson
1)Western economies depend on ocean transport…if chinese or ruskies destroy it, USA-EU will be bankrupt in weeks..USA-EU are consumers and not producers..their exports to rest of world are tiny..So,their position is very weak at this point
2)The asian countries like china-india will be forced to join hands under joint attack by US financial system and islamic jihadists..Russia and china,former enemies,are now friends…who could have imagines it?
Russo-chinese-iranian alliance is huge failure of US foreign policies
3)Using islamic terrorists and islamic countries like turkey-saudi arabia-pakistan-indonesia-egypt is not going to work for USA because muslims think USA as enemy no.1…
4)A military superiority can not guarantee permanent -everlasting victory against too many opponents
What i see here is USA has made entire islamic world their enemy,alongwith china and russia
In case of real war,USA position will be very weak
camelotkidd December 18, 2015 at 9:49 am
This is an amazing article. Bravo!
Now it's becoming clear just what Margaret Thatcher meant when she told everyone that there was no alternative to neoliberalism.
Steve H. December 18, 2015 at 10:00 am
Thank you for continuing to mark the historical specifics of the finance/legal wing of geopolitical conflict, and the perverse failings of Full Spectrum Dominance.
The Oceana/Eurasia dichotomy is a dangerous frame of reference. It essentially contrasts the transport efficiencies of water to the solid defensive capacity of the frozen steppes. But when things get bloody, they usually crack along language lines. Not only as a proxy for migrations of the gene, but also world-views. How horse-people see things, what metaphors they use, are very different than how cow-people categorize the world.
This highlights that Russia is continuing to operate within the language and legal framework of the Indo-European languages. In other words (!), it is a fight between the U.S. and Russia for European alliances. If this is the case, then the alliance of NATO with Turkic and Arabic lines is of convenience, in that they are not partners but proxies. Europe is faced with the habit of the U.S. in saying, Let's you and him fight. But there's an oceans difference between the U.S. and European interests.
It also means that Russia and China are being pushed together by western exclusion, like drops of oil on the water. I maintain that Russia has doubled down on global warming, to open up northern sea routes and make the steppes arable. China is already a sea-power, but its massive population will need lebensraum as the fossil-fuel support for the energy needs of megapoli decay. The mountains are a formidable barrier for them to take the steppes by force.
The question for the rest of the world then becomes, who do you want to have as a friend in a hundred years. Do you bet on the Wizards of Wall Street, with their Magic Money Wand of Fiat? Or do you think Russia will ground-n-pound the fairy dust into the mud?
SocietalIllusions December 18, 2015 at 11:17 am
what is left unsaid is the choices Russia then faces once their legal options play out and the uneven playing field is fully exposed. Do they not then have a historically justifiable basis for declaring war?
The game of brinksmanship continues…
Jim Haygood December 18, 2015 at 11:18 am
'The Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration.'
Whereas the U.S. is 'investing' in new military bases to cement U.S. global domination.
Guess which model actually benefits local living standards, and 'wins hearts and minds'?
Global domination as a policy goal bankrupted the USSR. It's not working for the USSA either, as the U.S. middle class (once the envy of the world) visibly sinks into pauperization.
Thus the veracity of Michael Hudson's conclusion that 'when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.'
Steven December 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm
I get the same thrill reading Hudson the religiously devout must experience reading their bibles or Korans – a glimpse of 'truth' as best it can be known. My first encounter was this interview in Counterpunch: An Interview with Michael Hudson, author of Super Imperialism That led directly to "Super Imperialism" (and just about every book since its publication). After reading it, I was left with the uneasy feeling that no good would come from an international monetary system that allowed any one nation to pay its way in the world by creating money 'out of thin air' i.e. as sovereign and private debt or, almost the same thing, Federal Reserve Notes.
The race to the bottom of off-shored jobs and industries freed from all environmental restrictions, AKA 'globalization', had started to really kick in but it was just before Operation Iraqi Liberation (get it?). Fundamentally, it wasn't war for oil, of course, but a war to preserve the Dollar Standard. Recycling petrodollars bought a little time after the 1971 collapse of Bretton Woods. But with the world's treasuries filling up with US dollars and debt, the product of the Congressional-military-industrial-complex running wild and more recently the U.S. 0.01% successfully evading almost all forms of taxation, some kind of control more basic than controlling the world's access to money (which basically means credit) was required.
When people like Alan Greenspan (pretend to) come clean, you really want to look twice:
THOUGH it was not understood a century ago, and though as yet the applications of the knowledge to the economics of life are not generally realized, life in its physical aspect is fundamentally a struggle for energy, in which discovery after discovery brings life into new relations with the original source.
Frederick Soddy, WEALTH, VIRTUAL WEALTH AND DEBT, 2nd edition, p. 49
The world can live without American dollars, especially these days when the U.S. no longer makes much the world needs or can afford but most obviously because it already possesses more of them than can ever be redeemed ('debt that can't be repaid and won't be') What it can't live without is ENERGY.
So long as most of that energy needs to be pumped out of the ground, the nation that ultimately controls access to the pumps – or to the distribution networks required to deliver it to the ultimate user – controls the world. This is most likely why Reagan promptly dismantled Jimmy Carter's White House solar panels. It is why the US and its European vassals have been dragging their feet for a half-century on the development of renewable energy sources and the electrification of transportation. It is why the banks and Wall Street will stand solidly behind the various electrical utilities efforts to discourage the development of any alternative energy sources from which their executives and shareholders can not extract the last pint of blood or has Hudson more politely calls it 'economic rent'.
P.S. Hudson seems to have a dangerous monopoly on economic truth these days. Is there anyone else who even comes close?
Sep 28, 2015 | Zero HedgeAs part of his UN speech seeking to restore a crumbling Pax Americana, president Obama, eager to cover up US involvement in the Ukraine presidential coup of early 2014 (who can forget Victoria Nuland "strategy" interception in which she laid out the post-coup lay of the land, while saying to "fuck the EU"), just said that "America has few economic interest in Ukraine."
Where and what did they do with Ukraine's gold bullion reserves and who is in possession of them right now and why is it such a big secret to everyone that overthrew the Government there?
Who cares? The Ukraine gold and all the rest of their resources are legitimate wartime plunder, booty, if you will. If the Ukrainians are stupid enough to happily allow the USA to barge in and take everything of value from them why should we weep?
"George Soros has long called for the West to pump billions into Ukraine. Now he says he's ready to walk the talk.
The veteran hedge fund investor told an Austrian newspaper he was prepared to invest $1 billion in the collapsing war-ravaged economy under certain circumstances.
"There are concrete investment ideas, for example in agriculture and infrastructure projects. I would put in $1 billion," he told Der Standard. "This must generate a profit. My foundation would benefit from this, not me personally."
The Hungarian-born billionaire said Europe and the U.S. must show strong political leadership over Ukraine -- that would make it more attractive to private investors. The West could provide finance at European interest rates close to zero, for example.
A spokesman for Soros said his investment would depend on the West doing "whatever it takes" to rescue Ukraine."
The Indelicate ...Latina Lover
What do you figure, LL - is the "New Khazaria" theory in any way legit, or is it bullshit?
Israel's Secret Plan for a "Second Israel" in Ukraine
Notwithstanding the heavy presence of dual citizens yadda yadda, I kinda think the "secret report" was tongue-in-cheek and that this is basically bullshit. But in this messed up crazy world... stranger things....
I don't see Crimea going back to Ukraine though.
Since the discussion is now academic (Crimea is not leaving Russia unless Russia itself is destroyed), I will be brief.
Kolomoysky is the president of a European Jewish Group, and active in Chabad. He was promoting Crimea as an alternate Jewish homeland until Crimea rejoined Russia. Kolomoysky then lost his real estate holdings, and Chabad the ability to dominate the Crimea.
If you are interested in further background, check out the following link:
Sep 27, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al, September 26, 2015 at 1:44 pmhttp://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/06/30/argentina-vs-bondholders-the-epic-saga/
The Argentine government managed to restructure about 93% of that debt through heavily discounted bond exchanges in 2005 and 2010. But a small group of investors refused to tender their defaulted bonds for new securities, and they have hounded Argentina in courts across the globe for close to a decade seeking full repayment.
As part of the restructuring process, Argentina drafted agreements in which repayments would be handled through a New York corporation and governed by United States law. The holdout bondholders found themselves unable to seize Argentine sovereign assets in settlement, but realized that Argentina had omitted to provide for holdout situations and had instead deemed all bonds repayable on pari passu (equal) terms that prevented preferential treatment among bondholders. The holdout bondholders therefore sought, and won, an injunction in 2014 that prohibited Argentina from repaying the 93% of bonds that had been renegotiated, unless they simultaneously paid the 7% holdouts their full amount due as well. Together with the agreement's Rights Upon Future Offers ("RUFO") clause, this created a deadlock in which the 93% of renegotiated bondholders could not be paid without paying the 7% holdouts, but any payment to the holdouts would potentially (according to Argentina) trigger the 93% being due repayment at full value too; a sum of around $100 billion which Argentina could not afford. The courts ruled that as Argentina had itself drafted the agreement, and chosen the terms it wished to propose, it could not now claim the terms were unreasonable or unfair, and that this could not be worked around by asserting sovereign status since the injunction did not affect sovereign assets, but simply ruled that Argentina must not give preferential treatment of any group of bondholders over any other group when making repayments.
…NML Capital Limited, a Cayman Islands-based offshore unit of Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corporation, purchased many holdings in 2008, paying an estimated USD49 million for one series of bonds whose face value was over USD220 million; with the subsequent boom in Argentine bond values, this face value grew to USD832 million by 2014. They in turn established the American Task Force Argentina lobbying group against Argentine bond restructuring efforts, and sued to enjoin Argentina's ongoing payments to the bondholders who had participated in the earlier restructurings.
Nothing can stop red blooded capitalists! I suspect that death is but a minor inconvenience.
ucgsblog, September 26, 2015 at 1:55 pm
And this is what awaits Ukraine. Welcome to Capitalism Kiev, please read the small font. Oh, you don't read? Wonderful! We shall have a good time doing business together! How much for Dnepropetrovsk?
Warren, September 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm
These hold-out creditors aren't called fondo buitre for nothing!!!!!
Moscow Exile, September 7, 2015 at 8:46 amCortes, September 7, 2015 at 9:37 am
New York conceptual artist David Down has created a new Ukraine flag
I wonder what a "conceptual artist" is?
Everything created by man starts as a concept, from a condom to Concorde – the aeroplane, that is!That's funny. Hope Mr. Down has a safe house somewhere.
Sep 03, 2015 | The Guardian
Another version has it that the explosion outside parliament was orchestrated by the president's administration or the Ukrainian special services in order to discredit Svoboda and other radical nationalists and to "tighten the screws" on the political life of the country thus justifying control over opposition forces.
This version hardly stands up to criticism. The demonstration was led by MPs who are members of Svoboda but got into parliament as independent candidates. In the 2014 elections Svoboda did not win the 5% of the vote necessary to enter parliament. Four months earlier, in the presidential election, the party's leader, Oleg Tyagnibok, won only a little over 1% of the vote. This week he was photographed, together with other Svoboda activists, trying to drag a soldier out of the human chain formed around parliament into the crowd of protesters. It was a moment very reminiscent of the Maidan days, only that then Svoboda members and their leader were inside parliament. Since then the party has found itself increasingly marginalised.
However, there were other groups represented in the demonstration , among them two that deserve special attention: Oleg Lyashko's radical party and Igor Kolomoisky's Ukrop party. T-shirts with the latter party's emblem were given out free at the demonstration, and those willing to take part were paid to protest. Kolomoisky is considered to be an enemy of President Poroshenko since he was sacked from his position as governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region. Kolomoisky's man in Odessa, Igor Palitsa, also lost his job as governor and was replaced by the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili.
Immediately after the blast, Lyashko, who is a radical populist with little in common with the radical nationalists, announced the establishment of a campaign to save the nation. Only three or four hours after the explosion, his party had already registered a bill that would block changes to the constitution at times when the country is under military attack. Lyashko came second in the presidential elections, and over the last year his Radical party has gone up in the ratings. It is interesting that articles in the press regularly claim to have evidence that both the Svoboda party and the Radical party have been financed by the same oligarchs, the above mentioned Kolomoisky, Sergey Levochkin – who was head of the presidential administration under Yanukovich and who fled to Moscow after the Maidan – and Dmitry Firtash, who is now being investigated on corruption charges in Austria.
Still, the violence could have a far more banal explanation. To begin with, volunteers who went off to fight in the Donbass for the sake of maintaining Ukraine's unity were radicals from militant groups such as the Right Sector, which sprang up during the Maidan. There were also volunteers who had no affiliation to any party who went to fight. When the Ukrainian army took over the main role in the fighting, many of the volunteers returned home, taking weapons with them.
nnedjo 3 Sep 2015 16:18
Well, the purpose of the constitutional changes in Ukraine should be that rebels in the southeast stop fighting and accept Ukraine as his country, and not Ukrainian nationalists to stop throwing grenades at the police in Kiev. However, these laws passed by the Ukrainian parliament, can contribute very little that the main objective. Their main goal is just to create the illusion that Ukraine really is trying to comply with the requirement of Minsk 2 agreement, and thus to meet the expectations of their Western friends, which means to prevent lifting of sanctions against Russia. And, on the other hand, these laws need to be completely contrary to the expectations of the rebel peoples in Donbas, or in other words to achieve the same thing that the Ukrainian government unsuccessfully tried to achieve with weapons.
It is particularly interesting that the President of Ukraine Poroshenko himself makes no secret at all that it is true what I've previously written, as can be understood, among other things, also from those of his statements:
According to the president, "the threat of break-up of the international pro-Ukrainian coalition" would have increased if the Verkhovna Rada had not voted in favor of decentralization amendments to the constitution on Monday.
It could also lead to the lifting of sanctions, which "are very painfully hitting the aggressor," he said, apparently, referring to Russia, which Kiev blames for sending troops to war-torn eastern Ukraine....
...But what they [Donetsk and Lugansk Regions] have got instead is a lean line about the features of local self-governance," Poroskenko stressed.
So, even though the law that caused the protests in front of parliament has the name of "decentralization", in fact it needs to further strengthen the competence of the central government. Based on this law, the Presidency received the right to appoint a prefect, who with his hand has the discretionary right to dismiss officials elected at the local elections in certain regions. And if they do not like it, they can appeal to the constitutional court in Kiev, where were apparently is known in advance what may be the decision of the constitutional court.
On the other hand, the law on the special status of Donetsk and Lugansk, which was passed earlier, is practically suspended at this point by the recent decision of the President Poroshenko.
In this respect, it is necessary to emphasize two things.
Although according to the Minsk 2 arrangement, the special status of the Donbas region should have been incorporated as an integral and permanent part of the Ukrainian Constitution, the law, which is now suspended, does not meet any of these two demands.
This law therefore is attached only as an annex to the Ukrainian constitution, and its validity is limited to just three years. And, according to the idea of Ukrainian legislators, the law can come into force only after the local elections in Donbass which would be held under the previous Ukrainian legislation, and when Ukrainian forces take control over the whole territory of Ukraine, including its entire border with Russia.
Until then, they will be consider that Donbas region is temporarily occupied part of Ukrainian territory, and officials of the People's Republic of Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republic will be considered as terrorists. And since with the terrorists must not be negotiations, leaders of the LNR and DNR were completely excluded so far from discussions about the law on the special status, which is also contrary to the Minsk 2 agreement, given that it explicitly requires just that.
All in all, they are asking the pro-Russian rebels that lay down their arms voluntarily, without getting anything in return. Or more accurately, to get just a little bit of what they are looking for and only for a period of three years. So, congratulations on wishful thinking, but the question is whether it is achievable at all.
LimaCPapa -> ridibundus 3 Sep 2015 15:48
I first learned about this when a new Ukrainian student introduced himself, and we asked why the name he gave was not the name on his papers. He explained (with clear annoyance) that he had to use a Ukrainian name. He had to keep it while he was here as well, because it was the name in his passport. Now he's free of all that and uses his Russian name. Needless to say, he did not return to Ukraine. Another Ukrainian has since confirmed that the same thing was true for her passport. In both cases, issued in the early 2000s. So who's lying then?
beakybloom -> gablody 3 Sep 2015 13:34
What's inherited??.. The bankrupt economy, loss of Crimea, loss of Donbass, 6000 dead, civil war, downing of Malaysian airliner with 300 souls on board, Odessa massacre, murders of political opponents, the nazi parliament, stupid laws glorifying Ukraine's nazi past, no visa-free access to EU, Nazis throwing grenades at the police???..
Nothing here is inherited except the absence of visa-free access to EU
a "show on the road" ? On IMF funny money? For how long? It's a shitshow, and unsustainable to boot.
nnedjo -> Chirographer 3 Sep 2015 13:28
The putinposters are still reeling with the news that the Ukrainian government is fighting "Nazis" in Kiev,...
It will be possible to say just when the news arrives that the organizers of these demonstrations were sentenced to a few tens of years in prison, and that guy who threw this grenade from which the Guardsmen killed, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
What is quite unbelievable judging by the past behavior of government from Kiev.
Chillskier -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 10:43
Apparently Interpol red notices cannot be issued against US stooges.
Chillskier -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 10:20
The piece of shit she CHOSE to work with.
Jewish neo-con skunk and neo-Nazi thug seems like a match made in heaven.
jezzam -> Chillskier 3 Sep 2015 10:19
Go ahead then. I can't wait. Neither can Poroshenko. His best option is passive resistance when Putin launches his next land grab. Russia will be forced to give it back eventually when they are totally bankrupt
Bosula -> RVictor 3 Sep 2015 08:55
The congregation is mostly made up of ethnic Ukrainians, members of a community that numbers hundreds of thousands and has been growing rapidly since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
This is what the Guardian reported on 13 May 2015 - this was JUST for Poland:
"Last year Poland issued 331,000 permits for short-term work to Ukrainians, up 50% on 2013, says Marta Jaroszewicz, a migration expert at the Centre For Eastern Studies (OSW), an independent Warsaw thinktank funded by the Polish government.
She estimates that there are now 300,000-400,000 Ukrainians in Poland, as many as twice the officially recognised number. In January and February, the number of residence applications by Ukrainians in the Mazovian voivodeship – the province which includes Warsaw – was up 180% on the same months of 2014."
There are other articles for other neighbouring countries bordering Ukraine, but the Guardian is a pretty authoritative source.
Since this story the number crossing the border to leave Ukraine has increased significantly.
FlappyCat 3 Sep 2015 08:20
Poroshenko to Transnistria..
Yats to Macedonia and
Saakishwilly to Tajikistan.
oleteo -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 08:12
I read the Gorby's interview where he said 'Yes' about the NATO promises.But he's a fool nevertherless to beleive the promises,written or verbal from his enemy.
elias_ -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 08:07
>>He's trying to provoke Putin.
Hmm in that case you have proved Poroshenko is a fu##ing idiot. Only an idiot would set out to provoke the leader of a neighbouring country into invading. Is that what you lot voted him in for? No, it isn't. He should be making peace and securing the future for his people. Face it, your leader is taking orders from Pyatt and you know it.
BigBanana 3 Sep 2015 07:50
"Kolomoisky's man in Odessa, Igor Palitsa, also lost his job as governor and was replaced by the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili"
Jeez, Saakashvili is a stupid appointment for a very long list of reasons. He's the idiot who got Georgia dismembered after misjudging the situation terribly.
It's as if Poroshenko is deliberately trying to fuck things up.
HuffingHume -> normankirk 3 Sep 2015 07:41
All of the ex-Soviet Union, with the exception of the Baltic states, are horribly corrupt dysfunctional kleptocracies run by Soviet era bigwigs who carved up their state's assets up for themelves, leaving most of their fellow countrymen in poverty. This is the reason why many Ukrianians want to be more 'European'; because they want to be more like Poland and the Baltic States, rather than in the Russian orbit, in which every state has barely made it out of the 80's.
Dimmus -> Alex Hughes 3 Sep 2015 07:15
"It was the right wing Svoboda Party that started the trouble, definitely not a 'peaceful protest' as you make out. "
I talk about the media coverage. At that time "the right wing Party" was just a Putin lie, troubles were cause by Putin, protesters were peaceful and policemen were killed not in terror attacks but were killed democratically.
RVictor -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 07:14
Putin has a record of false flag operations, starting with the Moscow apartment block bombing performed by the FSB when he was head and which brought him to power.
And the proof is ... o, yes, - something written by oligarch in exile! Btw., here is a short list of admitted FF operations be US and it's vassals. Remember "Iraq WMD"?
oleteo -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 07:10
Why being invaded by Putin, Ukraine is trading a discount for gas, [and asks for ] deferral of loan?
irishinrussia -> Alex Hughes 3 Sep 2015 07:03
It's irony. He is implying that when protesters the west likes kill policemen then they at peaceful demonstrators, perhaps defending themselves against brutal security forces, at worst any violence is the action of a few hotheads or extremists among overwhelmingly peaceful, democratic victims of the state. However, when the very same protesters attack our guys (Poroshenko), they are radicals, extremists and terrorists, perhaps abetted by shadowy enemies of freedom and democracy (FSB).
PanoptikonicallyKool -> Briar 3 Sep 2015 06:15
Shhh!!!! You are not supposed to say things like that! 'US backed coup'? That is not part of the story. And it's ancient history history, no connection to current events. In fact it didn't even happen, according to repectable news sites. Or they don't mention it, so it must not have happended . The US, as the article states, or rather doesn't state, or rather doesn't even mention, has nothing to do with political events inside Ukraine, that's why we never read anything about it. Did Russia do it or not do it? That's the only serious question for anything that happens in Ukraine.
US involvement in Urkaine? Harrruuumph! Conspiracy theory! And don't bring it up again!
Dimmus 3 Sep 2015 06:15
"But the media has been busy throwing up theories about who has most to benefit from this terrorist attack. "
- Ehhh... was it a terrorist attack? Not a peaceful protest democratically fighting bad and corrupt police prohibiting them to freely take the parliament? Because at the Euromaidan 17 policemen were killed and more than 200 injured when peaceful protesters were democratically fighting bad and corrupt police prohibiting them to freely take the parliament... and there were no terror attacks...
ositonegro -> BastaYa72 3 Sep 2015 06:11
"Corporatism was one of the ideals of both German Nazism and Italian fascism. They held it as a carrot before the people, as a 'solution' to the class problem. They used it as their 'revolutionary' credentials and in both cases, ditched it completely soon after taking power. The idea of each sector of society being organized to take its place at the high table of the state was always "jam tomorrow." Today's agenda was always "war."
It should also be understood that fascist 'corporatism' has nothing to do with the global corporations that are not often bigger than nation states. Modern 'corporatism' only shares a name with the fascist 'ideal.' Not that it any better.
RVictor -> oleteo 3 Sep 2015 06:01
Poroshenko Blames Russia For Police Deaths
paulrou -> kennyboy 3 Sep 2015 05:21
How can anyone not take the US state department's line. It is the truth. Ergo, everyone else is paid by the Russians.
Калинин Юрий -> elias_ 3 Sep 2015 04:59
He does not answer the questions, he blames Putin in all the world's sins and universe disasters. Global warming - Putin, extreme heat in the EU - Putin, police conflicts in the USA - Putin. Ask him, wh has scratched a car by a shopping mall last month - Putin!
RVictor -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:53
The West has not broken international law since the Iraq invasion.
Support and organization of governments overthrow all around the world? War in Libya? Killing with drones on foreigns territories? Bombing of Syria territory?
Theo Humbug -> normankirk 3 Sep 2015 04:52
Princesss Nuland of the neocons is a nasty murderous piece of work. One to watch. Hopefully somebody will 'putsch' her and her equally loathsome husband. Have they spawned any more little evils?
RVictor -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:49
Why does Georgia not get Interpol to issue an arrest warrant for Saakashvili? Ukraine would have to comply. The answer is obvious. They would not get one because the charges against Saakashvili are politically motivated, like most of the corruption charges in Russia.
Right - like any West institution Interpol is so-o-o independent, exactly like International Court!
Theo Humbug -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:49
I have come to realise that Jizzem is just a Turing Bot.
Theo Humbug -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:48
HAHAHAHAHA... Are you serious? Which planet are you on? Do you think people forget that quickly? A neo-neocon organised and paid for putsch is hardly "democratic", same as any other US sanctioned regime change i.e Mega Nation Theft.
jonsid -> Mark Elliott 3 Sep 2015 04:46
In all matters relating to Eastern Europe the Guardian has pinned its colours to the mast of the "New East Network." Which is essentially controlled by a Mr George Soros, Radio "Free Europe" and the National Endowment for Democracy." All mouthpieces of the state department. Its safest to believe the opposite of everything they tell us.
Theo Humbug -> Chirographer 3 Sep 2015 04:41
You clearly have a very bad memory. The Russian offer of cancelling debt and very reasonable prices for fuel was very attractive to the ELECTED government of Victor Yanukovych and far far better than the EU offer, which was why they were all for accepting the Russian offer and aligning more with Moscow..
But the USA can't have any country deciding it's own fate if it is not in accord with the Lords of this Universe.
The neocon organised and paid for putsch, Maidan Shootings, Odessa burnings, put a stop to any agreement beneficial to the Ukrainians and opened the way for the IMF to come in and steal the wealth of yet another country.
There is no excuse for anybody not to know these recorded and verifiable FACTS.
elias_ -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:36
You are fixated on Putin - you must be a not so secret admirer. Why don't you answer Tomov's question. What has Poroshenko achieved since becoming President?
RVictor -> careforukraine 3 Sep 2015 04:34
It is very hard to enter EU from the East without visa (and rules for visa application were hardened for Ukrainians). It is very hard to get job without working permit, and for money you need to register. Notice, that all these points are not present in case of refugees traveling to Russia/Belarus.
So I show you official numbers of registered refugees in EU - and amount of unregistered cannot be high due to immigration laws and functioning police system.
On over side, number of 400000 is taken from nowhere - go on and proof it.
Salut_Salut -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:32
If you are such a hard-core proponent of sanctions policy, then may be you can name the beneficiaries of it in EU? Farmers? Businesses? Common people? Methinks - only politicians following in the wake of Uncle Sam's guidelines. The President of Russia is no way a role model or a paragon country leader, but seeing him behind every corner is nothing but a bout of anti-Russian paranoia. People of that long-suffering country aren't actually represented by him only.
Theo Humbug 3 Sep 2015 04:29
How far back does history go?
Lat week, last month, Maidan Square, the fall of the Soviet Union?
If taken that far back, then people will surely remember Ronnie Raygun's promises to Gorbachev that no NATO forces would encroach on former Soviet territory. Ehh?? What??
Fast forward to the neo-neocon putsch and princess Nuland boasting of the death and destruction that all those humanitarian $5 billion had purchased as she dispensed biscuits in Maidan, just prior to both sides being shot up by putschist snipers (likely from outside and/or Svoboda, or the Social Nationalists (don't say Nazis don't have a sense of humour!).
So called separatists voted to stay with Russia, with whom they identified, despite the lies and propaganda from the US/West/Nato including premature accusations of responsibility fro the shooting down of MH17 .. funny how 1) the US never released it's data (another Pentagon "plane"?) 2) that has all gone very quiet... Wonder what they found?
Perhaps the putschist regime and/or their neo-neocon pay/puppet-meisters have woken up to the very real danger of putting nazties withing 'Cooee' of nuclear weapons?
Of course, one does not need to be a nazti to call for nuclear mass murder. The blond plaited heroine of the right, the ex jailbird, ex Prime Minister (for ganesh sake!!) Tymoshenko called for the nuking of Donbass, if I remember correctly.
Russian now has the major Western forces and neonazis on their border. President Putin has to deal with these murderers and the great unwashed, living in their encapsulating bubbles of Newspeak and reality cooking shows, are told by the Mudorc press and other propagandists that it is Russia that is pure evil.
I wish there were a god.
Tony Cocks -> danhudders 3 Sep 2015 03:59
" The airliner was almost certainly downed by a Russian crew "
But of course you have not one shred of evidence to support your statement in which case would you agree it is valueless and was a waste of your time posting it in the first place.
RVictor -> careforukraine 3 Sep 2015 03:49
I think he said refugees crossed the border ........i am not sure that all refugees fill out the application form?
400000 ? Look on the current 100000's refugees wave from the Asia/Africa to get an expression how it looks like. Or on the last year summer wave of Ukrainian refugees in Russia - with large refugee camps for temporary placements etc. You cannot get 400000 refugees to go "unseen" - especially in case of relatively good-maintained land border.
martinusher 3 Sep 2015 03:09
Its not really a zero-sum game. Russia always maintained that the coup was engineered by the West by encouraging right wing elements and this is just one of a number of incidents that prove that their view was correct. This makes our life difficult in the West because we only think in polar terms -- if Russia is right then they 'win'. Since we cannot allow any situation where Russia 'wins' we go through all sorts of mental gymnastics to try to prove black is really white. It would be better to ignore Russia's comments and commentaries and just look dispassionately at who the actors are and what they're up to. The answers are staring us in the face.
(If you need any indication that something's not quite right in Ukraine then you only have to look to the appointment of Saakashvili as the governor of Odessa last summer. He's best known for his role as a Georgian politician, someone who, among other things, provoked a disastrous confrontation with Russia.)
SHappens 3 Sep 2015 03:07
To begin with, volunteers who went off to fight in the Donbass for the sake of maintaining Ukraine's unity were radicals from militant groups such as the Right Sector, which sprang up during the Maidan.
February 24, 2014, right extremist forces (Banderists, Right Sector and neo-Nazis Svoboda) implemented a coup during the Maiden. At the time the US government warned the Ukrainian authorities against using force against these 'pro-democracy protestors' even if, according to the pictures we saw, some of them were neo-Nazis who were throwing Molotov cocktails and other things at the police and smashing up statues and setting fire to buildings.
These forces were subsequently beaten in the elections, thus rejected by the Ukrainian people. However the first act of Poroshenko was to legitimate these irregular and illegal militias which, absent in Parliament, have received the far more important power of arms, courtesy of the new mixed Ukrainian-American government. Basically the only difference between the parliamentary majority and the far-right groups is that the first take orders from the West, the latter don't.
These militias became the spearhead of Ukrainian forces in the East and on them falls much of the war effort in the Civil War. But these militias can not yet be lifted, because otherwise the war in the East could not continue.
History always repeats itself. Use low ignorant, racist and violent manpower to take power by force but also to maintain it, but then to dump it as soon as possible because they rare considered, rightly, unpresentable or otherwise dangerous even for those who have instigated, financed and exploited them. Of course, sometimes such situations go out of hand, see the Afghan Mujahidin or ISIS.
Now Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk are receiving their own coin back. They supported and reinforced those they now pretend to discover to be thugs. The real puppets are and remain in power while their useful barbarians have become bothersome: infamous, resistant to the point that one can wonder if the latest riot would not be a false flag from Yats and Poro who used the skills of these criminal thugs. Because the latter are not mere free electrons who just decided to meet that day. There is money, people that structure this, a hierarchy, an efficient network and money at will, in which Russia has no involvement.
Still, Poroshenko and Yatsenuk want more war and call for lethal arms supply. All this while the rating of Ukrainian is now CC with negative outlook.
RVictor -> Bosula 3 Sep 2015 03:02
400,000 refugees crossed the borders from Ukraine into the EU over the past year.
You are lying (surprise, surprise!):
"There were 4,603 applications for international protection in Germany, 3,600 in Poland, 2,956 in Italy, 1,962 in Sweden, 1,763 in France, 200 in Moldova, 60 in Romania, 60 in Hungary and 20 in Slovakia," the UNHCR findings highlighted.
vr13vr 3 Sep 2015 02:16
"Russian TV focused on the events outside the Ukrainian parliament to prove to viewers that chaos reigns in Ukraine. "
And doesn't chaos indeed reign in Ukraine? I thought that was beyond obvious and doesn't need any additional proof.
vr13vr 3 Sep 2015 02:13
How about the more obvious explanation that Maidan, so much encouraged and celebrated by the West, had taught Ukrainians that it is Ok to attack the police, try to pull away their shields (see the photo above), through molotov cocktail at them (there was a picture on Monday) and grenades in order to pass certain laws in their Rada.
vr13vr 3 Sep 2015 02:11
How exactly Russia is "profiting" from this? is this author just throwing the sentences around or is he required to fulfill some anti-Russia quota in his article?
ArtofLies -> Jonathan Stromberg 3 Sep 2015 02:09
There are undoubtedly going to be further problems with these nationalists, oh come on, we can call the neo-nazi's or neo-fascists here, just because the journalists above the line cant be seen to be propagandising for fascists does not mean that we have to play those semantic games.
the fact is this is the second time these fascists have attacked the police, this time with grenades, the last time it was molotov cocktails, but the media wont criticise them because there is money to be made in the ukraine, not everything is privatised yet and i hear there are still dreams of fracking ukraine to prosperity.
nishville -> Jonathan Stromberg 3 Sep 2015 01:43
The far right have done all the dirty work during the coup and still doing it on the frontline and have not got enough in return, in their view. Croatia had a similar problem with their extremist veterans who were used by the Croatian right wing HDZ to destabilize social-democrat government.
Both countries are US clients and US has no use anymore for the nazi dogs of war, i.e. they can protest all they want - they are getting nothing and if they become too obstructive, they will start to disappear one by one.
They might be dangerous but they are nothing compared to money men running the show.
drrust 3 Sep 2015 01:38
Again you are instigating that the Minsk agreements were reached by western or international powers in general, implying that angloamerica was part of this. The agreement was a sole and very sucsessful initiative of Mrs Merkel, who took a reluctant Holland with her who solely sensed a chance to be viewed as a statesman. The UK had already transports of war material underway.
elias_ -> Bosula 3 Sep 2015 01:14
There's million in Russia although many of them may be hiding to avoid military service. Look on the bright side, there's another 40 million of them and I bet most will want to move into the land of milk and honey which is Europe.
MaoChengJi 2 Sep 2015 23:31
"But despite profiting from it, Russia is very unlikely to have perpetrated it"
Oh no, say it ain't so! How can any trouble in this world be caused by something that is not The Dark Lord Putin?
And how is Russia 'profiting' from this, I'd like to know? Isn's this rather a case of the western Russophobe industry suffering a loss?
Well, for sure the Russophobe industry suffering a loss is an undeniable victory for all humanity, but putting it as 'Russia profiting'?.. Oh well, russophobes are weird creatures, I've noticed it a long time ago.
retarius 2 Sep 2015 22:47
Occam's razor: the fascist nationalist nutters orchestrated the whole thing, because they don't want any concessions given to the objects of their hatred.
eric lund 2 Sep 2015 20:43
How the USA rule sway the destinies of Ukraine flooding it with blood
One can get an impression that authorities of Ukraine, totally dependent on State Department of USA, are doing anything – searching for spies, begging for money, getting weapons from USA and Europe, suppressing dissidence, self-advertising and desperate propaganda, but not taking the steps to peaceful regulation of conflict in South-East of the country and its economic rise.
According to the last research of Kiev international institute of sociology the rating of president Petr Poroshenko has fallen three times, down to 13,6%, other candidates don't even get 5%. When authorities are so unpopular, it is only left for them to turn the screws and continue witch hunting at full throttle.
The director of Centre of Eurasian researches Vladimir Kornilov noted: "Everybody perfectly understands where the HR department of Ukrainian policy is. It is in the American Embassy".
In order to strengthen his worthless power Poroshenko fired seemingly over powerful chief of Service of Safety Valentin Nalivaychenko, who had been transmitting information which often put Poroshenko himself in not very bright light, to representatives of USA. And new chief of Service of Safety Vasiliy Gritsak, who is very close to Poroshenko and was the head of his own service of safety, at one dash arrested 40 colonels and generals allegedly for dissidence in his department.
Danger is getting closer for Home Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov. The chief military prosecutor Of Ukraine Anatoliy Matios claimed that members of criminal organization 'Tornado', made on the base of militia and appointed by Avakov from former criminals, had organized secret place in basement floor of school to torture illegally captured people. The Ukrainian patriarch Filareth presented a medal for sacrificing and love for Ukraine, so to say for perverted sadism while torments, which are unofficially legalized by Ukrainian authorities.
At the same time the level of aggression of Ukrainian militaries is only picking up speed. Thus, the Ambassador of Ukraine in USA Valeriy Chalykh without any scruples stated: We are getting weapons, including lethal, and nobody can prohibit it to independent Ukraine. The other thing is that it is not common to disclose these countries, but they are more than 10, only from Europe. We have different level of technical and military cooperation, and at this stage it is only going further.
Chillskier -> Paul Moore 2 Sep 2015 20:42
Here is two examples of Porkoshenko being a head of occupational government:
- He destroyed Ukraine's military industrial complex, for it's ties (very profitable by the way) with Russian military, as any obedient CIA stooge will do.
- He flipped the country geo-politically, from the state that should have benefit from it's position in the middle of the Europe, in to some sort of final frontier, protecting Europe from the hordes of those crazy Russians, all by himself , only crazy person could have come up with this, or an obedient CIA stooge again.
So it is what Ukraine g-ment does, not what putin tells.
EugeneGur -> Chirographer 2 Sep 2015 20:35
everything would have been wonderful if Ukraine had not decided to finally reject the brotherly embrace of Putin's Russia
Not everything, because by that time Ukrainian authorities have already ruined a lot. However, there is little doubt that Ukraine would've been a hell of a lot better off if it hadn't followed the path of the coup and indulged in anti-Russian hysteria. Has your mother ever told you that quarreling with your neighbors is never a good idea?
Looking at the situation objectively, it is a good thing that the Kiev government is trying to follow the Minsk plan.
Objectively? You? It would be a good thing if it were but it doesn't. These constitutional changes have nothing to do with the requirements for the regional autonomy set out in Minsk II. Nor have they been agreed to by the Donbass representatives, which makes the whole thing pointless. But even these miserable changes had to be pushed through by Nuland, because Rada initially refused to approved them. There are 13 points in Minsk II and so far Kiev fulfilled none of them.
Jeff1000 2 Sep 2015 20:30
Some people think the challenges faced by Ukraine's Poroshenko are now too big to overcome. But those who would like to take his place have not shown themselves capable of doing even half of what he has achieved.
Wait...Poroshenko has achieved something? He has done nothing but what he was told.
He waged war in the east because John Brennan told him to. And then stopped when Merkel told him to. He is a non-entity.
Julian1972 -> truk10 2 Sep 2015 19:54
I know! I know!
Still, when the US funds its various Intelligence Agencies and Covert Overseas Operations Organizations to levels beyond that which most of the rest of the world combined spend on their actual militaries, it's hard not see why they end up being suspected of having sticky fingers in various pies.
Poor, innocent US...after all, all that money's just being spent on ergonomic seating and biodegradable paperclips, right? Hahahaha!
nnedjo 2 Sep 2015 19:51
There is one more possible theory, which seems that the author has failed to notice.
Thus, due to the fact that the proposed legislation is far from what was envisaged by Minsk 2 agreement, and in particular is far from what would satisfy the pro-Russian rebels, the following question arises:
Does this event may have been aimed to strengthen the claim that this bill is the most that Ukraine can offer to the pro-Russian rebels, because, "for God's sake, even for this Ukrainians began to kill each other in the middle of Kiev"?
TomFullery -> Chillskier 2 Sep 2015 19:47
You are right about Ukraine's economy. I visit fairly often and each time I get more Hryvnia for my Euros. Plus the restaurants are empty so you are guaranteed good service from serving staff desperate for a tip to supplement their meagre wages (so much for joining the US "democratic" system!).
Strange that the Nazi putsch in Kiev has benefited me (who wouldn't piss on them if they were burning) rather more than 99% of Ukrainians.
Although I do notice that the Kiev Nazis seem to have taken one step in the direction of moderation - the shrine to the Nazi Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera which was there erected about the time of the putsch has now disappeared (most likely moved to a less conspicuous location).
Julian1972 -> desnol 2 Sep 2015 19:44
In penning the written equivalent of 'The Picture That Fooled the World':
maybe, at least, his 'confusion' is a symptom of his conscience trying to find it's voice. Hehehe, maybe there's hope for him yet?
Let's face it, straight reporting on The Ukraine is hard to come by, given that it's labouring under the 3-line whip of the CIA, MI6 and another global I.S. best not to mention.
NorthOfTheM25 2 Sep 2015 19:42
The Ukrainian regime in as much as they try so hard to have a resemblance of 'western values' (whatever that means) & to avoid behaving like the powers that be at the Kremlin. At the end of the day have the same approach in how they apportion blame & deflect attention from their obvious failings.
When you back hard right elements (to further your personal political goals, when both parties share a common antagonist) who are prone to violence. Don't cry victim when they disagree with your political overtures & decisions. Acting out that disagreement the only manner they know how to which is through violence.
I have no sympathy Poroshenko, for the backlash his government is now facing re: his government's constitutional proposals.
TomFullery -> jezzam 2 Sep 2015 19:35
His Ukraine policy has two main prongs.
1. Make Putin realise that military aggression against his neighbours carries too high an economic penalty to be worthwhile.
Nothing got military until the US-instigated Nazi putsch in Kiev. Strategic imperatives trump short term economic considerations and Russia has reacted skilfully to the attack by the US using Ukraine as a proxy (much to Ukraine's detriment)
2. Support Ukraine economically until it becomes a prosperous liberal democracy, like the rest of Europe (Russia excepted of course).
Ukraine will be asset-stripped by US corporations. Ukraine will not be a prosperous, liberal democracy in your lifetime and neither will the US.
His policy seems to be working very well.
Chillskier -> normankirk 2 Sep 2015 19:33
Link to the story that will challenge the spotless mind of jezzam:
Oligarchs in Ukraine are doing extremely well, obviously not a concern for a coup sponsors.
normankirk -> jezzam 2 Sep 2015 19:33
Want an example of a twist?
Kerry warning Poroshenko against resuming hostilities, retaking territory in breach of the Minsk agreement, then less than a week later Nuland rushing to Kiev to egg Poroshenko on, thoroughly endorsing his plans
Hanwell123 -> Knapping 2 Sep 2015 19:28
He was the idiot who jumped the gun in the CIA plan to create a war in 2008. He went before the whistle shelling an unprotected and unwarned city hours before he was supposed to. One of Asias prize fools. So Poroshenko's made him - a non Ukrainian - Governor of Odessa. Great stuff Poro!
TomFullery -> jezzam 2 Sep 2015 19:27
Despite Yanukovich's corruption he did a decent job of steering Ukraine down the middle path between Russia and the US/EU and he was nobody's proxy. As for his corruption he was a mere pickpocket compared to the like of Timoshenko who is not on any Ukrainian, EU or US corruption list!
This wasn't good enough for the neocons in Washington who wanted the whole country - hence their instigation of the Nazi putsch in Kiev. It's gone downhill all the way for the Ukrainian people since then considering they have lost a sizeable chunk of territory and now likely having to move to some sort of federal system.
On top of those miseries they now have Finance and Economics ministers from Lithuania and Poland parachuted in by the US and given Ukrainian citizenship on the day of their inauguration to their respective posts. They also have US stooge and ex-Georgian president Sakaashvili and fugitive from Georgian justice parachuted in as governor of Odessa. Let's not forget Joe Biden's son who was appointed to the board of directors of one of Ukraine's biggest energy companies very shortly after the Nazi putsch.
At least the east of the country is out of the hands of US corporate predators but it's a certainty that agreements will be signed (if not already) to turn massive tracts of Ukrainian farmland in the west of that country to US GM giants. I wonder how those US-loving west Ukrainians are going to react when the horrible reality of US-style "democracy" hits home.
NorthOfTheM25 -> truk10 2 Sep 2015 19:24
Stop it, you are embarrassing yourself & sound like a bitter divorcee who has lost a legal battle. Nothing you have said has little bearing with the article.
But I guess each time the key trigger words Russia, Ukraine, Kremlin, Stalin & Moscow are mentioned then just like Putin bots, you are also activated from your dwelling under the bridge to reel out the tired & repetitive anti Putin bellicose rants.
normankirk -> jezzam 2 Sep 2015 19:22
except it is the oligarchs who are prospering. Kolomoisky is under investigation for diverting 1.8 billion of IMF money to his own Cyprus bank account. Poroshenkos profits have increased astronomically while all Ukrainians are taking pay cuts.
luckyjohn -> alpamysh 2 Sep 2015 19:03
Yanukovych contributed a lot to radicalise Ukrainian society. He planned his survival in office by manipulation - stressing Tyannybok's importance to voters so that in the end there would be a choice - Tyaynybok or himself Yanukovych for president. Of course - Yanukovych then wins because the radical Tyahnybok is too "dangerous" to vote in. So much for your democratically elected president Yanukovych! So the presence of radical elements in Ukrainian society is in fact Yanukovych's doing. He was a very divisive president who played on divisions in Ukraine rather than trying to heal them as well as being thoroughly corrupt.
virgenskamikazes 2 Sep 2015 18:37
I would believe the Western version if, after ousting Yanukovich, they would do a 21st century, EU version of a Marshall Plan. If the EU had said to Yanukovich "we want to flood Ukraine with Euro with very low interest and in long term, for investment in infrastructure and industrialization projects - given that you cut ties completely with Russia" and Yanukovich had said "no" to that, than I think it would be fair for the Ukranian people to oust him.
But the EU offered a humiliating, absurd shock therapy style reform, that's why Yanukovich "no". Even imediate full EU, EZ membership was not on the table.
The thing is, the Ukrainian people bought on the fantasy that they could mass emigrate to central Europe overnight had Yanukovich said "yes", that only them had economic problems, that the West is the promised land, that we are still in the Cold War, etc.
Had Yanukovich hold on tight on power until two months ago, after the Greek tragedy, I doubt there would be political strength for the USA and the Ukrainian far-right to oust him.
Beckow -> ArthurJenkinson 2 Sep 2015 18:32
He wrote a long article with bizarre conspiracy theories in order to confuse a very simple attack by a Ukrainian nationalist mob on the police, killing 3 policemen.
The "theories" are there to obfuscate and confuse. We are close to the end game in Kiev and it will not be pretty. And the angry hysteria among Washington, London and Berlin sponsors of this madness will also get uglier. They don't like to lose so they would prefer just about anything to admitting to being defeated in Ukraine.
Julian1972 2 Sep 2015 17:43
Poroshenko's assertion that Russia is to blame for this week's murder of policemen is of the same Frankenstein DNA as his assertion that Russia was behind the downing of Flight MH17 and that the Eastern part of The Ukraine's population are not democrats rising up against an illegal putsch which brought him to power but are simply 'Kremlin puppets'...and therefore justifiably crushed by the same type of gunfire that otherwise had Maidan martyrs held up as 'heroes'. (Even though it was members of their own side doing the shooting, hahaha).
Disgusting man hailing from a disgusting class of politician/businessmen trained by the US to bring death and chaos to any part of the globe that the powers behind the US Government see fit. Prepare for our own Maidan should this class of parasite-sans-frontieres, (read Mikheil Saakashvili), succeed in bringing The Ukraine under the NATO umbrella.
BastaYa72 -> alpamysh 2 Sep 2015 17:43
You can't even tell the difference between 'neo-fascist' and 'Nazi'.
If either term comes into your tiny mind it obviously defaults to imagining scenes from the last days in the Führerbunbker - whatever turns you on.
Also, the IMF has always favoured right wing corporatist regimes, preferably with as little democracy as possible.
desnol 2 Sep 2015 17:41
The author's puzzlement and confusion are directly proportional to how little he understands the situation in Ukraine. He keeps wondering about various scenario's, each more absurd than the previous.
I chortled with laughter, almost choked, when he suggested that the Kremlin agents are organising the far right nationalists in Ukraine, deliberately causing an outbreak of peace in order to show up the Kiev parties in a bad light! Believe me, Kiev parties can show themselves up all by themselves!
And then, almost at the very end of the article, after all his fanciful, surreal speculation, Andrey Kurkov hits the nail on the head with
"Still, the violence could have a far more banal explanation."
But even then he gets it all skewed up, blaming the fact that Ukranian army went to fight the separatists for the fact that the far right thugs are now armed and throwing bombs in Kiev. Doesn't he realise they were armed and throwing bombs in Maidan 2014 edition? He doesn't ask who armed them in the first place.
The author is giving a good impression of being one very confused bloke.
domeus -> thenewstranger 2 Sep 2015 17:30
At least he is an improvement on all the other Guardian journalists who report on Russia and Ukraine. He connects the right wing group of people behind the killing of the of the policeman in Kiev with those those who volunteered to kill their fellow countrymen in Odessa and throughout the eastern and southern regions. Autonomy for the regions would have solved the problem then and prevented the unnecessary bloodshed and suffering. But Nuland had other plans and the western media acted accordingly.
Jessica Roth -> alpamysh 2 Sep 2015 17:14
The Maidan "protestors" were the ones who broke the cease-fire, shooting at both the Berkut and their own people. The forensic evidence proved it. Did you not listen to the Urmas Paet-Baroness Ashton phone call?
The "impeachment" of Yanukovich was illegal under the Ukraine constitution, which required a 75% vote. Even with the US-trained thugs forcing MPs to the floor at gunpoint, only 72% of the Ukraine parliament was present for the vote. Poroshenko has no more business being President than the burnt and raped corpses of the people his Azov Nazis butchered in Odessa and Mariupol do. (Although the corpses would probably do a better job.)
bonhiver 2 Sep 2015 16:49
I wondered how long it would be for poroshenko to blame putin for the grenade attack. Russia has been a convenient scapegoat for Ukraine to blame for its own failings since the overthrow of yanukovic.
The right wing activists who carried out the grenade attack were at the heart of the maidan protests which also involved violent confrontations with the police. They were also those who tarrgetted ethnic Russians following the overthrow of yanukovic so their actions in opposition to granting extra powers to eastern territories is hardly surprising.
ositonegro 2 Sep 2015 16:44
The Azov battalion also declared they would bring the war to Kiev if not sated in Dombass. You make a fascist revolution and the next move is to institutionalize it. Hitler did this very well, destroying the populist SA movement and assassinating their leaders and incorporating the remainder into the regular army. Then fascism could move forward with the whole state support.
But in Ukraine the EU-US used fascism to make the coup then tried to reign it in. The fascists however cannot be institutionalized. They are still a powerful street movement with the added benefit of having been trained and armed and given military space to grow. Now they are pushing for policy dominance over the regular bourgeois political forces and using bombs to do it. The Azov Battalion always said they would take the war back to Kiev if they felt betrayed.
It has to be understood that Poroshenko is not a fascist, despite coming to power on the back of their efforts. The EU-US do not want the fascists in power. How could Ukraine enter the EU with an outright fascist government? But they are playing with fire, using these street forces and then renouncing them. It will come a time when they do not have either the legitimacy of the power to stop another coup against themselves, and this time with no restraints. Then what will the EU do?
While Greece founders under unsustainable debt and Eurogroup dictatorship, Ukraine is given sweeteners, relieving 20% of their debt - something unimaginable with Greece. But you can't stop a tsunami with Canderel.
Aug 30, 2015 | The Guardian
HollyOldDog -> Bosula 30 Aug 2015 20:28
The rest of Ukraine was descending into chaos, what with police and demonstrators being shot and killed by unknown assalients from rooftops. Odessa , where 45 plus Ukrainian citizens were trapped in a building which was set fire to by outside football supporters, then shot at and clubbed when the citizens climbed out of the burning building seeking help. Would you risk yourself and your family in such a situation or would you seek the protection of a friendly power?
Chillskier -> jezzam 30 Aug 2015 20:00
Ensure that Ukraine does not go under economically and eventually becomes a fully functioning and prosperous liberal democracy.
It seems to be working pretty well..
NO it is not.
You need to talk to people who actually live there, it is a catastrophe
HollyOldDog -> truk10 30 Aug 2015 19:46
Ukraine should be wary of false friends who may lead then down a blind alley. Only today I watched a very interesting TV program that puts the continueing existance of Monsanto into serious doubt. The program was about wheat in terms of the future of Global Warming where presentment her patterns within seasons would vary widely. Is it the right course of action to choose types of GM wheat where seasonal rains would pop up at inconvenient times ( which a farmer would pay 'through the nose for') or to allow your wheats to choose the correct wheat for the growing conditions it encounters. Some of the Wheats on test where from the times of the ancient Egyptians while the oldest variety was around 9000 years old. Instead of gene splicing and growing micro cultures in a lab followed by years of field testing , perhaps we should just look what our ancestors did.
I know this is not exactly on topic but I am trying to suggest Not to believe the latest SPIN, just because it is new. NEW SPIN does not equal TRUTH. IF something looks to be too good to be true then it is too good to be true - Forbes, verify your stories before you publish.
Beckow -> impartial12 30 Aug 2015 18:41
"Ukraine is important to the West because of its encroachment strategy against Russia"
The strategy is to somehow take over Russia by either having Yeltsin-like puppets in power again, or maybe by physically taking it apart (separatism). The "encroachment" is just the means to that end.
Russians had two choices when the coup happened in Kiev on the last day of the Sochi Olympics:
- - do nothing and hope for the best; maybe Ukraine would run into economic troubles, maybe it would collapse into infighting like after the Orange revolution
- - quickly save what could be saved - Crimea, bases, Donbass Russians - and squeeze Ukraine economically until it collapses
The West was surprised that Russia went for the second option and decided to fight. I think Russia decided that this was their best chance to resist, and that facts on the ground in Ukraine were in their favor. So far it has worked for Russia, thus the almost hysterical anger in the West.
Beckow -> Tintenfische 30 Aug 2015 17:55
Stay sober. Russia's economy is down 4%, that's not "go down in flames". E.g. EU economy dropped 6-9% after '09, and people are ok, kind of.
The real issue is with the Ukrainian economy and living standards. Russia's per capita income this year is 10 times higher than Ukraine's. That's very substantial, that's why about 3 million Ukrainians work in Russia and more are coming each month.
The West tried to crash Russian economy ahead of the inevitable Ukrainian collapse, and it failed. So now the death-watch for the Ukraine's economy has started: default on loans, catastrophic drop in living standards and incomes, millions trying to emigrate, and energy dependency on Russia that might turn out to be fatal if there is a cold winter in Europe.
vr13vr -> CedricH 30 Aug 2015 17:55
Yeah, I can imagine Russians being jealous of Ukrainians. The economy is collapsing, the inflation is 40%, the far is going on, the armed Right Sector people are walking in the center of the city, the opposition leaders are suppressed and the actions are taking against the media that disagrees with Kiev. And while all of this, the corruption remains exactly where it used to be. Darn, the entire world is jealous of those lucky Ukrainians.
Beckow -> Tintenfische 30 Aug 2015 17:47
"it denies the Ukrainian people any sort of agency what so ever and at the same time ignores that the elections within the Ukraine have not been called free or fair for a generation"
I wrote 'assisted in an overthrow' - do you get the meaning of the verb "to assist"? Assisting in an overthrow of an elected president is by any definition illegal and unconstitutional - all else that followed has to be examined in that light.
Elections in Ukraine have been free and fair and declared so by EU itself many times. Yanukovitch won fair and square. Russian speakers (or supporters) used to get roughly 50% of the vote, sometimes more, sometimes little bit less. Their party - Party of Regions - was outlawed. So maybe they are listened to, but in a very constrained way - they are certainly not equal to the Western Ukrainians. That's why some of them started a civil war.
You don't address any of the disastrous economic consequences of Maidan and the war: Ukraine is suffering and is much worse off than two years ago. There is no economic prosperity possible in Ukraine without Russian cooperation (energy, imports, food, investments). That is a reality that cannot be wished away. Unless Ukraine adjusts to being a poor, agrarian country, that exports millions of workers, with living standards maybe like in Albania or Tunis (at best), they will have to make peace with Russia and its own Russian leaning population. There is no other way, even Germany and France have officially told Kiev that much.
Only US nutcases don't care about economy or living standards and prefer to play geo-political games with Ukrainians...
SHappens -> Agrajag3k 30 Aug 2015 17:42
Ukraine can prosper perfectly well on its own, just like any other county under the right leadership.
which they dont have. On the other hand when a big part of the country doesn't want to align with the "West" they should be heard. That's what is called democracy
vr13vr 30 Aug 2015 16:09
Clueless. The "low intensity" fight continues, but it's evident that the chances of Kiev to establish full control of the area are non-existent, and it is Kiev who is looking for a grace saving exit at this point.
And as for West "helping Ukraine" by cutting down the debt by 20%, this is the freshest interpretation of the event I've ever heard. It wasn't done to "help" Ukraine. The West agreed to do so to avoid even messier and costlier option of default and loosing even more money in Ukraine. Other than talking about giving some more loans to Ukraine in the future, the help to Ukraine from the West is now minimum.
BastaYa72 -> alpamysh 30 Aug 2015 16:33
Moreover, a country with the agricultural resources of Ukraine
Land that has long since been signed over to Monsanto and DuPont as part payment for earlier loans. Ukraine's economy is in such a state that's it's obvious that it will form the next major refugee crisis, while Svoboda and Privvy Sector will almost certainly launch a coup to over-throw the Kiev government.
Iraq, Libya, Ukraine - you can pretty much guarantee that wherever the West intervenes or interferes, chaos and destruction is pretty much 'nailed-on'.
Laurence Johnson -> Beckow 30 Aug 2015 16:05
You make some very sober points. Ukraine is indeed destined to be a wasteland similar to Libya and Syria. The scorch and burn policy of "if I cant have it, nobody can have it" is very clear.
I suspect that in twenty years time East Ukraine will be an economic miracle that engages with Asia via Russia. As for Kiev I suspect they will still be arguing about which Oligarch has the biggest pair of balls.
normankirk 30 Aug 2015 15:56
under the Minsk agreement, the border comes back under Ukrainian control, only when Ukraine has done the necessary constitutional reform that grants autonomy to the Donbas. So far, Kiev has dragged the chain , and to this day has refused dialogue with the leaders of the DPR and LPR.Poroshenko has openly boasted of using the ceasefire to build up another military assault on the eastern Ukrainians , and has vowed to reclaim all the terrItory by force.All this is in breach of the Minsk agreement Articles like this, with their bias and misinformation destroys the credibility of the guardian
This time the ceasefire may work because Merkel and Hollande have pressured Poroshenko, but I'm not holding my breath.
Parangaricurimicuaro 30 Aug 2015 15:45
I think that Europe is having to much on its plate. Terrorism problems, energy insecurity, bailing out Greece, refugees escaping wars south of the Mediterranean, aging population etc. so maybe it is most than they could possible chew. Reality is sobering everyone.
SHappens Agrajag3k 30 Aug 2015 15:36
Russia has no interest in seeing the war end or seeing Ukraine prosper.
Ukraine cannot prosper without Russia's market, that's an economic truth. Ukraine can even less prosper without the Donbass. The West must accept to share Ukraine with Russia. Federalization can make this possible and fulfill every country's ambitions and will, except for one country overseas, taking part to the events, we dont know why or do we?
Beckow 30 Aug 2015 15:26
Half-truths are by definition not truths. To say:
"deadline for the internationally recognised border to come back under Ukrainian government control"
Minsk also requires that Donbass has autonomy before border is turned over. How does one leave out the other side of the story? It is like reporting on Soviet Union conquest of Berlin in 1945 without mentioning that Germany invaded Russia in 1941. Maybe that's next in the endless search for just the right narrative where friends are friends, and enemies are, well the enemy is Russia, end of story. No need to actually be accurate. About Minsk or anything else.
Ukraine is bankrupt - negotiating to not pay back the full principal is the definition of a default. You can call it a "haircut" all you want, Ukraine has just defaulted - as in: they will not pay their full debts back. Who is going to invest there now? Other than EU taxpayers and IMF funny money men?
Time is definitely not on Ukraine's side: economy is down by 15-17%, inflation is 40-50%, incomes are dramatically down to roughly Senegal-Nepal level, the exports to Russia that Ukraine used to live off are down by more than 50% and dropping - and nothing is replacing the Russian market. With living standards are on sub-African level and with no visa-free access to EU, no investments (see the default above), and energy dependence on Russia, how can time be on Kiev's side? How are they going to grow out of it? What and to whom are they going to export? How is the per capita income going to grow? Today Ukraine income is 1/10 of Russia's per capita income (that's right 10%). How is time on Kiev's side?
West triggered an unnecessary catastrophe in Ukraine by assisting in an overthrow of an elected government. Ukraine is divided, look at all elections, look at language usage, etc... half is pro-West, half is pro-Russian. It is impossible to have a prosperous Ukraine without both having a say in running the country. So sooner or later, Ukraine will either go back to its traditional role as a buffer state, or it will break-up. There is no way one group can permanently dominate the other. And that takes us back to the Minsk treaty that specifies that Donbass gets autonomy. Maybe we should ask Kiev what happened to that part of the treaty. Why isn't it even mentioned?
impartial12 Tintenfische 30 Aug 2015 15:19
That is funny considering the amount of armaments building up among the former nations of the Soviet Union neighboring Russia. The escalation in Ukraine had started with an illegal coup of an elected government. And don't even get me started on the neo-Nazi tendencies of the new regime. It takes two to tango, and the West clearly wants to play this game no matter what negative consequences it may bring.
SHappens 30 Aug 2015 15:14
Kiev, backed by Washington who is using Ukrainian army foot soldiers, paramilitaries, foreign mercenaries, Nazi-infested death squads and others hasn't stopped since initiated back in April 2014. Kiev flagrantly violated the Geneva and two Minsk ceasefire agreements straightaway. Moreover Kiev has repeatedly refused to sit and talk with the people in the East and grant them autonomy as per Minsk.
Surely Russia supports the eastern ukrainians, rightly, in a way or another, preventing in this way a full war offensive by Kiev, however Russian's army is not present in Ukraine. President Putin wants peace and has been calling for it since the very start of the event, that is the ATO launched by Kiev back in 2014.
This is the Donbass who fights against Kiev. It is the US citizens who are forced to devote scarce resources to the dying puppet regime in Kiev (who will not avoid the country's default anyway + they have been downgraded), while Russia can stay away making peace proposals. If the US wants to put the fire, they will put it so it is necessary to be able to quickly turn it off to preserve what is most precious. That's why Putin considers peace of vital importance.
We can only guess who will be most effective - the US with their fuel container or the Russians with their fire extinguisher?
yalensis, August 30, 2015 at 4:31 am
The purges cannibalistically eat their own:
Saakashvili announced 2 days ago that he was initiating a thorough purge of the Odessa police force, whom he called a "criminal syndicate".
Then yesterday the Odessa Chief of Police was fired and arrested: a guy named Oleg Makukha.
A guy whom Saakashvili himself appointed not more than 2 months ago!
Makukha is charged with the following:
(1) Receiving $23,000 worth of bribes,
(2) Providing "krysha" for unlawful businesses; and
(3) Secretly keeping Russian flags and insignia in his home.
The latter which proves, according to Saakashvili, that Makukha was just waiting for the Russian tanks to arrive, after which he would whip out the Russian flags and switch sides.
marknesop, August 30, 2015 at 10:50 am
That's Ukie-style! I just pointed out yesterday on the Kyiv Post that everyone who starts to notice something smelly about the Yatsenyuk government, after they are appointed as a shiny new corruption fighter, is straightaway accused of corruption himself and unceremoniously fired. And the moonies who admire Kiev's uncompromising anti-corruption stance dutifully applaud and say to one another what a stellar anti-corruptionist Yatsenyuk is, he just cuts them off at the knees, just like that.
Gordienko, appointed to fight corruption, promptly reported that Yatsenyuk's government appeared to have misappropriated 7.5 Billion hryvnia.
Shokin, the most recent fire-ee, said that his office had commenced a criminal investigation based on the charges, which was probably the kiss of unemployment for him right there.
Gordienko was sacked, and the charges seemed to disappear.
Then came Bilous, another stellar corruption fighter, in the tax office. Although Yats loved his work for the first 6 months, he suddenly announced he was firing Bilous and his whole department. Corruption, you know. So sad. He couldn't have been too corrupt, though, or perhaps just corrupt enough, because he was re-appointed to head the State Property Fund.
And now Shokin is on his way out with a comet-trail of corruption behind him, just after Yatsenyuk was in the limelight for a shady deal to privatize Odessa Port facilities. I wonder how long it will be before the SBU burst into his office and find him counting a suitcase full of stolen money, while a pair of plane tickets sit prominently on the table beside the suitcase. He was about to blow town, boss! Good thing you had a funny feeling about him.
In Makukha's case, the Russian flags and so forth are necessary only to draw a line between criminal behavior and Russians. Of course he was corrupt – he's a closet Putinist! Crude, but effective if your audience is dozy.
Jen, August 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm
Funny that new appointees are taking their work too seriously, and it doesn't take them very long to do much before they're already on Yatsenyuk's own trail of corruption which must be why they get fired before their probation period is up.
marknesop, August 30, 2015 at 10:50 am
That's Ukie-style! I just pointed out yesterday on the Kyiv Post that everyone who starts to notice something smelly about the Yatsenyuk government, after they are appointed as a shiny new corruption fighter, is straightaway accused of corruption himself and unceremoniously fired. And the moonies who admire Kiev's uncompromising anti-corruption stance dutifully applaud and say to one another what a stellar anti-corruptionist Yatsenyuk is, he just cuts them off at the knees, just like that.
Gordienko, appointed to fight corruption, promptly reported that Yatsenyuk's government appeared to have misappropriated 7.5 Billion hryvnia.
Shokin, the most recent fire-ee, said that his office had commenced a criminal investigation based on the charges, which was probably the kiss of unemployment for him right there.
Gordienko was sacked, and the charges seemed to disappear.
Then came Bilous, another stellar corruption fighter, in the tax office. Although Yats loved his work for the first 6 months, he suddenly announced he was firing Bilous and his whole department. Corruption, you know. So sad. He couldn't have been too corrupt, though, or perhaps just corrupt enough, because he was re-appointed to head the State Property Fund.
And now Shokin is on his way out with a comet-trail of corruption behind him, just after Yatsenyuk was in the limelight for a shady deal to privatize Odessa Port facilities. I wonder how long it will be before the SBU burst into his office and find him counting a suitcase full of stolen money, while a pair of plane tickets sit prominently on the table beside the suitcase. He was about to blow town, boss! Good thing you had a funny feeling about him.
In Makukha's case, the Russian flags and so forth are necessary only to draw a line between criminal behavior and Russians. Of course he was corrupt – he's a closet Putinist! Crude, but effective if your audience is dozy.
Jen, August 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm
Funny that new appointees are taking their work too seriously, and it doesn't take them very long to do much before they're already on Yatsenyuk's own trail of corruption which must be why they get fired before their probation period is up.
Aug 28, 2015 | The Guardian
Ukraine has secured a 20% writedown on $18bn (£11.6bn) of its foreign debts in a deal its finance minister described as win-win...
... ... ...
The hedge funds holding Ukrainian debt will write off around $4bn in return for securities that will pay holders a percentage of Ukraine's economic growth from 2021. But in a move that is likely to dismay many MPs in the Kiev parliament, the government conceded that it must pay a higher interest rate on the remaining debts.
The deal, which still needs to be approved by creditors outside the group, includes a four-year extension on repayments to give Ukraine breathing space. But the interest rate on the bonds will rise 0.5 percentage points to 7.75%. It ended months of tense negotiations aimed at helping to keep the country on track with its International Monetary Fund-led bailout programme, plugging a funding gap and preventing a unilateral debt default.
Ukraine's finance minister, Natalia Yaresko, who had sought a 40% debt haircut, said the deal meets all targets set by the IMF bailout programme and would allow the country to move ahead. "Everyone's done well out of this deal. That's why it's collaborative. It's not one side winning, it's a win-win situation. We're all now moving forward without putting the value of the bonds at any further risk," she said.
Ukraine's sovereign dollar bond prices surged after the news, indicating that traders viewed the remaining debt to be on a more secure footing. Its 2017 issue rose 8.7 cents to trade at 64.5 cents in the dollar, according to Tradeweb data, while the 2022 bond rose 10 cents.
In Moscow, the Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, said Russia would not participate in the agreement. Ukraine owes Russia a $3bn eurobond due for full repayment in December. The need to repay Russia represents a dilemma for the IMF as it considers whether to pump further funds into Ukraine, possibly in conjunction with Brussels. It is not officially allowed to continue lending to a country that is in default to another sovereign.
The debt deal should help keep Ukraine's national currency, the hryvnia, stable and allow increased spending on defence in the east,...
... ... ...
The Washington-based lender of last resort has already come up against criticism for its lending policy, which critics believe forces the government to pursue draconian austerity measures that will depress growth and increase its debts. Exotix credit strategist Jokob Christensen said the bondholders were the clear winners. "I have a hard time seeing how this deal will help reduce [Ukraine's] debt to 71% of GDP in 2020, which is one of the crucial targets in the operation," he said.
Gabriel Sterne, head of global macro at Oxford Economics, also cast doubt on whether the deal would make Ukraine's debt levels sustainable and added: "There is a strong likelihood that they will be back at the negotiating table before too many IMF reviews have passed."
Talks had been held up over a disagreement with creditors on whether to provide Kiev with a writedown on the face value of the bonds. Kiev had initially sought a 40% cut. "We started in different places, because the creditor committee didn't believe we had a solvency problem but my goal was not a particular number, it was meeting those IMF targets," Yaresko said. She added that she hoped it was highly unlikely that remaining creditors would reject the agreement and forecast that the process would be wrapped up by the end of October.
Aug 27, 2015 | The Guardian
The debt deal Ukraine has painstakingly negotiated with its creditors is welcome and preferable to the alternative: a default that would have put additional pressure on the country's shaky banks and led to both capital flight and a protracted battle in the courts. But amid all the backslapping a bit of perspective is needed.
Greece has severe problems but Ukraine is the most troubled country in Europe. It has inflation at 55%, its economy is expected to contract by 10% this year, and the government is fighting a war with separatists in the east backed by Russia that is costly in both human and financial terms.
The deal involves a 20% writedown to the face value of $18bn of eurobonds and pushes back the date on which the bonds will be redeemed by four years. Ukraine has some breathing space and the accord means it will continue to be eligible for financial help from the International Monetary Fund. That's the good news.
But the finance minister, Natalia Yaresko, had to scale back her ambitions once it became clear creditors thought Kiev's threat to default was a bluff. She has had to offer higher interest rates when debt payments resume and has had to accept a 20% writedown rather than the 40% she wanted.
Ukraine's debts remain high and its economy is in freefall. This agreement is a stop gap not a game changer.
Aug 08, 2015 | usatoday.com
Moody's Investors' Service rates seven countries Caa1 or worse, several tiers lower than Ba1, which still carries a significant credit risk. These countries are approaching or have narrowly escaped bankruptcy. Ukraine is rated Ca, which is currently the lowest credit rating of any country reviewed by Moody's.
... ... ...
> Moody's credit rating: Ca
> Moody's outlook: Negative
> 2015 Gov't debt (pct. of GDP): 94.1%
> 2015 GDP per capita (PPP): $8,278
Ukraine's conflict with Russia over its annexation of Crimea continues to fuel the country's financial problems. While the IMF approved Ukraine's debt restructuring plan in March, Ukraine has the worst credit rating of any country reviewed, downgraded this year from Caa3 to Ca, the second lowest possible level. Creditors can expect a 35% to 65% recovery rate on loans issued by the country. According to Moody's, "The likelihood of a distressed exchange, and hence a default on government debt taking place, is virtually 100%."
The same day that Moody's issued the downgrade, the National Bank of Ukraine announced the establishment of the Financial Stability Council. According to Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriia Gonatreva, the Council's function will be to "take a comprehensive and systemic approach to identify and mitigate the risks threatening the stability of the banking and financial systems of the country."
yalensis, August 7, 2015 at 2:54 pmOp-ed by Sergei Markov, a Russian political analyst who is considered to be close to the views of the Kremlin:
According to Markov, Kiev was only interested in the first part of the Minsk Accords, namely in a panic to stop counter-offensive of Novorossiya army, after their debacle at Debaltsevo.
But they have zero interest in carrying out the rest of the accords.
Plus, according to Markov, Kiev is under instructions from their American masters, to continue the war at all costs.
According to Markov, Kiev is actually carrying out a plan called the "Gorbulin-Poroshenko Plan", and I googled Gorbulin, but couldn't get any more information, so I don't know who this person is.
But the main points of this Gorbulin-Poroshenko Plan are said to be:
1. Kiev does not take on any (Minsk) obligations which involve peace-making moves.
2. Full blockade (of Donbass).
3. Continue artillery shelling of residential areas of Donbass, kill as many civilians as possible.
4. This in order to make life unbearable in Donbass.
5. The goal is to turn the residents against their leaders, in DPR and LPR.
6. Weaken Russia with sanctions.
7. Planning a military blitzkrieg against Donbass, on the model of the attack of Croatian army against Serbian Krajina.
8. NATO will station troops in Kharkov, Zaporozhie and Dnipropetrovsk.
9. NATO will beef up Ukrainian army and prepare for fatal strike against Donbass.
10. The police state/dictatorship in Ukraine will be strengthened.
marknesop, August 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm
Volodymyr (Ukraine has to spell it differently so they can all high-five each other, the way the British deliberately misspell "tire") Gorbulin is the former National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) Secretary, now a personal adviser to Poroshenko. Looks a right Himmler type.
Jul 14, 2015 | The Times
A pro-government Ukrainian militia accused of neo-Nazism has fought a gun battle with the country's security forces that left at least three dead and several police vehicles destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades.
The fighting marks the first clash between Kiev and one of the country's "volunteer battalions" who have led the fight against pro-Russian separatists.
The fierce confrontation in the city of Mukachevo, near Ukraine's western border, involved members of Right Sector, a controversial nationalist group. Three policemen were among six injured, officials from the Ukrainian interior ministry said.
A stand-off with Ukrainian police continued yesterday while Right Sector announced that
Jul 14, 2015 | The Guardian
Jul 13, 2015 | The Guardian
Aid agencies at Addis Ababa development finance summit claim UK and others have obstructed talks aimed at enabling poor countries to influence UN tax policy.
Aid agencies on Monday accused the world's richest countries, including the UK, of blocking plans to allow poor countries a greater say on UN tax policies.
The upgrade of the UN tax committee to an intergovernmental body was widely seen as a way for less wealthy nations that have struggled to build effective tax systems to influence policy decisions at the UN.
The UK joined the US and several other wealthy countries at the UN financing for development conference in Addis Ababa in a manoeuvre to limit discussions on tax policy at the UN, arguing that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was taking the lead on tax issues.
But a proposal presented to the conference by the OECD, known as a thinktank for the world's 34 richest nations, was also criticised for treating developing countries as an afterthought.
The OECD and the UN Development Programme launched a project entitled tax inspectors without borders to help poorer countries bolster domestic revenues by strengthening the ability of tax authorities to limit tax avoidance by multinationals.
The initiative, which involves providing tax audit experts to work alongside local officials dealing with the affairs of multinationals, has had encouraging results across pilot projects in Albania, Ghana and Senegal. Evidence from Colombia, meanwhile, indicated an improvement in tax revenue from $3.3m (£2.1m) in 2011 to $33.2m in 2014, "thanks to tax audit advice and guidance".
Aid charities believe developing countries should build robust tax systems to prevent them from borrowing heavily and getting into debt, as highlighted in a recent report by the Jubilee debt campaign.
The World Bank has come under heavy fire in the past for encouraging poor countries to cut corporate taxes to boost foreign direct investment. Ethiopia, Mongolia, El Salvador and Puerto Rico are among 38 countries in the report that are slipping dangerously into debt after borrowing on the international money markets to bridge the gap left by large tax shortfalls.
The Addis Ababa conference was expected to produce a series of high-level deals to promote sustainable, self-sufficient development. But the charities fear the UN and the World Bank will promote private finance initiatives that involved either privatisation or greater borrowing to finance investment, improve infrastructure and public services.
Speaking at the conference, a spokeswoman for ActionAid said: "The UK government has positioned itself as a global leader on many aspects of sustainable development, aid and in global efforts to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. It is therefore disappointing that the UK appears to be one of the few governments blocking progress on the important issue of a tax body."
Failure to tackle this question in Addis will not make the urgent need for international tax reform go away. It will simply intensify the challenges ahead for the international community. There is growing recognition that the OECD alone cannot ensure global rules work for all countries, especially the poorest. Blocking agreement on an obvious solution in Addis simply delays the inevitable while putting other critical processes at risk.
Save the Children said the world was "sleepwalking towards failure" at the global finance summit, adding that the UN should create an international body to oversee global tax matters.
A spokesman said: "Tax has never been more under the spotlight as the source of finance for development, but decisions affecting the poorest countries and their ability to recoup money owed to them are taken in an elite club of the most powerful nations. This 20th-century way of doing business is no longer appropriate for the era of sustainable development goals."
The Canadian embassy in Kiev was used as a haven for anti-government protesters during the uprising that toppled the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych, Canadian media reported.
Former Maidan Activists Start Fighting Against Ukrainian Police - Reports
"It began, according to several sources in Kiev and Ottawa, when one of the protesters being chased by riot police waved a Canadian passport at embassy security. Once the door was open, the individual was quickly followed by other demonstrators armed with sticks and paving stones," The Canadian Press reported on Sunday.
Roman Waschuk, the current Canadian ambassador in Kiev, confirmed the account in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.
He acknowledged the protesters were camped in the main lobby for at least a week, which is something neither the country's Foreign Minister nor the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ever publicly stated.
"I understand there was a Canadian passport holder associated in some way with the group," Waschuk noted adding that opening of the embassy doors was "a gesture designed to react and to reach out to the people suffering in the turmoil."
But some of Canada's European allies, speaking on anonimity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the fact protesters were allowed to stay for so long and operate freely made it appear Canada was an active participant in regime change, and not just lending morale support.
HollyOldDog gimmeshoes 13 Jul 2015 20:40
The Georgian authorities have asked Interpol to put a Red notice on Mikheil Saakashvili as the request to Ukraine to return him for trial in Georgia was refused.ww3orbust PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 20:22
That does not detract from the fact that the Ukranian cabinet has been chosen by the US state department. Natives of the US, Georgia and Lithuania were hastily granted Ukrainian citizenship in order to maintain an iron grip on Ukraine, while accusing Putin of appointing majors or governors - in his capacity as head of state?ww3orbust 13 Jul 2015 20:16Amazing, nothing at all mentioned by the BBC. It does not fit in to their narrative to see the country descend into a new stage of anarchy, between the people who murdered police and protesters on Maidan square, and the US state department installed cabinet. Presumably if Right Sector refuse to disarm and continue torturing civilians and murdering police, the BBC will continue to ignore it and focus instead on its Russo-phobic narrative, while accusing Russia of propaganda with the self-righteous piety that only the BBC are capable of. Or god forbid, more stories about what colour stool our future king has produced this week.jgbg Omniscience 13 Jul 2015 18:42jgbg Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 18:26
Diverse Unity sounds much better than Nazi
The thing is, Ukraine is unique in allowing their Nazi thugs to be armed and have some semi-official status. Everywhere else (including Russia), governments are looking to constrain the activities of Nazis and prosecute them where possible.
If it was not for the right sector, Ukraine would still be one united nation.
Them and Svoboda. If it had just been Orange Revolution II, with a simple change of Jewish oligarchs in charge, there might have been some complaints but little more. It is the Russian-hating far right that has brought about the violence and everything that has happened since.
PrinceEdward GreatMountainEagle 13 Jul 2015 18:22
Last I heard, Ukraine owes China billions for undelivered Grain.
HollyOldDog gimmeshoes 13 Jul 2015 18:11jgbg PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 17:54
But the Euro maidan press is just an Ukrainian rag that invents stories to support its corrupt government in Kiev.Vatslav Rente , 13 Jul 2015 17:44
I forget the article, but in the comments I mentioned that multiple Georgians were being appointed to high level positions by Kiev, and some Russophobe called me a liar.
Not a few days later, Shakashvilli was appointed governor of Odessa. An ex-president of another country, as governor of a province in another one! Apparently, none of the millions upon millions of Ukrainians were qualified for the job.
Sakashvilli's former Minister of Internal Affairs in Georgia, Eka Zguladze, is First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Of course, the Georgian people removed these chumps from power the first chance they got but the Ukrainian electorate haven't had any say in the appointments of foreigners in their country.
Well ... when it comes to Ukraine, the need to stock up on popcorn. This bloody and unpredictable plot is not even in the "Game of Thrones." And this is only the middle of the second season.
Today Speaker of the "RS" Andrew Sharaskin, said: Sports Complex in Mukachevo where the shooting occurred, was used as the base of the separatists DNR.
- A place 1,000 kilometers from Donetsk! But it's a great excuse to murder the guard in the café and wounded police officers.
I think tomorrow will say that there have seen Russian Army tanks and Putin - 100%
"Ukraine is part of Europe" - the slogans of the Maidan in action...
jgbg gimmeshoes , 13 Jul 2015 17:42Laurence Johnson, 13 Jul 2015 17:18
Pravyi Sektor were not wrong. However, you cannot have armed groups cleaning up corruption outside the law...that only works in Gotham City.
Right Sector weren't trying to clean up corruption, they were simply trying to muscle in on the cigarette smuggling business. If Right Sector cared about crime and public order, they wouldn't be driving around, armed to the teeth, in vehicles stolen in the EU. (In the video linked in the article, all of their vehicles have foreign number plates. At least one of those vehicles is on the Czech police stolen vehicle database: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/pravy-sektor-mel-v-mukacevu-auta-s-ceskymi-spz-fqj-/zahranicni.aspx?c=A150713_102110_zahranicni_jj)
Right Sector are no strangers to such thuggery - remember their failed attempt to extort a casino in Odessa?The EU and the US have stated on many occasions that there are "No Right Wing Nationalists" operating in Ukraine and its simply propaganda by Putin.
So there shouldn't be anything to worry about should there ?
Stas Ustymenko hfakos 13 Jul 2015 15:15
Yes, yes. You seem to tolerate Medvedchuk and Baloga mafias way better, for years.
Transcarpathian REgion is the most corrupt in all of Ukraine (which is quite a fit). What we see here is a gang war in fatigues.
tanyushka Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 15:14
sorry i posted the same above... i was just to hasty.. sorry again...
in the main picture of the same article it's interesting to notice the age of most of the conscripted soldiers... they are in their 30's, theirs 40's and even in their 50's... it's forced conscription, they are not volunteers... while all the DPR & LPR soldiers are real volunteers...
an uncle, the father of a cousin, was conscripted in Kherson... my cousin had to run away to South American to say with an aunt to avoid conscription... many men are doing it in Ukraine nowadays... not because they are cowards but because they don't want to kill their brothers & sisters for the benefit of the oligarchs and their NATO masters (and mistresses...)
did you know that all the conscripts have to pay for their own uniforms and other stuff, while in the National Guard and the oligarchs batallions everything is top quality and for free... including bulletproof vests and other implements courtesy of NATO
Demi Boone 13 Jul 2015 15:13
Well finally they reveal themselves. These Ukraine Nationalists are the people who instigated the anarchy and shootings at Maidan and used it as an excuse to wrongfully drive out an elected President and in the chaos that followed bring in a coup Government which represents only West-Ukraine and suppress' East-Ukraine. You are looking at the face of the real Maidan and not the dream that a lot of people have tried to paint it to be.
Stas Ustymenko MartinArvay 13 Jul 2015 15:11
Many Right Sector members are indeed patriots. But it looks like the organisation itself is, sadly, much more useful for providing thugs for hire than "justice".
BMWAlbert PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 14:20
But seriously, the naval base is probably the reason, it is too important for some interests to have a less-reliable (Ukrainian) in charge, this is a job only for the most trusted poodles. If things had gone differently, the tie-eatimng chap would have been appointed Mayor of Sebastopol.
BMWAlbert PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 14:15
There appears to be a Quisling-shortage in Ukraine at present.
Stas Ustymenko obscurant 13 Jul 2015 13:32
More accurately, Kolomoyskiy is Ukrainian oligarch. Who happens to be ethnically, culturally and, by all accounts, religiously, a Jew.
Stas Ustymenko Kaiama 13 Jul 2015 13:24
Ukrainian Volunteer Corps of the Right Sector fighting in Donbass is two battalions. How is this a "key organization"? They are a well-known brand and fought bravely on some occasions, but the wider org is way too eager to brandish arms outside of combat or training. They will be reigned in, one way or another, and soon.
GameOverManGameOver Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 12:02
Shh shh shh. This news does not exist yet in the western media, therefore it's nothing but Russian propaganda.
Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 11:54EugeneGur , 13 Jul 2015 11:21
It gets worse - soldiers from the UA are now refusing to follow orders in protest against the total anarchy sweeping the chain of command, and their lack of rest and equipment.
Story here.Jeremn, 13 Jul 2015 11:16Finally, the Guardian decided to report the actual new after satisfying itself with ample discussion of the quality of Russian cheeses. Right sector "helped" to fight "separatists"? Really? Does Alec Luhn know that there are currently two (!) RS battalions at the front and 19 (!) inside Ukraine? They are some warriors. Now they are occupying themselves fighting as criminals they are for the control of contraband.
Tensions have been rising between the government and the Right Sector militia that has helped it fight pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
At the ATO zone, they help consists of plundering, murdering and raping the local population. They enter a village, take everything of value from houses and then blow them up. They rape women and girls as young as 10 years old. They've been doing this for more than a year, and we've been telling you that for more than a year. But apparently in the fight against "pro-Russian separatists" everything is good. These crimes are so widespread, even the Ukrainian "government" is worried this will eventually becomes impossible to deny. Some battalions such as Shakhtersk and Aidar have been officially accused of crimes and ompletely or partially reformed.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bfb_1413804655Stas Ustymenko Jeremn 13 Jul 2015 11:14
Ukraine, what a mess. As though it was ever about the people. It was a grab for resources, 19-century style. But with 21st-century stakes. You can see what the West is after when you look at the US-Ukraine Business Council. It bring NATO, Monsanto and the Heritage Foundation under one roof:
The US-Ukraine Business Council's 16-member Executive Committee is packed with US agribusiness companies, including representatives from Monsanto, John Deere, DuPont Pioneer, Eli Lilly, and Cargill.
The Council's 20 'senior Advisors' include James Greene (Former Head of NATO Liason Office Ukraine); Ariel Cohen (Senior Research Fellow for The Heritage Foundation); Leonid Kozachenko (President of the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation); six former US Ambassadors to Ukraine, and the former ambassador of Ukraine to the US, Oleh Shamshur.
You'd be surprised, but I like Bandera (controversial as he was) way more than I trust some people who wrap themselves in his red-and-black Rebel banner. Yarosh included. Banderite rebellion ended 60 years ago. Its major goal was establishing a "united, free Ukrainian state"; by contrast, stated ultimate goals of the Right Sector are way murkier; I'm not sure even most of the movement's members are clear on what these are.
With present actions, Right Sector has a huge image problem in the West. If it will come to all-out conflict, no doubt the West will back Poroshenko government over a loose confederation of armed dudes linked by the thin thread of 30ies ideology (suspect even then). And the West will be right.
Stas Ustymenko Nik2 13 Jul 2015 11:03
Methinks you're way overselling a thug turf war as "major political event. Truth is, the region has been long in the hands of organized crime. The previous regime incorporated and controlled almost all organized crime in the country, hence no visible conflict. Now, individual players try to use temporary uncertainty to their advantage. Right Sector claims they were trying to fight the smuggling, but this doesn't sound plausible. The word is, what's behind the events is struggle for control over lucrative smuggling between two individuals (who are both "businessmen" and "politicians", members of Parliament). Both are old-school players, formerly affiliated with Yanukovitch party. One just was savvy enough to buy himself some muscle under Right Sector banner. Right Sector will either have to straighten out its fighters (which it may not be able to do) or disappear as a political player. I fail to see how people see anything "neo-Nazi" in this gang shootout.
PaddyCannuck Cavirac 13 Jul 2015 10:21tanyushka Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 10:10
Nobody here is an apologist for Stalin, who was a brutal and cruel despot, and the deportations of the Crimean Tatars were quite indefensible. However, a few observations might lend some perspective.
1. Crimea has been invaded and settled by an almost endless succession of peoples over the millennia. The Crimean Tatars (who are of Turkic origin) were by no means the first, nor indeed the last, and cannot in any meaningful sense be regarded as the indigenous people of Crimea.
2. The Crimean Tatars scarcely endeared themselves to the Russians, launching numerous raids, devastating many towns, including the burning of Moscow in 1571, and sending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Russians into slavery in the Ottoman Empire.
3. The deportations took place in 1942 - 1943 against the backdrop of World War II, when a lot of bad stuff happened, including -
4. The American (and also Canadian) citizens of Japanese ethnicity who had their property confiscated and were likewise shipped off to camps. Their treatment, if anything, was worse.
Sevastopol, Pearl Harbor. What's the difference? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
do these links answer your question?
tanyushka 13 Jul 2015 09:55meanwhile last night & this morning, just to distract the people of what is going on in the West, Kiev launched a massive shelling over Donetsk and other places in Donbass using weapons forbbiden by the Minsk agreements, including Tor missiles, one of which fell at a railway station but didn't explode... it was defused by emergency workers but the proof is there if you care to see... it was thesecond biggest attack since the cease fire...
Nik2 6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:53
Not exactly. By now, BBC has made good coverage of these events in Ukrainian and Russian languages, but not in English. It looks like BBC considers that Western public does not deserve the politically sad truth about armed clashes between "champions of Maidan Revolution" and "new democratic authorities, fighting corruption". Western public should not be in doubt about present-day "pro-European" Ukraine. And "The Guardian" still has only one article on the issue that could be a turning point in Ukrainian politics. This is propaganda, not informing about or analyzing really serious political events.
VictorWhisky 13 Jul 2015 09:51
This is the IMF hired guns now going after the very people who helped the Wall Street IMF shysters in the illegitimate coup and the set up of the illegitimate Kiev junta, a mix of half Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian mongrels. Furthermore, instead of bringing in the people who helped overthrow Janukovich into the government fold, the IMF is placing it's foreign collaborators in ministerial positions by making them instant Ukrainian citizens, while keeping the right wing, without whose help the coup would not have succeeded, out of government and slowly trying to eliminate them with their private foreign mercenary force. Madame "F*ck the EU Nuland from the US state department bordello, a devout Zionist, enticed these supposed Ukrainian NAZIs to help her in her dirty deeds, no doubt with promises of power sharing. So madame Nuland was perfectly willing to get in bed with the Ukrainian NAZI devils (her Jewish friend should be proud) and when the dirty deed was done, she is now turning against Ukrainian nationalists in the attempt to have outside forces in control of Ukraine. Madame Nuland is not as intelligent or capable as portrayed, because if she was, she would have known Ukraine has a very delicate and very complicated political structure and history with nearly half the country speaking Russian and more loyal to the Russians than to the US. An intelligent person familiar with Ukrainian history would know any attempt of placing a US stooge in Kiev would certainly result in a civil war. She no doubt got her position not by intelligence but by connections. More than 6000 Ukrainians, human beings, innocent men women and children, have died in madame Nuland's engineered coup, putting her in league with her mentor, Henry Kissinger, aka the butcher of Vietnam. That intelligent idiot's policies resulted in the death of 3 million Vietnamese and 50,000 young Americans. Does madame Nuland intend to sacrifice that many Ukrainians to prove her ultimate stupidity?
Jeremn Luminaire 13 Jul 2015 09:51
The conscripts didn't want to shoot their fellow Ukrainians. The nationalists don't believe the people in the east are their fellow Ukrainians.
Jeremn DrMacTomjim 13 Jul 2015 09:43
Yes. But meanwhile the Atlantic Council tells us this is why more Ukrainians admire nationalists.
Because they were lovely guys, evidently, and their "popularity" has nothing to do with armed thugs beating you up if you say anything against them (or the state prosecuting you for denying or questioning their heroism).
Jeremn jezzam 13 Jul 2015 09:35
Ukrainian media, reporting Ukrainian government official:
In his article for the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Weekly Mirror) newspaper Ukrainian Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema wrote that 74 peaceful citizens and 12 policemen had been killed in Kyiv downtown on February 18-20, 2014, while 180 citizens and over 180 law enforcers had suffered gunshot wounds.
12 police dead in two days, 180 wounded with gunshot wounds.
Still Kremlin lies?
Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 09:30
Thank God Ukraine is finally free and democratic. The old autocratic regime actually had the gall to make running street battles illegal - but those dark days are in the past. In the liberated Ukraine you are free spend the dollar a day you get paid on a bullet proof vest so the rampant Nazi street gangs don't kill you.
Jeremn SHappens 13 Jul 2015 09:26
You'd be surprised, there are Bandera-lovers in the UK too. There's a Bandera museum. And there is this lot, teaching Christian values to children. And telling them that Bandera was a hero. Future Right Sector supporters being crafted as we type.
6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:24
The Ukrainian sub-saharan African minimum wage is now being accompanied by Somali-style politics.
Luckily, the Russians have liberated Crimea so piracy on the high seas isn't an option for the Ukrainians.
6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:18
Apparently, UAVs generously supplied to Ukrainians by the Canadian taxpayers are being put to good use smuggling cigarettes into Slovakia.
6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:12
The BBC are bravely sticking to their decision not to report this story. Congratulations are in order for such dedication.
The graun protected its readership from this confusing information for 24 hours and then caved to the temptation to report news. Too bad.
aucontraire2 13 Jul 2015 08:36
Can we officially congratulate Nuland for a crappy job and also for providing Putin with all the tools he needed to bring back Ukraine under his wing.
False flag operations for American private interests must stop now. They are immoral, unethical and only bring death and destruction to otherwise stable societies. The UN should have a say.
SomersetApples 13 Jul 2015 08:25
The country is bankrupt; the Kiev putschists are selling off the country's assets to their New York allies, the oligarchs and Nazis are at war against each other and the illegal putschist government and now toilet mouth Nuland is back on the scene. Looks like a scene form Dante's Inferno.
todaywefight Polvilho 13 Jul 2015 07:54
Which Russian invasion will this be the of he approximately 987 mentioned by Poroshenko and our man Yatz...or are you referring to the people of the AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA's (yes that was what was called after the 1994 referendum) massive wishes to (like Donbass) go against a government who illegally dismissed an elected president a wish that was reflected on a referendum which was allowed by their constitution 18(7)
Bosula Scepticbladderballs 13 Jul 2015 07:38
Yes. Most of the protesters are good people who just want a better deal in life.
monteverdi1610 13 Jul 2015 06:54
Remember all those CIF threads when those of us who pointed to the neo-Nazis in Ukraine were immediately called ' Putinbots ' ?
PS/ Apologies would be the order of the day , perhaps ?
Sturney 13 Jul 2015 06:49
Apparently this conflict is over. Temporarily over. Anyway in ever-contracting economy, in a Mariana trench between Russia and EU, in the most totalitarian country in history, such conflicts will continue. Since Nuland tossed yeast in the outhouse nobody can stop fermentation of sh*t. Help yourself with some beer and shrimps. I am looking forward when these masses splash out to EU, preferably to Poland. Must be fun to watch. (Lipspalm)
Justin Obisesan 13 Jul 2015 06:33
In the run-up to the Euro 2012 football tournament, jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, I remember how the media in this country worked themselves into a frenzy harping on about the presence of violent neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine. After the removal of Mr Yanukovych from office, the same media organisations changed their tune by describing any talk of neo- Nazis in Ukraine as "Russian propaganda". The Western media coverage of the Ukrainian crises has been so blatantly pro-Kiev and anti-Donbass that their claims of impartiality and objectivity cannot be taken seriously anymore.
Jeremn jgbg 13 Jul 2015 06:16
It is fine when they are shooting at Donetsk, but not so good when they use the same tactics in western Ukraine.
Azov are the same, violent neo-Nazi thugs given authority, and this article notes that PrivatBank is the bank that services requests for donations to the Azov funds, using J P Morgan as intermidiary.
Neither Azov nor Right Sector want peace. On 3 July 4,000 men from these units protested in Kiev, calling for resumption of the war against the eastern provinces.
They favour ethnic cleansing.
Jeremn William Fraser 13 Jul 2015 06:10
The people who support Bandera are in western Ukraine. They are the ones who say Stalin starved the Ukrainian people.
Trouble is, in the 1930s, western Ukraine belonged to Poland.
It was the Russians, eastern Ukrainians and other Soviet people who starved, not the western Ukrainians.
Kefirfan 13 Jul 2015 06:02
Good, good. Let the democracy flow through you...
Pwedropackman SHappens 13 Jul 2015 05:53
It will be interesting to see which side the US and Canada will support. Probably Poroshenko and the Oligarchs because the Right Sector is not so happy about the ongoing sales of Ukraine infrastructure to US corporates.
SHappens 13 Jul 2015 05:14
Harpers' babies are out manifesting, supporting the good guys:
"Supporters of Ukraine's Right Sector extremist group rallied in Ottawa Sunday amid the radicals' ongoing standoff with police in western Ukraine."
The rally outside the Ukrainian embassy was organized by the Right Sector's representative office in the Canadian capital, 112 Ukraine TV channel reported, citing the Facebook account of the so-called Ukrainian Volunteer Corps.
careforukraine 13 Jul 2015 05:09
I wonder how long it will be before the us denounces nazi's in ukraine?
Kind of seems like we have seen this all before.
Almost like how ISIS were just freedom fighters that needed our support until ?.....
Well we all know what happened there.
Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 05:04
If it was not for the right sector, Ukraine would still be one united nation.
GameOverManGameOver Chris Gilmore 13 Jul 2015 04:41
Yes, I agree, they do wreck the economy. That was my point. Russia want's strong economies to do business with, not broken economies that only ask for financial aid.
Like I said, no evidence of Russian troops in Donbass and South Ossetia asked for the presence of Russian troops to deter the Georgian government from trying another invasion.
And organisations like CIS are meant to expand economic ties. Just like the EU I suppose. They function in pretty much the same way with everyone getting a chance to lead. So I don't know why that should be a bad thing. Since the EU is not interested in admitting Russia why can't Russia go to other organisations?
VladimirM Dmitriy Grebenyuk 13 Jul 2015 04:26
It's a poisonous sarcasm, I think. But I've heard that RS accuse the Ukrainian government of being pro-Putin as the govermment accuse them of being Russian agents. Surreal a bit.
stewfen FOHP46 13 Jul 2015 04:24
The west would not have dialogue with Russia because it was not what Washington wanted. Washington wanted to push a wedge between Russia and EU at any cost even 6500 lives and unfortunately they succeeded
GameOverManGameOver Chris Gilmore 13 Jul 2015 03:54
I'll admit that frozen conflicts could be useful to Russia. But only from a security point of view. And why not, exactly? NATO is Russia's biggest threat, so it would make sense for the government to want to avoid it expanding any further. I understand your misgivings since you're speaking from the position that NATO should expand to deter Russi…I mean 'Iran', but surely you understand that Russia wanting to prevent that makes logical sense? Sure, it's at someone else's expense but let's not pretend that big countries doing something at someone else's expense is a new and revolutionary concept reserved only to Russia. And the Georgian conflict dates back to the very early 90's.
From an economic point of view though, no sense at all. Frozen conflicts usually bring economic barriers. Believe it or not Russia's priority isn't expansion, but the economy. And trade with it's neighbours is an important element of the Russian economy. It's very hard to trade with areas that are in the middle of a frozen conflict. So in that sense the last thing Russia would want are profitable areas in a frozen conflict around it's borders hampering it's economic growth.
And none of this has anything to do with Marioupol.
Debreceni 13 Jul 2015 03:38
The Right Sector does not exist, or if it does, it has been created by Moscow. The crisis in Greece is also the work of Russian agents. The ISIS is financed and trained by Putin. Ebola was cooked up in a laboratory in Saint Petersburg. Look for the Russian!
Kaiama PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 02:50
We don't know if PS were also doing it as well or just poking their noses into someone else's business. Who started it? I doubt the correct answer will ever be known. Two unsavoury groups arguing about an illegal business. The problem is that the MP is an MP whereas PS is a national organisation.
DrMacTomjim 13 Jul 2015 02:04
"Note to Ukraine: Time to Reconsider Your Historic Role Models" Someone wrote this a bit late.
DrMacTomjim hisimperialmajesty 13 Jul 2015 02:01
"neo-Chekists" That's new to me.... Are you sure they are not "Just doing their jobs" ?
Did you read the Nafeez Ahmed piece someone linked ? Here (if you didn't)
And this from Foreign Affairs
It's never the US....it's never the West.....
(you know, to balance things) : )
todaywefight 13 Jul 2015 01:53
If any one on the other side, the dark side, ever thought that these lot will hold hands with any one, lay down their arms and sing Kumbaya, uou are either utterly naive or willfully ignorant. Apparently, these lot have 23 battalions, armed to their teeth, the added bonus for the Privy Sektor is that , due to expedience and cowardice , they have just made legal and incorporated into the Ukrainian army, Kyiv is in a highway to nowhere.
Incidentally, unlike the maidan demonstrations which essentially were only in Kyiv there are demonstrations in more than a dozen cities, and have established dozen of check points already and Yarosh a member of the VT. have clearly instructed them to fight if necessary.
GameOverManGameOver Omniscience 13 Jul 2015 01:35
So? Yes there are nationalists in Russia, just like everywhere else. You get a gold star for googling. Shall I get some articles with European and American nationalists to parade around to make a vague point? If you want I can get you an article of Lithuanians dressed up as the Waffen SS parading around Vilnius. That's Lithuania the EU and Nato member. Funny how EU principles disappear when it's one of their own violating them.
You seem to be missing the point entirely. While all countries have their nationalists, those nationalists are a very small minority, have no power, have no popular support, have no seats in government, usually derided by the majority of the population and they certainly aren't armed to the teeth roaming around the country killing, torturing and kidnapping people with the blessing of their government
HollyOldDog Joe way 13 Jul 2015 00:09
The Right Sector were / are Ukrains Storm Troopers who have had more advanced training by the Americans. If the Right Sector turn on the Kiev Government they will be difficult to defeat, and who knows if the civilian population of Ukraine may join in the 'fun' by ousting the current unpopular Ukrainian government.
sorrentina 12 Jul 2015 23:35
this is what happens when you play with fire: you get burned. Using Neo-Nazi's to implement Nato expansionist policies was always a very bad idea. It's just a shame it is not people like Victoria 'fuck the EU' Nuland who will have to suffer the blowback consequences- it is the poor Ukrainian people. This is not that different to what has happened in Libya- where Islamic extremists were used as a proxy force to oust Gaddafi.
annamarinja jgbg 12 Jul 2015 23:31
The threshold has been guessed impatiently by the US neocons (while the provocateur Higgins/ Bellingcat fed the gullible the fairy tales about Russian army in Ukraine). The US needs desperately a real civil war in Ukraine, the Ukrainians be damned. Just look what the US-sponsored "democracy on the march" has produced in the Middle East. Expect the same bloody results in eastern Europe.
annamarinja obscurant 12 Jul 2015 23:25
perhaps you do not realize that your insults are more appropriate towards the poor Ukrainians that have been left destitute by the cooky-carrying foreigners and their puppets in Kiev. The Ukrainian gold reserve has disappeared... meanwhile, the US Congress has shamed the US State Dept for collaborating with Ukrainian neo-nazis. Stay tuned. But do not expect to hear real news from your beloved Faux News.
annamarinja quorkquork 12 Jul 2015 23:14
the jihadists in Ukraine are the integral part of Iraqization of Ukraine. The lovers of Nuland's cookies are still in denial that Ukraine was destined by the US plutocrats to become a sacrificial lamb in a fight to preserve the US dollar hegemony.
Bud Peart 12 Jul 2015 22:59
Well we always knew it would end this way. With a stalemate in the war with the East the Right wing paramilitaries and private oligarch militias (whom the west funded and trained) have gone completely feral and are now in fighting directly with whats left of the Ukrainian National Army. This is pretty much the rode to another breakaway in Galacia which would effectively end the Ukraine as a functional state.
The government should move as fast as possible to get a decent federal structure (copy switzerland) in place before the whole of the West goes into revolt as well.
DelOrtoyVerga LostJohnny 12 Jul 2015 22:38
That is what you get when you put fascists in your government.
I rather reword it to
That is what you get when you enable and rely on thugish pseudo-fascist radical para-military groups to impose order by force and violence against dissident segments of your own population (which is armed to the teeth probably by Russia)
Bosula Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 22:37
What do you think it is?
There were several people identified directly or indirectly in this BBC story whose stories should have been formally pursued by legal authorities in Kiev.
If you lived in the West you would understand that we call these references as possible 'leads' - you follow these 'leads' and see where they take you. That is what Western police do.
The story says that Kiev didn't want to follow up any of these points. Why? What harm could this do?
You state that you do not understand the point that this BBC journalist was making. But I have in a fair way tried to to explain the point that the BBC was making.
This story caused quite a stir went it came out - and the BBC chose to stick with it and support their British reporter. In an edited and shorter form the story is still on the BBC - the editing is also acknowledged by the BBC.
Do you think the BBC should have blocked or not published this investigative piece?
If so - why?
And why hasn't Kiev followed up these issues?
Have I addressed your point yet?
HollyOldDog Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 21:34
I am just watching a program recorded earlier. Hiroshima: The Aftermath. I have got past the part when the Japanese 'survivors' had to drink from the pools of Black Rain ( highly radioactive) and watched the part when American Army Tourists visited the city to take a few photos ( no medical help though) while gawking at the gooks. In fact the Japanese civilians recieved no medical assistance at all from the Americans. The commentator just said that they were just there to study the effects of nuclear radiation on a civilian population. These nuclear bombs were just dropped on Japan to save One Day of the surrender of the Japanese forces.
The next documtary I will watch another day is the sinking of the Tirpitz by the RAF using Tallboy bombs. At least this had a useful pupose in helping to stop the destruction of the North Atlantic convoys, sending aid to Russia. That aid along with the rebuilding of the Soviet Armies helped the Soviet Union to destroy the invading Nazi forces and provided a Second Front to the Western Allies to invade Normandy. A lot of good can be achieved when the East and West work together - maybe avoiding the worst effects of Global Warming but the Americans only seem to want to spend Trillions $ building more powerful nuclear weapons. Is this all that America has now, an Arms Industry - I can see it now, cooling the planet with a Nuclear Winter.
HollyOldDog Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 20:33
The USA caused the chaos in Ukraine so they must pay the billions of $ to fix it then leave Ukraine alone.
6i9vern 12 Jul 2015 20:29
One of the amusing features of the Soviet media was the long silences it maintained on possibly embarrassing breaking news until it became clear what the Party Line was.
Eventually, a memo would go out from Mikhail Suslov's office to various media outlets and the silence would be broken.
At least everyone knew exactly how that system worked. What is happening with the British media is much more murky.
The beeb/graun seem to be the Pravda/Izvestia, whilst the torygraph is a sort of Trybuna Ludu - ie real news very occasionally appears in it.
6i9vern 12 Jul 2015 20:08
So, after a mere 24 hours the Graun ran a story on Mukachevo. The Torygraph actually had the nerve to run the AFP wire report more or less straight away.
The BBC are still keeping shtum.
The Beeb/Graun complex have well and truly had the frighteners put on them.
PrinceEdward Kaiama 12 Jul 2015 20:07
There's no doubt. I agree that the MP was probably running cigarettes, but also Right Sektor was going to muscle in.
If you asked somebody 3 years ago if Ukraine would be rocked by armed bands with RPGs and Light Machine Guns fighting in towns, they would have thought you were crazy.
This isn't Russia, this is the Ultranats/Neo-Nazis.
PrinceEdward obscurant 12 Jul 2015 20:05
Right, it's the people in Donbass who bury 14th SS Division veterans with full honors, push for full pensions to surviving Hiwi and SS Collaborators... not those in Lvov. Uh huh.
BMWAlbert 12 Jul 2015 20:04
11 months of investigations by the newKiev regime, attempting to implicate the the prior one for the murder of about 100 people in Kiev early last year was unsuccessful. There may be better candidates here.
fragglerokk ploughmanlunch 12 Jul 2015 19:55
It always amazes me that the far right never learn from history. The politicians and oligarchs always use them as muscle to ensure coup success then murder/assasinate the leaders to make sure they dont get any ideas about power themselves. Surprised its taken so long in ukraine but then the govt is barely hanging onto power and the IMF loans have turned to a trickle so trouble will always be brewing, perhaps theyve left it too long this time. Nobody will be shedding any tears for the Nazis and Banderistas.
hisimperialmajesty Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 19:54
Why, don't you know? They infiltrated Ukraine, the CIA (and NATO and the EU somehow) created Maidan, their agents killed the protesters, then they overthrew a legitimate government and installed a neo-nazi one, proceeded to instigate a brutal oppression against Russian speakers, then started a war against the peaceful Eastern Ukrainians and their innocent friends in the Kremlin, etc etc. Ignorant question that, by now you should know the narrative!
Kaiama gimmeshoes 12 Jul 2015 19:53
If you think Pryvi Sektor want to "clean up" then yes, but not in the way you imagine - they just want the business for themselves.
Geordiemartin 12 Jul 2015 19:51
I am reminded of AJP Taylor premise that Eastern Europe has historically had either German domination or Russian protection.
The way that the Ukrainian government had treated their own Eastern compatriots leaves little reason to believe they would be welcome back into the fold and gives people of Donbass no reason to want to rejoin the rest of the country.
If government is making an effort to reign in the likes of Right sector it is a move in the right direction but much much more will be needed to establish any trust.
Some Guy yataki 12 Jul 2015 19:45
just because they are nazis doesnt mean they are happy about doing any of this... now. look at greece and the debacle that has unfolded over the past week has been . the west ukraine wanted to be part of the euro zone and wanted some of that ecb bail out money. now they are not even sure if they could skip out on the bill and know they are fighting for nothing . russia gave them 14 bil dollars . the west after the coup only gave the 1 bil
Andor2001 Kaiama 12 Jul 2015 19:44
According to the eyewitnesses the RS shot a guard when he refused to summon the commanding officer. It was the beginning of the fight.
Andor2001 yataki 12 Jul 2015 19:41
Remember Shakespeare "Othello"? Moor has done his job, Moor has to go..
The neo-Nazis have outlived their usefulness.
Bosula caaps02 12 Jul 2015 19:39
The BBC investigative reported earlier this year that a section of Maidan protesters deliberately started shooting the police. This story was also reported in the Guardian. Google and you will easily find it.
The BBC also reported that the Prosecutors Office in Kiev was forbidden by Rada officials from investigating Maiden shooters.
Maybe the BBC is telling us a lie? The BBC investigation is worth a read - then you can make up your own mind.
Bosula William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 19:29
Kazakhstan had the highest percentage of deaths from Stalin's policies in this period when he prevented the nomad herders moving from the mountains to the planes to take advantage of the benefits of seasons and weather.
Stalin forced the nomads to stay in one area and they perished in the cold of the mountains or the heat of the summer plains (whichever zone they were foced to stay in).
Some of my family is Ukrainian and some recognise that Stalin's policies weren't specifically aimed at Ukrainians - the people of Kazakhstan suffered the most (as a percentage of population). Either way, there is no genetic difference between Slavs or Russian or Ukrainian origin in Ukraine or Russia - they are all genetically the same people.
This information should be better taught in Ukraine.
The problem is that it would undermine the holy grail story of right wing nationalism in Ukraine.
quorkquork annamarinja 12 Jul 2015 19:27
There are already jihadist groups fighting in Ukraine!
IN MIDST OF WAR, UKRAINE BECOMES GATEWAY FOR JIHAD
Havingalavrov obscurant 12 Jul 2015 18:33
It's been one of the biggest mistakes ( although Ukraine's military started in a desperately poor condition ) , to allow militia groups to get so powerful. Right sector should not have arms and guns... The national Ukraine military should, If members of Right sector want to fight , they should leave Right sector and join the army.
This was and will happen if they don't disband such armed groups.
annamarinja silvaback 12 Jul 2015 18:18
have you ever studied geography? If yes, you should remember the proximity of Ukraine to Russia (next door) and the proximity of Ukraine to the US (thousands miles away). Also, have you heard about the CIA Director Brennan and his covert visit to Kiev on the eve of the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine? This could give you an informed hint about the causes of the war. Plus you may be interested to learn about Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (Ms. Nudelman), her cookies, and her foul language. She is, by the way, a student of Dick Cheney. If you were born before 2000, you might know his name and his role in the Iraq catastrophe. Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (and the family of Kagans she belongs to) finds particular pleasure in creating military conflicts around the globe. It is not for nothing that the current situation in Ukraine is called Iraqization of Eastern Europe.
Bev Linington JJRichardson 12 Jul 2015 18:10
Ukrainians shot down the plane. East, West does not matter as they were all Ukrainians before the government overthrow. Leaders of the new government could not look past some Ukrainian citizens ethnicity, instead of standing together united, they decided to oppress which lead to the referendum in Crimea and the rise of separatists in the East.
jgbg Chirographer 12 Jul 2015 17:53
And for the Pro-Russian posters the newsflash is that could also describe the situation inside the Donbass.
It certainly describes the situation in Donbass where Right Sector or the volunteer battalions are in charge. In Dnepropetrovsk, Right Sector would simply turn up at some factory or other business and order the owner to sign document transferring the enterprise to them. In other cases, they have kidnapped businessmen for ransom. Some people have simply disappeared under such circumstances.
The Ukrainian National Guard simply break into homes left empty by people fleeing the war and steal the contents. Such was the scale of looting, the Ukrainian postal service have now refused to ship electrical goods out of the ATO area unless the senders have the original boxes and receipts.
jgbg AlfredHerring 12 Jul 2015 17:45jgbg caaps02, 12 Jul 2015 17:34
Maybe Kiev just needs to bomb them some more.
Putin promised to protect the Russian speaking people in Ukraine - but he hasn't really done that. His government has indicated that they would not allow Kiev to simply overrun or obliterate the people of Donbass. Quite where their threshold of actual intervention lies is anyone's guess.
The "pro-Russian" government that you refer to was only elected because it promised to sign the EU trade agreement. It then reneged on that promise...
Yanukovych's government was elected the previous one was useless and corrupt.
Yanukovych wanted to postpone the decision to sign for six months, while he attempted to extract more from both the EU and Russia. Under Poroshenko, the implementation of the EU Association Agreement has been delayed for 15 months, as the governments of Ukraine, the EU and Russia all recognised that Russian trade (with the favourable terms which Ukraine enjoys) are vitail to Ukraine's economic recovery. Expect that postponement to be extended.
.... severely and brutally curtailing freedom of speech and concentrating all power in the hands of Yanukovich's little clan...
As opposed to sending the military to shell the crap out of those who objected to an elected government being removed by a few thousand nationalists in Kiev.
There was no "coup".
An agreement had been signed at the end of February 2014, which would see elections in September 2014. The far right immediately moved to remove the government (as Right Sector had promised on camera in December 2013). None of the few mechanisms for replacing the president listed in the Ukrainian constitution have been followed - that makes it a coup.
The maidan protesters were not armed
This newspaper and other western media documented the armed members of far right groups on Maidan. One BBC journalist was actually shot at by a Svoboda sniper, operating from Hotel Ukraina - the video is still on the BBC website.
....the interim government that was put in place by the parliament in late February and the government that was elected in May and Oct. of 2014 were and are not fascist.
The interim government included several ministers from Svoboda, formerly the Socialist Nationalist Party of Ukraine. These were the first Nazi ministers in a European government since Franco's Spanish government that ended in the 1970's. In a 2013 resolution, the EU parliament had indicated that no Ukrainian government should include members of Svoboda or other far right parties.
pushkinsideburn vr13vr 12 Jul 2015 16:45
There has been a marked change in rhetoric over the last few weeks. Even CiF on Ukraine articles seems to attract less trolls (with a few notable exceptions on this article - though they feel more like squad trolls than the first team). Hopefully a sign of deescalation or perhaps just a temporary lull before the MH17 anniversary this week?
pushkinsideburn calum1 12 Jul 2015 16:38
His other comments should have been the clue that arithmetic, like independent critical thinking, is beyond him.
normankirk 12 Jul 2015 16:19
Right sector were the first to declare they wouldn't abide by the Minsk 2 peace agreement.Nevertheless, Dmitry Yarosh, their leader is adviser to Ukraine's Chief of staff. Given that he only received about 130,000 votes in the last election, he has a disproportionate amount of power.
pushkinsideburn sashasmirnoff 12 Jul 2015 16:13
That quote is a myth
Though doesn't mean it's not true of course
greatwhitehunter 12 Jul 2015 15:47
As predicted the real civil war in ukraine is still to happen. The split between the east and the ordinary ukrainian was largely manufactored . In the long term no body would be able to live with the right sector or more preciselly the right sector cant share a bed with anyone else.
sashasmirnoff RicardoJ 12 Jul 2015 15:44
"When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?"
This may be why:
"The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media." - former CIA Director William Colby
Alexander_the_Great 12 Jul 2015 15:43
This was so, so predictable. The Right Sector were the main violent group during the coup in 2014 - in fact they were the ones to bring the first guns to the square following their storming of a military warehouse in west Ukraine a few days before the coup. It was this factor that forced the Police to arm themselves in preparation.
Being the vanguard of the illegal coup, they then provided a useful tool of manipulation for the illegal Kiev government to oppress any opposition, intimidate journalists who spoke the truth and lead the war against the legally-elected ELECTED governments of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Having failed in the war against the east, western leaders have signalled the right sector has now outlived its usefulness and has become an embarrassment to Kiev and their western backers.
The Right Sector meanwhile, feel betrayed by the establishment in Kiev. They have 19 battalions of fighters and they wont go away thats for sure. I think one can expect this getting more violent in the coming months.
SHappens jezzam 12 Jul 2015 15:40
Putin is a Fascist dictator.
Putin is not a dictator. He is a statist, authoritarian-inclined hybrid regime ruler that possesses some democratic elements and space for opposition groups.
He has moderate nationalist tendencies in foreign affairs; his goal is a secure a strong Russia. He is a patriot and has a charismatic authority. Russians stay behind him.
ploughmanlunch samuel glover 12 Jul 2015 15:31
'this notion that absolutely everything Kiev does follows some master script drawn up in DC and Brussels is simplistic and tiresome'
As is everything is Russia's fault.
ConradLodziak 12 Jul 2015 15:26
This is just the latest in a string of conflicts involving the right sector, as reported by RT, Russian media and until recently many Ukrainian outlets. The problem, of course, is that Porostinko has given 'official' status to the right sector. Blow back time for him.
CIAbot007 William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 15:06
Yes, Russia (USSR) from the USSR foundation had been forcing people of the then territory of Ukraine to identify themselves as ukrainians under the process of rootisation - ukrainisation, then gave to Ukraine Donbass and left side Dniepr and Odessa, Herson and Nikolaev, and then decided to ethnically cleane them..It doesn't make sense, does it? Oh, wait, sense is not your domain.
annamarinja William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 15:05
let me help you with arithmetics: 72 years ago Europe was inflamed with the WWII.
There was a considerable number of Ukrainians that collaborated with Hitler' nazis:
Now moving to the present. The US-installed oligarchs in Kiev have been cooperating closely with Ruropean neo-nazis (the followers of the WWII scum): http://rt.com/news/155364-ukraine-nazi-division-march/
In short, your government finds it is OK to glorify the perpetrators of genocide in Europe during the WWII.
Nik2 12 Jul 2015 15:04
These tragic events, when YESTERDAY, on Saturday afternoon, several civilians were unintentionally wounded in gun battles in previously peaceful town near the Hungary and Slovakia borders, vividly exposes Western propaganda. Though mass media in Ukraine and Russia are full of reports about this from the start, The Guardian managed to give first information exactly 1 day later, and BBC was still keeping silence a few minutes ago. Since both sides are allies of the West (the Right Sector fighters were the core of the Maidan protesters at the later stages, and Poroshenko regime is presumably "democratic"), the Western media preferred to ignore the events that are so politically uncomfortable. Who are "good guys" to be praised? In fact, this may be the start of nationalists' revolt against Ukrainian authorities, and politically it is very important moment that can fundamentally change Ukrainian politics. But the West decides to be silent ...
annamarinja William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 14:59
Do your history book tell you that the Holodomor was a multiethnic endeavor? That the Ukrainians were among the victims and perpetrators and that the whole huge country had suffered the insanely cruel policies of multiethnic bolsheviks? The Holodomor was almost a century ago, whereas the Odessa massacre and the bombardments of civilian population in east Ukraine by the neo-nazi thugs (sent by Kiev), has been going during last year and half. Perhaps you have followed Mr. Brennan and Mrs. Nuland-Kagan too obediently.
foolisholdman zonzonel 12 Jul 2015 14:58
Oops, the presumably fascist govt. is fighting a fascist group.
What is a poor troll to do these days??
Antiukrainian copywriting just got more difficult, perhaps a raise is needed? Just sayin.
What's your problem? Never heard of Fascist groups fighting each other? Never heard of the "Night of the Long Knives"? Fascists have no principles to unite them. They believe in Uebermenschen and of course they all think that either they themselves or their leader is The Ueberuebermensch. Anyone who disagrees is an enemy no matter how Fascist he may be.
samuel glover ploughmanlunch 12 Jul 2015 14:55
Y'know, I'm no fan of the Russophobic hysteria that dominates English-language media. I've been to Ukraine several times over the last 15 years or so, and I'm sorry to say that I think that in time Ukrainians will regard Maidan's aftermath as most of them view the Orange Revolution -- with regret and cynicism.
That said, this notion that everything, absolutely everything Kiev does follows some master script drawn up in DC and Brussels is simplistic and tiresome. Most post-revolution regimes purge one end or the other of the current ideological wings. Kiev has already tangled with the oligarch and militia patron Igor Kolomoisky. So perhaps this is another predictable factional struggle. Or maybe, as another comment speculates, this is a feud over cigarette tax revenue.
In any case, Ukraine is a complex place going through an **extremely** complex time. it's too soon to tell what the Lviv skirmish means, and **far** too soon to lay it all on nefarious puppetmasters.
TheTruthAnytime ADTaylor 12 Jul 2015 14:49
The only thing that makes me reconsider is their service to their country,...
Is the CIA their country? So far they've only seemed to serve the interests of American businesspeople, not Ukrainian interests. Also, murdering eastern Ukrainians cannot really be considered such a great service to Ukraine, can it?
annamarinja ID075732 12 Jul 2015 14:44
Maidan was indeed a popular apprising, but it was utilized by the US strategists for their geopolitical games. The Ukrainians are going to learn hard way that the US have never had any interest in well-being of the "locals" and that the ongoing civil war was designed in order to create a festering wound on a border with the Russia. The Iraqization of Ukraine was envisioned by the neocons as a tool to break both Russia and Ukraine. The sooner Ukrainians come to a peaceful solution uniting the whole Ukraine (for example, to federalization), the better for the general population (but not for the thieving oligarchs).
vr13vr 12 Jul 2015 14:38
"Couple of hundred Right Sector supporters demonstrated in Kiev?" Come on! Over the last week, there have been enough of videos of thousands of people in fatigues trying to block access to government buildings and shouting rather aggressive demands. The entire battalions of "National Guard." This is much bigger than just 100 people on a peaceful rally. Ukraine might be heading towards Maidan 3.0.
ID075732 12 Jul 2015 14:26
The situation in Ukraine has been unravelling for months and this news broke on Friday evening.
The Minsk II cease fire has not been honoured by Poroshenko, who has not managed to effect any of the pledges he signed up to. The right sector who rejected the cease-fire from the start are now refusing the rule of their post coup president in Kiev.
Time for Victoria Nuland to break out the cookies? Or maybe it's too late for that now. The country formerly know as Ukraine is turning out to be another outstanding success of American post -imperial foreign policy.
Meanwhile in UFA the BRIC's economic forum is drawing to a close, with representatives from the developing world and no reporting of the aspirations being discussed there of over 60% of the world's population. It's been a major success, but if you want to learn about it, you will have to turn to other media sources - those usually reported as Russian propaganda channels or Putin's apologists.
The same people who have been reporting on the deteriorating situation in Kiev since the February coup. Or as Washington likes to call it a popular up rising.
Dennis Levin 12 Jul 2015 13:29
Canadian interviewed, fighting for 'Right Sector'.
The Right Sector of Euromaidan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yFqUasBOUY
Lets reflect for a moment on the Editorial directives, that would have 'MORE GUNS' distributed to NAZIS..
The Guarn publishes, 'Britain should arm Ukraine, says Tory donor' - http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/11/britain-should-arm-ukraine
Al Jazeera says,'t's time to arm Ukraine' - http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/02/arms-ukraine-russia-separatists-150210075309643.html
Zbigniew Brzezinski: The West should arm Ukraine - http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/zbigniew-brzezinski-the-west-should-arm-ukraine-354770.html
ploughmanlunch ADTaylor 12 Jul 2015 13:06
'The only thing that makes me reconsider is their service to their country'
Don't get me wrong. I detest the fascist militias and their evil deeds.
However, despite their callousness, brutality and stupidity, they have been the most effective fighting force for Kiev ( more sensible Ukrainians have been rather more reluctant to kill their fellow countrymen ).
Deluded ? Yes. Cowardly ? No.
Even more reprehensible, in my opinion are the calculating and unprincipled Kiev Government that have attempted to bully a region of the Ukraine that had expressed legitimate reservations, using those far right battalions, but accepting no responsibility for the carnage that they carried out.
mario n 12 Jul 2015 12:52
I think it's time Europe spoke up about dangers of Ukrainian nationalism. 72 years ago Ukrainian fascists committed one of the most hideous and brutal acts of genocide in the human history. Details are so horrifying it is beyond imagination. Sadly not many people remembers that, because it is not politically correct to say bad things about Ukraine. Today mass murderers are hailed as national heroes and private battalions and ultranationalist groups armed to the teeth terrorise not only Donbas but now different parts of the country like Zakarpattia where there is strong Hungarian, Russian and Romanian minority.
How many massacres and acts of genocide Europe needs before it learns to act firmly?
SHappens 12 Jul 2015 12:49
Kiev has allowed nationalist groups including Right Sector to operate despite allegations by groups like Amnesty International, that Right Sector has tortured civilian prisoners.
You know what, you dont play with fire or you will get burnt. It was written on the wall that these Bandera apologists would eventually turn to the hand that fed them. I wonder how Kiev will manage to blame the russians now.
RicardoJ 12 Jul 2015 12:33
Of course the Guardian doesn't like to explain that 'Right Sector' are genuine fascists - by their own admission!
These fascists, who wear Nazi insignia, were the people who overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in the US / EU-supported coup - which the Guardianistas and other PC-brainwashed duly cheered on as a supposed triumph of democracy.
Since that glorious US-financed and EU-backed coup, wholly illegal under international law, Ukraine's economy has collapsed, as has Ukrainians' living standards.
The US neocons are losing interest in their attempted land grab of Ukraine - and the EU cretins who backed the coup, thinking it would be a nice juicy further territorial acquisition for the EU, are desperately looking the other way, now that both the US and EU realize that Ukraine is a financial black hole.
When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?
jgbg 12 Jul 2015 12:15
The move came after a gunfight broke out on Saturday, when about 20 Right Sector gunmen arrived at a sports complex controlled by MP Mikhail Lano. They had been trying to stop the traffic of cigarettes and other contraband, a spokesman for the group said.
Put another way, one group of gangsters tried to muscle in on the cigarette smuggling operation of another group of gangsters. Smuggling cigarettes into nearby EU countries is extremely lucrative.
Here's some video of some of the events:
Note the registration plates driven by both Right Sector and the other gangsters i.e. not Ukrainian. In all likelihood, these cars are all stolen.
Right Sector and fighters from "volunteer battalions" have become accustomed to muscling in on other people's activities (legal or not) in Donbass. This sort of thuggery is routine when these folk come to town. It is only when since they have continued such activities on their home turf in west and central Ukraine that the authorities have taken any notice.
Jul 12, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop, July 12, 2015 at 10:59 amThey just love fighting with guns and the thrill of shooting to kill. The front is boring right now, shooting artillery into cities does not have the same gratification. The only way for Ukraine to purge itself of Right Sector is to kill them all. So long as any are left alive they will cling to their guns – which nobody seems to be able to make them give up – and foment armed insurrection.karl1haushofer , July 12, 2015 at 5:27 am
The Ukrainian state is disintegrating and Washington smiles beatifically, having created another Libya, this time on Russia's doorstep."Yarosh hates Avakov even more than he hates the Russians."Pavlo Svolochenko, July 12, 2015 at 5:37 am
Aren't they both Russians themselves? Yarosh does not even speak Ukrainian and Avakov is a Russian name.Yarosh, yes. Avakov (Avakian?) is an Armenian from Baku.et Al, July 12, 2015 at 4:29 am
Neuters: Kerry doesn't view Russia as existential threat: State Department
…"If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I'd have to point to Russia," Dunford said. "And if you look at their behavior, it's nothing short of alarming."
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Kerry did not share the assessment, even though Russia's actions in Ukraine posed regional security challenges.
"The secretary doesn't agree with the assessment that Russia is an existential threat to the United States, nor China, quite frankly," Toner told a regular news briefing when asked about Dunford's remarks.
"You know, these are major powers with whom we engage and cooperate on a number of issues, despite any disagreements we may have with them," he said. "Certainly we have disagreements with Russia and its activities within the region, but we don't view it as an existential threat."…
The problem with ignorant blowhards like Dunford is that if their words are to be taken seriously, then seriously needs to be funded with cold, hard dollars. Resources daarlings. The USA has pinned its flag to the Asia Swivel (aka fk China!) as its fundamental future military posture.
That is an expensive proposition.
To then start bivolating (sp?) about Russia means some cash going to contain China would have to go instead to containing Russia, which so far, the USA has been doing on the very cheap by using Ukrainians as willing (or not so) canonfodder and the Europeans paying the economic consequences. To mix a metaphor or three, the US Gorilla shits in an European chinashop and still expects fawning applause for the performance*. Instead, by amping up the rhetoric via NATO and bigging up the Russia threat, the USA is trying to get Europe to pay (new UK budget promises 2% GDP on weapons) for the US' own mess and aggressive anti-Russia policy, squaring the military budget circle if you will. Except, it is not working. Europe as a whole will still not pick up the military tab US wants it to. This is the de facto recognition by Europe that the Russia threat is total bullshit, in total contradiction of all the mass propaganda to the opposite by the pork pie news networks.
* "It's like a jungle some times it makes me wonder how I keep from going under" – Rapper's Delight
Warren, July 12, 2015 at 7:50 amThe Europeans need to free themselves from American yoke, the Americans must have serious leverage on European leaders to explain their servility to the US.
* "It's like a jungle some times it makes me wonder how I keep from going under"
That line comes from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – The Message
marknesop, July 12, 2015 at 11:06 am
All that notwithstanding, Kerry is out of favour and the State Department has the bit in its teeth. It likes the cut of Dunford's jib and his willingness to help imprint brand "Russian Aggression". Kerry's demurrals are not going to mean anything in the great scheme of things, and it is much too late for him to assuage his conscience now for all the lies he told and partisan bullshit he spread. He deserves to ride his doomed state down nearly as much as the rest of his government.Jeremn, July 12, 2015 at 5:06 amJust looking at who funds the ECFR.marknesop, July 12, 2015 at 11:20 am
George Soros is the primary funder, and the European Commission also supplies money. Then there's a whole slew of banks, oil firms and foundations. Interesting reading.
It would of course be a generalization, but just about everywhere you find a western agency fomenting revolution and stirring up unrest in the names of freedom and democracy, you will find George Soros's money. It's a wonder Obama has not awarded him the Presidential Gong of Freedom.yalensis, July 13, 2015 at 4:01 amDo they, or don't they?
Some people say, that Right Sektor is withdrawing all their battalions from Donbass and moving them West, back towards Kiev.
Right Sektor denies this, and says, no, all their guys are still in place at the ATO, valiantly fighting the Colorados.
The Donetsk News Agency says that Right Sektor is withdrawing from the front lines. Quoting DPR Deputy Minister of Defense Eduard Basurin.
Basurin reports that the Right Sektor guys truly are leaving, thus providing some blessed relief to the people of Donetsk. Resulting in fewer incidents of shelling, etc.
yalensis, July 13, 2015 at 3:54 am
Ukry starting to get worried about Trans-Carpthian separatism:
Rada Deputy Boris Filatov, who belongs to Igor Kolomoisky's party, was outraged when he read some blogposts written by Trans-Carpathians. Who claimed that Trans-Carpathia was unjustly taken away from Slovaks and Hungarians in the 1950's.
Some of the Rusyns there say they are not Ukrainians, and never have been.
Filatov was outraged at some of this loose talk on blogs. He retorted on his own blog with the following proposed remedy to these separatist inclinations:
"Можете почитать, что публично пишут в своих бложиках некоторые местные деятели. Врачи! Жечь падаль каленым железом. Сажать и лишать имущества", - написал Филатов на своей странице в соцсети.
"You cannot even imagine what some of these local activists are scribbling in their blogs. I would brand these scum with a heated up iron. I would throw them in jail and confiscate their property."
Recall that Filatov made similar threats against Crimeans.
Which just scared them even further into escaping from the tender embraces of Ukrainian nazis.
I am betting most Rusyns also wish they could opt out of this Ukrainian "prison of nations" and become part of Slovakia or Hungary. Unfortunately, they don't have that option, so they are stuck in this abusive relationship.
yalensis, July 13, 2015 at 4:13 am
And what's the plan, once the Right Sektor battalions reach Kiev?
According to this piece, Right Sektor is organizing a massive meeting on the Maidan this coming Sunday, July 19.
Right Sektor spokesperson Dmitry Pavlichenko announced the following:
-He urges everybody to swarm to Kiev on Sunday. The meeting ("veche") will start promptly at noon.
-The purpose is to form "organs of power" to replace the current government.
-A priority will be also to form a "people's court".
Right Sektor has issued ultimatum to Ukrainian government: They want Avakov's head on a platter.
There is constant picket of around 100 persons around President Poroshenko's office building. The picketers wear insigna for parties such as "OUN", "Freedom or Death", and "Right Sektor". The building is protected by around 30 National Guards troops, and there has been a stand-off up until this point.
Jul 11, 2015 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.comIt is probably less an issue of ethical responsibility and more an act of self-interest for most. Having come out of the Third World and working into the developed nations, why would anyone assume that Greece would be sufficient for the maw of neoliberal greed."What is at stake is a rather heroic rebellion by a very beleaguered people against a doctrine which has been destroying their lives - the austerity doctrine and the whole neoliberal project. For the rest of us, what is at stake is whether we have the moral courage in the sense of ethical responsibility to stand up to it."
Jamie Galbraith, Greek Revolt Threatens Entire Neoliberal Project
The above interview with Galbraith is worth reading. For one thing it contains the seed of the current spin that Tsipras called the referendum in order to lose it, and to somehow save himself and betray the Greeks. And for another you will be able to read what Jamie Galbraith really thinks, the parts that the friends of the financial establishment have carefully excluded from their versions of the story.
The calling of the referendum was politically brilliant, because it defused the notion of an extremist government standing irrationally against the Troika. This derailed the path towards a scheme to stage a 'color revolution' backed by the oligarchs to take out these mad leftists who were not speaking for the people.
Remember the economic decision involving Europe which provoked the recent coup d'état in the Ukraine? In that case the government did not have the backing of the people, and it took hold, at least in the Western portions of the country. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Of course the referendum was famously too close to predict when first called for Syriza, and surprisingly late in the game for most everyone else as you may recall How soon some choose to forget. But it changed the course of events in a dramatic way. As it was it did not help their bargaining position, but as Galbraith relates they did not expect it to be.
But it put the field of play into better terms if you goal is playing for survival and time. They are knocking down all the rationales and excuses to visit harsh terms on Greece that the Troika and their enablers are using. They are exposing their opponents for what they really are.
Empires founded on unsustainable foundations are like financial bubbles and Ponzi schemes. They are inherently non-productive and consuming, so they must continue to grow, or choke on their own ideologically driven detritus. Transferring wealth as your major economic policy requires a steady source of new supply.
Most of the American media has fallen into line with the neoliberal agenda. It might seem surprising, but power has its attraction under corporatism, even for people who would ordinarily consider themselves to be 'liberal.'
There are concerning things happening in the Western world, and a lack of traction towards individual freedom amongst 'the great democracies,' above and beyond Germany's growing desire to bring their version of order and efficient management of lands and people to the rest of Europe.
The growing militancy in Japan, and Abe's aggressive pushing aside of constitutional restraints, is undernoted in the West, but of concern to those in Asia.
Greece would look to the US for help in vain, given that Obama's representative to the continent is Victoria Nuland, the bearer of color revolutions and the reaping of ancient lands and cultures for profit.
At least in this cycle of the will to power some, including the Pope thank God, are speaking out early, publicly, and strongly against the rising tide of injustice, the senseless abuse of power, and the impulse towards dehumanizing central rule and neo-totalitarianism. Silence is complicity.
Behind Germany's refusal to grant Greece debt reliefPosted on July 11, 2015 by yanisv
Tomorrow's EU Summit will seal Greece's fate in the Eurozone. As these lines are being written, Euclid Tsakalotos, my great friend, comrade and successor as Greece's Finance Ministry is heading for a Eurogroup meeting that will determine whether a last ditch agreement between Greece and our creditors is reached and whether this agreement contains the degree of debt relief that could render the Greek economy viable within the Euro Area.
Euclid is taking with him a moderate, well-thought out debt restructuring plan that is undoubtedly in the interests both of Greece and its creditors. (Details of it I intend to publish here on Monday, once the dust has settled.) If these modest debt restructuring proposals are turned down, as the German finance minister has foreshadowed, Sunday's EU Summit will be deciding between kicking Greece out of the Eurozone now or keeping it in for a little while longer, in a state of deepening destitution, until it leaves some time in the future.
The question is: Why is the German finance Minister, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, resisting a sensible, mild, mutually beneficial debt restructure? The following op-ed just published in today's The Guardian offers my answer. [Please note that the Guardian's title was not of my choosing. Mine read, as above: Behind Germany's refusal to grant Greece debt relief ). Click here for the op-ed or…
Greece's financial drama has dominated the headlines for five years for one reason: the stubborn refusal of our creditors to offer essential debt relief. Why, against common sense, against the IMF's verdict and against the everyday practices of bankers facing stressed debtors, do they resist a debt restructure? The answer cannot be found in economics because it resides deep in Europe's labyrinthine politics.
In 2010, the Greek state became insolvent. Two options consistent with continuing membership of the eurozone presented themselves: the sensible one, that any decent banker would recommend – restructuring the debt and reforming the economy; and the toxic option – extending new loans to a bankrupt entity while pretending that it remains solvent.
Official Europe chose the second option, putting the bailing out of French and German banks exposed to Greek public debt above Greece's socioeconomic viability. A debt restructure would have implied losses for the bankers on their Greek debt holdings.Keen to avoid confessing to parliaments that taxpayers would have to pay again for the banks by means of unsustainable new loans, EU officials presented the Greek state's insolvency as a problem of illiquidity, and justified the "bailout" as a case of "solidarity" with the Greeks.
To frame the cynical transfer of irretrievable private losses on to the shoulders of taxpayers as an exercise in "tough love", record austerity was imposed on Greece, whose national income, in turn – from which new and old debts had to be repaid – diminished by more than a quarter. It takes the mathematical expertise of a smart eight-year-old to know that this process could not end well.
Once the sordid operation was complete, Europe had automatically acquired another reason for refusing to discuss debt restructuring: it would now hit the pockets of European citizens! And so increasing doses of austerity were administered while the debt grew larger, forcing creditors to extend more loans in exchange for even more austerity.
Our government was elected on a mandate to end this doom loop; to demand debt restructuring and an end to crippling austerity. Negotiations have reached their much publicised impasse for a simple reason: our creditors continue to rule out any tangible debt restructuring while insisting that our unpayable debt be repaid "parametrically" by the weakest of Greeks, their children and their grandchildren.
In my first week as minister for finance I was visited by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup (the eurozone finance ministers), who put a stark choice to me: accept the bailout's "logic" and drop any demands for debt restructuring or your loan agreement will "crash" – the unsaid repercussion being that Greece's banks would be boarded up.
Five months of negotiations ensued under conditions of monetary asphyxiation and an induced bank-run supervised and administered by the European Central Bank. The writing was on the wall: unless we capitulated, we would soon be facing capital controls, quasi-functioning cash machines, a prolonged bank holiday and, ultimately, Grexit.
The threat of Grexit has had a brief rollercoaster of a history. In 2010 it put the fear of God in financiers' hearts and minds as their banks were replete with Greek debt. Even in 2012, when Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, decided that Grexit's costs were a worthwhile "investment" as a way of disciplining France et al, the prospect continued to scare the living daylights out of almost everyone else.
By the time Syriza won power last January, and as if to confirm our claim that the "bailouts" had nothing to do with rescuing Greece (and everything to do with ringfencing northern Europe), a large majority within the Eurogroup – under the tutelage of Schäuble – had adopted Grexit either as their preferred outcome or weapon of choice against our government.
Greeks, rightly, shiver at the thought of amputation from monetary union. Exiting a common currency is nothing like severing a peg, as Britain did in 1992, when Norman Lamont famously sang in the shower the morning sterling quit the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM). Alas, Greece does not have a currency whose peg with the euro can be cut. It has the euro – a foreign currency fully administered by a creditor inimical to restructuring our nation's unsustainable debt.
To exit, we would have to create a new currency from scratch. In occupied Iraq, the introduction of new paper money took almost a year, 20 or so Boeing 747s, the mobilisation of the US military's might, three printing firms and hundreds of trucks. In the absence of such support, Grexit would be the equivalent of announcing a large devaluation more than 18 months in advance: a recipe for liquidating all Greek capital stock and transferring it abroad by any means available.
With Grexit reinforcing the ECB-induced bank run, our attempts to put debt restructuring back on the negotiating table fell on deaf ears. Time and again we were told that this was a matter for an unspecified future that would follow the "programme's successful completion" – a stupendous Catch-22 since the "programme" could never succeed without a debt restructure.
This weekend brings the climax of the talks as Euclid Tsakalotos, my successor, strives, again, to put the horse before the cart – to convince a hostile Eurogroup that debt restructuring is a prerequisite of success for reforming Greece, not an ex-post reward for it. Why is this so hard to get across? I see three reasons.Europe did not know how to respond to the financial crisis. Should it prepare for an expulsion (Grexit) or a federation?One is that institutional inertia is hard to beat. A second, that unsustainable debt gives creditors immense power over debtors – and power, as we know, corrupts even the finest. But it is the third which seems to me more pertinent and, indeed, more interesting.
The euro is a hybrid of a fixed exchange-rate regime, like the 1980s ERM, or the 1930s gold standard, and a state currency. The former relies on the fear of expulsion to hold together, while state money involves mechanisms for recycling surpluses between member states (for instance, a federal budget, common bonds). The eurozone falls between these stools – it is more than an exchange-rate regime and less than a state.
And there's the rub. After the crisis of 2008/9, Europe didn't know how to respond. Should it prepare the ground for at least one expulsion (that is, Grexit) to strengthen discipline? Or move to a federation? So far it has done neither, its existentialist angst forever rising. Schäuble is convinced that as things stand, he needs a Grexit to clear the air, one way or another. Suddenly, a permanently unsustainable Greek public debt, without which the risk of Grexit would fade, has acquired a new usefulness for Schauble.
What do I mean by that? Based on months of negotiation, my conviction is that the German finance minister wants Greece to be pushed out of the single currency to put the fear of God into the French and have them accept his model of a disciplinarian eurozone.
Jul 10, 2015 | The Guardian
Pope Francis has urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a "new colonialism" by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land.
In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope used his visit to Bolivia to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the "so-called conquest of America".
The pontiff also demanded an immediate end to what he called the "genocide" of Christians taking place in the Middle East and beyond, describing it as a third world war.
"Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus," Pope Francis said.
"In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end."
Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil", and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries.
Repeating some of the themes of his landmark encyclical Laudato Si on the environment last month, Francis said time was running out to save the planet from perhaps irreversible harm to the ecosystem.
Francis made the address in the city of Santa Cruz to participants of the second world meeting of popular movements, an international body that brings together organisations of people on the margins of society, including the poor, the unemployed and peasants who have lost their land. The Vatican hosted the first meeting last year.
He said he supported their efforts to obtain "so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three "Ls": land, lodging and labour".
His speech was preceded by lengthy remarks from the left-wing Bolivian president Evo Morales, who wore a jacket adorned with the face of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. He was executed in Bolivia in 1967 by CIA-backed Bolivian troops.
"Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the pope said, decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature".
"This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, labourers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable," he said in an hour-long speech that was interrupted by applause and cheering dozens of times.
Since his election in 2013, the first pope from Latin America has often spoken out in defence of the poor and against unbridled capitalism but the speech in Santa Cruz was the most comprehensive to date on the issues he has championed.
Francis' previous attacks on capitalism have prompted stiff criticism from politicians and commentators in the United States, where he is due to visit in September.
The pontiff appeared to take a swipe at international monetary organisations such as the IMF and the development aid policies by some developed countries.
"No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice the possibility of peace and justice," he said.
"The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity' which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor," he said.
Last week, Francis called on European authorities to keep human dignity at the centre of debate for a solution to the economic crisis in Greece.
He defended labor unions and praised poor people who had formed cooperatives to create jobs where previously "there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy".
In one of the sections on colonialism, he said:
"I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God."
He added: "I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offences of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.
"There was sin and an abundant amount of it."
The audience gave Francis a standing ovation when he put on a yellow miner's hat that was given to him at the end of his speech.
The pope made his speech at the end of his first full day in Bolivia, where he arrived on Wednesday. On Thursday morning he said a mass for hundreds of thousands of people and said that everyone had a moral duty to help the poor, and that those with means could not wish they would just "go away".
Francis praised Bolivia's social reforms to spread wealth under Morales. On Friday, he will visit Bolivia's notoriously violent Palmasola prison.
The pope looked bemused on Wednesday night when Morales handed him one of the more unusual gifts he has received: a sculpted wooden hammer and sickle – the symbol of communism – with a figure of a crucified Christ resting on the hammer.
Francis leaves on Friday for Paraguay, the last stop on his "homecoming" trip.
- Related: Pope's South American tour recalls a divided church – and a dirty war
- Related: Conservatives' collective tantrum over the pope has been a wonder to behold | Dominic Kelly
Westonboy 10 Jul 2015 09:01
The Pope didn't actually say "unbridled capitalism is the dung of the devil" did he?
So why is that the headline of this piece?
valeronfreza 10 Jul 2015 08:46
Actually, I find one of his thoughts really interesting. A lot of us are awaiting the 3rd WW, between Russia and the US, between China and the US, between the West and the East, while the war is on. The whole civilized world takes part in this mess, the thing is that this war looks different from what we're used to see. I mean, we get information, made by those, who wants us to see it different, like something, that happening far away, though it's dangerous as hell.
Is it work of Capitalism? I think that capitalism in it's modern form lies near this war, and both are made by the same people.
cblyth79 10 Jul 2015 08:41
he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil"
He has hit the nail on the head. This is everything that is wrong with society. Every decision is taken with regards to making as much money as possible. However, the great irony is that even if people do make money, their constant desire for more means they are never happy or fulfilled. Meanwhile, socially and environmentally we suffer greatly due to this ultimately fruitless pursuit of as much money as possible.
PM782_ -> Greenshoots 10 Jul 2015 08:40
Generally speaking, you are right of course.
I have very little time for virgin men in silly hats & dresses, carrying crucifixes and expecting everyone to take them seriously when history shows us they cannot be trusted to act in an ethical way, and will (as always) be more concerned about amassing money and influence than doing any good in the world.
The whole thing is ludicrous and you should be ashamed that you believe in it. It is really astonishing.
Greenshoots -> Drew Layton 10 Jul 2015 08:39
Atheist trope. One could as easily say "Religion compels unreasonable people to do reasonable things".
Westonboy -> pol098 10 Jul 2015 08:37
I'm happy to salute the personal contributions you make but, of course, the computer that you will have used to write or test your software is a product of capitalism.
Also, most of the the goods you recycle or give away are no doubt the products of capitalism.
Anti-capitalists don't seem to have any alternative method of wealth creation.
EnglishChapin 10 Jul 2015 08:26
In the article:
Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil"
In the headline:
"Unbridled capitalism is the 'dung of the devil', says Pope Francis"
kycol1 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 08:24
As a Unitarian/Universalist I am equally, if not more, wary of that practice. Francis, however, is a public figure who has the right to express his opinion. While he was definitely speaking to a Catholic audience, he was not giving his words the weight of a Papal Encyclical. Also, it is the accepted and expected belief of Catholics that the Pope directs their thinking as far as faith goes. I do not see his words being a act of forcing his will on me, personally. All public figures have the right to express their opinion on that subject. I also believe that regulation should go further than dealing with "negative externalities" unless you view the financial crisis of 2008 as a negative externality . While the causes of the crisis were complex and varied, lax regulatory oversight during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations played a role in creating the conditions for it.
lesmandalasdeniki -> hollyjadoon 10 Jul 2015 08:13
Why do you want poor people to rise up? On what sense? Revolution to topple world governments, what's next? What kind of governmental system will we apply to ensure law and order? Will it be one world government by the Vatican?
GallopingGournmet -> citizen_1111 10 Jul 2015 08:09
I'm glad you set everyone straight on this. We were all thinking capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. But clearly capitalism involves greed for money, exploitation and environmental destruction. The very fact you've attempted to pick at this shows you're missing the overarching point. The Pope is criticizing how our unregulated "socioeconomic system" - which was capitalism the last time I looked - for being responsible for ruining society, enslaving men and women and destroying human fraternity. All of which is pretty spot on. Excuse me for having to clarify this for you.
citizen_1111 10 Jul 2015 07:48
Wouldn't it be great if newspapers like the Guardian printed the truth, rather than spin. The pope did not say that "unbridled capitalism is the dung of devil". Here's the actual paragraph. It's nothing like the Guardian's deceptive headline.
Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished.
And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called "the dung of the devil". An unfettered pursuit of money rules.
The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people's decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.
So he's actually referring to greed for money - a moral sin .... not capitalism, which is basically meritocratic mechanism of funding businesses.
HobbesianWorld -> Drew Layton 10 Jul 2015 07:41
Wrong, it's a predominantly Christian nation. Christians don't own it. Under the Constitution, all beliefs in matters of religion are equal.
Still, the subject of my comment was not the predominance of Christians, but how much poverty exists in this predominantly Christian nation. They ignore the most fundamental teachings they profess to believe--the admonitions of Jesus to feed, clothe, and generally help the poor.
Capitalism isn't a sacred arm of Christianity, yet many (most?) Christians tend to favor Wall Street's gluttony and greed while millions of children live in poverty. Is that what we should see in a "Christian" nation? It's the epitome of hypocrisy.
PM782_ 10 Jul 2015 07:33
The guy in charge of 1 billion plus devout catholics, with all the riches of the Vatican, preaches to us about how excessive capitalism is a bad thing.
This pope seems more reasonable than his predecessors however until he actually DOES something that makes the world a better place and in some way makes up for the history of atrocious behavior that the Catholic church has engaged in, I'm simply not interested.
It is strange though, seeing how many people are hoodwinked by a few choice words, when the organization he represents has been an utter blight on humanity since it began.
heretoeternity -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 07:32
There is a reason the US has over 900 bases across the world, and that is to insure its business interests.
Laurence W 10 Jul 2015 07:18
Devout capitalists/corporatists may not see the symmetry between John Paul II's defiance of the bankruptcy of unbridled Communism and Francis's defiance of the bankruptcy of unfettered Capitalism. They cling to their irrational faith (and that is what it is) in Adam Smith's "invisible hand." The collapse of Communism does not somehow validate Capitalism. It seems Capitalism's true believers must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st. Century.
ideation2020 -> PeterAB12 10 Jul 2015 07:11
In the West there is a marked reduction in family size since about 1965. There are also far more women at work, the workforce has adapted to almost full attendance of female workers. We generally have accommodated an increase of 70% by reducing family size and equally as important is the accommodation and full attendance of single a and" won't marry" adults.
SmileyFace2 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 07:10
But Capitalism has resulted in a Plutocracy which leads to rule by the top 1%. So it is not quite a simple as you seem to think hence the need for a mixed economy.
HobbesianWorld 10 Jul 2015 07:08
While I wouldn't put it that way, the Pope is correct that unfettered capitalism is the major source of injustice, especially the injustice of poverty.
It's a source of dark humor for me to hear Christians call the U.S. a "Christian nation" even as they fight to maintain and enhance the cause of poverty--unbridled corporatism; profit over humanity, wealth over justice and selfishness over honor.
Brian Milne -> Kevin Lim 10 Jul 2015 06:59
How much time have you spent in South America? I spent 18 years going back and forth as part of my job, must admit I have not spoken to a Liberation Theology priest (he was actually a Jesuit originally) since October. So perhaps I am just a little bit out of synch.
Life paths include being allowed to express one's sexuality openly and not risk excommunication and denunciation by the church, to be allowed to have abortions and use contraception without being told that you will go to Hell, to be allowed to 'formally' leave the church (some countries still require religion on official document) and to follow political streams that the church condemns as unchristian to name but just a few. By using the pressure of condemnation in the afterlife people are to this day controlled by fear.
Sure nobody is obliged to put money in the dish but too many still fear the stigma of not doing so. If this man can end that then it would be a job well done, but he will not, will he?
cblyth79 -> Manjush 10 Jul 2015 06:51
I agree that overpopulation is a problem, but to me the real problem is the capitalist consumerism of first-world countries and the damage this is causing to the planet. Even if the populations of third-world countries doubled they would not get anywhere near the CO2 that we produce. And that's not even to mention the fact that we have caused climate change and they haven't. To blame overpopulation is to out the blame on third-world countries, when it should be squarely on us.
VivF -> dysro1 10 Jul 2015 06:50
Animal farm is not about the failure of either Communism or Fascism....it is a commentary on the corruption of power; not a uniquely Communist problem. The machinations of politics also feature quite heavily...divide and rule, propaganda, double standards and the use of language to achieve ones aims...these are abuses of power that both the left and the right have been guilty of. Hitler's Germany was Fascist (right wing extremism), Stalin's Russia was Communist (left wing extremism)...
"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- Lord Acton
Drew -> Layton 10 Jul 2015 06:48
Yay! Religion has done something that isn't rape, muder, burning at the stake, ripping people's breasts off, implement, beheading, shooting people on beaches, blowing things up, being homophobic, sexist, racist or generally being a complete twat! Let's all jump up and down and burn a pilot! YAY!
Kathy -> Foulds 10 Jul 2015 06:42
We are in very new times....Pope Francis is not afraid to challenge the status quo...Alleluia.
Tony Menezes 10 Jul 2015 06:24
The national interest of the unbridled capitalists has sidelined morality and justice. The third world war has started albeit piecemeal.
This is a strong wake up call from someone that must be listened to.
Greenshoots -> rgrabman 10 Jul 2015 06:23
I can only speak for the UK where I have yet to find a Catholic friend who is not immensely supportive of what the Pope has to say, whatever prominent Tory Catholics may have to say. Catholics on the whole tend to vote Labour.
If you want to see a precursor to what the Pope is now saying, read the Catholic bishops document "The common good" from 1996:
"As at the end of the 19th century, Catholic Social Teaching is concerned to protect the poor and vulnerable from the chill winds of economic forces. The defeat of Communism should not mean the triumph of unbridled capitalism."
"The Catholic doctrine of the common good is incompatible with unlimited freemarket, or laissez-faire, capitalism ...".
Unconstituted -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 06:22
Massively disagree with that bit about him being a non-scientist etc.
If skeptics are still unsure after all the science that has been thrown at them, then perhaps they aren't influenced that way. They follow figures that they personally respect.
And the Pope has a huge following. I am certain that he will have given a lot of people pause for thought recently.
Like many here, as an atheist, I'm no fan of the guy. But causes like social justice, climate change etc need more than just reams of studies. It needs PR.
Greenshoots -> clogexpat 10 Jul 2015 06:17
Which is incorrect because the left is not, and never has been, an identifiable tribe in British politics.
I agree that many people are not tribal about being left wing. They are willing to partner with people whom they disagree with on some issues but where there is a common cause.
However, you just have to read many of the posts in this thread to see that, for many other people, it is a form of tribal allegiance because they, in response to the Pope saying something they probably do agree with, they cannot refrain from attacking him on unrelated issues. They are not interested in supporting the common cause.
Longasyourarm -> MaximTS 10 Jul 2015 06:15
Well spotted but many here are in it for the opportunity to exercise their demons of hatred, bigotry and racism. Most don't even read the article and jump right to the comments in their haste to slag off Catholics, the Pope, Religion in general. I suppose it is still better than invasion of other countries and stealing their stuff, isn't it Tony?
domrice 10 Jul 2015 06:13
Finally, a pontiff brave enough to enunciate the core values of Jesus Christ. Oh that the world had political leaders who weren't shameless slaves to the moneylenders.
discreto -> SmileyFace2 10 Jul 2015 06:11
That is because the Free Trade is not Fair Trade, this is what Pope Francis is talking about. Capitalism is Free Trade it is not Fair Trade with the People who work to ensure the Goods are there to trade are not getting what is a Fair and Just Living wage, they are being used by the Corporations who make Millions out of their hard work. I support Pope Francis and his Courage in speaking up for the People in developing Countries who are made to depend on Capitalism against their will. At last he is the Pope who is acknowledging the sins of the Church both past and present, with a strong voice of Apology. It would be good if he could sit down with The First Nations of America to take part in their native Ritual of Smudging from Smoke of burnt Herbs and grasses for forgiveness and Peace. I pray for Pope Francis's Protection.
kycol1 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 06:02
An economic system is not a matter of either-or. Those who profit from "Laissez Faire" capitalism like to push the idea that the only alternative is communism. Pope Francis is obviously a proponent of a "mixed economy" as most people in the US on the left are. He is attacking "unbridled capitalism" not an adequately regulated free-market economy.
ID1780902 10 Jul 2015 05:55
Why so many negative comments? Here we have an extremely high profile figure publicly rallying people all over the world to help with climate change, and to oppose some of the excesses of capitalism.
Regardless of what you think of the Catholic church, many people will listen to what he says, and take it very seriously. If he only changes the mind of a single climate-change denier that would be enough, but I think he will do a lot more than that, particularly in the US.
yalensis, July 9, 2015 at 4:11 pmMeanwhile, in Ukrainian political news:
The Yatsenuk government actually came out and declared that UNA-UNSO Party (=the core of "Right Sektor") collaborated with Nazis in WWII.
This is a change from their usual b.s. about how UNA-UNSO fought AGAINST the German invaders. This rewriting of history went to ludicrous extremes, when Ukies claimed the Banderites should be designated as "victors" of WWII, along with England, France, etc.
Instead of the losers that they actually were.
But anyhow, what happened yesterday was that Minister of Justice in Ukraine refused to register UNA-UNSO, stating that "this political party fought on the side of the fascists in 1942″.
Pundits see this strange (strange for Ukies, not strange for normal people) step as part of a plan to discredit Dmitry Yarosh and push him out of public life.
Jul 03, 2015 | OffGuardian
The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.
To initiate a war of aggression…," said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, "is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.
Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.
In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 "strike sorties" against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that "most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten".
The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a "rebel" bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: "We came, we saw, he died." His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning "genocide" against his own people. "We knew… that if we waited one more day," said President Obama, "Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."
This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be "a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda". Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato's inferno, described by David Cameron as a "humanitarian intervention".
Secretly supplied and trained by Britain's SAS, many of the "rebels" would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.
For Obama, David Cameron and then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Gaddafi's true crime was Libya's economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa's greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to "enter" Africa and bribe African governments with military "partnerships".
Following Nato's attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu…
confiscated $30 billion from Libya's Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency".
The "humanitarian war" against Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing "genocide" against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59″ might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and "the spirit of the Second World War". The West's heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.
With the Nato bombing over, and much of Serbia's infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines". A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA.
There was no genocide. The "holocaust" was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.
Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its "natural market" in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.
In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. Nato, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo "peace" conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer's duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day. This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia – a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation – and the implementation of a "free-market economy" and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; Nato bombs fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.
Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – 69 countries – have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America's modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as "sanctions". The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed.
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over."
These were opening words of Obama's 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment. "The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion," said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records.
The majority have been killed – civilians and soldiers – during Obama's time as president.
The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book 'The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives', Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion… Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation." He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then President Carter's National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan's first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?
In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.
The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan's doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers. "Every girl," recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon, "could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported."
The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted, "there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]". Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the "threat of a promising example".
On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorised support for tribal "fundamentalist" groups known as the mujaheddin, a program that grew to over $500 million a year in U.S. arms and other assistance. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan's first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that "the United States' larger interests… would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan." The italics are mine.
The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA Hekmatyar's specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a "freedom fighter".
Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and "destabilise" the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, "a few stirred up Muslims". His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called "Operation Cyclone". Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah – who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help – was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.
The "blowback" of Operation Cyclone and its "few stirred up Muslims" was September 11, 2001. Operation Cyclone became the "war on terror", in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer's message was and remains: "You are with us or against us."
The common thread is mass murder
The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its "free fire zones", "body counts" and "collateral damage". In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians ("gooks") were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.
Today, the world's greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama's victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA "kill list" presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each "hit" is registered on a faraway console screen as a "bugsplat".
"For goose-steppers," wrote the historian Norman Pollack, "substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while."
Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being," said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, "The sovereign is he who decides the exception." This sums up Americanism, the world's dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture. I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.
The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the "tragedy" of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places – just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood's violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie, 'American Sniper', which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a "patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days".
There are no heroic movies about America's embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens – as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the "father" of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.
In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its "new wave" hailed by the enforcer as "nationalists".
This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the "Moscow-Jewish mafia" and "other scum", including gays, feminists and those on the political left.
These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get "the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry". If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.
No western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe – with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as "the minister for defeatism". It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev. The wife of Robert D. Kagan, a leading "neo-con" luminary and co-founder of the extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney.
Nuland's coup did not go to plan. Nato was prevented from seizing Russia's historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea – illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 – voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.
At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleansing. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping "the violence" caused by the "Russian invasion". The Nato commander, General Breedlove – whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove – announced that 40,000 Russian troops were "massing". In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.
These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine – a third of the population – have long sought a federation that reflects the country's ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not "separatists" but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous "states" are a reaction to Kiev's attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.
On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as "another bright day in our national history". In the American and British media, this was reported as a "murky tragedy" resulting from "clashes" between "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) and "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).
The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington's new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – "Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says". Obama congratulated the junta for its "restraint".
If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained "pariah" role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine's top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: "The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army". There were "individual citizens" who were members of "illegal armed groups", but there was no Russian invasion. This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev's Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for "full scale war" with nuclear-armed Russia.
On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell's fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America's most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently, "No European government, since Adolf Hitler's Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet across the West's media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established… If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason."
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media: "The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack… In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons." In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. "Putin must be stopped," said the headline. "And sometimes only guns can stop guns." He conceded that the threat of war might "nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement"; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that "America has the best kit".
In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, "has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones." He lauded Blair as a "Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist". In 2006, he wrote, "Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran."
The outbursts – or as Garton-Ash prefers, his "tortured liberal ambivalence" – are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash's piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: "The F-35. GREAT For Britain". This American "kit" will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.
Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev's new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas "investment". She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship. They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden's son is on the board of Ukraine's biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine's rich farming soil.
Above all, they want Ukraine's mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia's long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country's economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.
The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.
Jul 05, 2015 | The American Conservative
Responses to Patriotism Begins With Localism
Apolitical, July 3, 2015 at 9:50 am
Dulce et decorum est … to stop believing the "old lie" that appears so promiscuously on Union and Confederate war memorials. If men on all sides always die for country, who puts them up to it?
JonF, July 3, 2015 at 10:44 am
Re: But it is also, crucially, a matter of shared bloodlines, language, history, literature, and cuisine, things that originated long before the time of Rousseau and Voltaire.
At yet France is a glued-together-at-the-seams country too. The whole South of France once spoke a different language, in which the troubadours sang, and which still survives in the local dialects of the inhabitants. Burgundy was once a sovereign and very wealthy duchy whose duke controlled almost the entire Rhineland all the