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I was criticized when I published previous diary linking to Global Research site. Frankly, I don't care what is Global Research and why they have a black mark here in DailyKos. Unfortunately, the article was labeled as propaganda by many without providing arguments on merit basis.

Here I'm trying to link article by Max Blumenthal.

But first, I'd like to articulate my position on the whole mess in Ukraine. I'm not a fan of Yanukovich and I don't care for his presidency. What I care though are lives of my relatives, loved ones and friends. When the protests started, I predicted that it would be hijacked in attempt to overthrow the current regime. And it has nothing to do with Ukrainian people desires for "freedom", as many people here have stated. If you follow this closely, the whole thing started because Yanukovich refused ridiculous EU demands before signing the agreement with them. The agreement fell apart and opposition seized the moment to score political points. The police forcibly dispersed the very first protest and it fueled the protesters even more. Later on, as time went by, more and more people came to protest the current power in Ukraine. And it's fine. However more and more influence over protesters fell into the hands of modern era fascists in Ukraine. That's were I draw the line. I will not, in any shape or form, have an alliance with, or be supportive of, any neo-, old- or otherwise not dead- fascists.

Back to article by Blumenthal. Here is the link http://www.alternet.org/...

An Anarchist group called AntiFascist Union Ukraine attempted to join the Euromaidan demonstrations but found it difficult to avoid threats of violence and imprecations from the gangs of neo-Nazis roving the square. “They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists,” one of its members said. “There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult.”
“There are lots of Nationalists here, including Nazis,” the anti-fascist continued. “They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.”
One of the “Big Three” political parties behind the protests is the ultra-nationalist Svoboda, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has called for the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” After the 2010 conviction of the Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for his supporting role in the death of nearly 30,000 people at the Sobibor camp, Tyahnybok rushed to Germany to declare him a hero who was “fighting for truth.” In the Ukrainian parliament, where Svoboda holds an unprecedented 37 seats, Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is fond of quoting Joseph Goebbels – he has even founded a think tank originally called “the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center.” According to Per Anders Rudling, a leading academic expert on European neo-fascism, the self-described “socialist nationalist” Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector.
Right Sector is a shadowy syndicate of self-described “autonomous nationalists” identified by their skinhead style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fascination with street violence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: “Ukraine above all!” In a recent Right Sector propaganda video [embedded at the bottom of this article], the group promised to fight “against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, for traditional national morality and family values.” With Svoboda linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties through the Alliance of European National Movements, Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on “a great European Reconquest.”
And here are some pretty gruesome quotes from the man himself, Tyahnybok, the man who shook hands with US Senator from Arizona and who, along with other two faces, became the face of the protests:
"They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state."
"When I went to army, my mom told me: if you bring home moskal wife or kike wife, or  if you become KGB agent -  I will disown you."
...

As I stated in my previous posts and comments, I don't understand the sheer volume of hypocrisy and double standard coming from otherwise reasonable people here. As long as these nationalists and fascists are "good fascists" because we support them they are OK? Is that a current standing here? In any case, I will not follow it. I will raise my voice to all and any elements of fascism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy, jan4insight

    They're truthers and conspiracy nutters, so everything they publish is suspect, and if you are cool with that, then your position is suspect as well.

    I've seen some hardboiled eggs in my time, but you're about twenty minutes

    by harrylimelives on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:58:46 PM PST

    •  Who is consipiracy nutter? Blumenthal? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, unfangus

      In any case, have any substantial to add to conversation?

      •  Global Research (0+ / 0-)

        The Diarist opened with them, you know, in his diary.

        Do you have anything substantial to add to the conversation?

        I've seen some hardboiled eggs in my time, but you're about twenty minutes

        by harrylimelives on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:16:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The diarist, me, not opened with them (0+ / 0-)

          The diarist, me, linked to his, mine, previous diary.

          Where in this, current, the one you are posting on, diary is the link to Global Research?

          •  Nope, nothing substantial it appears (0+ / 0-)

            The diarist, you, your opinion is suspect, because you, the diarist, find merit in Global Research, as you, the diarist, mentioned in your opening.

            Frankly, I wouldn't claim to be that guy if I were you.

            I've seen some hardboiled eggs in my time, but you're about twenty minutes

            by harrylimelives on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:41:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK, fine, I get it. You don't like Global Research (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              unfangus

              I guess you have nothing to add regarding rise of Nazism in Ukraine.

            •  Is that right. Exactly what is the problem with (0+ / 0-)

              that site other than your generalizations.  

              "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

              by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:52:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  911 trutherism (0+ / 0-)

                And conpiracy theories, both of which are against site rules and will get a person banned here...but, please continue, I am sure it well work out well for you.

                I've seen some hardboiled eggs in my time, but you're about twenty minutes

                by harrylimelives on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:20:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ya, provide some examples. Particularly about (0+ / 0-)

                  the "other" CT.  Let's see some proof.  While you're at it, provide some evidence from the mainstream media regarding your allegations.  That must be where you get most of your propaganda.  

                  "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

                  by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:39:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Global Research (0+ / 0-)

                  is an aggregation site that publishes a variety of authors from a number of sources,some of whom (Ellen Brown on Banking and finance for instance) are reliable and widely respected,as well as some loose cannons,one of whom at least,espouses truther conspiracy theory.Any consumer of information should be careful to check and verify their sources but the blanket statement ''everything they publish is suspect'' should be reserved for proven propagandists like Beck.

                  'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A.Einstein

  •  Sounds like somebody channeling Ted Nugent./ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:06:19 PM PST

  •  I watched the French news tonight on TV5Monde (7+ / 0-)

    and they had video of hard right opposition fighters who had taken over the city hall in Kiev and sprayed swastikas all over.  They were walking around the building in their ski masks.  

    I haven't kept up with this issue and haven't read your previous diary, but this development is scary as hell.

    Everyone should be concerned when neo-Nazis seize power.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:07:51 PM PST

    •  Here is the link: (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile, Paleo, devis1, katiec

      http://www.francetvinfo.fr/...

      You can see for yourself what I am talking about.  Even if you don't understand French, the swastikas speak for themselves.

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:36:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The premier newspaper of France, Le Monde, no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, OIL GUY

      relation to your source says quite the opposite. (my translation.)

      In The East, Ukrainians Put The Red Army Uniform On Again

      His name is Viktor, same as the word for "victory."  Same as Viktor Ianoukovitch, too. On Sunday, February 23rd, Viktor, age 80, with steel blue eyes, wore his Soviet army officer’s uniform once more. On Freedom Square in Kharkiv, in the eastern part of Russian-speaking Ukraine, the old man proudly celebrated the Red Army’s 96th anniversary. He was ten years old at the time of the Second World War but he served in the army then. " I have the right to wear my officer's uniform. “

      http://www.lemonde.fr/...

      It goes on like that, longing for the Soviet era. His son serves in the Russian Army and he's going to come and kick the protester's ass.

      These accusations of the US backing neo-nazis are highly irresponsible. They haven't produced anything to support their claim.

      Stephen Cohen didn't think before he made the same accusation last week, based on the intercepted telephone call between Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt. At the end of the call, Nuland said Ban Ki Moon and Robert Serry from the UN were going to cement the arrangements that were discussed.  

      Does the accusation extend to them too? They're backing neo-nazis too?

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:51:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Old man celebrating defeating Hitler? (0+ / 0-)

        Horrors.

        "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

        by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:54:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He never mentioned Hitler./ (0+ / 0-)

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:55:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He referenced his role in the WWII (0+ / 0-)

            As I recall, they were fighting the Nazis.

            "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

            by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:59:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe he didn't mention it because Russia is (0+ / 0-)

              pretty close to a fascist state itself these days.

              The Russophiles who are howling about neo-nazis would have a much better case if Russia hadn't drifted toward fascism itself. But the Russophiles don't have a leg to stand on when they accuse others of excessive nationalism. It's a little bit like the wolf who cried wolf.

              There is no existence without doubt.

              by Mark Lippman on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:13:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Or maybe he didn't mention it because it's obvious (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Paleo
                •  Is it that obvious? The celebration was for the (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  nuclear winter solstice

                  Red Army. He spoke about the Soviet era. Others here want to put Hitler in the picture.

                  OK. Let's remember the history. The Soviet Union and fascist Germany had a non-aggression pact at the start of WW2. The Soviet Union and Hitler invaded Poland from opposite directions and divided it between them.  

                  How does the 80 year-old Ukrainian Red Army officer reconcile his nostalgia for the Soviet Union which had no problem with Hitler. It wasn't until fascist Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union. To be clear, it was Ukraine and Belorus that suffered most. Practically all of Ukraine was occupied by fascist Germany till the last year of the war. During the occupation, if he was in the Red Army, he wasn't in Ukraine. He was fighting to save Russia, which left his country to the Nazis who committed unbelievable atrocities there.

                  You want to pin a medal on anyone for fighting Hitler. Tell the countless Jews who were wiped out during the German occupation. And if that's not enough, the Soviet Union wasn't exactly hospitable to its Jewish population even after the war. They and Hitler had something in common.

                  Ya think maybe there's a reason why Hitler isn't mentioned? That topic is murky in that part of the world.
                  Yes Hitler was finally defeated. It's not so hard to understand why that experience is painful. I know from my ties to France that the less said the better about it there too. When it is discussed, it almost always becomes a very heated argument. The experience of occupation, was very different from the way Americans picture the war with a good guys vs bad guys naivte. If you are American that is. One can't assume.

                  There is no existence without doubt.

                  by Mark Lippman on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:56:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Wow, so much bull, I don't know where to begin... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    6412093

                    You should read about pre-text to Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
                    And you should read about how Polish-Soviet war in 1919, which took big chunk of Ukraine and Belarus under Poland rule. And you should read WWII history before spewing bullshit like

                    if he was in the Red Army, he wasn't in Ukraine. He was fighting to save Russia
                    People actually fought, retreated all over to Stalingrad and died defending Ukraine, you piece of sh...t!!!
                    And this?!
                    Tell the countless Jews who were wiped out during the German occupation. And if that's not enough, the Soviet Union wasn't exactly hospitable to its Jewish population even after the war. They and Hitler had something in common.
                    Almost three million Soviet Jews died in Holocaust. And almost 10 million USSR civilians dead in that war and you, piece of garbage saying they have something in common with Hitler!!! FUCK YOU!!!!!!
                    •  This is historical fact whether you like it or not (2+ / 0-)

                      and it was consistent in the Soviet Union for decades after the war. After a brief respite it resumed.

                      The truth is there's always someone for the Russians to demonize. Look what they did to the Chechens. Even before the first Chechen war, Russia dispersed the Chechens throughout the republics in central Asia to destroy their language, customs, and culture. They weren't allowed to return to Chechnya for years.

                      Putin waged a war of genocide against the Chechens after he came to power. About 100,000 Chechens fled the Caucasus region in 2001-2002 and international observers confirmed what they reported.  Genocide is the extermination of a people, and destruction of their culture, including language, customs, family ties, friendships. The survivors suffer from PTSD, constant anxiety about their safety. And Putin demanded their return from the countries that gave them refugee status so that they could be put on trial.

                      A few years later, the journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, who went to Chechnya as an investigative reporter, and who wrote critically of what the Russians did there, was assassinated.

                      And after that, the human rights activist, Natalya Estemirova, who went to Chechnya to investigate civil liberties violations was also assassinated.

                      Even with the FSB and SORM, Russia can't figure out who committed these murders.

                      To be truthful, I'd rather criticize my own country, not Russia.  But Russia is in no position to preach to or criticize other countries. And notice I'm still being polite and courteous to you.  If you can, it would be better to refrain from language that doesn't belong in civil discourse.

                      There is no existence without doubt.

                      by Mark Lippman on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:10:17 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  I have said nothing about the issue of the US (0+ / 0-)

        backing or not backing the neo-nazis.   I simply brought to everyone's attention a report from the French TV news that contains video footage of neo-nazis having taken over Kiev's city hall.  

        If you listen to the report, and I believe you are a French speaker, France 2 states that it is an exclusive.  

        What Le Monde is reporting has nothing to do with the takeover of Kiev's city hall.

        It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by Radiowalla on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:00:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am always skeptical of every news source. I look (0+ / 0-)

          for confirmation from multiple sources.

          The truth is there's no way to know who those people wearing masks were. They were a bit clownish. Far-right fascists in Europe don't necessarily identify with German fascism either. In France, they don't use the swastika because it has a very particular meaning. They know they'll get farther with the public if they steer clear of that. They killed a leftist student activist on the street in Paris last summer. Vandalizing the city hall in Kyiv doesn't mean they're taking over the country. Does anyone know if the municipal government is no longer functioning? The protests weren't against city hall.

          There are two many unanswered questions for me to be concerned about that.

          The Russians are masters of propaganda. Putin has updated it for the 21st Century. Extreme rightwingers are a minority of the protesters. They barely acknowledge the centrist democrats except to say that they overthrew a democratically elected government. Nothing they say is ever exactly true and the key is in what they omit from their tales.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:38:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  please show some evidence (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaNang65, tardis10, FG, lotlizard

    that the u.s. is backing the neo-nazis, rather than just opposing yanukovych.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:30:49 PM PST

    •  The US has been backing Tyahnybok as one of the (5+ / 0-)

      "big three" selected to take power in the Ukraine. The US has pumped 5 billion into the Ukraine in their attempt to control the outcome.

      Nuland: “what [Yatsenyuk] needs [after he is installed in office] is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside—he needs to be talking to them four times a week.”

      Both Victoria Nuland and John McCain have been photographed many times in the last two months with Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of Svoboda.

      Tyahnybok Nuland

      •  How Obama and Kerry tolerate this neocon (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilK

        is beyond me.  She should be fired posthaste.

        "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

        by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:03:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  a photo op (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OIL GUY

        how shocking!

        let me repeat myself:

        please show some evidence that the u.s. is backing the neo-nazis, rather than just opposing yanukovych.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:03:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, because Chavez and a Ukrainian Nazi are (0+ / 0-)

          one and the same.

          This puts your Venezuela diary in bold perspective.

          "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

          by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:07:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  try again (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OIL GUY

            this is the same argument used by the right wing that obama was supporting the muslim brotherhood when he finally backed the egyptian opposition. let me make this very simple for you:

            please show some evidence that the u.s. is backing the neo-nazis, rather than just opposing yanukovych.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:08:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sounds like John McCain and Syria (0+ / 0-)

              Calling for militarily aiding the opposition even though an important component was al qaeda.  Here, the US is supporting the opposition.  An important component of which is Svoboda.  

              "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

              by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:16:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                and the muslim brotherhood was an important component of the egyptian opposition, therefore the republicans were right about obama!

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:25:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Which is kind of funny since (0+ / 0-)

                  the MB was overthrown in a military coup.  Which the U.S. tolerated.

                  While the U.S. has put in great efforts to overthrow the elected government in Ukraine.

                  "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

                  by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:34:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  wow (0+ / 0-)

                    this gets more embarrassing and surreal by the moment. yeah, elected, and then threw the opposition in jail. and built a palace while his people suffered because the government wasn't governing.

                    and yeah, the muslim brotherhood was overthrown, after it attempted to quash democracy. here's a novel thought: maybe it's okay to criticize autocrats no matter their alignment on the political spectrum- mubarak, muslim brotherhood, and military.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:43:02 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Ugh. No. (7+ / 0-)
        The US has pumped 5 billion into the Ukraine in their attempt to control the outcome.
        The US has pumped 5 billion into the Ukraine since 1991, and our spending has been in decline since the last decade.  If we're spending money to influence the outcome, we're doing it wrong.

        Why people eat up this CT nonsense, I don't understand.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:06:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nuland's remarks (5+ / 0-)

          at the US-Ukraine Foundation conference, 12-13-'13, are linked in the Blumenthal piece ☛ IIP Digital US Embassy.gov

          The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

          by Azazello on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:34:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Victoria Nuland admits as much (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zip95843, lotlizard, unfangus

          The goal is to have the Ukraine join the EU and by default, allow a NATO base. What started the protests was the rejection of the EU economic ties and IMF loans (which had severe austerity measures) by Yanukovych. Russia offered a loan and cheap gas. One of the austerity measures required by the IMF for a loan was the removal of subsidies for natural gas. This would have angered the people and destroyed Yanukovych. He was put between a rock and a hard place.

          BTW, using the IMF (and it's austerity programs) for economic blackmail is also what was done to Morsi in Egypt to force him out.

          Nuland: "preconditions for Ukraine to achieve it's European aspirations. We've invested over 5 billion dollars to assist Ukraine in these and other goals."

          •  You can actually read the budget breakdown (0+ / 0-)

            of aid spent in Ukraine.  Nuland rolled in the last quarter-century of aid (which comes in just shy of $5 billion) to argue for the US's bona fides in supporting Ukraine.  There's nothing particularly special about that. I'll bite that "building democratic institutions" (one of the subcategories of aid) should keep everyone wary, given our history, but it's so much less impressive to say that we're putting a few million into that over the course of multiple years and regimes.   Keep in mind that one of the EU's demands was a restructuring of Ukraine's justice and penal system, all of which was passed under Yanukovych in March.  So there are some pretty complicated infrastructural issues underlying all of this.

            Where are you getting the NATO bases thing from?  Ukraine legislated against it 4 years ago, and it hasn't been a hurdle to EU integration at all.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:22:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I provided links to the series of documents that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pico, Lib Dem FoP

              show Yanokovich was in agreement with the EU until the end of 2011 on the process of economic and political integration.  He signed off on it himself.

              After that, the EU cited necessary reforms because the 2012 parliamentary elections were rigged, the judicial process was used to exclude opposition leaders from running for election, and the government's fiscal management was corrupt.

              A status report was issued to follow up in June 2013.
              In November, Yanokovich's Cabinet of Ministers voted to withdraw from the Association Agreement, rather than make the necessary reforms.  

              Concurrently with these events since 2011, Putin conjured up a proposal for a Eurasian Union. It doesn't require the standards of civil liberties and democracy that the EU requires. When the Yanokovich government changed course last November, the people hit the street.

              These folks ignore the documented facts of this timeline and cover it with propaganda lies written to spec. I was ridiculed and insulted for the documentation I linked to the EU website, while they have none. All they have is half-baked talking points and debating with them is like a trip down a rabbit hole.

               

              There is no existence without doubt.

              by Mark Lippman on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 12:27:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The IMF's neoliberal austerity program was what (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                unfangus

                killed the EU deal.

                Assistant Secretary Nuland at U.S.-Ukraine Foundation Conference

                That was going to require immediate steps to deescalate the security situation and immediate political steps to end the crisis and get Ukraine back into a conversation with Europe and the International Monetary Fund.

                As you all know, and as I’m sure you just heard from Anders and other colleagues, Ukraine’s economy is in a dire state, having been in recession for more than a year and with less than three months’ worth of foreign currency reserves in place. The reforms that the IMF insists on are necessary for the long-term economic health of the country. A new deal with the IMF would also send a positive signal to private markets and would increase foreign direct investment that is so urgently needed in Ukraine. Signing the Association Agreement with the EU would also put Ukraine on the path to strengthening the sort of stable and predictable business environment that investors require. There is no other path that would bring Ukraine back to long-term political stability and economic growth.

                Ukraine Needs `Reforms' Before IMF Aid, Lipsky Says

                Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- John Lipsky, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and former first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, talks about the potential for an international aid package for Ukraine.

                •  Except that Yanukovych had a better (0+ / 0-)

                  relationship with the IMF than his predecessor.  And Tymoshenko, whose release from prison was one of the EU's points of negotiation, actually caused the IMF to drop its relationship with Ukraine in 2009.  If this was all a big IMF ploy, it'd have started a lot earlier and aimed at the previous regime.  And they should ask why the EU and the US and whoever kept trying to free the politician who severed the relationship on the first place.  Kind of a silly timeline, don't you think?

                  Although it's clear Yanukovych did piss off the IMF: under his leadership Ukraine repaired the relationship and agreed to accept IMF loans, then reneged on the deal from their end by refusing to implement the promised reforms.  

                  This attempt to connect everything to some neoliberal plot is divorced from the plain facts.

                  Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                  by pico on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:18:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Viktor Yushchenko got an IMF loan in 2007 (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    katiec
                    And Tymoshenko, whose release from prison was one of the EU's points of negotiation, actually caused the IMF to drop its relationship with Ukraine in 2009.
                    Why are you conflating the EU with the IMF? The US effectively controls the IMF. It has the largest vote.
                    IMF Urges Ukraine To Stick With Recovery Policies
                    November 4, 2009

                    An IMF Mission recently returned from Kyiv after discussions with the authorities on the third review under Ukraine’s $16.4 billion Stand-By Arrangement with the Fund. The IMF Survey magazine spoke with Mission Chief Ceyla Pazarbasioglu about the trip and the outcome of discussions.

                    IMF Survey online: Why are you so concerned about the social standards law that was recently passed?

                    Pazarbasioglu: As I said, it is simply not possible to increase wages and pensions too rapidly without leading to higher unemployment or higher inflation. This is a high price to pay, especially for the poor.

                    If the social standards law is implemented as voted, it could cost as much as 7 percent of GDP in 2010, which is totally unsustainable. Even with a change in the law as suggested by the President—which would limit indexation to low-wage workers—we estimate a cost of as much as 2½ percent of GDP, a very large addition to Ukraine’s budget deficit. However you calculate it, the country simply cannot afford this.

                    The measure would be counter-productive, as a soaring budget deficit would threaten economic stability and the poor and vulnerable will end up paying the price. We therefore have communicated to the President that the Ukrainian authorities need to stick with their earlier commitments in this area.

                    IMF Survey online: Is modifying the 2010 draft budget part of what needs to be done?

                    Pazarbasioglu: Yes, the Government has submitted a draft 2010 budget that would lead to a deficit of almost 8 percent of GDP, far above program commitments. In addition to pushing up interest rates, a deficit of this size would be very difficult to finance without resorting to inflation. Measures to reduce this are under discussion, but require consensus.

                    This attempt to connect everything to some neoliberal plot is divorced from the plain facts.
                    From your own link if you want it spelled out:
                    Ukraine's cooperation with the IMF – unfulfilled hopes for deeper reforms

                    Even though the IMF has numerous reservations about the Ukrainian government's economic policy, the fundamental condition for resuming cooperation is reform of the pension system, which the parliament should adopt.
                    The difficulties with fulfilling the obligations made to the IMF reflect the wider problem with implementing reforms in Ukraine, as the Party of Regions promised after taking power. Changes which do not affect the interests of influential lobbies are quite easy to carry out. Often, however, these changes are not conducive to the economy's liberalisation; moreover, the influential lobbies are successful in blocking reforms that could harm their businesses. Another impediment to the changes is that some reforms are likely to bring about painful social consequences, and that can affect public support for the ruling group.

                    IMF to consider financial aid to Ukraine, while Yanukovych heads to Russia to negotiate with Putin
                    16 December 2013

                    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will meet on Monday, December 16, to consider financial aid to Ukraine as the country balances on the brink of a fiscal crisis. The terms put forward by the IMF are spending cuts, the flexible exchange rate of the hryvna and higher gas tariffs for the population.

                    Ukraine hopes to obtain $15 billion in IMF loans which it desperately needs to bolster its economy and meet its debt liabilities. Earlier, President Viktor Yanykovych rejected as unacceptable calls for radical macroeconomic reforms being pressed on him by the IMF.

                    •  Okay, this is getting incoherent. (0+ / 0-)

                      You wrote this:

                      The IMF's neoliberal austerity program was what killed the EU deal
                      I said: they had nothing to do with each other.  Then you wrote this:
                      Why are you conflating the EU with the IMF?
                      Is this some kind of performance art?

                      I think you've misread my comments blockquoted above.  Under Prime Minister Tymoshenko the IMF ended its relationship with Ukraine.  Yanukovych repaired that relationship, though it's been up and down since (in large part because Ukraine failed to meet its end of the bargain.)   Meanwhile both the EU and US had been working to free Tymoshenko, who's basically heir apparent to the presidency at this point.  If this is all about pushing IMF measures on Ukraine, why would we be doing that?  She ran on economic populism, refusing IMF loans, and had no interest in the IMF outside of calls for them to investigate corruption.

                      Your narrative of US involvement collapses on itself.

                      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                      by pico on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 09:38:18 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Friend, neo-liberal austerity comes out of the (0+ / 0-)

                  European Central Bank (ECB) and it is applied to the EU members that don't have their own currency and their own central bank. It's partially because the ECB has leverage over the countries that adopted the Euro that it imposes the economic policy I call "Austerity For All." The ECB doesn't take the circumstances of each individual into consideration. They all get the same economic and fiscal policy dictated to them. Countries that didn't adopt the Euro, like the UK and Denmark, can still end up with austerity, if the people elect national governments that favor it. Everyone knows the austerity policy has been a disaster and people are waiting to see if changes will be made.

                  Nuland is as incompetent as Condi Rice. She was talking about the IMF which no one I know would equate with austerity, but if you want, you can call it that. Ukraine has its own currency and it can issue debt, if anyone will buy it. Russia bought $5 billion and said in January it would buy $15 billion total.  Ukraine has an obligation to repay the loan upon maturity.

                  Borrowing money from Russia or the IMF isn't austerity because Ukraine's government if it's functioning normally will spend the money it borrows. When the government spends it distributes money into the nation's economy.
                  With Russia, it's the Ukraine issuing debt. With the IMF, Ukraine would borrow from an external source that expects its borrowers to adapt themselves to a market economy.

                  This is really what's at the center of Ukraine's debacle.  Whether to have a market economy which is for Ukraine to decide. It's politics is dominated by oligarchs. Picture 5 different versions of Donald Trump competing for control of the US. Personality cults seem to matter more than solving the country's problems. I doubt the future. The economy resembles Russia more than Europe, but the people are much poorer than either.

                  There is no existence without doubt.

                  by Mark Lippman on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 02:34:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not sure what you mean (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tardis10, unfangus
                    Borrowing money from Russia or the IMF isn't austerity because Ukraine's government if it's functioning normally will spend the money it borrows. When the government spends it distributes money into the nation's economy.
                    The IMF insisted on spending cuts and removal of fuel subsidies in the Ukraine as a prerequisite for their loans. Putin offered 15 billion at 5% interest with no strings. He also threw in cheaper gas to allow the Ukrainian government to continue with it's subsidies.
                    IMF Officials: We Were Wrong About Austerity

                    Sharp spending cuts and tax increases have long played a central role in the International Monetary Fund's prescriptions for governments in financial distress -- most recently for the struggling members of the euro area. Now, officials at the world's primary arbiter of fiscal prudence are recognizing that such austerity can do a lot more damage than previously thought.

                    •  The term "austerity" doesn't apply to a dirt-poor (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      pico

                      country like Ukraine. Austerity is a term used for wealthy countries that accumulated a high degree of debt.

                      Austerity, or deficit and debt reduction, is a failed policy everywhere it was tried. Ukraine has complex problems that go beyond budget deficits. These numbers might clarify Ukraine's situation compared to Greece and Turkey, another country that applied for admission to the EU.

                      Metric Greece Turkey Ukraine
                      GDP per capita $22,095 $11,011 $4,011
                      GDP  per capita based on PPP $24,219 $15,878 $7,657
                      Unemployment rate 26.01 9.47 8.02
                      General government revenue 43.59 35.70 44.48
                      General government  expenditure 46.88 38.00 49.62
                      Deficit 3.29 2.30 5.15
                      General government total debt 173.99 34.87 48.15
                      The first two rows show that individual incomes in Ukraine are far below the level in Greece even though there was a substantial decline in Greece in recent years.

                      The high unemployment rate in Greece is the effect of austerity. Many well-paid government jobs were eliminated.

                      The last row shows the much higher level of debt in Greece compared to the other two. Ukraine's budget deficit is larger than the other two but the US has sustained much larger deficits.

                      So what's the problem apart from low income? The rate of taxation is comparable to European countries that have a substantial social safety net and highly developed infrastructure. How does Ukraine spend the revenue it collects. One item stands out because the numbers don't seem possible.

                      Natural gas imports from Russia and subsidies paid to consumers that equal 7.5% of GDP per year. In the US, that would be like spending over a trillion dollars a year on natural gas used by consumers. We don't even spend as much on Social Security benefits + Veterans benefits.
                      How much gas Ukraine imports and what it pays is a mystery. The figures Ukraine releases indicate a level of consumption per household that exceeds any other country in Europe. And then there were the disputes between Ukraine and Russia from 2005 - 2010 that led to a disruption in supply. Russia accused Ukraine of siphoning and reselling. Normally, there would be a trade treaty to settle such disputes between countries.

                      The IMF lent Ukraine $15 billion in 2010 and failed to make any of the reforms it promised. It recommended that Ukraine establish a market economy, buying natural gas at world market prices, and selling it to consumers with subsidies only for the bottom 40% of the population.

                      Ukraine is completely dependent on Russia for its energy and Russia has demonstrated that it would use the leverage it has to its own advantage.

                      It's funny that Tymoshenko was accused of corruption related to the gas industry but even after she was jailed, the same problems persist.  The situation is far from normal.

                      There is no existence without doubt.

                      by Mark Lippman on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 08:16:37 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You comments still do not make sense to me (0+ / 0-)
                        The term "austerity" doesn't apply to a dirt-poor country like Ukraine.
                        Wiki:
                        In economics, austerity describes policies used by governments to reduce budget deficits during adverse economic conditions. These policies may include spending cuts, tax increases, or a mixture of the two.[1][2][3] Austerity policies may be attempts to demonstrate governments' fiscal discipline to their creditors and credit rating agencies by bringing revenues closer to expenditures.
                        How does that differ from the following policy of reducing current budget deficits of the Ukrainian government?
                        Statement by IMF Mission to Ukraine
                        Press Release No. 13/419
                        October 31, 2013
                        ...
                        “The general government budget deficit is projected to rise to 5¾ percent in 2013, including up to 1¼ percent of GDP in recognized VAT refund and expenditure arrears to be covered by recently approved promissory notes. The mission welcomes the authorities’ aim to clear these arrears but recommends that this be done through conventional methods, as promissory notes risk undermining future fiscal performance.

                        “An ambitious fiscal consolidation is needed to reduce the budget’s large financing needs and support external adjustment. Consolidation efforts should focus on the high level of budget expenditure—nearly 50 percent of GDP—through wage and employment restraint, subsidy cuts, and rationalization of spending on goods and services. Tax cuts should be postponed until the budget deficit is reduced to a sustainable level.

                        “The large loss-making energy sector needs to be reformed. The low retail tariffs (covering only a small fraction of economic costs) generate quasi-fiscal losses, balance of payment weaknesses, underinvestment in domestic production, and governance problems. As a priority measure, we advise a significant upfront increase in gas and heating tariffs for households and adoption of a schedule for further increases until cost recovery is reached. To mitigate the effect of tariff adjustment on the less affluent, we recommend scaling up targeted social assistance programs that would cover up to 40 percent of the population.
                        ...

              •  In a previous diary, I think it was Loge said (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mark Lippman

                that when you have a hammer, everything is a nail.  That's been my experience with this discussion: because there are neoliberal interests here, that must be the cause and ultimate explanation of all the events, as if Ukrainians aren't exercising any self-interest here, as if protests against Yanukovych haven't gone back to his election, etc.  It's a weird little hobgoblin that can't be shaken.

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:24:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Do you remember the NATO 3? (0+ / 0-)

              Interesting on how hard the American cops came down on these protestors. They got nailed for doing very little.

              http://freethenato3.wordpress.com

              Trial Day 10: “Let’s Make These [Molotovs] So I Can Go Bomb a F—- Bank” Undercover Cop Said, Prosecution and Defense Rest Cases

              Where are you getting the NATO bases thing from?  Ukraine legislated against it 4 years ago, and it hasn't been a hurdle to EU integration at all.
              NATO first needs a compliant leadership in the Ukraine to get their missile bases inside like they did with Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
              Chicago Summit Declaration
              Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Chicago on 20 May 2012

              35. An independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. Marking the fifteenth anniversary of the NATO-Ukraine Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, we welcome Ukraine’s commitment to enhancing political dialogue and interoperability with NATO, as well as its contributions to NATO-led operations and new offers made.  We note the recent elimination of Ukraine’s highly enriched uranium in March 2012, which demonstrates a proven commitment to non-proliferation. Recalling our decisions in relation to Ukraine and our Open Door policy stated at the Bucharest and Lisbon Summits, NATO is ready to continue to develop its cooperation with Ukraine and assist with the implementation of reforms in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the Annual National Programme (ANP).  Noting the principles and commitments enshrined in the NATO-Ukraine Charter and the ANP, we are concerned by the selective application of justice and what appear to be politically motivated prosecutions, including of leading members of the opposition, and the conditions of their detention.  We encourage Ukraine to address the existing shortcomings of its judicial system to ensure full compliance with the rule of law and the international agreements to which it is a party.  We also encourage Ukraine to ensure free, fair and inclusive Parliamentary elections this autumn.

              Charter on a Distinctive Partnershipbetween the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Ukraine

              V. Cooperation for a More Secure Europe

                  NATO Allies will continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, economic prosperity and its status as a non-nuclear weapon state, and the principle of inviolability of frontiers, as key factors of stability and security in Central and Eastern Europe and in the continent as a whole.
                  NATO and Ukraine will develop a crisis consultative mechanism to consult together whenever Ukraine perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or security.
                  NATO welcomes and supports the fact that Ukraine received security assurances from all five nuclear-weapon states parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT, and recalls the commitments undertaken by the United States and the United Kingdom, together with Russia, and by France unilaterally, which took the historic decision in Budapest in 1994 to provide Ukraine with security assurances as a non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT.

              Ukraine's landmark decision to renounce nuclear weapons and to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state greatly contributed to the strengthening of security and stability in Europe and has earned Ukraine special stature in the world community. NATO welcomes Ukraine's decision to support the indefinite extension of the NPT and its contribution to the withdrawal and dismantlement of nuclear weapons which were based on its territory.

              Ukraine's strengthened cooperation with NATO will enhance and deepen the political dialogue between Ukraine and the members of the Alliance on a broad range of security matters, including on nuclear issues. This will contribute to the improvement of the overall security environment in Europe.

              •  So in other words, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lib Dem FoP

                there are no NATO bases on the table, like I said.  NATO cooperation has been a feature of the last few Ukrainian regimes - but bases were outlawed four years ago.  That you're showing me evidence of cooperation is... not conflicting with what I said.  NATO hasn't pressed Ukraine on this point.  The EU hasn't even brought it up.  You're running off on a fantasy.

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:20:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It was Yanukovich who spearheaded the anti NATO (0+ / 0-)

                  vote in parliament.

                  You're running off on a fantasy.
                  What fantasy? At least I am supplying links to back up my statements. What are yours backed up with? They appear to come out of thin air.

                  When Yanukovich was elected in 2010, NATO membership was shelved for good. Very few, except pro-Western Yushchenko and Timoshenko, wanted a NATO base in any event.

                  Yanukovich would have to be removed if there was any hope for a NATO base in the future.

                  (Interesting side note about cinemas having to only show films dubbed in Ukrainian)

                  Ukraine set to outlaw Nato bases after Russian threats
                  Thursday 14 February 2008
                  ...
                  Last month Mr Yushchenko and Ukraine's pro-Western Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko, the pair who led the Orange Revolution in 2004, asked Nato to begin considering Ukrainian membership – a move hugely controversial among a large section of the Ukrainian population and strongly criticised by Moscow.
                  ...
                  The deal reached in Moscow this week seems to satisfy both sides for now, but Russian-Ukrainian relations are still fraught with difficulty. Ukrainian citizens in the Russian-speaking eastern part of the country have complained that a raft of discriminatory legislation has been passed in recent months. One of the most controversial was a law stating that cinemas could only show films that were dubbed into Ukrainian. Many cinemas in the Russian-speaking parts of the country have simply closed down.

                  Earlier in the week, 50 MPs from the Party of the Regions stopped the work of the Ukrainian parliament by blocking the rostrum and waving balloons in the colour of the Ukrainian flag inscribed with "No to Nato!" The party is headed by Viktor Yanukovich, who was defeated by Mr Yushchenko in the re-run presidential election that followed the Orange Revolution.

  •  Ukraine is an extremely (3+ / 0-)

    complex situation and I don't think this diary or Blumenthal's piece in Alternet captures much of that.Maybe broaden your reading diarist to include Mark Ames' essay Everything-you-know-about-ukraine-is-wrong at Pando. Also check out the comments. Especially the ones that disagree with Ames. Here's a link.

    The point is this: What’s happening in Ukraine is not a battle between pro-fascists and anti-fascists. There are fascists on both sides; the opposition happens to like fascist costume parties more, but watch this video of Yanukovych’s snipers murdering unarmed protesters and tell me who the real fascists are in this fight… [WARNING: BRUTAL VIOLENCE]: http://pando.com/...

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:36:49 PM PST

  •  article in the Guardian (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Paleo, lotlizard

    http://www.theguardian.com/...

    the readers' comments are far more interesting than the article when it comes to issues raised by this diary

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:42:06 PM PST

  •  The neocons and the Ukrainian putsch (4+ / 0-)

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:42:25 PM PST

  •  Svoboda and its forerunners (4+ / 0-)

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:44:21 PM PST

  •  The road to Moscow goes thru Kiev. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, lotlizard

    If anyone thinks this is other than major moves on the grand chessboard, they better think again.  There are legitimate protestations against all governments including the Ukraine's, but that's not why this is happening or what it's all about.  

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/...

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:47:01 PM PST

  •  The ascerbic Pepe Escobar on the Ukraine (5+ / 0-)
    Will NATO annex Ukraine? By Pepe Escobar
    24 February 2014

    Anyone who believes Washington is deeply enamored of ‘democracy’ in Ukraine must hit eBay, where Saddam Hussein’s WMDs have been found, and are on sale to the highest bidder.
    ...
    This is a purely military-centric game – the logic of the whole mechanism ultimately decided in Washington, not in Brussels. It’s about NATO expansion, not ‘democracy’. When neo-con State Department functionary Victoria Nuland had her 15 seconds of fame recently, what she actually meant was “We’re NATO, F**k the EU.” No wonder there will be an urgent NATO Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, centered on Ukraine.
    ...
    Most arguably progressive, as well as some rabidly right wing, Google generation denizens in Western Ukraine and in Kiev seem to entertain the notion that the country, under regime change, will be accepted as an EU member, they will get an EU passport, and will find a good job in Europe, just as Polish plumbers and Romanian restaurant managers did.

    Well, not really. If only they could board an EasyJet and see with their own eyes what’s going on, job market-wise, in southern Europe or in London for that matter, now terrified of a horde of Eastern Europeans seizing English jobs.

    As for the ultra-nationalists and frankly neo-fascists – totally anti-EU – the only thing they care about is to get rid of the Russian Bear’s embrace. And then what?
    ...
    ‘Saint’ Yulia, by the way, was originally thrown in jail because of a gas deal that was negotiated on Moscow’s high price terms. Back to hard facts: Ukraine cannot survive without Russian gas, and the Ukrainian industry cannot survive without the Russian market. One can mix all shades of Orange, Tangerine, Campari or Tequila Sunrise revolution, and throw in the requisite IMF ‘structural adjustment’ correction – these facts are not going to change. And forget about the EU ‘buying Ukrainian’.

    The Western Orangeade gang – from masters to servants – may still bet on civil war, Syria-style. Anarchy looms – provoked by the neo-fascists. It’s up to Ukrainians to reject it. A sound solution would a referendum. Get the people to choose a confederation, a partition (there will be blood) or keeping the status quo.

    Here’s a very possible scenario. Eastern and southern Ukraine become part of Russia again; Moscow would arguably accept it. Western Ukraine is plundered, disaster capitalism-style, by the Western corporate-financial mafia – while nobody gets a single EU passport. As for NATO, they get their bases, ‘annexing’ Ukraine, but also get myriads of hyper-accurate Russian Iskander missiles locked in their new abode. So much for Washington’s ‘strategic advance’.

    •  You can file this next to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      Escobar's assurances that Libya would rally behind Gaddafi.  His predictions are equally silly this time around.  Eastern Ukraine has no desire to be part of Russia again, and if he did some basic research (which he never does), he'd see how unpopular that opinion is, even among the Russian speakers there.

      You may have noticed that the east/south parts of Ukraine have not erupted into counter-protests in support of the government, right?  There's a reason for that.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:22:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess you haven't looked hard enough (4+ / 0-)

        "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

        by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:28:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fair enough. This was yesterday and (0+ / 0-)

          I hadn't seen it yet (I've been trying, uphill, to put together a comprehensive diary on the last few months.)  I think it's significant that the protesters they interviewed have indicated that they're not doing so in support of the government, though: Yanukovych's popularity in the Russian-speaking population has gone downhill since the protests began.

          Crimea I can see arguing for reunification far, far more than eastern Ukraine, where the majority of the population still self-identifies as Ukrainian ethnically.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:41:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Show me a link where Escobar says that. What he (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, lotlizard, unfangus

        said was that the strife would continue long after NATO had toppled Qaddafi.

        You may have noticed that the east/south parts of Ukraine have not erupted into counter-protests in support of the government, right?  There's a reason for that.
        You are completely wrong.
        Globe in Ukraine: Upheaval widens fractures between east and west

        In the west of this troubled country, police have disappeared and protesters rule the streets, declaring their pro-Western revolution victorious. In Crimea, to the south, anyone showing support for the street uprising in Kiev risks being assaulted by those who feel the country’s future – or at least their region’s – lies with Russia.
        ...
        Now that Kiev’s institutions are fully in the hands of the protest leaders, much will be determined in Kharkiv, which sits just 40 kilometres from the Russian border. On Saturday, governors from the south and east of the country – regions with Russian-speaking populations and thick ties to Moscow – gathered here in the country’s second largest city to condemn the “coup” in Kiev and call for the restoration of “constitutional order.”
        ...
        In the Crimean city of Kerch, there were reports Sunday that pro-Russian demonstrators had taken down the blue-and-gold Ukrainian flag and replaced it with the white-blue-and-red Russian banner. Video appeared to show organizers of a small pro-Maidan – as the protest on Kiev’s central Independence Square is known in Ukrainian – demonstration in the city being chased and beaten Saturday by a group of pro-Russian men.

        The nearby city of Sevastopol, which hosts Russia’s Black Sea fleet under a deal between the two governments, saw thousands of protesters demand reunification with Russia. The Crimean peninsula was a part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev made a “gift” of it to then-Soviet Ukraine.

        Kharkiv, which Moscow made the capital of Ukraine from 1917 to 1934, saw duelling demonstrations on Sunday. Thousands of supporters of the Maidan rallied just a few hundred metres away from similar-sized, and angry, group that gathered under the slogan of anti-Maidan. The police remain in control here, though it’s not certain whom they regard as their ultimate boss.
        ...

        •  Here's the Escobar link: (0+ / 0-)

          read it and weep.  It's a masterpiece of sustained delusion.  All of his Libya reporting is like this, and it's crazy to read.

          Mea culpa on the protest issue: as I said above I've gotten so absorbed in the Ukraine diary I started writing last week (and which is already a thousand words too long) that I've totally lost track of events this weekend.   I'll take the hit on that: it's deserved.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:15:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't get Pepe, do you? I called him ascerbic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard

            From your link - first and last paragraphs:

            It's late night in Tripoli and The Big Gaddafi is sipping a White Russian, smoking some prime Maghreb produce and tuning in to a bank of plasma TVs in his tent at the Bab al-Aziziyah fortress. No luscious Ukrainian nurse could possibly appease his restless soul.
            ...
            The Big Gaddafi rolled The Chocolate Watchband on his iPod - I just dropped in/ to see/ what condition my condition was in - checked the perimeter and stepped out into the not so cool Northern African night. Not for long. NATO jets circled the sky above - and seven loud blasts hit Bab al-Aziziyah.

            The Stranger: Darkness washed over the Dude - darker'n a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night. There was no bottom.

            •  *acerbic (0+ / 0-)

              Once is a typo; twice is an indication you don't know the word you're chiding me about.

              Note the date on that post.  The rebels entered Tripoli the next morning.  In the run up to that night, Escobar argued that NATO was fabricating popular disillusionment with Gaddafi.  A tepid Lebowski fantasy was about the best he could pull off, and even after Gaddafi fled, Escobar refused to believe he was in hiding, arguing he was perfectly positioned for a comeback.  C'mon, man.  You have to realize how ridiculous that sounded, even then.  

              (He looks only slightly better than RT, who argued there were no rebels in Tripoli while the city was falling to them.  Sheesh.)

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:04:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are reduced to pointing out spelling errors? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lotlizard

                The definition is still clear.

                Qaddafi chose to hole up in Sirte where he got trapped and killed rather than hide out in the desert. The balance of the article is not far off from what has actually occurred in the years since his overthrow.

                Guns and no roses

                Everyone in Libya is now virtually armed to its teeth. The economy is paralyzed. A nasty catfight over who will control Libya’s unfrozen billions of dollars is already on.

                The small port of Sayad, 25 kilometers west of Tripoli, has become a refugee camp for black Africans terrified of "free Libya". Doctors Without Borders found out about the camp on August 27. Refugees say that since February they started to be expelled by the owners of the businesses they were working in, accused of being mercenaries - and they have been harassed ever since.

                To see where this thing is going, one has to look at the desert. The immense southern Libyan desert was not conquered by NATO. The TNC has no access to virtually all of Libya’s water and a lot of oil.

                Looking Back On Libya: 'We Were Naive' About The Challenges

                A Wild New Libya

                Today, those first fissures we witnessed in 2011 have blown wide open; battles are tribal, regional, ethnic and at times just personal feuds. The stockpiles of weapons — surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, land mines and other heavy artillery abandoned during the war — were never secured and now they have spread all over Libya and the region.

                The country has now morphed into the Wild West. The NATO bombing campaign — billed as an urgent human rights intervention — quickly revealed itself to be a campaign aimed at regime change that has had far-reaching consequences.

                Militias — many former fighters against Gadhafi — act with impunity. The borders are open, and the weapons have made it into the hands of militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and into Mali.

                It is, in the words of many analysts, Libyans and Western observers, "a colossal mess." A state still hasn't emerged, and the only true power is with men with guns.

                One militia leader is holding hostage much of Libya's lifeblood, its oil, in the East. And the government is unable to wrest back control. And there is still no law and no state institutions. The unity among Libyans, created by the abuse of a dictator, is gone.

                As one young musician in the capital recently told me, "We had no freedom, and now we have too much freedom." Kidnappings, assassinations, gun battles and bombings are a near daily occurrence.

                Seven Egyptian Christians found shot execution-style on Libyan beach

                Libya oil output dives after key field shut

                •  *sigh* Now I know how Bill Nye felt. (0+ / 0-)

                  In the face of repeated examples of Escobar writing exactly what I said Escobar wrote, you're jumping to other issues, ignoring my points, and refusing to see what's right in front of your eyes.  

                  As for everything I wrote above: quod erat demonstrandum

                  We're done.

                  Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                  by pico on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 09:40:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Hard fact for Russia (0+ / 0-)

      Their Black Sea fleet is dependent on the same ports that were fought over 160 years ago when Russia attacked the Crimea.

      And those "intolerable conditions"? Oh yes, curbing the power of the oligarchs like the former President's older son. Now which particular provisions in the 1200 page Association Agreement do you object to or, are you like most commentators who have not at least read the summary?

      To make things easier, last June the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council (set up by the previous Partnership and Co-Operation Agreement from 1998) looked at the agenda (in the form of bullet points rather than a timetable) "to prepare and facilitate the implementation of the Association Agreement" (.pdf). The Ukrainian delegation was led by the then Prime Minister. As this Agenda is rather more managable at 27 pages, perhaps you could refer to the particular provisions in that which you find so onerous now which the Ukrainian government did not then?

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 02:11:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some truth, some not so much. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, FG, Laurence Lewis, jan4insight

    Svoboda is a problem, and it's possible they could leverage themselves into greater power through the coalition, but I always gets antsy when commentators are eliding over the truth in order to score ideological points.  I mean, look at this:

    In the Ukrainian parliament, where Svoboda holds an unprecedented 37 seats...
    Unprecedented compared to what?  The Verkhovna Rada has 450 seats, so Svoboda - at its peak, mind you - holds a whopping 8% of seats.  Look upon their works, ye mighty, and despair!

    Yes, they're involved in Euromaidan, and yes, that's a real concern.  But I'm wary of taking reports like this more seriously than they demand.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:17:00 PM PST

    •  Unprecedented (0+ / 0-)

      The way I see it, the country who lost almost 7 million in the war against Nazis, to have 8% of the parliament to be Nazis is pretty unprecedented

      •  They are typical western Ukrainian nationalists. (0+ / 0-)

        Nothing unprecedented about that. I'm not exactly a fan but they are not nazis.

      •  You know the history of western Ukraine, right? (0+ / 0-)

        I mean in terms of the Nazis? It's more unexpected that it took them this long.  They've had problems with this even before Svoboda started winning seats.

        The problem with Svoboda isn't that they're neo-Nazis, although some of them undoubtedly are.  The problem is that they're hypernationalists, and even though they've "softened" their platform over the last few years, they're fundamentally an exclusionary party.   They've been whipping up more support in the riots, unfortunately.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:46:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please pay attention, they are not insignificant (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          http://world.time.com/...

          In his interview with TIME, Yarosh, whose militant brand of nationalism rejects all foreign influence over Ukrainian affairs, revealed for the first time that Pravy Sektor has amassed a lethal arsenal of weapons. He declined to say exactly how many guns they have. “It is enough,” he says, “to defend all of Ukraine from the internal occupiers” — by which he means the ruling government — and to carry on the revolution if negotiations with that government break down.
          http://voiceofrussia.com/...
          Yarosh is 42, he has a regular Soviet high school in a central Ukrainian city of Dneprodzerzhinsk and two years of military service in the Soviet army behind him. Soon upon his return from the army in 1991, he founded his nationalist group Trizub (this word is the Ukrainian for the English Trident). One could call this organization just a patriotic group, bearing in mind that a trident is a Ukrainian national emblem. The problem was that Trizub from the start bore the name of an extremist Ukrainian nationalist, Stepan Bandera. This person became a cult figure in modern Ukrainian ultra-right groups, because he helped Hitler’s army to evict the Red Army from Ukraine during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. One more reason for Yarosh’s adoration for Bandera is the latter’s adoration for the so called “national revolution” in Ukraine.
          The West, including both the US and the EU, developed a sort of “cult” of the Ukrainian so called “orange” revolution since 2005, when it helped to bring pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko to power in Ukraine. So, both Washington and Brussels might be unpleasantly surprised to find out that in Yarosh’s opinion, “national revolution” is impossible without violence and that it should lead to a “purely Ukrainian” state with the capital in Kiev. The other stated aim of the “national revolution” – destruction of what Yarosh calls the Russian empire, might be more to the West’s liking. Yarosh explains his hatred for this so called Russian empire very simply: with that empire in place, Ukraine will never be totally independent.
          •  Granted, Praviy Sektor party is not Svoboda party (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac

            But they are aligned.

            •  Pravy Sektor or Right Sector have been even (0+ / 0-)

              more violent in the protests. They are aligned only so far as to overthrow the government.

              Profile: Ukraine's 'Right Sector' movement

              To communicate with its supporters, the Right Sector uses the website of the nationalist organisation Trident, and pages on Facebook and the social network Vkontakte.

              Most of its activists have a negative attitude towards Russia's government and are against Ukraine joining the Customs Union.

              But unlike other protesters in Independence Square, most of the Right Sector activists do not support the idea of joining the EU, which they consider to be an "oppressor of European nations".

              The organisation believes the current situation is an opportunity "to destroy the state skeleton" and start building a new state.

              The Right Sector does not associate itself with the parliamentary opposition parties, including the nationalist Svoboda, which it considers to be too liberal and conformist.

  •  does anyone find this part of Blumenthal's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, unfangus

    article as incredibly disturbing as I do?

    15,000 Svoboda members held a torchlight ceremony in the city of Lviv in honor of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B). Lviv has become the epicenter of neo-fascist activity in Ukraine, with elected Svoboda officials waging a campaign to rename its airport after Bandera and successfully changing the name of Peace Street to the name of the Nachtigall Battalion, an OUN-B wing that participated directly in the Holocaust...

    ...After participating in a campaign to assassinate Ukrainians who supported accommodation with the Polish during the 1930’s, Bandera’s forces set themselves to ethnically cleanse western Ukraine of Poles in 1943 and 1944. In the process, they killed over 90,000 Poles and many Jews, whom Bandera’s top deputy and acting “Prime Minister,” Yaroslav Stetsko, were determined to exterminate. Bandera held fast to fascist ideology in the years after the war, advocating a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe while his affiliated Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) carried out a doomed armed struggle against the Soviet Union. The bloodbath he inspired ended when KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959.

    The Right Connections

    Many surviving OUN-B members fled to Western Europe and the United States – occasionally with CIA help – where they quietly forged political alliances with right-wing elements. “You have to understand, we are an underground organization. We have spent years quietly penetrating positions of influence,” one member told journalist Russ Bellant, who documented the group’s resurgence in the United States in his 1988 book, “Old Nazis, New Right, and the Republican Party.”

    In Washington, the OUN-B reconstituted under the banner of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), an umbrella organization comprised of “complete OUN-B fronts,” according to Bellant. By the mid-1980’s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members, with the group’s chairman Lev Dobriansky, serving as ambassador to the Bahamas, and his daughter, Paula, sitting on the National Security Council. Reagan personally welcomed Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983.

    “Your struggle is our struggle,” Reagan told the former Nazi collaborator. “Your dream is our dream.”

    When the Justice Department launched a crusade to capture and prosecute Nazi war criminals in 1985, UCCA snapped into action, lobbying Congress to halt the initiative. “The UCCA has also played a leading role in opposing federal investigations of suspected Nazi war criminals since those queries got underway in the late 1970’s,” Bellant wrote. “Some UCCA members have many reasons to worry – reasons which began in the 1930’s.”

    Still an active and influential lobbying force in Washington, the UCCA does not appear to have shed its reverence for Banderist nationalism. In 2009, on the 50th anniversary of Bandera’s death, the group proclaimed him “a symbol of strength and righteousness for his followers” who “continue[s] to inspire Ukrainians today.” A year later, the group honored the 60th anniversary of the death of Roman Shukhevych, the OUN-B commander of the Nachtigall Battalion that slaughtered Jews in Lviv and Belarus, calling him a “hero” who “fought for honor, righteousness…”

    Holy fucking shit! The Ukrainian neo-Nazis have penetrated the American political system and made common cause with American conservatives. Is it any wonder, then, that the true nature of what's going on in Ukraine is being so carefully airbrushed?

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 02:10:38 AM PST

  •  All nationalist groups have racists in them. (0+ / 0-)

    After all, racism and other forms of chauvinism are part of the nationalist spectrum.  I think it's silly to say that Ukrainians can't react against years of corruption, incompetence, and non-democracy because some smallish percentage of people reacting are racist or fascist.  I don't doubt anything in the article but the idea that supporting change in Ukraine is "backing neo-Nazis" is ludicrous.  And it's not like Russia itself is devoid of such people.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 06:22:00 AM PST

  •  Crimean leader calls for autonomy (0+ / 0-)

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 07:14:58 AM PST

  •  Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine (0+ / 0-)

    Writing in the New York Review of Books, Timothy Snyder, Yale historian and an area specialist, observes:

    The protesters represent every group of Ukrainian citizens: Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers (although most Ukrainians are bilingual), people from the cities and the countryside, people from all regions of the country, members of all political parties, the young and the old, Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Every major Christian denomination is represented by believers and most of them by clergy. The Crimean Tatars march in impressive numbers, and Jewish leaders have made a point of supporting the movement. The diversity of the Maidan is impressive: the group that monitors hospitals so that the regime cannot kidnap the wounded is run by young feminists. An important hotline that protesters call when they need help is staffed by LGBT activists.
    The protests in the Maidan, we are told again and again by Russian propaganda and by the Kremlin’s friends in Ukraine, mean the return of National Socialism to Europe. The Russian foreign minister, in Munich, lectured the Germans about their support of people who salute Hitler. The Russian media continually make the claim that the Ukrainians who protest are Nazis. Naturally, it is important to be attentive to the far right in Ukrainian politics and history. It is still a serious presence today, although less important than the far right in France, Austria, or the Netherlands. Yet it is the Ukrainian regime rather than its opponents that resorts to anti-Semitism, instructing its riot police that the opposition is led by Jews. In other words, the Ukrainian government is telling itself that its opponents are Jews and us that its opponents are Nazis.
    The strange thing about the claim from Moscow is the political ideology of those who make it. The Eurasian Union is the enemy of the European Union, not just in strategy but in ideology. The European Union is based on a historical lesson: that the wars of the twentieth century were based on false and dangerous ideas, National Socialism and Stalinism, which must be rejected and indeed overcome in a system guaranteeing free markets, free movement of people, and the welfare state. Eurasianism, by contrast, is presented by its advocates as the opposite of liberal democracy.

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

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

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

    More subtly, what this campaign does is attempt to reduce the social tensions in a complex country to a battle of symbols about the past. Ukraine is not a theater for the historical propaganda of others or a puzzle from which pieces can be removed. It is a major European country whose citizens have important cultural and economic ties with both the European Union and Russia. To set its own course, Ukraine needs normal public debate, the restoration of parliamentary democracy, and workable relations with all of its neighbors. Ukraine is full of sophisticated and ambitious people. If people in the West become caught up in the question of whether they are largely Nazis or not, then they may miss the central issues in the present crisis.

    In fact, Ukrainians are in a struggle against both the concentration of wealth and the concentration of armed force in the hands of Viktor Yanukovych and his close allies. The protesters might be seen as setting an example of courage for Americans of both the left and the right. Ukrainians make real sacrifices for the hope of joining the European Union. Might there be something to be learned from that among Euroskeptics in London or elsewhere? This is a dialogue that is not taking place.

    Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

    by another American on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 09:04:21 AM PST

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