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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2014, 09:11:16 »
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from The Economist is an article which guesses that Putin's Russia may, for the moment, sit on the sidelines:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2014/02/ukraines-new-dawn
Quote

Ukraine's new dawn
Shots called, now what?

Feb 22nd 2014

AT FIRST sight it seems utterly confusing. Even as the outside world was digesting the deal between the Ukrainian regime and the protesters, and the unexpectedly helpful role of Russia in the European Union’s mediation efforts, everything changed.

President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, Kiev, for an unknown destination. The riot police and other security guards vanished from the streets. Protesters who only hours earlier had been dodging sniper bullets found themselves guarding the presidential palace and other government buildings.

Now big questions are burning holes on policymakers’ desks.

First, what happened to Mr Yanukovych? The most likely explanation is that he simply lost his nerve. He had promised Vladimir Putin that he would deal with the protesters, as part-price of the deal to salvage the Ukrainian economy with loans and cheap gas, rather than accepting the EU’s reform-for-cash deal. He was willing to dip his hands in blood. But not deep enough. Faced with the protesters’ resistance, and the splintering of his own camp, he broke and fled.

One reason is that the deal brokered by the EU involved early presidential elections. That would be a fatal blow to his presidential authority. Whatever Ukrainians think about the EU, history, language and economic reform, the detestation of Mr Yanukovych’s authoritarian, corrupt and incompetent rule is all but universal. He was able to win the last presidential election only as a result of the spectacular failure of the country’s previous “Orange” rulers. As the likely loser in December (or earlier) he would be a lame-duck president.

Already, on the day of the talks, Mr Yanukovych had lost his parliamentary majority. His grip on the country was slipping. His Russian allies had signalled their desire for a deal, not a showdown. Even a substantial and resilient figure would have quailed in such a situation. For a man of notoriously limited mental and emotional resources, it must have seemed overwhelming.

The second question is why the security forces stood down with such remarkable speed and comprehensiveness, within 45 minutes of the deal being signed. Was that a gesture of goodwill by the regime? Was it because the power ministries scented Mr Yanukovych’s exit and feared retribution from the protesters? Or is it part of a “Plan B” from the Yanukovych camp? Their top man may be gone, but their huge financial interests remain. Their ties with Russia are deep. They may have decided that the best thing for now is to retreat in the hope that the opposition will be unable to control its radical fringe. For now, Ukrainians and the West want change more than stability. But looting and mayhem in Kiev and elsewhere might change that, making it possible for elements of the old regime (and their Russian friends) to stage a comeback.

The third question is: Who runs the country now? A BBC correspondent said on Saturday morning that “power is lying on the street in Kiev—the question is who will pick it up”. That is a bit of an exaggeration. Parliament is in charge. That is better than nothing, though Ukraine’s Rada is a motley crew: many legislators have struggled to dispel the suspicion that their political careers have been an extension of their business interests. 

An interim government will be formed imminently, with some “babysitting” from the EU (a special envoy is likely to be nominated soon, and more foreign ministers and other bigwigs will be packing their bags for Kiev). America has signalled that it will support emergency IMF intervention.

But keeping Ukraine afloat will be a major task. Will the Russian bail-out package, which had been drip-feeding cash to the Yanukovych regime, now be withdrawn? What will the gas price be? The West will find that supporting a large, heavily indebted country in the throes of a chaotic political transformation is a costly business (though far less costly, it should be noted, than dealing with that country’s disintegration and civil war). Will the EU now have the guts to say clearly that when Ukraine reaches the right standards, it has a real chance and choice of membership?

And what of the oligarchs? People such as Rinat Akhmetov and Viktor Pinchuk have made clear their distaste for Mr Yanukovych’s sticky-fingered approach and for his failed crackdown, and for Russia’s asset grabs. But what do they want now? Presumably they and the old regime’s cronies will now be haggling over who gets what in the new order. And what about Yulia Timoshenko, a politician whose erratic and idiosyncratic rule is responsible for much of the mess that Ukraine is now in? In struggles over billions of dollars, clean outcomes are unlikely.

Equally uncertain is how the protesters will cope with the messy tedium of normal democratic politics. Once you have gained a taste for adrenaline-flavoured simplicity, it can become addictive. Ukraine needs a decade of hard work on reform to recover the chances squandered in the past 25 years, building the institutions, habits and attitudes needed for honest, lawful government. That will require patience and expertise, not courage and barricades.

A further question is Russia’s role. Many have blamed Russia for escalating the crisis, forcing Mr Yanukovych into a corner, and insisting on seeing Ukraine’s future as a zero-sum game, in which any integration with the EU means a defeat for Russia’s geopolitical interests.

So why did Russia back off? The swaggering bombast of recent days has vanished. It sent to the talks one of the few figures in Russian public life likely to be acceptable to the protesters and the West—the human-rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin. He came as a witness, not as a participant to the deal reached on Friday; Russia says through diplomatic channels that though it is not a party to that agreement, it will not sabotage it. The Kremlin seems to have stood down its separatists in Crimea, a stronghold of Russian interests (and home to a large Russian naval base). Does it prize Ukrainian territorial integrity more than the chance to meddle?

One explanation is that Mr Putin, not for the first time, misread the situation. The Orange Revolution of 2004-5 was sparked by Mr Yanukovych’s election-rigging—enthusiastically supported and advised by Russia. Perhaps the Kremlin had been fooled by its own propaganda, in which the protesters were merely a unrepresentative bunch of Western-financed anarchists and fascists. Perhaps it was worried by the prospect of chaos in its largest European neighbour. In the event of collapse or upheaval, refugees would be heading north as well as west.

Perhaps too it was impressed by the West’s belated but impressive intervention. As the crisis deepened, America stepped up its engagement notably, with lengthy phone calls from Vice-President Joe Biden to Mr Yanukovch, and from President Barack Obama to Mr Putin. The three EU foreign ministers, Radek Sikorski of Poland, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Laurent Fabius of France, were Europe's diplomatic equivalent to a carrier battle group of the US Navy. Mr Putin may have realised that the outside world was blaming him, not the West, for meddling in Ukraine. At the very least it was time for a tactical retreat.

But what will Russia do now? Most likely it will sit on the sidelines for a while. It can leave the West to try to manage the deal it has brokered. It will take years before Ukraine’s economy and public administration are strong enough to withstand Kremlin mischief. That gives plenty of time. Some would say that even the presence of the sensible and sympathetic Mr Lukin as a witness to the deal has established something of a precedent for formal Russian involvement in Ukrainian domestic affairs.

These are troubling questions and it would be naïve to say that the future looks sunny. Yet it is worth noting that the outlook this weekend is hugely brighter than at any time for months. Mr Yanukovych, one of the worst European leaders in decades, is down. Russia, at least for now, is out. We don't know who is in. But it might even be possible to argue that the high tide of the Putinist revanche was reached in Kiev last week, and that it is now in retreat.


Those are all good questions. I share The Economist's view that the situation is hopeful.

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2014, 09:31:49 »
And the Financial Times is reporting that the EU is preparing to loan "billions" of euros to Ukraine.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Years ago, fairy tales all began with, "Once upon a time." Now we know they all began with, "If I'm elected."

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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2014, 16:50:20 »
The German Foreign Ministry is Tweeting that "Chllr #Merkel spoke to Pres. #Putin today. Both leaders agree, that the territorial integrity of #Ukraine must be preserved."

That may be the right aim, but I'm guessing that it could provoke a civil war. An early partition, on the line separating the pro Euro-Yellow from pro Russian-Blue on the map the Technoviking posted, might be the better course of action.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Cdn Blackshirt

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2014, 16:54:31 »
You saying that Putin might conduct a "Georgia 2008-style" invasion of Ukraine? (probably after the Olympics?)

Could Eastern Ukraine be a future parallel to Georgia's former regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

I think it's probable Putin is formulating a plan to stage a situation in Southeastern Ukraine in which a new Russian-aligned entity attempts to declare its own autonomy and immediately requests Russian assistance.  For all intents and purposes I think if he can establish any kind of justification and backing for this new Russian-aligned state, he would not hesitate to do it.


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Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2014, 20:25:44 »
Despite divisions seething within the Ukrainian military, it has largely kept out of the current political crisis gripping the country.

Defense News

Quote

NATO Praises Ukraine Army for Staying Out of Crisis
Feb. 23, 2014 - 04:27PM   |   By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

(...)- EDITED

Ukraine’s army on Saturday ruled out any involvement in the country’s unfolding crisis, after the police pledged support to the people following deadly violence in anti-government protests.

“Ukraine is a close partner to NATO and NATO is a friend of the Ukrainian people,” Rasmussen said. “We look forward to continue cooperation with Ukraine based on the NATO-Ukraine Charter,” established after the end of the Cold War.

(...)

-END EXCERPT-

Our Country
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2014, 21:54:07 »
A look at some of the tactics used to defeat the riot police and allow the protestors to achieve a win (for now) Several embedded videos as well.

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/a292fc7a40c2

Quote
The Medieval—and Highly Effective—Tactics of the Ukrainian Protests
Military-style methods help Euromaidan overwhelm state forces
Robert Beckhusen in War is Boring

Ukraine’s Euromaidan movement is in control of the capital. The autocratic and ostrich-raising Pres. Viktor Yanukovych has fled Kiev, and the Ukrainian parliament has voted him out of power.

For now, it’s a dramatic victory for the protesters, who have sought closer ties with the European Union and an end to the corruption represented by Yanukovych. It’s especially stunning considering the protesters had—on several occasions—seemed close to defeat.

But to understand why the protests succeeded in toppling Yanukovych, it’s worth taking a glance at its strategies and military-style tactics. The protesters not only built a broad and inclusive coalition, but innovated where it mattered most: on the streets.

Really, it turned medieval.

Protesters shot fireworks with makeshift launchers. In combination with throwing stones and using slingshots, they overwhelmed disoriented Berkut special forces units, who were pelted with flying objects as fireworks exploded around them.

Protesters wore military helmets and carried makeshift—or captured—shields. Wooden boards were used to protect their lower legs from shrapnel the police taped to exploding stun grenades.

Among the array of homemade weapons, some were perhaps a little too ambitious. A crude trebuchet—a type of medieval catapult which uses a counterweight to fling objects—was overrun and dismantled.

To shield themselves from the onslaught, the police special forces units known as Berkut adopted distinct tetsudo formations. This packed shield formation was used by the Roman Empire, developed to shield infantry units from arrows. The first line holds its shields forward, with each preceding line holding their shields towards the sky.

The problem with this tactic? It makes you much slower.


Euromaidan kitchen on Dec. 15, 2013. Joe Luis Orihuela/Flickr photo
Euromaidan’s long tail
But behind the barricades, there were thousands of people working together to support the front lines. It’s an important lesson that logistics is what ultimately wins battles.

While the demonstrators at the barricades skewed younger, older Maidan activists ferried supplies and filled sandbags.

Others staffed portable kitchens set up at the main encampment at Kiev’s Independence Square. When there was ample snow on the ground, they shoveled it into bags to bolster the barricades up to 10 feet high.

These jobs were not only necessary, they also provided a sense of purpose for demonstrators, who through age, health or disability couldn’t risk the fast and brutal nature of street fighting.

The protesters helped recruit women into street-fighting groups through a female-led women’s brigade. The brigade also schooled hundreds of female volunteers in self-defense and riot tactics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwf9EjesvtM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3Q9SbBxbRo
All of this added up to enable the demonstrators to resist stronger, better trained and better equipped riot police.

In one of the more stunning scenes on Feb. 18, a 15-ton BTR-80 armored vehicle drove directly towards the Maidan barricades when it was set ablaze by dozens of Molotov cocktails.

Workshops could quickly produce large numbers of Molotovs around the clock. Activists tore stones and bricks from the pavement and passed them to the barricades.

A triage centers—and a morgue—set up in the Hotel Ukraine treated the wounded and housed the dead.

Protesters armed with clubs were able to surround and capture isolated police units, stealing their shields and equipment. When the police resorted to killing demonstrators with sniper fire, the protesters used walls of burning tires to block out the snipers’ scopes.


Barricades in Kiev on Dec. 15, 2013. Jose Luis Orihuela/Flickr photo
And they have a broad coalition
There are important lessons here for democratic movements facing down authoritarian regimes.

For one, get people involved. Make sure participants have a purpose. Use several tactics at once, and combine them for an overwhelming advantage. Force the authorities to respond to your tactics, rather than the reverse.

The protesters were also inclusive, which helped bolster their numbers. But this remains controversial.

In addition to the two main—and moderate—opposition parties and thousands of unaffiliated activists, the protests included far-right nationalists associated with the extreme right-wing Svoboda party and the fighting units known as the Right Sector.

The result was an awkward non-aggression pact between left and right.

According to Anton Shekhovtsov, a researcher at University College London who specializes in Eastern European far right movements, one reason for the truce is necessity. The main target was Yanukovych. The other reason? Once Yanukovych is gone, the far right parties will have a harder time finding new recruits.

The protests are “among other things, a national revolution against the Kremlin’s imperialism and a nationalist uprising against Russia’s destructive influence on Ukraine,” he blogged.

That’s helping fuel the far right.

“Those who separate these two issues or crack down on the Ukrainian far right without recognizing the urgent need for national independence will never be successful in their attempts to neutralize the far right,” he added. “Moreover, they can make the situation worse.”

But if there’s anything that tipped the balance, at least for now, it’s the protesters’ willingness to fight. “I’m ready to fight for my human rights and my country, and the better life of my country,” a women’s brigade fighter told Al Jazeera. “Even to death.”

Sign up for a daily War is Boring email update here. Subscribe to WIB’s RSS feed here and follow the main page here.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #57 on: February 23, 2014, 22:06:06 »
There are important lessons here for democratic movements facing down authoritarian regimes.
But don't forget that non-democratic movements are likely also taking notes.  As a personal PD session, give some thought to how you would counter these same tactics (notwithstanding the real situation unfolding in "Independence Square.")

.....and/or, how you would improve upon the rioters' TT&Ps
I even read works I disagree with;  life outside  an ideological echo chamber.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #58 on: February 23, 2014, 23:23:04 »
People are touring the Yanukovych estate and are shocked by what they see.

http://news.yahoo.com/documents-ukraine-leader-39-home-detail-spending-193927272.html?vp=1

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #59 on: February 24, 2014, 14:10:38 »
Those shields, etc did bugger all against 5.45 mm bullets.
So, there I was....

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #60 on: February 24, 2014, 14:58:53 »
The Economist suggests that the "huge question is whether the revolution presages Ukraine’s disintegration." The article suggests that disintegration is likely, and that Putin's Russia is equally likely to have decided that "since Ukraine’s shift towards Europe now looks all but inevitable, grabbing Crimea quickly is the best Russia can do." My guess is that it will grab more than just the Crimean peninsula, itself ~ it is likely to grab a few of the South-East provinces, too and North-West Ukraine may be well rid of them.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Remius

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #61 on: February 24, 2014, 15:47:11 »
But don't forget that non-democratic movements are likely also taking notes.  As a personal PD session, give some thought to how you would counter these same tactics (notwithstanding the real situation unfolding in "Independence Square.")

.....and/or, how you would improve upon the rioters' TT&Ps

Fight fire with fire.  Get medieval on them.  Or rather go ancient Rome.   Protesters barricaded themselves in.  They set up defensive works.  Surround them and barricade them in.  Like the Romans did to the Gauls.  Build barricades around their barricades, cut off their supply routes.   Nothing in, nothing out.  Wait them out.  It seems they were successful at holding off riot police who tried to break them up.  Wait them out until they try a sortie or to rush the government buildings.

Not sure how effective this would be, but, fire hoses/trucks.  In winter.  Hose them down, hose the barricades and hose the protesters.  Constantly.  Heck if they had a water bomber even lol.

And war pigs  ;D     
Optio

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2014, 16:56:28 »
"Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses..."
So, there I was....

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #63 on: February 24, 2014, 17:09:58 »
"Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses..."

NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, Gen. Philip Breedlove, discussed events in Ukraine
with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of Russia's armed forces, and they agreed
to keep each other informed about developments in the country.

The Associated Press Vladimir Isachenkov 24 Feb

                                          Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #64 on: February 24, 2014, 21:44:33 »
I think the big differences between the protesters in the Ukraine and the ones *we* are familiar with like "Black Bloc" anarchists, the "Occupy" movement and various native protestors is the protesters in the Ukraine have a very clear cause that is easy to articulate, is highly motivational and inspires people to fight and even die for. The cause is so compelling that the crowds in the central square in Kiev numbered in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, and equally large and motivated crowds are active in major cities in the western Ukraine.

As for Putin "grabbing" the Eastern half of the Ukraine, in the long run it is better for everyone. The cultural divide across the Dneiper is very bitter and deep, Europe (especially Eastern Europe, which I class as a separate subunit inside Europe) gets the more productive part and cuts away the less productive part to Russia. The prosperous Western Ukraine (or whatever name they come up with. Any Eastern European/Russian history buffs out there?) will help anchor and stabilize Eastern Europe and shield the Balkans and "Latin" Europe from Russia as well.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #65 on: February 24, 2014, 23:09:28 »
The "magic moment" when the regime lost legitimacy and the protestors won:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/371778/ukraine-changed-forever-live-tv-john-fund

Quote
Ukraine, Changed Forever on Live TV
A journalist exposes the complicity of the media in covering up the regime’s crimes.
By John Fund

Every revolution has moments where the hinge of history seems to swing wide and everything is different and the old regime is delegitimized. In Ukraine’s revolution, the moment that’s likely to be immortalized is when protestors charged police barricades in Kiev’s Independence Square (“Maidan”) last Thursday, reportedly capturing a number of police troops, only to have dozens of protesters then gunned down by snipers. Even a face-saving compromise brokered the next day by Western diplomats couldn’t save President Viktor Yanukovych. His security forces withdrew their support, leaving him unguarded. At 2 a.m. last Saturday, helicopters ferried him and his stooges away from his Michael Jackson–style presidential palace to the Russophone eastern sector of Ukraine. He remains in hiding.

But for many Ukrainians, there was another moment when they realized the ground was shifting beneath them. It came last Friday evening, during one of the most popular talk shows on Inter, the most-watched Ukrainian network. Lidia Pankiv, a 24-year-old television journalist, was invited on by host Andriy Danylevych to discuss the need for reconciliation following the agreement signed by Yanukovych and dissidents earlier that day. While reporting on the Maidan protests, Pankiv had helped persuade the Berkut riot police not to use further violence against the activists, and she had disclosed that one of the Berkut officers was now her fiancé. But reconciliation was not what Pankiv wished to discuss. As relayed by journalist Halya Coynash, Pankiv had a different message:

"You probably want to hear a story from me about how with my bare hands I restrained a whole Berkut unit, and how one of the Berkut officers fell in love with me and I fell in love with him. But I’m going to tell you another story. About how with my bare hands I dragged the bodies of those killed the day before yesterday. And about how two of my friends died yesterday. . . . I hate Zakharchenko, Klyuev, Lukash, Medvedchuk, Azarov. I hate Yanukovych and all those who carry out their criminal orders. I came here today only because I found out that this is a live broadcast. I want to say that I also despise Inter because for three months it deceived viewers and spread enmity among citizens of this country. And now you are calling for peace and unity. Yes, you have the right to try to clear your conscience, but I think you should run this program on your knees. I’ve brought these photos here for you, so that you see my dead friends in your dreams and understand that you also took part in that. And now, I’m sorry, I don’t have time. I’m going to Maidan. Glory to Ukraine."

Danylevych immediately tried to return to the night’s topic of reconciliation. But he was stopped by guest Konstantin Reutsky, a human-rights activist from Luhansk. Reutsky agreed with Pankiv, saying that Inter journalists had “lied and distorted information about Maidan over the last three months.” Danylevych tried to interrupt Reutsky, who went on to say that the protestors had tried for months to avoid bloodshed. “But what happened yesterday is a point of no return,” Reutsky continued. “After that you can no longer say, ‘Sorry, we got carried away, let’s turn the page and start afresh without offense.’ What happened yesterday is impossible to forget.” Danylevych, after shouting down Reutsky’s further attempt to discuss the crimes committed by the government, changed the topic. But a chief media mouthpiece of the regime, owned by the president’s oligarch backers, had been exposed. Hours later, the president fled his palace.

After the broadcast, several Inter journalists approached Reutsky and thanked him for speaking out. Earlier that day, 16 journalists at the network had issued an open letter disagreeing with Inter’s coverage of the protests.

Reporter Halya Coynash points to the Yanukovych regime’s record of media control and censorship: “It proved unnervingly easy within a matter of months of Yanukovych’s [2010] election to remove most critical analysis, negative reports about those in power, and inconvenient information from television.” Whatever new government is formed, that sorry record must not be repeated in a new Ukraine.

As someone who reported from Eastern Europe during the fall of Communist regimes there, I recognized a recurring pattern in the collapse a quarter century later of the regime in Kiev. Regimes can stay in power in an age of mass media only if they have enough murderers willing to gun down people in the street. Snipers were willing to kill their fellow countrymen in the streets around the Maidan last Thursday, but their superiors reached a breaking point when the shots didn’t achieve the desired level of fear. “The shooting stopped when the security chiefs realized the game was over — not because they didn’t have enough Kalashnikovs, but because they proved ineffective: For one person killed, many more came out on the Maidan,” Maria Semykoz, a Ukrainian economist from Lvov, told me by e-mail.

Now that the regime is gone, Ukraine will face wrenching change. Even if Russia doesn’t attempt to stir up separatist sentiment in Ukraine’s Russophone regions, it has in the past shown it can play economic hardball. In recent years, it has limited imports from Ukraine, creating huge lines at customs posts on the border. At times during winter, Russia has cut off critical natural-gas shipments to Ukraine. The sway Russia holds is probably the main reason Yanukovych abandoned a trade treaty with the European Union last November in favor of a deal signed in December with Vladimir Putin. The financial assistance Putin promised in that deal would no doubt be withheld if the government in Kiev turned decidedly toward Europe and the West.

Ukraine’s immediate problem is that it is on the edge of economic collapse. To become a normal nation anchored in the global trading system, Ukraine will have to endure decisive and deep economic reforms, including state spending cuts, privatization, and the implementation of a tax system that is simpler and less loophole-ridden.

“The problem is, the people will likely hate the politicians brave and honest enough to implement those reforms,” Semykoz tells me. “We need now a generation of political kamikazes, who, like the protestors on the Maidan are ready to risk their future by doing the right thing today.” It’s not clear whether any such leaders are ready to step forward in Ukraine.

But, for now, there is cause to celebrate. The ghosts of Ukraine’s Soviet past have not been banished, but they are fading. It’s not a coincidence that Ukrainians are now tearing down dozens of Lenin monuments, though the statues remained standing at the time of Ukrainian independence in 1991 and even during the Orange Revolution of 2004. For the first time since independence, Ukrainians seem to be getting serious about putting individual rights and freedoms at the center of their political system. Here’s hoping that the U.S. and Europe, both of which have largely avoided engagement with Ukraine in recent months, will now step forward to help the Ukrainian people succeed in their aspirations.

— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #66 on: February 25, 2014, 12:20:16 »
Assuming, as I am, that this is the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation then this statement is pretty bold:

http://mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/86DDB7AF9CD146C844257C8A003C57D2
Quote

Statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the events in Ukraine


361-24-02-2014

Russia is extremely concerned about the development of the situation in Ukraine.

There have been armed confrontations between violent youths, extreme right nationalist organisations and units of law enforcement agencies, who defended peaceful civilians and interests of the state, in the capital and several other cities recently.

The agreement on settlement of the crisis in Ukraine of the 21 February is not observed despite the fact that its signature was certified by Foreign Ministers of Germany, Poland and France, as well as the United States, the European Union and other international bodies welcomed this document.

Militants have not been unarmed, they refuse to leave the streets of cities, which are actually under their control, refuse to free administrative buildings, continue acts of violence.

We are surprised that several European politicians have already sprung to support the announcement of presidential elections in Ukraine this May, although the agreement of the 21 February envisages that these elections should take place only after the completion of the constitutional reform. It is clear that for this reform to succeed all the Ukrainian political forces and all regions of the country must become its part, but its results should be approved by a nationwide referendum. We are convinced that it is necessary to fully take into account concerns of deputies of eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, the Crimea and Sevastopol, which were expressed at the conference in Kharkov on the 22 February.

We are deeply concerned about the actions in the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada in terms of their legitimacy. Actually referring to the “revolutionary appropriateness” only, they are stamping “decisions” and “laws”, including those aimed at deprivation of humanitarian rights of Russians and other national minorities living in Ukraine.

There are calls to prohibition the Russian language almost fully, lustration, liquidation of parties and organisations, closing of undesirable mass media, removal of restrictions for propaganda of Nao-Nazi ideology.

The course is to suppress those, who do not agree to this, in different Ukrainian regions by dictatorship and even terrorist methods.

There are threats to Orthodox sanctities.

National radicals continue to scoff at monuments in different Ukrainian cities, while like-minded persons in some European countries besmear memorials to Soviet warriors.

Such development of events disrupts the Agreement of the 21 February, discredits its initiators and guarantors, and creates a threat to civil peace, stability in the community and safety of nationals.

We are forced to note that some of our western partners are not concerned about the fate of Ukraine, but rather their own unilateral geopolitical considerations. There are no principled assessments of criminal actions of extremists, including their Neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic manifestations. All the more so, such actions are intentionally or unintentionally promoted. We cannot but get a sustainable impression that the Agreement of the 21 February with silent consent of all its external sponsors is used as a cover only to promote the scenario of change of Ukrainian power by force through the creation of “facts on the ground”, without any wish to search for a Ukraine-wide consensus in the interests of national peace. We are especially worried about the attempts to involve international structures, including the UN Secretariat, into the approval of this position.

We insistently appeal to all those who are part of this crisis in Ukraine to demonstrate maximum responsibility and to prevent further degradation of the situation, to return it to the ambit of the law, and to decisively stop those extremists, who are seeking power.

24 February 2014

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #67 on: February 25, 2014, 12:43:54 »
Is anyone else greatly disturbed by J. Trudeau's "joke" re: the current situation in Ukraine and Russia's reaction?

While I understand some things may have been lost in translation, I worry that it reflects a trend in Western (and especially North American) society of the general citizenry displaying ostrich-like behaviour; if we are not immediately faced with a situation that impacts our daily lives, it's not worth our attention.

Which is especially troubling coming from our politicians.

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #68 on: February 25, 2014, 12:54:42 »
Is anyone else greatly disturbed by J. Trudeau's "joke" re: the current situation in Ukraine and Russia's reaction?

While I understand some things may have been lost in translation, I worry that it reflects a trend in Western (and especially North American) society of the general citizenry displaying ostrich-like behaviour; if we are not immediately faced with a situation that impacts our daily lives, it's not worth our attention.
This is news?

Assuming, as I am, that this is the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation then this statement is pretty bold:

http://mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/86DDB7AF9CD146C844257C8A003C57D2

Threats to minority Russian language rights?  Check.

Threats to Orthodox churches?  Check.

Reminder of some neo-Nazis getting in on the act (bringing back a bit of historical angst)?  Check.

Lookit what they're doing to our glorious history of "liberation" during WW2?  Check.

Standby for warning order?
Quote
Russia is believed to be deploying military ships carrying troops in the disputed autonomous Crimea region of Ukraine, as Moscow continues to refuse to recognise the interim administration which has taken control of Kiev.

Reports suggest the movement of Russia's large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov, with at least 200 soldiers onboard, at the Russian Black Sea Fleet's base at Sevastopol.

The ship is said to be accompanied by at least four other vessels with an unknown number of Special Forces Troops onboard, sailing from the Russian port of Anapa to the Crimean/Ukrainian Sevastopol.

Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the nationalist Ukrainian Svoboda, said he has proof of the movement in the form of a text message.

Citing security sources in Crimea, Tyahnybok said: "I can show sms. Today at 12:00 foreseen arrival of Temryuk port in the Russian Federation in the city of Sevastopol large landing ship 'Nikolai Fil'chenkov' from the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation ....
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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #69 on: February 25, 2014, 13:07:17 »
This is news?
What's worse, it's dominating social media and mainstream media channels since reports of Trudeau's comments surfaced yesterday. When people SHOULD (imnosho) be paying attention to what's actually happening in the Ukraine, they're busy playing partisan politics instead. Sure, there's lots of information about the current situation in the Ukraine available to those who know to look for it (to the Googles!).  But prior to Trudeau's statement it appeared that many were more engrossed in the minutia of the Olympics than in the situation in Ukraine.
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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #70 on: February 25, 2014, 13:10:45 »
I'm guessing that if Russia does decide on a coup de main in Crimea/South East Ukraine, resulting in a de facto partition, they will have done "good work" for Europe. Supreme Leader President Putin will have managed to get what Russia needs (a Black Sea naval base) and, simultaneously, he will have spared the EU the agony of dithering, yet again, about events in the peripheral regions.

I'm also guessing that Russia wants marches between it and the West: Kaliningrad Oblast, Belarus and now Eastern Ukraine ~ not a perfect armed buffer zone but pretty good for the 21st century.

 
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline CombatMacgyver

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #71 on: February 25, 2014, 13:17:55 »
What's worse, it's dominating social media and mainstream media channels since reports of Trudeau's comments surfaced yesterday. When people SHOULD (imnosho) be paying attention to what's actually happening in the Ukraine, they're busy playing partisan politics instead. Sure, there's lots of information about the current situation in the Ukraine available to those who know to look for it (to the Googles!).  But prior to Trudeau's statement it appeared that many were more engrossed in the minutia of the Olympics than in the situation in Ukraine.

Maybe people simply realize there's not a whole-hell-of-a-lot Canada can do about the instability in Ukraine?

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #72 on: February 25, 2014, 13:35:46 »
I'm also guessing that Russia wants marches between it and the West: Kaliningrad Oblast, Belarus and now Eastern Ukraine ~ not a perfect armed buffer zone but pretty good for the 21st century.

Somewhat on a tangent, in December 1991 I was in J3 Plans and was tasked to examine the provision of aid to the former Soviet Union which was going through a very bad spell then. Some of the wild ideas included deploying the Field Hospital and using 4 CMBG to transport food, POL, etc to Russia.

This is where it gets interesting re the traditional Russian mistrust of Europe, I recalled a briefing I had attended several years ago and confirmed the info with J2. There is no real direct, high quality road network from the Polish frontier to Moscow and ditto for fuel stockpiles/depots. This is by design to impose delay on any invading army. A bit of math demonstrated that most of the 4 CMBG vehicles would be devoted to carrying fuel for Canadian consumption en route.

By the way, most of the proposed course of action were equally impractical. At 0700 I recommended to the DCDS that we should only offer assistance if needed and allow the Soviets to decide if they could unbend enough to ask for aid from NATO. He saw the logic of it and at the morning daily executive meeting on the 13th Floor had the satisfaction of being ahead of the CDS and DM when they raised the issue with him.

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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #73 on: February 25, 2014, 13:42:53 »
I'm guessing that if Russia does decide on a coup de main in Crimea/South East Ukraine, resulting in a de facto partition, they will have done "good work" for Europe. Supreme Leader President Putin will have managed to get what Russia needs (a Black Sea naval base) and, simultaneously, he will have spared the EU the agony of dithering, yet again, about events in the peripheral regions.

I'm also guessing that Russia wants marches between it and the West: Kaliningrad Oblast, Belarus and now Eastern Ukraine ~ not a perfect armed buffer zone but pretty good for the 21st century.

Then again, he can pump more money into Sochi and guarantee its continued prosperity after the Olympics with a large Naval presence and facilities to train his Army hockey team..... >:D
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Re: Ukraine instability: torn between the EU and Russia
« Reply #74 on: February 25, 2014, 14:10:47 »
....
The cultural divide across the Dneiper is very bitter and deep, Europe (especially Eastern Europe, which I class as a separate subunit inside Europe) gets the more productive part and cuts away the less productive part to Russia. The prosperous Western Ukraine (or whatever name they come up with. Any Eastern European/Russian history buffs out there?) will help anchor and stabilize Eastern Europe and shield the Balkans and "Latin" Europe from Russia as well.

No buff me but interested amateur....

IMO the key elements of interest are two separate peoples: The Rus and the Khazars.

The Khazars are/were descendants of Attila's Huns, the Avars and the Gokturks.  They dominated the Silk Road from the Dniepr to the Altai (and apparently had a Jewish connection - as well as just about every other religion).

The Rus are usually considered by Westerners to be Vikings and by the Russians to be indigenous Slavs.  IMO - probably a bit of both.

The Timeline:

630 AD - Constantinople starts treating the Khazars as a fellow state with Anti-Arab interests.

750 AD - Vikings settling on Lake Ladoga

775 AD - Khazars marry into the Byzantine royal family and Leo the Khazar is emperor of Byzantium - causes a ruckus with Rome because he doesn't like graven images.

859 AD - Rus or Vikings at a York Factory type trading post at Novgorod

882 AD - Rus seize the Kiev trading post from the Khazars

969 AD - Rus seize the Khazar capital of Atil on the Volga delta draining into the Caspian sea - Khazars lose control of the Silk Road

1147 AD - Rus have established a trading post among the Slavs at Moscow

1223 to 1240 AD - Mongol conquest of the Rus

Mongols' Golden Horde holds the Silk Road until bypassed by Vasco da Gama and later the Dutch East India Company.

I leave it others to figure out who holds title to which lands under what names.   (I haven't touched the Bulgar claims to the lands).
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