Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: Cheering a 'Democratic' Coup in Ukraine

Posted 4 months ago on March 1, 2014, 5:53 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5843)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Cheering a 'Democratic' Coup in Ukraine

Saturday, 01 March 2014 11:31 By Robert Parry, Consortium News | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/22188-cheering-a-democratic-coup-in-ukraine

There was always a measure of hypocrisy but Official Washington used to at least pretend to stand for “democracy,” rather than taking such obvious pleasure in destabilizing elected governments, encouraging riots, overturning constitutional systems and then praising violent putsches.

But events in Ukraine and Venezuela suggest that the idea of respecting the results of elections and working within legal, albeit flawed, political systems is no longer in vogue, unless the “U.S. side” happens to win, of course. If the “U.S. side” loses, then it’s time for some “shock doctrine.” And, of course, the usual demonizing of the “enemy” leader.

Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was surely no one’s idea of a pristine politician, though it looks like there are few to none of those in Ukraine, a country essentially controlled by a collection of billionaire oligarchs who jockey for power and shift their allegiances among corrupt politicians.

But Yanukovych was elected in what was regarded as a reasonably fair election in 2010. Indeed, some international observers called the election an important step toward establishing an orderly political process in Ukraine.

But Yanukovych sought to maintain cordial relations with neighboring Russia, which apparently rubbed American neocons the wrong way. Official Washington’s still-influential neocons have been livid with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin because he cooperated with U.S. President Barack Obama in averting U.S. wars against Iran and Syria.

In both cases, the neocons thought they had maneuvered Obama into confrontations that could have advanced their long-term strategy of “regime change” across the Middle East, a process that started in 2003 with the U.S. invasion of Iraq but stalled with that disastrous war.

However, last year, prospects for more U.S. military interventions in two other target countries – Iran and Syria – were looking up, as Israel joined with Saudi Arabia in stoking regional crises that would give Obama no choice but to launch American air strikes, against Iran’s nuclear facilities and against Syrian government targets.

Putin's Interference

That strategy was going swimmingly until Putin helped bring Iran to the negotiating table over guarantees that its nuclear program would not lead to a nuclear weapon. Putin also brokered a deal to avert threatened U.S. air strikes on Syria over disputed evidence regarding who launched a chemical attack on civilians outside Damascus. Putin got the Syrian government to agree to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal.

So, Putin found himself in the center of the neocons’ bulls-eye and – given some of his own unforced errors such as defending Russia’s intolerance toward gays and spending excessively on the Sochi Olympics – he became the latest “designated villain,” denounced and ridiculed across the neocon-dominated op-ed pages of the Washington Post and other major news outlets.

Even NBC, from its treasured spot as the network of the Olympic Games, felt it had no choice but to denounce Putin in an extraordinary commentary delivered by anchor Bob Costas. Once the demonizing ball gets rolling everyone has to join in or risk getting run over, too.

All of which set the stage for Ukraine. The issue at hand was whether Yanukovych should accept a closer relationship with the European Union, which was demanding substantial economic “reforms,” including an austerity plan dictated by the International Monetary Fund. Yanukovych balked at the harsh terms and turned to Ukraine’s neighbor Russia, which was offering a $15 billion loan and was keeping Ukraine’s economy afloat with discounted natural gas.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether the EU was driving too hard a bargain or whether Ukraine should undertake such painful economic “reforms” – or how Yanukovych should have balanced the interests of his divided country, with the east dominated by ethnic Russians and the west leaning toward Europe.

But protesters from western Ukraine, including far-right nationalists, sought to turn this policy dispute into a means for overthrowing the elected government. Police efforts to quell the disturbances turned violent, with the police not the only culprits. Police faced armed neo-Nazi storm troopers who attacked with firebombs and other weapons.

Though the U.S. news media did show scenes of these violent melees, the U.S. press almost universally blamed Yanukovych – and took almost gleeful pleasure as his elected government collapsed and was replaced by thuggish right-wing militias “guarding” government buildings.

With Yanukovych and many of his supporters fleeing for their lives, the opposition parties seized control of parliament and began passing draconian new laws often unanimously, as neo-Nazi thugs patrolled the scene. Amazingly, the U.S. news media treated all this as uplifting, a popular uprising against a tyrant, not a case of a coup government operating in collusion with violent extremists.

In the upside-down world that has become the U.S. news media, the democratically elected president was a dictator and the coup makers who overthrew the popularly chosen leader were “pro-democracy” activists.

12 Comments

12 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 3 points by flip (5207) 4 months ago

hey leo right on - keep this issue on the front burner. it is the most important foreign policy question of the day and as usual the Obama admin is on the wrong side. very important for citizens of the u.s. (and especially occupiers) to understand what the facts are here. I assume you have read cohen but I think he is even better than ray in articulating the issues - here he is............STEPHEN COHEN: I mean that. I mean that Moscow—look at it through Moscow’s eyes. Since the Clinton administration in the 1990s, the U.S.-led West has been on a steady march toward post-Soviet Russia, began with the expansion of NATO in the 1990s under Clinton. Bush then further expanded NATO all the way to Russia’s borders. Then came the funding of what are euphemistically called NGOs, but they are political action groups, funded by the West, operating inside Russia. Then came the decision to build missile defense installations along Russia’s borders, allegedly against Iran, a country which has neither nuclear weapons nor any missiles to deliver them with. Then comes American military outpost in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, which led to the war of 2008, and now the West is at the gates of Ukraine. So, that’s the picture as Moscow sees it. And it’s rational. It’s reasonable. It’s hard to deny.

But as for the immediate crisis, let’s ask ourselves this: Who precipitated this crisis? The American media says it was Putin and the very bad, though democratically elected, president of Ukraine, Yanukovych. But it was the European Union, backed by Washington, that said in November to the democratically elected president of a profoundly divided country, Ukraine, "You must choose between Europe and Russia." That was an ultimatum to Yanukovych. Remember—wasn’t reported here—at that moment, what did the much-despised Putin say? He said, "Why? Why does Ukraine have to choose? We are prepared to help Ukraine avoid economic collapse, along with you, the West. Let’s make it a tripartite package to Ukraine." And it was rejected in Washington and in Brussels. That precipitated the protests in the streets....................................and once more - AMY GOODMAN: That’s President Obama in Mexico, Professor Cohen.

STEPHEN COHEN: What are you asking me to comment on?

AMY GOODMAN: Your response to his response.

STEPHEN COHEN: To what he just said? Shame. Shame. He is saying that the responsibility for restoring peace is on the Ukrainian government, and it should withdraw its security forces from the streets. But let me ask you, if in Washington people throwing Molotov cocktails are marching on Congress—and these people are headed for the Ukrainian Congress—if these people have barricaded entrance to the White House and are throwing rocks at the White House security guard, would President Obama withdraw his security forces? This is—this is—and do you know what this does? And let’s escape partisanship here. I mean, lives are at stake. This incites, these kinds of statement that Obama made. It rationalizes what the killers in the streets are doing. It gives them Western license, because he’s not saying to the people in the streets, "Stop this, stop shooting policemen, stop attacking government buildings, sit down and talk." And the guy you had on just before, a so-called moderate leader, what did he just tell you? "We have lost control of the situation." That’s what I just told you. He just confirmed that.

So what Obama needs to say is, "We deplore what the people in the streets are doing when they attack the police, the law enforcement official. And we also don’t like the people who are writing on buildings 'Jews live here,'" because these forces, these quasi-fascist forces—let’s address this issue, because the last time I was on your broadcast, you found some guy somewhere who said there was none of this there. All right. What percent are the quasi-fascists of the opposition? Let’s say they’re 5 percent. I think they’re more, but let’s give them the break, 5 percent. But we know from history that when the moderates lose control of the situation, they don’t know what to do. The country descends in chaos. Five percent of a population that’s tough, resolute, ruthless, armed, well funded, and knows what it wants, can make history. We’ve seen it through Europe. We’ve seen it through Asia. This is reality. And where Washington and Brussels are on this issue, they won’t step up and take the responsibility.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5843) 4 months ago

Ukraine: One "Regime Change" Too Many?

Monday, 03 March 2014 10:46 By Ray McGovern, Consortium News | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22212-ukraine-one-regime-change-too-many

Is “regime change” in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative “regime changers” of Official Washington and their sophomoric “responsibility-to-protect” (R2P) allies in the Obama administration? Have they dangerously over-reached by pushing the putsch that removed duly-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given an unmistakable “yes” to those questions – in deeds, not words. His message is clear: “Back off our near-frontier!”

Moscow announced on Saturday that Russia’s parliament has approved Putin’s request for permission to use Russia’s armed forces “on the territory of the Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country.”

Putin described this move as necessary to protect ethnic Russians and military personnel stationed in Crimea in southern Ukraine, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet and other key military installations are located. But there is no indication that the Russian parliament has restricted the use of Russian armed forces to the Crimea.

Unless Obama is completely bereft of advisers who know something about Russia, it should have been a “known-known” (pardon the Rumsfeldian mal mot) that the Russians would react this way to a putsch removing Yanukovich. It would have been a no-brainer that Russia would use military force, if necessary, to counter attempts to use economic enticement and subversive incitement to slide Ukraine into the orbit of the West and eventually NATO.

This was all the more predictable in the case of Ukraine, where Putin – although the bête noire in corporate Western media – holds very high strategic cards geographically, militarily, economically and politically.

Unlike ‘Prague Spring’ 1968

Moscow’s advantage was not nearly as clear during the short-lived “Prague Spring” of 1968 when knee-jerk, non-thinking euphoria reigned in Washington and West European capitals. The cognoscenti were, by and large, smugly convinced that reformer Alexander Dubcek could break Czechoslovakia away from the U.S.S.R.’s embrace and still keep the Russian bear at bay.

My CIA analyst portfolio at the time included Soviet policy toward Eastern Europe, and I was amazed to see analysts of Eastern Europe caught up in the euphoria that typically ended with, “And the Soviets can’t do a damned thing about it!”

That summer a new posting found me advising Radio Free Europe Director Ralph Walter who, virtually alone among his similarly euphoric colleagues, shared my view that Russian tanks would inevitably roll onto Prague’s Wenceslaus Square, which they did in late August.

Past is not always prologue. But it is easy for me to imagine the Russian Army cartographic agency busily preparing maps of the best routes for tanks into Independence Square in Kiev, and that before too many months have gone by, Russian tank commanders may be given orders to invade, if those stoking the fires of violent dissent in the western parts of Ukraine keep pushing too far.

That said, Putin has many other cards to play and time to play them. These include sitting back and doing nothing, cutting off Russia’s subsidies to Ukraine, making it ever more difficult for Yanukovich’s successors to cope with the harsh realities. And Moscow has ways to remind the rest of Europe of its dependence on Russian oil and gas.

Another Interference

There is one huge difference between Prague in 1968 and Kiev 2014. The “Prague Spring” revolution led by Dubcek enjoyed such widespread spontaneous popular support that it was difficult for Russian leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Aleksey Kosygin to argue plausibly that it was spurred by subversion from the West.

Not so 45-plus years later. In early February, as violent protests raged in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and the White House professed neutrality, U.S. State Department officials were, in the words of NYU professor emeritus of Russian studies Stephen Cohen, “plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.”

We know that thanks to neocon prima donna Victoria Nuland, now Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, who seemed intent on giving new dimension to the “cookie-pushing” role of U.S. diplomats. Recall the photo showing Nuland in a metaphor of over-reach, as she reached deep into a large plastic bag to give each anti-government demonstrator on the square a cookie before the putsch.

More important, recall her amateurish, boorish use of an open telephone to plot regime change in Ukraine with a fellow neocon, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt. Crass U.S. interference in Ukrainian affairs can be seen (actually, better, heard) in an intercepted conversation posted on YouTube on Feb. 4.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5843) 4 months ago

Yikes! It’s Yats!

Nuland was recorded as saying: “Yats is the guy. He’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy you know. … Yats will need all the help he can get to stave off collapse in the ex-Soviet state. He has warned there is an urgent need for unpopular cutting of subsidies and social payments before Ukraine can improve.”

And guess what. The stopgap government formed after the coup designated Nuland’s guy Yats, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, prime minister! What luck! Yats is 39 and has served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister. And, as designated pinch-hitter-prime-minister, he has already talked about the overriding need for “responsible government,” one willing to commit “political suicide,” as he put it, by taking unpopular social measures.

U.S. meddling has been so obvious that at President Barack Obama’s hastily scheduled Friday press conference on Ukraine, Yats’s name seemed to get stuck in Obama’s throat. Toward the end of his scripted remarks, which he read verbatim, the President said: “Vice President Biden just spoke with Prime Minister [pause] – the prime minister of Ukraine to assure him that in this difficult moment the United States supports his government’s efforts and stands for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic future of Ukraine.”

Obama doesn’t usually stumble like that – especially when reading a text, and is normally quite good at pronouncing foreign names. Perhaps he worried that one of the White House stenographic corps might shout out, “You mean our man, Yats?” Obama departed right after reading his prepared remarks, leaving no opportunity for such an outburst.

Western media was abuzz with the big question: Will the Russians apply military force? The answer came quickly, though President Obama chose the subjunctive mood in addressing the question on Friday.

Throwing Down a Hanky

There was a surreal quality to President Obama’s remarks, several hours after Russian (or pro-Russian) troops took control of key airports and other key installations in the Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, and home to a large Russian naval base and other key Russian military installations.

Obama referred merely to “reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine” and warned piously that “any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing.”

That Obama chose the subjunctive mood – when the indicative was, well, indicated – will not be lost on the Russians. Here was Obama, in his typically lawyerly way, trying to square the circle, giving a sop to his administration’s neocon holdovers and R2P courtiers, with a Milquetoasty expression of support for the new-Nuland-approved government (citing Biden’s assurances to old whatshisname/yatshisname).

While Obama stuck to the subjunctive tense, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk appealed to Russia to recall its forces and “stop provoking civil and military resistance in Ukraine.”

Obama’s comments seemed almost designed to sound condescending – paternalistic, even – to the Russians. Already into his second paragraph of his scripted remarks, the President took a line larded with words likely to be regarded as a gratuitous insult by Moscow, post-putsch.

“We’ve made clear that they [Russian officials] can be part of an international community’s effort to support the stability of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interest of the people of Ukraine and the international community, but also in Russia’s interest.”

By now, Russian President Vladimir Putin is accustomed to Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, et al. telling the Kremlin where its interests lie, and I am sure he is appropriately grateful. Putin is likely to read more significance into these words of Obama:

“The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine … and we will continue to coordinate closely with our European allies.”

Fissures in Atlantic Alliance

There are bound to be fissures in the international community and in the Western alliance on whether further provocation in Ukraine is advisable. Many countries have much to lose if Moscow uses its considerable economic leverage over natural gas supplies, for example.

And, aspiring diplomat though she may be, Victoria Nuland presumably has not endeared herself to the EC by her expressed “Fuck the EC” attitude.

Aside from the most servile allies of the U.S. there may be a growing caucus of Europeans who would like to return the compliment to Nuland. After all does anyone other than the most extreme neocon ideologue think that instigating a civil war on the border of nuclear-armed Russia is a good idea? Or that it makes sense to dump another economic basket case, which Ukraine surely is, on the EU’s doorstep while it’s still struggling to get its own economic house in order?

Europe has other reasons to feel annoyed about the overreach of U.S. power and arrogance. The NSA spying revelations – that continue, just like the eavesdropping itself does – seem to have done some permanent damage to transatlantic relationships.

In any case, Obama presumably knows by now that he pleased no one on Friday by reading that flaccid statement on Ukraine. And, more generally, the sooner he realizes that – without doing dumb and costly things – he can placate neither the neocons nor the R2P folks (naively well meaning though the latter may be), the better for everyone.

In sum, the Nulands of this world have bit off far more than they can chew; they need to be reined in before they cause even more dangerous harm. Broader issues than Ukraine are at stake. Like it or not, the United States can benefit from a cooperative relationship with Putin’s Russia – the kind of relationship that caused Putin to see merit last summer in pulling Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire on Syria, for example, and in helping address thorny issues with Iran.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (34893) from Coon Rapids, MN 4 months ago

Nuland was recorded as saying: “Yats is the guy. He’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy you know. … Yats will need all the help he can get to stave off collapse in the ex-Soviet state. He has warned there is an urgent need for unpopular cutting of subsidies and social payments before Ukraine can improve.”

So - I am thinking that the cuts are not aimed at the greedy 1% who take/grab public support/life's-blood that they in no way need - the wealthy/greedy 1% who do not support the society in which they live.

When will the people learn? It Is Not Enough To Protest - The Protest MUST INCLUDE HOW THINGS CAN AND SHOULD BE DONE BETTER. If Not - all the society realizes if successful - IS - a change of players in office - NOT a change/improvement of any practices.

[-] 1 points by JGriff99mph (507) 4 months ago

So we are the ones that created the destabilization?

Shocking.

[-] 1 points by doitagain (234) from Brooklyn, NY 4 months ago

good observation LeoYo. All over the news we hearing about russian invasion in Ukraine sovereign territory. Also they saying Putin and Obama seems to playing chess game. Why is this geopolitical movement is similar to recent show House of Cards? Why they called it the chess game? here is why: http://rt.com/shows/the-truthseeker/riots-ukraine-us-leak-930/

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13575) from South Burlington, VT 4 months ago

It's a little early to start cheering since

Russia has invaded

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5843) 4 months ago

A Curious History

There’s also a curious history behind U.S. attitudes toward ethnically divided Ukraine. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency – as he escalated Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union – one of his propaganda services, Radio Liberty, began broadcasting commentaries into Ukraine from right-wing exiles.

Some of the commentaries praised Ukrainian nationalists who had sided with the Nazis in World War II as the SS waged its “final solution” against European Jews. The propaganda broadcasts provoked outrage from Jewish organizations, such as B’nai B’rith, and individuals including conservative academic Richard Pipes.

According to an internal memo dated May 4, 1984, and written by James Critchlow, a research officer at the Board of International Broadcasting, which managed Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, one RL broadcast in particular was viewed as “defending Ukrainians who fought in the ranks of the SS.”

Critchlow wrote, “An RL Ukrainian broadcast of Feb. 12, 1984 contains references to the Nazi-oriented Ukrainian-manned SS ‘Galicia’ Division of World War II which may have damaged RL’s reputation with Soviet listeners. The memoirs of a German diplomat are quoted in a way that seems to constitute endorsement by RL of praise for Ukrainian volunteers in the SS division, which during its existence fought side by side with the Germans against the Red Army.”

Harvard Professor Pipes, who was an informal adviser to the Reagan administration, also inveighed against the RL broadcasts, writing – on Dec. 3, 1984 – “the Russian and Ukrainian services of RL have been transmitting this year blatantly anti-Semitic material to the Soviet Union which may cause the whole enterprise irreparable harm.”

Though the Reagan administration publicly defended RL against some of the public criticism, privately some senior officials agreed with the critics, according to documents in the archives of the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. For instance, in a Jan. 4, 1985, memo, Walter Raymond Jr., a top official on the National Security Council, told his boss, National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, that “I would believe much of what Dick [Pipes] says is right.”

This three-decade-old dispute over U.S.-sponsored radio broadcasts underscores the troubling political reality of Ukraine, which straddles a dividing line between people with cultural ties oriented toward the West and those with a cultural heritage more attuned to Russia. Though the capital Kiev sits in a region dominated by the western Ukrainians, the Russian-allied Ukrainians represent most of the population, explaining Yanukovych’s electoral victory.

Loving a Putsch

Now, right-wing militias, representing those historical resentments toward the Russians and hostility toward the Jews, have seized control of many government buildings in Kiev. Faced with this intimidation, the often-unanimous decisions by the remaining legislators would normally be viewed with extreme skepticism, including their demands for the capture and likely execution of Yanukovych.

But the U.S. press corps can’t get beyond its demonization of Putin and Yanukovych. The neocon Washington Post has been almost euphoric over the coup, as expressed in a Feb. 24 editorial:

“Ukraine has shaken off its corrupt president and the immediate prospect of domination by Russia — but at the risk of further conflict. The decision by Viktor Yanukovych to flee Kiev over the weekend triggered the disintegration of his administration and prompted parliament to replace him and schedule elections for May.

“The moves were democratic — members of Mr. Yanukovych’s party joined in the parliamentary votes — but they had the effect of nullifying an accord between the former government and opposition that had been brokered by the European Union and tacitly supported by Russia.

“Kiev is now controlled by pro-Western parties that say they will implement the association agreement with the European Union that Mr. Yanukovych turned away from three months ago, triggering the political crisis.

“There remain two big threats to this positive outcome. One is that Ukraine’s finances will collapse in the absence of a bailout from Russia or the West. The other is that the country will split along geographic lines as Russian speakers in the east of the country, perhaps supported by Moscow, reject the new political order.”

The Post continued, “What’s not clear is whether Mr. Putin would accept a Ukraine that is not under the Kremlin’s thumb. The first indications are not good: Though Mr. Putin has been publicly silent about Ukraine since Friday, the rhetoric emanating from his government has been angry and belligerent. A foreign ministry statement Monday alleged that ‘a course has been set to use dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods to suppress dissenters in various regions.’”

So, the Washington Post’s editors consider the violent overthrow of a democratically elected president to be “democratic” and take comfort in “democratic” actions by a legislature, despite the curious lack of any no votes and the fact that this balloting has occurred under the watchful eye of neo-Nazi storm troopers patrolling government offices. And, according to the Post, the Russian government is unhinged to detect “dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods.”

The New York Times editorial page was only slightly less celebratory, proclaiming: “The venal president of Ukraine is on the run and the bloodshed has stopped, but it is far too early to celebrate or to claim that the West has ‘won’ or that Russia has ‘lost.’ One incontrovertible lesson from the events in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, is that the deeply divided country will have to contend with dangerous problems that could reverberate beyond its borders.”

There has been, of course, a long and inglorious history of the U.S. government supporting the overthrow of elected governments: Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Allende in Chile in 1973, Aristide in Haiti twice, Chavez in Venezuela briefly in 2002, Zelaya in Honduras in 2009, Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and others. After Yanukovych, the next target of these U.S.-embraced “democratic” coups looks to be Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

In these cases, it is typical for the mainstream U.S. news media to obsess over perceived flaws in the ousted leaders. On Wednesday, for instance, the New York Times made much of an unfinished presidential palace in Ukraine, calling it “a fugitive leader’s folly.” The idea seems to be to cement in the minds of impressionable Americans that it is okay for the U.S. government to support the overthrow of democratically elected presidents if they have flaws.

The outcomes for the people of these countries that are “saved” from their imperfect leaders, however, often tend to be quite ugly. Usually, they experience long periods of brutal repression at the hands of dictators, but that typically happens outside the frame of the U.S. news media’s focus or interest. Those unhappy countries fade from view almost as quickly as they were thrust to center stage, next to the demonization of their elected leaders.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5843) 4 months ago

Pravy Sector: The Radical Force of Ukrainian Maidan

Saturday, 01 March 2014 09:08 By Veronika Kyrylenko, Truthout | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22133-pravy-sector-the-radical-force-of-ukrainian-maidan

The massive, violent, anti-government protests resumed in Ukraine on February 18, 2014, the day Verokhovna Rada (the Ukrainian Parliament) was set to ratify changes to the Constitution. These changes (returning to the Parliamentary-presidential form of government) were among the demands of the opposition. That day, aggressive groups of people tried to seize the building of Verkhovna Rada. Radicals burst into the buildings in downtown Kiev, burned tires and cars, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the police and burned the office of the Party of the Regions, where two employees were killed. For the first time during the lasting uprising, protesters used firearms against the police. As a result, nearly 100 people are dead, almost 40 of them are policemen, and thousands injured.

The European Union and the United States blame the Ukrainian government for the situation. That is only partially justified - indeed there was some excessive use of force by police. But it is also fair to assert that during the protests, Ukrainian government and police showed more restraint when compared with the international practice and experience of protest suppression. Even after the seizure of administrative buildings and assaults on the police, President Viktor Yanukovych did not initiate a state of emergency, and the "peaceful protesters" lived in the seized buildings, paralyzing the work of the Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice as well as Kiev City Hall. The president did not initiate it when protesters seized the buildings of the local state administrations in Lvov, Rovno, Ternopyl, Ivano-Frankovsk, Chernovtsi, Khmelnytsk and Vinnitsa. Just imagine for a moment how an American government would react if a group of radicals had seized the local legislatures in 29 percent of the states and tried to seize the Capitol in Washington.

The next day, Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok and Yanukovych called the truce, which meant that the special forces of Ukrainian police would not disperse the protesters from the streets, and protesters would stop their assaults, so the negotiations between the opposition and the government could continue. And on February 21, Yanukovych had satisfied all demands of the opposition in order to stop the crisis: Ukraine is returning to the Parliamental-presidential form of government, Verkhovna Rada is in the process of appointing the new members of the Cabinet, Yulia Timoshenko is freed, all Special Forces of the police are withdrawn from Maidan, and Verkhovna Rada voted to hold an early presidential election in May, and also early Parliamental elections. The next day, the president resigned.

But assaults from radical groups headed by Pravy Sector have not stopped, and they continue to break the law. Their leader Dmytro Yarosh is not satisfied with the results: "We incline to see in it another lie" - he wrote on his Facebook page - "the national revolution continues. It will end with the complete elimination of the inner occupation and with the establishment of the Ukrainian national sovereign state."

There is not much information in US media regarding those radicals, so it is important to understand who is really controlling the violent protesters now that it is obvious that the radical Pravy Sector is a force that turned peaceful demonstrations into violent riots.

Who's Who at Pravy Sector

Pravy Sector is an extremist right-wing group that consists of the Ukrainian nationalist organizations "Ukrainian Patriot," "Tryzub" (Trident), UNA-UNSO and White Hammer. Their ideology is Ukrainian nationalism that employs neo-Fascist and neo-Nazi beliefs. For example, Pravy Sector and UNA-UNSO web sites provide direct links to the works of radical Ukrainian ideologist Dmyrto Dontsov, who believed in racial theory. For example, he suggested that the right of superior races should be exercised by way of "creative violence by a minority showing initiative," which must subjugate its own people to itself and force it to undertake aggression against others.

Among the historical figures praised by Pravy Sector are leaders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and particularly Stepan Bandera, whose portrait was decorating the entrance of the seized Kiev City Hall. Bandera, among others, is considered to be a historical chief of the movement. It is interesting to know that Bandera was a head of the wing of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists that collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II. During the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, OUN played an essential part in the holocaust and ethnic massacres of Western Ukraine's Polish population, establishing "Ukraine for Ukrainians."

Pravy Sector and European Integration

The massive anti-government protests started in Kiev and other cities of Ukraine in late November 2013 as a reaction to the failure of Yanukovych to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. Tired of government corruption and of Yanukovych's "La Familia" of poverty and of social injustice, people hoped to influence the president in a peaceful way, as they did during the Orange revolution in 2004. A majority of Ukrainians wants to establish closer ties with the EU in the hope that that would bring more economic and political freedom and prosperity to the country. But does Pravy Sector believe in the European values of political democracy, human rights, free markets and social tolerance? The answer is - no, it does not. On Pravy Sector's web site, Yarosh expresses his views on European values in the spirit of his ideological predecessor Dontsov: He denies the ideals of humanism, socialism, liberal democracy, atheism, cosmopolitism and globalization, because they form a "slave type of consciousness" and turn an individual into a part of a "cosmopolitan herd" that lives in a "global concentration camp."

The peaceful anti-government demonstrations started by liberal politicians were supported widely by moderate Ukrainians. Pravy Sector, in turn, saw an opportunity to start a destruction of the "state skeleton," as Yarosh said, and to build a fundamentally new state. What kind of state that would be? Well, read Dontsov.

Pravy Sector and the Moderate Opposition

At the beginning of the protests, Pravy Sector had served as a force of defense: Its members guarded the peaceful protesters from the possible suppression by the police, and they took part in all fights with the police. But very soon the differences between the radicals and mainstream opposition became more evident. In December, after the failure to seize the governmental offices in downtown Kiev, for which Pravy Sector had officially taken a responsibility, three leaders of opposition called Pravy Sector "provocateurs" supported by the government and by Russian intelligence. In response, Pravy Sector activists started a campaign of "resistance to the provocateurs-pacifists": "All those who at this point would try to tame the revolutionary energy of the masses should be proclaimed traitors and punished in the most severe way. The time of peaceful singing and dancing at Maidan is over. This is a waste of time. There can be no negotiations, no compromise with the ruling gang. We will carry high the fire of national revolution."

Let us hope that the new government will find ways to pacify Pravy Sector and restrain its revolutionary energy. After all, the whole social system will incline to protect itself from destructive forces. Ukrainians are known for their peaceful and moderate nature and would not follow the aggressor. But the blood has been spilled, and we will hope that the new government, which actually consists of the famous politicians who were tied with the oligarchic groups in previous governments, could realize the complex of political and economic reforms people crave. If not, the sad fate of Yanukovych would await them too.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 3 points by flip (5207) 4 months ago

still maintaining the party line eh? did your doc treat protesters who doused themselves with gasoline when they were throwing Molotov cocktails at police? the Obama homeland security dept ( a Nazi term if ever there was one) for sure co ordinated the destruction of the occupy encampments and he tells ukraine to not mess with protesters instigate violence - who shot and beat police. laughable - we all remember the brutal use of force by police in nyc and beyond - against women and innocent protesters. and then our fearless leader says this to ukraine - President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Ukraine to avoid violence against peaceful protesters or face consequences, as the United States considered joining European partners to impose sanctions aimed at ending deadly street clashes that are sparking fears of civil war.

"There will be consequences if people step over the line," Obama said shortly after landing in Mexico for a summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, as fires burned in central Kiev. "And that includes making sure that the Ukrainian military does not step in to what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians." .................come on shooz - pony up here - have a real debate - lay your cards on the table. leo is pointing to the most important issue of the day. the west is trying to break up ukraine and destabilize Russia. Obama is in the thick of it. once again our country is making the world a more dangerous place. don't believe it say so - leo and I can easily show that the fascists were in control of the streets. we can also show that the west wanted to turn ukraine into Greece and (for the most part) created the problem. so where do you stand - "which side are you on boys - which side are you on?"