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Ukrainian Revolution

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Italian media are saying that Ukraine must be united and Timoshenko is bad too. I guess the solution will be an ukrainan version of Tusk, a man able to build a crony economy based solely on EU funds and flirt with Russia at the same time, they just need to act fast because Obama has still two years, but after him any president won't tolerate to watch government changes that don't bring any advantage to USA.

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build a crony economy based solely on EU funds

Except those funds may scarce, if any at all. I've seen a EU person on the news today who was saying something along the lines of "the Ukraine isn't even part of the EU, why should we invest our money in it while there's no clear, predictable outcome to the present situation there".

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From the same guy:

In other news, intelligentsia in Lviv show concern about regional language law being abolished. They say it will not benefit ethnic Ukrainians at all but might spark separatist moods in certain regions. To support us they decided to speak Russian in Lviv for a day. A decent move, I say. So we're having a Ukrainian speaking day to show our solidarity.

Tyagnibok already promised to start working on the new language law, which will benefit not only Russians but other minorities, like Bulgarians, Tartars, Moldavians, Greeks, etc.

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I've heard in the news that yesterday the new Rada (after Yanukovych's displacement) annulled a certain language policy law that had been passed in Summer 2012. This law granted the status of a regional official secondary language to any minority language with a community of speakers that constitutes more than 10% of a region's population. By this law, Russian achieved the status of a secondary official language in 13 out of 27 regions in Ukraine. With the law void, this status is lost.

It was just in the news that the acting president Oleksandr Turchinov will likely veto the decision to abolish the old language policy law, which will stay in place until a new law that supposedly will more carefully address the problem of language minorities will have been developed.

Also reported are some rather serious troubles in Kharkiv but at present I have very little idea what's going on there. Apparently some "radicals" have captured a government building and there are civilian protesters who are trying to flush them out.

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From what I can tell Russia is sending more military into Ukraine. Although they have military bases in Ukraine already. The Russian government approved military force in Ukraine.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/1z93px/russia_has_brought_in_extra_6000_troops_to_ukraine/

 

Yesterday it was in the news about the Russian helicopters flying in Ukraine. I think there were 8 flying over in the videos.

http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/1z674z/russian_helicopters_heading_to_sevastopol_ukrain/

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Yesterday it was in the news about the Russian helicopters flying in Ukraine. I think there were 8 flying over in the videos.

http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/1z674z/russian_helicopters_heading_to_sevastopol_ukrain/

In the news here is was said that all troop movements and military aircraft flights were within the zones allowed by previous regulations concerning the Black Sea Fleet bases.

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In the news here is was said that all troop movements and military aircraft flights were within the zones allowed by previous regulations concerning the Black Sea Fleet bases.

Yah, that is what I figured. But not a good time for military drills. Of course Russia flexing its muscle and wanting to protect the region with its military.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/1zad2p/ukraine_put_its_armed_forces_on_full_combat_alert/

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ukraine-crisis-harper-recalls-ambassador-tells-putin-to-withdraw-1.2556228

Canada not happy.

 

From Russia's and former Ukraine gov point of view, everyone is against them from the start.

US gov was in there in December supporting the protesters wanting a new government.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26080715

 

Canadas Foreign Minister John Baird went there recently to support new government. It's almost like the west are happy the pro russian gov is out and a more western friendly gov is in. Why wouldn't Russia be pissed 2 countries that have not much to do with the region are interfering. It should be a European Union and Russia thing. It would be like if there was Political turnmoil in Mexico and Russia decided to send in politicians and aid for a group that is more anti American to overthrow existing government.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/john-baird-in-ukraine-while-ottawa-holds-off-on-sanctions-1.2554225

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Random pics circulating:

http://imgur.com/a/SNqno

 

From this reddit thread:

http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1zcbrp/ukraine_soldiers_refusing_to_let_russian_soldiers/

http://instagram.com/p/lCzyyErvj3/#

http://instagram.com/p/lCe_43LvrH/#

So while not violent, but when another countries soldiers surround your military base, that makes things very awkward.

 

from reddit thread, Russian soldiers trying to steal weapons from Ukraine. Ukraine soldiers won't let them pass.

 

I heard that Ukraine has started the conscription process and that people are to show up on Monday for it.

http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1zct8q/mobilization_ukrainians_joining_the_military/

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from reddit thread, Russian soldiers trying to steal weapons from Ukraine. Ukraine soldiers won't let them pass.

The soldiers on the left wear no insignia, and both them and the Navy officers speak Russian. There's nothing to indicate that the soldiers are Russian spetsnaz and not some local forces.

I'm saying this only to give another POV on the subject, I have no idea who the people on the video are, what orders were issued by the Black Sea Fleet Command to ensure the safety of Russian installations, and if there is a clause that regulates emergency lockdown of auxiliary bases of either side in the region (in which case removing weapons and live ammunition would make sense).

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The soldiers on the left wear no insignia, and both them and the Navy officers speak Russian. There's nothing to indicate that the soldiers are Russian spetsnaz and not some local forces.

True, but what reason would local forces have to remove their insignia?

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True, but what reason would local forces have to remove their insignia?

Well, the news here mentions Crimean self-defence militia squads. They may wear military gear but no insignia because they actually do not have any.

It does seem plausible if the local self-defence forces would want to have the extra weapons stored somewhere for the time being, so that no one uses them against the locals. Armouries at military bases can be raided, and if there is no one but several officers to protect them (as suggested by the video) things can get awry if someone who's really intent on getting those weapons moves in.

Again, I'd like to stress that I have no accurate knowledge of the situation. It's just that I personally feel rather uncomfortable with all the Russophobic sentiments that have apparently been instigated in Western media for quite a while already.

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Ok, time to jump into this topic! I've been following the events in Ukraine almost since the beginning, back in November, but I did not have the time to post about them until now.

First of all, this is not a revolution. To call it a revolution cheapens the meaning of the word, and confuses the nature of the political forces involved. A revolution is an event in which large masses of people overthrow the existing order and change society in some fundamental way, or at least intend to do so - as in France in 1789, or across Europe in 1848, or in Russia in 1917, or in China in 1949, or in Eastern Europe in 1989. On the other hand, an event in which one governing party is overthrown and replaced with another - but without changing society, or the economy, or the political system - is definitely NOT a revolution. It's an uprising, or an insurrection, or a coup. But not a revolution.

And that is what happened in Ukraine: an uprising whose goals were never revolutionary. At no point did the protesters make any demands for significant change in society or the economic system, or even the political system for that matter (they want it to remain almost the same but with more power to the parliament and "without corruption", whatever that means). The uprising's main goals were (a) making Ukraine enter into the association agreement with the EU, and (b) somehow magically ending corruption, authoritarianism and abuses of power in their country. I say "magically" because the protesters did not come up with any ideas for institutional changes - not even bad ideas! - and instead stupidly assumed that all they had to do was replace Yanukovych with the other guys and somehow that would fix things. As for the goal of pushing Ukraine towards the EU, the level of ignorance and naive idealism displayed by these protesters is breathtaking. When the EU is imposing brutal austerity on Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy and so on, when Germany looks more and more like an imperial power every day, and when Ukraine is suffering from precisely the same kind of debt problems that have been "solved" through economic destruction within the EU - at THIS time the Ukrainian protesters think that the EU is their savior? Really?

The only thing that joining the EU would do for Ukraine is to turn it into another Greece. But, apparently, the protesters are blind to this reality.

So, while the methods used by the protesters were indeed revolutionary and extremely well organized, their actual goals were (and are) laughable.

Which brings me to my next point: Fascism.

As I was watching events in Ukraine, before this topic was started, I was thinking of posting about them in the "return of fascism" topic. Because Ukraine today has seen the strongest resurgence of fascism anywhere in Europe since World War II. The success of fascist parties and movements in Ukraine (mainly Svoboda and Right Sector) is making Golden Dawn look like yesterday's threat. After all, Golden Dawn is not in power in Greece. But Svoboda is now a member of the new coalition government in Kiev.

(as an aside, it seems that the name "Freedom Party" is becoming somewhat of a standard name for the parties of the fascist revival in Europe; besides "Svoboda" in Ukraine - which means "freedom" - there is also the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, the Freedom Party of Austria, and the so-far-still-tiny Freedom Party of Finland)

Let there be no mistake or confusion about this: The All-Ukrainian Union "Freedom" (or "Svoboda" for short) is a fascist party, currently a junior partner in the new governing coalition.

Although Svoboda is the smallest of the three pro-Western parties in terms of parliamentary seats and overall public support, it was the most active in organizing the protests on the ground in Kiev's Independence Square (the Maidan). Svoboda's flags - a yellow hand giving a three-finger salute on a blue background - dominate almost all pictures of the Maidan protests. And many of the other flags you can see in those pictures are another fascist symbol: two horizontal stripes of red and black, the flag of the pro-Nazi collaborationist forces during World War II. Since January, these flags have also been adopted as the official symbol of "Right Sector", a new and even more reactionary fascist organization that is organized in a paramilitary structure and isn't even interested in getting elected to parliament (probably because they hope the parliament won't exist for much longer).

The rise of Svoboda in Ukrainian politics is not new. It caused shock and horror when it suddenly emerged out of nowhere to win 10% of the vote in the 2012 elections. Since then, many left-wing news sources - and, for obvious reasons, Jewish groups - have been trying to raise awareness about the fascist threat in Ukraine, but for the most part they have been ignored. Here is an article from May 2013 about the growing influence of Svoboda and anti-Semitism:

http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/05/24/svoboda-fuels-ukraines-growing-anti-semitism/

Svoboda's leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has blamed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" for Ukraine's problems, and the party routinely uses extremely derogatory terms to refer to Jews, Russians, and other ethnic minorities (calling them "zhid", "Moskali", etc). Here's an example of a blatantly racist anti-Russian poster put up by Svoboda (it says that swearing makes you as bad as a "Moskal"). Even worse, the party glorifies Nazi collaborators and fascist mass murderers from World War II, especially Stepan Bandera. Here is a picture of Svoboda members marching with his portrait:

svoboda.jpg

And here is what Svoboda has done to the entrance of Kiev's town hall, a building which they have occupied for months (you can also see another Nazi symbol, the wolfsangel rune, spray-painted to the right of the door):

bandera-kiev-city-hall.jpg

Meanwhile, this is what the inside of the building looks like:

And if they didn't make their fascism absolutely clear, Svoboda also organized torch-lit marches in honor of the birthday of Stepan Bandera on the 1st of January:

(this video is from the BBC, so it tries to stay "neutral" - funny how they mentioned the slogan "Ukraine above all" but didn't draw the obvious parallel with "Deutschland über alles")

And remember, as of last month, Svoboda is the "moderate" wing of fascism in Ukraine! Right Sector is even worse - they don't even bother to pretend to be "respectable" nationalists, they are an openly neo-Nazi paramilitary force.

Of course, it's true that Svoboda and Right Sector represent minority viewpoints, but they are highly vocal minorities, they are armed, they are not afraid to use force, and they are by far the best organized groups on the ground, providing essential "help" in running the protest encampments. Also, Svoboda now holds several key government posts, including the Prosecutor-General and the Minister of Education. None of the so-called "pro-democracy" protesters seem to have any problem with this.

So, while the situation in Ukraine is not a fascist coup or a Nazi takeover, it remains nevertheless the closest thing to a Nazi takeover that has happened in any European country since 1945. The fascists are a junior coalition partner at the moment, but the mere fact that they are a coalition partner at all should send alarm bells ringing in every European capital. Not only has this not happened, but in fact the leaders of the EU and the US are doing the precise opposite. They are shaking hands with fascists - in some cases quite literally. Here's John McCain with Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok:

john-mccain-oleh-tyahnybok.jpg

I suppose this should be expected... After all, the US has supported plenty of fascists in other parts of the world, especially Latin America. But that was decades ago. It's really shocking to see them doing it again, completely without warning, and in the heart of Europe no less. The US and EU are supporting fascists in Europe. The US and EU are supporting fascists in Europe. The world has gone mad.

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Here are a number of other good articles on the rise of fascism in Ukraine:

Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism

Ukraine’s protest movement: the far-right in focus

Ukrainian anarchist dispels myths surrounding Euromaidan protests, warns of fascist influence

Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism?

"I'll be fighting Jews and Russians till I die": Ukrainian right-wing militants aiming for power (this one is from RT; the other articles were from Western sources)

And here are a couple of articles on U.S. involvement:

In Ukraine, Chaos and Violence Hide Nefarious Role of US

Is the U.S. Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?

(answer: yes, they are)

Finally, I also want to link some articles that give the communist perspective on this situation:

Counter-revolution in Ukraine: mobilise against reactionary coup and fascist militias (a British communist perspective)

Joint Statement of Communist and Workers’ Parties on the recent developments in Ukraine (the closest thing there is to an "official" international communist statement)

Boris Kagarlitsky on Ukraine: ‘A quadrille of monsters’ and ‘Smashing the feed trough’ (an excellent analysis of the situation by a prominent Russian Marxist)

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Edric O, thanks for such a detailed analysis of the situation! I was already alarmed when a very vocal forum member who claims to have been a participant in Maidan activities in this forum lightly dismissed any allegations of a fascist threat in Ukraine as nonexistent:

You can see those signs on every football match. Also, 14/88 is mainly racist signs. Ukraine practically has no immigrants at all, so the guy who has this symbol doesn't even know what they mean. Another teenager.

Yes, I do sound like biased, which I am, but I'm sick with this Nazi thingie I hear here and there. <...>

Talking of Nazis or Neo-Nazis in Ukraine is the same thing as to state that we have whide-spread and popular organizations that are based on hatred towards, for example, elefants. You know why we do not have such organizations? Because we do not have elefants. We do not have elefants, nor gross amount of jews, nor black people, immigrants and etc. At least non of those really threatens somehow to anyone. But what really threatens to every single one of us is corruption and criminals in the government. [source]

Btw, I remember when one deputy was in US one journalist asked him "Why do you still have a poster "Kill the Jews!" on Maidan?". I would really like to know where he got such info. I've heard a lot of claims that Maidan is full of anti-semitism. From russian and governmental medias of course. And I also read a lot of posts of our well-known Jews that wrote dozens of articles about why they are on Maidan, how anti-semitic claims are ridiculous and also info about jews, that served in Israeli army that are now fighting on Maidan side by side with 'neo-nazi-antisemitic-extrimists-armed with gunfire wooden sticks' that throw granades and tanks at defenseless police. [source]

Here's what the same person replied to the statement by another forum member (a Russian-speaking Ukrainian from Odessa) that "Svoboda is an ultra-nationalist party. It's fairly popular in western regions and it is already in the Parliament":

Blah, it's not. It's Kluev's project. It's a nice move to troll the South-East with a threat of Bandera's soldaten attackieren their homes, unless they wote for Party of Regions, that will protect them. They were ready to show their radicalism in a peace time, but weren't noticed in any battle when it actually was valid. Also, Tiahnybok didn't even mention at least one scenario to attack and move act aggressively. Everything they could do is put down Lenin when it was least than appropriate and had this march with torches, when everybody around them asked not to do this.

So it's a fake nationalistic party. Also, radikal requests in society grew more and more popular with each day of Yanukovich's presidentship. Since this days are over, radikal target audience started to reduce. [source]

Again, it wasn't ultra-nationalist ideaology that motivated electors. But the growth of desire to 'kill 'em all' emotions among citizens. I know this, because I know those people who voted for them (and they are defenitely hardly even have a clue of what 'nationalistic' means) and heard their motivation. [source]

I was especially worried about the last statement that discontented people voted for right-wing extremists just because they were angry at the status quo regime. Either the person who posted this is very naive or being coy.

You probably know that whatever is said about radical nationalists and fascists in Ukraine in the Russian media is dismissed by Western sources are blatant propaganda, and major Western news sources seem to never mention anything like that. Reports in Russian news about nationalists are claimed to be fakes and so on. In this respect it is very important that at least some of the Western media are open about the fascist threat.

I didn't pay attention to the rune thing before, should take note of it, thanks!

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I don't think the Ukrainian activist you quoted is particularly wrong, I think he's just extremely naive (like most of the Maidan activists, it seems). After all, it is true that the fascists are drawing a lot of their support (maybe even most of it) from people who are just fed up with the status quo and are willing to support anyone who sounds like they have a radical plan to wipe out all the corruption in the country.

But that's always the main attraction of fascism. Fascists never get popular support by talking about how they want to murder "inferior" ethnic groups, eradicate "traitors" such as labour unions and left-wing parties, and establish a militaristic dictatorship. Racism and anti-left paranoia have a certain appeal, but never enough to make a fascist party truly popular. The way fascists get strong popular support is by saying, "we are the only party that is serious about fixing the problems of the country - we are the only people you can trust to be tough on crime/corruption/whatever."

Fascists see themselves as "men of action, not words", and in some ways this is correct. They never have a coherent ideology or any kind of serious theory of politics or economics. They just identify some people (usually minority ethnic groups) as enemies of the fatherland, blame them for all problems (typically by using conspiracy theories), and set out to get rid of those people through bold violent action. Then they present themselves as the only true patriots, bravely standing up for the interests of the nation against traitors and foreigners. And, under the right circumstances (such as during the Maidan protests), their actions appear brave and admirable, so they gain support - support based on their brave-looking actions, not based on their actual ideas.

On another note, it is absolutely shameful to see the Western media so blatantly whitewashing the rise of fascism in Ukraine or turning a blind eye to it. Have they gone mad? Do they think that if you ignore them, the fascists will simply go away? Or do they think they can somehow work together with them? Hey, what could possibly go wrong, right?

And dismissing the reports of fascist activity as "Russian propaganda" is insane. Did the Russian government put up a portrait of a Nazi collaborator over the entrance to Kiev Town Hall? Did the Russian government hand out WW2-era fascist flags to protesters in Maidan? Did the Russian government force political leaders in Ukraine to rant against Jews? Did the Russian government take town statues of Lenin and deface their pedestals with neo-Nazi graffiti? Did the Russian government do this to the Communist Party headquarters in Kiev? Did they spray-paint this on the entrance of the Reform synagogue in Simferopol? (I don't speak Ukrainian or Russian, but I can read what that vile graffiti says - "Death to the Jews")

It cannot be denied that nationalist protesters and their leaders did these things. So how can it be "propaganda" to point it out?

Of course, not all the pro-Maidan protesters are nationalists or fascists. Russian media does stray into propaganda when it tries to claim that they are. However, even though the majority are not fascists, they are currently allied with fascists. If or when the majority of the pro-Maidan crowd turns against the fascists, I will reconsider my opinion. Until then, all progressive and democratic-minded people must stand against them, no matter how legitimate some of their concerns might be. There can be no compromise with fascists, or those who - out of naiveté or stupidity - choose to ally themselves with fascists.

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Having said that, there is also the matter of the recent Russian occupation of Crimea and the potential for intervention in Eastern Ukraine. I'm not sure where I stand on that. On the one hand, in the name of anti-fascist struggle, I will cheer for anyone fighting against the current Kiev government - even a conservative imperialist like Putin. Russian occupation is better than fascist rule. Churchill was a conservative imperialist too, and yet I absolutely support his actions during WW2. In extreme cases, like this one, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

However, I'm not sure if this Russian intervention will have positive or negative long-term effects for the anti-fascist struggle in Ukraine. On the one hand, it weakens the Kiev government right now, so that is good.

But what about a few months or years from now? If Crimea breaks away and joins Russia, as its regional parliament has recently voted to do, this will inflame nationalist sentiments in Kiev for a very long time. Fascists will constantly talk about getting it back, they will constantly use it as a pretext to incite anti-Russian hatred, and they will succeed in getting angry people to join them in large numbers. And if Russian troops actually march into Eastern Ukraine (which is unlikely, but possible), popular opinion in Kiev would quickly unite under a nationalist banner, with everyone convinced that they need to "defend the fatherland from the invader". All hope of breaking the fascist influence in Kiev would end.

Russian occupation or invasion might save Crimea and some parts of Eastern Ukraine from fascism, but at the cost of abandoning the rest of Ukraine to the far-right for a generation or more.

There is an alternative. The Kiev government is openly preparing to accept an IMF loan, which implies harsh austerity. They have basically announced that they plan to turn Ukraine into another Greece. They will cut wages and pensions, they will privatize everything they can get their hands on, they will fire government employees in large numbers, and so on. They will do this because they want to join the EU, and the EU demands such measures, so they have no choice.

So there is a very good chance that, left to its own devices, this neoliberal-fascist coalition government will completely discredit itself in the eyes of the people by the end of the year.

Aggressive moves by Russia are, in fact, the only thing that could save this government, since it would be able to tell the people, "you have to support us, no matter how bad we are, because we're the only ones who can protect you from big bad Russia!" They will try to use anti-Russian sentiment to distract attention from their failures at home, and if Russia will actually be occupying parts of Eastern Ukraine at the time, that will make their job a lot easier.

So this is the dilemma: Attack now, quickly, in the hope of saving whatever can still be saved... or wait, allow the new government to discredit itself through unpopular measures, and hope that a different government will come to power in due course?

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Did they spray-paint this on the entrance of the Reform synagogue in Simferopol?

I wanted to say that Svoboda's language poster you have linked to in your previous post looks like it comes straight out of a Stürmerkasten but this is truly horrifying. WTF are the people in Europe thinking? I thought that with the Holocaust and WW2 being less than a hundred years away, Europe would jump at the slightest possibility of a wide scale reinvigoration of nationalism to immediately put it out, but apparently anti-Soviet/anti-Communist sentiments are far stronger. Are European powers going to repeat the very same mistake as in the 1930s? The implications here are quite frightening.

I haven't watched all the local news but I think that the Simferopol graffiti wasn't featured for some reason. Neither has Googling come up with any Russian online sources (save for websites of Russian-speaking Jewish communities in Ukraine, and blogs of their members) to mention this.

This Kiev-based Jewish website is currently collecting signs for a petition addressed to the international community to stop the growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine. This issue is apparently nearly completely neglected by the Ukrainian government.

 

However, I'm not sure if this Russian intervention will have positive or negative long-term effects for the anti-fascist struggle in Ukraine.

Unfortunately the use of military force by a foreign power is unlikely to provide any resolution of the conflict within Ukraine. In addition to the tensions between nationalists on one hand and the Russian-speaking and/or Jewish population on the other, there are for example Crimean Tatars who are allegedly not very happy (to say the least) with the possibility of any strengthening of Russian influence in Crimea.

It is also not very clear what will happen to the coalition government in the future (i.e. after the Presidential elections in may). Some experts say (according to the news here again) that Kyiv is appointing new regional Governors posthaste in order to insure that the outcome of the elections is in their favour across the whole country.

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Thank you for informative posts Edric O.

I now look at the Ukraine situation completely different. It will be fun to see all the pro Facist Ukraine media without letting viewers know about them being Facists.

 

I heard that the USA put together a $1 billion USD package for Ukraine support. So they are supporting Facists.

 

Canada has the 3rd highest Ukrainian population after Ukraine and Russia.

 

EDIT:

From reddit:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/03/who-will-protect-the-crimean-tatars.html

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/1ztsor/the_muslim_tatars_in_crimea_are_getting_giant_xs/

 

So Muslims houses are being marked. Last time that happened 200k people were evicted in 30 minutes from the country.

But no way to know who is marking them. Could be Russians punishing them for not supporting them (scare tactic). Could be neonazis. Who knows?

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So Muslims houses are being marked. Last time that happened 200k people were evicted in 30 minutes from the country.

But no way to know who is marking them. Could be Russians punishing them for not supporting them (scare tactic). Could be neonazis. Who knows?

This sounds much like a provocation, and if coming from the Russian side this would only antagonize the Tatars, which is not a good idea in the view of the current situation. I'd suppose it's a ploy to undermine Russian influence and ensure no support from the Tatars is given to the Russian side by reminding them of their past grievances.

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Well, let's not forget that ultra-nationalists exist among the Russians, too. And due to the legacy of the conflict in Chechnya, they tend to hate Muslims. No doubt they are getting excited by the prospect of Russian territorial expansion. The prospect of war always encourages nationalists on both sides. There have been reports of Russian civilian "volunteers" traveling to Crimea. I'm sure at least some of them are ultra-nationalists. However, unlike the Ukrainian fascists, the Russian ones pose no real threat. They are far fewer in number, they are disorganized, they don't have any visible presence in the streets (if they were the ones marking the Tatar homes, notice that they had to do it in secret, not openly identifying themselves), and - most important of all - they have absolutely zero chance of getting any power or influence in the Russian government. In other words, they're like the usual far-right fringe in most countries.

So yes, it's possible that Russian nationalists or fascists were responsible for vandalizing Tatar homes (although it could just as easily be Svoboda or Right Sector, after all they hate Tatars too). But Putin isn't about to offer them seats in his government like Svoboda has in Kiev. For better or worse, we can count on Putin to not share any power with anyone, ever.

The scary thing happening in Ukraine is not that fascists exist - of course they do - but the fact that they are getting significant popular support, the fact that they openly march in the streets with their symbols and WW2 portraits (as opposed to having to hide what they are), and the fact that they were offered government posts with the full support of the other ruling parties and the West.

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Here is summary of what will happen in Ukraine

http://gameofgeopolitics.blogspot.ca/2014/03/crisis-in-ukraine.html

 

It is just sad too see that western nations are heading for another loss in foreign policy with Russia.

That's actually an optimistic scenario - basically the restoration of the status quo ante from before the Maidan protests began, but maybe with a little more Russian influence. If that's all that happens, we can count ourselves lucky.

And the Western powers should count themselves lucky in that scenario as well, because they're playing with fire right now and might get a far worse burn than just ending up back where they started. For example, Ukraine could collapse into civil war. Or the fascists could become the dominant force in government as opposed to a junior partner, and then teach Obama and Merkel what happens when you imagine you can totally keep your fascist allies under control (hint: you can't).

I honestly don't understand what the Western powers are playing at right now. Are they so desperate to hurt Russia that they're willing to support anyone to do it? Why? I understand that Russia is a rival, of course, but it's not even a big one - not any more - and remember what happened the last time the West supported a bunch of ultra-reactionary "freedom fighters" on the grounds that they were fighting against Russia? That was in Afghanistan in the 80s, and one of those friendly allies of the West at the time was Osama bin Laden. You'd think someone should have learned a lesson, but I guess not.

And Ukraine isn't Afghanistan. It's much closer to home. Making the same stupid mistake here would have far worse consequences. What the hell are they thinking in Washington and Brussels? "Hey guys, supporting religious extremists sure was fun and totally not a bad idea in retrospect, so let's also help out a few fascists and see what happens!"...?

"What could possibly go wrong?" should be the official motto of Western foreign policy these days.

Actually, I suspect it's just arrogance, and they simply refuse to believe that they can ever lose control of a situation - dismissing all historical evidence to the contrary as a fluke. Maybe their thinking is not really "what could possibly go wrong?", but rather "mistakes were made in the past, but we've perfected our methods since then, and this time nothing will go wrong."

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Actually, I suspect it's just arrogance, and they simply refuse to believe that they can ever lose control of a situation - dismissing all historical evidence to the contrary as a fluke. Maybe their thinking is not really "what could possibly go wrong?", but rather "mistakes were made in the past, but we've perfected our methods since then, and this time nothing will go wrong."

Sometimes I think there's some kind of Cold War inertia directing thought patterns on both sides, without regard to the actual political and economic situation in the world.

Also it is quite possible that "the West" acts like this because actually there are no unifying interests between Europe and the US. The situation in the Ukraine seems to play well into the hands of those who would see a disorganized Europe (or maybe even the collapse of the EU?). I mean, the austerity measures that will have to be taken in exchange for EU support in the Ukraine aren't going to positively affect the welfare of Ukrainians (to say the least), but the inclusion of the Ukraine in its present state into the EU is also likely to weaken Europe, as the EU already has enough economic trouble in other member countries.

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Just read about a project called StopFake, which intends to filter out whatever fake accounts concerning the situation in Crimea (from either side) might appear in the media.

About us

Fact-checking website Stopfake.org was launched on March 2, 2014 by alums and students of Mohyla School of Journalism and Digital Future of Journalism professional program for journalists and editors.

At a later stage the initial team was joined by many journalists, marketing specialists, programmers, translators and all those who care about the fate of our country and its people.

The main purpose of this community is to check facts, verify information and refute distorted information and propaganda about events in Crimea covered in the media media.

The number of volunteers is constantly growing to help to verify information, to write, to edit and translate stories.

StopFake.org community does not represent or support any political party or other organization.

Anyone can join our community to contribute intellectually or share your stories. [source]

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What worries me the most is that Crimea dominates the news so much that we don't really get to hear what's going on in the rest of Ukraine any more. I haven't heard any news out of Lviv since Yanukovych fell. Last I heard, the regional and local governments collapsed and their buildings were completely taken over by protesters. So who's in charge in Lviv these days? The authority of the Kiev government is flimsy in the East, but what's it like in the West, where they probably think the new government is not right-wing enough? Is Lviv ruled by Svoboda now? Or even by Right Sector?

On a more hopeful note, I've discovered the website of a Ukrainian Marxist group that seems to be very involved in anti-fascist activity, and opposes both the governments in Kiev and Moscow:

www.borotba.org

They have some stuff in English (for example this statement), but for the most part I've been relying on Google Translate to read their website. Have a look, let me know what you think.

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