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Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?
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Author:  Luckyspin [ 24 Jan 2014 13:02 ]
Post subject:  Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?


Ukraine’s future prosperity lies in developing European-style democracies.
Integrating Ukraine’s economy may create a window for reform.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich set off a fresh crisis in his country in fall 2013, when he rejected a trade deal offered by the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. Thousands of Ukrainian citizens took to the streets in protest, and clashes with riot police resulted in injuries.

What are we to make of these events?

Understanding the choice before Ukraine and the motives of Yanukovich and Russian President Vladimir Putin requires a nuanced appreciation of the economic history of the post-Soviet landscape.

The break-up of a single economy that resulted from the collapse of the USSR had harsh economic consequences that are still playing out in the region.

In the 1990s, Russia’s economy contracted 40 percent, and Ukraine’s economy fell as much as 60 percent. The Soviet economic system was destroyed, and new types of co-operation between countries are only just beginning to emerge. This is by no means an easy process.

In the Soviet era, Ukraine was the most economically and technologically advanced republic in the USSR. But as a sovereign state today, Ukraine is one of Europe’s poorest countries.

The EU and the U.S. began to compete with Russia for influence over Kiev soon after the breakup of the Soviet Union. But their actions lack strategic vision and are currently not backed by economic resources.

Not so long ago, Ukraine was the third largest recipient of U.S. aid, after Israel and Egypt. The EU too has implemented numerous reform assistance programs for Ukraine.

But the scale of that support was far from meeting Ukraine’s needs. The 2008 crisis had a devastating effect on its economy.

A $16.4 billion agreement with the IMF signed in November 2008, and a follow-up $15.1 billion agreement in August 2010 were only able to slow down the country’s slide into an economic abyss.

There were also difficult social consequences, showing the country’s leadership that the path of ultraliberal reforms would be dangerous for social stability. It was at that period of uncertainty that Russia joined in the politico-economic rivalry over Ukraine.

When inviting Kiev to sign an association agreement in November 2013, the European Union in effect agreed that the task of improving Ukraine’s situation lay fully on the Ukrainian authorities and people. The EU, after all, had its own financial and economic crisis to deal with first.

Kiev had expected Brussels to come up with a modern version of the Marshall Plan, and those expectations were dashed. In effect, Ukraine was being invited to join a Eurocentric model as one of its periphery states.

By contrast, Russian leaders believe that becoming “a second-rate European country” is not what Ukraine deserves. The Kremlin is offering Ukraine a more attractive short-term development path as a partner in the Moscow-led integration bloc called the Eurasian Union.

The aid package that Russia offered to Ukraine in December 2013 (a $15 billion loan; a considerable price cut on Russian gas; joint technological projects) prevented a default and provided some breathing room to develop plans for saving the Ukrainian economy. Champions of integration within the Eurasian Union say one should not overestimate the destructive consequences of the collapse of the unified Soviet economy.

Much of the shared Soviet legacy has indeed been preserved. For instance, Russia and Ukraine still have massive trade in goods and services ($55.5 billion in 2012), visa-free travel and free movement of labour, an integrated gas transportation and power system and military-industrial cooperation.

Russia still has its naval base in the Crimea, Ukraine. In political economics, relations like these are termed “interdependence” and they are an important condition for economic integration.

But it is doubtful whether the model proposed by Russia will remain sustainable in the long term. Experts are well aware that the effective functioning of a modern state depends on such institutions as strong property rights and market sophistication.

Property rights protection in Russia is poor, institutions of the required quality have not yet been created and the country’s authorities are not doing anything to create them. What the Russian economy needs is not micromanagement from the Kremlin, but reforms that could ensure the operation of the economic institutions of a modern state.

If Russia’s next move after involving Ukraine in a process of reintegration is to carry out the kinds of radical institutional reforms that economists have been urging for the past 10 years, then the protests in Kiev’s Independence Square and the unexpected rapprochement between Russia and Ukraine could have long-term positive consequences for both countries.

Russia and Ukraine are united in that their future prosperity lies in developing European-type democratic societies. Yet Russia also aspires to become an independent centre of gravity in world politics. Its current efforts are aimed at attracting Ukraine into its own integration project, which runs counter to the interests of the EU and the U.S.

The need to deepen cooperation with Ukraine within an integration project will hopefully spur reforms both in Russia and Ukraine, leading to the creation of a window of opportunity for a real modernization of the politico-economic system in both countries.

But in the meantime, Russia is unlikely to adopt a policy that reconciles itself to passively watching Ukraine develop as a peripheral member of the European Union.

Leaders of the countries that once constituted the Soviet Union share certain similarities in their world-view. One is that they tend to downplay the concept of ”values” as a motivating factor for national policy, preferring instead to focus on “interests,” both national and personal.

Russian leaders are convinced that international relations within the Commonwealth of Independent States (as the loose-knit organization of former Soviet states is known) is a zero-sum game territory. That means every defeat suffered by a partner from outside the region translates into a victory for Russia. Such outsiders would include the U.S. and China, as well as the EU.

Any attempt to understand the economic consequences of the current events around Ukraine without taking into account this world view of the regional elites is bound to fail.

Stanislav Tkachenko is an associate professor of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University.

Author:  wiz [ 27 Jan 2014 10:28 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?



Ukraine's justice minister has warned anti-government protesters occupying
her ministry she will call for a state of emergency if they do not leave.

Olena Lukash told local media she would ask the National Security and Defence Council to introduce the measures.

Protesters seized the building in Kiev late on Sunday and set up barricades outside with bags of snow.

Unrest is spreading across Ukraine, with activists taking over municipal buildings in up to 10 cities.

Buildings have come under attack even in eastern areas which have traditionally had closer ties with Russia and where President Viktor Yanukovych has enjoyed strong support.

The crisis was sparked by the president's decision not to sign an EU deal, and has escalated with the deaths of four activists in recent days.

Correspondents say protesters entered the justice ministry building in the capital without resistance.

"The seizure of the Ministry of Justice is a symbolic act of the people of the uprising. Now, these authorities are stripped of justice," one protester told reporters.

One of the organisers of the occupation, who gave his name as Oleg, said the building was being used to shelter those enduring freezing conditions in street protests nearby.

He told the Associated Press news agency: "We are not going to do any hooliganism, or have anyone hurt. We are peaceful people, we are for justice."

But Ms Lukash told Inter TV channel: "If the protesters do not leave the justice ministry building... I will ask the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine to impose the state of emergency."

She said water had been sprayed inside the building, "turning it into a veritable ice rink".

The minister is involved in the ongoing negotiations between the government and protest leaders, but said she would be "forced to turn to the Ukrainian president with a request to stop the negotiations unless the justice ministry building is vacated without delay and the negotiators are given a chance to find a peaceful solution to the conflict".

Last week, the parliament of the Crimean Autonomous Republic - seen as a staunch supporter of Mr Yanukovych - also urged the president to declare a state of emergency.

The parliament is due to meet for an extraordinary session on Tuesday, but the speaker has previously said a state of emergency will not be under discussion.

Election call

Street protests began in Kiev in November, after President Yanukovych announced he would not sign the long-awaited EU free trade agreement.

The protesters were further angered by the introduction of new laws last week aimed at cracking down on unrest by banning tents being put up in public places and the wearing of helmets and masks.

The opposition is demanding that the EU deal be signed, political prisoners - including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko - freed and the new laws repealed.

The fresh unrest comes after opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk rejected President Yanukovych's offer to appoint him prime minister, saying the key demands must be met.

Although the protest movement - the EuroMaidan - is largely peaceful, a hardcore of radicals have been fighting battles with police away from the main protest camp in Maidan, or Independence Square.

Reports now suggest unrest is spreading further into the country's east, which is seen as Mr Yanukovych's support base.

In north-eastern Sumy, protesters occupied the city's council building, Ukraine's Unian news agency reports, while police used tear gas as several thousand people tried to storm the state regional administration building.

Unrest was also reported across the country, with protests and attempts - some successful - to seize government buildings.

Towns and cities affected include: Zaporizhzhya and Dnipropetrovsk in the south-east, Cherkasy, south of Kiev: the main western city of Lviv: Chernihiv in the north and Odessa on the Black Sea coast.


BBC 27 Jan 2014

Author:  wiz [ 27 Jan 2014 10:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?



Protesters burn tires as they clash with riot police during an anti-government protest in downtown Kiev.
At least two people died of gunshot wounds on January 22 during anti-government protests in Ukraine.


Riot police officers gather as they clash with protestors in the center of Kiev on Jan. 22.
Ukrainian police stormed protesters' barricades in Kiev as violent clashes erupted.


Ukrainian riot policemen detain a bleeding protester following clashes
between security forces and pro-EU demonstrators in central Kiev.


A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during an anti-government protest in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Jan 22. According to media reports, two men were shot dead as anti-government protests escalated in Ukraine, causing central Kiev to resemble a war zone with protesters and riot police battling on and off while smoke from burning tyres and firebombs blackened the sky.


Police prepare to clash with protesters in central Kiev, Ukraine, Jan. 22. The mass
protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia,
which offered him a $15 billion bailout.


A pro-European integration protester takes cover behind a makeshift shield at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev. Ukrainian opposition leaders emerged from crisis talks with President Viktor Yanukovich on Wednesday saying he had
failed to give concrete answers to their demands, and told their supporters on the streets to prepare for a police offensive.


A protester breaks up a mannequin on the roof of the burned truck during clashes with police in central Kiev.Thick black
smoke from burning tires engulfed parts of downtown Kiev as an ultimatum issued by the opposition to the president
to call early election or face street rage was set to expire with no sign of a compromise on Thursday.


Protesters stand on a barricade during an anti-government protest in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Jan 24.


A pro-European integration protester throws stones towards riot police as others take cover in Kiev.


A woman cries as she and others appeal to Ukrainian police troops at the site of clashes with anti-government protesters in Kiev. Ukrainian protesters erected more street barricades and occupied a government ministry building on Friday after the failure of crisis talks with President Viktor Yanukovich, pointing to a further hot weekend of protest. The words on the placard read, from top: "Soldiers and policemen, pass on to the people's side. Together to the victory. Glory to Ukraine."

Author:  wiz [ 27 Jan 2014 11:13 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?



Pro-European integration protesters take cover from water sprayed from a fire engine at the site of clashes with riot police.


A view of anti-government protesters camping at the Independence Square in central Kiev Ukrainian protesters erected
more street barricades and occupied a government ministry building on Friday, fuelling tension after the failure of crisis talks with President Viktor Yanukovich.


An anti-government protester stands next to a mannequin on a barricade at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev Jan. 24


Police troops stand in front of a barricade at the site of clashes with anti-government protesters in Kiev Jan. 24


A protester wearing improvised protective gear helps a woman cross near the barricade in front of riot police in Kiev, Ukraine, Jan. 24. Protesters have seized a government building in the Ukrainian capital while also maintaining the siege of several governors' offices in the country's west, raising the pressure on the government.


Police block the road near the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers building on Jan. 24, in Kiev, Ukraine. After two months of primarily peaceful anti-government protests in the city center, new laws meant to end the protest movement have sparked violent clashes in recent days.


A woman speaks as she kneels down in front of a line of riot police in the center of Kiev on Jan. 24. Ukrainian protesters today expanded their protest camp in Kiev closer to the administration of President Viktor Yanukovych, after crisis talks to end Ukraine's worst crisis since its 1991 independence ended in deadlock.


Protesters warm themselves at a fire during continuous anti-government protests in Kiev, Ukraine, Jan. 24. Anti-government protesters in Ukraine vowed to carry on after President Viktor Yanukovych failed to make major concessions in late-night talks with opposition leaders.

Some 10,000 Ukrainians take part in the funeral ceremony of dead protester
Yuri Verbytsky in the western city of Lviv on 2 Jan 2014.

Anti-government protesters stand on a barricade at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev, Jan. 24. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, in what appeared to be an offer of concessions to the opposition amid violent protests against his rule, pledged on Friday to reshuffle the government next week and to amend sweeping anti-protest laws.

Author:  Luckyspin [ 19 Feb 2014 07:59 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?

Riot police move in against Kiev protest camp


Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych has blamed opposition leaders for the
latest upsurge of violence in Kiev, which has left 25 people dead.

Amid cries of "Glory to Ukraine!" and with flaming tires lighting up the night sky, thousands of riot police armed with stun grenades and water cannons attacked the sprawling protest camp in the centre of Kiev, following a day of street battles that left at least 25 people dead and hundreds injured.

The violence on Tuesday was the deadliest in nearly three months of anti-government protests that have paralysed Ukraine's capital in a struggle over the identity of a nation divided in loyalties between Russia and the West, and the worst in the country's post-Soviet history

With the boom of exploding stun grenades and fireworks nearly drowning out his words at times, opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged the 20,000 protesters to defend the camp on Independence Square that has been the heart of the protests.

"We will not go anywhere from here," Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing champion, told the crowd, speaking from a stage in the square as tents and tires burned around him, releasing huge plumes of smoke. "This is an island of freedom and we will defend it," he said.

Many heeded his call.

"This looks like a war against one's own people," said Dmytro Shulko, 35, who was heading toward the camp armed with a fire bomb. "But we will defend ourselves."

As police dismantled some of the barricades on the perimeter of the square and tried to push away the protesters, they fought back with rocks, bats and fire bombs. Against the backdrop of a soaring monument to Ukraine's independence, protesters fed the burning flames with tires, creating walls of fire to prevent police from advancing. A large building the protesters had used as a headquarters caught fire and many struggled to get out. Many of the protesters were bleeding.

Speaking over loudspeakers, police urged women and children to leave the square because an "anti-terrorist" operation was under way.

The protesters appeared to sense that Ukraine's political stand-off was reaching a critical turning point. Waving Ukrainian and opposition party flags, they shouted "Glory to Ukraine!" and sang the Ukrainian national anthem.

Shortly before midnight, Klitschko headed to President Viktor Yanukovych's office to try to resolve the crisis. He returned to the square early Wednesday without reaching any agreement on ending the violence. Klitschko told reporters that he had asked the president to stop the police action to clear the square and prevent further deaths, but Yanukovych's only proposal was that the demonstrators have to go home and stop the protests.

"I am very unhappy because there was no discussion," Klitschko said. "They don't want to listen."

Still, Klitschko urged the protesters and police to stop the escalation of violence. He said opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk was trying to arrange for more negotiations with Yanukovych later Wednesday.

The violence began Tuesday when protesters attacked police lines and set fires outside parliament, accusing Yanukovych of once again ignoring their demands. Parliament, dominated by his supporters, was stalling on taking up a constitutional reform to limit presidential powers.

Tensions had soared after Russia said Monday that it was ready to resume providing the loans that Yanukovych's government needs to keep Ukraine's ailing economy afloat. This raised fears among the opposition that Yanukovych had made a deal with Moscow to stand firm against the protesters and would choose a Russian-leaning loyalist to be his new prime minister.

The protests began in late November after Yanukovych turned away from a long-anticipated deal with the European Union in exchange for a $15 billion bailout from Russia. The political maneuvering continued, however, with both Moscow and the West eager to gain influence over this former Soviet republic.

Until Monday, the government and the opposition had appeared to be making some progress toward resolving the political crisis peacefully. In exchange for the release of scores of jailed activists, protesters on Sunday vacated a government building that they had occupied since Dec. 1.

Russia also may have wanted to see Kiev remain calm through the Winter Olympics in Sochi, so as not to distract from President Vladimir Putin's games. But after the outburst of violence against riot police, Yanukovych's government may have felt it had no choice but to try to restore order.

While Kiev and western Ukraine have risen up against Yanukovych, he remains popular in the Russian-speaking eastern and southern regions, where economic and cultural ties with Russia are strong.

As darkness fell, law enforcement agencies vowed to bring order to the streets and they shut down subway stations in the center of the capital. In Independence Square, Orthodox priests prayed for peace.

"We see that this regime again has begun shooting people; they want to sink Ukraine in blood. We will not give in to a single provocation," Yatsenyuk told the protesters. "We will not take one step back from this square. We have nowhere to retreat to. Ukraine is behind us, Ukraine's future is behind us."

Tuesday's clashes were the first to lead to deaths since Jan. 22, when two protesters were hit with live ammunition and a third died after a fall.

As angry protesters outside parliament hurled stones at police and set trucks blocking their way on fire, riot police retaliated with stun grenades and fired what appeared to be small metal balls, as smoke from burning tires and vehicles billowed over Kiev.

Early Wednesday morning, government agencies said 18 people died in the violence, including seven policemen who died from gunshot wounds. Eleven civilians also died, including three who were shot. A police spokeswoman said 159 police were wounded, including 39 who were shot.

The coordinator for the opposition's medical response team, Oleh Musiy, said more than 400 protesters were injured. He also claimed that about 20 had died, but this could not independently be confirmed.

One of the civilians was found dead after protesters stormed the office of the president's Party of Regions. Police pushed them away, but when firefighters arrived to put out a fire, they discovered the body of an office employee, Kiev's emergency services said.

Justice Minister Olena Lukash, a close Yanukovych aide, accused the opposition of violating earlier agreements with the government and blamed protest leaders for the violence.

In Washington, Vice President Joe Biden expressed his "grave concern" in telephone call to Yanukovych, urging him to pull back government forces and exercise maximum restraint. The White House said Biden also called on Ukraine's government to address the protesters' "legitimate grievances" and put forward proposals for political reform.

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged both sides to end the violence, halt their ultimatums and hold high-level talks.

U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey R. Payatt also threatened both sides with sanctions. "We believe Ukraine's crisis can still be solved via dialogue, but those on both sides who fuel violence will open themselves to sanctions," Payatt said on Twitter.

Germany has refused to back Washington's calls for sanctions against Ukraine's government to pressure it into accepting opposition demands for reforms.

But when central Kiev exploded in violence Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Ukrainian security forces have a "particular responsibility" to de-escalate the situation, adding that the EU might resort to unspecified sanctions against individuals. "Whoever is responsible for decisions that lead to bloodshed in the center of Kiev or elsewhere in Ukraine will need to consider that Europe's previous reluctance for personal sanctions must be rethought," he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry blamed the West for the escalation of the violence and called on the opposition to work with the government to find a way out of the crisis.

"What is happening is a direct result of the conniving politics of Western politicians and European bodies," the ministry said in a statement.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed shock at the escalating and "unacceptable" violence and called for "the immediate renewal of genuine dialogue leading to rapid results," U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. "Preventing further instability and bloodshed is a paramount priority."


Author:  Luckyspin [ 20 Feb 2014 17:59 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?

Ukraine truce fails, rioters renew offensive in Kiev,
and death toll rises to 70


The battle for Kiev’s Independence Square has reignited as rioters clash with security forces amid sniper fire. The death toll has increased to 70, the Ukrainian Health Ministry confirmed.
It has also announced that 505 people have been injured in the turmoil, with around 300 of those admitted to hospital.

Rioters have reached the Rada building (the country's parliament), while the police have been pushed back into Mariinsky park nearby. An emergency evacuation has been declared and parliament members and employees are leaving the building.

Protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the police on Thursday morning as violence broke out once again in spite of the day of mourning that had been declared as a mark of respect for the people who have died in the unrest. Ambulances have been sent to Maidan and video footage shows several people carried away on stretchers. Police are throwing tear gas grenades at protesters, according to Unian news agency.

Protesters pushed security forces off Independence Square and seized Oktyabrsky Palace - a major concert hall in the Ukrainian capital - and Hotel Ukraine. Gunfire can be heard throughout the Ukrainian capital.

Furthermore, a dozen police officers have reportedly been captured by demonstrators on Independence Square.

The Interior Ministry of Ukraine said that at least 23 police officers had been injured by sniper fire on Independence Square. The protesters are “openly using fire arms against the Berkut [Special Forces],” wrote the Interior Ministry in a statement.

“The injured are currently receiving emergency medical help,” said the Interior Ministry.

Police say that the sniper fire originated from the roof of Kiev’s Conservatory and targeted officers. The Ukrainian opposition claims that protesters were also caught in the gunfire.
“I think the opposition has crossed the line. I think the policy of negotiations has exhausted itself,” said the deputy head of the Party of Regions, Oleg Tsarev, in parliament.

Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich met with opposition leaders on Wednesday evening where a temporary truce was agreed to mourn the victims of the mass unrest. Hard-line opposition group Right Sector rejected the truce and urged its followers to continue the offensive.

In response to the continuing violence in Ukraine, the international community has threatened sanctions if both sides do not return to the negotiation table.

Foreign Ministers from Poland, France and Germany were scheduled to meet with Yanukovich and opposition leaders on Thursday, but left the city unexpectedly for security reasons.

US President Barack Obama spoke out against the violence in Kiev on Wednesday evening, warning of” consequences.”

“We’ll be monitoring very carefully the situation, recognizing that, along with our European partners and the international community, there will be consequences if people step over the line,” Obama said.


LATEST information from personal contacts at 17 GMT 20 Feb 14:

All banks have closed, No ATM, No Credit Cards working and shops accept only Cash!

Terrible situation as public transport is not working, offices closed, Kiev is not accessible any more from other parts of the country.

Author:  Luckyspin [ 21 Feb 2014 06:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?

US president accuses his Russian counterpart of failing
to respect people’s basic freedoms in both Ukraine and Syria

Barack Obama has sharply criticised Russian support for crackdowns in Ukraine and Syria, calling for a transitional government in Kiev and personally accusing Vladimir Putin of failing to respect basic freedoms in both countries.

In his most explicit comments yet on alleged Kremlin involvement, the president used a press conference at the North American leaders’ summit in Mexico to warn against viewing the countries as a “cold war chessboard”, insisting the US was “on the side of the people”.

“You have, in this situation, one country that has clearly been a client state of Russia, another whose government is currently being supported by Russia, where the people obviously have a very different view and vision for their country,” said Obama.

“I think this is an expression of the hopes and aspirations of people inside of Syria and people inside of the Ukraine who recognise that basic freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, fair and free elections – are fundamental rights that everybody wants to enjoy.”

Obama continued with an unusually personal attack on the Russian president, suggesting recent setbacks in Ukraine and at Syrian peace talks had pushed their already strained relationship to a fresh low.

“Mr Putin has a different view on many of those issues [of basic freedom] and I don’t think that there’s any secret on that,” he said.

“Our approach in the United States is not to see these as some cold war chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia. Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future, that the people of Syria are able to make the decisions without having bombs going off.

“There are times, I hope, where Russia will recognise that over the long term they should be on board with those values and interests as well. Right now there are times where we have strong disagreements.”

Both Obama and the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, who shared the stage at the press conference in Toluca, were cautious about reports of a truce with Ukrainian protestors, urging political leaders in Kiev to go further and establish a transitional government.

“My hope is at this point that a truce may hold,” said Obama. “But Stephen is exactly right; ultimately the government is responsible for making sure that we shift towards some sort of unity government, even if it’s temporary, that allows us to move to fair and free elections so that the will of the Ukrainian people can be rightly expressed without the kinds of chaos we’ve seen on the streets, without the bloodshed that all of us I think strongly condemn.”

Events in Kiev have overshadowed the Mexico summit and precipitated a rapid hardening of the US position over the last 24 hours. Arriving on Wednesday morning, Obama directed his criticism solely at the Ukrainian government, which he said was “primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way”.

Later in Washington the state department was more explicit in its comments on Russian involvement but said it was difficult to be sure exactly how much of an influence Kremlin support had played.

“We’ve seen a pattern of [financial support] beginning with the $15bn in loans that Russia offered in December,” said a senior state department official. “But these have been non-transparent discussions. So it’s very hard to have a good ability to analyse. And with regard to how it might have influenced President Yanukovych’s thinking, I personally have long since stopped trying to read his mind.”

Obama showed little hesitation in blaming Russian support for exacerbating the Ukrainian crisis.

“When I speak to Mr Putin, I’m very candid about those disagreements,” added Obama. “But I want to emphasise this. The situation that happened in Ukraine has to do with whether or not the people of Ukraine can determine their own destiny.”

Author:  wiz [ 21 Feb 2014 20:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?

Obama said:...."In his most explicit comments yet on alleged Kremlin involvement, the president used
a press conference at the North American leaders’ summit in Mexico to warn against viewing the countries as a “cold war chessboard”, insisting the US was “on the side of the people”.,"

In other words, Obama is accusing Putin of regarding Ukraine exactly as the USA does ; that is, as one of what of his former foreign policy advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski called of the major 'geopolitical pivots' of the globe. The Ukrainian people count for little in this Great Game.

Ukraine is so similar to Syria. Only its geopolitical significance is in that it occupies a vital transit zone for oil and gas entering the EU. By supporting regime change in Ukraine, a clear aim now, the Western powers want to push through accession to the EU and NATO.

Unfortunately, momentum has passed to the more staunch neoconservative diplomats in Europe such as Radek Sikorski and his ardent hope to yoke the protection of Ukraine to Western military and economic dominance over its internal politics. It would culminate a historic victory over Russia.

Evidently, the west of Ukraine is more closely tied culturally and historically to 'the west' and Poland. To force through a change that would break the power of the Party of the Regions, popular in the Russian speaking east of Ukraine, has been the ultimate game plan for over a decade.

The problem is that the EU and US has seen a historical opportunity ........Maidan Square Kiev (Independence Sq.).......... and has thrown decisive weight behind an insurrection against the Yanukovych government. But in doing so it has pledged itself to condoning violence and the effective overthrow of a government that was democratically elected.

No matter the corruption of the Ukrainian government, the previous one supported by the West had become very unpopular for its oligarchical venality too. But few even bother to invoke the names of Yushchenko or Tymoshenko now. So new political formations backed by the West are vying for power.

The danger is that the gloves are now off it Ukraine. Democratic elections and due process has been cast aside by a more aggressive form of 'People Power' that has made the success of violence seem the key to determining Ukraine's future. Klitchko's party is called Punch.

Smarting over the humiliation that the US suffered after Putin bestrode the world stage as the cautious diplomat preventing military intervention in Syria last summer, Obama has seen an opportunity to try and win back the 'soft power', battle for world opinion.

Unfortunately, Ukraine is seen as an arena of conflict in which Western actors can regain the upper hand over Russia. The problem is that Putin is not going to blink over what is clearly a direct and obvious attempt by the west to get regime change and extend its economic and military power right up the Russian border.

The situation is extremely dangerous. As yet we do not know what the reaction could be from Russian speaking regions as they see a government popular with large sections of it potentially thrown out of power by violent actions in Kiev led mostly by right wing nationalists from the west.

It needs to be remembered that Ukrainian nationalism of the sort represented by Svoboda is not insignificant. They got 70% of the vote in Lviv where nationalists are known to beat up those speaking Russian in public. What if Russian speaking Ukrainians start to mobilise?

Photo: The Opera House in Lviv

Author:  wiz [ 22 Feb 2014 12:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?


President’s whereabouts uncertain as opposition push for resignation


The whereabouts of Ukrainian President Yanukovich are unknown a day after he agreed to opposition demands. Parliament is trying to replace its resigned speaker to push for presidential resignation and an early election.

Ukraine remains chaotic amid the worst political crisis the country has seen in modern history. Viktor Yanukovich has gone missing, with even his immediate staff declining to say where he is.

The presidential residence in Kiev has been abandoned and left virtually unguarded. Some media reports said on Friday that the residents had packed up and left.

Some media reports suggest that Yanukovich is in Kharkov, a city in Eastern Ukraine, which is a stronghold of his Party of Regions. The president is supposedly going to take part in a summit of members of regional parliaments from Eastern and Southern Ukraine. The emergency gathering will be discussing the ongoing crisis and the strategy the Euromaidan-sceptical regions will follow after the opposition gains in Kiev and in the west of the country.

Neither presidential staff nor local authorities in Kharkov confirmed Yanukovich’s visit. The local airport said the presidential plane had not landed there.

Meanwhile in Kiev, the Ukrainian Parliament gathered for a new emergency session. The session started with an announcement that Speaker Vladimir Rybak and First Deputy Speaker Igor Kaletnik have both resigned.


Protesters gather outside the Ukrainian Parliament building in Kiev 22 February

The Party of Regions faction in the parliament lost eight more members on Saturday, as MPs rushed to abandon the sinking ruling coalition. Over the past few days, a total of 34 parliamentarians announced they were parting ways with Yanukovich’s government.

Opposition parties are pushing for adoption of a resolution demanding that Yanukovich resigns the office of the president. If he submits, Ukraine would have to hold early an presidential election by May 25.

Due to the president’s absence, the bills passed by the parliament on Friday have not been passed into law from a technical point of view, because Yanukovich never signed them. Opposition leader, Arseny Yatsenyuk, told fellow MPs that this gives grounds for the president’s resignation.

The bills, previously agreed to by the president and opposition leaders, include a constitutional reform, which strips the presidential office of a lot of power in favor of the parliament, forming a national unity government and holding early parliamentary election.

The opposition-dominated parliament is also seeking Yanukovich’s impeachment and a criminal code reform, which would annul the sentence of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko, currently serving a prison term for overstepping her authority in signing an unfavorably gas deal with Russia, is one of the most adamant critics of the president. During the three months of the confrontation, she called on her supporters to put more pressure on Yanukovich and force him out of power.

On the ground the governmental area of Kiev is under complete opposition control. In a sharp contrast to the deadly confrontation of just days before, there is no police presence in the center of the capital. Opposition fighters are calling on police officers to join their ranks and patrol the streets as members of the “Maidan self-defence force.”

Author:  Luckyspin [ 28 Feb 2014 19:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: Crisis in Ukraine: A catalyst for long-overdue change?


Reality on the ground in Ukraine contradicts the incompetent and immoral Obama regime’s portrait of Ukrainian democracy on the march.

To the extent that government exists in post-coup Ukraine, it is laws dictated by gun and threat wielding thugs of the neo-Nazi, Russo-phobic, ultra-nationalist, right-wing parties. Watch the video of the armed thug, Aleksandr Muzychko, who boosts of killing Russian soldiers in Chechnya, dictating to the Rovno regional parliament to grant of apartments to families of protesters.

Read about the neo-nazis intimidating the Central Election Commission in order to secure rule and personnel changes in order to favor the ultra-right in the forthcoming elections. Thug Aleksandr Shevchenko informed the CEC that armed activists will remain in CEC offices in order to make certain that the election is not rigged against the neo-nazis. What he means, of course, is the armed thugs will make sure the neo-nazis win. If the neo-nazis don’t win, the chances are high that they will take power regardless.

Members of President Yanukovich’s ruling party, the Party of Regions, have been shot, had arrest warrants issued for them, have experienced home invasions and physical threats, and are resigning in droves in hopes of saving the lives of themselves and their families. The prosecutor’s office in the Volyn region (western Ukraine) has been ordered by ultra-nationalists to resign en masse .

Jewish synagogues and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches are being attacked.

To toot my own horn, I might have been the first and only to predict that Washington’s organization of pro-EU Ukrainian politicians into a coup against the elected government of Ukraine would destroy democracy and establish the precedent that force prevails over elections, thereby empowering the organized and armed extreme right-wing.

This is precisely what has happened. Note that there was no one in the Obama regime who had enough sense to see the obvious result of their smug, self-satisfied interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine.

If a democratically elected president and ruling party are so easily driven from power by armed neo-nazis, what chance do Washington’s paid stooges among the so-called “moderates” have of forming a government? These are the corrupt people who wanted President Yanukovich out of office so that they could take the money instead. The corruption charge against Yanukovich was cover for the disloyal, undemocratic “moderate” schemers to seize power and be paid millions of dollars by Washington for taking Ukraine into the EU and NATO.

The Washington-paid schemers are now reaping their just reward as they sit in craven silence while neo-nazi Muzychko wielding an Ak-47 challenges government officials to their face: “I dare you take my gun!”

Only Obama, Susan Rice, Victoria Nuland, Washington’s European puppets, and the Western prostitute media can describe the brutal reality of post-coup Ukraine as “the forward march of democracy.”

The West now faces a real mess, and so does Russia. The presstitutes will keep the American public from ever knowing what has happened, and the Obama regime will never admit it. It is not always clear that even the Russians want to admit it. The intelligent, reasonable, and humane Russian Foreign Minister, a person 100 cuts above the despicable John Kerry, keeps speaking as if this is all a mistake and appealing to the Western governments to stand behind the agreement that they pressured President Yanukovich to sign.

Yanukovich is history, as are Washington’s “moderates.” The moderates are not only corrupt; they are stupid. The fools even disbanded the Riot Police, leaving themselves at the mercy of the armed right-wing nazi thugs.

Ukraine is out of control. This is what happens when an arrogant, but stupid, Assistant Secretary of State (Victoria Nuland) plots with an equally arrogant and stupid US ambassador (Pyatt) to put their candidates in power once their coup against the elected president succeeds. The ignorant and deluded who deny any such plotting occurred can listen to the conversation between Nuland and Pyatt here:

The situation will almost certainly lead to war. Only Putin’s diplomatic skills could prevent it. However, Putin has been demonized by Washington and the whores who comprise the US print and TV media. European and British politicians would have their Washington paychecks cut off if they aligned with Putin.

War is unavoidable, because the Western public is out to lunch. The more facts and information I provide, the more emails I receive defending the “sincere [and well paid] protesters’ honest protests against corruption,” as if corruption were the issue. I hear from Ukrainians and from those of Ukrainian ethnicity in Canada and the US that it is natural for Ukrainians to hate Russians because Ukrainians suffered under communism, as if suffering under communism, which disappeared in 1991, is unique to Ukrainians and has anything to do with the US coup that has fallen into neo-nazi hands,

No doubt. Many suffered under communism, including Russians. But was the suffering greater than the suffering of Japanese civilians twice nuked by the “Indispensable people,” or the suffering by German civilians whose cities were firebombed, like Tokyo, by the “exceptional people”?

Today Japan and Germany are Washington’s puppet states. In contrast, Ukraine was an independent country with a working relationship with Russia. It was this relationship that Washington wished to destroy.

Now that a reckless and incompetent Washington has opened Pandora’s Box, more evil has been released upon the world. The suffering will not be confined to Ukraine.

There are a number of reasons why the situation is likely to develop in a very bad way. One is that most people are unable to deal with reality even when reality directly confronts them. When I provide the facts as they are known, here are some of the responses I receive: “You are a Putin agent;” “you hate Ukrainians;” “you are defending corruption;” “you must not know how Ukrainians suffered at the hands of Stalin.”

Of course, having done Russian studies in graduate school, having been a member of the US-USSR student exchange program in 1961, having traveled in Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, having published in scholarly journals of Slavic and Russian studies, having twice addressed the Soviet Academy of Sciences, having been invited to explain to the CIA why the Soviet economic collapse occurred despite the CIA’s predictions to the contrary, I wouldn’t know anything about how people suffered under communism. The willingness of readers to display to me their utter ignorance and stupidity is astonishing. There is a large number of people who think reality consists of their delusions.

Reality is simply too much for mentally and emotionally weak people who are capable of holding on to their delusions in the face of all evidence to the contrary. The masses of deluded people and the total inability of Washington, wallowing it its hubris, to admit a mistake, mean that Washington’s destabilization of Ukraine is a problem for us all.

RT reports that “Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent military drill to test combat readiness of the armed forces across western and central Russia.” According to Russia’s Defense Minister, the surprise drill tested ground troops, Air Force, airborne troops and aerospace defense.

The Defense Minister said: “The drills are not connected with events in Ukraine at all.”

Yes, of course. The Defense Minister says this, because Putin still hopes that the EU will come to its senses. In my opinion, and I hope I am wrong, the European “leaders” are too corrupted by Washington’s money to have any sense. They are bought-and-paid-for. Nothing is important to them but money.

Ask yourself, why does Russia need at this time an urgent readiness test unrelated to Ukraine? Anyone familiar with geography knows that western and central Russia sit atop Ukraine.

Let us all cross our fingers that another war is not the consequence of the insouciant American public, the craven cowardice of the presstitute media, Washington’s corrupt European puppets, and the utter mendacity of the criminals who rule in Washington.

By Paul Craig Roberts - President Reagan appointed Dr. Roberts Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and he was confirmed in office by the U.S. Senate. From 1975 to 1978,

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