This is a provisional publishing. Notes and sources will be added in the next couple of days. Please see Part I in this series here.
Essay Two: The Actual History and Significance of the Ukrainian Crisis
Ukraine is about to explode. Events currently playing out in this Eastern European country that was previously quite obscure to many nonetheless affect every person alive today. What is happening in Ukraine has already created a “New Cold War” between Russia and the (Anglo-American-led) West, and if world leaders are not careful to tread extremely lightly while they work out a diplomatic solution, this cold war could soon escalate into a hot war: i.e. a Third World War.
Contrary to the narrative one hears from the mainstream media in the West, the lion’s share of responsibility for instigating this crisis falls upon the U.S./NATO/E.U. front rather than the Russia/ex-Soviet front. The previous installment in this series discussed the history of the British Empire’s (into which today’s United States has been merged) strategy of “Russia containment”. Ukraine is the latest piece in that game. I cannot see how any honest, objective, comprehensive assessment of much of the available evidence can lead anyone to conclude much else than the fact that there is indeed a powerful faction amongst the global “power elite” that is willing to risk thermonuclear world war–i.e. the extinction of human civilization, and possibly the extinction of the human species–in pursuit of this strategy.
No, Putin is not a mad tyrant bent on reconquering the Russian Empire’s lost territories. (Pic: Horsey / LA Times)
Yet many average, relatively-well educated citizens of the English-speaking and other Westernized nations (among which I include the Philippines) have no idea what is at stake should the Ukrainian crisis not be quickly deescalated and the political condition of that country stabilized. Unfortunately, the narrative they hear in much of the major English-language and other Western press outlets is that the Ukrainian people nonviolently rose up to assert their right to “democracy” against a corrupt government and forced out a president who was nothing but Moscow’s puppet. But now the Ukrainian people’s right to sovereignty is being threatened by a big, bad Russian “dictator” who is “invading” their territory.
Yet this is, unsurprisingly, another case of the Anglo-American propaganda machine working at full power to turn the popular opinion of the U.S. and other nations against Russia and her government.
Thus this essay is to set the record straight as much as possible, and provide a good deal of history and context from which to view and assess the current Ukrainian crisis.
- Ukraine’s Historical Ties to Russia -
The environs of Ukraine’s ancient capital, Kiev (alternatively transliterated as “Kyiv”), was the birthplace of Eastern Slavic civilization, which includes Ukrainians and Russians alike–along with many other ethnicities. Thus Russia herself was, in a sense, born in Ukraine. When the Mongols invaded the area, the people of what was called Kievan-Rus fled and eventually settled in the region that would become Russia. Over the centuries, what is today modern Ukraine has experienced a repeatedly shifting political geography, as it has been dominated by, or come under the influence of, numerous foreign powers, with some of its regions being divided into various autonomous or semi-autonomous principalities and republics. Most of Eastern Ukraine finally became part of the Russian Empire during the late 18th century reign of Catherine II. Among the first regions annexed by Russia was the Crimean peninsula, which offered the expanding empire an ideal commercial and military port in the Black Sea. During Ukraine’s time as part of the Empire, she experienced heavy Russian immigration and Russification. For some Ukrainians, who were predominantly Orthodox Christians and considered themselves Slavic cousins of the Russians, this was not an issue. Conversely, for others who were predominantly Roman and Eastern Rite Catholics and saw the Russians as foreign conquerors, this produced a vehement anti-Russian nationalism.
When the Russian Empire was swept away during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, various nationalist forces in Ukraine attempted to establish independent states, but soon enough, the country was incorporated within the newborn Soviet Union. During the 1920s, the agricultural policies of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin caused the Ukrainians to suffer a devastating famine that claimed the lives of an estimated 10 million, thus deepening Ukrainian rancor toward Moscow.
More territorial additions occurred during and after World War II. Much of what is now Western Ukraine (formerly part of Poland, and before that, part of the Austrian Empire) was annexed by the U.S.S.R. in the 1940s. In 1954, the Soviet government under Nikita Khrushchev transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine was made an independent state with sovereignty over the same borders she had under the U.S.S.R. Because of her changing political geography over the centuries, she is today home to a variety of ethnic groups, including Ukrainians, Russians, Tatars, Jews, Hungarians, Poles, and others. There are deep-seated religious differences, as well, with the East being historically Orthodox Christian, and the West being historically Catholic. Thus for modern Ukraine, as a newly-independent state made up of multiple ethnicities, the task of trying to solidify a stable, unified national identity has not been a smooth and easy one.
- The Color Revolutions and NATO Expansion -
Since at least the Crimean War of 1853-56–where Russia was pitted against the British, French, and Turkish Empires–the regions of the Ukraine, with their ethnic, religious, and other tensions, have been fertile ground for geopolitical sparring in the centuries-old, Anglo-Russian struggle. The exploitation of these tensions continued throughout to the Cold War, and persist up to the present day, exemplified in the current Ukrainian Crisis.
But before the recent Euromaidan uprising in Kiev, there was the Orange Revolution, which itself followed the template of the Rose Revolution of Georgia. These “color revolutions” in the former Soviet states were ostensibly spontaneous, nonviolent, popular uprisings carried out in the name of democracy. In actuality, they were projects cultivated and brought to life by a conglomerate of supranational, Anglo-American and related interests set to install governments in many of the former Soviet states that were unfriendly toward Russia. (This follows the strategy described by infamous Russophobe and former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book, The Grand Chessboard.)
Among the goals in both Georgia and Ukraine is to install “pro-Western” governments that can bring their countries into alignment with NATO–a move to which the Russians are quite justified to strongly object.
NATO’s eastward expansion since the end of the Cold War. (Pic: RT)
One of those justifications is that near the end of the Cold War, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev was given assurances by the Bush, Sr. Administration that after the reunification of East and West Germany, NATO would not expand eastward to incorporate any of the former communist Warsaw Pact countries. Yet under the Clinton; Bush, Jr.; and Obama Administrations, this promise was broken, and NATO has done exactly that. The alliance now includes Eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania–NATO even comes all the way up to the former Soviet Baltic states that are right on Russia’s border! If this were not enough, NATO ballistic-missile defense (BMD) systems are planned to be expanded in Europe–particularly in Romania and Poland. Ostensibly intended to guard Europe against nonexistent nuclear missiles launched from Iran, the BMD systems will give the Anglo-American/NATO bloc a strategic edge over Russia never before possessed.
In this series’ previous installment I made the point that the Cold War was not so much about fighting communism, as much as it was simply another phase in the British Empire’s objective to contain Russia and prevent her from evolving into a strong, sovereign nation-state. Once the Cold War was over, and Russia’s guard went down, the British Empire has begun asserting its total world hegemony. This Cold War “victory” has apparently inspired fanatical, utopian delusions among at least a strong contingent of the British and American power elites, politicians, and military commanders. From their words and actions, it seems they now consider mutually-assured destruction a thing of the past, as U.S. superiority in advanced “smart weapons”, BMD systems, nuclear submarines, nuclear-armed fighter jets, et cetera, has given the NATO bloc the lead over Russia in both nuclear warhead capability and missile defense. In their diseased minds, since nuclear war with Russia (and China) is now “winnable”, it is therefore justifiable to risk instigating it for the sake of geopolitical gains.
The U.S./NATO encirclement of Russia and China indicate a preparation for nuclear war on a scale greater that that during the Cold War. (Pic: LaRouche PAC)
- Ukraine, the European Union, and the Birth of the ‘Euromaidan’ -
The Orange Revolution resulted in a victory of the Western-backed Viktor Yushchenko. Yushchenko and his prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, worked during their terms to bring Ukraine much closer into the orbit of the European Union. When Yuschchenko’s Russian-backed Orange Revolution opponent Viktor Yanukovych became president in 2010, he and the government of his PM, Mykola Azarov, nonetheless continued the work of their predecessors to negotiate terms with the E.U. for making Ukraine part of the Union’s Eastern Partnership. The result was the Ukraine-E.U. Association Agreement (AA), which was scheduled to be signed near the end of November of last year. While the AA was perceived by some among the Ukrainian population as a silver-bullet solution to many of the country’s economic woes (at the end of last year, about 80% of Ukrainians lived below the poverty line), and would result in instant First World living standards, polling conducted in 2013 indicates that support for E.U. integration was still only held by a minority of Ukrainians.
Tymoshenko was jailed under Yanukovych’s term for embezzlement, but her release was one of the conditions the E.U. demanded in the AA. Since her release, she was recorded in a leaked phone conversation calling Russian-Ukrainians ‘exiles’ who should all be ‘nuked’. (Pic: Savilov / AFP)
Opponents of the AA argued that it was neither in Ukraine’s best interest, nor constitutional to adopt the treaty, as it would surrender major economic policy decisions to the European Commission. Furthermore, to comply with the standards laid out in the AA would cost Ukraine €160 billion (against a grant of a measly €610 million that the E.U. would offer to Ukraine, which Yanukovych called “humiliating”) and allow European cartels to take over Ukrainian agriculture and manufacturing. Ukraine is also still very much economically dependent upon Russia, and the AA would drive a major wedge between the two, historically-linked countries; this is a quixotic risk for Ukraine, as the conditions the E.U. offer her are described as much worse deal than those she currently has with Russia.
The Russians themselves have an unsurprisingly unfavorable view of the AA. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has even gone so far as to accuse the Eastern Partnership program as a method for turning the former communist bloc states against economic cooperation with Russia. Even Putin has weighed in on the dismal future that an E.U. partnership offers Ukraine: In one speech given in Italy (a country for which E.U. membership has become more of a liability than an asset), he referred to how many current members of the Union are no lands of milk and honey, with some member nations suffering from 40% youth unemployment and others being forced to undergo severe fiscal austerity. These realities give more reason for one to be suspicious about the intentions behind the efforts to bring Ukraine closer to the E.U., as it is quite apparent that the dying Eurozone behemoth is merely seeking to cannibalize the virgin pastures of Ukraine in order to keep itself fed.
If that evidence were not enough to raise serious questions about those aspects of the AA that deal with economics, there are also the treaty’s provisions for bringing Ukraine into the E.U.’s Common Security and Defense Policy, which overlaps with NATO. This would mean the expulsion of the Russian fleet from its naval base in Crimea. From a Russian point of view, such a move is great cause for alarm, since expelling the Crimean fleet would cut the Russian Navy off from the Black Sea, further castrate Russian defenses, and result in yet another major geopolitical advantage for the Anglo-American Empire. Claims that this effect is not the intention of the AA exceed the bounds of credibility.
In the context provided by gaining knowledge of these factors, it is quite understandable that the Ukrainian government–even a corrupt one–would become very hesitant to sign it at the expense of national interest.
That signing of the AA was scheduled to take place in Vilnius, Lithuania on November 29th. But when it came time for the Ukrainian parliament to pass several resolutions on November 21st that would qualify the government to meet the requirements of the E.U., it failed to do so. Instead, Azarov issued a decree calling for the negotiation of a trilateral agreement between Ukraine, the E.U., and Russia. He also stated that Ukraine should not bind herself to any agreements which jeopardize possible cooperation with her Eastern neighbors, which meant not only Russia and other former Soviet states (which are themselves in the process of forming their own union for economic cooperation), but also the world’s fastest-growing economy: China. Although Russia was very open to this proposal, E.U. officials and the (predominantly anti-Russian) political opposition of Yanukovych and Azarov accused the Ukrainian government of stalling and declined to explore any trilateral agreement. Instead, the opposition called for a mass demonstration in Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square, nicknamed the “Euromaidan”) to put pressure on their representatives to see to it that the AA could be signed on the scheduled November 29th date.
Although many of the Ukrainians who showed up for these demonstrations were probably acting out of a legitimate desire to prod their government into doing what they believed was the right thing, evidence shows that the protests were the product of the same foreign networks behind the Orange, Rose, and other revolutions. However, unlike those previous uprisings, this time around there was a much more vicious force deployed against Ukraine…
- The Putsch to Oust Yanukovych -
By the evening of November 29th, when it became clear that the AA was not going to be signed on that set date, many of the protesters accepted defeat and began to pack it in. However, a few hundred youth still remained in the Maidan, and a large contingent of them were said to be part of “far-right” Neo-Nazi paramilitary groups such as the Pravyi Sektor (English: Right Sector). Reportedly, after the protests began to wind down, Yanukovych then ordered to have these remaining youth still gathered in the square to be cleared out to prepare it for Christmas decorations.
The leading force in the “peaceful protests” of the Euromaidan. (Pic: Unknown / LibCom.org)
The Berkut, a special police force, were then deployed to enforce this order, and a violent clash broke out–but it is unclear if this was instigated by excessively-rough police, or the violent Neo-Nazis. Although video footage exists of these Neo-Nazi thugs beating police with chains and setting them on fire with Molotov cocktails, only footage of police beating Maidan rioters was shown on much of the mainstream Ukrainian TV news (which is accused of being owned and controlled by Ukraine’s pro-Western “oligarchs”). Seeing this inspired more people to come out and riot on the Maidan, and probably tipped some of the more moderate Ukrainians completely against the Yanukovych-Azarov government. Nonetheless, Yanukovych and Azarov still also bear responsibility for escalating matters, for they took an indiscriminate and hard-line stance against violent rioters and nonviolent protesters alike, by passing restrictive laws and making strong threats. For several weeks, the rioting continued, with violent skirmishes recurring between police and rioters. Eyewitness reports and video footage also indicate that the anti-Russian Neo-Nazis also brutally attacked any civilians deemed to be “too Russian”, among other arbitrary reasons. One of the Right Sector’s former members and the founder of the ultranationalist Ukrainian Patriot movement, Andriy Parubiy, was elevated to becoming the “Commandant of the Maidan”.
On February 20th, the violence reached new heights, as scores of people were shot and killed by expert snipers. The mainstream press insinuated that the massacre was perpetrated under the orders of Yanukovych. Although there was no direct evidence to verify that claim, it was nevertheless an effective catalyst to foment enough outrage against the Ukrainian president to force him to sign an agreement the next day with the three main opposition figures: Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnibok, and Viltaliy Klitschko. The agreement was said to be illegal, in that Yanukovych signed off on provisions although he did not have the constitutional power to do so. The agreement restored the 2004 Constitution without any say from the parliament and also forbade the government authorities from declaring a state of emergency. The next day, February 22nd, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Yanukovych from office, but this did not follow the constitutional protocol for impeachment, and was thus also of highly questionable legality. By the time of the vote, however, Yanukovich had already fled Kiev, fearing for his life. He later gave a statement accusing extremists in the opposition of violating their commitment to nonviolence (agreed to in the 2/21 document), and of threatening the parliament into compliance with their demands. (Other witness accounts corroborate this.) He denounced his ouster as the result of a coup d’etat perpetrated by fascists, and claimed himself as the legitimate President of Ukraine under its constitution. He is now in exile in Moscow.
The following week after these tumultuous events, crucial new intelligence surfaced regarding the 2/20 massacre. A recorded phone conversation between E.U. foreign affairs chief Lady Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet was leaked on the internet. It revealed that both civilians and police were victims of the 2/20 sniper attack, and that it was not Yanukovych who was behind the massacre, but a “new coalition” (which many analysts think could have been the paramilitary Right Sector). Widespread coverage of this leak was suspiciously (but not surprisingly) absent from the mainstream English-language news media. By this time there was no interest in reporting the truth, as the evil “Russian pawn” Yanukovych was gone and a new “democratic” government had replaced him.
- Svoboda and the Right Sector -
The new government that took power after Yanukovych’s ouster includes interim president Oleksandr Turchynov, with Yatsenyuk as prime minister. Yatsenyuk was the leading choice of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. In another phone conversation leaked on the internet pertaining to this Ukrainian crisis, Nuland discusses with Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, why “Yats is the guy” they prefer as P.M., but he should be closely advised by members of the Svoboda Party.
Svoboda Party leader Oleh Tyahnybok doing a fascist salute. (Pic: Unknown / LibCom.org)
Although the conversation exposes Nuland and Pyatt as foreign agents illegally meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, it is made even more scandalous by the story behind the Svoboda (English: Freedom) Party that is advising Yatsenyuk. The group formerly went by the Nazi-esque name of the Socialist-Nationalist Party, and while its members are apparently quite similar to the Right Sector in ideology (i.e., a Neo-Nazi gang which has a paramilitary arm, and preaches hostility against Russians, Jews, and other ethnic groups), they have a public image that is a bit more sanitary. Svoboda members now occupy six cabinet positions in the new government. Among some of their first resolutions for the parliament to pass were a bill to ban the minority languages, a repeal on Ukraine’s ban on Nazi propaganda, bills disbanding the previous government’s security forces and replacing them with forces headed by fascist extremists, and a ban on the Communist Party. The new government, at the initiative of Svoboda and the Right Sector also released a Neo-Nazi leader from prison who was serving a sentence for plotting a terrorist attack. Also an important point about Svoboda is that its platform has also called for terminating the autonomous status of Crimea, and special administrative status of the port city of Sevastopol (the significance of which will be explained later).
The Right Sector is another spin-off of the Socialist-Nationalist Party and acts mainly as the brawn of the Ukrainian Neo-Nazi movement, whereas Svoboda acts mainly as the brains. (The term “brains” is used, only so far as one can give such Nazi ideologues the benefit of the doubt as to possessing any.) Accusations abound that the Right Sector are more of a mafia than a political party, intimidating or even threatening government officials less enthusiastic about the February coup to shut up and do as they’re told. Indeed, confirmed incidents have occurred where Right Sector thugs have savagely attacked anyone that dares oppose them. As briefly mentioned, the Right Sector has now been incorporated into the Ukrainian security forces, and Parubiy is even now the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.
- Stepan Bandera and the Legacy of the Ukrainian Nazis -
As mentioned prior, the Right Sector and related Neo-Nazi groups began leading the Maidan riots on November 29-30. Both the Right Sector and Svoboda played central, indispensable roles in the overthrow of Yanukovych. Yet the mainstream media of the West barely reported their existence and was still portraying the Euromaidan uprising as a nonviolent one until mid-January.
But since the influence of Svoboda and the Right Sector in the new Ukrainian government is so great, it has become necessary for the Western press to perform astonishing public relations gymnastics and sanitize the image of these thugs. Thus words like “Nazi” and “fascist” are substituted with much less alarming terms like “nationalist” and “right wing”.
This logo, worn on the armbands of Right Sector militants, is modified from the “SS” symbol of the Nazi Waffen Schutzstaffel. (Pic: FAIR)
But it does not take much investigative work to see the obvious Nazi connection. Most telling is the self-professed reverence these fascist groups all have for a Nazi collaborator and war criminal named Stepan Bandera. The Right Sector, Svoboda Party, and related elements openly tout themselves as “Ukrainian patriots” in the tradition of Bandera. Bandera was the leader of the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B), founded in 1929 (an illegal organization in Soviet Ukraine). During the German occupation of Ukraine during World War II, Bandera and his OUN-B collaborated with the Nazis, and were responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands Jews, Poles, and other ethnicities.
After the end of the war, Bandera and his lieutenant, Mykola Lebed, dodged any war crime trials they should have faced by instead being recruited into the Anglo-American intelligence apparatus. Bandera became an assassin and saboteur for Britain’s Military Intelligence, Section 6 (MI6), and Lebed the head of a shell company of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Both were used against the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War. Bandera was assassinated in 1959 by the Soviet intelligence agency, the KGB, but Lebed, on the other hand, made out like a bandit and lived well into old age and died in 1998 as a naturalized U.S. citizen!
From Bandera’s time onward, the OUN-B and kindred fascist, racist organizations continued to operate underground in Soviet Ukraine. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, they were no longer illegal, and could come out into the open. Their acceptance into post-Soviet, mainstream Ukrainian politics can be seen in the fact that Svoboda is the fourth largest political party in Ukraine, and through how even the relatively more moderate Ukrainian political parties have treated Bandera’s legacy.
Although Bandera remains a controversial figure in Ukraine today for very obvious reasons, he is still quite openly revered by not a few as a “patriot” who fought for Ukraine against the Russian imperialists.
It should go without mention that Bandera is of course a hero to Svoboda, the Right Sector, the Ukrainian Patriot Movement, et cetera. During the Euromaidan riots, the Neo-Nazis were parading around banners baring Bandera’s likeness, along with the red and black standard of the OUN-B. Furthermore, the ties that link today’s Euromaidan fascists to yesterday’s Banderite fascists seem more than just legacy: Just as Bandera and Lebed were recruited into British and U.S. intelligence, respectively, so too it seems that the Neo-Nazi groups are a project of the same Anglo-American intelligence organ. It should be common knowledge that time and time again, this apparatus uses violent extremists to do its dirty work. Let us frame this known history in context with other facts: Foreign interests backed both the Color Revolutions and the Euromaidan. U.S. State Department officials are on record discussing how to stage-manage the overthrow of the legitimately-elected government of Ukraine. Both Svoboda and the Right Sector have received paramilitary training by an unknown entity, which has reportedly turned them into a highly-disciplined and organized force.
Thus, it is very likely that the Western forces who instigated this crisis in Ukraine, did so using known fascist extremists as the instrument for bringing into existence a government very hostile to Russia.
- Did Russian Invade and Conquer Crimea? -
While the Orange Revolution was a disruption for Ukraine and Russia, it was not successful in its maximal aims. As mentioned previously, the goal of the Anglo-American establishment ever since the Orange Revolution of 2004-05 has been to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit, and bring her into alignment with the West. For “first-strike” ideologues, control over Ukraine would grant them with a invaluable prize: the expulsion of the Russian fleet from the naval base in Crimea, which gives the Russian military access to the Black and Mediterranean Seas.
As previously mentioned, the Crimean Peninsula was part of Russia for over 175 years before it was transferred to Ukraine in 1954. Thus the majority of Crimeans have identified as Russians more than Ukrainians. In 1991, when the Soviet Union was falling apart and Ukraine declared herself an independent state consisting of the same borders she had had under the U.S.S.R., little concern was given to which nationality the people living within her regions wished to be. The great majority of Crimeans–who identified as Russians–thus became Ukrainians overnight. To help mitigate this problem, in 1991-92, it was negotiated between Kiev and Crimea for the latter to become an “autonomous republic” under the formal sovereignty of the former. This was a status supported by Russia, with one major factor being her ability to maintain the naval base of her Black Sea fleet in Crimea’s port city of Sevastopol. In 1997, it was agreed between the Ukrainian and Russian governments that the Russian fleet could continue to occupy the Sevastopol naval base, and that Russia could keep up to 25,000 military personnel in Crimea.
After the overthrow of Yanukovych on February 22nd, it would seem that Russia’s instincts to ardently defend her precious interests in Crimea immediately kicked in.
On February 26th, Putin put military forces in Western Russia on alert.
On February 28th, reports surfaced that unidentified armed men in uniform (likely Russian special forces) had marched into the Crimean parliament building in the city of Simefrapol and raised the Russian flag, but it is not clear why. The Western media—likely getting information from sources related to the new putsch government in Kiev—reported this as a hijacking of the Crimean government by force. But Russian and Crimean sources say the troops were escorting the parliamentarians past protesters who were blocking their entrance to the building and thus preventing them from meeting. That same session, the parliament set a date for a referendum to take place on March 16th, on which the Crimean people could decide if they wish to remain part of Ukraine, or to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia.
On March 1st, the Russian parliament voted unanimously to authorize President Putin to use military force in Ukraine if necessary. 40,000 troops were stationed at the Russian-Ukrainian border, and remain there to this day.
Although Putin’s response in Crimea earned him many accusations from Western leaders of violating Ukrainian territorial integrity, Russia only deployed 16,000 military personnel to Crimea, well below the 25,000 allowed under the 1997 agreement with Ukraine. Furthermore, the Russian government does not recognize (and is not obligated to do so under international law) Ukraine’s new government as legitimate; indeed, it still recognizes Yanukovych as the official head of state of Ukraine, whose signature appears on a document authorizing Russian military personnel in Ukraine.
On the day of the referendum, 97% of votes cast favored reuniting with Russia. Much of the Western media spun the actions in Crimea as an “invasion”, and that the subsequent referendum was a “sham” forced upon the Crimeans “at gunpoint” and “violated Ukrainian sovereignty”. All of this is not actual news reporting, but pure conjecture that has little, if any, basis in the available facts. There were in fact, 135 observers from 23 countries in Crimea monitoring the referendum. One such observer, E.U. parliament member Ewald Stadler, said he hadn’t “seen anything even resembling pressure…”
However, the situation in Crimea did not occur without bloodshed, unfortunately. In the days following the referendum, a skirmish between Ukrainian military and unidentified “pro-Russian” forces, and a sniper shooting by an unknown assailant, resulted in the combined deaths of four individuals. A fifth, a Tatar man who was reportedly protesting outside the Crimean parliament building, was taken away by unidentified “militant-looking” men, only to later turn up dead.
- Reviewing the Circumstances Leading Up to the Annexation of Crimea -
To put Putin’s recent actions regarding Ukraine and Crimea into better context, let us review some other realities that are conveniently omitted from the mainstream narrative disseminated by the Anglo-American Establishment:
- Historically, Russia has always been very wary of the West, since she has suffered from repeated invasions from Western powers throughout the centuries, especially the German invasion of World War II, which resulted in the deaths of 25-30 million Soviet citizens.
- Since the late 1990s, NATO has been seeking to expand eastward, despite the Bush Administration’s promise to Gorbachev that it would never do so.
- That expansion has been giving NATO a “first-strike” edge over Russia, and the Russians have voiced protests that such a move is unacceptable to them.
- The E.U.-Ukrainian Association Agreement is intended to bring Ukraine into much closer alignment with NATO, which would threaten Russia’s rights to the Sevastopol naval base.
- In the post-war period, British and American intelligence agencies supported fascist war criminals in Ukraine against Russia.
- U.S. State Department personnel were working behind the scenes with the Ukrainian government officials later installed by a putsch spearhead by Neo-Nazis.
- That putsch deposed a legitimately-elected president, making it an illegal violation of the Ukrainian Constitution.
- Those Neo-Nazis who led the putsch are openly hostile to Russians as an ethnic group.
- A large minority of the population of Ukraine identifies with a Russian ethnicity, and they are understandably alarmed at the ascension of the new government in Kiev.
- The Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, which holds several cabinet positions in the new government, has had intentions to end the autonomous status of Crimea, putting Russia’s rights to the Sevastopol naval base in great question.
- Preserving the Sevastopol naval base is vital to Russia’s national security interests; therefore she will go to great lengths to defend her access to that base.
With all of these facts in mind, can anyone confidently say that Putin’s actions were unprovoked, unjustified, and illegal? Putin’s actions are of course questionable and subject to criticism, but he and his government do nonetheless have a much better case for justifying their actions in Crimea than the Anglo-American Establishment would have us believe. As Putin himself pointed out, referenda are not violations of international law, as the precedent of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008 established that regions seceding for independence are within their legitimate right to do so.
- The Explosion in Ukraine’s Southeast -
However, Crimea’s reunification with Russia inspired people in the regions east of Kiev to push for their right to secede from Ukraine as well. On April 6th-7th, protesters in several cities in southeastern Ukraine (which is populated with many ethnic Russians) seized government buildings. Some demanded referenda, from which they could gain autonomy from Kiev, and some declared themselves independent republics; in most instances, Russian flags were raised over the areas occupied by separatists. In response, Interim President Turchynov has deployed security forces to these areas, which reportedly include special forces units comprised of Right Sector militants and American mercenaries. This has been declared by the Ukrainian president as an “anti-terrorism” operation, which would therefore imply that the separatists are the “terrorists”. In some of the cities controlled by separatists, it appears that not a few police and military personnel have defected to their side.
While it is not unlikely that the separatists are receiving supplies and weaponry that the Ukrainian military abandoned in Crimea, or that there are Russian and Russian-Ukrainian volunteers from Crimea among their ranks, so far no evidence has surfaced to substantiate the accusations from from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (who does not have a reputation for honesty), U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague, and other officials that the Russians are orchestrating this crisis by directly deploying agents-provocateur in southeastern Ukraine. Indeed, photographs purported to be evidence of Russian troops in Ukraine were found to not be credible, even by Western media.
Russia’s Lavrov (left) with the U.S.’s Kerry (right) .(Pic: Dharapak / AP)
On the contrary from fueling this crisis, it would seem that the Russian government–especially its Foreign Ministry–has actually been the leader in trying to defuse it, as it was Lavrov who was the initiator of last week’s four-party negotiations in Geneva. Delegates from Ukraine, the E.U., the U.S., and Russia, met in Geneva on April 17th and signed an agreement. It reads:
The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.
All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.
All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.
Amnesty will be granted to protesters and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.
It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days. The U.S., E.U. and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors.
The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.
The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented.
Although quite short and rather vague, on the surface, this agreement appeared as a welcome development and reason for optimism. Unfortunately, however, the ink on this “Easter Truce” had barely dried before the further “provocative actions”–the kind of which the parties had agreed to prevent–escalated. Not long after the agreement was signed, the Ukrainian government announced it would continue its “anti-terrorism” operation. On Easter Sunday, a firefight was reported on the outskirts of the eastern city of Slavyansk in which two separatists and three militants (reportedly of the Right Sector) were killed. In the days that followed, more violence has erupted in Slavyansk, with a number of civilians killed, reportedly by Kiev-backed forces. In Kharkov, the largest city in eastern Ukraine, the mayor was shot by an unknown sniper and is now in critical condition.
It should not be all that surprising to find that the Ukrainian government has not made good on its promises in Geneva. Whether its officials intended to do so or not is not really a relevant question if those officials are only figureheads being dictated to by extremist militants such as the Right Sector. In the recent days, Lavrov has accused Kiev of not doing enough to reign-in the extremist elements with its ranks, only further underscoring the fact that the Turchynov-Yatsenyuk government is actually incapable of challenging the paramilitary forces which helped put it into power. Lavrov has also said that based on available evidence, he has no choice but to conclude that it is Washington which is giving the green light to Kiev to use violence against the separatists, as the “anti-terrorism” operation began shortly after CIA Director John Brennan’s visit with Kiev officials, and then escalated with the attack in Slavyansk immediately following U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit.
- Can the Drive toward World War III be Thwarted? -
The sad truth is that this crisis did not need to happen. As bad as the Yanukovych Presidency may have been, the problems for Ukraine created before and during his tenure were not so unsolvable that the welfare of the nation could not be salvaged except by coup d’etat. The materializing of Azarov’s proposal for a Ukraine-E.U.-Russia trilateral agreement in favor of the Association Agreement would have probably benefited Ukraine a great deal, had the E.U. and the Ukrainian opposition been willing to receive it favorably.
Furthermore, although the deep-rooted political and cultural tensions referenced prior in this essay have always been present, they were nevertheless a surmountable obstacle with the way things stood before ill-intentioned foreign interests started using Ukraine as a geopolitical pawn. What we now have since the Euromaidan revolution and the subsequent February coup is divided nation ready to explode. Instead of the path to stability, cohesion, and eventual prosperity, the country is now not merely on the verge of a full-blown, bloody civil war, but also the focal point of this emerging New Cold War, and therefore the tinderbox that could ignite a cataclysmic hot one, as well.
Indeed, the hot war is already looming. NATO is currently mobilizing forces in Poland and the Baltic states and U.S. destroyers have entered the Black Sea. The Russian forces too are preparing, undergoing extensive training on Ukraine’s border.
Lavrov has said that Russia does not want to invade Ukraine, but, on the other hand, she cannot tolerate a hostile Ukrainian government that threatens her citizenry and national security. As Russian empathizers in America have mentioned, the current situation between Russia and Ukraine is analogous to Russia sponsoring and managing the emergence of a rogue, extremist government in Canada or Mexico openly hostile to the United States and her citizens.
However, it does seem that some saner heads in the U.S. political and military establishments are aware of the dangers in escalating this conflict. General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told the press that he keeps a open and frequent communication with his Russian counterpart for this specific reason; additionally, he is credited as being the key influence over President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. will not pursue a military option over Ukraine. Even former U.S. Secretary of State and infamous Anglophilic imperialist Henry Kissinger published remarks which called for the West to work toward deescalation and sincere diplomacy with Russia.
But voices from such quarters will serve little purpose if the commander-in-chief of the U.S. is not also firmly committed to working with Russia to defuse the Ukrainian crisis. It is possible, however, that if enough members of both parties in the U.S. Congress realize something must be done immediately to prevent the president from starting World War III over a crisis in a country that has no direct effect on U.S. interests or security, and vote to impeach Barack Obama on one of the many high crimes and misdemeanors he has already committed, it could derail the march toward war.
A sincere study of the situation should lead any intelligent person to conclude that since the February coup, the Anglosphere has been gradually but persistently provoking Russia more and more for a military response. The unfortunate reality is that a very small number of utopian fanatics are threatening the lives of 7 billion of us. We must not let them. All avenues to pressure the U.S. into deescalating the crisis and stabilizing Ukraine must be pursued to the fullest extent possible, and it is the citizens of all countries who have the responsibility to urge their government officials to do just that.