What Happend in Ukraine?

It’s not very often, now the daily blog has migrated to twitter, when I simply point to someone else’s work. Tim Snyder Professor of History at Yale, and currently occupying Philippe Roman Chair of International History at the London School of Economics, who specialises in the history of Central and Eastern Europe, has written some excellent pieces for the New York Review of Books, and he’s rather better qualified than most to offer an opinion on Ukraine and the Maidan. These sum up why, how and by whom the Maidan was attacked and defended, and what the players hope to gain. How did it start?

“When the riot police came and beat the students in late November, a new group, the Afghan veterans, came to the Maidan. These men of middle age, former soldiers and officers of the Red Army, many of them bearing the scars of battlefield wounds, came to protect “their children,” as they put it. They didn’t mean their own sons and daughters: they meant the best of the youth, the pride and future of the country. After the Afghan veterans came many others, tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, now not so much in favor of Europe but in defense of decency”

What were the underlying reasons? This post also deals with the “far-right coup” smear pretty comprehensively…

“Has it ever before happened that people associated with Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, Armenian, Polish, and Jewish culture have died in a revolution that was started by a Muslim? Can we who pride ourselves in our diversity and tolerance think of anything remotely similar in our own histories?”

And, finally Putin’s fantasy of a Eurasian Union, and the legitimacy of Putin’s action.

“One petition from Russian speakers and Russians in Ukraine asks Putin to leave Ukrainian citizens alone to solve their own problems. It has been signed by 140,000 people. This might seem remarkable, since everyone signing it knows that he or she will be in the bad graces of the Russian authorities if Russia completes its invasion. But it makes perfect sense. Russians in Ukraine enjoy basic political rights, whereas Russians in the Russian Federation do not.”

There is no doubt an elected government was overthrown by street protests. But the regime of Yanukovych was not democratic – elections are necessary, but not sufficient for democracy. Indeed it is the looting by the regime, pure extractive government which is behind Ukraine’s economic problems. Democracy without the rule of law, is worthless. Something too many people seem to forget when discussing “democratic” leaders like Chavez/Maduro, Putin or Yanukovych.

Secondly, why are so many people happy to repeat Putin’s propaganda at face value? Ukraine isn’t split along ethnic lines. It wasn’t a “far-right coup”. Russians don’t need “protection” from “fascist gangs”.

Russsia simply annexed part of a neighbouring country’s territory in clear and dangerous violation of international law, and Putin has lost full contact with reality. He hasn’t “won”. He’s miscalculated, and I suspect this is more ‘Argentinian Junta invades to take pressure off the economic situation at home’ than ‘Hitler annexing the Sudetenland’.

Putin needs our money even more than we need his gas, though the Russian regime has a little more ability to weather his people’s financial pain than does Merkel – Germany being the European country most in need of Russian Gas.

Dictators have underestimated democracies many, many times; usually mistaking slowness to resort to violence with weakness. He will find his rotten regime squeezed slowly, but relentlessly. And having secured Crimea, he loses Ukraine.

Russia with Ukraine is an Empire. Russia without Ukraine is a country. It’s about time Russians finally realised their days of Empire are over.

7 replies
  1. Andy Dan
    Andy Dan says:

    Elections were due in 2015 and the corrupt government would have been kicked out anyway. There was a constitutional protocol for replacing the government. But, that wasn't good enough for the Ukranian rebels. Now, Crimea is going back to Russia and a lot of us support Russia's position – being attacked by the EU on its borders with their sly little "trade" agreements, which are nothing of the sort of course.
    Back in the day, we in the west were the "good guys". We were standing up to the oppression of communism. Then, we won and we've become the aggressors – Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya, nearly in Syria. Our sociopathic shits of politicians just can't wait to start bombing somebody or other. I'm really coming to hate Britain. Maybe its impending eradication (due to mass immigration and consumption into the EU superstate) will be a good thing.

  2. keith
    keith says:

    I agree that it is very odd that Putin like Stalin has so many fans in the west. As if having to drink Claret and eat Parmesan was a oppressive policy like the final solution. I wonder how many of these people are being paid by KGB Putin to spread his lies?

  3. cuffleyburgers
    cuffleyburgers says:

    Hello Jackart – you should know that the EU's "trade agreement" was actually rather more than that. The association agreement that was being negotiated was undoubtedly an attempt to bring Ukraine into the EU's orbit and set it on the road to EU membership.

    We cannot know (at present) what may have been said, promised, hinted at or threatened during these discussions, but they undoubtedly "threatened" russia's role as regional top nation.

    It should therefore have been obvious to the EU bigwigs (europe's elite let's not forget irony) that there would be a vigorous reaction from Putin, and while it is pretty clear that he has to our eyes overreacted dangerously, both the EU and the US are guilty of some pretty stupid incompetent and dangerous meddling.

    We'll see how it plays out, but I don't see any good outcome at least in the short to medium term.

    A very sad and unnecessary episode.

    If that makes me too a disgusting quisling cunt…

  4. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    Cuffleyburges: you say "the EU's "trade agreement" was actually rather more than that. The association agreement that was being negotiated was undoubtedly an attempt to bring Ukraine into the EU's orbit and set it on the road to EU membership" like it's a bad thing.

    We WANT the EU to do what it's good at: cememting democracy and the rule of law in post-communist shitholes.

    One day perhaps even Russia too. NATO is the spear defending ourselves against the Russian Bear, the EU is the plate of meat by which he learns to trust us.

  5. cuffleyburgers
    cuffleyburgers says:

    I don't say it's a bad thig or a good thing. What it is not is a mere trade agreement.

    And as for the EU being good for democracy or peace as you imply, well the idea is risible. Its notions of rule of law are actually arbitrary rule by fiat by an unelected bureaucracy to put it kindly. Sure it's less bad than rule from the Kremlin, but that's setting a pretty low bar!

    I think when you say "we", you mean "you" (and your mate cameron) – you're in a minority. And rightly so.

    But to get back to the point – talk is good. Undercover chicanery is bad, and both the EU and the US have been caught out badly.

  6. Unknown
    Unknown says:

    What a pile of factless gobshite.

    37 serving policemen on duty were murdered by snipers on the Maidan Square. Their bodies were buried within hours – to prevent an inquest revealing that they'd been murdered by high-velocity bullets to the head. Who had such weapons? The answer is Pravy Sektor – the rightwing Ukrainian loons led by Yarosh, and funded by American witch Victoria Nuland.

    Another wanker who thinks the EU's trade agreement is no different to putin's jackboot. You disgusting Quisling cunt. Where do you fuckwits get these ideas?

    Aha, there's the BNP logic and terminology we all know so well.


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