Another Round

A couple days ago I photographed a billboard advertising some kind of obviously government-sponsored rally in memory of the Maidan “putsch.” This morning I was in a metro station equipped with monitors displaying advertisements and sure enough there was this ad encouraging people to come out and show their patriotism by demonstrating against “revolution.” In other words- lamest…protest…ever.

Of course you know what this means. It’s time to play another round of:

INCREDIBLY INCONVENIENT QUESTIONS!

(For best results, leave the video running while reading.)

1. What is this “revolution” that this rally is opposing? Who is threatening a revolution?  If Putin is such a wise and great leader, why is his country perpetually threatened by a revolution? 

2. Is Russia’s opposition threatening a revolution? According to the pro-Kremlin press and most Russians, the opposition is small and disorganized. How is this tiny, disorganized faction going to overthrow the Russian government?  Again, if Putin is such a great leader, why is his government threatened by a non-existent, disorganized, vague opposition that consists of a handful of people?

3. According to Kremlin-supporters, what opposition does exist consists of pencil-neck hipsters, the “creative class types,” gays, and hopelessly addicted drug addicts, who are of course known the world over for their revolutionary political activities throughout history. If this is the case, why is Russia’s government threatened by a handful of latte-sipping hipsters, gays, and drug addicts? This is the strong Russia that Putin has built?

4. Some Kremlin supporters allege that the mysterious “5th column” has infiltrated the government, including the Duma. Even Dmitry Medvedev and the head of the Russian Central Bank have been accused of being “5th columnists.” If Putin is such a great leader and he’s built such a just, stable system, why is his government still riddled with foreign agents even at some of the highest levels? 

5. If Putin has built such a great system, why would citizens actually want to overthrow it for the sake of foreign governments? Sure, there are a lot of yahoos in the US who talk about overthrowing the government, but none of them are talking about doing it at the behest of a foreign government. 

6. If the West is so hell-bent on destroying Russia, why did they invest so much money into it up till about 2013, turning it into the R in BRICS? Why didn’t they just withhold their investment all that time and slap sanctions on Russia over the Georgian conflict or any other number of contrived reasons? Remember they never had a good reason anyway, they just hate Russia.

Answers:  Liar! Information war! The USA is our historical enemy! Protesting doesn’t solve anything! It only leads to chaos! You work for the US State Department! DULLES PLAN!  WE WON THE SECOND WORLD WAR! RUSSOPHOBE! WHAT ABOUT IRAQ? LIBYA? SYRIA? HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI? 

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49 thoughts on “Another Round

  1. Estragon

    Point No. 3 is the funniest aspect of the whole thing, but it does have some echoes in Russian history. Both Tsars and Soviets apparently thought poetry was a threat to the state, to the extent that poets could be censored or exiled. This created the interesting paradox that Russia became a place where poets took on an importance they could only dream of in more liberal countries.

    Reply
  2. Asehpe

    Here’s my take on the most probable answers:

    1. What is this “revolution” that this rally is opposing? Who is threatening a revolution? If Putin is such a wise and great leader, why is his country perpetually threatened by a revolution?

    – With American money, the weakest, less culturally aware members of our population can be bought. I admit there is corruption in Russia, even lots of it; given that, is it so surprising that Obama’s minions could buy thousands of Russians to stage a revolution? (That’s why, by the way, our propaganda-centered TV is important: it is constantly pouring antivenom on the brains of those weak enough to be buyable with American money.)

    2. Is Russia’s opposition threatening a revolution? According to the pro-Kremlin press and most Russians, the opposition is small and disorganized. How is this tiny, disorganized faction going to overthrow the Russian government? Again, if Putin is such a great leader, why is his government threatened by a non-existent, disorganized, vague opposition that consists of a handful of people?

    — As per 1. above, the small, disorganized opposition is only the tip of the iceberg — those few sellouts like Naval’ny or Udaltsov who are used only to justify a “popular uprising” that will be staged with American money. After this is done, the “opposition” will be revealed to be mostly composed of American agents.

    3. According to Kremlin-supporters, what opposition does exist consists of pencil-neck hipsters, the “creative class types,” gays, and hopelessly addicted drug addicts, who are of course known the world over for their revolutionary political activities throughout history. If this is the case, why is Russia’s government threatened by a handful of latte-sipping hipsters, gays, and drug addicts? This is the strong Russia that Putin has built?

    — Again, as per 1. and 2. above, because these types are only the tip of the iceberg. They aren’t even the real “creative forces” behind the Western anti-Russian movement; they are merely useful pawns, placed inside Russia so the West can claim there was ‘internal dissent’ even before their corrupting millions started overflowing Russia.

    4. Some Kremlin supporters allege that the mysterious “5th column” has infiltrated the government, including the Duma. Even Dmitry Medvedev and the head of the Russian Central Bank have been accused of being “5th columnists.” If Putin is such a great leader and he’s built such a just, stable system, why is his government still riddled with foreign agents even at some of the highest levels?

    — Because our enemies (the West) are rich, resourceful, and cunning. Of course it takes effort and money to build up this incredible network of spies and foreign agents on Russian soil, but this only goes to show you how deep their hatred of us and our civilization is. Russophobia is a worse curse than Islamofascism in today’s world.

    5. If Putin has built such a great system, why would citizens actually want to overthrow it for the sake of foreign governments? Sure, there are a lot of yahoos in the US who talk about overthrowing the government, but none of them are talking about doing it at the behest of a foreign government.

    — Again, for money. The basest of reasons, Judas’ 30 silver pieces; yet it has always worked, and with it the West nibbles at the great spiritual depths of the Russian Orthodox civilization.

    6. If the West is so hell-bent on destroying Russia, why did they invest so much money into it up till about 2013, turning it into the R in BRICS? Why didn’t they just withhold their investment all that time and slap sanctions on Russia over the Georgian conflict or any other number of contrived reasons? Remember they never had a good reason anyway, they just hate Russia.

    — Because they thought they had Russia under their control. As long as Russia was on her knees, meekly mopping the floor for them, they kept throwing in a few coins every now and then. But ah! once Russia decided to stand up and take her rightful place in the world, the investments dwindled. They continued at first, but of course because the West wanted to bribe not only the people, but also the ruling class, with their filthy money. When they saw that it wasn’t working with the government (because Putin!), they stopped, and decided to turn to covert operations and buying people’s “support”. It’s not really working, thanks to the constant doses of antivenom provided by our excellent TV, but the West keeps trying.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      The problem is that the poorest people you’re talking about are generally bought by the Kremlin, and even if not, we’re supposed to believe that the US is going to overthrow the Russian government by handing out money to gopniks, drug addicts, and the dregs of Russian society? Not likely.

      Also the very idea that you can have a revolution by paying people a lot of people relatively small amounts of money is ridiculous. Where are these secret American agents handing people wads of cash and telling them to overthrow their government?

      Reply
      1. YouAreACrank

        These agents do not have to be American, and all that secret really. Every now and then an individual on NED is discovered, and sometimes the sluggish Russian jurisprudence even slaps a label: “foreign agent” on that individual. Critical mass of these NED sponsored activists in a right time is powerful tool, Ukraine can tell stories.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Really? Name some of those agents.

        The “foreign agent” label is applied to any group which receives funding from abroad(from anywhere, not just NED) and engages in “political activity”(which is deliberately vaguely defined). The problem is, that even organizations that don’t engage in political activity or which don’t receive funding from abroad have been labeled foreign agents.

        What is Putin so afraid of? Does he actually believe that the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers or Transparency International is going to overthrow his government? That’s a pretty poor leader then.

      3. YouAreACrank

        Why do you assume it is Putin’s idea the “foreign agents'” law? There are many other people who might have a problem with provocateurs like Soldiers’ Mothers, where many of the young girl activists look like they are not mothers to anyone.

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Well let’s see, it was drafted by Putin’s party, approved by Putin, and started being rigorously enforced after Putin made a speech on the subject: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/putin-warns-against-foreign-interference-at-fsb-meeting/475594.html

        If you acknowledge it is bad, then why doesn’t Putin speak out against it? And when have you seen any initiative of Putin blocked by the Duma?

        So you claim that the Soldiers mothers are “provocateurs.” Have you got any evidence? What are they provoking, exactly? And you say some of those activists are young girls who aren’t mothers? Could they not be sisters, wives, or girlfriends of soldiers?

        Are you saying that these old women and young girls are a threat to the Russian government? What a pathetic, weak, rotten government it is if that were true.

      5. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Also if you don’t mind, can you tell me exactly how stupid you think Russians are? I mean please try to quantify it in some way. I just want to know because I noticed that the US and most of the other industrialized countries’ governments don’t seem to be tearing their hair out about 5th columnists, information wars, etc. Meanwhile Russia won’t let several million of its citizens leave its borders.

      6. YouAreACrank

        Where is that rigorous enforcement of the law. There are people on NED payroll who have not been brought to justice. When it comes to laws in Russia, nothing is rigorous, ever.

        However, this law I think should be rigorously enforced.

      7. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Who are these people who are on the NED payroll? What injustice have they committed?

        Also why is this law necessary when other industrialized nations don’t have similar laws?

        I thought Putin raised Russia from her knees and now she’s not weak anymore. Yet the government is increasingly afraid of the smallest, most marginalize group. A blogger in Khabarovsk had his house raided and was accused of creating a “gay terrorist underground,” for example. What kind of weak, pathetic country is afraid of a blogger who had made a crack about park benches being painted in Ukrainian colors?

      8. YouAreACrank

        I never said the Soldiers’ Mothers are a threat to the government. Their activities amount to trolling the armed forces. Similar organisation in America would not be allowed to be on Russian government payroll. So why do they need to let Soldiers’ Mothers receive funds from America? Where is the logic in that.

      9. Jim Kovpak Post author

        You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. The Committee is dedicated to helping soldiers suffering from the endemic abuse and corruption in the Russian army which was NEVER a secret here. That is not “trolling.” That is called looking out for the few Russians actually willing to “serve their country.”

        America is full of GI Rights organizations as well as Counter-Recruitment organizations and I myself worked with one of them.

        Technically there is no law against receiving funding from Russia, so long as the group is not an advocate for the Russian government.

        It still hasn’t been proven that the Soldiers’ mothers committee receives American aid and if it does, it is only because the government has no interest in funding NGOs of any kind. They’re too busy stealing state money and sending their kids to study abroad as opposed to serving their term in the army.

      10. YouAreACrank

        If the Soldiers’ Mothers have not been convicted yet, what does this tell you about this law being rigorously enforced?

      11. Jim Kovpak Post author

        The Committee is labeled as a “foreign agent.” Members of the committee have been harassed numerous times by state agencies. All this for helping those young men who DON’T buy their way out of compulsory military service.

        Meanwhile if you steal money, live in a palace in Zhukovka or Rublevka, and send your kids abroad to study in the US or Europe, you get to be a “patriot.”

  3. Asehpe

    Yes indeed. But apparently the absurdity of an idea has never been really a strong reason for the people not to believe in it… It makes many Russians feel ‘better’ (you know, part of ‘something important’) to believe that the West is indeed trying to corrupt and destroy them, with money if need be. It makes their hearts beat faster, their patriotism become stronger, their desire to be ‘a part of it’ flow more freely.

    There are some uncanny similarities with the way the Nazis used to blame everything on the Jews. Some of the images in the Russian media remind me of the good ol’ anti-Semitic cartoons that Goebbels got published in Der Sturmer — you know, the evil-looking Jews trying to seduce and/or rape poor Aryan women? This doesn’t seem to be all that different from pieces like the voiceover you decided not to read, or “documentaries” on the West educating their children with heavy pornography full of perverse gender roles.

    Reply
  4. YouAreACrank

    Where is your evidence this rally was government sponsored? It is true that in Russia there is a group of concerned patriotic citizenry that believes all sorts of conspiracy theories, but they are just as marginal as that pro-Western opposition. Recent rally in support of Navalny has shown this to be the case.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Perhaps you’re not too familiar with life here in Russia, but people don’t form grass roots political groups with the monetary resources to put up billboards and buy ads on the metro.

      And conspiracy theories are by no means marginal in America. Go on Vkontatke some time and find out.

      Reply
      1. YouAreACrank

        Do you engage in any patriotic movement in Russia? Do you have an idea where their funding comes from?

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Most of these organizations get their funding from the government. This is really no secret. Any organization you see that is large, popular, allowed to protest and sometimes assault or intimidate people is basically government-approved.

        If you support the government, you’re not a Russian patriot but a traitor. Only a traitor would support a government that treats its people with such brazen contempt.

      3. YouAreACrank

        Government approved does not necessarily mean government sponsored, which was your initial claim. All organisations need to be government approved. Navalny is also government approved, some say too much.

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Actually in normal, functioning countries, organizations don’t need to be “government approved.”

        Have you ever noticed that these organizations which pop up overnight have rallies consisting of mostly pensioners and students- two demographic groups known for having very little disposable income? And yet they have banners, concert equipment, flags, etc. It’s no secret that these groups actually pay people to come out to rallies, or they force students or state workers to attend them.

      5. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Um no, they really don’t. You can start all kinds of organizations in the US without registering with anyone whatsoever. You can also hold protests in public places without too much trouble so long as it’s not over a certain size.

        Obviously all organizations need to be within the law, but the law is extremely vague and applied very selectively in Russia. You yourself admitted this.

      6. YouAreACrank

        Same in Russia, you cannot hold protests of a certain size in certain places. I’m not certain any significant organisation can function properly in the US without registration.

      7. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Nope. A man was jailed for standing ALONE on Manezh square with a Je Suis Charlie sign. People were arrested for pretending to hold signs, and a mime wearing a Putin mask was also arrested even though he was alone and not saying anything. This doesn’t happen in the US.

        And no, you don’t need any kind of registration to have an organization in the US, unless it engages in some kind of commercial activity.

  5. Shalcker

    Sadly, in many situations once you let out reins things go from bad to worse. “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”.

    The fact that Russia _can_ be theoretically shaken by “5th column” when some measures are not being taken is proof of existing flexibility. Strength comes in many forms, and “Russia cast in stone, unmovable, unshakeable” is not necessarily desirable outcome – it’s much easier to weather storms if you can bend and twist as situation requires.

    And revolution has to remain possibility and threat so that it would not be actually required to change things that might lead to “revolutionary situation”.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Um…No. Maybe that sounded smarter in your head before you wrote it, but to normal people it looks like a bunch of jibberish meant to justify cracking down on websites, civil society, and individuals.

      Either Putin has truly brought Russia stability and there is no threat from this 5th column, or Russia is horribly unstable and threatened by a tiny minority of bloggers and artists. You can’t have it both ways.

      If this 5th column is such a threat, the government should be able to have some intelligence on them. The country is run by ex-intelligence operatives, for fuck’s sake. Let us see this network and let us see the justification for actions such as locking up one man who held up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign by himself on Manezhskaya square.

      Reply
      1. Shalcker

        That stability is not some kind of magic where you “bring it” once and then you’re done.

        Obviously his kind of stability is created exactly by measures he is enforcing! By countering threats as they appear, not by creating situation where threats do not appear at all.

        He is after all good at tactics, not at strategy, and that means being mostly reactive rather then proactive.

        And his “intelligence roots” is exactly why he sees arrests and lockdowns as acceptable tools. You gather intelligence (obvious or well-hidden) and then act on it. And if you have no clear intelligence one way or another you detain them until situation clears – and not allow them to do whatever they want.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Obviously his kind of stability is created exactly by measures he is enforcing! By countering threats as they appear”

        Except he’s never actually achieved stability at all, at least nothing compared to a Western nation or China.

        In normal countries, you create stability with strong institutions, impartial courts, oversight, etc. Russia has none of this. It has a circus and the ringmaster.

        Also your insistence that his policies are bringing some kind of stability is like saying his anti-tiger policy is keeping tigers from mauling people in Moscow. In short, it’s a logical fallacy.

    1. Asehpe

      Indeed. Someone is going to have a good time writing a dissertation on the tactics and instruments of these people sometime after the end of the current conflict (Galeotti’s “Hot Peace”).

      Reply
  6. Shalcker

    >Except he’s never actually achieved stability at all, at least nothing compared to a Western nation or China.
    >In normal countries, you create stability with strong institutions, impartial courts, oversight, etc. Russia has none of this. It has a circus and the ringmaster.
    >Also your insistence that his policies are bringing some kind of stability is like saying his anti-tiger policy is keeping tigers from mauling people in Moscow. In short, it’s a logical fallacy.

    He brought stability because under his reign nothing (important) collapsed, and some things actually grown and improved. The reverse would be the “he brought chaos and misery” and that is obviously not true.

    Now, it might or might not be “as stable as West” or “as stable as China” (each of those is arguable btw), but comparisons like that are largely meaningless. Each respective “stability” comes from different historical background and they obviously cannot be one and the same.

    Still, does China even has impartial courts? Quick look at Google suggest that they are vulnerable to same kinds of influences as Russian. “Strong institutions” – well, “siloviki” are clearly strong in Russia; and oversight also exists in most cases, there are not many areas that have absolutely no “checks and balances”, however weak their influence is in practice.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      “He brought stability because under his reign nothing (important) collapsed, and some things actually grown and improved. The reverse would be the “he brought chaos and misery” and that is obviously not true. ”

      Yes, things improved YEARS ago, largely due to foreign investment and high oil prices. You can’t do one good thing over a decade ago and expect to ride that forever, especially when you’ve started to lead the country back to 1990’s levels.

      Now while China has plenty of problems, they have been much better at dealing with corruption. That and their entire leadership changes every few years. China comes from much bigger disadvantages than Russia and yet does much more.

      Reply
      1. Shalcker

        You make it appear like foreign investments magically appeared out of thin air and government had nothing to do with it. No, foreign investments were *invited* as government policy in attempt to intertwine our systems economically, to have us locked in “mutual benefits” that would make cooperation rather then confrontation more likely.

        In light of sanctions that policy obviously failed and has to be scrapped now, but it existed for quite a while and it’s silly to deny it.

        Again, strategy failed there; tactics given a goal were quite sound.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Yes, Putin can share some credit for helping to create a more stable investment climate, but the problem is that Western investment NEVER gets any credit, whereas Putin gets all the credit for “saving Russia” while none of the blame for anything that goes wrong. I could just as easily say Boris Berezovsky or Yeltsin saved Russia. Yeltsin picked Putin as prime minister on Berezovsky’s recommendation.

        “In light of sanctions that policy obviously failed and has to be scrapped now,”

        Another typical time space problem here. The massive capital flight out of Russia began in 2013 and sped up in 2014. Meanwhile, near-zero GDP growth was predicted in late 2013 before Maidan was successful and before anyone had ever thought of sanctioning Russia.

        It is this economic slowdown, among other things, which made Putin desperate, and the thought of millions of people who are basically Russians escaping his kind of system by going with the EU terrified him.

        Imagine Putin never intervened after Maidan at all, the nationalists lost out just like they did in May, and now suddenly there’s this country full of essentially Russian(from a Russian perspective) people just across the border who get to choose their leaders and don’t need to be ruled by a strong hand. Imagine Ukraine was able to develop working institutions and rule of law, so that life in Ukraine is comparable to say, life in the Czech Republic. This would shatter Putin’s myth about Russians being stupid children who need a “strong hand” to rule them. Can’t have that.

  7. Shalcker

    It was not “going with EU” because obviously Ukraine wasn’t going with EU anytime soon regardless of signing or not signing that association agreement. No, association agreement opened highly inconvenient “backdoor” into Russian economic space that could not be ignored regardless of who would be in power in Ukraine, so Russia offered better deal in financial terms. Not as good at selling “dreams” as EU. Too much belief in money/economy solving all problems.

    “Imagine Ukraine was able to develop working institutions and rule of law”? Maybe if Martians would land there and displace Ukrainians. They had more then 20 years to do that, they already had “anti-Russian” coalition winning before with Orange Revolution. People who are supposed to “develop working institutions” and maintain them are exactly the same as before, there is no magic dust that could be used by EU or US to suddenly turn them into perfect reformers.

    You might as well imagine same thing happening in Russia – that’s actually a lot more probable too.

    Or imagine if EU and US would NOT support Maidan and it would fizzle out on it’s own? Ukraine would still had Crimea, would be 15 billion $ richer (and then a lot more from having gas discounts, supply chains not broken, and lots of orders from Russia for military renovations), would be on course to become part of Eurasian Union, and Yanukovich would STILL lose elections in December, keeping transition of power democratic.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Also while the Maidan folks were naive in thinking that the association agreement would mean membership, you should remember that Russian propaganda also echoed the same rhetoric. So clearly that was the message.

      Reply
    2. Asehpe

      “It was not “going with EU” because obviously Ukraine wasn’t going with EU anytime soon regardless of signing or not signing that association agreement. ”

      ‘Not anytime soon’ doesn’t mean ‘not at all’. The desire of Ukrainians was obviously to go the European way. That would take time, a lot of time; things would certainly go slowly. But eventually they would get there, if the will to solve the corruption-oligarchy problem stayed strong–which may indeed still happen, despite the destabilizing Russia-driven war.

      “No, association agreement opened highly inconvenient “backdoor” into Russian economic space that could not be ignored regardless of who would be in power in Ukraine, so Russia offered better deal in financial terms.”

      This ‘backdoor’ would only exist if Ukraine also joined the Customs Union with Russia; if it simply joined the EU, it wouldn’t be worse than the Baltic countries. No–Russia just couldn’t admit the possibility of a truly independent Ukraine, since Russia doesn’t even think Ukraine has the right to exist at all, let alone decide what kind of future it wants.

      “You might as well imagine same thing happening in Russia – that’s actually a lot more probable too.”

      Only if Putin leaves, and even if that happens chances are another autocrat with deep pockets will take power, and he (for it certainly would be a he) would not want the rule of law or strong institutions to prevent him and his friends from enriching themselves and sharing all the political power. No–it’s much more likely to happen in Ukraine, even though their own local autocratic traditions will be a big problem.

      “Or imagine if EU and US would NOT support Maidan and it would fizzle out on it’s own? ”

      Then Ukraine would be(come) just like Russia: yet another autocratic-kleptocratic regime centered around a small group of people who would share all political power and most of the money, without true democratic institutions or the rule of law. Ukrainians with more experience with better political systems elsewhere in Europe would be disappointed and frustrated.

      Besides, Maidan had almost no official material support from outside Ukraine — all initial support they got was basically non-material. The one thing Russia is really incapable of accepting is that Ukrainians — even quite a number of Russian-identified Ukrainians — actually did not want to stay in Russia’s orbit. Given how Russia overreacted in its treatment of Ukraine in the media — either a prostitute or a ‘gay partner’ for Europe and the US –, and given so much negative (anti-Ukrainian) history in Czarist and Soviet times, who can blame them?

      Reply
      1. Shalcker

        You seem misinformed here. Ukraine already had preferential treatment in trade with Russia even without being part of Customs Union. If they would join Association Agreement as it was written that preferential treatment would have to be cancelled with corresponding losses in Ukrainian trade that would be higher then any gains from Association Agreement.

        Because Ukraine were mostly exporting to Russia high-tech goods from industrial East, while EU trade was only opening to Ukrainian agricultural products as Ukrainian industry was not updated to European standards.

        “Only if Putin leaves” – that’s still a lot more probable then entire Ukrainian corrupt elite being replaced. And they are not getting even close to “true democratic institutions” – in fact they are getting a lot further away from it by implementing censorship, jailing their opponents, outlawing opposition parties, and passing laws that allow them to essentially confiscate all big deposits in banks in case they declare martial law.

        “Not official support”? What alternative universe are you living in? Did you miss all visits of EU and US officials right to Maidan? EU had freaking sanctions against members of Ukrainian government in January/February already… that’s interference way higher then anything Russia did there.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I’ve seen no evidence of sanctions before March of 2014. I know that they threatened sanctions against Yanukovych if he turned the military loose on the people, but he didn’t do that of course. After all, he’s not Putin.

        Also, there are still a lot of problems with Ukraine’s government and their policies. You know, it’s almost like there’s something distracting them from the huge task of building a democratic society, like something which tends to make that process really difficult, acts against it even. I wonder what that could be.

        Let us establish a few important facts which are beyond dispute.

        The Ukrainian people are not mindless automatons. They came out to Maidan for a variety of reasons, many of them bad or naive, but they did it because that’ what they wanted, not because they were paid.

        The annexation of the Crimea was illegal and is not recognized even by allies like Belarus and Kazakhstan. It was a violation of international law.

        Russia is fueling the war in the Donbass. There is no way these rebels could have captured such a wealth of arms and ammunition in order to sustain so many offensives after so much time, with no conceivable source of money and material. The photographic and eyewitness evidence is too much.

        If you had read far back enough on this blog, you’ll see that I had plenty to complaints about Maidan and its politics. However, Russia came in and made that much worse. If Russia pulled back tomorrow, I’d go back to focusing strictly on the Ukrainian government when it comes to discussing that country.

  8. Shalcker

    It’s quite easy to find examples of earlier sanctions, Google has time constraints, you know, just put “imposes sanctions on ukrainian officials” and limit it to 1 Dec 2013 – 23 Feb 2014:
    http://euobserver.com/foreign/122829 (US, January)
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26280710 (EU, February)

    And yes, obviously now they are “distracted” from creating “true democracy” by elites that insist on continuing war they seem to be completely unable to win rather then go on path of reforms that would make them “beacon of hope” as you want. Alas, elites are self-serving everywhere, especially Ukraine, and “true democracy” is outside of their interests.

    It is also silly to deny that some of people on Maidan were indeed paid, mostly those coming from Western Ukraine. Interviews where people admit it are quite numerous.

    Crimea accession is done deal, legal or not.

    US and East European NATO allies are also fuelling war in Donbass; their sales of old soviet arms to Ukraine are not even hidden, while US lethal aid seems to come up as a thing being resold to Syrian government forces by Yatsenyuk (though that last part might have been a hoax from CyberBerkut – still quite funny if true). And without US support (even if mostly verbal) Kiev would never dare to start actual war… in fact escalations of conflict in April and later coincided perfectly with US officials visits.

    It takes two sides to have war in this particular case. And it’s pretty clear which side is winning too.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Oh wow, VISA bans! There’s an economic war for you.

      That totally justifies the illegal annexation of the Crimea and military support for the rebels.

      “And yes, obviously now they are “distracted” from creating “true democracy” by elites that insist on continuing war they seem to be completely unable to win rather then go on path of reforms that would make them “beacon of hope” as you want.”

      Again, ignores who started this war and who is really sustaining it- Russia.

      “It is also silly to deny that some of people on Maidan were indeed paid,”

      Some of, perhaps, but that’s a far cry from the whole movement being fake. If you want to see people being paid to “protest”(against approved targets, of course), you go to Russia. Here they make little effort to hide it.

      “Kiev would never dare to start actual war… in fact escalations of conflict in April and later coincided perfectly with US officials visits. ”

      You’re suggesting that Kyiv would have just sat there and let its territory be taken away? Sure, that’s plausible. The US ambassador showed up and said, “Hey you know that’s your territory that’s running away there? Have you ever heard of our president Abraham Lincoln?”

      Yes, that’s certainly a plausible story if one has had enough Putinka.

      And what do you mean “start a war?” Russia’s not in the Donbass, remember? They are just rebels…who rose up in arms…ergo starting a war.

      Keep up those gymnastics. They’re quite amusing.

      Again, Russia illegally annexed the Crimea,

      Reply
    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Again, you can obfuscate all you want, but in the end:

      Yanukovych led a corrupt regime which brought about its own end. He also ran away instead of honoring the agreement he signed on 21 February. He has never been able to show any proof that his life was in danger.

      Russia illegally annexed the Crimea.

      Russia was behind the uprising in the Donbass(facilitated by men like Borodai and Girkin), and it has been sustaining the rebellion with arms, vehicles, money, and logistics.

      Therefore Russia is responsible for the conflict.

      If everything had been reversed, with the US using its agents to overthrow say, the local government in part of Kazakhstan, it’s pretty obvious who you’d be blaming.

      Please do not pretend as though you’re arguing from any sort of consistent logical position.

      Reply
  9. Shalcker

    You’re looking at Russia as a single entity. Even in broad “government coalition” there are different clans that sometimes clash between each over, and many earlier people came to Eastern Ukraine from Crimean connections (that didn’t disappear overnight with Crimean accession into Russia – and at the same time cannot be seen as “Russian force” as accession clearly wasn’t planned by Russia that was open to other possibilities. Local opportunists got their chance and they used it fully.)

    One faction decided they can force same scenario in Donbass as in Crimea without having any guarantees. They were proven wrong. At the same time Kiev forcing actual war removed all “doves” that were just bargaining with Kiev for better deal from new Donbass power structures (as Strelkov and others said in many interviews after escaping Slavyansk Donetsk was NOT preparing to fight at all) and put radicals that asked for complete separation into forefront. That particular part saw no real Russian support – simply because there were too many interests of local clans/oligarchs clashing there.

    As situation deteriorated further and rebels unified their command they did get support that prevented their defeat. I have no idea what were actual reasons for that support though, but once situation stabilized it was stopped just as fast as it was increased. This support was never “unquestionable and full”; always predicated on some conditions.

    And attempts to achieve peace can be seen as honest; obviously this peace cannot come as “rebels surrender, Ukrainians do whatever” because neither side is in complete control of acting forces.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I believe that there was definitely a change in plans and of course there were different factions, but wrong is still wrong. There were American leaders who wanted to use tactical nukes in Vietnam, and luckily they were overruled. That doesn’t make the Vietnam war morally right.

      Reply

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