Sounds just like bullshit!

Today I’d like to write about one of the most irritating memes, for lack of a better word, that one encounters in discourse on Russia. It goes something like this: There’s a news story about some social ill or bad deed of the Russian government, and some ignorant Westerner or a privileged Western expat chimes in with something like: “Sounds just like the US/UK/West/EU/wherever.” Or a variant of this is: “Oh you’re talking about Putin/Russian government? I thought you were talking about Obama/Cameron/Merkel/Poroshenko!” The culprit is almost always someone wholly ignorant about Russia and commenting on some news story, or it is a pro-Russian expat who attributes their privileged lifestyle to Putin (sometimes that’s almost accurate).

I cannot stand this non-argument. It’s not just whataboutery, it’s actually worse simply because it is not just a non-argument, but it’s basically the equivalent of pointing your finger and saying: “No, YOU are!”

This is one of those things that falls under the term “fractal wrongness,” i.e. wrong on every conceivable level. Half the time, the comparison these people are making isn’t even remotely accurate. For example, you make a point about Kremlin control over the media and censorship, and suddenly Mr. Sounds Like America chimes in with his unwanted two cents. Very well, let’s take a look at this recent case with Novaya  Gazetaone of Russia’s few remaining independent newspapers.

Here we have an independent newspaper, often critical of the government, facing the threat of having to shut down because of a curse word that they actually censored with asterisks. Meanwhile pro-Kremlin social network groups on VK routinely post not only uncensored curse words, but racist images and even pornography. The first violation was an article by Yulia Latynina which was cited for “extremism.” Personally I didn’t read the article; I’ve never been one of her fans to say the least. That being said, “extremism” is the bullshit catch-all that the Russian government uses to persecute people. Pretty much every time they actually specify what the “extremism” was, you can find plenty of examples of pro-government media, groups, or individuals doing the exact same thing with impunity. For example, if it was “inciting hatred against national/ethnic groups,” you will never see anyone hit with such extremism charges for inciting hatred against Ukrainians, for example.

So what say you, oh Mr. Sounds like my country? Does that happen in America, for example? Now of course they’ll start scrambling and throw out some ridiculous comparison, most likely the FCC. Bullshit. FCC rules apply to everybody, not just media outlets the government doesn’t like, which brings up another issue- the American government actually changes, making it nearly impossible for an administration to use the FCC as their personal media watchdog. Note, for example, how Fox News and the Bush administration led to an explosion of liberal and even more radical media, first in radio with things like Air America, and then on TV. In spite of Colin Powell’s son being head of the FCC under Bush, we didn’t see an attempt to wield that power against media outlets which were critical of the war. That fight was waged by private companies like Fox and Clear Channel, and various think tanks.

So no, I’m really, truly sorry, but that doesn’t sound like America at all. And you can do the same with nearly every issue. constitution violations? America is full of constitutional barracks lawyers, but the fact is that our constitution has remained pretty solid over the years. Compare that to Russia, where the constitution supposedly guarantees freedom of speech, press, freedom from censorship, the right to assembly, and a section on separation of church and state which is far more unambiguous than our 1st amendment, and yet all of these ,among others, are violated on a routine basis. Are you still sure it’s the same? Okay let’s make a deal. For a reasonable price I’ll go to the US and organize an impromptu anti-government protest on public property. You go to Russia and try to do the same. We’ll see how that works out.

Not practical you say? Unfair you say? Alright. In the words of the most horrible singer of our era, Look at this photographThose are armed Tea Partiers. If you’re unfortunate enough to know anything about the Tea Party movement, you’re also aware that this isn’t an isolated incident. Here’s a report straight from the stupid horse’s mouth. Bottom line is that the US is actually liberal on the question of free speech and right to assembly to a ridiculous degree, one which is far beyond the reasonable limits of public safety. I mean here you have a bunch of people with incredibly poor critical thinking skills, insecure masculinity, pumped up on sheer terror over things that aren’t even happening, and our police let them scream at the government while armed with semi-automatic rifles. And yet Russia is afraid of a 14-year-old girl with ribbons in her hair, NGO’s that have nothing to do with politics, and poems, just to name a few things that scare Russia’s government shitless on a seemingly weekly basis.

So no, the US media, civil rights, etc. aren’t “the same.” Those latter above-mentioned things don’t sound too much like America or the EU to me, or anyone who actually knows what they are talking about.

How about militarism and warmongering then? While the US has certainly been involved in plenty of military interventions since 1991, Russia has had its share, and in some cases the casualties and long term effects have been just as destructive if not more so than some of the US or NATO ones. It’s clear from the mentality of the Kremlin, laid bare since the Ukrainian crisis, that a major reason as to why we didn’t see more foreign military intervention on the part of the Kremlin is because they simply lacked the ability to project their power on a global scale, as the US does. Anyone who pays attention to the chatter of Kremlin fans knows how they relish at the thought of projecting military power as far as possible, to the point of fapping about invading or nuking Washington. But the US is indeed militaristic, and has been involved in some really bloody conflicts in the recent past, so what’s the key difference?

Well you could ask that aforementioned 14-year-old girl, for example, who was questioned by the FSB for wearing Ukrainian colored ribbons in her hair. You could ask dozens of people who have been labeled “national traitors” and targeted with impunity by vandals, thugs, and in one case, assassins. Oh yes, I’m fully aware of Bill O’Reilly calling critics of the Iraq War “enemies of the state.” But you know who didn’t? The state. Since the Vietnam War America and many Western countries have hosted growing anti-war, anti-imperialist, and anti-militarism movements. All throughout the Bush administration, the US had numerous GI Rights and counter-recruitment organizations (I actually did some counter-recruitment work myself); in Russia the one organization that deals with this was labeled a “foreign agent” without any explanation. Let’s not have any illusions about the US when it comes to this- having political opinions which clash with those of your boss can be dangerous, but at worst you will get fired. Not great in this economy but it beats prison and it’s better than getting beat down or having your face put on a professionally-produced banner that proclaims you to be a national traitor, which is a common practice in Moscow. Being outspoken against the Iraq War in America was nothing like it is when it comes to the war in Ukraine.

Whether the topic is military intervention, corruption, or media bias, one thing to keep in mind is that when you’re about to drop examples of ill deeds that supposedly cancel out those of the Kremlin, you should ask yourself where you got this information from in the first place. More often than not, you’re getting them from that “mainstream” media you so decry. Even if you’re getting it from RT, there’s a good chance that they just got it from Reuters or someone else. A lot of that information is made publicly available to reporters in the first place. If not, the reporters aren’t punished for finding and releasing it. Hell, you can start your own Youtube channel and tell everyone about who “really” controls our government and how they’re about to round up half the population into FEMA camps, and nobody from the US government will attempt to stop you, even citing the “shouting fire in a crowded theater” exception from the 1st amendment. What happens when you try to get all Vice with the Russian government? Did you not read that story I posted above about Novaya Gazeta? Did you not see what happened to Nemtsov and a long line of investigative journalists in Russia? Is it still, as you say, the same?

Moving on, another reason why this argument is bullshit is because you’ll never see the same people, upon reading about some real injustice in the US, Europe, or wherever, remarking: “Police brutality? That sounds just like Russia!” Now to be fair, I realize that a lot of times the “sounds like America” comments come from people who know little about Russia, and thus they can only make judgments based on their own experience. I don’t expect hearing about problems in Russia to resonate much with them, even if it is irritating how they assume that the world revolves around them and that other people in world don’t have problems with their own governments.

The people who have no excuse are the Team Russia expats who pull this kind of shit. You know damned well that when they’re sharing articles about dirty deals on Wall Street or not-so-secret drone wars in Pakistan, they’re neither thinking nor saying: “This sounds like Russia!” That’s because for these people it’s not even about comparing problems, something which is entirely valid if done reasonably. No, what it’s about is telling Russian citizens that have problems with their government to shut up. Johnny Expat gets free accommodation, works 18 hours a week teaching a language he barely knows because he’s fresh out of his TEFL course, and he’s automatically interesting to incredibly hot women just because he’s exotic and a potential ticket out of this place to some. So what’s the problem? Why are all these Russians complaining? Don’t they know there are problems in America too? Better dismiss their complaints and issues and instead start talking about the things that bother me personally as an American! It can vary from case to case for a number of reasons, but that’s usually how this comes off to me. It’s a paradox of the “pro-Russian” expat; they deny Russians the right they claim for themselves, the right to be at odds with one’s government and make a distinction between that government and one’s country.

I’ve said plenty of times before that there can be accurate comparisons between these nations. Those analogies, when accurate, offer great educational opportunities, especially for Russia’s opposition who tend to play the politics of opposites game, much like many Ukrainians. I like to compare whataboutery as a concept to the legal concept of hearsay- there’s a simple definition, but there are many exceptions. But looking at some article critical of Russia and saying “That sounds like America” isn’t one of those exceptions. It’s not even an argument. It’s a cowardly retreat from debate. I’ve seen some pretty unfair articles about Russia in my time, and I’ve utilized analogies to explain why they’re wrong. If you have a problem with a claim in some article, put up or shut up. Make a damned argument and while you’re at it, bring some evidence.

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182 thoughts on “Sounds just like bullshit!

  1. Sohryu_L

    >a bunch of people with incredibly poor critical thinking skills, insecure masculinity, pumped up on sheer terror over things that aren’t even happening, and our police let them scream at the government

    Sounds just like Right Sector!

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      See THIS is how it’s done! That’s pretty much spot on, except that I suspect far fewer Right Sector members are bound to electric mobility scooters.

      Reply
  2. das_rumpsteak

    From your link to RationalWiki:
    “It is worth noting that being fractally wrong can be handy for the losing side in a public debate, since you are likely to leave your opponent looking baffled and unable to deal with each level of wrongness.”

    I’ve been looking for a term to describe that particular level of frustration you can often experience when debating pro-Russians and “Fractal Wrongness” is definitely it. I’m not sure how many of them are aware that they’re fractally wrong, but they sure reap the rewards when the opposing side plays along with their game and ends up replying to idiotic statement after idiotic statement.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      There’s another article on there for something called “Not even wrong.” That’s an argument which needs considerable improvement just to achieve the level of “incorrect.” This is also very applicable sometimes.

      Reply
  3. Shalcker

    Articles are about views nowdays, to get views you need to evoke emotions, if situations described matches their own (or they can relate to it somehow) people get them and then return for more.

    Might miss the point of the article entirely, but as long as you can evoke “listening to your heart” in them it’s working.

    And unless sufficiently primed before (they are the other! we are not like them at all!) people prefer to focus on similarities rather then differences by default – hence “just like here!” effect.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Well if we’re speaking of comments, like I said it can be entirely understandable. A lot of Americans, who are often guilty of saying this, almost never travel abroad. They also don’t plan to go to Russia. So when it comes to corruption or militarism they literally can’t compare what they know to anything else. This is entirely logical. You just can’t transfer that experience.

      From a personal example, I often describe myself as coming from a very religious upbringing. This is basically true, but my upbringing was war less severe than that of some of my friends, and that of others who are raised by two-parent fundamentalist families. Yet even though I know, in an intellectual sense, that this one friend of mine had it so much worse, I tend to complain about the problems I had in my religious upbringing, despite the fact that they were usually objectively far less severe.

      Reply
  4. Shalcker

    On completely different note, Dynasty closed after being branded “foreign agent” exactly because they were there for political changes (and there are interviews and FB posts by Zimin to prove it).

    Like right in their report for 2013 their for “Popularization of science and enlightenment” topmost funding goes to “Supporting the ‘Liberal Mission’ Foundation”…

    As they say:
    Supporting the Liberal Mission Foundation
    The Liberal Mission Foundation purposefully develops several topics, including the state and
    structure of the economy, division of powers and responsibilities of governmental institutions, development of strategy for Russia’s position in the world, international relations, and the
    problem of the national identity of Russian citizens.
    The foundation regularly conducts discussions involving a wide range of experts, discovering all the spectrum of opinions on the topics under consideration, as well as situational analysis,
    round table discussions, public lectures with participation of economists, political scientists,
    sociologists, cultural experts, and lawyers.”
    What is this if not politics? They were offered to bring money in rather then pass them from abroad, they refused.

    So in this particular case Kremlin tactics seem to be working.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Actually the head of the foundation claims he paid from his own account.

      Even if that weren’t the case, that is one small part of the foundation’s purview, and why is it such a threat to have an organization that considers the problems of Russian citizens, its position in the world, and separation of powers, etc.? It sounds like some powerful people are afraid to be held accountable by their own people. Strange patriots these are.

      Reply
      1. Shalcker

        His own account in foreign jurisdictions; he refused to disclose it fully too so his words cannot be actually confirmed.

        “It’s small part” – well, nothing stopped them from ejecting this particular “small part”, or even continuing to support sciences (which are international anyway) while being branded “foreign agents”. The fact that they cannot make their other actions a lot more suspect as well – perhaps they only supported those who already had similar liberal leanings, total amount of money used for their activity when divided by all regions is by no means huge.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Hmmm…Sechin and Yakunin didn’t want to disclose their income and foreign property, but they’re just fine, along with dozens of politicians and Duma members.

        Also why are they so worried about this foundation when Putin’s approval rating was 89% at the time?

      3. Shalcker

        I’m sure when US made their FARA (after which Russian law is made) they were quite serious about possible foreign threats to their internal policies. Still are.

        Being branded “foreign agent” in no way stops you from “considering problems of Russian citizens, it’s position in the world, and separation of power”. A lot of people do it.

        It just makes you more suspect in eyes of public while your funding sources would have to be completely transparent – and revealed to public if needed.

        Do you think nothing would change in perception if for example you would know who pays for Pomerantsev lectures about Russian all-powerful information warfare efforts you quite rightfully ridicule?
        Check this out: https://pando.com/2015/05/17/neocons-2-0-the-problem-with-peter-pomerantsev/

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I’ve read that article on Pomerantsev and Ames is full of shit. He’s a hypocrite who made his career off of Russian suffering in the 90’s- but instead of fighting it he was having fun at Russia’s expense. Now he viciously attacks anyone who questions Putin and keeps bringing up the 90’s. Ames had a blast during the 90’s. Moreover, Putin’s taking his country back to the 90’s, worse even.

        Ames also questions whether Pomerantsev was even here during that time, yet if he did even five minutes research he’d be able to contact his colleague in Moscow. He claims that Peter’s book contains “90’s stereotypes.” Oh really? Where did those stereotypes come from, Ames? Also Ames is acting as though those things went away after the 90’s- they didn’t. Golddiggers, mail-order brides, oligarchs- all here in force.

        Also FARA doesn’t compare to the Foreign Agents law. It is far more specific and strict about what constitutes political activity. Moreover, virtually every NGO that gets labeled a foreign agent faces other harassment, like the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers’ head faced.

        One way the US avoids the issue of foreign funding is that first, it’s far more tolerant of civic organizations that aren’t tied to the state in any way, and it actually gives out grants, tax breaks, etc. to such organizations. The fact that Russia doesn’t is why organizations seek foreign funding in the first place.

      5. Jim Kovpak Post author

        If you need more evidence about Ames’ hypocrisy, he wrote one article about censorship that had nothing to do with Russia, and he goes off on a tangent about the 90’s of course. In this one he mentions prostitution and sexual violence as one of the side effects of the 90’s. This is a guy who wrote “whore stories,” popularized things like The Hungry Duck and various other negative stereotypes about Russian women(which attracted many of those guys on the loser carousel), and of course the eXile was largely funded by ads for prostitutes and strip clubs, well into the Putin-era which was, as you might remember, no longer the 90’s.

        I can also do without the constant pretense of being on the side of the proletariat when he attended private school, grew up in the San Francisco area, attended Berkeley, and now works for a silicon-valley-based publication. As someone from a real poor, working class background, this shit is really condescending.

        Don’t get me wrong, I use to like his stuff and I’m not saying that people shouldn’t bring up the 90’s(though that argument gets less and less effective every month), but the problem is he shoe horns it into almost any conversation and he has this concern-trolling style where he ruthlessly attacks any critic of Putin which is highly suspicious. Take Nemtsov for example. Sure, Nemtsov was “no angel.” But the idea that Nemtsov in 2015 was the same Nemtsov in the 90’s is ridiculous. People change as the situation changes. Even Putin changed, only in his case it was from a somewhat level-headed, pragmatic politician into an inept dictator.

        I believe that Ames’ view, perhaps on his own work in the 90’s, may have changed. Maybe he genuinely regrets a lot of that and realizes that his work popularized negative stereotypes about Russia and attracted a lot of scumbags looking to take advantage of desperate Russian women. People change, but that also means you have to tread lightly when making the kind of condemnations he does. It’s like those abstinence-only people who get knocked up. Okay, you can still say you made a mistake and abstinence till marriage is “morally right,” but don’t be so loud and in-your-face about it.

      6. Shalcker

        On Pomeratsev article he states that he did indeed contact friends in Russia where Pomerantsev claims to have worked and they had no idea about him. Then again Pomerantsev official “credentials” are not particularly compelling for talking about “informational warfare” anyway.

        And as far as i seen Ames attacked critics of Putin just as much as Putin himself (whom he clearly doesn’t love, and still holds a grudge over Exile demise). I would say it’s pretty common situation – while you’re “in” a lot of things seem to be natural (“just the way things are”) or funny; once you’re “out” your perspective can change completely.

        But if you dislike Ames on personal level there is another alternative on Pomerantsev from (as far as i’m aware) completely different part of spectrum:
        http://www.thenation.com/article/neo-mccarthyism-and-us-media/

      7. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “On Pomeratsev article he states that he did indeed contact friends in Russia where Pomerantsev claims to have worked and they had no idea about him”

        Which friends? It’s a large company. I know exactly where Ames could have looked and found one of Pomerantsev’s colleagues (former flatmate too, I believe), but for some reason this “investigative journalist” didn’t bother to do that.

        I haven’t really seen much of this Putin criticism at all. He still supports the narrative by severing the ties between Putin and Yeltsin and making it seem like the 90’s problems ended with Putin and because of him. It almost seems to me as though he’s hoping to get back in the dictator’s graces somehow, but I doubt he’ll notice.

        But I prefer Ames to that Nation article. If those critics want to blame somebody for the offensive against them, they should look at RT and the rest of the Russian media. They are the ones airing all kinds of conspiracy theories and cavorting with far right extremists, thus making it easy to torpedo anyone trying to maintain respectability or dignity. I think Stephen Cohen is a good example of that.

        It may be dishonest to use someone’s casual associations with Russian media as an excuse to totally dismiss everything they say, but look at it this way: If you were their opponent, why wouldn’t you do that? If I actually worked for some neocon think tank and I’m in a debate with a guy who has credentials yet routinely appears on a Russian propaganda network that peddles conspiracy theories and false stories, and he’s routinely cited by pro-Russian publications that look like they’re written by teenagers, whose fault is it if I use that to beat him over the head even if it’s not entirely honest (it’s kind of like a poisoning the well fallacy)?

        This is one of the things that annoys me about Russian propaganda the most- you can’t use it for your own purposes (as a leftist, for example), because they don’t give a shit about your ideology or your credibility. They don’t care about following you with a piece from some right-winger or some ridiculous conspiracy theory. They don’t value credibility so they couldn’t care less.

        Believe me, I still get accused of working for the Kremlin and because of the title of my blog and where I live, I’m aware the suspicion that follows me. I think it’s unfair and some people use these associations very dishonestly. But I understand why they do, and I blame the Russian government for making this possible.

      8. Estragon

        Re: Ames & Pomerantsev

        I have to partially support Ames here. I read Pomerantsev’s book, at least the parts that directly interested me. As mentioned previously, I was at RT during its start-up period. Pomerantsev’s source on RT is a middle-aged Irishman who was supposedly there at the same time I was. RT was not a huge operation, and it was possible to know (or at least know about) almost everyone working there at the time. But I have racked my brains and cannot recognize any person who fits the description of the person who is Pomerantsev’s source.

        It is of course possible that this person existed, but I suspect he was a composite or otherwise disguised character. Which further raises the question of how accurate Pomerantsev’s information is on the whole.

      9. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I can look into that. What about his descriptions of the day to day running of RT? Was it accurate? Also I’m not sure if he had any inside sources during the past couple years, when “shit got real” as they say.

      10. Jim Kovpak Post author

        That being said, I think in some of his speeches he’s sort of played to the audience that wants to hear about his menacing Russian propaganda juggernaut. For a decent fee I’d be happy to give anyone a lecture on Russia propaganda, but I’m going to give my honest assessment, which is that it isn’t a threat(at least to Western governments) and that it ultimately works against Russia on several levels.

      11. Estragon

        His description of RT’s daily operations struck me as fairly accurate in a general sort of way. That said, I no longer have the book and can’t answer that question in detail.

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  6. Jim Kovpak Post author

    Anyway, here is some info on FARA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Agents_Registration_Act
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2009-title22/pdf/USCODE-2009-title22-chap11-subchapII.pdf

    The act actually goes back to 1938, and as we know, Russia today LOVES taking things from long-bygone eras and acting like they justify its actions today. The scope of the law has been narrowed several times, and it is aimed primarily at lobbyists. That is to say you actually have to be working on behalf of a foreign government, not simply having funding from abroad. The Dynasty case would never have happened in the US.

    What you also notice is that while this law is still on the books in the US, most Americans know nothing about it and can’t readily think of who might fall under its jurisdiction. If they have any intelligence, they understand that PR agencies like Ketchum aren’t poised to start a revolutionary insurgency in America. By contrast, the Russian government is suspiciously afraid of all of these organizations, and talk of foreign agents and color revolutions is always in the news.

    Reply
    1. Shalcker

      Long-begone, really? The enforcement track for FARA lately seems to be used to evict spies though…
      http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2011/11/justice-department-records-show-dramatic-rise-in-fara-enforcement.html (also, no FARA checks during Bush second term, interesting)

      As far as i’m aware Russian law requires same (or at least similar) transparency as FARA (which is quite a lot of transparency looking at it). A lot of foreign funding, especially in case of Zimin, would be incredibly murky and unable to prove origin of their money.

      More transparency is good for everyone. And I’m sure they would be able to find ~200 millions roubles in Russia for support of sciences if they tried. The fact that they were unwilling to do it is proof it was politics first.

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Here’s the thing though- simply getting money from a foreign source doesn’t qualify you for FARA. You can basically get money from anywhere. The question is whether you’re a lobby group or PR agency of another country.

        And transparency is great, but why then is it so uncommon in Russia and why do they crack down on organizations like Transparency International? Why is the FSB proposing to cover up property registration, for example? Why doesn’t Yakunin want to reveal his income or talk about his son living in London? Also why did Navalny have to reveal Shuvalov’s recent purchase of a castle in London for 11 million GBP?

  7. Jim Kovpak Post author

    There is one thing I particularly like about Ames and most of the eXile writers I’ve read- they all hate libertarians. Libertarians tend to be even worse than mainstream conservatives because the nice thing about the latter is that they at least tacitly admit that they don’t know anything. Libertarians are all insta-experts in economics because they discovered Reason magazine or Mises.org.

    If you want to know about organized trolling, and I mean REAL trolling, some acquaintances of mine and I once trolled the pages of some “anarcho-capitalists,” the worst libertarians you can ever encounter. One of my favorite ways to provoke arguments was to ask them why they support child pornography. Naturally they’d deny this but then I’d show them how within the logic of their poorly thought out ideology, you can’t really justify banning it, ergo they’re for child pornography. Their mental gymnastics thereafter would win enough Olympic gold medals to fill Scrooge McDuck’s money bin.

    Reply
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  10. Mao Cheng Ji

    “But looking at some article critical of Russia and saying “That sounds like America” isn’t one of those exceptions. It’s not even an argument. It’s a cowardly retreat from debate.”

    It wouldn’t be an argument – in ordinary times. These days, however, I’m not looking at “some article critical of Russia”. I’m looking at a full scale demonization campaign, where every insignificant incident (like your 14yo girl) is paraded all over western mainstream media, blown completely out of proportion (as you demonstrate) and made into some metaphysical evidence of Russia’s evil nature. And if there is no convenient incident in sight, one will be invented.

    So, let’s consider ‘whataboutery’ in this context, and not in the irrelevant context of just “some article critical of Russia”.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      ” I’m looking at a full scale demonization campaign,”

      You call it a “demonization” campaign. That’s subjective.

      “where every insignificant incident (like your 14yo girl) is paraded all over western mainstream media, blown completely out of proportion (as you demonstrate) ”

      Actually this incident wasn’t widely reported in the “Western mainstream media.” It was reported by Meduza, which is Russian, and maybe The Moscow Times, in addition to Russian press.

      Also it’s pretty significant when a girl is hauled in for interrogation by nation’s federal intelligence agency just because she wore yellow and blue ribbons in her hair.

      I’m surprised they didn’t report this more widely, actually. Another story not widely reported was about that guy who was jailed for writing a poem recently. Is that also insignificant to you?

      “and made into some metaphysical evidence of Russia’s evil nature.”

      Said no reputable media outlet ever. I talk to the journalists who report on a lot of these issues. None of them say things like “Russia is evil” or that it has an “evil nature.” Many of them have lived here for years and in spite of worries and concerns, actually prefer their situation here. Some of them are married to Russian citizens and have kids here. And if you think what they report is bad, spend a few hours with anyone who has lived here for over five years or so and you’ll hear much worse.

      ” And if there is no convenient incident in sight, one will be invented.”

      Oh really? Like what? So you’re saying that after getting a job as a correspondent in Moscow for a major Western publication, you can just pitch stories you made up? You’ve clearly never worked in media.

      Reply
      1. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Also it’s pretty significant when a girl is hauled in for interrogation by nation’s federal intelligence agency just because she wore yellow and blue ribbons in her hair”

        I highly doubt that this is the whole story, but if it is, then clearly it’s a story about someone working for the FSB suddenly going mad. Again: whatever happened to ‘a girl’ is utterly meaningless and insignificant. Even if she was eaten alive by an FSB agent for not saluting the flag.

        Compare to something like (yes, what about): ‘the number of people killed by the US police in the last 24 days is equal to the number of people killed by England’s police in 24 years’. Now, here you have a real story.

        “I talk to the journalists who report on a lot of these issues. None of them say things like “Russia is evil” or that it has an “evil nature.” ”

        I believe you. But they’re mere cogs in the machine. They do their job, they get paid. They write what’s expected from them.

        “Oh really?”

        Maybe not invented by you. But you’ll repeat things invented by someone else – with a reference, of course. And you’ll remove most of the context and over-emphasize some other context (‘pro-Russian rebels’. I even saw the phrase “pro-Russian missile” on CNN recently), and then the publication will slap a headline on it. Oh, the headlines! Just a few days ago I saw “Rebels continue shelling Donetsk” – just because the SBU said (again) that they were shelling themselves. Last year I saw ‘Rebel leader admits they used civilians as human shields’, while inside the piece, despite all the spin, it was quite clear that he actually denied it.

        How do you manage to miss all this?

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Oh you doubt that was the whole story? Please tell me what context there could possibly be to make this action, which didn’t even take place in the capital, justifiable. I’d really love to know. In any case, you can read the story here, and not that it’s not from “the Western media.” https://nobsrussia.com/2015/03/21/behold-the-great-russian-empire-and-despair/

        Also take note that you were wrong about this being widely reported or trumpeted in the Western media.

        “Again: whatever happened to ‘a girl’ is utterly meaningless and insignificant. Even if she was eaten alive by an FSB agent for not saluting the flag. ”

        Um no, this is not insignificant. When a country’s intelligence agency is detaining and interrogating people for things as innocuous as a blog post, a retweet, a poem, etc. It’s pretty damned significant.

        “Compare to something like (yes, what about): ‘the number of people killed by the US police in the last 24 days is equal to the number of people killed by England’s police in 24 years’. Now, here you have a real story. ”

        1. Is there no reporting on this topic in the “Western media?” I’ve seen these facts dozens of times. It’s one of the hottest topics right now.

        2. You expect the international media covering Russia to bring up domestic news in another country? How is that supposed to work? When a Middle East correspondent is reporting on the battle between the Kurds and ISIS, should they take a minute to point out how many people were killed by American police?

        Or how about this, when the national news reporter talks about how many people American police killed within a few months, they could then compare it to MH17 in the middle of their report?

        Does any of that sound strange to you? Reporters who cover Eastern Europe are not going to intersperse their reports with information about domestic problems just to counter-balance whatever Russia’s up to.

        “I believe you. But they’re mere cogs in the machine. They do their job, they get paid. They write what’s expected from them. ”

        Have you actually done their job? If these people are so dishonest and just write what they’re paid, why do we see an exodus of people from RT(and believe me, those who quit publicly are really a minority) and not the other way around?

        “And you’ll remove most of the context and over-emphasize some other context (‘pro-Russian rebels’. I even saw the phrase “pro-Russian missile” on CNN recently), and then the publication will slap a headline on it.”

        It might interest you to know that there are some die-hard Ukraine supporters(many who are not Ukrainian at all and in some cases never visited the country), who attack Western media for even using the term “pro-Russian rebels,” insisting that they should all be called regular Russian forces(something that not even the US or Ukrainian government do).

        As for CNN, I don’t really follow it but cable news typically sucks thanks to the Fox effect and their shoestring budgets. When you see reports like that, it’s just some reporter writing about a press conference. If you want to see real investigative journalism, you look at The Guardian, NY Times, BBC, Meduza (it’s in English), The Telegraph, etc. These people actually go out and investigate things, talking to both sides.

        As for the human shields bit, this is really no secret. Several videos, including ones made by Russian media outlets or just DNR residents have shown artillery firing from residential areas. In fact recently Zakharchenko was faced with a spontaneous demonstration where residents demanded they remove artillery from residential zones. The group’s demands were twisted by the Russian media, which claimed that they wanted to continue the war. What they were saying, in a carefully coded language however, was basically get your artillery out of our neighborhood.

        As for the topic of shelling themselves, there have been some cases of this that seem to be accidental. When I worked in news I covered a story(using the DNR’s own press service as sources) about a mortar shell that killed several people at a bus depot in Donetsk. As it was an 82mm mortar, it far out of range of any Ukrainian army positions. Of course that didn’t stop the DNR press office from claiming that it was a secret Ukrainian partisan unit in a van operating within Donetsk- but I can’t even begin to explain what’s wrong with that.

      3. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Also take note that you were wrong about this being widely reported or trumpeted in the Western media.”

        I didn’t say it was trumpeted in the Western media. I said that you – you, here – demonstrated how an insignificant story can be blown out of proportion.

        My point is: don’t tell me about the girl, I don’t need your dramas. And since you ARE trying to push my buttons with this little-girl drama – yes, I will whatabout you, and yes: you’ll lose the drama competition. You’re lecturing people from a country where 12 year old with a toy gun gets killed by the police.

        I want your analysis, not your dramatics. Give me the relevant stats, the patterns. How many people have been indicted for wearing yellow and blue? None? How many have been arrested? Harassed? This year vs last year. And yes, as compared with the US, with France, with Germany.

        “As for the human shields bit, this is really no secret.”

        I don’t care. What I’m telling you is that the piece quotes Mr. Khodakovsky as saying “If there are one-off instances, believe me when I say that we will tackle this very strongly,” , and the headline is “Ukraine rebel: Residential areas used as cover”. You don’t see a problem with that?

        “insisting that they should all be called regular Russian forces”

        I know that, but my point stands. Yes, personally I’d prefer you to call them ‘anti-fascist resistance’ fighting ‘pro-US self-declared fascist Kiev junta’ or something, but I’m not asking you to do that. ‘Pro-government’ vs ‘anti-government’ would do nicely. Instead, you’re pushing a certain kind of context into every sentence, while ignoring different kinds of context completely. That’s brainwashing, pure and simple.

        “If these people are so dishonest and just write what they’re paid”

        I didn’t say they were dishonest. Read Manufacturing Consent, or something.

        “Of course that didn’t stop the DNR press office from claiming that it was a secret Ukrainian partisan unit in a van operating within Donetsk”

        That is not the issue; of course they’ll say it. The issue is the western media taking the SBU spokesman’s line as default. Pushing it into the headline. Yes, there will be clarification “SBU spokesman said” in the third para, so technically you’re not lying. And when the SBU spokesman’s line is too much an affront to common sense, then you’ll say that ‘the sides are trading blame’. It’s maddening.

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        ” didn’t say it was trumpeted in the Western media. I said that you – you, here – demonstrated how an insignificant story can be blown out of proportion. ”

        First, you claimed that the Western media is deliberately demonizing Russia and that blowing this story out of proportion is an example. I pointed out that it was barely even covered in the Western media.

        So you think it’s insignificant that people can be detained and interrogated by their country’s intelligence services, including if they are underage, for the stupidest, most insignificant things like this? Would you like this to happen in your country? Would you like to answer to the FBI for the things you post about police brutality?

        ” You’re lecturing people from a country where 12 year old with a toy gun gets killed by the police.”

        And Russia is a place where people often kill themselves to escape the pain of cancer because the idiotic system doesn’t let them get pain medication. Do you see how this works?

        You DO realize that whataboutism is a logical fallacy right? Now this might be REALLY hard for you to understand so make sure you read really slowly and deliberately: What happens with the police in America and those in Russia do not effect each other. If tomorrow Obama introduced sweeping legislation and police reform to make sure things like that never happened, you’d be shit out of luck, wouldn’t you?

        Again, when you read your story about American police brutality, at any point do you stop and say: “Hey I wonder why this story doesn’t say anything about police brutality in Russia!” I doubt it.

        There are basically two approaches to these problems. One, which is my approach, is to say that police brutality and crackdowns on civil rights are generally negative things wherever they happen, and they should be opposed by citizens.

        The other way, your way, is to say: Shut up about this problem here because there are problems over there. That’s it- everyone should shut up and let Russia’s elite continue stealing from its people.

        Now which one of those approaches makes the world a better place, and which one makes it worse?

        “How many people have been indicted for wearing yellow and blue? None? How many have been arrested? Harassed? This year vs last year. And yes, as compared with the US, with France, with Germany. ”

        This is rather funny because in those other countries you can’t be harassed or arrested for wearing things or writing poems(barring in mind things like Germany’s laws on Holocaust denial, Nazism, etc.)

        There is a well-established history in Russia of harassing any kind of opposition, especially media. Take for example these massive, professionally-produced banners that are sometimes hung in high-profile places around Moscow. They proclaim people like Nemtsov and Sobchak to be “National Traitors.” So far it’s not clear who exactly hangs these banners. Now the question is, what would happen to someone who makes and hangs a banner that proclaims Putin to be a national traitor? Here’s what happened when some folks tried to hang a simple Ukrainian flag on the bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENPglnPtJaU

        “As for the human shields bit, this is really no secret.”
        I don’t care.”

        You don’t care that it’s actually a well-established fact that the rebels have essentially used human shields by launching artillery strikes from residential areas? And instead you want to focus on this stupid headline? While the source called them “one off situations,” what ELSE did the article say? Did the talk to anyone else to see how rare they were? Because he did essentially admit that it happens just by that alone.

        ” Yes, personally I’d prefer you to call them ‘anti-fascist resistance’ fighting ‘pro-US self-declared fascist Kiev junta’ or something, but I’m not asking you to do that.”

        Well you see the problem with both those terms is that they are literally factually wrong. The “resistance” is riddled with fascists of all sorts, both Russian and foreign. By contrast the Ukrainian government was legally elected, a fact recognized by the Russian government, and is not riddled with fascists. What is more, as flawed a system as Ukraine’s is, it has a competitive representative democracy with fair elections, whereas Russia does not. They have this one leader figure that everyone must respect. It’s almost like…one of those states…you know the ones with the far right ideology and a cult of a leader? What’s that word again? Damn!

        So it seems to me that your beef with the media is that they don’t tailor their narratives to fit what is essentially your fantasy.

        Is there any part of you that is concerned with reality? Do you actually want to be informed what goes on there, or do you want a story that fits your own preconceived notions?

        “I didn’t say they were dishonest. Read Manufacturing Consent, or something.”

        You essentially did by saying they write what they’re paid to write instead of they write what they can confirm. How about this, instead of reading a book by Chomsky- get a job in a news outlet and see how news is actually made. There you will see the problems that lead to real biases and you will understand why they exist.

        Earlier you said that the media would invent stories if they couldn’t twist real ones. I asked for examples and you still haven’t given any. I can give you plenty of examples of the Russian media inventing stories- from the crucified boy of Sloviansk to the fake satellite photo of a fighter jet shooting down MH17. Stopfake.org has plenty of them. Go ahead and find me an equivalent from say, the NY Times some time.

        “Pushing it into the headline. Yes, there will be clarification “SBU spokesman said” in the third para, so technically you’re not lying. And when the SBU spokesman’s line is too much an affront to common sense, then you’ll say that ‘the sides are trading blame’.”

        Do you know anything about news writing style at all? Who, what, where, when, why? This is the most basic foundation of journalism. News stories are specially structured to fit a certain format, so that the most critical information comes first, followed by more detail. This isn’t some kind of brainwashing tactic. I don’t know what example you’re talking about specifically(feel free to provide them), but they would do the same thing with a press conference from the DNR’s authorities, for example.

        So I hope you’ll actually devote some time to learning more about the news business from the inside and understand the difference between routine stories and features.

        Oh by the way, if you really want to see the TRUTH that the mainstream Western media doesn’t want you to know- watch this underground indy media video about civilians in Donetsk suffering from shelling by the Ukrainian army.

        http://www.voanews.com/media/video/civilians-under-fire-in-donetsk-ukraine-face-uncertain-future/2812989.html

        Oh wait…That’s Voice of America, which is ACTUALLY funded by the US government. Hmmm…

      5. Mao Cheng Ji

        “you claimed that the Western media is deliberately demonizing Russia and that blowing this story out of proportion is an example”

        Again, I didn’t claim that the western media is using this particular story. I claimed that the western media is using various insignificant stories, and you are using this particular one. Incidentally, I found the source of this story, and it has no names, no last names. So, this could be a hoax, for all we know. That’s probably why the official media won’t touch it.

        “Again, when you read your story about American police brutality, at any point do you stop and say: “Hey I wonder why this story doesn’t say anything about police brutality in Russia!” I doubt it. ”

        If I read a story about American police brutality, written by an anti-American Russian activist, or as a part of something I perceive as an anti-American campaign – then yes, I’ll stop and say exactly that.

        “You DO realize that whataboutism is a logical fallacy right? ”

        Like I said: not in the context of a full-scale demonization campaign, which is what I believe we’re witnessing today.

        “in those other countries you can’t be harassed or arrested for wearing things or writing poems”

        I think I saw the ‘poem’ in question. Alexander Byvshev? I believe in most European states you can easily be arrested for *publishing* (if not *writing*) this sort of stuff. Maybe not in the US, I’m not sure. But probably in the US as well. You know: can’t yell ‘fire’ in a packed theater.

        You can be harassed everywhere, including the US. If you’re wearing conspicuously Muslim clothes, you probably will be harassed. I’m sure at some point the FBI may want to talk to you.

        “And instead you want to focus on this stupid headline? ”

        Yes, because I see this headline as a pattern, not a one-off.

        “So it seems to me that your beef with the media is that they don’t tailor their narratives to fit what is essentially your fantasy.”

        I specifically said that I don’t ask you to call the rebels ‘anti-fascist resistance’.

        If you called them ‘anti-government’ and Kiev’s neonazi battalions ‘pro-government’, that would be fine with me.

        It’s exactly my point that your personal feelings towards the Kiev’s junta and the RF president should NOT be affecting your reporting of actual events on the ground. That is the point.

        “Russian media inventing stories”

        What the Russian media do or don’t do is not the issue here. You were complaining about ‘whatabout’ reaction to the western media. And that’s we are discussing here.

      6. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “I claimed that the western media is using various insignificant stories, and you are using this particular one. Incidentally, I found the source of this story, and it has no names, no last names. So, this could be a hoax, for all we know. That’s probably why the official media won’t touch it. ”

        First of all, Russia has a number of regulations regarding releasing the names of minors involved in crimes in the press. Second, Russia’s official media has no problems with hoaxes, I can assure you that. But about that, the Russian media is not necessarily silent about people being arrested for ridiculous things. They rarely really deny problems in Russia or try to downplay or twist them North Korea-style. What they do, when they need to, is simply focus on something else and say it is worse.

        “If I read a story about American police brutality, written by an anti-American Russian activist, or as a part of something I perceive as an anti-American campaign – then yes, I’ll stop and say exactly that. ”

        It’s funny because that’s kind of what you’re doing. Western journalists, who work for a variety of different companies in different countries(some of which aren’t “Western” at all) aren’t activists.

        “Like I said: not in the context of a full-scale demonization campaign, which is what I believe we’re witnessing today.”

        You’ve failed to meet the burden of proof on that one.

        “If you called them ‘anti-government’ and Kiev’s neonazi battalions ‘pro-government’, that would be fine with me.”

        But both these terms are factually inaccurate on multiple levels. Saying pro-Russian rebels is not inaccurate- they are not all Russian regular forces or volunteers as many claim, though the war effort is entirely propped up by Russia as these “states” have no other significant sources of income and logistics.

        “It’s exactly my point that your personal feelings towards the Kiev’s junta and the RF president should NOT be affecting your reporting of actual events on the ground. That is the point.”

        First of all, editors decide what gets printed and how, not reporters.

        “What the Russian media do or don’t do is not the issue here. You were complaining about ‘whatabout’ reaction to the western media. And that’s we are discussing here.”

        You implied that the Western media invents stories about Russia as part of a demonization campaign, your term. So I’d like some examples of this if it’s not too much trouble. I’ve already given some examples from the Russian press, which is state-owned by the way. Programs about how America conspires to destroy Russia or how the West is full of degenerate perverts who want to turn Russian children gay are pretty much the norm.

      7. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Western journalists, who work for a variety of different companies in different countries(some of which aren’t “Western” at all) aren’t activists.”

        Look, once again, as I said before, I’m not interested in motivations of individual journos. What I see is an orchestrated anti-Russian campaign. Demonization. Hysteria. Objectifying it in the Putin’s persona, a new Emmanuel Goldstein. I’ve seen this before, in 2003. And then a few more times. It’s a technology.

        I have a tab with google news search, self-refreshing every 10 minutes. First I had just the word ‘Ukraine’ there. My skin was crawling. Then I modified the query – removed “kyiv post”, RadioFreeEurope, and a few more notorious sites. It’s still the same. Same headlines, same content, endless repetition. Except for a couple of Russian state sites, and occasional globalresearch.ca. It’s been a little better now, but not by much. ‘Ukraine says this’. ‘Ukraine says that’, ‘Two Ukrainian soldiers killed’. ‘9000 Russian tanks entered Ukraine’. ‘Ukraine must be armed to stop Putin’. This is how I know what it is. It’s not the rocket science. How can you not see it? It’s a mystery to me.

      8. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “What I see is an orchestrated anti-Russian campaign.”

        Perhaps you see it that way because you have a bias towards the Kremlin(not Russia, as the two are not synonymous) and you reject things that fail to support your preferred narrative.

        “Demonization.”

        What demonization? Suppose I wrote about the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. Is this demonization of America or is it the truth? When governments act like demons…

        “Hysteria.”

        What hysteria? Is the Western media supposed to just shut up and not cover Ukraine if doing so ends up leading people to conclude that it’s doing something bad there?

        “Objectifying it in the Putin’s persona, a new Emmanuel Goldstein. I’ve seen this before, in 2003. And then a few more times. It’s a technology. ”

        It’s funny you mention technology, because the Russian regime relies on “political technologists,” and it’s actually their fault Putin is objectified as you say.

        Let’s take a look at the States from 1991. There was Bush Sr., Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama. It could have also been- Bush I, Clinton, Dole, Bush, Obama, Romney. That means in this past apx 25 years we had four different presidents, changed parties twice(not to mention in congress), and there could have been as many as six different presidents.

        By contrast, for the past 15 years, Russia has had Putin, pretending to be only prime minister for four years at one point but still taking center stage in the media.

        The fact is that Putin consolidated control in his person and the Russian state-owned press created a cult of personality based around him.

        Now the Western media is at fault for focusing on him? He wants to be seen as the only suitable leader of Russia, and he is the only real authority besides Kadyrov, and yet it’s the Western media’s fault for not covering some phony opposition politician like Zyuganov and pretending as though he’s relevant.

        “I have a tab with google news search, self-refreshing every 10 minutes. First I had just the word ‘Ukraine’ there. My skin was crawling. ”

        Because it didn’t support your fantasy?

        “Then I modified the query – removed “kyiv post”, RadioFreeEurope, and a few more notorious sites. ”

        Right, I just remembered how the entire Western media consists of RFERL and Kyiv Post.

        “It’s still the same. Same headlines, same content, endless repetition.”

        You search for Ukraine, and you get pages about Ukraine. Weird!

        ” Except for a couple of Russian state sites, and occasional globalresearch.ca. It’s been a little better now, but not by much. ”

        So once you filter out all the things that disagree with your preconceived notions, and find those that reinforce them, you’re more satisfied. This sounds like a really terrible way to go through life. I predict you are likely to get bilked out of your time or hard earned money at least several times throughout your life.

        ‘”Ukraine says this’. ‘Ukraine says that’, ‘Two Ukrainian soldiers killed’. ”

        Yes, these things tend to happen when you Google the name of a country that is currently involved in a war.

        ‘9000 Russian tanks entered Ukraine’. ‘Ukraine must be armed to stop Putin’. ”

        Actually most of the op-eds I read about the arms debate are against arming Ukraine. This also comes from sources which are dead set in favor of Ukraine otherwise. I can’t think off the top of my head about anyone who supports arming Ukraine.

        “This is how I know what it is. It’s not the rocket science. How can you not see it? It’s a mystery to me.”

        The problem is you clearly don’t know. You’ve all but admitted that you have a bias towards this particular narrative and you’re angry that the consensus goes against it. In fact, I bet you’re actually somewhat upset that the only sites you can find supporting your view are Russian or Globalresearch.ca. If so there is hope for you. It means you know there’s something wrong with that situation.

        Look at it this way. Suppose you believe the moon landing was a hoax. You Google Apollo missions. Most of what you will find we be sites dedicated to the moon landing, explaining the science and history behind it. You may have to scroll a few pages before you get to a conspiracy site calling it a hoax. You’re unlikely to find any reputable media source which calls it a hoax.

        Now you can get upset about that or you could start to consider that maybe the Apollo landings were real.

        I know this scenario isn’t entirely analogous because the truth is that there is shit media or op-eds on Western sources, but that’s why we evaluate claims on their merits and not based on how well they fit the way we want to see the world.

      9. Mao Cheng Ji

        “You’ve all but admitted that you have a bias towards this particular narrative and you’re angry that the consensus goes against it.”

        Fine. Please refer to Stephen F. Cohen: Distorting Russia.  Demonizing Putin Endangers America’s Security.  America’s New Cold War With Russia. Stop the Pointless Demonization of Putin.

        Explain it to Cohen.

      10. Jim Kovpak Post author

        No, I’ll explain it to you, because you are here. Also it’s funny how all you have to refer to is Cohen, because Cohen fits your narrative. Again we see this.

      11. Mao Cheng Ji

        I like the ‘narratives’ narrative. But it kinda contradicts to the whole “no BS” approach. ‘No BS’ seems to imply that at least some of the narratives are BS. But then I guess we have different narratives of what exactly BS is.

      12. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Judging from the lack of coherency in this statement I think you’re a bit confused.

        You talk about how you Google Ukraine and you’re somehow shocked to find stories about Ukraine, many of them involving spokespeople from Ukraine. Then you find the sources that tell you the narrative you already decided was true, and this is some kind of relief. This is a very bad way to go through life and it typically will cost you a lot of time and money as the same poor logic overlaps into other spheres of life.

        If you had read this blog during the Maidan movement you will see that I was very opposed to the movement for a number of reasons. This was mainly because at the time it was an internal Ukrainian issue and I am a staunch and unapologetic opponent of OUNist Ukrainian nationalism. As a rule I did not listen to Russian press but I made the mistake of trusting certain people in Ukraine who claimed to be independent, and thus I too succumbed to the idea that this was a fascist-dominated movement.

        Then a friend of mine actually went there and investigated for himself during the May elections. After hearing his reports and watching how Russia was getting involved, I changed my tone because the facts had changed. To be sure I never really disagreed with the most basic ideas of Maidan, just some of the people involved and the ideological problems.

        Having met many correspondents who have worked both in the ATO zone and the rebel territories, I resolved to go for myself and see what was happening, but I also had time in Kyiv to talk to people of different ideologies about Maidan and what happened.

        What I learned was that I had been wrong about the movement from the beginning, and not only had the movement been misportrayed by the Russian media, it had also been by the Western media as well- yet on this point the Russian narrative and the Western narrative did not disagree: Western sources said it was all about joining Europe and Russian media didn’t dispute that.

      13. Mao Cheng Ji

        “This is a very bad way to go through life and it typically will cost you a lot of time and money as the same poor logic overlaps into other spheres of life.”

        Thank you for your concern. Sorry I was unable to perform to your expectations, and especially sorry about the typo. Not everyone is as upstanding and logical as you, so, yeah, losing a lot of time and money, all the time, the story of my life…

      14. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Maybe instead of getting so offended you should consider that there was a time when I’m sure I used terms like “fascist junta.” If you go back even further, there was a time when I thought that Putin was actually fixing Russia’s problems from the 90’s too. On both counts I had bad information.

        “Not everyone is as upstanding and logical as you, so, yeah, losing a lot of time and money, all the time, the story of my life…”

        Dude, you’re talking to a guy who moved to Russia with no exit plan because he had been convinced that it was an upstanding moral society on the rise while the degenerate US was declining to its own destruction.

        The point here is that nobody is really super logical. Logic, or more accurately skepticism, is to use Carl Sagan’s term a sort of toolkit to determine what is real or not. It does not prevent one from making mistakes, but it helps us correct them.

        You may think I don’t care, but I guarantee you the Kremlin and their media doesn’t give a shit what you believe. All that matters is that they’ve got someone in the West(or wherever you live) propagating their message. They don’t care how they’re dragging down Stephen Cohen’s reputation and probably flat out lying to him to keep him in their side.

      15. Jim Kovpak Post author

        ” believe in most European states you can easily be arrested for *publishing* (if not *writing*) this sort of stuff. Maybe not in the US, I’m not sure. But probably in the US as well. You know: can’t yell ‘fire’ in a packed theater.
        You can be harassed everywhere, including the US. If you’re wearing conspicuously Muslim clothes, you probably will be harassed. I’m sure at some point the FBI may want to talk to you. ”

        Nope. Definitely not in the US. And you can be harassed for wearing Muslim clothes in a lot of places, but the police are obliged to protect you and your attacker could face hate crimes charges.

        Also that poem doesn’t fall anywhere under the definition of fire in a crowded theatre. We have people in the US making Youtube videos about how they’re going to secede from the US and showing off their guns. They’re allowed to do that. If you had people doing that in Russia and the government went after them, I’d probably let that slide.

      16. Shalcker

        I’ve re-checked reporting on this incident and… what exactly is the problem?

        Girl wasn’t detained, she was just asked some facts about that protest next day. She was obviously weakest link there (as protest organizers lament in articles like this http://yodnews.ru/2015/03/20/childfsb), it is quite natural for FSB to target her to get some information, and perhaps try to pin some kind of “incitement of minors toward extremism”.

        Then they http://yodnews.ru/news/2015/03/23/fsb went and asked a few question from other participants, and that was basically it… what’s wrong with that? :/

        Should “center of extremism countermeasures” ignore possible “extremist” signs? You cannot discover what kind of “Ukraine defender” you are seeing from pictures…

      17. Jim Kovpak Post author

        What is the problem? This person was picked up and questioned for wearing RIBBONS in their hair.

        “it is quite natural for FSB to target her to get some information, and perhaps try to pin some kind of “incitement of minors toward extremism”.”

        This is natural? This is a positive thing for a country? Think that over and see if it doesn’t tell you why any country that can tries to escape Russia’s orbit and why the US is more popular than Russia.

        I’ve said this dozens of times before. The US is a country that proclaims personal freedom and while indeed providing a high degree of it, often falls short of its values. By contrast, Russia doesn’t even give a shit about individual freedom or human rights. What is better? To strive for something positive and not always live up to the standard, or to just say fuck the standard altogether.
        Should “center of extremism countermeasures” ignore possible “extremist” signs?

        The Ukrainian flag is an “extremist” symbol now? If Ukrainian colors are an extremist symbol, then I know plenty of fences and park benches that need to be investigated by the FSB.

      18. Shalcker

        Girl was picked up and questioned for her connections to other activists that might or might not have been already under FSB watchful eye; in second article linked they say FSB even said they knew how money for that “performance” should have went to organizer but didn’t arrive (guess they think that’s why it was so small).
        And “ribbons in the hair” are just media image, not the sole reason.

        As for “can flag be extremist symbol?”… I’m sure you didn’t miss that one, but Google on “teen confederate flag” gives quite a bit of teen casualties on both pro- and contra- sides… And there are even police officers who got fired over wearing it…

        So, yeah, just flag seems to be quite sufficient for heavy reprisals in US. And yes, we’re not any better.

        Sorry, symbols symbolize, context is everything, wearing Ukraine colors at pro-Krimea meeting IS provocative.

      19. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Girl was picked up and questioned for her connections to other activists that might or might not have been already under FSB watchful eye; ”

        Yeah they sounded really dangerous. I’m sure they were stockpiling weapons.

        “As for “can flag be extremist symbol?”… I’m sure you didn’t miss that one, but Google on “teen confederate flag” gives quite a bit of teen casualties on both pro- and contra- sides… ”

        Inaccurate comparison. The Confederate flag is a historical symbol of a never-recognized state which was admittedly based on white supremacy and slavery. The Ukrainian flag is the flag of a republic recognized as independent by Russia in fact.

        “Sorry, symbols symbolize, context is everything, wearing Ukraine colors at pro-Krimea meeting IS provocative.”

        I guess Russia shouldn’t have illegally annexed part of a sovereign country in violation of a treaty it actually signed then, huh?

      20. Jim Kovpak Post author

        But again the question remains- Is it good for intelligence agencies to crack down on activist groups this way? RT doesn’t seem to think so- as long as we’re talking about the US(though in the US it’s not as extreme).

        Is this good? Punishing someone for a poem? Are you really going to tell me that Russia has the same personal freedoms as the West?
        http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1436815920

      21. Shalcker

        Again, context is king. In Russia, especially at pro-Krimea meetings Ukrainian flag is symbol of Neo-Nazi Junta that shells innocent citizens of their own country, and sign of solidarity with official Ukraine 😛

        Fighting against this context by wearing it is counterproductive.

      22. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Again, context is king. In Russia, especially at pro-Krimea meetings Ukrainian flag is symbol of Neo-Nazi Junta that shells innocent citizens of their own country,”

        Yeah, that would be kind of inflammatory, but where ever did those people get these ideas about a Neo-Nazi junta shelling innocent people? It’s almost like someone has, incited them, if you will, to believe ill things about another ethnic group.

      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I hope you’re right about that. In any case, since this article got linked(via Robinson’s story) on Russia Insider, I’m going to make another post about that which should answer a lot of these issues. Then the comment floods can start again.

  11. Jim Kovpak Post author

    Following up on that, I checked the Meduza story and she was “called in for questioning.” What do you suppose would have happened had she refused? Furthermore, she said they tried to get her to admit to being paid to wear the ribbons. This demonstrates the typical projection that people can’t have their own values or opinions and instead will do anything they are paid. In a country rife with corruption, most people do that, so they assume everyone is doing it.

    She said she planed to demonstrate “against war, aggression and propaganda,” Wow- what EXTREMISM! Good thing the FSB is on the case! It’s obvious had they not taken the wind out of that revolutionary cell’s sales, the Russian government could have been overthrown from Saratov!

    But this is completely normal and the US is full of shit when it talks about free speech and human rights, right?

    Reply
    1. Shalcker

      Nothing would happen if she refused. Perhaps agent would visit her in school, or perhaps they would go for others first and skip her. FSB summons unless done in a form of subpoena as official witness or suspect and given to you personally with your own signature that you indeed received it are non-binding, and they might not have bothered with that.

      If you do agree to simple summon and questioning they gladly take it rather then go through entire bureaucratic hassle.

      Yes, they have their own expectations on how protests are organized – that’s quite natural. They deal with obvious cases most often, so they assume them by default. And “protest in form of Ukrainian flag on pro-Krimea meeting” is quite uncommon opinion that indeed can be shared by some extremist groups.

      Extremist opinions are sometimes both deeply personal AND well-paid if you find sympathizers, those things do not exclude each other.

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “And “protest in form of Ukrainian flag on pro-Krimea meeting” is quite uncommon opinion that indeed can be shared by some extremist groups.”

        Extremist groups? But Russia still authorizes the Russian March and does very little about actual extremists so long as they don’t make problems for the government.

        Moreover, the Kremlin media and their trolling agencies produce tons of material that can be considered extremist(or indecent in the case of their arsenal of gay porno). The difference is that this is run by the government and directed against Ukrainians, therefore “inciting hatred against ethnic groups or nationalities” isn’t really enforced.

        An unjust law is no law at all.

    2. Shalcker

      But i should clarify one point – i think personal freedoms are in fact close to worthless. As do “human rights” in general. “Rights of people in your own group” are fine though, as do “explicit agreements between groups on shared rights” – but not “everyone has those rights by default”, that doesn’t work at all.

      And i think “less free” world where people are compelled to do things by others can be much happier then “everyone for himself”. At extreme, i think society that can tell you “go die for us” and you gladly and willingly do even if you cannot comprehend reason yourself can be happier and more resilient then society where noone can do this to you and all decisions are ultimately your own.

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        The topic of human rights is problematic in a capitalist society where humans are not equal but divided into antagonistic classes. That being said, this does not mean the concept is wrong or inherently bad. It is something that should be striven for.

        ” “Rights of people in your own group” are fine though, as do “explicit agreements between groups on shared rights”

        Russia really doesn’t provide this either though.

        “And i think “less free” world where people are compelled to do things by others can be much happier then “everyone for himself”. ”

        Well if that’s the case, immigration patterns wouldn’t run the other way. There’s also a strong correlation between personal freedom and success among countries. Granted, this is tricky because many of the freest, most successful countries also had to achieve economic success and stability so as to provide that level of freedom, but in general the reason why a high level of freedom is desirable, even from a rather cold and calculating national perspective, is because with freedom you get:

        1. More criticism, making it easier to identify bad policies or change directions to better paths.

        2. A pressure release valve where dissatisfied people have plenty of opportunity to voice dissent and possibly change policies they don’t like, thus negating the necessity of revolution to change anything.

        3. Wide diversity of opinion and ideas so as to choose the best among them.

        4. And finally, not persecuting people for things that do not actually matter saves resources and lowers resentment, and prevents stupid counter-productive things like the case of Alan Turing, who ended up killing himself because the state criminalized something that harmed no one.

        Ensuring a high degree of rights is different from “everyone for himself,” which is more about the economic situation. In fact, I fervently believe that you cannot actually achieve the liberal conception of human rights with such a dog-eat-dog philosophy. The pre-condition for the rights of the individual is the community, which enshrines the rights and enforces them.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        And just in case anyone brings up negative freedom vs. positive freedom- Russia provides less of both in almost every case, so let’s not go there.

      3. Shalcker

        Well, the problem with “more criticism” is that it can turn into “criticism for sake of criticism” with no overarching idea behind it; case in point – RT.

        At current stage it’s easy to flood “information pathways” with something that looks like valid criticism while having extremely shaky foundation and/or ulterior motives.

        On other hand everyone can undermine “wide diversity” by getting into self-selected “information spheres” firmly fitting their own prejudices (” Can’t read everything at once! i know this stuff/mostly agree with opinions so it’s interesting, the rest isn’t “) that have barely any overlap with others and think of only their own kind of criticism as valid.

        And persecuting people for having different opinions can lower internal tensions too. With fringe opinions suppressed “society of shared values” can be reality, with people either working within the system or leaving. “Leaving” is a lot more efficient “release valve” for dissent then “changing opinions of entire society”.

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “And persecuting people for having different opinions can lower internal tensions too. With fringe opinions suppressed “society of shared values” can be reality, with people either working within the system or leaving. “Leaving” is a lot more efficient “release valve” for dissent then “changing opinions of entire society”.”

        But the problem is that this idea has basically been tested and it’s not working.

        At least it sure isn’t working for Russia. The best and brightest continue to leave, and corruption goes on unabated while the government is deeply concerned about poems, songs, performance artists, and blogs.

        “On other hand everyone can undermine “wide diversity” by getting into self-selected “information spheres” firmly fitting their own prejudices (” Can’t read everything at once! i know this stuff/mostly agree with opinions so it’s interesting, the rest isn’t “) ”

        This is an ever-present danger, but that wasn’t what I was getting at. For the best ideas to appear, you need to allow that diversity. People have to feel free to express ideas without fear of reprisal. As for the problem of echo chambers and what not, this can be mitigated by teaching more critical thinking skills and skepticism in schools- incidentally the opposite of what Russia is doing(though I can’t think of what countries actually do this right now, since skepticism is dangerous to all existing systems at this moment).

        As for criticism, it’s important that it is available. I think the danger of someone just eternally playing devil’s advocate, possibly due to a hidden agenda, is far outweighed by the danger of an echo chamber in the halls of power. The Iraq War is a result of what happens when dissent is ignored and suppressed at the top levels. Rumsfeld deliberately interfered in the CIA’s work and demanded that people report directly to him to control the flow of information.

  12. Mao Cheng Ji

    “By contrast the Ukrainian government was legally elected, a fact recognized by the Russian government”

    It is recognized by the Russian government – because it controls a part of the territory of former Ukraine. Similarly, the “Ukrainian government” needs to recognize the governments of LNR and DNR, and start a dialog with them.

    “was legally elected”

    Do you know what the main point of elections is? It’s PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER.

    Even if try very hard to pretend that we didn’t see the mass-arrests in the East, the massacre in Odessa, and the numerous brown-shirt-y ‘trash-can lustrations’, we still couldn’t call those elections ‘legal’. It would be an affront to common sense. To have legal elections, they would have to restore the status quo ante: return the president and restore the completely devastated ruling party, the Party of Regions, suffered from terrorist attacks on its HQ, from physical attacks on its members, and so on.

    Without it, there is no “legally elected” anything. There is a civil war.

    Reply
    1. Callum Carmichael

      Other than Yanukovych himself and a few members of the Party of Regions, the post-Maidan government was essentially unchanged from the Yanukovych government. During the 21 february truce deal, Yanukovych had agreed to hold early Presidential elections, so the interim government was well within its rights to hold an election in May 2015.

      The election itself was quite fair for a post-Soviet country. There were some issues with oligarchic control of the media, but all candidates were able to campaign. The main problem was that the separatist authorities in Crimea and Donbas aggressively prevented people living on their territory from voting. This essentially strangled the pro-Russian bloc, since most of their voters lived in these regions.

      A new Rada was elected in October, so the issue there is the same. The President and Rada of Ukraine were both legally elected, according to agreements made with Yanukovych before he fled the country. His recantations while living in Russia do not necessarily invalidate this.

      In contrast, Crimea and Donbass were seized by Russian troops or Russian-backed militias, who held elections without consent or recognition by anyone but Moscow and a handful of others. There were no international monitors (except a few European neo-Nazis) and allegations of voter intimidation and electoral fraud in all of their elections and referendums are taken quite seriously.

      As the internationally recognized government, Kyiv therefore has the right to use force to defend its territorial integrity, though obviously this right is subject to limitations as to what level of force is appropriate. The rebels don`t have a legal or moral leg to stand on, since their continued existence is contingent on Moscow’s wishes.

      Reply
      1. Callum Carmichael

        I know no counter-argument to an incredulous sneer.

        But seriously, yes it was. The President, PM and some ministers changed, but the rest of the state apparatus was left intact. It was hardly regime change.

        Indeed, this lack of change was pretty significant for the early post-Maidan period on the grounds that the senior members of the security sector were the same as they had been under Yanukovych, which is why Kyiv made no military response to the annexation of Crimea and didn’t respond to the seizures of territory in Donetsk and Luhansk for about a month.

      2. Mao Cheng Ji

        Fine. On the vanishingly small chance of you not being disingenuous: the former state of Ukraine had two main – radically different – cultural-socio-economic regions: east and west. Roughly speaking.

        The task of managing the country (outside of the main goal of looting everything not nailed down) was a balancing act between these two parts. Every election was a fight between east and west (or groups of oligarchs representing east and west, if you prefer). The Feb 21 coup – far from leaving the government “essentially unchanged” – represents a blunt violation of all compromises; violent (unlike the soft ‘orange revolution’ coup of 2004) takeover by the western volhynia-galicia nationalists, the bandera-shukhevych followers. The very first law passed by the new Rada was a law demoting the status of the Russian language. Feb 22 2014 the balance was lost; the state of Ukraine ceased to exist; the civil war started.

        That’s how I see it, anyway.

      3. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “On the vanishingly small chance of you not being disingenuous: the former state of Ukraine had two main – radically different – cultural-socio-economic regions: east and west. Roughly speaking.”

        There is no such thing as “the former state of Ukraine.” Ukraine is actually a founding UN member, along with Belarus. I know of no country on Earth that does not recognize Ukraine’s independence, including Russia.

        “Every election was a fight between east and west (or groups of oligarchs representing east and west, if you prefer).”

        Except that Kyiv, Cherkassy, etc. have never been considered “Western Ukraine.”

        “The Feb 21 coup – far from leaving the government “essentially unchanged” – represents a blunt violation of all compromises; violent (unlike the soft ‘orange revolution’ coup of 2004) takeover by the western volhynia-galicia nationalists, the bandera-shukhevych followers.”

        Except it doesn’t, because practically everything stopped in Kyiv and Yanukovych ran away in the night before the agreement could come into force. He might have been responding to Russian claims that his life was in danger, he might have been afraid of being impeached and then prosecuted. Whatever the case, this is no Chile.

        As for the nationalists, they were in total a small minority of the protesters. They were more about grandstanding and making dramatic statements than actually doing anything. In fact, I’ve recently heard some Maidan supporters remark about how the nationalists were almost nowhere to be found when the fighting got really heated. Not to mention that Ukraine’s nationalists have at times had murky connections with the Yanukovych regime.

        “The very first law passed by the new Rada was a law demoting the status of the Russian language. ”

        This was a boneheaded measure pushed through by some opportunists and it was repealed.

        “Feb 22 2014 the balance was lost; the state of Ukraine ceased to exist; the civil war started.
        That’s how I see it, anyway.”

        So if a government you don’t like is elected, the state no longer exists? What if someone says this about Russia? Let’s not forget that Putin owes his career to Yeltsin, or more accurately, the oligarch elite that stood up for him(including Berezovsky). Yet did Yeltsin take power peacefully? Nope. August 1991 was a failed coup, then he established his regime in October 1993 with tanks and snipers. Ergo the Russian Federation ceased to exist as a state from that point on.

        See how ridiculous that is? Doesn’t it matter to you to know what is real? This is like insisting that Santa Claus exists.

        There is a LONG list of problems with the current Ukrainian government but being an illegal fascist junta isn’t one of them. What is more, the main cause of radical nationalism in Ukraine is and has been for some time Russian chauvinism.

      4. Mao Cheng Ji

        I already replied to most of it, but this: “So if a government you don’t like is elected, the state no longer exists?” is weird. That’s exactly the opposite to what I said.

        The elected government was overthrown and that’s why the state doesn’t exist anymore. It happens. Yes, also in Russia, in 1917. The government was overthrown, civil war started, some territories seceded – Poland, Finland. The Bolsheviks tried to get them back, but there’s one thing they didn’t do: whining about ‘territorial integrity’.

        You want territorial integrity – you make sure your government stays in tact till the next elections, according to the constitution. Or, if you do topple the government – then don’t complain about your territorial integrity. See?

      5. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “The government was overthrown, civil war started, some territories seceded – Poland, Finland. The Bolsheviks tried to get them back, but there’s one thing they didn’t do: whining about ‘territorial integrity’. ”

        So what you’re saying is that countries today should do things the way countries did in the WWI-interwar period? Does that sound like a good idea?

        “You want territorial integrity – you make sure your government stays in tact till the next elections, according to the constitution. Or, if you do topple the government – then don’t complain about your territorial integrity. See?”

        So any time a government is “toppled” it means that country has no territorial integrity and anyone can invade it in violation of a treaty they signed and annex part of it?

        So then in 1991 you’d be totally cool with the US annexing Vladivostok, Germany annexing Kaliningrad, etc.?

        “The elected government was overthrown and that’s why the state doesn’t exist anymore.”

        As was pointed out, most of the elected government remained more or less intact. Second, you’re bizarro world logic here is pretty much rejected by the entire world. Again, I’m going to go with consensus on this one.

        Basically what you’re doing is akin to “sovereign citizens” who claim the United States doesn’t exist.

      6. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Oh another thing I just ran across:

        This is what happens when you try to fuck around in the Western media- http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/now-see-exhibit-chronicles-manipulated-news-photos/#.Vbah_yhMCYc.facebook

        People get fired, scandal occurs. To date, nobody has been fired or apologized for the crucified boy story, the fake Spanish air-traffic controller Twitter account, the fake satellite image of the MH17 incident, and numerous other fake stories from the Russian state press.

      7. Mao Cheng Ji

        “To date, nobody has been fired or apologized for the crucified boy story”

        Like I said, the western media publishes mind-boggling lies every few minutes and never apologizes. Remember: “,SBU spokesman said”? That’s the ticket.

        I didn’t see the crucified boy story, but if it had the magic words “a woman claims that”, what would be there to apologize about?

      8. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Like I said, the western media publishes mind-boggling lies every few minutes and never apologizes. Remember: “,SBU spokesman said”? That’s the ticket.”

        They publish mind-boggling lies? Give us examples then. We the reason they put “SBU spokesperson said” is because THEY SAID IT, at a press conference or something. This lets the reader know WHO is saying that, so they can make their own judgement as to how to take it. It would be more insidious if they didn’t source the quotes, and then you wouldn’t know if it came from US officials, ordinary eyewitnesses, or whomever.

        You source quotes, so everyone sees who is saying what.

        “I didn’t see the crucified boy story, but if it had the magic words “a woman claims that”, what would be there to apologize about?”

        When you hear a story like this(the woman was in a refugee center in Rostov), you do fact-checking. In this case, it turns out she’s not even from the city in question. Other journalists asked around and locals had never heard of anything like that.

        This kind of war atrocity is not something you repeat at face value. It’s an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence.

      9. Mao Cheng Ji

        “This kind of war atrocity is not something you repeat at face value. It’s an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence. ”

        Right. Like I said: they can’t go to the ATO territory.

        However, on the grand scale of things I’d say the news of alleged thousands of Russian regular troops on the territory of former Ukraine is a far more extraordinary claim. As well as the news of anti-fascist republics allegedly shelling their own territory and killing their own civilians. Yet somehow these extraordinary claims are published without any extraordinary evidence. SBU spokesman, and sometimes social media.

      10. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Right. Like I said: they can’t go to the ATO territory.”

        I’m not sure when exactly they were banned from ATO territory, but I’m pretty sure it was after that event, from July 2014.

        What you fail to realize is that they were asked about that and they never said anything about being barred from the ATO zone so they couldn’t check sources. They never bothered to check, and instead put the burden of proof on others to disprove it- a big no-no.

        There was another recent fake story investigated by the BBC, about a 10-year-old girl killed by artillery in the rebel zone. Got that? IN THE REBEL ZONE. The girl never existed. When asked about it, the Russian journalists just said they did what they were told. So what’s their excuse?

        In any case, Dozhd TV, which is Russian, was able to go to the ATO zone and ask people about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM-2AHlcvXE

        Also this isn’t actually about the crucified boy, but its sex tourist Graham Phillips with RT in Sloviansk after it was retaken. So he hadn’t been banned from Ukraine or the ATO yet.

        “However, on the grand scale of things I’d say the news of alleged thousands of Russian regular troops on the territory of former Ukraine is a far more extraordinary claim. ”

        The actual number of actively serving Russian troops at any given time is unknown. But there is plenty of evidence that Russian troops and vehicles are there and there’d be no DNR or LNR without them. They are regularly documented on the border doing “exercises” and recently a lost truck driver with a full load of ammo was caught crossing the border. If you know anything about Ukraine’s army and its deployments before the war, coupled with some basic military common sense, you’ll understand why even if the actual amount of Russian troops were small(not counting mercenaries here), and they very well may be, this entire rebellion could not have happened and could not continue to this day were it not for Russian organization, financing, and logistical support.

        Natural insurgencies simply don’t work this way, with set piece battles involving tanks and high tech equipment in the hands of insurgents almost from the beginning.

      11. Mao Cheng Ji

        “The girl never existed. ”

        All you know is that allegedly a couple of BBC people checked and didn’t find the girl. But to you it’s THE TRUTH. How is this “no BS”?

        And what’s the point of this “The girl never existed” play anyway – no children were killed by the junta at all? Otherwise, with hundreds of children killed, why would anyone need to invent one more? Explain this story, will ya?

      12. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Because you already decided what’s true, you didn’t bother to check. So I did your Googling for you.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32137302

        There you can see the woman talking to the Russian journalists who basically admit that there was no girl. BUT WAIT! I know what really must have happened here! Those Russian journalists and the soldiers standing around them must be MI6 agents! Yes! The BBC staged the whole thing! Save the narrative at all costs!

        “And what’s the point of this “The girl never existed” play anyway – no children were killed by the junta at all? ”

        You were already informed of the point. Do try to keep up here. You made claims about the Western media fabricating stories and telling lies to demonize Russia. I asked you for examples. Thus far you have provided zero, while I have provided several fabricated stories from the Russian side. In fact, because I actually am objective and I do keep track of questionable stories on all sides, I could provide you with some examples of the Ukrainian(though not really Western) media lying.

        As for the killing of civilians, I also provided you a link to a story by the US government funded Voice of America, which talks about civilians suffering in Donetsk thanks to Ukrainian government shelling. This demonization campaign isn’t going to well, is it?

        The funny thing about the Russian press and shelling is that they are so concerned about every civilian shelled in their territory, but civilians shelled in Ukrainian-controlled territory, IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT IT CONTAINS PEOPLE THEY WERE SUPPOSEDLY TRYING TO “PROTECT,” they basically deny it or accuse Ukraine of shelling people on its own side. Once you’re on the wrong side of that line in the Donbas, you’re no longer an oppressed, persecuted Russian speaker fervently hoping for Putin’s rescue- you’re just a junta-loving khokhol.

      13. Mao Cheng Ji

        “There you can see the woman talking to the Russian journalists who basically admit that there was no girl. ”

        I can see her talking to some guy. I have no idea who the guy is and why he’s saying what his saying.

        The whole story is extremely suspicious to me. Probably hundreds of children have been killed, killings reported – does the BBC investigate each one? Or did they pick one randomly – and baraboom! Did she have any incentive to find the dead girl? No, of course not, that wouldn’t be an interesting story. So, with that in mind, how can you expect her to find one dead girl in a war zone, where the locals (clearly) don’t want to talk to foreign journos?

      14. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “I can see her talking to some guy. I have no idea who the guy is and why he’s saying what his saying.”

        Occam’s razor says it is who they say it is- the reporters on the story. Ever notice how selectively you apply your doubt and skepticism? Think of it like a religion. Religious people tend to be highly skeptical of everyone else’s religion, and then credulous when it comes to their own.

        “Probably hundreds of children have been killed, killings reported – does the BBC investigate each one? Or did they pick one randomly – and baraboom!”

        Did you watch the video? The Russian press reported a story about one particular girl. The evil Western media, which wants to cover up these casualties, for some reason wanted to report on it too. And when they tried, they found this story was fake.

        “No, of course not, that wouldn’t be an interesting story. ”

        Yes, that would be a very interesting story- there are reports on civilian casualties all the time. If it bleeds, it leads. I’ve already linked you a video from VOA about that topic several times. I myself reported on civilian deaths in Donetsk and the area(not in person; using the rebel’s press statements as sources).

        “o, with that in mind, how can you expect her to find one dead girl in a war zone, where the locals (clearly) don’t want to talk to foreign journos?”

        First of all, people in the DNR and LNR talk to foreign journalists all the time. It’s weird you haven’t noticed this, being such a careful monitor of the horrible Western media demonization campaign against Russia.

        Second, she goes to the people who made the claim, including the press officer. When a press office reports something you can go to them for a statement. If you’re not there, these services typically publish releases on their official sites or they make a video of their press conference.

        You’re really reaching here.

        The whole story is extremely suspicious to me. Probably hundreds of children have been killed,

      15. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Ever notice how selectively you apply your doubt and skepticism?”

        I don’t think I apply it selectively. It’s just that this particular story smells like BS.

      16. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Yeah it is BS, that the rebel press service put out and the Russian media reported. By the way, this story was really popular when it came out. I wonder why the brilliant minds at RT or Russia Insider didn’t just send someone down there to clear things up with the press service or the morgue and find the girl’s name. Is it not even interesting to you that they didn’t even bother to give a fake name? “Who is the girl? Olga Ivanovna Petrenko. Oh you can’t find that name at the morgue? Well this is a war; records get lost.” See how simple that was?

        But instead you’re essentially implying that the BBC somehow manages to stage this story with multiple people, in full view of Russian soldiers and various observers, just to frame Russia or the rebels? How does that work? There’d have to be an editor at the BBC actually ordering someone to do this and explaining how they were going to do it.

      17. Mao Cheng Ji

        “But instead you’re essentially implying that the BBC somehow manages to stage this story with multiple people…”

        Could be the BBC, but more likely the reporter on her own initiative. Wouldn’t be the first. There was a story recently about a western reporter staging being taking hostage and held for days (or weeks) by a pro-Asad group in Syria.

        Not to mention all the shit that happened back in 2003, with the Iraq war. And you want me to feel respect for the western media? Puh-leez.

      18. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Could be the BBC, but more likely the reporter on her own initiative. Wouldn’t be the first. ”

        Cool theory. Got any evidence? Can you explain how she managed to find an actor to portray the people at the morgue, the journalists, the Russian observer, the press secretary, etc.- all within rebel held territory? Can you explain why the BBC still has people working there after pulling shit like this? People have been denied accreditation simply for doing things like writing an article in the Kyiv Post.

        “Not to mention all the shit that happened back in 2003, with the Iraq war.”

        You mean where BBC journalists hired actors to play Iraqi soldiers or something?

        “And you want me to feel respect for the western media?”

        No, I want you to try this thing called critical thinking and consistency.

        Again, you’ve made claims about the Western media fabricated stories to demonize Russia. You’ve failed to provide any. I’ve provided examples of confirmed fake stories produced by Russia.

        Can you maybe explain to me how things like the Iraq war can be avoided by embracing a media that flat out fabricates stories? Seems to me if the world follows Russia’s lead on this, we’d have a lot more Iraq war scenarios. Bush’s people had their WMDs- Russia had their bloodthirsty nationalists coming to slaughter poor Russian speakers(that is until they wound up on the other side of the line in 2014, after which they became khokhly who could be shelled at will).

      19. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Again, you’ve made claims about the Western media fabricated stories to demonize Russia. You’ve failed to provide any”

        Anything with “Ukraine said” or “SBU spokesman said” inside. How many times do I need to repeat it. Same exactly technic as in 2003, when every Iraqi defector was telling the god’s honest truth. And what’s so difficult to understand here? With your extraordinary logical abilities you should be able to.

        “No, I want you to try this thing called critical thinking and consistency.”

        Critical thinking and consistency dictates that the story, as it’s told, doesn’t make sense. Sorry you don’t see it. I already explained why.

        But I’ll repeat:
        Children have been killed by junta in Donbas, in hundreds. Do we agree on this? Which means that there is no reason for the republicans to report fake deaths – since they have enough of the real ones. Correct? Of course there could be a mistake or negligence in reporting, but what’s the chance that the BBC would start investigating, and with such determination, exactly that one?

        Clearly, something’s wrong with this story. I don’t know what it is, but I know the story is not what the BBC reported.

      20. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Anything with “Ukraine said” or “SBU spokesman said” inside. How many times do I need to repeat it. ”

        Nope. Reporting something an SBU spokesperson says at a press conference and SAYING they said it is not fabricating a story. It’s literally the opposite of lying. Let me give you an example:

        Compare:

        “Today a column of Russian tanks crossed the border into Ukraine.”

        “A spokesperson with Ukraine’s intelligence service told journalists at a press conference that a column of 100 Russian tanks had crossed the border into Ukrainian territory earlier that morning.”

        In the first example, something that was CLAIMED by a certain intelligence agency of a certain country is presented as fact without any attribution, as though the reporter literally witnessed it. This would be horribly dishonest if the real source was a spokesperson or third party.

        In the second example, the source of the information is identified, so the reader knows who’s claiming this. Believe me, many of us believe that the Ukrainian authorities often exaggerate the numbers of Russian troops and vehicles crossing the border.

        If you read plenty of “Western media” articles, you will often note in the background to the pieces(typically the final paragraphs that explain the context), they point out that Russian authorities deny(in other words: Russia says…) involvement in the conflict, which is 100% true.

        “Critical thinking and consistency dictates that the story, as it’s told, doesn’t make sense.”

        It doesn’t make sense to you because as you have basically admitted before, stories that don’t fit your narrative you ignore or dismiss as false, and stories that do fit are true.

        Keep in mind this is far from the first phony story the Russian media has made up. I’ve given numerous, concrete examples, with links. You on the other hand think that properly attributing quotes is somehow lying or fabricating sources.

        “Children have been killed by junta in Donbas, in hundreds. Do we agree on this? Which means that there is no reason for the republicans to report fake deaths – since they have enough of the real ones. ”

        And yet they actually HAVE reported on fake deaths, such as that girl and the crucified boy, for example. So we have a pattern of behavior. If you’d like I can send you even more examples of Russian fake stories.

        ” Of course there could be a mistake or negligence in reporting, but what’s the chance that the BBC would start investigating, and with such determination, exactly that one? ”

        Because a story was reported, and they wanted to follow up on it. Keep in mind this was some time after the crucified boy story and several other stories of atrocities that actually never happened. That’s not even counting stuff like the fake satellite photos of MH17, the claim that Ukrainian soldiers were offered a parcel of land and two slaves, etc.

        “Clearly, something’s wrong with this story. I don’t know what it is, but I know the story is not what the BBC reported.”

        How do you “know” this? Do you have any evidence?

      21. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Today a column of Russian tanks crossed the border into Ukraine”

        Yes, this will be the headline. “SBU reported” will be in the third para somewhere, to cover their ass. No doubts will be expressed. That’s the technic. Most people will only read the headline. But I believe I already said all this, a number of times. It’s all very nice, but I’m getting tired.

        “How do you “know” this?”

        I believe I explained how, just 5 minutes ago.

        “Because a story was reported, and they wanted to follow up on it.”

        Anti-fascist media reports deaths from shelling every day. Today they reported one civilian, a woman DOB 1928, killed in Horlovka, and possibly another one.

        For the BBC story to make sense – if they investigated just one random report – most of them have to be fake reports. Do you understand what I’m saying? Is that what you think?

      22. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Yes, this will be the headline. “SBU reported” will be in the third para somewhere, to cover their ass. No doubts will be expressed. ”

        Examples please. Headlines can have attribution as well: “Tanks cross from Russia: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.”

        Maybe you don’t know this, but all news stories are written according to this inverted pyramid as they call it. Stories start with the lead, which is supposed to be extremely simple and cover the basics like the six W’s. Therefore in the hypothetical story we’re talking about, the attribution is not going to be in the third paragraph.

        A lead would be something like this:

        Ukrainian authorities claimed that several Russian tanks crossed the border on Monday morning.

        ‘We have reports that a number of Russian tanks crossed the border into our territory at 0900 this morning,” Ukrainian SBU spokesperson Stepan “Kid Crucifier” Bandera II told reporters at a press conference in Kyiv.

        See how that works? So start providing examples of your claims and if you don’t mind, tell us what you think they SHOULD write.

        “For the BBC story to make sense – if they investigated just one random report – most of them have to be fake reports. ”

        No, I don’t see why that would be the case. At the time that story was published, Russian media had repeatedly published fake stories, including stories about people being killed. Also whenever there’s a report about some kind of event like a killing, reporters in the area start tracking it down. This is basically what happened when that mortar attack happened at the bus station in Donetsk. Reporters on the scene start tweeting and writing flash reports, and other reporters flock to it or start following the story via press services.

        You’re just inventing an unnecessarily complicated explanation to dismiss this- which is one of dozens of fake stories put out by the Russian press. Would you like more? I can post links all day. There’s photoshopped pictures on national TV, photos from other wars passed off as being from the Donbas, and examples of pics from movie sets being claimed as real.

      23. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I’m not too familiar with the style of The Express, as it seems rather tabloidy judging from the other stories. I’ll get to this story, but let’s take something a little more reputable first:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/06/30/russian-military-base-reportedly-found-in-ukraine-detailed-in-this-drone-video/

        HEADLINE: “Gotcha? Russian military base reportedly found in Ukraine, detailed in drone video”

        Note question mark, “reportedly.”

        Now according to you, the dastardly Western media will bury the attribution somewhere in the 3rd paragraph, right?

        Let’s look at the lead:

        “A Ukrainian group that backs the government in Kiev on Tuesday published video captured by drone aircraft and said it shows a Russian military encampment in eastern Ukraine, bolstering claims that Moscow has expanded its military actions there.”

        Oh…wait…no. It tells you exactly who makes the claims, and said that it only “bolsters claims” of Moscow’s involvement. Not confirms, not a fact.

        “The video was posted on YouTube by Dnipro-1, a volunteer defense force, and highlighted on the Daily Beast. It includes English subtitles, and claims the encampment is in the village of Solncevo, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.”

        Again, attribution, “claims,” etc.

        “The video points out T-72 tanks, construction equipment and tents, and notes that activity has increased in the last month. Footage was taken on May 20, and then more recently, according to the video.”

        “According to the video”- we already knew who made it.

        “President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have repeatedly denied having troops in Ukraine. U.S. officials said in March that they would send Humvees and unarmed drones to Kiev, but declined to deliver offensive weaponry.”

        Putin’s position quoted.

        Now for your story, from what frankly looks like a more sensationalist paper.

        Indeed, they bury something in the third para: “The pro-Kiev group Dnipro-1, which released the video, said it had conducted two fly-bys with the drone which showed that Russian military action in the area is growing by the day. ”

        But there is the “said” part.

        “The footage emerged after top NATO commander, Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove, said that the border between Ukraine and Russia is “wide open” with a “constant flow” of Russian troops passing freely across it.

        The general claimed that Moscow’s military action in the region is carefully orchestrated to keep pressure on Ukraine from aligning too closely with the West.”

        “Said…said…”

        “Moscow has always denied providing troops or arms to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, claiming that they are freedom fighters.

        This week Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ukraine’s perceived failure to agree a peace deal with the rebels was “alarming” and urged Europe and America to pressure Kiev.

        He said: “The situation is alarming because we’re witnessing a tendency, if you will.

        “Starting with a state coup, the current Kiev authorities have routinely demonstrated their inability to come to an agreement.

        “Russia is deeply concerned by Kiev’s inability or unwillingness to implement a requirement to agree with Donetsk and Lugansk on the ways of implementing local elections and involving representatives in work on the new constitution.” ”

        Here we see the Russian position quoted, including the thing about the “coup.” It goes unchallenged.

        This story is definitely more questionable, and the style sucks. But when I think “Western media,” this publication doesn’t really come to mind. I think you understand that too.

        So thus far you’re not doing very well in your quest to prove an orchestrated campaign of demonization involving fake stories.

      24. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Again let’s keep score. You’ve failed to provide any evidence of this conspiracy to demonize Russia. I asked for fabricated stories, you gave me a bizarre definition, and finally you posted one story, from what looks like a rather sensationalist outlet that most people wouldn’t normally bring up if asked to list “mainstream Western media,” and even then there’s attribution even if the style is bad.

        I dealt with that in my comment but I posted the WaPo article because the Washington Post is more respectable and the style is clearly better.

      25. Jim Kovpak Post author

        The next time you get an email notification, probably from this, an unsubscribe link should appear in the message, usually at the bottom. Let me know if that doesn’t work.

        BTW- I looked up The Daily Express and it is in fact known as a tabloid, as I suspected. And you know what shit British tabloids are.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daily_Express

      26. Mao Cheng Ji

        “But there is plenty of evidence that Russian troops and vehicles are there and there’d be no DNR or LNR without them”

        EXTRAORDINARY evidence – remember? For extraordinary claims.

        Otherwise, the same logic goes for the crucified boy claim: why wouldn’t neo-nazi paramilitaries with swastika tattooed all over their bodies crucify the boy, as the woman claimed? Common sense, eh?

      27. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “EXTRAORDINARY evidence – remember? For extraordinary claims. ”

        It’s met the burden of proof. Go watch Simon Ostrovsky’s work on Vice for some of the finest examples.

        I suspect you don’t know what extraordinary proof means in this case. If you said you saw a UFO land near your house, that’s an extraordinary claim because we have never had any evidence of UFOs ever. But if you could provide an undoctored photo or better yet, a video of the UFO, even that would be enough to count as evidence for something that is totally unprecedented.

        What Russia is doing is not unprecedented. And there are plenty of photos and videos.

        “Otherwise, the same logic goes for the crucified boy claim: why wouldn’t neo-nazi paramilitaries with swastika tattooed all over their bodies crucify the boy, as the woman claimed? ”

        You realize that most of the Ukrainian army doesn’t consist of paramilitaries right? Also you do realize that you can find plenty of neo-Nazis and neo-fascists fighting on the pro-Russian side?

        Go ahead and watch the video of the woman some time and tell me if she looks like someone who witnessed that. Not to mention we’ve already established that the reporters certainly could have verified her story, possibly without even going to the Ukrainian side at all(they weren’t banned at that point anyway), but they never bothered to check anything.

        So as usual- you’re wrong again.

      28. Mao Cheng Ji

        “And there are plenty of photos and videos. ”

        Yes, there are. But why did Kiev’s parliamentary delegation had to supply Sen. Inhofe with fake ones? Weird, no?

        “You realize that most of the Ukrainian army doesn’t consist of paramilitaries right? ”

        Yes. I don’t have any numbers, but it is my impression (you’re free to disagree, of course), that the forces that actually fight, the front-line forces are overwhelmingly ultra-nationalist battalions.

        This is irrelevant to my point, though: for you, presence of Russian troops in Donbas is simply common sense. For others, the fact that the republics are invaded and partially occupied by nazis is common sense. I don’t see their common sense being crazier than yours, sorry.

      29. Mao Cheng Ji

        …incidentally, Russian journos can NOT go to the junta occupied ATO territories to check their sources – they would be immediately assassinated there. They have been. So, maybe the SBU spokesman should be apologizing for the crucified boy story…

      30. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “incidentally, Russian journos can NOT go to the junta occupied ATO territories to check their sources – they would be immediately assassinated there. They have been. ”

        Russian journalists were banned for faking news stories and staging events that actually got people killed. This is what happens when you decide to lie and fabricate stories.

        And no, First Channel should apologize for the crucified boy story. They never even bothered to check the sources because they didn’t care.

        Please, tell me how you’d respond to this if every single detail were the same, except it was RFERL reporting that DNR rebels crucified a boy in Debaltseve. And then when asked about sources, the RFERL reporter shrugs their shoulders and says it’s everyone else’s burden to prove it didn’t happen.

        You know what, you don’t have to tell me. I know you won’t admit it, but inside you know damned well you’d be livid about such a scenario, and as well you should be. But apply it consistently for a change.

      31. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Please, tell me how you’d respond to this if every single detail were the same, except it was RFERL reporting that DNR rebels crucified a boy in Debaltseve.”

        Like I said, I don’t read RFERL, it’s beyond the the pale. I don’t watch the channel 1 either, except for some talk-shows, occasionally.

        However: the Russian media in general presents a spectrum of views so much wider than anything in the west, it’s not even funny. From communists, to anarchists, to libertarians, to nationalists. There is a very large segment in their media (way too large considering its low popularity) that practically idolizes the west, the US, the EU. And they are invited to every talk-show, including Channel 1. The western mass-media is really nothing more than the Orwellian ministry of truth, compared to that.

      32. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Like I said, I don’t read RFERL,”

        You’re avoiding the question. Once again you have claimed that the Western media makes up lies as part of a demonization campaign against Russia. You’ve failed to provide any examples while I’ve provided several just off the top of my head when it comes to Russian media fabricating stories.

        ” From communists, to anarchists, to libertarians, to nationalists”

        This is because RT will put anyone one who has bad things to say about the West. It doesn’t mean the government actually sympathizes with them. Their media is designed to muddy the waters and confuse, not present an alternative point of view. The sad thing is that it didn’t have to be that way- it became that way largely because of Ukraine.

        ” There is a very large segment in their media (way too large considering its low popularity) that practically idolizes the west, the US, the EU. ”

        Um no, there isn’t. The only thing that even comes close to that is maybe Novaya Gazeta. And in any case people will always claim that any independent media that doesn’t join in the demonization of the West idolizes the West or US.

        The fact is that Novaya Gazeta reports primarily on Russia and Russia issues BECAUSE IT’S IN RUSSIA and it’s rather small.

        Wouldn’t you find it odd if American newspapers only reported on international news with nothing local in them?

        ” And they are invited to every talk-show, including Channel 1. ”

        They’re also labeled national traitors(I’ve explained some of the things that are done before), they’re harassed(see the article for what happened to Novaya Gazeta recently), and some independent media workers have been beaten or killed under mysterious circumstances. Anna Politkovskaya was of course killed, while a producer from Dozhd TV was beaten by unknown assailants outside her apartment.

        “The western mass-media is really nothing more than the Orwellian ministry of truth, compared to that.”

        No, it’s literally not. Western media is largely private owned or semi-public. They are competitive with each other. By contrast in Russia there are often meetings with the heads of the state media and the president’s press secretary to make sure everyone is on message. There’s basically one comparison in the West- Fox News, which is famous for its daily memos with talking points and messages. And I think we agree that Fox News is bad, right?

        So again- you’ve made claims about the media, some which are just inaccurate, and all of which are unsubstantiated.

      33. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Once again you have claimed that the Western media makes up lies as part of a demonization campaign against Russia. You’ve failed to provide any examples …”

        I did provide examples. “BSU spokesman said” – remember? There is a new example every few minutes.

        “They’re also labeled national traitors”

        So what? They are labeled and then they come to the next talk show just the same, and keep repeating their mantra. Nothing’s wrong with labeling, when the label fits. Also, people working for the Kiev regime come (Kovtun, Yakhno), and they defend their POV. You won’t see an equivalent of this in the western media, let alone Kiev regime’s.

      34. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “I did provide examples. “BSU spokesman said” – remember? There is a new example every few minutes.

        There’s no reason to assume everything the SBU says are lies, but the whole point of writing “the SBU says” is so that you know who is making this claim. This is not the Western media making up lies. If you prefer, try another search where you look for statements from Sergei Lavrov, Putin, etc. You will find their statements and point of view, and it will be attributed to them accordingly.

        ” Nothing’s wrong with labeling, when the label fits”

        So it fits because they have a different opinion than the ruling class of their country? Russians all have to support their government, but Americans, Brits, etc. should be dissidents. Hmmm…Sounds suspicious.

        “You won’t see an equivalent of this in the western media, let alone Kiev regime’s.”

        Bullshit. Cohen still gets quoted all the time. Statements and interviews with rebels and Russian figures are published.

        So once again let’s look at the score: You’ve provided zero evidence for your claim.

        Also the Kyiv government media isn’t the Western media. Their standards are not much higher, if ever, than the Russian state media.

      35. Mao Cheng Ji

        “So it fits because they have a different opinion than the ruling class of their country?”

        Who said anything about any “ruling class”? No, because they proclaim western superiority, some of them publicly wish that the RF is defeated and colonized, and so on. Smerdyakovschina, it’s called. Check it out. It’s a different opinion all right, but the label fits.

        “Cohen still gets quoted all the time.”

        Odd. I seem to remember him complaining that he’s being ostracized and insulted all the time. Anyhow, Cohen is an American, and he is not idolizing Russia, like the ‘fifth column’ in Russia idolizes anything and everything American, to the point of extreme nausea.

        I see Michael Bohm, American journo with very US-centric POVs on many, many Russian shows. Why don’t American talk shows invite Russian journos, or talk show hosts; Roman Babayan, for example? Someone who can really express Russian point of views, and is a skilled debater? What are they afraid of?

        Over to you.

      36. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Who said anything about any “ruling class”? No, because they proclaim western superiority,”

        If they’re talking about standards of living, rule of law, civil rights, etc. this is basically true. Are they wrong for stating a fact?

        ” some of them publicly wish that the RF is defeated and colonized, and so on.”

        Who has seriously said this? In any case, Russia’s leadership acts as though anything short of constantly being in a passive-aggressive Cold War with the US is effectively colonization and defeat. They act like first world countries with better standards of living than the US are in fact colonies of America.

        “Odd. I seem to remember him complaining that he’s being ostracized and insulted all the time. ”

        Mostly by pundits, not investigative journalists. Guess what- many of my journalist friends are insulted and ostracized all the time. One week they publish something that makes people like you mad, so they’re suddenly “neocon” CIA operatives. Then they publish something critical of the Ukrainian government’s policy, and they’re “Kremlin whores.” I’ve dealt with the same thing all the time.

        “like the ‘fifth column’ in Russia idolizes anything and everything American, to the point of extreme nausea. ”

        There is no “fifth column,” and they don’t do that. It might sound that way at times, but the reason why it seems like it is because what they want are the advantages of America- in Russia. If you actually tried talking to these people, you’d see that they’re perfectly aware of the flaws in our system, it’s just that none of those flaws have any effect on them.

        If you’re not living in Russia, you probably feel the same way when you read about the problems here.

        You know it’s very easy to find and contact the few people who are oppositionists in Russia. You could actually find out their opinions on things like America and the West.

        ” see Michael Bohm, American journo with very US-centric POVs on many, many Russian shows. ”

        Bohm actually lives in Russia. Most Russians who live abroad and who don’t work for Russian media or the state aren’t typically the types to go to bat for the Russian government.

        Still, Russian politicians and official statements are routinely quoted in American media, which according to you is akin to fabricating a story(as in “the SBU said…”). In fact, many die-hard Ukraine fans get seriously buttmad about this. It’s ridiculous because the reporters are just stating the official position of the Russian government, and this is a relevant part of the story.

      37. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Still, Russian politicians and official statements are routinely quoted in American media, which according to you is akin to fabricating a story(as in “the SBU said…”). ”

        No, they are not quoted like the SBU is quoted. SBU’s claims are quoted as facts, and Lavrov’s claims are quoted as denials of obvious, already established (on account of the SBU’s claims) facts.

      38. Jim Kovpak Post author

        How is something quoted “as fact?”

        Let me explain to you how this works- you have press conferences with the SBU, ATO people, the DNR, the LNR. Reporters are paid to quote what the speakers say and attribute the quote. So the guy working the SBU press conference quotes them and attributes the quote, and the guy in Donetsk quotes Zakharchenko, Basurin, etc.

        You can actually see this in plenty of articles. You can also watch it on Twitter. Numerous times I’ve watched Western journalists(some of whom have mutual acquaintances with me) live Tweet from press conferences with Zakharchenko, for example.

      39. Mao Cheng Ji

        “How is something quoted “as fact?” ”

        Just like that, like I already explained, about 50 times: Headline: “100 Russian tanks crossed the border”, as it’s a true fact. “SBU spokesman said” will be in the third para.

        “Ukraine rebels continue shelling Donetsk” – this is a real one, google it. 18 hits.

      40. Jim Kovpak Post author

        You know I Googled that and it turns out you’re wrong.

        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33587798

        Headline: “Ukraine crisis: Kiev and rebels trade blame over Donetsk shelling”

        In other words- both sides SAY the other one did it.

        Next, the lead:

        “Ukraine’s military and pro-Russian separatists have accused each other of shelling central areas of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk.”

        Again, they both accuse each other.

        Next: “The rebels claimed that one civilian died in the overnight attacks. Ukraine said the separatists themselves opened fire on the city.”

        Here it’s equal but the Ukrainian version sounds a bit far-fetched. The reasonable reader might infer that.

        Next: “In other developments on Sunday:
        Ukrainian officials said four civilians were killed by rebel shelling of government-held towns in the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours
        rebel leaders said they unilaterally began withdrawing weapons under 100mm (4 inches) calibre from the line of contact. Ukraine and monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have not commented on the claim”

        In other words- This side says this, the other side says that. OSCE says nothing.

        “The Ukrainian government, Western leaders and Nato all say there is clear evidence that Russia is helping the rebels in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions with heavy weapons and soldiers. Independent experts echo that accusation.
        Moscow denies it, insisting that any Russians serving with the rebels are volunteers.”

        These countries say this, Moscow says no.

        “More than 6,400 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine that began in April 2014 when rebels seized large parts of the two eastern regions. This followed Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula.”

        No mention of Russian involvement in the uprising- Canadian “Ukrainians” go insane.

        “A video posted on the internet allegedly showed shells landing on several buildings and a fire in the city.
        “Last time the centre of Donetsk was hit was in February,” senior rebel official Eduard Basurin told Reuters news agency.”

        Words like “allegedly,” Basurin quoted for the DNR.

        “”I have no explanation. The Ukrainian side says we shelled ourselves. Do you believe we can shell ourselves?” he added.” -Basurin (Not too unreasonable, though I should point out that they have accused the Ukrainians of “shelling themselves” numerous times. I typically doubt such claims from both sides.)

        “He was speaking after Ukrainian military official Serhiy Halushko said the army had intercepted and posted online rebel radio traffic that suggested the separatists had planned to shell Donetsk.”

        Here we learn that this is what the Ukrainian military person claimed. No “reported as fact” in the headline.

        “In a BBC interview, OSCE deputy chief monitor Alexander Hug confirmed that “there was a serious increase in tension yesterday (Saturday) evening and night”.
        “[The shelling] was being conducted from within the city of Donetsk firing towards the west, towards (the) position of the Ukraine armed forces, as well as returned fire from this position into the city of Donetsk,” he added.”

        This is from the OSCE. Russia is always calling for investigations by the OSCE, and then ignoring the results any time it points at the rebels. Volnovakha was another such example.

        And there you have it. “State-run” Western media. I Googled exactly what you told me to.

      41. Mao Cheng Ji

        Your BBC link doesn’t have the intelligence-insulting headline “Ukraine rebels continue shelling Donetsk”. But that’s a real headline. The fact that there are other articles with (also intelligence-insulting, albeit not as much) “trading blame” is irrelevant.

      42. Jim Kovpak Post author

        But you said that the Western media has an organized campaign to demonize Russia. You claim they fabricate stories. I’ve shown plenty examples of the Russian media fabricating stories and you haven’t provided a single one. You basically give me a link to what appears to be a shitty tabloid with very poor style. I give you the BBC, VOA, and the Washington Post, for starters.

        How about Christopher Miller’s work for the NY Times? He was in Donetsk.

      43. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Oh yeah I went and Googled the same phrase you told me again and looked at the first link (BBC was second, and BBC is more important): http://www.click2houston.com/news/ukraine-rebels-continue-shelling-donetsk/34242676

        Okay sure- headline. Let’s look at the lead. According to you, the dastardly Western CNN will report everything “as fact” and bury the Ukrainian government attribution somewhere in the third paragraph or lower. Let’s take a look:

        “KIEV, Ukraine (CNN) –
        Violence in eastern Ukraine showed no signs of letting up Sunday as Ukrainian authorities reported death and destruction in the city of Donetsk.”

        Nope. Ukrainian authorities reported it, right in the lead. Let’s move on:

        “The National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine said that separatists had concentrated heavy weaponry in three points around Donetsk: in the village of Spartak, at the now-destroyed Donetsk airport, and in the Kievskiy district of the city.

        The Council said the separatists used those places to launch heavy shelling “of both Ukrainian positions and residential areas.””

        Again- Ukrainians said, Ukrainians said. I thought this was supposed to be buried somewhere where nobody would read it.

        “Four civilians — including a 9-year-old girl — died and four others were injured in Ukraine-controlled territory as a result of shelling Saturday, according to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

        The Ukrainian military said that one Ukrainian soldier had been killed and seven had been wounded in the last 24 hours. The military said the separatist shelling had destroyed at least four residential blocks.”

        More attribution, said, etc.

        “The separatist group, the self-described Donetsk People’s Republic, said through its official information agency that 19 buildings had been damaged, including a hospital. One man was killed, the agency, known as DAN, reported.

        Earlier Saturday, another person died and three were injured in a massive fire in the central part of the city, DAN reported.

        On Sunday, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the Donetsk People’s Republic, said the Republic had agreed to withdraw 100-millimeter weapons to locations 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the front line, DAN reported. Basurin was quoted as saying the decision was made because of the “unswerving desire and the will to establish peace in the Donbas.”

        DNR’s side of the story.

        “he Donbas is an industrial region in eastern Ukraine.

        Fighting in eastern Ukraine, which borders Russia, has raged off and on since protests forced President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February 2014. Yanukovych was tilting Ukraine’s foreign policy toward Russia and away from the European Union.”

        Background. No mention of Russian intervention at all. Canadian “Ukrainian” asses explode with rage, launching them into space.

        As for people reading headlines- yes, headlines are there to grab attention, then the lead encapsulates the most important info to get an idea of what is happening. The detail multiplies as you read onward.

        The type of people who just read headlines and leads(where most reputable publications attribute everything or use terms like “allegedly”) aren’t exactly those who form any strong opinions on these matters. Most Americans don’t really pay attention to this part of the world anyway.

        Any dolt who only reads headlines is unlikely to form such a strong opinion and if they do, they’d quickly be exposed as idiots because they wouldn’t be able to speak at length about any of these topics.

      44. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Oh any one more thing about this point. If a coup means the country effectively doesn’t exist- why does Russia recognize and support the military coup-installed government of Al-Sisi in Egypt?

      45. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Oh any one more thing about this point. If a coup means the country effectively doesn’t exist- why does Russia recognize and support the military coup-installed government of Al-Sisi in Egypt? ”

        What does any of it have to do with who Russia recognize and support? Absolutely nothing.

        Aside from that: I explained my view of the situation in former Ukraine, the main reasons for the civil war, and it was more complicated than just the coup – east vs west, remember? I’m sure it’s possible to have a coup every evening after the supper, and keep on existing just fine.

      46. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “What does any of it have to do with who Russia recognize and support? Absolutely nothing.”

        Nope. Remember you said that Ukraine ceases to exist as a country because its government was overthrown(not entirely true anyway). The same can be said for Egypt, twice. Yet Putin’s just fine with recognizing and making deals with Egypt, just like he is with the Ukrainian government.

        As for your meaningless east/west divide, it’s fallacious. The only reason there was any success for separatism in the east was from Russian money, arms, and troops. This is why all they hold are those enclaves around Lugansk and Donetsk. Other movements had no popular support. The east/west divide of Ukraine is simply outdated.

      47. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Yet Putin’s just fine with recognizing and making deals with Egypt, just like he is with the Ukrainian government. ”

        I don’t understand. I’m not Putin. I’m not even an RF citizen, so I’m as related to Putin as you are, or less.

        What is your point – whatever Putin is fine with, that must be the correct POV? This is something new. Are you trying to confuse me?

      48. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “I don’t understand. I’m not Putin. I’m not even an RF citizen, so I’m as related to Putin as you are, or less.
        What is your point – whatever Putin is fine with, that must be the correct POV? This is something new. Are you trying to confuse me?”

        I think you’re perfectly capable of being confused on your own. This was in reference to your rather novel theory that Ukraine ceased to exist as a state because they had a less-than-typical change of power. Egypt has had two such situations, yet Putin’s cool with that.

        Of course this is all irrelevant because as I said, it’s not just Putin or Russia who recognizes the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government and its elections, but the world. In fact, you’ll note that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hasn’t used the term junta in a long time now, thought Lavrov still sometimes pretends as though Praviy Sektor runs the country. Their recent stunt, incidentally, is basically going to be the nail in the coffin for them.

        Getting back to issues of legitimacy, compared to the Ukrainian government, Russia has never recognized the DNR or LNR, and publicly insists on them remaining part of Ukraine(albeit one which Ukraine pays for but Russia controls).

        So what this means is that your assertions about Ukraine’s legitimacy and use of the term junta are simply ridiculous.

      49. Mao Cheng Ji

        “This was in reference to your rather novel theory that Ukraine ceased to exist as a state because they had a less-than-typical change of power.”

        That wasn’t my theory, and I already objected to distorting it this way. Look, if we caricature each-other views like this – what’s the point of communicating?

        East and west, the balancing act, compromises – remember? And then one side breaking all the compromises that allowed the state to function and to exist. That was my theory, and it’s not novel. It’s rather common and not even particularly controversial, I don’t think.

      50. Jim Kovpak Post author

        All of this info is pretty widely available. I love when people talk about the Kyiv junta today and then you go over to Wikipedia and show them the make up of the Rada. Not to mention the fact that all the real nationalists in Ukraine hate Poroshenko with a passion.

      51. Callum Carmichael

        “The very first law passed by the new Rada was a law demoting the status of the Russian language. Feb 22 2014 the balance was lost; the state of Ukraine ceased to exist; the civil war started.”

        Not correct. The law in question enshrining Russian as an official language had been passed in 2012 by Yanukovych; the interim government voted to repeal the law. However, the repeal vote caused a bit of a shit show and so the acting President Turchynov refused to support it and it went nowhere. AFAIK Kyiv is still trying to decide what to do about it.

        The uprising was many things, but it wasn’t really a coup. Yanukovych fled the country on night of the 21st, and the Rada voted in his absence to impeach him. There was certainly violence underway in Kyiv at the time, but the decision of police forces to abandon their posts was much more significant.

        The struggle between East and West that you mentioned, while certainly a feature of Ukrainian politics, is not a necessary feature of Ukrainian statehood. Cultural features can change and that doesn’t invalidate a state’s right territorial integrity. It makes a poor excuse for agression against Ukraine.

        In any case, Maidan didn’t really change the system. The authorities of most of the eastern provinces (Crimea included) simply acknowledged the new authorities and moved on. What changed the balance fundamentally was Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the pro-Russian uprisings in Donbass. These actions isolated a large part of the Russian-oriented population of Ukraine from Kyiv (where they could not vote in elections, for example) and galvanized the rest of Ukraine against Russia.

        Also, a personal recommendation to you: just because you claim that something is obvious to you, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be prepared to defend it. Derision is not an argument.

      52. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Not correct.”

        How is it not correct when it’s exactly correct, and you’re aware of it? Which word is incorrect in “The very first law passed by the new Rada was a law demoting the status of the Russian language”?

        “Yanukovych fled the country on night of the 21st, and the Rada voted in his absence to impeach him”

        President fleeing the country is call ‘a coup’. Rada did vote, but they didn’t have enough votes to pass it, so indeed he was NOT impeached. Not that it matters much.

        “The authorities of most of the eastern provinces (Crimea included) simply acknowledged the new authorities and moved on.”

        No, they were replaced. New governors. In fact, IIRC (and I think I do) some people from western ultra-nationalist Svoboda were assigned to be new governors in the East.

        “just because you claim that something is obvious to you, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be prepared to defend it”

        Actually, I don’t have to do anything.

      53. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “President fleeing the country is call ‘a coup’. ”

        Not when he flees on his own volition and there was no compelling reason for him to do so. Take a look at some real historical coups some time.

        “Rada did vote, but they didn’t have enough votes to pass it, so indeed he was NOT impeached. Not that it matters much. ”

        One reason that motivated Yanukovych was the defection of too many allies.

        “New governors. In fact, IIRC (and I think I do) some people from western ultra-nationalist Svoboda were assigned to be new governors in the East. ”

        Nope. And are you aware that many of the Ukrainian nationalists these days are actually Russian speakers and from the East? As much as 50% of the Azov battalion, possibly more, consists of Russian-speakers from the East.

      54. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Not when he flees on his own volition and there was no compelling reason for him to do so.”

        That’s just silly. Neo-nazi paramilitaries taking control of the government quarters certainly sounds like a good reason.

        In any case: he didn’t resign, he wasn’t impeached, he didn’t die. So, why do they start acting Feb 22 as if he is not the president anymore? Eh? Obama left Washington and went to Africa – does it mean that US presidency is up for grabs now? Jeez.

      55. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “That’s just silly. Neo-nazi paramilitaries taking control of the government quarters certainly sounds like a good reason. ”

        What a little punk to run away from people armed with hunting weapons at best. Had he no more police or the army to call on?

        His life was not in danger.

        “In any case: he didn’t resign, he wasn’t impeached, he didn’t die.”

        Yes, after fleeing his post despite signing an agreement, he was impeached as per the constitutional rules.

        “So, why do they start acting Feb 22 as if he is not the president anymore? Eh? Obama left Washington and went to Africa – does it mean that US presidency is up for grabs now? Jeez.”

        That depends- was their a governmental crisis where Obama ran away instead of acting as president? Nope. It’s a regularly scheduled state visit. Perhaps if Yanukovych had waited a few days and tried to do the same…

      56. Mao Cheng Ji

        “His life was not in danger.”

        He says it was. Neo-nazi paramilitaries took over the government quarter – that’s the fact (did Putin hire them to do it?). This is sounds like danger to me. I guess not everyone is as brave as you are.

        “he was impeached as per the constitutional rules”

        He wasn’t impeached, they didn’t have the votes. Check it out.

      57. Mao Cheng Ji

        “h wow, the guy who ran away from his post and has an interest in justifying it says so”

        He just signed an agreement with the opposition (except the nazis) that ended the crisis. He gets almost a year to remain president, and then a chance to win the elections again. And then, the same night he runs away from his luxurious residence, golden toilet, his private zoo, his safe presidency.

        You’re ridiculing me, but your story here (can you even tell a coherent story? Let me guess: did Putin hypnotize him?) is beyond ridiculous, I’m afraid.

      58. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Nope. And are you aware that many of the Ukrainian nationalists these days are actually Russian speakers and from the East?”

        How does it follow from this that people from Svoboda were not assigned governors in the east after the coup? You’re a maestro of non-sequiturs, you know.

        Anyway, to the claim that the local administrations just accepted the coup and went on as usual. Here’s from wikipedia: “As Yuriy Lutsenko reported, past midnight on 22 February, the SBU opened criminal proceedings against Kharkiv governor Mikhail Dobkin and mayor Hennadiy Kernes for advocating separatism.”

        Also this: “On 27 February 2014 the Yatsenyuk Government was formed which included 3 Svoboda ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych, Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Ihor Shvaika and Environment and Natural Resources Minister Andriy Mokhnyk.[14][102] Also Svoboda party members were appointed governors of Poltava Oblast (Viktor Buhaychuk on 2 March 2014), Ternopil Oblast (Oleh Syrotyuk also on 2 March 2014) and Rivne Oblast (Sergey Rybachka on 3 March 2014).”

        Poltava is an eastern province. So, like I said: a few days after the coup, Svoboda, a western ultra-nationalist party, founded as “Social-National Party of Ukraine”, sporting neo-nazi insignia (Wolfsangel), was given control over an eastern province. QED.

      59. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “How does it follow from this that people from Svoboda were not assigned governors in the east after the coup? You’re a maestro of non-sequiturs, you know. ”

        It breaks down your incorrect statement that these are all Western Ukrainian nationalists. The nationalism typically associated with Galicia has spread, largely due to the ineptness of Yanukovych and the association of his regime with Russia.

      60. Mao Cheng Ji

        I was replying to the claim that all the local authorities accepted the coup, and went on as usual. You post a new claim that is a non-sequitur for this thread.

        Also, of course I never claimed that “these are ALL Western Ukrainian nationalists”. This is a straw-man. I described a rough composition of the forces fighting this civil war.

      61. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Also, of course I never claimed that “these are ALL Western Ukrainian nationalists”. This is a straw-man. I described a rough composition of the forces fighting this civil war.”

        But then your composition is wrong, because as I said a significant portion of the nationalists are Russian-speakers or from the East. And that’s just the nationalists. Most Ukrainians still speak Russian. Kyiv is not “Western Ukraine” and never was.

      62. Mao Cheng Ji

        “But then your composition is wrong, because as I said a significant portion of the nationalists are Russian-speakers or from the East.”

        I’m wrong just because you said something? Funny how that works in the “no BS” zone. So, is it now your claim that the anti-junta “pro-Russian” sentiment is equally distributed over the territory of former Ukraine? Ternopol’ is as “pro-Russian” as Odessa and Kharkov, is that it? Please clarify your assertion.

      63. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “I’m wrong just because you said something? Funny how that works in the “no BS” zone”

        No, you’re wrong because the evidence says otherwise. Kyiv is not Western Ukraine. Western Ukraine is not, nor was it ever, all of Ukraine West of the Dnieper or anything like that. Western Ukraine is Galicia and Volyn. Even the last time I was in Kyiv, over a year after Maidan, I still rarely heard people speaking Ukrainian. The truth is that few Ukrainians really give a shit about nationalism and they don’t really know anything about Bandera or the OUN, in the same way that Russians who “support Stalin” don’t know dick about Stalin or Communism either.

        “So, is it now your claim that the anti-junta “pro-Russian” sentiment is equally distributed over the territory of former Ukraine? Ternopol’ is as “pro-Russian” as Odessa and Kharkov, is that it? Please clarify your assertion.”

        Apparently you’re unable to understand the concept of supporting Ukraine as a nation and its territorial integrity and being a nationalist. You keep bringing up this east-west divide and I’m saying that is out of date and quite frankly a ridiculous distraction from the fact that Russia annexed a part of the country and sponsored a rebellion in another part.

      64. Mao Cheng Ji

        “You keep bringing up this east-west divide and I’m saying that is out of date and quite frankly a ridiculous distraction from the fact that Russia annexed a part of the country and sponsored a rebellion in another part.”

        Now, here’s one statement I agree with. Yes. All we need is to figure out which one of these two POVs is BS.

        Here’s a link for you: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Svoboda-2012.png

        Election results of Svoboda in 2012; people voting for ukro-nationalists. Can you see the divide, and an explanation of what happened in Crimea and is happening in Donbas? Please be honest.

    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      “It is recognized by the Russian government – because it controls a part of the territory of former Ukraine.”

      This is irrelevant to recognition. Russia signed a treaty guaranteeing Ukraine’s borders in 1994, which it recently violated. What is more, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus controls a significant portion of the island. Does that mean it’s legitimate? Russia clearly doesn’t think so as the only country that recognizes that is Turkey.

      “Similarly, the “Ukrainian government” needs to recognize the governments of LNR and DNR, and start a dialog with them.”

      The world, including Russia, recognizes the Ukrainian government. There is no need for quotes. They do not need to recognize the DNR/LNR governments, which are illegitimate and aren’t even asking for that type of recognition at the moment.

      “Do you know what the main point of elections is? It’s PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER. ”

      Yanukovych ran away in spite of signing an agreement that ended the violence, and then the Rada voted as per their rules to remove him from power. What else should they have done?

      “Even if try very hard to pretend that we didn’t see the mass-arrests in the East, ”

      Mass arrests? What the hell are you talking about? There were some disturbances and some of the culprits were arrested.

      “the massacre in Odessa,”

      This was not a government action. Police corruption played a role on both sides. When you get football hooligans and various criminals together you’re going to get violence. Incidentally, the first people killed were on the Ukrainian side.

      “and the numerous brown-shirt-y ‘trash-can lustrations’, we still couldn’t call those elections ‘legal’.”

      None of these have anything to do with the elections being legal or illegal. If those forces actually had power, why did their candidates do so poorly? If a party like Svoboda won big, then you might have a leg to stand on.

      “To have legal elections, they would have to restore the status quo ante: return the president and restore the completely devastated ruling party, the Party of Regions, suffered from terrorist attacks on its HQ, from physical attacks on its members, and so on. ”

      Nope. They don’t. He led a corrupt state, ran it into the ground, and then ran away. The Party of Regions and the KPU could have possibly acted as a counterweight to some of the other parties if Russia didn’t come in and annex the Crimea and take part of the Donbas. Are you aware that the Ukrainian government both in the presidential elections AND the Rada elections of October made provisions for people in rebel occupied territory to vote, yet they were forbidden to do so by the rebels?

      “Without it, there is no “legally elected” anything. There is a civil war.”

      There is a war started by Russia. Every wonder why the demonstrations in Odessa and Kharkiv went nowhere, yet in Donetsk and Lugansk it was different? Ask Igor Girkin, he’s already said so.

      As for your claims about legality, basically all the governments of the world disagree with you, including the Russian Federation’s. I think I’ll go with the consensus on this.

      Reply
      1. Mao Cheng Ji

        “Yanukovych ran away in spite of signing an agreement that ended the violence”

        You need to read more about the events of February 21.

        “None of these have anything to do with the elections being legal or illegal. ”

        How can you say that? Trash-can lustrations? Violence against opposition politicians (Shufrych, Tsarev)? Criminalization of descent – any anti-war or pro-federalization opinion becoming a crime (Tsarev)? C’mon.

        “Every wonder why the demonstrations in Odessa and Kharkiv went nowhere”

        Terror campaign. Arrests, beatings, disappearances, the whole shebang. Why do YOU think they went nowhere – the public in Odessa recognized their erroneous ways and learned to love the Big Brother?

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “You need to read more about the events of February 21.”

        Oh let me guess- from RT?

        “How can you say that? Trash-can lustrations? Violence against opposition politicians (Shufrych, Tsarev)? Criminalization of descent – any anti-war or pro-federalization opinion becoming a crime (Tsarev)? C’mon.”

        All these things occurred against a background of a military invasion by Russia and a sponsored armed uprising in the East. You know what happens when that goes on in such an unstable country? It means that thugs and criminals can take advantage of the chaos to settle scores(which is basically what happened in Odessa, as far as the best research goes).

        What Russia should have done after Yanukovych fled was stay the fuck out of Ukraine entirely, and thus put everything on the new government. If any more violence occurred, the Maidan government would have to shoulder all the responsibility for that, and there’d be opposition in the Donbas and Crimea to balance any nationalist influence.

        But of course Russia isn’t run by men who are competent at anything besides stealing, so they thought five minutes into the future and decided to fuck the entire future of Russia by invading the Crimea and sponsoring an uprising.

      3. Mao Cheng Ji

        “All these things occurred against a background of a military invasion by Russia and a sponsored armed uprising in the East.”

        I don’t care. My point is that you can’t claim ‘legitimate elections’ in the environment where the opposition is terrorized and criminalized. And not only opposition politicians, also the opposition media.

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “I don’t care. My point is that you can’t claim ‘legitimate elections’ in the environment where the opposition is terrorized and criminalized. And not only opposition politicians, also the opposition media.”

        That’s cute, because that’s exactly what happened in the Crimea, DNR and LNR, only in Ukraine there was actual campaigning. And again, the Party of Regions and KPU could have remained a strong oppositional force had they not decided to go with separatism and Russia.

      5. Shalcker

        This whole “all that happened against background of Russian invasion” sounds like whataboutism to me… 😛

        It also happened against background of SBU headquaters flying US flag alongside Ukrainian. Against background of various state official visits, as well as secret visit by head of CIA that was first denied and later confirmed.

        Which you can argue was a lot more important toward continued war at Eastern Ukraine then Russian action; or at least just as important.

      6. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “This whole “all that happened against background of Russian invasion” sounds like whataboutism to me… :P”

        Is that the case when we’re talking about a new government in a country that had been wracked by division and corruption for years, now faced with a totally unacceptable war?

        Believe me, if Russia’s fantasies about NATO encirclement and aggression were actually true, I’d be a lot easier on the Kremlin when it comes to it’s stance on civil rights. I’d still say they made their bed in the first place, but at least there’d be a legitimate reason for such crackdowns.

        And one would think Russia should have been happy about the arrival of those US officials- they would make sure that the country doesn’t go into total chaos when nationalists really could try to seize weapons and go after civilians. IIRC the SBU was behind the killing of Sashko Bily.

        “Which you can argue was a lot more important toward continued war at Eastern Ukraine then Russian action; or at least just as important.”

        Not really. How many NATO troops were fighting in Ukraine? Zero.

      7. Shalcker

        It’s not about NATO troops but about incitement (don’t give in to those Russians! go crush that rebellion!) and pledges of support.

        Otherwise they would try to seek some compromise given that winning for them against Russia IS impossible. But feeling US behind them they never bothered.

        And that is real reason for war.

      8. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “It’s not about NATO troops but about incitement (don’t give in to those Russians! go crush that rebellion!) and pledges of support.”

        Oh, so Ukraine’s not allowed to defend its own territory? Funny, Russia was allowed to. Also Gaddafi and Assad are allowed to even though their methods were arguably more brutal. Again- consistency.

        “And that is real reason for war.”

        No, the real reason is a Russian-sponsored and equipped insurgency coupled with an invasion, period.

        It’s funny how you act like Maidan justifies a military operation against Crimea, but an actual armed insurgency throughout a large part of the country demands surrender on the part of Ukraine.

        Again we can go right to the nuclear option: What would Russia do if an armed uprising took over Tatarstan and they started holding a referendum? If you’ve been paying attention, you know that just seriously publishing material about such a thing or even material about demanding more federalization in Russia(i.e. exactly what Russia demands Ukraine accept) is illegal. In fact that very law was passed AFTER the annexation of the Crimea.

      9. Jim Kovpak Post author

        The funniest thing about this is that Russia’s one go-to technique is whataboutery, claiming that the US, West, and everyone else are hypocrites. And yet how much more hypocritical can one get than the Russian government, whether it’s condemning the West while buying real estate in those countries and surrounding themselves in Western luxury, or in this case- demanding that other countries surrender territory right off the bat while they ruthlessly crush any rebellion or anything that even speaks of it. Right now Putin supposedly enjoys 87% approval ratings(down from 89% recently), and yet the authorities are scared shitless about PARNAS in Novosibirsk, as though that would be a threat even if Putin’s ratings weren’t so high.

        Why doesn’t Putin have a dialog with the separatists in the Caucasus?

      10. Shalcker

        You’re building a strawman here.

        I guess you do you support deaths of thousands of Ukrainian people and terror shelling of civilians just because US assured their leaders they’ll do their “see no evil” act no matter what they do to keep up Western support?
        Major loss of industrial capacity at Donbass and high-tech industries like YuzhMash that will never get replaced?
        Hey, dream of joining Europe is totally worth it! …dream that gets pushed back by extra decades when they wage war.

        Are you saying that war was the only response possible? There are always alternatives to waging war. I would hope in 21th century we could actually have working diplomacy…

        Putin actually did have dialog with Causasus – that how he subdued Chechnya in the end.

      11. Shalcker

        Also, “what would Russia do” is 100% whataboutism.

        Is that the only defence you can have for Ukrainians? Their actions cannot be justified without resorting to it?

  13. Callum Carmichael

    Hey Shalker, I think we’ve pushed the reply feature on this blog to its limits, but this is a response to your post: “You’re building a strawman here” at 10:00.

    I don’t know what straw man you’re accusing Jim of making; when pointing out logical fallacies, it helps to spell out what they are and how they,re fallacious, but that’s between you and him.

    The logical fallacy you made in your post, however, is question begging, or assuming the premise of your argument to be true, when you know for a fact that it’s disputed. Your premise is that Ukraine started the war in the east, and that it was not legitimate for Kyiv to do so. Jim and I dispute this, so you need to defend it to be convincing.

    To outline my position (and I assume Jim’s, though he’s free to correct me), here is a very simple, very broken-down version of what I (we?) say happened. And of the logic behind it.

    Step 1: Maidan happens Feb 22 (we’ve argued this to death so I won’t go into detail).

    Step 2: Russian troops seize control of Crimea Feb 27 (again, not critical since even Putin doesn’t dispute this basic fact).

    Step 3: Riots in favour of deparating from Ukraine and joining Russia break out in several provinces in South-Eastern Ukraine in early march. In Odessa and Kharkiv, these are defeated by local police and Maidan activists. In Donetsk and Luhansk, well-organized men in military clothing with Kalashnikovs seize control of government buildings and strategic objects. They declare themselves to be “peoples’ republics” independent from Kyiv. Kyiv condemns this but does not immediately respond due to worries about the readiness and loyalty of its security sector.

    Step 4: in April. about a month later, Kyiv launches a military response to try to regain control of the territory.

    OK, so now the logic behind it: Armed men seizing government buildings are a military act against the state. In this case, a military response is permissible with certain limitations on the level of force to be used. Canada did the same thing in 1970 when Quebec separatists started occupying buildings and kidnapping officials. It’s what sovereign states do when armed groups try to seize control of parts of their territory and population.

    Now, let me respond to your rebuttals (I know what they are).

    1. “Ukraine isn’t a sovereign state because Maidan.” Bullshit.

    2. “Ukraine used excessive force during the operation”. OK to some extent I agree. But it is also demonstrable that causing civilian casualties is not the objective of the Ukrainian operation, and preventing them is not the objective of the rebels. Ukrainian troops do not routinely abuse civilians in places like Slovyansk or Mariupol, which were under rebel control in spring 2014 but retaken in summer 2014. This is no punishment campaign, it is an attempt to restore control over sovereign Ukrainian territory.

    Likewise, as Jim pointed out, the rebels are happy to shell civilians in cities that were retaken by the government, even though these are “Russian compatriots” in territory once under control of the “peoples’ republics”. Given that the rebels have tanks, artillery, and other heavy weapons, Ukraine’s use of such weapons is not considered excessive.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I basically agree with this. From my own experience, life on the Ukrainian side of the line is ridiculously normal, at least in the towns I visited(closest to the front being Artemivsk and Kostyantynivka). In the latter, military presence was minimal, mostly at the train station. I saw some groups of soldiers eating in popular cafes(one outdoors) without weapons or equipment of any kind.

      Reply
    2. Shalcker

      You’re repeating exactly the strawman i’m talking about.
      No, i do not argue “Your premise is that Ukraine started the war in the east, and that it was not legitimate for Kyiv to do so.
      First, they are fully within their right to do it. Suicide is always an option, even for entire countries – sometimes contradictions just get too big when exposed to crisis.
      Second, it has nothing to do with “who started it” – it’s childish argument, “they started first!” Look at situation, look at your position, is country there for well-being of it’s people or for “protecting borders at all costs, casualties be damned”?

      I’m arguing that they are pursuing ultimately self-destructive path with no hope of winning anything following it.

      And even as response to Russian actions it still remains childish and self-destructive.

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “First, they are fully within their right to do it. Suicide is always an option, even for entire countries – sometimes contradictions just get too big when exposed to crisis.”

        Allowing your nation to be dismantled without so much as firing a shot isn’t national suicide? I’m glad they didn’t have that attitude in the US in 1861.

        “Second, it has nothing to do with “who started it” – it’s childish argument, “they started first!” ”

        Excuse me but whose media is CONSTANTLY blaming Kyiv for the war and screaming about “genocide”, “punitive operations,” “war crimes,” etc.? This government and its media have been screaming about all this since before the war started and then when someone points out that no- in fact Russia started this, it’s suddenly a childish argument?

        ” “protecting borders at all costs, casualties be damned””

        So they let Crimea go without a fight, then they’re supposed to let the Donbas go without a fight, and then what? Kharkiv? Odessa? Just let the whole country go back to its pre-1917 status as Malorossiya? We all now that’s what Strelkov and the rest of the imperialists want.

        “I’m arguing that they are pursuing ultimately self-destructive path with no hope of winning anything following it.”

        First I wouldn’t say they have no hope of winning. They’ve severely clipped the wings of those who dreamed of Novorossiya, as the maps clearly show. Also Russia’s paying for all this so its a drain on them. Ukraine just has to wait it out, make reforms, and suppress idiots like Praviy Sektor and eventually the Kremlin will be forced to pull the plug on the whole farce.

        Also you know I still don’t have an answer to that Tatarstan referendum question.

      2. Shalcker

        It’s childish because it shifts responsibility for your own actions to others. You seem to despise people saying “Russia does this because US did that completely different thing”, but give a free pass to Ukraine for some reason.

        And it’s self-destructive, like a Russian saying “get your ears frozen (by not wearing warm hat) to spite the mother (who told you to wear one)”.
        “Russia tells us to go negotiate a compromise with rebels? Haha, NEVER! Fight until the last Ukrainian against Russian aggression!!! Let’s get Donbass kids be stuck in cellar under artillery fire while ours will freely go to schools and kinder-gardens, that will show them who is truly superior!!!”

        Will it, really?

      3. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “t’s childish because it shifts responsibility for your own actions to others.”

        This is precisely what you are doing. Russia starts and sponsors an armed insurgency, and Ukraine isn’t allowed to defend itself. But Russia’s allowed to run all kinds of snap military drills and crack down on dissent because of “NATO encirclement,” the same “encirclement” which existed in 2004 when nobody really gave a shit.

        ” but give a free pass to Ukraine for some reason.”

        ” You seem to despise people saying “Russia does this because US did that completely different thing”, but give a free pass to Ukraine for some reason.”

        Now I know you’ve been reading this site long enough to know that I’ve never given Ukraine a free pass. But when there is an aggressor country attacking, destabilizing, or annexing part of a smaller country, I don’t see the two sides as moral equals. I condemn it for the same reason I condemned the war on Iraq and other US military interventions. It’s called principle.

        “And it’s self-destructive, like a Russian saying “get your ears frozen (by not wearing warm hat) to spite the mother (who told you to wear one)”.”

        So all NATO has to do is start a military uprising with some special forces in Kalinigrad or Siberia somewhere, and then the Russian government, not wanting to be self-destructive, will negotiate with the foreign-backed rebels? Of course not.

        ““Russia tells us to go negotiate a compromise with rebels? Haha, NEVER! Fight until the last Ukrainian against Russian aggression!!! ”

        Again, this uprising was started by men like Girkin with the help of Russian agents, arms, and money. So basically you’re saying that once Russia does this, the only answer is surrender. Also, why does Ukraine have to do what Russia says? Why do you think Russia has the right to tell any country in the world, however small, to do anything whatsoever? Russia can’t run a functional government without massive corruption and missing money. In spite of vast natural resource wealth it’s economy is actually slightly below that of Italy and yet 110 INDIVIDUALS own 35% of the countries wealth and the standards of living are far below, in some cases, neighboring countries. Who is Russia to lecture anyone on national suicide?

        What you simply do not realize, is that other countries don’t want to play Russia’s real-life game of Risk and be part of its empire. That’s why every country that can get out of Russia’s orbit, does so even at great expense. That’s why leaders of countries like Belarus and Kazakhstan aren’t afraid to give Putin a fairly clear “fuck you” when he says some bullshit about how his own allies aren’t real countries and such.

        It’s not just that the US still throws its weight around as a world power, but you know what? The US fucking EARNED its position in the world, and in a capitalist world it’s just a sad fact of life that such powerful countries are going to do that. Luckily the US has shifted its policy more towards economic levers and has also turned over a new leaf by opening relations with Cuba and patching things up with Iran.

        The Kremlin leaders are stuck in this 19th century world of great powers and their spheres of influence, not realizing that smaller countries aren’t necessarily interested in being in anyone’s sphere. But if they have a choice, they pick the winner.

    3. Shalcker

      Do you really argue that even in case that it is indeed Russian operation from very start to finish “Let’s do war!!!” is actually correct response?

      Or maybe “Let’s do war!!!” is result of erroneous thinking that problem is much smaller then it actually was, and it’s just a matter of breaking few hot heads, no negotiations necessary?

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        The erroneous snap thinking was on the part of Putin as soon as Yanukovych fled. The Crimean operation was probably a contingency plan that had been around for a while and got dusted off, but he needed something to shore up support and wrong-foot his opposition(because to oppose this they’d have to talk about giving “Russian” land back).

        It’s hard to tell exactly what they planned to do with the Donbas uprising. It may have initially been planned as another Crimea that didn’t work out, or it could have been simple disruption.

      2. Shalcker

        I’m talking about Ukrainains, not about Putin. We can argue about Putin plans for long time but i’m much more interested in what Ukrainian planned when they started their military operation.

        What they expected? Do you have any Ukrainian sources that can show what they were thinking?

      3. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “What they expected? Do you have any Ukrainian sources that can show what they were thinking?”

        I’m guessing they were thinking they’re going to defend their country from being partitioned and dismantled, the same thing every country would do.

        Hey remember that time that Russia supported the separation of Kosovo because the locals there wanted more autonomy(actually Kosovo had autonomy similar to an ASSR until about 1976 IIRC)? Serbia’s right for defending its territory against armed insurrection(I’m not necessarily disputing this), but Ukraine isn’t. Russia was allowed to do what it wanted in Chechnya because sovereignty. Ditto Syria, ditto Libya. But Ukraine? Oh no, Ukraine should have just surrendered a large swath of their country after one other part had already been annexed because that’s not suicide or something.

      4. Shalcker

        Or do you suppose we should take seriously Poroshenko pledge to end war in a hours when he was elected as something he though possible?

        …then weeks?

        …and now “When we get Donbass and Crimea back and no sooner, as long as it takes”?

        Do you really think Ukraine CAN last longer then Russia in this case?

      5. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Poroshenko was the first to offer a unilateral ceasefire and open negotiations. The terms of the ceasefire became the basis for the first and second Minsk agreements. During that week long ceasefire, the rebels refused to send negotiators.

      6. Callum Carmichael

        The initial reaction of the Ukrainian authorities, as I already said, was to leave the problem to the local authorities. This worked in Kharkiv and to some extent in Odessa (though deciding the problem through street fighting between pro- and anti-Maidan paramilitaries while the police stayed on the sidelines was.. uh… not ideal). But in Donetsk and Luhansk the police were either overwhelmed or brought over to the rebels. So some sort of military response was needed.

        Regarding the response, you are struggling with chronology. The “ATO” was launched by Yantsenyuk and Turchynov about a month after the uprising, when it was abundantly clear that the local police were not able to do their jobs and break up the rebels. The response was clumsy, but it was conducted by a government that was still finding its feet. If it had been handled better then the war might never have happened, but that was simply beyond the capabilities of the interim government

        Poroshenko was elected 25 May, and essentially promised to fix a mess that was already ongoing. Under him, the ATO was much more effective. By July, Ukraine had rertaken about half of the rebel territory and was moving to close the border. That’s when Russia started goving the rebels Surface-to-Air missiles to shut down the Ukrainian Air Force (and an unfortunate Malaysian airliner). Later, in August, Russia sent in regular troops to bail out the rebels, who Strelkov himself admitted were on their last legs. This is what led to the first Minsk deal and the ensuing stalemate.

        Really, the ATO was not a complete failure. It forced Russia to show its hand and reduced the rebel-controlled territory to a managebly small section of the east. It made the government look relatively effective by Ukrainian standards (like winning the Special Olympics, I know, but still).

      7. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I already pointed out but it’s worth doing again- Poroshenko was the first to call a unilateral ceasefire. This went unanswered. And again, the terms later became the basis of both Minsk agreements. These are the same agreements which Russia and the rebels say must be fulfilled.

        So basically Poroshenko did exactly what Shalcker is saying he should have done, assuming argument in good faith.

        The idea that they should have just given up from the beginning is simply ludicrous. What would have stopped Russia from sending a GRU Spetsnaz team to Kharkiv, for example, to seize weapons there and thus add more territory to Novorossiya?

        And can we all note that I still haven’t got a response to the Tatarstan independence question?

  14. Shalcker

    First, “the initial reaction” of “new authorities” was to initiate criminal investigations against current governors, and then replace them with oligarchs in first days of March. They had really low confidence in existing governors, and as far as i remember polls support of “new authorities” wasn’t quite as solid as they hoped – lower to the East. So, your intro is already false.

    Taruta was appointed to Donetsk, Dniepropetrovsk went to Kolomoiskyi, and so on. There were not elections, no consultations (except with oligarchs themselves – some declined the offer), not even promise of election, they were just appointed. Where no oligarch could be found to take the reins other affiliates were appointed – Lugansk got Bolotskyi. THAT is the reason why their control was shaky – they basically replaced entire command chain in a one swoop without negotiating with existing governors.

    Those appointments were absolutely NOT popular. Local elites did not like that one bit. And so in case of Donetsk and Lugansk with their “connections” police actually went to protest side to counteract appointees (they already had example from Western Ukraine of protesters taking over arsenals during Maidan to support protest demands); or at least turned the other way when for example Svoboda goons were beaten there, and did not resist later takeovers. In Dniepropetrovsk Kolomoisky got his own goons though and was much more successful in repressions in tandem with SBU.

    Obviously when this happens you CANNOT rely on locals to enforce your “party line”, and have to either negotiate… or turn to other force. They chosen force; that path went into escalation, and they got civil war. As result of their OWN choices, not anyone else.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      “Taruta was appointed to Donetsk, Dniepropetrovsk went to Kolomoiskyi, and so on. There were not elections, no consultations (except with oligarchs themselves – some declined the offer), not even promise of election, they were just appointed. ”

      They’re appointed because that’s the way their constitution works. Russia worked the same way up until 2013. I’m not sure how the system is now since the new deal allows Russian regions to “opt out” of elections.

      “Those appointments were absolutely NOT popular. Local elites did not like that one bit. And so in case of Donetsk and Lugansk with their “connections” police actually went to protest side to counteract appointees (they already had example from Western Ukraine of protesters taking over arsenals during Maidan to support protest demands);”

      This doesn’t change the fact that it was an armed uprising, and in the early days, before Russian arms and involvement, the response was low-key with little violence.

      “hey chosen force; that path went into escalation, and they got civil war. As result of their OWN choices, not anyone else.”

      So they were supposed to just roll over and let another part of their country be annexed? How far should that have gone? Until everything East of the Dnieper became “independent?”

      Again, you haven’t answered any of my questions as to how Russia would react to the same thing they sponsor in Ukraine.

      Russia loves pointing out Western hypocrisy, and yet engages in it to at least the exact same degree.

      Now MY response to this is- condemn the behavior on both sides. If it’s the US doing it- condemn them. If Russia, condemn the Kremlin.

      But the Kremlin’s way is, ostensibly, “Shut up about this because you’re no better.” Well I am not a representative of the US or its government. If we want to live in a better world, people should call out governments on their crimes as much as possible.

      Reply
      1. Shalcker

        Yet somehow you give Ukraine free pass. How about condemning Ukrainian actions too? Are they not deplorable? Are they not against human rights? Are they not repressing freedom of speech? Are they not guilty of war crimes?

        You can do same with rebels if you want, but absolving Ukraine of any responsibility for what they done makes you no better then Kremlin fans who say “We did it because US!”

        If you think “NATO Encirclement” is bullshit reason, then “Greater Novorossia Secession Scare” was also bullshit from start to finish.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Again, I’m pretty sure you’ve been following this blog for a long time so you know I never give the Ukrainian government a free pass. When I came home from Kyiv last time and found that Poroshenko had passed those decommunization laws in spite of all the scholars’ pleas not to, I was livid.

        I’ve also been very skeptical of Ukraine’s waging of the war, particularly the use of artillery and rocket launchers, and I’ve even mused as to why we don’t here phrases like “He’s shelling his own people.”

        “You can do same with rebels if you want, but absolving Ukraine of any responsibility for what they done makes you no better then Kremlin fans who say “We did it because US!””

        Except the US didn’t do anything to Russia, whereas Russia annexed part of Ukraine and then an eerily similar thing started happening in the Donbas. Apart from the fact that “Novorossiya” used to be a bit larger, why should Ukraine have simply sat by and watched one of its richest regions pull the same thing Crimea did? It’s not like this was a rumor. They pretty much announced these intentions from the beginning and held a referendum. Maybe if they had one consistent position and said- “We want to remain in Ukraine, but we want direct election for governors(something they didn’t give a shit about until Yanukovych left),” things might have been different.

        The reason I put the onus on Russia, apart from all that, is that I’ve seen how these people, former residents of the DNR, live. They do not like the Ukrainian government, but they don’t miss the DNR. They simply didn’t need any of this and it hasn’t made their life better- only worse. Remember, these are the same people we’re told Russia was trying to save.

      3. Shalcker

        Look, they followed path of escalation. It was THEIR decision. It was not forced upon them at any point. No, Russian actions did not close any road to negotiations with rebels. The resulting civil war is completely Ukrainian fault; and US are guilty at supporting it.

        Once war happened, sides were taken. And the only possible approach by Russia is to continue it until diplomacy will remain the only option. Allowing actual “win of war party” in Ukraine is way too much of the risk; noone wants that genie out of the bottle.

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “The resulting civil war is completely Ukrainian fault; and US are guilty at supporting it.”

        Nope. Russia organized the rebellion, Russia started by using its military to aid the annexation of Crimea. Given the shock at this action, it would not have been unreasonable to look at what was happening in the Donbas and conclude that something similar could happen.

        Basically you’re blaming the victim country for wildly flailing in a panic.

        “And the only possible approach by Russia is to continue it until diplomacy will remain the only option. ”

        So you admit to the Russian invasion then. Good.

      5. Shalcker

        Even with all those assumptions choosing WAR out of all available opportunities IS “Ukrainian fault”. It might have looked like best option at the time to some of them but in hindsight we can quite clearly say that it wasn’t.

        And it’s not like there weren’t anyone against it. Akhmetov at the time said that the only way is talking and use of force unacceptable. Kernes also said that the only way out is to get some of protester demands met BEFORE referendums/president voting. It didn’t happen. War party was at helm.

        And the fact that they still continue this war is atrocious. Stopping is still an option, AND the only way out.

      6. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Even with all those assumptions choosing WAR out of all available opportunities IS “Ukrainian fault”. ”

        The other available opportunity was to basically surrender one of its richest territories, after losing the Crimea to a military intervention.

        Even if it were 20 years from now, and going through the Russian archives we learn that there never was any plan to actually annex that territory, we would only know that from hindsight that the Ukrainian leadership didn’t have at that time.

  15. Shalcker

    As for ceasefire, first ceasefire was negotiated between Russia, Ukraine, US and EU at Geneva, 17 April; before Poroshenko was elected.
    It said that only diplomacy is acceptable and no force should be used from that point.

    It also said
    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 protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.

    Not a step was made in this direction. There was attack on checkpoint as Slavyansk that left three people dead. And instead of removing protesters new government said “they are there legitimately, no need to remove them!” They didn’t even release “people’s governor of Lugansk” Bolotov. It was mockery.

    And then Biden visited them on 22th April and suddenly Ukrainians decided they should not pay even lip service to this agreement, and resumed ATO.

    Then came Odessa, and gloves were off. At this point NO party could stop escalation from rebel side – just like snipers on Maidan led to inevitable escalation in Kiev; but you got to admit that interim government didn’t even try to.

    And Poroshenko followed their approach completely.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      “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.”

      That clearly was on the rebels.

      Poroshenko offered the ceasefire which was the basis for Minsk, and it was totally ignored. So do not pretend that they didn’t try diplomacy. And Odessa was not some government campaign- it was the result of corrupt people on both sides. In fact it was the pro-Russian side that started shooting. Police were believed to be channeling the two groups together, and it’s been said that they were working with people in both crowds.

      Again I see no answer as to the question of how Russia would handle such a situation.

      Reply
      1. Shalcker

        No, it wasn’t “clearly on rebels”. It was signed by UKRAINE, rebels were not present at agreement. There is no other way of seeing it. UKRAINE are the ones with greater force here, they got army and all.

        Once it was not followed, and US have shown they are not going to bother even with token reprimand to Ukraine for that, Russia still tried to stop them. Putin publicly asked to delay referendums in Lugansk and Donetsk. His pleas were in vain.

        And what Poroshenko suggested was in no way different from what earlier interim government said. His suggestions were rightfully seen as dishonest by rebels, and his part of Minsk agreement was never followed. There was no withdrawal of heavy weapons; in some cases when withdrawal was witnessed by OSCE Ukrainian just moved to different hidden position, or turned right back once they were gone. You would think Poroshenko COULD to actually do it unilaterally to kickstart it; but he didn’t. And he refused to negotiate with rebel leaders directly too. So, Minsk agreement was just as worthless as Geneva.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “His suggestions were rightfully seen as dishonest by rebels, and his part of Minsk agreement was never followed.”

        They never bothered to negotiate.

        As for the Geneva agreement, the rebels didn’t abide by it.

      3. Shalcker

        Ukrainians didn’t abide by it either. All Western media outlets run story about attack on REBEL checkpoint having 3 people dead on Easter and how it threatens ceasefire, not about Ukrainian army losses…

        And no, rebels always said what they want, and they had negotiators coming to them when needed (like when they worked for release of detained OSCE-affiliated military intelligence team); they were quite approachable. It’s just all agreements said DIRECT contact with rebels and Ukrainians constantly refused saying that all rebel leaders are illegitimate and terrorists so they cannot talk to them.

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