Ukraine rejects its own president and Vladimir Putin

The BBC reports that the parliament of Ukraine voted to dismiss President Viktor Yanukovych and hold new elections on 25 May. Meanwhile former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who had been in jail on trumped up charges of ‘abuse of office’, has been freed from jail.

What is less clear is whether the constitution gives MPs this power. But this probably doesn’t make a difference, as the vote makes clear that Yanukovych has been abandoned by his own party, and by the police guarding the palatial ‘personal residencies’ Yanukovych built for himself and his son with public funds.

Even the ex-President’s few remaining supporters are going to realize the game is up when video of the interior of those residencies starts appearing on TV and the Web. [And here are some pictures that were published while I was writing]

Kiev, Maidan, Ukraine- November 28, 2013: the Cabinet of Ministers with the tacit approval of President Yanukovych to stop the process of European integration and to enter into alliance with Russian. Roman Mikhailiuk / Shutterstock.com

Kiev, Maidan, Ukraine – November 28, 2013: the Cabinet of Ministers, with the tacit approval of President Yanukovych, vote to stop the process of European integration, and instead choose to enter into alliance with Russia. Roman Mikhailiuk / Shutterstock.com

This outcome is a huge headache for the EU, a catastrophe for Putin, and an embarrassment for Obama.

It is now clear that Ukraine is going to take the Western path and align itself with the EU and the West. Which means that the EU is going to have to somehow find the funds necessary to make that happen. It is a problem, but it is a good problem to have.

KIEV, UKRAINE - 21 JANUARY: Protest against "Dictatorship& quot; in Ukraine turns violent on Euromaidan in Kiev. Against the president Yanukovych on 21 January, 2014 in Kiev, Maidan, Ukraine. S'J / Shutterstock.com

KIEV, UKRAINE – 21 JANUARY, 2014: Protest against “Dictatorship” in Ukraine turns violent on Euromaidan in Kiev. S’J / Shutterstock.com

What most European leaders aren’t going to care much about is what the outcome in Ukraine means for Russia and Putin. The outcome is a personal catastrophe for Putin. Russians regard Ukraine to be part of the Slavic family, and thus part of their rightful ‘sphere of influence,’ and the government of Ukraine has just collapsed after demonstrations against closer ties with Russia under Putin.

The people of Ukraine have just given Putin a slap in the face on the eve of the closing ceremonies of his Sochi propaganda triumph. Russia might think Ukraine is part of their sphere of influence, but the Ukrainian people don’t want to be influenced, at least not by Russia.

KIEV, UKRAINE - JAN 26, 2014: Euromaidan protesters rest and strengthen their barricades on Hrushevskoho Street after another night of clashes with riot police in Kiev, Ukraine. snames / Shutterstock.com

KIEV, UKRAINE – JAN 26, 2014: Euromaidan protesters rest and strengthen their barricades on Hrushevskoho Street after another night of clashes with riot police in Kiev, Ukraine. snames / Shutterstock.com

Obama’s embarrassment comes from backing the attempt to shore up Putin and protect Russia’s sphere of influence. Hegemonic powers may be rivals, but they have a common interest in maintaining hegemony. Over the weekend, there will be much bloviating on the talk shows about how a weak Russia is a long term problem for the US. What they really fear is a world in which there are no monsters like Putin, Kim-Il or Assad. Because a world with no monsters is a world that might not need US might. In their world view, the UK, Canada, Mexico and the rest are mere vassals of a ‘US sphere of influence’ rather than the US being one partner in a community.

There was a good argument to be made that the US should not appear to back opponents of Putinism too openly. Governments take any excuse to position domestic opponents as the tools of foreign enemies. President John McCain has been a good friend of authoritarian governments with his weekly calls for US meddling in foreign politics. There was also a good argument to be made that the US should attempt to help manage the crisis by persuading Russia, to cut its losses rather than dig in and risk civil war in Ukraine. But those are no longer risks.

Ukraine has not rejected Russia, it has rejected Putin and Yanukovych. In the near term the future of Ukraine is going to be more closely bound to Europe than to Russia. But it is also clear that Ukraine is more than willing to restore relations with Russia in the future — but as a partner, not a vassal, and only after Russia has rejected Putin as well.

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  • Sergey Atanasevich

    In light of recent events in Ukraine we ask You to help people. The country is torn apart by internal contradictions and conflicts is on the verge of civil war. This must not happen. Brothers and sisters to pray together for peace in the country

    http://teespring.com/godblessukraine

  • Bill_Perdue

    I’m a socialist from the tradition of the Left Opposition. My comments have no relation to those of Stalinists.

    Your right wing red baiting just won’t cut it. It’s totally uninformed.

  • Olterigo

    You can criticize whomever you want be it Obama, Putin, or Ukraine’s former or current leadership. But your comments, in general, read like Soviet propaganda. Just ten years ago I was helping my university library to process some Soviet communiques internal to the embassy in Vietnam. Obviously, I was also perusing them. Your comments read like pretty much one of those.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your concern but I do travel and look at other news sources. I’m not someone that “hates” other countries. Same with other people on this site. I have a Russian friend who lived there until an adult age.
    I know that if you read news about America you see a slew of stories on police brutality, gun violence, etc. despite these being rare occurences. And I know the same cherry-picking is done with Russia to make it look like a crazy country.
    I think the whole problem is that east/west aren’t cooperating and there is still tension on both sides. My hope is that people will empathize with Russians more and realize that they’re not all bad people. But what does my opinion of Russians have to do with their government?

  • 4th Turning

    Not the first time for Jews. Seems kind of ironic that those who fled eastward
    might have made the better choice… This is one of the earlier examples where
    troops ran low on ammo.

    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005421

    And the first President Bush…
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=19865

  • FLL

    Yes, I see that criticism of Tymoshchenko by the writer of the Opendemocracy article. I would like to see specific supporting evidence of her corruption. The writer of the Guardian article (link here) provides a very detailed argument about why Tymoshchenko’s corruption trial was a sham and she was railroaded simply because she was Yanukovych’s political rival.

    I think that there’s a deeper insight in your comment, though. Many in Ukraine are suggesting that the current ouster of Yanukovych through the threat of impeachment by parliament offers an opportunity to a newer generation of politicians who are untainted by the corrupt recent past. If that resonates with the Ukrainian public, it may be better for a new leader to come forward rather than Tymoshchenko who, as you suggest, is also tainted by corruption. I will certainly go along with that logic.

  • Ford Prefect

    Some good points in this post, but in making it about personalities–as opposed to Great Power Politics–Myrrdin misses the boat. The last graf in particular completely ignores almost all of the various factors at work in Ukraine right now. As such, it’s essentially worthless and that’s the conclusion!

    The phrase “Ukrainians are rejecting X” is simply wrong. 2/3 of Ukrainians speak Russian and are pro-Russian. The other third speak Ukrainian and are “pro-western”. That is the divide amongst the polity. So it would be more accurate to say, “1/3 of Ukraine is rejecting X,” in this case. Yanukovich has no friends and that’s all well and good. His own party got rid of him and those same corrupt apparatchiks just joined the opposition to give them majority. So of course, American liberals would be soooo much happier if they gained Majority in the House because 40 Republicans switched parties, right? It’s not like it would move the party even more towards a sort of Tea Party-level mindlessness and greed most Democrats are already furious about, right? Parliament there hasn’t actually changed. Not yet.

    Obama’s embarrassment comes from backing the attempt to shore up Putin and protect Russia’s sphere of influence.

    This, of course, makes no sense at all. How can one say Obama is protecting Putin while funding Ukrainian fascist groups against Russia’s client in Kiev? No, Obama’s motivation here probably has to do with sticking it to Putin over his support for Assad. A little Chechnya-Lite to tide Putie over for a while. Or perhaps he’s really as moronic as Nuland and McNasty are. That’s also possible. He has kept Nuland on as point person for Ukraine, after all. She speaks and acts for his policy.

    Either way, Obama administration policy in Ukraine is regime change–not defending Putin!– and they used Svoboda and the rest of the Right Sector to do it. What may prove embarrassing for Obama will be the loss of life that will accompany partition a la Yugoslavia. Perhaps they can do it more peacefully?

    Chances are, partition will happen. Crimea is already pushing for secession to join the Russian Federation. We’ll see on this one.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/23/ukraine-crisis-secession-russian-crimea

    In the end, the populations will start thinking about their safety. Rabbis in Kiev are urging Jews to leave, out of fear of the Right Sector. Svoboda participated in the Holocaust, so a fair amount of people are understandably worried about what will happen. That can push partition along very quickly, if one thinks about it.

    But that’s not what the Neo-Con/Neo-Lib Axis wants? Okay then. Better find a way to get the nazis under control then, assuming that’s possible.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Please learn to read what I actually said.

    I said that ” he still pigheadedly refuses to sign an ENDA EO’. An EO is a Executive Order, not the bill which Democrats have refused to pass for the last 40 years, especially when they controlled both houses and the WH.

    We’re talking about the EO to order to protect LGBT workers in all companies with a federal contract.

    Obama promised to sign it in 2008 and has refused to do so this day. Another broken campaign promise from fierce advocate. “In an apparent 2007 questionnaire to the Houston GLBT Political Caucus signed by then-candidate Obama, the president was asked if he supports for a formal written policy against LGBT discrimination for federal contractors. The response was simply “yes.” How is that not a campaign promise?” http://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/01/31/carney-riled-by-questions-on-enda-executive-order/

  • Bill_Perdue

    I’ve been a socialist and a revolutionary since 1959. What party. I’ve been criticizing the Putin regime for years, and the OBama regime, which is what irks you. What Party? From the beginning I’ve said “Neither the EU or Russia, the current Ukrainian government or the right wing leaders of the protests represent the interests of workers in the Ukraine. They need to create their own political party, just as we do in this country.” What Party?

    As I said, right wing redbasiting won’t cut it. It’s what people use when their ideas prove bankrupt.

  • 4th Turning

    “Corruption is endemic in the whole power vertical, from traffic policeman to government minister. That is why there was no public outcry at ex-Premier Yulia Tymoshenko’s seven year prison sentence. Her reputation is as stained by corruption scandals as Yanukovych’s”.

    Maybe I’m not reading this right? As this and other threads have clearly
    revealed there is a lot that westerners who even bother to try to keep up
    with fast changing current events don’t/can’t really know even as we try
    to sort out fact? truth? and question anecdotes, rush to report, etc.

  • Badgerite

    Maybe a Theme Park. The Ukrainian National /Hotel Convention Center/Public Park, Golf Course, Bowling Alley, Hunting Reserve, Zoo, Marina, Organic Farm, Protest Memorial Park.

  • FLL

    In which case, Bradders’ comparison in his reply above is even weaker. My point was that the British royal family has a great deal of personal wealth that they accumulated many, many centuries ago. I am trying to judge Yanukovych’s corruption by the standards of our own time, not the standards of the 18th or 11th centuries. Thank you for your reply as it supports my original point.

  • perljammer

    The British Royal Family does not own Buckingham Palace, or any of the other Royal Palaces; they are publicly owned and held in trust as Royal residences. The Windsor family owns Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House; neither of these are taxpayer-funded.

  • FLL

    In Russia, most of the discussions on this blog would be against the law, and I’m sure Putin’s government would prosecute. That’s a false equivalence you’ve made between free speech in the U.S. and free speech in Russia—not even remotely comparable. No one here in America gets hauled off to jail for criticizing Obama or staging public protests.

    “How about go to Russia & find out for yourself…”

    Tell you what, how about you go to Russia… and stay there. I’m sure the rest of us in Western countries would muddle through somehow without you.

  • FLL

    Are these scare tactics for gay readers?

    “You’d better support Putin and his sock puppet allies because the opposition is even more anti-gay.”

    That is just laughable. The more you write, the bigger of a jackass you make yourself into. No one is fooled.

  • FLL

    That’s a link to an article from the Guardian, not Opendemocracy. If you actually read the article, I will have to agree with MyrddinWilt below and ask you how you could possible come to the conclusion that the writer or the evidence in the article suggests that she got what was coming to her. I think you’re hallucinating.

  • FLL

    Putin’s hand is now weaker. It’s only a logical conclusion that he’s less popular in Russia. Thanks for your input, Putin fan.

  • Olterigo

    Redbaiting? For that you’d actually need to be red. My great grandfather and grandfather were ideologically red. And while not a Communist myself, I am proud of them for their independence of thought and judgment, while keeping to their Communist beliefs. You’re just an ideological Party-man.

  • Olterigo

    I’m not relying on western media or its narratives. I speak both Russian and Ukrainian fluently. So, nobody needs to tell me what’s happening. You’re right about most of it. Many Ukrainians don’t want to be moving towards Europe, but they also recognize that staying in place between Russia and EU is unrealistic and moving towards Russia is a non-starter for many reasons… one of those reasons being that in Russia corruption is all that is holding the regime together. That and fear of the fall of the regime.

  • MyrddinWilt

    ?? Obama has never refused so sign ENDA. Its the House that refuses to put one to a vote.

  • MyrddinWilt

    The NAZIs never won a majority.

    Hitler got absolute power by burning down the parliament, blaming the Communists, arresting them all and passing the enabling act while they were unable to vote.

  • MyrddinWilt

    I’ve been hearing stories of the estate for quite a while. Its going to be interesting to see what they do with it.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Don’t see how you make that out.

    The sequence of events was that first Putin put up the price of gas squeezing the Ukraine economy and forcing Ukraine to agree to buy the gas at an inflated price. This allows Yanukovych to narrowly win the election whereupon he puts his rival on trial for ‘abuse of office’ for signing the deal. There wasn’t even an allegation of corruption or bribery, Timoshenko was jailed for a decision her successor disagreed with.

    The reason this could happen is that Yanukovych is really just the old soviet era communist boss and the communist era judges were willing to do whatever he asked. They only hold office at the pleasure of the prosecutors.

    Meanwhile Yanukovych’s son was awarded 50% of all government contracts last year.

  • Badgerite

    The world is becoming more fluid. Business relations, like any other relations, can be a vehicle for cross pollination of ideas and values. Personally, I think that trend is a good thing in the long run. But I don’t think Putin does.

  • Badgerite

    I’m sure they aren’t. They are thinking, probably, that Putin’s man has been enriching himself and living like a king at the expense of the Ukrainian people. That perhaps the Ukraine is in a bad economic situation because people like that have been running the show.
    Democratically elected? When opponents tend to be poisoned or end up in prison for “corruption” ( that’s a good one, considering), I suppose the odds of actually losing the ‘election’ go down.

  • Badgerite

    Weak!

  • Badgerite

    Politically, Yanukovych is finished. Speaking of transparency, after pictures of his personal estate, purchased by the people of the Ukraine, for him to personally enjoy are released to the public of the Ukraine, I think his political prospects are not good. I think it is quite clear in whose interests Putin’s man in the Ukraine has been acting during the last 10 years.

  • Badgerite

    Sure. But when you do be sure to mention the KGB ( oops ), I mean the FSB as well.

  • Vas
  • Bradders

    Don’t worry, the neo-nazis throwing molotov cocktails welcome the LGBT with open arms.

  • Bradders

    “As a result of events in Ukraine, he is now less popular in Russia.”

    Really? Several Russian friends of mine are surprised at how myopic the news from credible sources (BBC, NYT, etc.) is about the situation in Ukraine.

    Have you even been to Russia?

  • Bradders

    Show me a country that isn’t exposed to a lot of propaganda. When I lived in China, I saw endless anti-Japan propaganda on TV. When I lived in Japan, I saw endless anti-China newspieces.

    You think that the western press are giving a balanced view on the situation in Ukraine right now? Hell no. You think your own views on Russia are not tainted in any way by Mccarthyism? Let’s not delude ourselves…

  • Bradders

    Tell us about Detroit.

  • Bradders

    How about go to Russia & find out for yourself what the sentiment is amongst the people?

    For what it’s worth, freedom of speech appears to be anathema to the good ol’ U.S. of A too, or should we not bring up the NSA?

  • Bradders

    My mistake, got them mixed up.

    The western media’s narrative that this has all come about because the Ukrainian people want to integrate with the EU is misrepresentation, the situation is much more complex. The majority of the people in Ukraine feel the country is going nowhere and it’s leaders are incompetent criminals, however, nobody with half a brain thinks that molotov cocktails are being thrown by ordinary 40 year old guys from Lviv, in the name of a free trade agreement. It goes much deeper than that. But there’s no romance in that story eh?

  • Sweetie

    It’s not legal now.

  • Moderator3

    Your last post?

  • Bill_Perdue

    Redbaiting, whether by you or some Dixiecrat, is not going to win and argument. It hasn’t since the 1960′s. Try to catch up.

  • Anonymous

    Update to my last post – it appears this was censored out: “NBC cut a short moment during which Putin received an ovation from the crowd and a portion of IOC president Thomas Bach’s speech during which he thanked Putin for hosting.”

  • Anonymous

    Wow

  • 4th Turning

    Thanks for the update. Faithful to the boycott, I had little choice but
    to watch the gloriously revisionistic D.A. Polished and faceted as a
    South African diamond.

  • 4th Turning

    Your opendemocracy link suggests she probably got what was coming to her
    even if it was only another sandbox squabble.

  • 4th Turning

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/serhij-leschenko/yanukovych-luxury-residence-and-money-trail-that-leads-to-london
    “Another peculiarity of the president is his fear of being poisoned. Because of this he has had greenhouses built in his compound, designed to mimic twenty climatic zones. The idea is that anything Yanukovych wants to eat can be brought to his table directly from his own farm.”

    Thanks FLL for this really interesting link. Recommended reading. So much sleaze. Little
    wonder so many were finally willing to die trying to make things right. Shame ought to be
    heaped on the smug finns and “german craftspeople” who had to know what was going on.

  • Anonymous

    But I thought Mitt was in touch with the common people. He rubs shoulders with them…when he talks to butlers, or when he fires the staff of a whole company in one day. I think he’s a man of the people! He knows how to talk at them!

  • Anonymous

    But I thought freedom of speech led to bad things! Like gay people…oh wait, homosexuality has been legal in Russia for 20 years. Um, well… What’s next, getting your tax money spent on roads rather than palaces? Shock, horror…

  • Anonymous

    Might have to do with the parallels between Yanukovych’s sprawling estate and Putin’s billion-$ palaces.

  • FLL

    Russia won more gold medals than anyone, so Vlad should have been smiling (under normal circumstances). Of course, we all know that these are not normal circumstances… and I’m so very happy to be able to say so. I hope Vlad is sweating bullets. As a result of events in Ukraine, he is now less popular in Russia. Ordinary Russian citizens realize that his routine isn’t working. Remember when people were despairing of civil liberties ever coming to Russia (like a month ago)? The turn of events in Ukraine is the best thing that could ever happen to freedom-loving Russians.

  • Anonymous

    From what I saw of the Closing Ceremony, Vlad didn’t have a smile on his face at all. The athletes yes, because they’ve done good honest work. But it looked like Vladdy Boy was sweating bullets. Worried about what will happen post-distraction.

  • Anonymous

    I noticed that too. They are exposed to a lot of propaganda. Never trust a government that refers to its own country as “the Motherland.” It’s brainwashing. You can’t judge unless you’ve been in that situation, I guess. They don’t fully understand their reasons for thinking the way they do, and can’t really control it. It’s like being raised by an alcoholic parent. You feel the effects of a bad childhood for life.

    And in spite of Internet comments, it’s hard to tell what they really think. There is always an extremist, vocal minority. If you read online political comments about America, you’d think everyone was either a wingnut or another sort of extremist.

  • chris10858

    President John McCain? Typo! LOL

    Seriously though, does anyone know how Ukrainians treat their LGBT community? I think the EU and US should insist on the Ukraine be LGBT-affirming and offer their LGBT citizens full and equal rights.. if they want to be aligned with the EU and NATO.

  • FLL

    A couple days ago, I found it impossible to access the web pages of Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s leading English-language newspaper. I can finally bring up pages. Below is a link to an accurate, detailed chronology of the events of the last several days. Eastern Standard Time is 7 hours earlier than the times listed on the Kyiv Post web page:
    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/kyiv/euromaidan-rallies-in-ukraine-feb-21-live-updates-337287.html

    On Friday, Feb. 21 at 6:48 p.m. (11:48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time):

    “Tens of lawmakers from President Viktor Yanukovych’s ruling Party of Regions left the faction on Feb. 21, signaling that the president was loosing his grip on power and influence over those once loyal to him. At least 28 Party of Regions members of parliament were reported to have left the faction, according to Interfax-Ukraine news agency.”

    On Saturday, Feb. 22 at 9:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. EST):

    “Vitaly Klitschko, UDAR party leader, took a stage on Maidan Nezalezhnosti to announce that he’s about to join opposition parties in Verkhovna Rada now. “I don’t have much time, but I want to announce you that I’m going to Verkhovna Rada, where the opposition will vote for the impeachment of the president of Ukraine,” Klitschko said from the stage, while the anti-government activists burst in applause. The bill on impeachment was registered by a member of Parliament Mykola Rudkovsky on Feb. 21.

    So Yanukovych already knew on Friday that parliament was going to impeach him. On Saturday, Feb. 22, 10: 28 a.m. (3:28 a.m. EST) “[opposition leader] Turchinov says Yanukovych, most ministers have fled.”

    Now I would like someone to explain why they think the democratically elected government was overthrown. Isn’t the parliament part of the democratically elected government. Weren’t members of parliament elected. As the excerpt above from Friday shows, many members of Yanukovych’s own party switched their votes, depriving Yanukovych of a majority in parliament and making his impeachment certain. And whose fault was that? Well?

  • Olterigo

    Bill Perdue is an ideologue, so what we get out of Bill is pure ideological view of the world. “Партия сказала: Надо! Комсомол ответил: Есть!” (He just parrots whatever the Party prints.)

  • Olterigo

    In fact, this was one of the anti-EU lies that the pro-Russians tried to first push in Ukraine and then repeat in Georgia: that association with EU demands that Ukraine (and Georgia) introduce same-sex marriages at this stage.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Neither side represents the needs of working people in the Ukraine.

    For the last few weeks the people in Independence Square ceased to be protesters and devolved into armed gangs of putschists. The protesters stayed home. fearing violence which the government and the putschists supplied in large quantities.

  • Olterigo

    If you’re talking about Ukraine so much, at least get the basic facts correctly. It’s the West that is generally pro-Western and the East that is generally pro-Russian. The thing with Yanukovich though was that in the last election he’s promised a more pro-EU turn of politics and had been feeding the “Our future is with EU” line to the population for several years while negotiating the association treaty until the fall, when he suddenly changed directions.

  • Olterigo

    Through both – many Ukrainians speak Russian, but also a lot of Ukrainians, especially from the East and South, though not exclusively, have moved to Russia for many years now to make a living. Not to mention people’s relations and also that many Russians go to Ukrainian South for their summer vacations.

  • tamarz

    and many commenters keep talking about how the democratically elected government was overthrown. Given that the parliament ousted him, seems to me that democratically elected representatives of the people got rid of a “leader” who was abusing his power.

  • FLL

    Your point about Buckingham Palace is well taken because, like Yanukovych’s residence, it is owned by one family. I really don’t think, however, that Ukrainian taxpayers want to foot the bill for something like that just because some jackass won an presidential election in 2010. British taxpayers footed the bill for Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, etc. back in the Late Middle Ages, so I don’t think it’s really a comparable situation. I expect more in the way of government ethics in 2010 than I do in the 18th century (in the case of Buckingham Palace) or the 11th century (in the case of Windsor Castle). I will judge Yanukovych’s corruption by the standards of our own century, which I think is reasonable.

    Your point about the Elysee Palace is not well taken because that is the property of the French government. When a French president leaves office, he doesn’t get to keep Elysee Palace, just like U.S. presidents don’t get to keep the White House. Now aren’t I a good friend? Who else but a real friend would give you such helpful hints about your writing style.

  • FLL

    You bring up an excellent point about Putin’s motives in trying to keep Ukraine out of the European Union. It’s not necessarily proud Russian imperialism; it could also be fear of Western cultural ideas infiltrating Russia from Ukraine—ideas like freedom of speech, which is anathema to Putin.

  • Badgerite

    Wow. I checked out the link to Yanukovych’s ‘residence’. The man was SOOOO bought and paid for.
    A personal zoo, golf course, sculptures and gardens, fantasy flotilla in a lake. And that isn’t even taking into account the house. Ukrainian Disneyland, indeed.
    Once again, a really good post. I cannot help but think that Putin’s real objection to the Ukraine establishing closer economic and diplomatic ties with the European Union is more about the possibility that the liberal tendencies of the west would filter into Russia proper. Maybe through the Russian population of the Ukraine. The man is nothing if not an authoritarian.

  • Bradders
  • Bradders

    The will of the people was pretty divided, I can’t remember the figures but something like 70% of those in the East were Pro-EU, and about the same in the West for being Pro-Russian trading bloc.

    Is it democratic for protestors to change the government until it fits the goals of the East side of the country alone?

  • Bradders

    Doesn’t really hold a candle to Buckingham Palace or the Elysee.

  • Bradders

    some do, some don’t. each side numbers millions.

    keep on truckin with the good guy / bad guy schtick tho.

  • Bradders

    I have friends from the West, from Kiev, from the East, and from Crimea. All living there now. Those that are Ukrainian speaking of course are strongly supportive of the maidan protests, but are politically moderate. Some have been at the maidan regularly, helping with food & recently medical volunteering. Of course the moderates who have been protesting for months have been feeling irritated that the opposition have made (until the past few days) any real progress despite huge turnouts, and with the beatings & disappearances at the hands of the police & titushki, the far right groups have been accepted as protectors & saviours. Let’s see what happens next. Those people who are ethnic Russians, well they’re now worried. And if I were them, I would be too.

    What you need to to is instead of reading wikipedia, talk to people from Ukraine and make your own mind up.

  • Ullrich Braun

    Do Russians trust anybody? In the comments on many internet sites Russia’s problems are always blamed on something outside of Russia. -EU, US, UN. or on a minority within Russia – Jews and LGBT, etc.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    “Ukraine is a kleptocracy. . .”

    That may be true, but wasn’t always a bad thing. When I visited the Soviet Union, in Moscow I remember that what they proudly referred to as being ‘the largest store in the world’ (GUM) was indeed physically large, but there wasn’t a total of 100 items in the entire store. I don’t mean 100 types of items, I mean 100 packages of stuff TOTAL. I later visited Ukraine and in Odessa, the stores were overstocked, floor to ceiling, with goods, about half of them illegal.

    I was told that it was because the Ukrainians ignored Soviet rule and did as much business as they could in the ‘black market.’ Maybe this mentality, that served them well, continues to this day.

    FYI, I bought a Soviet military uniform in Odessa. When I was leaving the country via Leningrad, everyone’s baggage was searched by the police – the entire contents of each suitcase emptied. I purchased a few pieces of contemporary art and I was worried because it was illegal to take art out of the country.

    When the policeman found the Soviet uniform in my suitcase, he started laughing, and carried it to the other police and they all started laughing hysterically. The policeman returned with the uniform, tossed into my suitcase and motioned me to close it up and move along.

    Because of that uniform, he didn’t search further and never found the art.

  • Strepsi

    It’s not about the parties, it’s about the protesters. Pro-west occupy unarmed student protesters that we see portrayed, but it is more complex than that —- there’s also a violent subgroup of armed, trained, far-right militia. These are the ones firing on the police, and while they equally want the governmnent gone, their motives are as Bill says a putsch.

    The government may have been monstrous, but it is really not black white, or good/evil, far more complex.

  • Strepsi

    My Ukrainian friends see no end to this, as they say that, as you say, “people are sick to the back teeth of inept and corrupt politicians & businessmen” — BUT — that Ukrainian people themselves, culturally, are inept and corrupt. They say much like Russia post USSR, Ukraine is a kleptocracy that cannot be managed, except by a strongman. They say that democracy will not come to Russia or Ukraine for a decade if that. Russia, Europe, and the US all want Ukraine’s resources.

    This is not me speaking, but those I spoke to.

  • 4th Turning

    Can’t help wondering if having a czar as campaign manager, what’s his name (too many letters to have to type) wasn’t counting on winning many more democratic
    elections for years to come. Apres sochi, you can about figure the kgb has
    entered photos of all these golfers in its database and will make life-long
    caddies of the lot.

  • Carol Dijkhuyzen

    Putin the loser,was handing corrupt Yanukovych billions to stay in the Russian Federation,& break the European Union deal,that triggered the revolt..Ukrainians wants to move closer to Europe without Russia.

  • Carol Dijkhuyzen

    Well defined..

  • FLL

    One in which the president had his political rival tried in what is widely acknowledged as a politically motivated trial and sentenced to seven years in jail. Doesn’t sound like a democratic regime to me.

  • FLL

    I got the breakdown of seats in the Ukrainian parliament from Wikipedia because I wanted some idea of the actual results of the 2012 elections. I think that’s a more accurate source of information than your anecdotal evidence from your Ukrainian friends, by which I’m guessing that you mean ethnic Russian friends from Ukraine. Why do I make that guess? Because, in your reply above, you go out of your way to vilify ethnic Ukrainians. You accuse them, as a group, of “gravitating towards the far right organisations.” You clearly are making this claim about the majority of ethnic Ukrainians, yet your claim is unsupported opinion that is contradicted by the 2012 election results. I think I’ll go with the data from the 2012 elections, not your personal opinion about nefarious far-right intentions on the part of ethnic Ukrainians.

    I’m glad to see that it doesn’t upset you if Ukraine doesn’t join Russia’s customs union (which was Yanukovych’s goal), but you can forgive me for thinking that it upset you since most of your comments are aimed at demonizing the ethnic Ukrainian majority and their wish to align with the European Union rather than Putin’s Russia.

  • MyrddinWilt

    The idea that Al Qeada defeated the Russians is a myth.

    Afghanistan had a reasonably OK government in the immediate aftermath of the Russian withdrawal. What caused the problems was Gen Musharaf in Pakistan funding Islamists in the Cashmere region acting against India, a program that was gradually expanded to include creating the Taleban in Afghanistan.

    Musharaf even staged a coup to overthrow the democratically elected government when they tried to stop him. And there are factions in the Pakistani military that are still supporting Taleban groups.

    The success rate for popular revolts is actually pretty good. about 65% of the time the new government is markedly better than the old. In about 25% its pretty much the same and things only get worse about 10% of the time.

    Libya is not likely to be bombing Pan Am airplanes any time soon, or anything close. The big problem caused by the revolt in Libya is actually what the Gadhaffi mercenaries went on to do when they fled. Even Egypt is not a complete return to the status quo.

    The main issue that tends to result in bad outcomes is when foreign governments try to meddle. Like when Germany decided to send Lenin back to Russia or when the US installed the Shah as dictator in Iran or…

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    It was a “democratically elected government” that betrayed the will of the people, in part, due to pressure from Putin.

    And I’m not sure what you mean by your comment about Afghanistan. You would preferred a win by the Soviet Union (not Russians) ?

    It is messy? Yes. You can’t step into a shitstorm without getting covered in shit.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    Yeah, what Obama said is as important as what’s going on in Ukraine.

  • Bradders

    A democratically elected dictatorship has ended…

  • Bradders

    No

  • Bradders

    My source of info isn’t telepathy, just conversation with Ukrainian friends. Yanukovych abandoning free trade agreement talks was the trigger for protests but the reason it has become such a big issue is because people are sick to the back teeth of inept and corrupt politicians & businessmen. That and long standing resentment against Russian influence – in the East of the country. The west and south aren’t particularly anti-Yanukovych and as ethnic Russian tend to favour the Russian organised customs union.

    Your facts & figures are very impressive. A wikipedia understanding of the world. Actually what’s happening now in Ukraine is much deeper than just seats in parliament, ethnic Ukrainians are gravitating towards the far right organisations because they’re proving they can effect change against the status quo, in this case the ethnic Russian influence. Expect more.

    It doesn’t upset me in the slightest if Ukraine doesn’t join Russia’s customs union. I’m European.

  • FLL

    Headline from your link:

    Protestors storm the sprawling, luxury estate of Ukraine’s fugitive president which has its own private zoo, golf course and is half the size of Monaco

    Pretty fancy digs for a former Soviet bureaucrat. Was Yanukovych playing golf while his political opponent, Tymoshenko, was rotting in prison?

  • Bill_Perdue

    In the early stages, as I pointed out, when the demonstrations were massive, many people joined them. When the far right settled in and began a military putsch aimed at overthrowing the elected government then the character of the opposition jelled into it’s present form, a neo fascist group with the support of the major cults, orthodox and catholic, under the leader ship of ultralights and oil barons.

    Thy won, but not, in my opinion, for long. A civil war is not out of the question, and neither is a class war. http://links.org.au/node/3645

  • Bill_Perdue

    Here is my analysis of the differences, or lack of them, between the two.

    On social questions, after years of militant bigotry in opposition to marriage equality, obama moved from the right to the center and shortly before the last election rebranded although he still pigheadedly refuses to sign an ENDA EO. I have every confidence that our brothers and sisters in Russia will continue to fight, as we did, and change public opinion. I doubt that Putin will rebrand, as Obama and the bigoted Clintons did after our hard work changed public opinion and the polls.

    Obama is far, far worse than Putin in terms of wars of aggression. He’s attacked, or continued the policies of the Clintons and Bushes, in Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Bahrain, Iraq, Afghanistan and PAkistan. He’s trying to undermine the Venezuelan government. Putin is continuing Russian efforts to destroy Chechnya and Dagestan, which go back hundreds of years and is cynically interfering in Syria’s internal affairs.

    Both the Putin and Obama regimes are anti-worker and both are imposing austerity measures.

    Both are anti-democratic and cracking down on dissent. Putin’s anti-democratic measures include the anti gay laws and the arrests of dissenters. Here’s a very good political analysis of Putins’ crackdown. 10 Reasons Russia Is a Much Crueler Place Than the Cuddly Snowy Image It’s Projecting at Sochi http://www.alternet.org/world/awful-russian-policies

    I think Obama and both parties in Congress are probably worse in regards to a crackdown and the attempt to put the finishing touches on an American police state- FISA, Paytriot Act, NDAA and lets not forget the racist, extra-judicial murders of four (to date) Arab or muslim citizens named Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Mohammed. One was a sixteen year old boy from Denver Colorado. Obama is planning to kill again. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/02/10-3

  • FLL

    I’m still not sure why you’re calling the political party that is now in power “neo-Nazis.” I don’t think you’re talking about the nationalist party, Svoboda because they only won 10% of the vote (39 out of 450 parliament seats) in the 2012 elections, and they obviously are not in power. Nor is Pravy Sektor, which doesn’t have a single seat. Yulia Tymoshenko’s political party, Batkivshchyna, is in power, and they are not remotely far-right or neo-Nazi. Here is a summary of that party’s history and positions from Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-Ukrainian_Union_%22Fatherland%22
    Please tell me if you can agree to stop calling Batkivshchyna, the party now in power, “neo-Nazi.” So what is the complaint, really? This is a widely-known summary of Yulia Tymoshenko’s political raison d’être in the very first paragraph of her Wikipedia page:

    Tymoshenko strives for Ukraine’s integration into the European Union and strongly opposes the membership of Ukraine in the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

    Is that the source of your complaint, and if so, why?

  • FLL

    After you poorly thought-out and poorly supported comment, you ended with the snide phrase, “Well done chaps,” so I’ll have to make special mention of your avatar, the one that says, “Damn I’m Good.” What ever you do, change your avatar and change it now! It’s bad enough that your comment—I won’t even call it an argument—consists of nothing but unsupported opinion. But when you combine the lack of critical thinking and supporting details with that avatar, it’s just an embarrassment. Please, please, open up Photoshop or something and replace that avatar with something—anything.

  • 4th Turning

    Let us hope the voting majority feels it got its money’s worth. Seems a real bargain at only
    500,000,000 but then I’m not a licensed realtor.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2565697/House-fit-tyrant-Protestors-storm-sprawling-luxury-estate-Ukraines-fugitive-president-private-zoo-golf-course-half-size-Monaco.ht

  • FLL

    From you comment: “And the part about Putin – Ukrainians aren’t thinking about him or his geopolitical strategy…”

    I would avoid trying to use telepathic ability to determine what someone (or in your case, an entire nation of people) is thinking. I’m sure you don’t have any exclusive insight into what Ukrainian people are thinking. You could take into consideration the many instances of actual statements by Ukrainian people who have said that they want Ukraine to ally with the European Union rather than with Putin. That is after all, the very reason that the protests started in November, which would indicate that quite a few Ukrainians were, as you put it, “thinking about him [Putin] and his geopolitical strategy.”

    As far as “people in army fatigues and rifles,” you might note that they only used rifles during the last few days of the protests, and that was in response to Yanukovych ordering his forces to fire on protestors. Don’t they have the right to defend themselves when Yanukovych is shooting them down? And How about the first three months of the protests, starting in November, where guns and rifles were absent? I wouldn’t call those first three months of protests violent, would you?

    And lastly, you label the party that is now in power “far right nationalists.” If you’re referring to either of the two far-right groups, Svoboda or Pravy Sektor, then you’re being deceptive. Neither of those two political parties took over the government. Svoboda won only 10% of the seats in parliament (39 out of 450 seats) and are in no position to run the government. The far-right group, Pravy Sektor, has never fielded any candidates in national elections. So when you claim that this was a coup by “far right nationalists,” who exactly are you talking about? Yulia Tymoshenko’s political party, Batkivshchyna, is the party now in power, and it is not remotely “far-right nationalist.” Here is a summary of Batkivshchyna’s political positions from Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-Ukrainian_Union_%22Fatherland%22

  • Bradders

    Bit of a daft framing of the situation. The opposition have staged a successful coup against a democratically elected president, not uncommon in that part of the world.

    Granted, their system is entirely corrupt and generally the population have no faith in any of the political parties, and generally have given their support to the maidan movement, which was then hijacked by ukrainian far-right nationalists.

    I’m surprised that the media calls people in army fatigues with rifles ‘protestors. Yep they are protesting, but simply calling them protestors is romanticising a darker reality – it’s an armed coup by far right nationalists.

    And the part about Putin – Ukrainians aren’t thinking about him or his geopolitical strategy – that’s being taken care of by the U.S. embassy & E.U. Well done chaps.

  • nicho

    Still not sure why everyone is so happy that neo-Nazis have overthrown a democratically elected government. Probably for the same reason that everyone was so happy the Taliban and Al Qaeda beat the Russians in Afghanistan. This should work out just as well.

  • MyrddinWilt

    There are a half dozen ex-Soviet republics round the Caspian and Black seas that are highly unstable dictatorships. And unlike Ukraine they have large Han Chinese populations as well as large Russian populations.

    The risk of something blowing into a war between Russia and China is the biggest threat of a world war. Which is why China is so keen to stay close to Russia.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    Following that comment: in the late Middle Ages into the Modern Period, Poland combined with Lithuania and stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The problem with Poland has always been the lack of traditional boundaries, so of course, Poland wants protection. Poland is part of the western Slavs, unlike Russians, the eastern Slavs. Ukraine’s position as an eastern Slavic state thus enhances its refusal to stay close to Russia.

  • Buford2k11

    Vlad “the shirtless” needs to free up his schedule to be able to accept the nomination from the Gop/baggers…Vlad is the ONE…The Daddy of the GOP…he is no milquetoast, al la Mitt…

  • MyrddinWilt

    If you can’t tell the difference between Obama and Putin then you are intentionally blind.

    Ukranians certainly do not want a ‘worker’s paradise’ they had one imposed by Soviet Russia and suffered some of the worst of Stalin’s purges.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Its one of Atrios’s tropes.

  • Olterigo

    The parties will not be immediately supportive of lgbt equality. But neither would have been the pro-Putin government that the EU would have no significant leverage over.
    As for Odessa as a Jewish cultural center, what Jewish cultural center? There’s about 1% of Jews in the Odessa population. Most of us, Odessa Jews, have left the city in the 80-90′s for Israel and the US.

  • goulo

    FWIW, it looked more like a confusing typo / editing error than intentional sarcasm to me as well.

  • alannah mcgrowdie

    my Aunty Grace got a nearly new blue Kia by
    working part time from the internet. look at this now C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

  • tsuki

    Did you listen to the Nuland tapes? We have spent five million dollars and a sh*t load of cookies to install the puppet Yatsenyuk as president. We are fighting Germany/EU who wants to install Klltschko as their puppet pres.

    41% of Ukrainians say a pox on the US/EU and Russia with 13% unsure.

    The Russians will move to secure the Crimea.

    The southeast will revolt.

    Ukraine is screwed. It does not matter which boot falls on their necks. Partition will out.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/dameocrat Dameocrat

    Most Ukrainians supported Yanukovych. The protestors were not unarmed, and were fighting for the Eu to do to the Ukraine what they have done to Greece and Latvia. Hardly Ows! The Eu are not a progressive force by any means. I am skeptical that the neonazis in the coalition are going ot be supportive of gay rights. You realize the reason Odessa was in opposition the protesters is that it is a Jewish cultural center.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Ukraine means ‘border’. Most Westerners assume that it got its name as the border region of the Russian empire. It actually got the name as the border region of Poland.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I’ll say it again. I don’t think there is any difference between the Putin, Merkel and Obama regimes on this question. The RF, EU and the US are all run by political prostitutes who run things for the banksters and all equally corrupt. The banksters who run the EU and the US are not in any way better than Putin when it comes to wars of aggression.

    The examples of the NATO/US bloodbaths in Libya, Egypt, Palestine, the Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan are all the proof anyone should require. Russian aggression against Chechnya and in Dagestan is very bad, but the genocides in Vietnam and Iraq are much, much worse.

    And I’ll say this again – the only answer for Ukrainian workers is to establish their own workers parties and their own workers state and win real independence. They have no friends in the RF, the EU or the US governments.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know if it will be possible for Ukraine to avoid the EU, who are closing in like vultures. But at the very least, Ukraine are still rejecting Russia economically. I think this is a good step to dissolving Russia’s corrupt influence. There is still corruption in EU countries, but perhaps less than in Russia. I don’t agree with the EU/US coming in and refereeing everything, but it’s still better than how Russia annexes other countries. Vlad steals their profits like they steal Russians’, and it’s the last straw. He will suck them dry while keeping billions for himself. I can see why they are angry.

  • Anonymous

    Yep…I’m glad this happened during the Olympics. Shows that Vlad was more obsessed with his money-grubbing farce of a spectacle than his actual politics. The propaganda showing Sochi to be a pristine, lovely place was simply laughable.

  • Anonymous

    Great article, perfectly describes the situation. The conservatives are blathering about “EU” propaganda. I don’t see any concrete evidence that they want anything other than independence. The US has strong ties to Putin and likes the fact that dictators are ruthlessly greedy, because it means a reliable stream of income. Ideally, they would neither be affiliated with the EU nor Russia.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, in these countries there is no freedom of assembly…but you can see that the majority does not even want to support their “great leaders” anymore. It’s a silent protest, the best they can do.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it’s still a pretty homogenous country, religious and all those other things they like. And it’s a democracy. But Russians don’t trust Poles, they consider them part of the “West.” They don’t understand how a country can be democratic without somehow losing its culture, which is absurd.

  • FLL

    Like I said in my comment above, Poland is a Slavic country, it’s in the European Union, and I’m sure they like being in the EU just fine, so I think there is hope for Slavic civilization. The same can be said for the Czech Republic, another Slavic country in the EU.

  • Anonymous

    Not remotely a coincidence that Belrus was also a Soviet country. The Soviets fucked everything up and the entire Slavic population suffers as a whole. It seems Hitler really has won the war, he ruined the self-esteem of Slavs and ground them down to become the “inferior” people he hated. Not only by bombing these countries, but by laughing as Stalin killed his own. Very sad.

  • Anonymous

    The next step, after Vlad’s annexing fails, is to take back his own country. He grew the GDP? Big deal. Anyone with half a brain can grow the economy after a communist dictator is felled. He’s done a horrible job and still leaves millions in poverty. This is similar to South America countries where people are afraid to move on from despots because “another person might be worse.”

    I won’t be happy until I see the greedy little thief go penniless. Good, honest people deserve their profits – he’s just as greedy as any communist despot, taking all the money. Conservatives support this farce because he says he hates gays and loves religion – they’re idiots.

    He steals Super Bowl rings just like he steals people’s money. This kleptomaniac cannot be stopped.

  • Anonymous

    Yep Poland was communist until ’89 and a good example of this.

  • FLL

    Poland is a Slavic country too. During the 1990s, I was still living in Chicago, and I heard plenty of stories from the Poles who were part of the wave of Polish immigration to the Chicago area during the 90s. Although Poland is something of a bread basket in Eastern Europe, food was often scarce for most Poles because the Soviets shipped all the Polish grain to Castro’s Cuba. Poland’s population was not amused. Would you be?

  • Anonymous

    “Russians regard Ukraine to be part of the Slavic family, and thus part of their rightful ‘sphere of influence’” – Soo essentially, KGB boy Putin still thinks this is the Soviet Union. No thanks, the Iron Curtain is down and a lot of Slavic countries hate Putin for what Soviets did to their countries. The Lenin statue only recently came down; the effects of Stalinist/communist austerity can be felt in Slav countries to the present day. Soviets tried to ruin the independence and culture of other countries by creating a uniform nationalism for the USSR. In 2014 this is an extremely sore subject that is still culturally oppressing people. Putin, you are not “family” to these independent Slavic countries.

  • FLL

    Strange. Huffingtonpost Post and the BBC don’t seem to sense the tragedy in Putin’s misfortune, as seen in the screenshots below. Also, I don’t see anywhere on the Internet (except on these comment pages, of course) where Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna political party, which is now in power in Ukraine, is described as fascist. Are we all missing something? Can anyone be a little more specific about Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna political party? Fascist? How, exactly?

  • FLL

    Viktor Yanukovych has his 2010 election opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko, sentenced after what was widely regarded as a politically motivated trial and given a seven-year sentence. What’s wrong with that picture? If the runoff election between the two was fair and Yanukovych really did win more votes, why the need to imprison his opponent? No surprise, then, that Yanukovych lost his base of support in parliament and popular opinion, particularly when it became clear that he was steering Ukraine toward joining a customs union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

    Apparently, some commenters on this blog would be happier to see Ukraine fall under Putin’s sphere of influence, thus strengthening Putin’s hand. That didn’t happen, and Putin is weaker in relation to popular support in Russia than he was before. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but clearly there are some, both in Russia and America, who would like to see Putin stay in power for life. Putin may be able to cling to his dictatorship and his anti-gay pogroms, but his designs on Ukraine are dead. The most he could do is withhold Russian oil from Ukraine, but then Putin would no longer have access to the warm-water ports of the Crimea. Disaster for Putin, and yes, I’m rubbing it in.

  • FLL

    Your comment is both humorous and sadly true. Belarus is a hellhole for human rights in general.

  • 2karmanot

    SSSShhhhh Nobody’s told him yet.

  • 2karmanot

    Belarus deserves to be next.

  • Indigo

    How interesting. Another fuse on the bomb that a global war would be is extinguished. We’ll have to look elsewhere now for a volatile situation to exploit unless we really are going to bring the troops home and declare peace.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Did you really fail to spot the sarcasm or do you just like hearing people say that John McCain didn’t make President?

    I find the weekly stories in which the senile old coot attacks Obama as ‘naive’ ‘foolish’ etc. to be rather idiotic.

  • cole3244

    this is not over, putin can not afford to let the ukraine go eu in his backyard and there are too many pro russians living in the ukraine to ignore them.
    this still could end in a civil war when the dust settles and the political posturing begins, someone in the west had better get involved and try to calm things down before they flare up again and russia needs to be brought in to the discussion.

  • QUALAR

    Opens the door for a new Free Trade Agreement, another Monsanto GM seed
    market, and increased military arms sales. Oh, I’m sure the little bald
    headed prick from Goldman Sachs will be doing his “God’s work” by
    stealing everything that isn’t tied down. Is Belarus next?

  • havloq

    “President John McCain has been a good friend of authoritarian governments…”

    While you are correct on the point, McCain is only a Senator of Congress in the US.

  • Bill_Perdue

    It was an old fashioned fascist putsch in favor of western banks and the Merkel and Obama regimes. The interests of working people had nothing to do with it.

    No one won except western banks, fascism, anti-Semites and NATO. Those who lost include working people and small farmers, Jews, leftists and the chances for global peace.

  • MyrddinWilt

    That is very unlikely. What might happen is that Russia threatens to cut off gas supplies. But the gas supply is payment for allowing the use of the naval bases.

  • MyrddinWilt

    There’s a large Russian speaking group and as in Latvia and Estonia, a large issue is whether their rights are going to be respected or they are going to be marginalized as the country breaks away from Russia.

    That is an issue but nobody wants to split the country and there are few people supporting Yanukovych personally.

    There are many factions out trying to use the situation to promote themselves right now. That always happens in this sort of affair. The fascists came out in force after the government passed the anti-demonstration laws.They had little choice as they risked being liquidated if the government won.

  • Marisa Louisa

    I keep feeling that Russia will invade Ukraine….but that would really start a war. What would please me most is to see Putin toppled, and now his position is surely weakened if Ukraine truly does part ways with Russia politically. However, I do see Ukraine doing business with Russia but never again as a vassal state.

  • Drew2u

    Regarding rejecting Putin, NPR covered a point that all the anti-gay laws in Russia are an attempt to nationalize the country over the 2012 pro-democracy-anti-putin rallies and demonstrations, sort of like America’s “Support Our Troops!” nationalism getting in the way of actual criticism against going to war in Iraq.

    With that, I think the same kind of behavior is being promoted by ALEC and its anti-choice, anti-equality laws that are trying to be passed in the states, similar to Arizona’s law.

    Finally, going way into the tangent, how has NBC’s coverage of the anti-gay laws stood during the Olympics? The President of NBC said that news wouldn’t shy away from covering what’s going on, has there been notable coverage?

    click on the “listen to the story” option for more of NPR’s coverage – I couldn’t find a transcript.
    http://www.npr.org/2014/01/13/260457414/how-will-nbc-cover-gay-issues-during-russian-olympics

  • goulo

    “It is now clear that Ukraine is going to take the Western path and align itself with the EU and the West.”

    “The people of Ukraine have just given Putin a slap in the face…”

    “Ukraine has not rejected Russia, it has rejected Putin and Yanukovych.”

    Hmm… from what I’ve been reading, it’s not that simple. There are lots of Russian/Yanukovych loyalists in the east – the country seems dramatically divided.

    And despite the popular progressive presentation of the protesters (e.g. the touching video you linked to a couple days ago with the young woman talking about how the protesters want freedom and so on), a lot of the other protesters are unfortunately hateful neo-Nazi racist anti-semite thugs with no interest in becoming part of some cosmopolitan / Western / progressive EU style society with freedom and equality for all.

    https://libcom.org/news/neo-nazis-far-right-protesters-ukraine-23012014

    Now the chief rabbi in Ukraine is urging Jews to flee because of the violent threats from the fascists.
    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/breaking-news-jews-should-flee-ukraine-says-chief-ukrainian-rabbi/
    http://virtualjerusalem.com/news.php?Itemid=12186

    It seems a pretty unstable chaotic terrible situation.

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