Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 12, 2014

Ukraine: Donetsk Moves

There is obviously a somewhat coordinated operation going on in Donetsk oblast in east Ukraine. The province is famous for its mines and heavy industry. With some 4.7 million inhabitants it constitutes 10% of the Ukrainian population. Some action by anti coup-government groups were also seen in the neighboring Luhansk (Donbas) and Kharkiv oblast but Donetsk oblast is for now the schwerpunkt.

Over the last days people in Donetsk city had occupied several government buildings and barricaded them. The Alfa police units, SWAT operators, sent to kick them out allegedly refused to do so. A 48 hour coup-government ultimatum to clear the buildings was not followed up on. It is possible that the coup-government has found no loyal force that would do its bidding.

Today several other cities in Donetsk oblast also saw extensive movements of anti coup-government groups. In Sloviansk some para-military group, some of them somewhat trained (video), broke into the main police station and raised the Russian flag. They allegedly handed out weapons to other protesters. The mayor of Sloviansk had announced her pro-Russian stand. Around the city street checkpoints of pro-Russian militia, pictures show some mid aged men, went up. Many of these people are said to be miners from the large Donetsk coal mines. They are on the look out for incoming military and police traffic from Kiev. Trained people from the Berkut riot police, dissolved by the coup-government, have joined the protesters.

In Mariupol and Druzhkovka protesters have blocked or seized the local city administration. Police in Kramatorskaya joined the protesters there. The city of Luhansk, where there are also protests, and Donetsk were today at least once buzzed by military planes.

If have seen no Donetsk pictures yet of "polite green men", i.e. Russian military operators, like those seen in Crimea. The militia people occupying buildings in Donetsk oblast also seem to be less equipped than the local self-defense groups that could be seen in Crimea. While this operation in several Donetsk cities today seems somewhat coordinated there is no hint yet that Russia is behind this.

The coup-government in Kiev has done its best to alienate the people in the east. From denigrating their Russian language to threatening them with genocide like the gas-princess Tymochenko has done. The economic situation in the east is bad and has, unlike the neighboring provinces in Russia, not recovered throughout the last twenty years. Under the new government the economic situation will likely get worse. These people are unlikely to need lectures from Russia to understand that there are better deals to have than the ones Kiev and the IMF are offering.

Should the coup-government in Kiev find some loyal force that is willing to suppress the mass movement in the east there will be severe fighting and Russia will probably step in. But I still find that quite unlikely. Russia, like Henry Kissinger, has argued for a neutral and strongly federalized Ukraine. The people in Donetsk could probably agree with staying in Ukraine if they get strong autonomy.

The coup-government in Kiev can not risk a fight and a possible Russian intervention which could end with the loss of the industrial heart of Ukraine. It will have to give in to the demand of the people. Unfortunately some blustering coming from the "west", especially for the U.S. and NATO, may encourage some idiotic moves from Kiev before reason sets in.

Posted by b on April 12, 2014 at 15:19 UTC | Permalink

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West support violence against civilians, something they always condemn others for! Hypocrites!

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 12 2014 15:28 utc | 1

It must be time to bring in the hired snipers since the Ukraine has no other way to respond.

Posted by: jo6pac | Apr 12 2014 15:42 utc | 2

Seems to me the only ones in Ukraine that sees the government as legitimate are the government themselves. :)

Posted by: Ross | Apr 12 2014 15:54 utc | 3 Thousands rally in Donetsk, activists take over govt buildings in Slavyansk

"Thousands of people have gathered in Donetsk,in eastern Ukraine,calling for the federalization of the country.The demonstrators also started forming militias to help anti-Maidan protesters in Slavyansk, who seized several government buildings in the city.

Activists in Slavyansk, a city in eastern Ukraine located in the north of the Donetsk region with a population of 120,000, seized the police headquarters and the city council building Saturday. Police said Anti-Maidan protesters also seized the local office of Ukraine’s Security Service, the SBU.

They hoisted a Russian flag on top of the police HQ, Slavyansk Mayor Nelly Shtepa said.

“As I negotiated with the activists today, they explained that they represent the Donetsk regional people’s militia. They said that they oppose Kiev authorities and today they are negotiating with them” she said.

Shtepa added that the people of the city support the activists’ calls for a referendum on the region’s federalization, and are urging the police to side with the people.

If the authorities in Kiev will “try to suppress the uprising, many civilians will die, this cannot be allowed,” Shtepa said.

However, Ukraine’s coup-imposed Prime Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that the raid on police HQ was carried out by masked men with guns. He promised that the government’s answer to the raid would be “very harsh.” Avakov added that a Special Forces unit has been deployed to the scene.

Anti-Maidan protesters stopped two buses full of security forces which were heading from Donetsk to Slavyansk, Rossiya 24 TV channel reported. After negotiations, the security forces turned back to their Donetsk HQ.

“I can’t say there was a conflict between the police and activists, the latter just accompanied the Special Unit forces back to their HQ,” said a Rossiya 24 correspondent, who was at the scene.

Amid the protests calling for Ukraine’s federalization, acting president Aleksandr Turchinov sacked the head of the SBU security service for the Donetsk region, Valery Ivanov, on Saturday, according to a decree published on the presidential website.

The regional police chief of Donetsk, Konstantin Pozhidayev, said Saturday he was quitting his post after the protesters urged him to step down."

Also includes a decent regional map and video.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 12 2014 15:59 utc | 4

This is the sort of scum these people are protesting against. Repost:

All I can say is WOW, by way of intro to this news. ;) Помощник Астахова просит Поклонскую расследовать дело депутата Ляшко

Assistant Astakhov requests Poklonskaya investigate deputy Ljashko

"Anna Levchenko asks to check famous for its extravagant behavior of the Verkhovna Rada deputy Oleg Lyashko, who is suspected of pedophilia.

Assistant Public Astakhov and the chairman of the monitoring center to detect inappropriate content Anna Levchenko wrote an open letter to the Acting Attorney Natalia Poklonskaya in Crimea. In her address, she asked to start investigation against the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleg Lyashko, who is suspected of pedophilia.

The letter listed a few facts acts known for this gay MP's extravagant behavior.

Thus, according to the data indicated in a letter in July 2012 Oleg Lyashko was spotted at the Yalta airport boarding with two pupils aged 12 and 14, which allegedly wanted to go "on vacation" in Turkey. Airport staff did not allow him to take the children.

- The Russian public, including our organization, concerned that the criminal case against Oleg Lyashko was lodged and criminals remain at large - says Anna Levchenko in circulation. - We believe that the investigation is not possible to establish all the facts Ljashko crimes. We ask you to verify the activity of the deputy in the Republic of Crimea from 2012 to 2014.

Lawmaker Oleh Lyashko was not Seen in relations with young boys.

In 2002 Ljashko, at that time candidate for the by-elections to the Ukrainian parliament, received injuries of moderate severity (bruised genitals) from cadet Kiev Military Institute of Communications, who did not share his craving for non-traditional relationships. :D Then the deputy, without thinking twice, said the student was trying to rob him, and two meters from the [command center? administration offices?] of his institute. About scandal newspapers, but hushed Ljashko this ugly history.

In the spring of 2012 at the deputy broke charity tour of orphanages and boarding Crimea together with accordionist Igor Zawadzki "Warm love their children." Then Ljashko with the support of the Crimean deputy Leo Mirimskaya wanted to organize concerts in orphanages for the selection of candidates for the fake adoption. But the arrest Zavadsky [child molestation] prevented these plans from coming true.

Because of parliamentary immunity against Oleg Lyashko could not open a criminal case."

So Lyashko likes little boys. And got his nuts kicked in once when he tried to charm the wrong guy. I can see now why these junta nazis are so popular with people who run the west - they are just like them! :D

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 12 2014 16:09 utc | 5

Apparently the gay kiddie fiddler Lyashko has gotten his ass kicked more than once. Zoom - Vice speaker of Ukrainian Parliament throttles deputy Oleg Lyashko

"Uploaded on May 21, 2011

Vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Adam Martynyuk, on the right, throttles deputy Oleg Lyashko during a session in the chamber"

But he is more brave when he has his nazi bodyguards with him.

'I'll hang you by the balls and have you f***ed' – Ukrainian presidential hopeful abducts pro-Russian MP

"A Ukrainian presidential hopeful and his supporters have abducted a regional MP over his opposition to the coup-imposed government in Kiev. A video of the action shows the MP being roughed up by a group of men and threatened.

Oleg Lyashko reported secretly going to the Lugansk region on Sunday night and detaining Arsen Klinchev, a member of the local parliament from the Party of Regions.

"The scum Klinchev will answer for his crimes. We detained him and handed him over to law enforcement. I am sincerely grateful to everyone, who helped with this deed. The video is coming shortly. The fight goes on," Lyashko wrote on his Facebook page."

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 12 2014 16:11 utc | 6

This is great news for the Ukranian population (at least in the eastern and southern regions). As long as peaceful protests continue, supported by Russian action in the background (in contrast to empty rhetoric of NATO, and other scum bag politicians in the west) it is obvious that the neo-nazis and their EU and US masters will face certain defeat. The world is also gradually wakening up and further Iraq, Syria, Yugoslavia, etc. genocide for economic plunder becomes increasingly difficult to arrange. The sociopaths are by no means gone, but early signs are encouraging.

Sending snipers into Kiev worked at first, but the effects did not last, and other false flags in Ukraine will become more difficult to carry out. It seems obvious that Ukraine will become a federation along the lines that Putin has suggested. God bless him and those humans who keep their heads cool at this pivotal time in our history.

Posted by: TicoTiger | Apr 12 2014 16:12 utc | 7

I made the simple decision to change the spelling of all the proper names back from so-called 'Ukrainian' (an artificially differentiated language, by the look of it). So I change Luhansk and Kharkiv to Lugansk and Kharkov. Am I right?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 12 2014 16:50 utc | 8

@Rowan Berkeley #8:


By the way, Ukrainian is not a language; it is a dialect of Russian. A Ukrainian dictionary wasn't published until the early 20th century.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2014 17:13 utc | 9

Posted by: Ross | Apr 12, 2014 11:54:44 AM | 3

Seems to me the only ones in Ukraine that sees the government regime as legitimate are the government regime themselves. :)

Posted by: hans | Apr 12 2014 17:32 utc | 10

thanks for the article b.

interesting discussion on ukrainian language.. wikipedia has this to say on the history of it.

Posted by: james | Apr 12 2014 17:35 utc | 11

"16:39 GMT:

Police have detained four men in Kharkov train station after a sniffer dog reacted to a box they were carrying. The men refused to show what was inside. It’s believed the contents of the box resembled a hand-made explosive device. The men, aged from 19 to 33 years old, are citizens of Lvov, Kiev and Kharkov regions."

Just your friendly pravi sektor boys bringing a peace present as they spread democracy for the western poligarchy.

Posted by: scalawag | Apr 12 2014 17:36 utc | 12

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12, 2014 1:13:33 PM | 9

Well, don't tell the Dutch (or the British) they speak kind of German (they do, the British speak a mix of Anglo-Saxon Germanic and French). To reverse the language thing is just as silly as the attack on Russian as a second official language in the first place.

Anything to split people and prevent them from uniting.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 12 2014 18:00 utc | 13

@13 Ukrainian is different in this respect, although I wouldn't go as far as calling it a mere dialect: it is a rural language, yes, unfit for official use: in fact when it became a state language it was found that there were not enough vocabulary in it to serve its purpose, so in the end of 80-s it was artificially infused with polonisms.
However the whole language thing is very political: like croatian and serbian are VERY similar to each other, yet they are regarded as separate languages, whereas vernacular arabic in Morocco and vernacular arabic in Yemen are almost mutually incomprehensible, but count as the same language. Oh and don't get me started on Norwegian.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2014 18:10 utc | 14

@Grim Deadman #14:

Thank you for clarifying my remark made in passing. :-)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2014 18:18 utc | 15

Having a pre-urban vocabulary shouldn't be a problem. Hebrew was just the same, and look at it now.


Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 12 2014 18:21 utc | 16

From b: “The coup-government in Kiev can not risk a fight and a possible Russian intervention which could end with the loss of the industrial heart of Ukraine.”

This implies that it is the coup government in Kiev that is calling the shots. But what if the Empire is in charge? An Empire capable of destroying Libya, decimating Fallujah, using DU weapons by the thousands of tonnnes, weapons that conform to all 4 categories of illegal weapons, and so on. .

What if extreme chaos in Ukraine is the Empire's short term goal?

From the Saker” Right now the Ukraine is chock-full of problems Russia really does not need: a basically destroyed state, no real police, massive criminality, political extremism, religious extremism, a quasi-dead industry, a dysfunctional legal system (even worse than the Russian one, which is bad enough), poverty, unemployment, an ancient and decrepit infrastructure, a so-called Parliament filled with freaks, morons and thugs, and probably a big chunk of the population thoroughly brainwashed, not only in the West, who hates and fears Russia and who would prefer a NATO invasion to a Russian one.

Does Russia really need or want this?

Russia cannot simply waltz in, break it all, and leave.  As they say in the USA, you break it - you own it.  Right now its the West who broke it, so let's see what all these self-enamored and pompous clowns who hold the reins of power in the US and EU will do about it. "

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Apr 12 2014 18:21 utc | 17

@16 Indeed it shouldn't, but for some reason it is: the official Ukrainian isn't spoken by ANYBODY. The vast majority of those who speak Ukrainian speak surzhik, which is a dialect somewhere between Russian and official Ukrainian, in most cities Ukrainians use Russian between themselves, which is especially true about Kiev, just listen to the phone calls of all the coup officials, and the Ukrainian of the Galichina is still arguably different from the official. Btw, even Western Ukrainians speak Russian without an accent, event the young ones, born to a free Ukrain without "enforced russification".

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2014 18:33 utc | 18

14) Rule of thumb - when there is a poet it is a language.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 12 2014 18:40 utc | 19

@19 Let us agree to disagree - doesn't sound like much of rule to me. Shevchenko, fyi, wrote all his prose in Russian. I stand by my point, which in no way contradicts yours, by the way.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2014 18:46 utc | 20

@13 Russian and Ukrainian are closer to one another than High German and Swabian. But the latter two are both considered different dialects of the same language, though only one appropriate for official use.

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 12 2014 18:55 utc | 21

@21 I also heard that Hannoverian German is still different from both Swabian and Hoch Deutsch, but since I never personally encountered either dialect I decided to skip German as an example alltogether.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2014 19:04 utc | 22

@somebody #13:

Don't insult the Dutch with your political correctness, comparing them to Ukrainians. The Dutch had an empire before the English did. The Ukrainians never had anything, to such an extent that Helmut Schmidt observed in his recent interview with Die Zeit that it is a matter of controversy among historians whether a Ukrainian nation even exists.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2014 19:11 utc | 23

It is evident that the Kiev government is having trouble finding loyalist forces. There is a split between the supposed Ordinary Decent Criminals and the Neofascists, as Sasha the White told us.

The thing is, since the supposed ODCs are the Yatsenyuks and Tymoshenkos who want to sell the Ukraine and its people to the EU, they're going to have trouble suppressing the rest of the country. They apparently can't transfer forces from the west because the Neofascists are more or less in control there. The suggestion has been that they are going to finally give in and federalize/neutralize Ukraine, just as Putin has suggested.

ODC Kiev has two problems with that. First, the West wants NATO in Ukraine. Putin seems to think that the NATO drive is some sort of rational policy, thus a sensible Russian policy can teach the error of its ways. This is foolishness. The imperialist system is fundamentally irrational. The ODC faction is not decent. To stay in power, it cannot accede to neutrality, which makes federalization well nigh impossible.

To that end, the Kievan roster of oligarchs will calculate the balance of forces. The annexation of the Crimea has turned federalization into a halfway house to secession as well as a reform program. The advantage for Kiev is that it is very likely there is no majority support for secession and unification with the Russian Federation. Therefore it is very possible that given enough time to reorganize forces, the south and east can simply be repressed.

This is particularly true given that Putin has already signaled his desire not to incorporate the east. Annexing Crimea really signaled that Putin was eager to settle for the minimum he thought Russia needed, aka Sevastopol. It's true that Putin of course made brave talk about intervening in the event of massacres. How big do they have to be? Putin might simply have asked, Please be discreet.

The second problem is that surrendering to the EU and US makes the neofascist part of the coup regime weakens the popular support for the coup even more. The main elements in the alliance are too weak to suppress the neofascists, throwing away their tools now that they've got what they want. The annexation of Crimea has sharply weakened their legitimacy as a national government. Further, the pressures from Russia are weakening the new administration, leaving it unable to repress its neofascist elements.

Seemingly paradoxically, Putin's stand pat policy, aimed at neutrality and federalization, is undermined by the annexation of Ukraine, weakens the forces most likely to have accepted federalization, while this weakness makes it more necessary than ever to rely on the West. Yet the forces most likely to accept neutrality, the neofascists, are the ones most likely to reject federalization. And his ability to make a deal with the Kiev neofascists is sharply hindered by the annexation of Crimea.

Putin's goals of federalization and neutralization are contradictory in the situation as it is. His policy thus far is haphazard, playing for the immediate benefit (Sevastopol) heedless of how it intersects his long term policy. The only way to reconcile federalization and neutralization is to democratize Kiev, that is, pursue an antifascist platform. But Put is not an antifascist, more or less for the same reasons the Western capitalists who lauded the Maidan neofascists are not.

The scary part is that Putin is still easily the most competent decision maker in this crisis!

Posted by: stevenjohnson | Apr 12 2014 19:14 utc | 24

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 12, 2014 2:55:01 PM | 21

You cannot compare that, there was a conscious russification policy of the Russian part of Ukraine in the 19th century - the century of European nationalism.

There is no Suebian literature and national history to teach in Suebian schools but there is Ukrainian literature and a national history to teach in Ukrainian schools, and presumably there are kids whose mother tongue is Ukrainian and kids whose mother tongue is Russian.

Since the "Orange Revolution" an "Ukrainian" national narrative has been purposely pitted against a "Russian" national narrative, no matter how close the languages in grammar or vocabulary.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 12 2014 19:20 utc | 25

The occupations in the east are evidently spreading. There are reports from Slavyansk, Donyetsk, Chervony Lyman and Kramotorsk, also involving resignations and refusals by supposed Kiev troops to attack. Kiev is beginning to look wobbly to me.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 12 2014 19:32 utc | 26

@25 The problem with the Ukrainian historical narrative is that it is entirely fictional. I have encountered Ukrainian historical textbook first hand, and I have to say that they have nothing in common with any sane historiographical tradition. Have you ever heard, for instance, about the Cossack barocco? Well, it is said to have flourished in the Ukrainian steppes around 15-17 centuries. Of course, when the Muscovites came they destroyed every single evidence of it, since they could not bear the superiority of the free Ukrainians.
Sarcasm aside, one can see how absurd they get. Modern Ukraine is like a completely absurdized European version of Pakistan (as if the original wasn't bad enough), its only purpose is to hate its larger neighbour.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2014 19:41 utc | 27

All this discussion of what actually is Ukraine was handled in his own inimitable way, by Webster Tarpley. I am not huge fan of all he says, I find him a little off the wall at times, but he always has some interesting historical tidbits.

Metaphysical Doubts Concerning the Existence of Modern Ukraine, a 1918 Creation of the German General Staff

All of this talk of "Ukrainians" and "Ukrainian Language" is clearly little more than a ploy to break up the massive area that for 1000 years has always been a part of the same nation. The Germans tried it in WW1, they tried it again in WW2, the US succeeded at it in 1991, and now, having made them separate, are trying to make them enemies.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 12 2014 19:43 utc | 28

27) National narratives are always fictional so people don't have to face up to the crimes committed in their name.

Fun from the Daily Beast who somehow seems to have lost the pro Maidan plot.

Putin has hinted publicly that he favors Tymoshenko, noting they had a productive relationship when she was prime minister. In recent days allegations have been swirling in Kiev that at a March 1 Ukrainian Security Council meeting she invited herself to she pressed hard for the new government to avoid any confrontation with Russian forces. Ukrainian business sources claim she has also been trying through allies to disrupt a nuclear parts business deal involving America’s Westinghouse in a bid to steer the contract to a Russian company.

Putin, after all, is not the only cynic on center state in the Ukraine crisis.

Comments are also very good.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 12 2014 19:49 utc | 29

kiev are really stupid, just accept federation and move on if you wanna keep power.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 12 2014 19:57 utc | 30

Tragicomically correct, the only ones encouraging reality-denying stubbornness that could really get a lot of people needlessly killed are the US, EU, NATO and IMF. And their horrible neocon media, whose noise has utterly warped the sensibilities of any 'normal' mass media consumer in 'the West'.

Still, there's hope that the realpolitik here is so strong, and the coup forces in the East so weak, that strong federalism will win the day.

I wish we'd call the anti-coup forces 'pro-referendum' forces, because that's what they all agree on, that there should be a democratic referendum on the federalism option. Sounds reasonable and, uh, democratic to me. That's the other problem the West's media has, the utter reasonableness of what the folks in the East want. That's why they rarely mention the referendum and obsess on the phrase 'pro-Russian'.

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 12 2014 20:03 utc | 31

National narratives may be distorted and exaggerated, not concocted from thin air.

Perhaps the Swabs could make up a national fairytale and claim they aren't German at all.

I understand national identity and language are different. But don't tell me "Canadian" is a different language from English.

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 12 2014 20:03 utc | 32

@28 Of course, of course, but I emphisize the "entirely" part. It's like talking about American crusaders or the involvement of Mexico in the Renaissance.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2014 20:08 utc | 33

Oops, the former post should have been @27, my apologies.

@28 I was aware of the existance of this theory, yet this is the first time I encountered a somewhat argumentative representation of it. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2014 20:15 utc | 34

Oh bother, I mixed up everything. Sorry guys.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2014 20:16 utc | 35

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 12, 2014 4:03:48 PM | 32

Actually there seem to be quite a few secessionist movements in Canada.

National narratives may be distorted and exaggerated, not concocted from thin air.

Very thin 19th century air. There is no universal base for it - language? We will have to redraw the map never mind settling the dispute what constitutes a language and what is a mere dialect.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 12 2014 20:17 utc | 36

SCHWERPUNT --I had to look it up!

The coup-government's central SCHWERPUNT, is that they have a mandate. Sure! the mandate is from and for the coterie of Kiev self appointed oligarchs! It could not be from the people, as there was no vote! They are claiming legitimacy without any legal standing! They claim to be democratic, amid the actions of their thugs, genocidal threats, and intimidation! Their SCHWERPUNT has all of the flammable platitudes of a career alcoholic. Every foul breath they exhale needs to to be sparked to see their "BLUE FLAMERS" go up in laughter! They need to be ridiculed!

Posted by: HAHA | Apr 12 2014 20:25 utc | 37

Posted by: stevenjohnson | Apr 12, 2014 3:14:49 PM | 24

Putin is not making a mess of things, he simply has an accurate understanding of the limits of Russian power. He knows he will not be able to get neutrality in all of Ukraine. The West is powerful, and it will get its NATO in Ukraine, but only in a part of it. What Putin hopes for is a Russia-friendly and no-NATO Ukraine in every oblast ('province') bordering the Black Sea and in the East. That's a reasonable and realistic end goal. Putin knows his own strength and knows how to leverage it and exploit his opponents' weaknesses. Good martial artist.

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 12 2014 20:29 utc | 38

I don't see how Putin can get involved.
If he sends Russian troops to protect ethnic Russians in the east, then NATO will use it as an excuse to deploy troops to the area.
If he doesn't send troops then NATO will have to stay out.
Or am I wrong?

One more thing: No one has mentioned the meeting between the EU, the US, Russia and the new coup government coming up on the 17th.
Why would Putin agree to this meeting when he's been saying the coup government is illegitimate??

Isn't Putin caving in on this matter??

Posted by: plantman | Apr 12 2014 20:59 utc | 39

Yarosh says Right Sector is going to handle the unrest in the east itself

KIEV , April 12. / ITAR-TASS / The leader of the extremist movement "Right sector" Dmitry Jaros […] criticized the current Kiev authorities for "inaction" in connection with the situation in the east of the country and declared "full mobilization" of his supporters, the UNN Agency reported.

As noted, Yarosh "ordered" all structures "right sector" to be "ready to take decisive action," and urged residents to be prepared to put pressure on the government with pickets and rallies. According to Yarosh, law enforcement officers should help "right sector" to "restore law and order."

The press center of the Russian Interior Ministry on April 11 told Itar-Tass that the Interpol National Central Bureau Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia sent on documents for Dmitry Yarosh to be placed on the Interpol international wanted list.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2014 21:13 utc | 40

Here are seven points about eastern Ukraine:

(1) The turnout size of street demonstrators in the eastern Ukraine cities has been truly small. Also, the turnout size has not been growing: Turnout size last weekend was smaller than it was in the first weekend of March. (Likewise, it's also been small in Odessa city in the south).

(2) Most of the people in eastern Ukraine identify themselves as ethnic Ukrainians. Roughly half of these self-identified Ukrainian ethnics speak Russian as their mother tongue. In the city of Donetsk, the population is overwhelmingly Russian speaking, predominantly so as their native language. But only 38 percent of the population self-identify as Russian ethnics, while the bulk of the other 62 percent self-identify as Ukranian ethnics. Donetsk is the most Rusian of the large eastern cities.

(3) Recent opinion polls, conducted in late March 2014, show strong support in eastern Ukraine for eastern Ukraine to remain within the Ukrainian nation-state.

Item: A Public Opinion Poll conducted in Donetsk only, and published 9 Apr 2014 by the Donetesk Institute for Social Research and Policy Analysis, shows 66% of Donetsk citizens want to live in a united Ukraine, while 18% support a political union with Russia, while 4.7% preferred the option of living in an independent republic. In this poll, the Donetsk citizens were also asked if they had an approving or disapproving opinion about the occupation of government buildings in Donetsk by political demonstrators. Only 16% expressed their approval (smaller than the 18% who support a union with Russia), while 77% responded that it was "a wrong method". My source in English: ref and that source in turn is citing Ukrainian language source ref which has more details about the poll (and this poll was widely reported in Ukrainian language news sources on 9 Apr 2014).

(4) Recent opinion polls, conducted in late March 2014, show huge divergence in political opinions between the populations of west Ukraine and east Ukraine.

The following is a Ukraine-wide poll conducted March 14-26 by a Gallup affiliate in Ukraine. The money to do this poll was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the poll questions were designed and written by a USA-based, pro-Western, anti-Russian, policy organization, namely It was published 4 Apr 2014: ref (PDF file). The poll report is lengthy, and the second half of the report contains useful information about the political landscape in Ukraine, notwithstanding that the wording of the questions is tilted in favour of a pro-Western mindset. The poll shows a big divergence between western and eastern Ukraine in people's political opinions about current affairs, on multiple separate issues.

(5) Interim prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, speaking in Donetsk yesterday, says his goverment has now decided to enact "decentralization of power" and wishes to enact it before the 25 May 2014 presidential election. I don't have to give you a link for that, because it has been widely reported worldwide as new news. He chooses the word "decentralization" and not "federalization", but that's six of one and half a dozen of the other. Political support for decentralization of the government is very strong in eastern Ukraine. The Establishment in eastern Ukraine -- the elected politicians and the captains of industry -- wants decentralization, and does not want seccession. See e.g. ref. Russia wants decentralization for Ukraine, and Lavrov fully explained Russia's reasoning about this last week when he said, "I really believe we should insist on federalization, not because it is our whim but because southern and eastern regions want that." (ref). And I think anyone who looks at the Ukraine opinion polls -- in which the big divergence in opinion between eastern and western regions is on display on multiple issues -- should find in these polls another excellent reason support decentralization.

(6) Also yesterday, the interim prime minister Yatsenyuk said that he favours a method that does not involve the use of force in recovering the government building in Donetsk that is occupied by demonstrators. He favours more negotiations. But he does not rule out the ultimate use of force. The police in all the cities of eastern Ukraine have been restrained and liberal towards demonstrators so far. A right to protest is getting recognized even when the protest actions are strictly out of compliance with the law.

(7) A separate thing on display in recent opinion polls is that candidate Petro Poroshenko is almost certain to win the presidential election on 25 May 2014, even though he has very little support in the east and south of Ukraine. The pro-Russian Ukrainians have no viable candidate in the 25 May presidential contest. Once the election is over, the Russians lose their legal basis for possibly intervening militarily, because the legal request from the former president (Yanukovych) expires when the new president is elected. Now would be the time for the east to come out onto the streets and rise up, if the east were of a mind to rise up.

From all indicators, the east is NOT of a mind to rise up. My conclusion from the above seven points is that the Ukraine situation is almost certainly going to quieten down and be solved by civilized processes, involving federalization.

I wouldn't bet on Ukraine's money currency getting stronger, because improvements in the structure of governance do not imply improvements in the structure of the economy (not beyond the benefit of a return to basic law and order). The conventional wisdom is that the Ukraine economy is going to continue to be seriously problematic and I haven't come across anybody with a basis for being optimistic.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Apr 12 2014 21:14 utc | 41

It is no mistake that Svoboda, a tiny, regional party and the foremost purveyors of "Ukrainian-ness" Ukrianian historical victimhood, and anti-Russian sentiment have been given the ministry of education to control.

@Lysander National narratives may be distorted and exaggerated, not concocted from thin air.

It seems to me that there that every country has undercurrents of alternate narratives, and it takes the government and the media to popularize the "official" one and temper the divisive ones.

For instance we are now seeing, in Ukraine, a move away from the traditional narrative of the Ukraine as a constituent part of the Soviet Union, with a history of common cause in the battle of Nazi Germany, to the western Ukrainian narrative where Ukraine was a subject to the Soviet empire, run by Russians and Jews, who committed genocide on the Ukrainian people. And we see the foremost purveyors of this narrative, Svoboda, being given the ministry of education. Giving the ministry of education to a small, unpopular, ultra-nationalist party that believes some incredibly far out shit should make Russia very, very wary. And it is the intent of the Kiev government and the neocons that that fervent, anti-Russian feeling that exists in the West of Ukraine, eventually permeates the whole country. And this is something the Russians simply cannot accept. I would guess that this is at least of equal concern to them as the idea that Ukraine would join NATO because, in fact, you likely can't have one without the other.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 12 2014 21:16 utc | 42

@38, by fairleft: "He knows he will not be able to get neutrality in all of Ukraine. The West is powerful, and it will get its NATO in Ukraine, but only in a part of it."

Well, it's true that NATO crossing the Dniepr is no more an existential threat than NATO in the Baltics. It is an increased threat nonetheless. A nominal neutrality in the east of a partitioned Ukraine is thus not a significant win. If that were the goal, "giving" the neofascists Galicia and Volhynia (which they pretty much control I think,) would be the feasible and worthwhile goal.

Besides, NATO doesn't need their excuses to be plausible. Besides, the US launches air raids on and sends troops into countries with whom it is not officially at war pretty much whenever it wants. I don't think Putin is going to send troops into the east no matter what. I don't think it would matter if the neofascists began pogroms. I think that the political impetus to fascism by the final victory of the neofascist part of the Kiev regime actually does pose a long run existential threat to the Russian people. I still think Putin is rather naive on this.

It's not entirely certain that Putin can even retain Crimea, as it seems probable that he would retreat from a genuine threat of general war. Crazy enemies can sometimes get away with things sane people can't. The humiliation might threaten Putin but it's losing Sevastopol wouldn't even be an existential threat to his power, much less to the Russian Federation. Committing himself to nothing but Crimea I think has really limited his options. At this point, he will feel pressure to sacrifice everything to keep it.

Posted by: stevenjohnson | Apr 12 2014 21:39 utc | 43

Well "Yats" visited yesterday in what was likely just a "cover your ass' public relations appearance before the goon squads were unleashed. There have been reports of foreign mercenaries operating in the area including a You Tube video (that has not been validated) of one captured who is a "US Citizen" so this all stinks to high heaven.

Gleiwitz anyone? NATO is itching for it.

Posted by: Donn Marten | Apr 12 2014 21:39 utc | 44

Parviziyi states, "Most of the people in eastern Ukraine identify themselves as ethnic Ukrainians."

What is an ethnic Ukraine? You need to read about Ukraine's history before making wild assertions.

Posted by: HAHA | Apr 12 2014 21:41 utc | 45

Parviziyi, thanks for quoting that Gallup Poll. I'm sure President Romney will be heartened by it.

Posted by: Bob In Portland | Apr 12 2014 21:48 utc | 46

@45 Why dont you go ahead and tell us what you think Prussian militarism is relevant? (Is it because Russia since-WW2 has controlled part of East Prussia?)

Btw, b asked for no pictures in comments

Posted by: ess emm | Apr 12 2014 22:02 utc | 47

ot - @42 guest77- in parallel with that i had heard a long time ago that many of the school books in the usa were published out of texas.. texas seems like an especially wacky state to over see anything to do with basic education.. it was also one of the ideas as to why the concept of creationism was more popular then evolution in the usa.. now that could just as easily have to do with funny-mental religion, but i thought it was an interesting theory.. lord knows what would happen if yarosh became the minister of education, let alone was given any power in the 'new' improved ukraine..

Posted by: james | Apr 12 2014 22:05 utc | 48

@Parviziyi, thanks for taking this chance to come and give us a poll conducted by the same people who designed Cuban Twitter. It's always nice to see the results of the taxes I'm paying.

I suppose it is an open question how people in the East feel right now while they still have a measure of autonomy, but I am certain that if the coup government begins shooting their fathers, brothers, and sons, there is going to be an uproar. The poll shows one thing for certain - there is a huge chasm in feeling between the east and the west, but that said - Ukrainians in a majority still do not want to be part of NATO, the Ukrainians in the East and South much prefer economic union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan than with the EU. And yet everything about this coup government indicates they'll get the opposite.

Very unfortunate for "democracy": The poll shows that "wouldn't vote/do not know" beats all of the possible candidates in the 3-weeks away elections. In the east, a full 80% would vote against or prefer to not vote at all for the two "top choices" Poroshenko or Tymoshenko. In any case, through the whole country, only 43% expect the elections to be free or fair.

The other thing it shows is the wild unpopularity of Oleh Tyahnybok and Svoboda, the former unable to win even a majority of those intending to vote for Svoboda (he cannot crack 4% even in their western base of support for president) while Svoboda itself can only manage 9% in parliamentary elections in its stomping grounds in the West of Ukraine. And yet they've been given many important positions by the neocons and the coup government, and made the third partner along with Ratsenyuk and Klitschko - despite this poor showing in the polls. One thing is for sure, the anti-Russian racism and fascism of Svoboda is highly unpopular, even in the West. Their position in the government comes from their being at the forefront of the violent coup, and being the pets of the neocons. This precisely shows the "democratic nature" of the new regime.

The poll shows a majority - 52% - of the country still feels the nation is headed in the wrong direction, even after "EuroMaidan". This reaches its peak in the East where 3 out of 4 feel Ukraine is headed for disaster.

Sorry Parviziyi - Despite the nice neo-liberal seal of approval you slapped on it, your CIA poll shows nothing except a nation deeply split - a tinderbox ready to ignite with the smallest spark.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 12 2014 22:18 utc | 49

@stevenjohnson #43:

It's not entirely certain that Putin can even retain Crimea, as it seems probable that he would retreat from a genuine threat of general war. Crazy enemies can sometimes get away with things sane people can't.

No serious person thinks that there is any chance that Russia is not going to hold on to the Crimea. It appears that you have been reading too many White House press releases, with their talk of "Russia's attempt to annex Crimea". The Obama administration might be acting crazy, like the EU and NATO are, but Obama is not intentionally acting crazy as a tactic, the way Nixon reportedly did with Vietnam. Washington has been very clear with its continual talk about sanctions and only sanctions, that it is not going to make a military response to Russia's reincorporation of the Ukraine.

If Russia gave up the Ukraine, it might as well change its name to "East Poland". Russia has taken an existential stand with the Crimea. Its very sovereignty―something EU countries have given up―is at stake.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2014 22:31 utc | 50

My guess is, as much as I'd hate to see it, that the people in the East of Ukraine have the wherewithal to fight the coup government to a standstill.

The government clearly doesn't have any reliable force to use locally, and if it sends a bunch of thugs from the west to the east, they will be out of their element, practically on foreign territory. I'm sure that there is already an effort to set up an intelligence network in the east to keep an eye on who is coming and who is going into these areas. The government will not be able to slip a large force undetected. There is no evidence that the Right Sektor thugs can operate in the east - I suspect, and Mr. Pragma was likely right, that there are already a great number of Russian "contractors" operating in the East. After all, two can play at these games the coup government is trying here.

If the coup government wants to take on a fight against the East during the run up to the presidential elections, they are going to face some serious issues in the sphere of public opinion.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 12 2014 22:33 utc | 51

Re my #50: that is "If Russia gave up the Ukraine Crimea"

No doubt a Freudian slip on my part lol.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2014 22:41 utc | 52

One last about that poll, if you scroll all through to the end, you show that they missed, proportionally, 25% of Russian ethnics ( 13% of interviewees are Russian ethnics, while the real number is 17% ). Not that 4% is a huge number, but it is evidence that, especially in and south of the country, the numbers show considerably more pro-Maidan sentiment than is likely.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 12 2014 22:41 utc | 53

"especially in and south of the country" -> "especially in the east and south of the country"

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 12 2014 22:42 utc | 54

ess emm asks the question, "Why dont you go ahead and tell us what you think Prussian militarism is relevant?"

I never wrote that. Nevertheless, Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote that, "The German (Prussian) is like a willow. No matter which way you bend him, he will always take root again." In this particular instance the weed seems to have been grafted onto the NATO-US imperialism. That is a surprise! Militarism/Imperialism --same thing, same results --expropriating the land, labor, and resources of other people!

German Field Marshal von Eichhorn ,the de facto ruler of Ukraine and would-be enforcer of food deliveries until his assassination in Kiev on July 30, 1918

Posted by: HAHA | Apr 12 2014 23:13 utc | 55

Et tu, Brut?

Can Al Jazeera America Save Cable News?

The Nation manages to answer this question without once mentioning RT, while of course mentioning all of the three American cable news networks. And this despite, to quote Wikipedia, the following:

RT America is available to 85 million people in the United States. In 2011 it was the second most-watched foreign news channel in the U.S. after BBC World News, and the number one foreign station in five major U.S. urban areas in 2012. It is also very popular among younger American people, U.S. college students, and in U.S. inner city neighborhoods. In 2013 RT has become the first TV news channel in history to reach 1 billion views on YouTube.
(Al Jazeera English is more popular in the UK than RT, but that's no doubt because there's a lot of Muslims in the UK who barely speak their native language, as we know from Four Lions.)

But RT doesn't exist, as far as the Nation is concerned. This despite the brouhaha on US cable news a few weeks back when those two anchor women/correspondents resigned on air/denounced RF Crimea policy.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2014 23:33 utc | 56

Ukraine’s New Government Loses Grip on Control

nsnbc : Saturday protests continued throughout eastern and southern Ukraine. Local authorities and police support the protesters and demands for a federalized Ukrainian constitution with far-reaching regional autonomy. A deadline set by the Interior Ministry has passed without Interior Minister Arsen Avakov being able to implement the promised anti-terrorism crackdown. Meanwhile, the government in Kiev continues losing control in the country’s security as ultra right-wing Pravy Sector called for a general mobilization.

donetsk_Ukraine_protestsThousands of protesters gathered again today in the city of Donetsk, defying the threat of an anti-terrorism crackdown after the deadline set by Kiev’s new Interior Minister Arsen Avakov passed without Avakov being able to implement his threat.

Local police as well as military refused to carry out orders, calling the use of military and militarized forces against Ukrainian citizens illegal and unconstitutional.

I wish American police were more like Ukrainian police.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2014 23:53 utc | 57

some cautious optimism from the saker

No assault in eastern Ukraine after ultimatum deadline passed
Iatseniuk mentioned the possibility of a referendum
MVD and SBU offices in Donetsk seized by armed men
Alpha anti-terrorist team refused to attack
Cops (militia) also refused to attack
Slaviansk: city revolts, locals takeover building and built barricades
Krematorsk: gunfire reported around government buildings Police building built
Police SWAT teams have refused to "fire a single shot" against the people and said so on camera.
Berkut officers in Donetsk put on old Uniforms and Saint George ribbons and said they would fight on the side of the people.
Berkut commander resigned.
Kiev regime fired the head of SBU in Donetsk.
Head of Police in Donetsk resigns.
Oleg Tsarev agreed to negotiate in the name of the East.
Krasnoarmeisk: police station seized.
Krasnolemansk: police station seized.
Krematorsk: demonstrations.
In Poltava 10 buses filled with what appears to be Right Sector thugs armed with Molotov cocktails and base ball bats, explosives have been stop and everybody arrested. They were heading for Kharkov.
Kharkov: 2 opposing demonstrators are taking place.

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 0:11 utc | 58

'It's not entirely certain that Putin can even retain Crimea, as it seems probable that he would retreat from a genuine threat of general war. Crazy enemies can sometimes get away with things sane people can't. The humiliation might threaten Putin but it's losing Sevastopol wouldn't even be an existential threat to his power, much less to the Russian Federation. Committing himself to nothing but Crimea I think has really limited his options. At this point, he will feel pressure to sacrifice everything to keep it.

Posted by: stevenjohnson | Apr 12, 2014 5:39:23 PM | 43

be interesting to know what youre smoking....Krimea is in the hands of the krimeans...its now arussian province...whats this about Putins' power? hes president NOT emperor. so what are u smoking?

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 0:35 utc | 59

Demian @50

Granted Crimea is probably safe. But...

Obama is not the crazy people I was thinking of. Though the near miss with war on Syria so recently makes me wonder why anyone would think Obama is prudent. Or that Obama couldn't give a green light with every intention of war, like 41 lured Hussein into Kuwait. But no, the crazy people I was thinking of are the neofascists in Kiev. Heavy weapons from Orban (via Jobbik) or from Erdogan's regime in Turkey could make them even more megalomaniacal. You just don't take up fascism if you have your head working right. They're the kind of people to try buying a stray nuke. Saudis buy one from Pakistan to "protect" the Crimean Tatars, and get their war with Syria (or maybe even Iran) while Putin is distracted. That scum are capable of anything.

Polls can be rigged (usually by phrasing the questions to provoke the desired response) and it is common to cite polls when making false claims about public opinion. The oligarch wing of the coup regime is used to faking polls to pretend popular support and the neofascists haven't got the media on their side yet. (That's why they've had to threaten TV network presidents.) Plus the neofascist supporters may still be reluctant to talk to pollsters. On the other hand, the neofascists probably figure they'll popularity will soar if they manage to take control.

Posted by: stevenjohnson | Apr 13 2014 0:38 utc | 60

Parviziyi states, "Most of the people in eastern Ukraine identify themselves as ethnic Ukrainians."

highly unlikely....not when before 1911, eastern ukraine was russian territory, and currentevents are showing us their real allegiences

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 0:40 utc | 61

unlike east ukraine
Violence as thousands march in Rome against austerity (PHOTOS) + Video

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 0:58 utc | 62

Alec Luhn ‏@ASLuhn 4h
The police and Berkut also told me they're ready to fight anyone who attacks #Donetsk protestors, but won't fire first

Alec Luhn ‏@ASLuhn 5h
Police at #Donetsk headquarters tell me it's official: police (& Berkut) are "100% with the people"

Alec Luhn ‏@ASLuhn 7h
If Donetsk occupation canceled their anti-alcohol policy they'd recruit thousands more people. They'd be gopniks but still

Alec Luhn ‏@ASLuhn 7h
Donetsk governor agrees to rename a square in honor of "fallen Berkut heroes." Same Berkut that Kiev disbanded after clashes with protestors

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 1:05 utc | 63

"Unfortunately some blustering coming from the "west", especially for the U.S. and NATO, may encourage some idiotic moves from Kiev before reason sets in."

How's this for an idiotic move? The new head of NaftoGaz, a 35-year-old Teletubbie likely chosen for his political connections and his birth in the correct region, announced that Ukraine will not pay the set price for gas from Russia, and is "suspending payments". That's a little Ukrainian joke, because Ukraine already owes Russia $2.2 Billion for gas it has already taken and used, and has not paid anything for months. That's after Yanukovych struck a deal with Russia for a reduced price and a $15 Billion buy of Ukrainian debt, of which Russia paid the first $3 Billion within days and Ukraine kept it and the new regime blew it.

This comes in the context of a looming gas war which will see all the gas to Europe shut off. As you're aware, Putin sent a letter to all the heads of state in Europe, warning them that Ukraine was being intractable about its financial obligations and that Russia could not continue to supply free gas. The reaction, predictably, was that "Putin is using the energy weapon", just as if taking something without paying for it and getting all your new buddies to back you up were not economic warfare.

Ukraine just brought that one step closer by warning Europe that all its gas could be shut off and announcing that it had given Russia a "fuck you" ultimatum. No reaction from Europe yet, but it seems likely that the EU will back Ukraine in this, reasoning that a combination of economic sanctions and cutting Russia off from all its gas customers will force it to the bargaining table, at which time Ukraine can strike a deal under its own terms, in which they will offer some piddly token amount and then not pay it anyway.

This, I believe, is a terrible mistake. But the picture grows even more complicated: in the first piece, the concept of "virtual reverse flow" is introduced for the first time (that I've seen). This is merely an attempt to legalize siphoning, described as a process which would have Ukraine "holding onto some of the other countries’ gas as it passes through theirs". The trouble with that is that it is illegal, specifically forbidden by contract law. Therefore, Ukraine is inviting the EU to be complicit in fraud that will allow it to get free gas (because they're broke and can't pay) by taking some of what is intended for other countries.

Except for the illegal part, that doesn't hurt Russia, because Ukraine is already not paying anything, and if it skims some off the amount which is reduced by what they were shipping to Ukraine, it's already paid for by someone else. But if Russia wants to curtail Ukraine's free ride, they have to shut off everything, because some EU countries (Slovakia and Hungary) have offered to reverse-flow their supply to help Ukraine, although Slovakia made clear that it was not a gift and would have to be paid for. In fact, they seemed nervous about it being illegal as well, so they may back out. But as long as one country says they'll do it and others might follow their example, the only way to be sure is to shut it all off. Ukraine appears to be counting on this, and counting on the EU to retaliate and do its fighting for it.

As I've mentioned before, Putin is scheduled to visit Beijing next month, and speculation is that he will return to Russia with a monster gas deal which will nearly make up for the loss of shipments to Europe. Russia has more than enough cash reserves to hold on until then, considering it will be losing at least $100 million a day. Then, adios, Euro-twats. If you want to be reasonable, see you at the table - if not, see you in the funny papers.

Posted by: Mark | Apr 13 2014 1:16 utc | 64

@stevenjohnson #60:

You just don't take up fascism if you have your head working right. They're the kind of people to try buying a stray nuke.

The original Nazis were more sane than Bush the Son and the neocons. (Their racist theories were the equivalent of American and Israeli exceptionalism; by the middle of the 20th century, Americans didn't need racist theories like those anymore because they had finished their genocide of the Native Americans.) Their one big mistake was going to war with Russia/the USSR, the same mistake Napoleon had made. Liberating Danzig, which was what made Britain and France declare war on Germany, was perfectly justified and moral, given the injustice of the Versailles Treaty.

They don't come any more crazy than Yulia Tymoshenko, but it was clear from that leaked phone conversation in which she talked about nuking Russians that even she knows that Ukraine has "lost" the Crimea for good.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2014 1:25 utc | 65

fake media content triggers news

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 1:36 utc | 66

Not entirely unrelated- Salon has finally published the Hersh story, noting that the US media is refusing to touch it.
I'm reluctant to give the link , in case the page widens and the thread becomes impossible to read but here are a couple of excerpts, the first giving Salon readers some of the context of US Foreign Policy:

"....* The American-authorized coup in Egypt last July. In the disinformation universe, Washington watched at a distance. Since the coup, dead silence in the face of a blood bath, except for Secretary of State Kerry’s applause for the Egyptian army’s “restoration of democracy.”

"• In the war to depose Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, the linchpin event is the chemical-weapons attack last Aug. 21. We are invited — required, actually — to believe Assad allowed U.N. inspectors in to determine responsibility for previous gas attacks and then launched another attack near Damascus while the inspectors were settled in their hotel rooms.

"* The role of the U.S. and its European allies in financing, fomenting and steering the direction of the Ukraine coup requires little discussion at this point. Rather bizarrely in the face of all we have on record, the Obama people continue to insist Ukraine is nothing more than a case of Russian overreach. As order unravels in the eastern sections of the country, it is important to bear in mind the chronology of events — and from the beginning, not somewhere in the middle.

"* In Venezuela, the foreign minister recently read aloud portions of intercepted cable traffic documenting American subterfuge. No, no, no: Nicolás Maduro, successor to the late Hugo Chávez, is just as paranoid as his mentor, and both were merely trying to distract Venezuelans from their economic problems. (Vigilance is always essential when Washington and the hacks marshal the “distraction” thesis.)

"Cuba could go on this list, given news of Washington’s operation of a social-media network on Cuban soil via the customary collection of front companies, except that intruding covertly in Cuba is so routine as to be (appallingly) unremarkable.

"I find this an exceptionally busy schedule for the spooks and the nation-building set. We can explore the reasons on another occasion; for now, it seems also unusual that so much of what in an earlier time would remain hidden from view is not......

"..Seymour Hersh, the noted investigative journalist with a record of extraordinarily deep digging on behalf of obscured truths, has just made a significant contribution in this line. Here is the piece, just published in the London Review of Books. In it, Hersh detonates the Rube Goldberg of “evidence” concocted — not too strong a term now — to support the Assad-did-it case after the gas atrocity in Syria.

"It is the usual Hersh job: granular, multi-sourced, supported with document citations, a shedding of light, all from several layers beneath surface reality. This is especially important in the Syria case because the demonization of Assad has been so complete as to cause almost everyone to set logic aside. Lonely were they willing to say after the attack: We do not know the perpetrators here, but there is a compelling case that it was Assad’s adversaries, not the unsavory man himself.

"Hersh has just stitched this case, an important piece of work..."

By doing virtually nothing, Russia is making hay out of the Ukraine crisis. As 'b' notes the Kiev government has no chance of enforcing its will on the south and east. And is likely to start losing ground in Kiev and region too. This will leave the old Polish western extremities isolated and, probably, begging for their old masters to re-annexe them. I don't believe that NATO will expand into Ukraine and it would be over extending itself if it did.

One of the gains Russia has made is in the vital area of world opinion: even in the US, the US government's adventurism is being recognised and the demonisation of Putin simply has not worked. The credibility of the government-thanks also to Snowden and Greenwald and the gradual recognition that their warning was prescient and a great service- is lower than it has been in decades.
The entire Empire rests on confidence, confidence in the dollar and confidence in the power of Washington, it is eroding perceptibly.

There were reports today of "another" gas attack in Syria, after Ghouta, after Hersh, after the Turkish You Tube leaks, nobody believes in these allegations.
Just as in the Ukraine it is generally being confessed, even by the msm/propagandists, that Lavrov and Putin have been right, and restrained, throughout.

In the meantime, like Kagarlitsky, I pray for sanctions. Talking of which did anyone see the story in RT regarding China's refusal to accept US GMO corn?

Posted by: bevin | Apr 13 2014 1:39 utc | 67

Brian #61 is mistaken when he thinks it's doubtful that the east Ukraine people are predominantly self-identified Ukrainian ethnics. See the map captioned "Ethnic Ukrainians in Ukraine by oblast (2001 census)" at The data for that map is taken from In every single province in Ukraine, the majority of residents self-identified themselves as Ukrainian ethnics in the 2001 census (not counting Crimea, which is not part of Ukraine any more now). In the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, 38.5 percent self-identified as Russian ethnics, and those two provinces are the ones with the highest percentage of self-identified Russian ethnics.

Brian said of the eastern Ukrainian people, "current events are showing us their real allegiences". Brian didn't say what he thinks those real allegiances are. I'll tell you again what I think they are: their real allegiances are with the Ukraine nation-state. My basis for this again, reiterating from #41:

(1) The small size of the turnout of demonstrators in recent street demonstrators in east Ukraine, and the tiny turnout at separatist-themed demonstrations. All turnouts have been small, but the best turnouts have been for demonstrations with a theme of federalization/decentralization.

(2) The recent opinion polls of the people living in east Ukraine.

(3) The recent stated opinions the leading elected politicans who've been elected to represent east Ukraine populations.

(4) The recent stated personal opinions of the bigger industrialists and business people who are based in east Ukraine, who reflect the Establishment thinking in east Ukraine.

Civilized processes only work if the populations that are in conflict with each other are committed to the idea of civility. This commitment is evident to me in Ukraine, except for some fringe groups. I agree with Guest77 when he said at #49 that polls show "the anti-Russian racism and fascism of Svoboda is highly unpopular, even in the West." So I expect Ukraine is going to be fine going forward, in terms of basic governance. (Their economic problems are going to be giving them headaches).

VineyardSaker is quoted at #58 above. I regard VineyardSaker as a schmuck, or more exactly I've concluded he has misunderstood Ukraine and its politics at a fundamental level. Another schmuck is NSNBC quoted at #57 above. In saying Saker and NSNBC are schmucks I'm solely taking issue with their understanding of reality and I'm not taking issue with their values or policy preferences. I read the stuff at #57 and #58 as a distortion of a storm in a teacup.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Apr 13 2014 2:02 utc | 68

The "Vice President for Russia and Eurasian Studies, Carnegie Endowment" Andrew S. Weiss @andrewswiss (Twitter) revealed on Twitter that he believed "Novo Rossiya" to be a "disturbing new coinage", which reveals the staggering willfull ignorance of the NATO expansionists who bleat against any theoretical change to the "historic inviolable territory of the Ukrainian nation" (/sarcasm). Another Twitter user promptly reminded him of the historical derivation of Novo Rossiya, most of whose territory of course never belonged to any sort of "Ukrainian nation state", even if it was later populated by many "ethnic Ukrainians" (as well as Russians) willfully moving to another part of the Russian Empire (just as they also moved to other regions which are currently in Russia proper).

Posted by: mutantsushi | Apr 13 2014 2:07 utc | 69

@bevin #67:

That article is by Patrick Smith, the only person that Salon publishes now who is worth reading. Salon has become a pseudo-left/progressive tabloid, as bad as Huff Post. And all those articles about religion! Religion has been finished in the West among educated people for almost two centuries now, but those New Atheists have to keep on flogging a dead horse. If someone wants to belong to a religion, why not just leave them alone, instead of constantly trying to prove your intellectual superiority? (I'm not talking about the right's war on women and their right to have abortions, which is based on dishonest arguments claiming to derive from Christianity; that is a real problem.) Anyway, end of rant.

Here is the link:
Barack Obama pulls a George W. Bush: Lies, misinformation and chemical weapons

You don't have to worry about giving links, just as long as you give them properly, as described in the help text below and to the right of "Post a comment, in the area where you post comments.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2014 2:07 utc | 70


Haiku to a Shoe

"What was that, ... a bat? Was that a bat!?
I remember we just ran with our heads down!
What difference at this point does it make?"

Good Queen Hillary

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Apr 13 2014 2:09 utc | 71

Michael Weiss has interviewed David Patrikarakos, a correspondent for The New Statesman.

Patrikarakos says

While at the other protests/occupations there were armed men and lots of ordinary people, here [in Sloviansk] it almost universally armed and masked men in full military dress. Automatic weapons are everywhere. Clearly a professional military is here.

Professional military means GRU, yes? Or can it mean Berkut?

Posted by: ess emm | Apr 13 2014 2:21 utc | 72


China's refusal to accept US GMO corn is not politico-economics.
China was merely pointing out that US denatured the Monsanto GMO
with not-yet-approved DOW GMO, without telling those it sells to,
as so much of what Americans consume has already been denatured.

There are Federal laws against that, but America is lawless now.

The new Dow GMO corn tolerates Agent Orange, which means Americans
are about to experience teratogenic mutations, and the eradication
of all animal life across the MidWest breadbasket, the dying off
of the last patchworks of great trees, and an explosion of weeds.

No birds will sing in Dow America, no frogs will croak. A desert.
A desert punctuated with 1000s of abandoned frack-well SuperFunds.

What difference at this point does it make?

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Apr 13 2014 2:22 utc | 73

@bevin 67 ot but in response to your note re China and GMO corn.

William Engdahl, who has written imo one of the most important books on GMO – Seeds of Destruction – has found a large audience in China for his various writings and in an interview in China – as I recall it's on his website – he spoke very vigorously in response to a lackadaisical question on the subject by the Chinese interviewer.

It is also noteworthy that Assad has banned GMO is Syria, and in Russia:

Total ban on GM food production mulled in Russia — RT Russian ...
3 Feb 2014 ... A group of Russian MPs have prepared a bill severely restricting imports of
genetically modified agricultural produce ....

Quite the contrast with N. America where even GMO labeling is verboten. I've mentioned it previously but check out Russian scientists' (a team led by Irina Ermakova) study of the health effects of GMO soybeans, 2005. The most widely grown soybean in N. America; Not nice.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Apr 13 2014 2:25 utc | 74

Retweeted Roza Kazan (@rozakazancctv):

"Euromaidan PR" calls for bombing pipelines, flooding #Ukraine with arms & dispersing uranium in Russia. Pure madness

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 3:54 utc | 75

@55 ot but cogent to the Epistle of Ukrainistan

BLM attempted cover-up of CORRUPT Sen. Reid
in bed with Chinese government in attempted
takeover of Bundy ranch for $5B solar farm

'The Bureau of Land Management, whose director was Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) former senior adviser, has purged documents from its web site stating that the agency wants Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle off of the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to make way for Chinese solar panel power stations.

“Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” the document states.

Back in 2012, the New American reported that Harry Reid’s son, Rory Reid, was the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada.

And journalist Marcus Stern with Reuters also reported that Sen. Reid was heavily involved in the deal as well.

“[Reid] and his oldest son, Rory, are both involved in an effort by a Chinese energy giant, ENN Energy Group, to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the southern Nevada desert,” he wrote. “Reid has been one of the project’s most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a 2011 trip to China and applying his political muscle on behalf of the project in Nevada.”

“His son, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that is representing ENN, helped it locate a 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) desert site that it is buying well below appraised value from Clark County, where Rory Reid formerly chaired the county commission.”

The BLM’s official reason for encircling the Bundy family with sniper teams and helicopters was to protect the endangered desert tortoise, which the agency has previously been killing in mass due to “budget constraints.”

“A tortoise isn’t the reason why BLM is harassing a 67 year-old rancher; they want his land,” journalist Dana Loesch wrote. “The tortoise wasn’t of concern when [U.S. Senator] Harry Reid worked with BLM to literally change the boundaries of the tortoise’s habitat to accommodate the development of his top donor, Harvey Whittemore.”

“Reid is using the new BLM chief as a puppet to control Nevada land (already over 84% of which is owned by the federal government) and pay back special interests,” she added.


This is happening all across SE California, and it's because of Obama 'Renewable Energy' (sic) tax credits looted from every American, despite the fact there's hundreds of miles of aging solar farms already in SE California, that don't shown an unsubsidized profit.
It's always about the tax credits, public funds looted into private Nevadistani coffers.

Well, as you read this, SecDef Hagel just burned $11,415,000 of your last life savings.

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Apr 13 2014 4:33 utc | 76

@brian #75:

That is really scary stuff.

I looked up the owner of the IP addresses that resolves to. It is a company named Automattic, Inc, located in San Francisco. Gee, I wonder who is paying for its servers?

Somehow, I think there must be some US law against calling for nuclear terrorism. I am sure that the FBI will get right on top of this.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2014 4:41 utc | 77

@75 & 77: this is the same site "somebody" had linked to. Now we can see just how insane they are.

Flattening Russian cities? Certainly that post is just an elaborate suicide note, and nothing else.

The people wrote that should be locked up. It is a call to murder. Though something tells me that site exists solely for western consumption.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 13 2014 4:51 utc | 78

@78 Excuse me, I don't mean to imply "somebody" is insane, only the writers of the articles there. Whatever they wrote previously about the snipers - which is what "somebody" linked to - obviously, now, is thoroughly discredited.

Of course Somebody is not insane. A bit disingenuous, and a master of obfuscation, bit not insane. ;)

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 13 2014 4:54 utc | 79

Special units of anti-riot police "Berkut" sent today by Kiev to Slovyansk (city with around 120.000 inhabitants in the region of Donestk) refused to obey the orders of the illegitimate Junta. The policemen were given heavy weapons and uniforms, which are intended for military operations, and not for peaceful dispersal of civilians. In solidarity with the rebels of Slovyansk the "Berkut" police tied on their clothes St. George ribbons (symbol of antifascism) . In Slovyansk patriotic militias seized and took the city administration building and the headquarters of the police. The liberation struggle against the illegitimate Euromaidan regime (imposed after a bloody coup by Washington) is spreading in all Eastern and Southern Ukraine. The western backed Junta only can rely on western mercenaries and fanatic neo-nazi Euromaidan extremists of "Right Sector" and Svoboda party.

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 5:09 utc | 80

@guest77 #78:

something tells me that site exists solely for western consumption.

The following post there is by a member of Pussy Riot LOL.

And so, what became clear to me as a result of my trip to Kyiv?

One. It’s peaceful in Kyiv. I didn’t get attacked even once by “bands of neo-Nazis.” […]

Four. “We love Russians, we despise Putin.” This slogan, very likely, more than anything else reflects the mood of Kyiv at this time.

Right. Like the post on that blog immediately before yours so clearly demonstrates.

And Pussy Riot are supposed to be Russian, right? So why is she using the Ukrainian Latin alphabet spelling of Kiev?

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2014 5:12 utc | 81

@77 - Demian

Automattic, Inc is the company behind the Wordpress blogging platform. You can just sign-up a wordpress[dot]com and start your little site / blog; optionally for a small fee, they offer you to have your own domain. looks just the standard Wordpress blog with the “2013” theme.

Posted by: Philippe | Apr 13 2014 5:13 utc | 82

Vladimir Suchan
5 hours ago
A great way for resolving the Ukrainian crisis: Since the EU loves its fascists in Ukraine so much, the EU should simply introduce for the Ukrainian fascists a visa-free window of let's say 3 months. Operation Paperclip II. The oligarchs have already migrated their stolen money to the West anyway. A visa-free regime was also exactly what Yatsenyuk, the junta's Prime Minister, demanded from Stefan Fule, the EU commissar for expansionism. I do realize that, financially, keeping these imperial scum column in Ukraine appears to the EU at this moment cheaper

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 5:14 utc | 83

@Philippe #77:

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. (When I had my own little blog for a while, I used b2evolution which, like WordPress, derives from b2/cafelog.)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2014 5:36 utc | 84

Pussy Riot is explicitly designed for western consumption. That is for sure.

Пуссы Риот Just wouldn't have the same appeal amongst Williamsburg artists and Vice Media aficionados.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 13 2014 5:36 utc | 85

are russians really as bad as the west likes to make out?

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 5:47 utc | 86

@guest77 #85:

Actually, I think the transliteration would be Пусси Райут, although I'm no expert.

It just occurred to me that we have heard nothing from FEMEN concerning recent events, although they originated in the Ukraine. My impression is that they are not totally bogus, as Pussy Riot are. Their flashing their boobs at Putin and Merkel in Hanover was pretty impressive.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2014 5:58 utc | 87

Could someone with a better memory than me please explain where Parvizyi is coming from? Presumably he is of Persian descent, but he writes as if he has spent most of last week drinking Koolaid with the good ol' boys down in Kentucky.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 13 2014 5:59 utc | 88

theFutureSoundWaves8 minutes ago

The neo-Nazi terrorist criminals, who illegally took over in Kiev and killed around 100 people, sent some reservists from the regular army to assault the people of the east who refused to recognize them. The local people negotiates with the armed group and made a deal that they surrender their arms if they don't want to shoot peaceful civilians. Since the reservists confessed they were forced to confront the people against their will, they agreed in the end.
The South-East of Ukraine demands the federalization of Ukraine, and the Russian language to become a second official language. They refuse to recognize the criminal terrorist neo-Nazi regime in Kiev.

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 6:16 utc | 89

By the way, I'm not supposed to be commenting here, according to a weedy little request from bernhard on the next thread that I "go elsewhere". He says: "I don't want your comments." Well, who gives a shit what you want, bernhard?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 13 2014 6:17 utc | 90

I bet the old bugger is still lying in bed, dreaming about fat, jolly German girls with blond curls dancing away over fields of corn towards a radiant future in which we no longer have to worry about who runs the world, because all the seas of blood have been changed into claret and the twisted, tortured, burned human bodies have turned into confetti.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 13 2014 6:26 utc | 91

Truth about situation in Ukraine shared a link.
14 hours ago
Police stop Pravy Sector attack on #Kharkov!
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry says that it has stopped 10 buses and arrested 70 people.

April 12, at about 16 a'clock in the village Chutovo , located on the border of Poltava and Kharkiv regions, police officers stopped 10 buses, which went mostly young men. The column was on its way towards Kharkov. During vehicle inspection most passengers were found in possession of items and tools that could be used for aggressive action in the face of massive stocks: boxes of "Molotov cocktail", a large number of explosive packages, spades, brooms, boards, bats, helmets, knives, other edged weapons.
Law enforcement officers arrested 70 people who are now giving evidence to investigators. detention on the site is operational and investigative team. Policemen find out where and for what purpose directed so numerous and organized armed group of citizens. these groups of people in the Kharkiv region not allowed.
Internal Affairs of Ukraine

Posted by: brian | Apr 13 2014 6:46 utc | 92

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 13, 2014 12:51:19 AM | 78

I assume you are intelligent enough to know what a site calling itself -pr is doing - they are open about it.

Russia outpaid the EU on the association agreement. I don't think there is enough US money left to bribe the oligarchy into civil war. Tymoshenko is reported to have jumped the ship.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 13 2014 7:45 utc | 93

@guest77 #78:

I assume you are intelligent enough to know what a site calling itself -pr

What is your point? Are you saying that the following is good for public relations?

• Destroy all gas pipelines & bomb the Belarusian gas pipeline […]

• Call on Ukrainians in the West to attack and kill members of the Putin regime, their associates and close relatives.

Remove uranium from Ukraine’s nuclear reactors and prepare to disperse it in Russia by all means possible […]

• Prepare to shell Belgorod with whatever missiles and artillery Ukraine has in its arsenal to flatten that city.

The purpose of public relations is to give the public a positive impression of a government or corporation. Who but a psychopath would get a positive impression of Maidan activists from the demands I just quoted?

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2014 8:11 utc | 94

Sorry, the above was obviously meant for the preceding post, somebody #93.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2014 8:12 utc | 95


Proof that tymoshenko jumped the ship?

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 13 2014 8:50 utc | 96

This is from Reuters this noon or so: "NATO says Russian armed forces are massing on Ukraine’s eastern border, while Moscow says they are on normal manoeuvres." Notice the extremely important substitution of claims here: Russia has not said anything that would confirm there are any more troops than normal on the border with Ukraine, whether “on manoeuvres” or anything else. So what we have here is one lie being substituted for another, in order to confuse the public who have heard of a Russian denial but do not know its content.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 13 2014 10:36 utc | 97

Posted by: Chip Nikh | Apr 12, 2014 10:22:30 PM | 73

According to an article on Sustainable Pulse, 80% of all the food Americans eat is contaminated with GMO.

Posted by: William Bowles | Apr 13 2014 10:46 utc | 98

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13, 2014 12:41:04 AM | 77

Hmmm... Automattic is Wordpress!!!

Posted by: William Bowles | Apr 13 2014 10:49 utc | 99

I just checked out this 'Euromaidan' site that calls itself:

"Euromaidan PR
Euromaidan in English – Site of the Official Public Relations Secretariat for the Headquarters of the National Resistance in Kyiv, Ukraine"

Really? Automattic need to take this site down immediately!

Posted by: William Bowles | Apr 13 2014 10:56 utc | 100

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