I sat down and listened to the full four hours of the infamous “Shuster Live” show of September 4th. This was not easy (if only because to a Russian ear Ukrainian sounds roughly like Klingon to a English speaker. Except that Ukrainian is really easy to understand, as it is basically a mix of rural Russian, Polish and some old Slavic words). But it was also very interesting (if you understand Russian, or Klingon-Russian, you can watch the full show here). For one thing, my personal Ukronazi favorite – Oleg Liashko – was invited. I also had the opportunity to listen to the bona fide Nazi Oleg Tiagnibok (the leader of the “Freedom” party). The topic was what happened during the protests, who was responsible for the grenade attack and whether or not the Rada has the right to change the Ukrainian constitution.
Very interesting stuff.
There were also supporters of Poroshenko invited. It was quite amazing to see the contrast between them and the “Ukronazi opposition” (i.e. Liashko, Tiagnibok & Co.). While the supporters of the current Adminisration looked extremely defensive and uncomfortable, both Tiagnibok and Liashko looked moved by a sincere sense of outrage. They were confident, very articulate and, in their own way, logical. Now, please do not construe what I just said as an endorsement. Hitler was also confident, articulate and logical his own way. All I am saying is that while all these politicians have very low ratings of popular support, the Urkonazi opposition looks far more credible than the Poroshenko fanboys. Again, the SS was clearly far more credible than the SA, but to state that does not imply an endorsement of either one.
One of the arguments put forth by the Ukronazi opposition is this: considering that the Rada’s support right now is in the single digits, this body has no right whatsoever to reform the Constitution of the country. Furthermore, if the Donbass is to get any kind of special status, it ought to be approved in a popular referendum. A very nice and “democratic” idea for sure.
Except that all the changes resulting from the implementation of the Minsk-2 Agreement (M2A) must be negotiated with the representatives of the Donbass
Except that no such negotiations took place. In fact, the junta has specifically rejected any such negotiations.
Except that the deadline for the implementation of M2A is the end of 2015.
Except that M2A was ratified by the UN Security Council and is now mandatory for the Ukraine.
[Sidebar: In other words, the delaying tactics used by Poroshenko are, in fact, having a fatal impact upon M2A and the Ukraine will soon be in material breach of a UN Security Council resolution.
What would that mean practically? Well, since Uncle Sam has his veto power over any UNSC resolution, there is no danger from any consequences for the junta in power, at least not coming from the UNSC. However, and this is important, there are two major consequences which will result from such a situation:
1) Russia would legally keep the control of the Russian-Ukrainian border (M2A foresees that Russia would relinquish the control of that border only after all the other terms of the M2A are fully implemented; M2A is not a list, it is a sequence)
2) Russia could declare that M2A has officially failed due to the refusal of the junta to abide by its terms. At this point in time, Russia would have all the options on the table, including a possible recognition of the Lugansk and Donetsk Republics (although there would be problems with that considering that the actual territory of these republics has not been defined yet) and moving in peacekeepers, possibly as part of a SCO operation].
My gut feeling is that the grenade tossing in Kiev was a carefully set up false flag and that the Poroshenko people (i.e. the USA) are really behind it. The purpose is to make those who oppose the (even partial) implementation of M2A as violent terrorists. And since Poroshenko obviously has no desire to really abide by the terms of M2A, I can only conclude that the current crisis is not triggered by the pseudo-implementation of M2A but by the desire of both sides to use M2A as a pretext to get rid of the other. It was quite amazing to see Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs, immediately blame the Freedom Party and Oleg Tiagnibok even though no investigation had been completed (it reminded me of how the US immediately blamed Osama Bin Laden on 911). Oleg Liashko and his Radical Party correctly read the writing on the wall and immediately left the coalition in power and joined the opposition.
Poroshenko is now in a very difficult situation. The Radicals have left him and Yulia Timoshenko is now openly saying that she could replace Iatseniuk (“our man Iats”). She also sided with the Freedom Party against Avakov and Iatseniuk. As for Iatseniuk – he is hated by everybody except the US Embassy and his future appears to be very gloomy at best.
Last, but most definitely not least, our friend Saakashvili, the current governor of Odessa, publicly went on air to declare that he had been lied to by everybody and that the regime is corrupt and run by oligarchs! Considering that it was Poroshenko who appointed Saakashvili to replace Igor Palitsa – the man who organized the Odessa Massacre and who used to be “Kolomoiski’s man in Odessa” – it is rather strange (if immensely gratifying) to see Saakashvili now turn against the regime.
My sense is that things are now becoming extremely dangerous for the junta. While Poroshenko did succeed in wrestling Odessa away from Kolomoiski (at least officially), Saakashvili has now turned against him while Kolomoiskii is now free to run his huge empire, including Privat Bank and the various death squads Privat Bank pays for, in any way he sees fit.
Could it be that the Uncle Sam is losing his grip over the Ukraine?
Here is what I see: First, who were the main “our SOBs” in the Ukraine? It’s a long list for sure, but I would include the following at the top: Iatseniuk, Poroshenko, Avakov, Turchinov, Nalivaichenko. The last one has already been given the boot, and the four other are now in deep trouble. At this moment in time it appears that the following figures are all in support of regime change: Tiagnibok, Timoshenko, Liashko, Kolomoiski, Iarosh and, apparently, Saakashvili. Add to this that none of these figures appear to have any real popular support, and you get a very unstable dynamic and a real potential for regime change.
It could even be that for the USA regime change might be a desirable option. If the US has concluded that the current team of “our SOBs” has failed and is unable to get anything done, then getting some real crazies in power might be a good option as it would most definitely result in even more chaos and violence, all of which can then be used either as a pretext to intervene directly or indirectly or, alternatively, to be presented as a rationale to “protect Europe” from the chaos in the East. If you think Libya and Syria can generate a lot of refugees, wait until 42’000’000+ Ukrainians start running from the latest “success” of “democracy”!
It is too early to make any predictions yet, if only because the situation is very unstable. But listening to Tiagnibok and Liashko I get the feeling that these guys are not just going to pack and leave for Israel or the USA. They are going to stay and fight. And in a fight between, basically, non-entitites like Poroshenko, Turchinov, Avakov and Iatseniuk on one side and strong personalities like Tiagnibok, Liashko, Iarosh, Timoshenko and Kolomoiskii on the other – my money is definitely on the 2nd group.
The next few months are going to be very, very interesting.
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