by Francis Lee for The Saker Blog
The open support given by the entire western media and political establishments to the regime now ensconced in Kiev should give cause for concern, but of course it doesn’t. After all it would not do to profess open backing for a staged coup by neo-nazi militants orchestrated and paid for by EU and US through non-government channels. Of course the CIA was involved but only in one of its various front organizations, to wit, the National Endowment for Democracy. This was the prototype ‘colour revolution.’ This process has been exhaustively delineated as follows:
In Ukraine, the demonically violent riots of 2014 were orchestrated by the US; that American agents in both private and public sectors were involved in organizing the “grassroots” campaign designed to destroy what was left of the country are now well known. The same exact script has been played out in Serbia, Georgia, Syria, Iran, Libya, the Gulf states, Turkey (briefly), China, parts of Central Asia and even Armenia. Not all were successful.
In Ukraine, State Department hack Geoffrey Pyatt brought US cash to begin the campaign against the democratically elected President, Yanukovic. Radio Free Europe and the western-controlled Ukrainian media (especially the Kiev Post) began promoting rumours of a “Russian invasion” based upon the obscure issue of Kiev’s desire to join the European Union. George Soros created the “Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre” as both government and private cash went to building a protest movement. The veto of a European Union Association deal was important to the elites in New York, though probably almost totally unknown to Ukrainians, hence, the “spontaneous rebellion” began with that.
The method of public-private manipulation of media, imagery and even language in these cases is well known and several important monographs have been published about it. Yet, over and over again, the organizers of this claim that the “revolutions” are “spontaneous.” over and over again, academics and talking heads – the “instant experts” created by the System – repeat the official line.
In general, the western elite mobilizes urban, privileged elements of the population, uses their own organizers and media personnel, and create riots through the building of local organizations. They are granted cash, equipment, technology, ideology and even leaders with a script to follow. Violence is encouraged and all manner of suitable provocations are provided. A handful in the west point to the fact that a) the trajectory is identical in each case; b) way too many of the protest signs are in English and c) there is no clear ideological mission.
Corporate media then report that this obscure part of the world was run by a “terrorist” that also was a “tyrant.” For the left, the System will say that the government under siege was “conservative” and occasionally “a right-wing military regime.” For the right, they will say that the government in question was “opposed to American interests” or “harbouring terrorists.”
In many cases, hundreds or more are killed. Ostensible and official enemies of the US are financed and armed. A new government takes over that immediately “privatizes” all assets that made that country a target in the first place. Constitutions are rewritten and the penal code revised to ensure no US agent is prosecuted. Afterwards, the government in question is impoverished and without legitimacy. The assets of the state have been liquidated and bought up by western conglomerates based on the “principles of the free market and the rule of law.”
Strange people are seen in cabinet posts having names without much connection with the ethnicity in question. The IMF and World Bank give dire warnings about government policy and yet, give billions that they know will never be paid back or utilized properly. Within a few months, major media begin slowly leaking documents that in fact, the protest were organized by the CIA and that the “revolution” was a failure.
As more time goes by, stories related to this “revolution” nonchalantly speak of the “popular and spontaneous revolution against the tyrant” as if it is obviously true. After several years, almost everyone spouts the original line without criticism, almost with media reports that it was all staged. The American talking head and pseudo-intellectual then carries a conceptual conflict within him that makes any real rebellion against the system psychologically impossible.
This is precisely the nature of the “Colour Revolution” from Tienanmen Square to Kiev.’’ (1)
Thus the situation in Kiev by 2014 was ripe for a colour revolution. But politics in the Ukraine can only be understood by reference to its history and ethnic and cultural make-up – a make-up criss-crossed by lasting and entrenched differences. The country has long been split into the northern and western Ukraine, where Ukrainian is the official and everyday lingua franca, and the more industrialised regions of the east and south where a mixture of Russian speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians reside. Additionally, there has long been Hungarian and Romanian settlement in the west of the country, Transcarpathia and Bessarabia, and a particularly important Polish presence in Galicia, whose unofficial capital, Lviv, was once the Polish city of Lwow. The Russian Orthodox Church is the predominant form of Christianity in the East, – but this has recently broken up as a result of the Ukrainian branch which has seen fit to rebrand itself as the Ukrainian wing of the Orthodox church – generally speaking, however, in the west the Christian tradition tends towards Roman Catholicism.
Politically the Eastern and Southern Oblasts (Regions) which includes the cities and centres of heavy industry, Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhe, Nikolayev, Kherson, Simferopol (Crimea) and Odessa, have tended to tilt towards Russia whilst the western regions have had a more western orientation. This has traditionally been reflected in the electoral division of the country. There is no party which can be considered ‘national’ in this respect, except ironically, the old Communist party, which of course is now banned. The major regional parties have been the Fatherland party of Yulia Tymoshenko (since renamed) and the former head of government, Arseniy Yatsenyuk – now departed – as well as the ultra-nationalists predominantly in the west of the country, and the deposed Victor Yanukovic’s Party of the Regions in the East (now defunct) along with its junior partner in the coalition, the Ukrainian Communist Party.
However, what is new since the coup in February 2014 there has been the emergence, or rather the re-emergence, from the shadows of ultra-nationalist (fascist) parties and movements, with both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary (i.e., military) wings. In the main ‘Svoboda’ or Freedom Party, and the paramilitaries of ‘Right Sector’ (Fuhrer: Dimitry Yarosh) who spearheaded the coup in Kiev; these have been joined or changed their names to inter alia the Radical Party, and Patriots of the Ukraine; this in addition to the punitive right-wing militias, such as the Azov Battalion responsible for numerous atrocities in the Don Bass. It should be added that many of these militias have been integrated into the military and armed police, including the Azov Battalion.
Suffice it to say, however, that these political movements and parties did not emerge from nowhere.
This far-right tradition has been historically very strong in the western Ukraine, an area which was one-time part of the Polish empire but incorporated into the Ukraine by Stalin in 1945. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was first established in 1929 and brought together, war veterans, student fraternities, far-right groups and various other disoriented socially and political flotsam and jetsam under its banner. The OUN took its ideological position from the writings of one, Dymtro Dontsov, who, like Mussolini had been a socialist, and who was instrumental in creating an indigenous Ukrainian fascism based upon the usual mish-mash of writings and theories including Friedrich Nietzsche, Georges Sorel, and Charles Maurras. Dontsov also translated the works of Hitler and Mussolini into Ukrainian.
The OUN was committed to ethnic purity, and relied on violence, assassination and terrorism, not least against other Ukrainians, to achieve its goal of a totalitarian and homogeneous nation-state. Assorted enemies and impediments to this goal were Communists, Russians, Poles, and of course – Jews. Strongly oriented toward the Axis powers OUN founder Evhen Konovalets (1891-1938) stated that his movement was ‘’waging war against mixed marriages’’, with Poles, Russians and Jews, the latter which he described as ‘’foes of our national rebirth’’. Indeed, rabid anti-Semitism has been a leitmotif in the history of Ukrainian fascism, which we will return to below.
Konovelts himself was assassinated by a KGB hit-man in 1938 after which the movement split into two wings: (OUN-M) under Andrii Melnyk and, more importantly for our purposes (OUN-B) under Stepan Bandera. Both wings committed to a new fascist Europe. Upon the German invasion in June 1941, the OUN-B attempted to establish a Ukrainian satellite state loyal to Nazi Germany. Stepan Lenkavs’kyi the then chief propagandist of the OUN-B ‘government’ advocated the physical destruction of Ukrainian Jewry. OUN-B’s ‘Prime Minister’ Yaroslav Stets’ko, and deputy to Bandera supported, ‘’the destruction of the Jews and the expedience of bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine, barring their assimilation and the like.’’
During the early days of the rapid German advance into the Soviet Union there were some 140 pogroms in the western Ukraine claiming the lives of between 13000-35000 people (Untermensch, in fascist terminology).
Below is what real anti-semitism looks like. The picture was taken in Lviv (Capital of Banderistan) In June 1941 shortly after the German invasion and during the pogrom which killed in excess of 2000 Jews in the city. The terrified half-dressed Jewish woman is running for her life being pursued by a cudgel-wielding mob of Banderist thugs.
In 1943-1944 OUN-B and its armed wing the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukrainska povstanska armia – UPA) carried out large scale ethnic cleansing resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands; this was a particularly gruesome affair in Volhynia where some 90000 Poles and thousands of Jews were murdered.
The UPA were part of an ethnic cleansing operation carried out in Nazi German–occupied Poland by the North Command in the regions of Volhynia (Reichskommissariat Ukraine) and their South Command in Eastern Galicia (General Government) beginning in March 1943 and lasting until the end of 1944. The peak of the massacres took place in July and August 1943. Most of the victims were women and children. UPA’s methods were particularly savage and resulted in 35,000–60,000 Polish deaths in Volhynia and 25,000–40,000 in Eastern Galicia, for the total of between 76,000 and 106,000 casualties.
The killings were directly linked with the policies of the Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) and its military arm, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, whose goal as specified at the Second Conference of the OUN-B on 17–23 February 1943 (or March 1943 according to other sources) was to purge all non-Ukrainians from the future Ukrainian state. Not limiting their activities to the purging of Polish civilians, UPA also wanted to erase all traces of the Polish presence in the area. The violence was endorsed by a significant number of the Ukrainian Orthodox clergy who supported UPA’s nationalist cause. The massacres led to a civil conflict between Polish and Ukrainian forces in the German-occupied territories, with the Polish Home Army in Volhynia responding to the Ukrainian attacks.
The campaign of the UPA continued well into the 1950s until it was virtually wiped out by Soviet forces. It should be remembered in this context that also in play was the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) which was a World War II German military formation made up predominantly of military volunteers with a Ukrainian ethnic background from the area of Galicia later also with some Slovaks and Czechs. Formed in 1943, it was largely destroyed in the battle of Brody, reformed, and saw action in Slovakia, Yugoslavia and Austria before being renamed the first division of the Ukrainian National Army and surrendering to the Western Allies by 10 May 1945. The remnants of this force were given entry into both the US and more particularly Canada where they are a significant political force today.
It should be said that during this early period Bandera himself had been incarcerated by the German authorities up until his release in 1944, since unlike Bandera they were not enamoured of an independent Ukrainian state but wanted total control. Bandera was only released at this late date since the German high command was endeavouring to build up a pro-German Ukrainian quisling military force to hold up the remorseless advance of the Red Army. Also pursuant to this it is also worth noting that during this period the 14th Galizian Waffen SS Division, the military Ukrainian collaborationist formation established by none other than, Heinrich Himmler, which was formed to fight the Soviet forces, and yet another being the Nachtingal (Nightingale) brigade; this unit was integrated into the 14th Galizian in due course. It is also interesting to note, that every year, and up to 2014 a commemoration ceremony including veterans of this unit takes place with a march through Lviv. The flag of this unit is not dissimilar to the auto-car Peugeot logo, the standing lion, and can be seen at ultra-nationalist rallies as well as football matches involving Lviv Karparti FC, particularly fixtures in involving Shaktar Donetsk. There is also the annual torchlight demonstration through Kiev every 2 January in commemoration of Bandera’s birthday by some 20000 of his followers. This parade had all the makings of Nazi triumphalism, all very reminiscent of Leni Riefensthal German filmmaker and Nazi sympathiser. There are also numerous statues of Bandera across Ukraine, and since the 2014 coup even street names bearing the same name. Significantly the UPA was to receive political rehabilitation from the Kiev Junta, with Bandera declared a hero of the Ukraine and the UPA rebranded as ‘freedom fighters.’ One particularly splendid statue of Bandera stands proudly in Lviv, lovingly adorned with flowers.
Other novel attractions the capital of Banderestan – Lviv – include ‘Jewish themed restaurants’ one such is Kryivka (Hideout or Lurking Hole) where guests have a choice of dishes and whose dining walls are decorated with larger than life portraits of Bandera, the toilet with Russian and Jewish anecdotes. At another Jewish themed restaurant guests are offered black hats of the sort worn by Hasidim. The menu lists no prices for the dishes; instead, one is required to haggle over highly inflated prices ‘’in the Jewish fashion’’. Yes, it’s all good clean fun in Lviv. Anti-Semitism also sells. Out of 19 book vendors on the streets of central Lviv, 16 were openly selling anti-Semitic literature. About 70% of the anti-Semitic publications in Ukraine are being published by and educational institution called MUAP (The Inter-Regional Academy of Personnel Management). MAUP is a large, well-connected and increasingly powerful organization funded from outside anti-Semite sources, and also connected to White Supremacist groups in the USA and to David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
(It is perhaps one of the ironies of history that if the Zionists in AIPAC and the Washington neo-con think tanks, and the Labour Party Friends of Israel, were so concerned about anti-Semitism, they might try looking for it in Lviv. They wouldn’t have to search very far.)
Present day neo-Nazi groupings in Ukraine – Svoboda (Freedom) party and Right Sector – have been the direct descendants from the prior ideological cesspool. Heading Svoboda is Oleh Tyahnybok. Although these are separate organizations Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector. The Social-Nationalist party as it was formerly known chose as its logo an amended version of the Wolfsangel, a symbol used by many German Waffen SS divisions on the Eastern front during the war who in 2004 a celebration of the OUN-UPA, stated in 2004, that ‘’they fought against the Muscovite, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.’’ And further that ‘’Ukraine was ruled by a Muscovite-Jewish mafia.’’ Tyahnybok came under pressure from the then President, Yuschenko, to retract his inflammatory statements, which he did, but he then retracted the retraction!
Given the fact that Svoboda was, apart from its stamping grounds in the west, making little national electoral headway, it was essential to clean up its image and deny its Nazi past. But this was always going to be difficult since the members of such groups cannot help the unscripted outbursts and faux pas which they tend to make and which reveals their true colours. For example, following the conviction and sentencing of John Demjanjuk in 2011 to five years in jail for his role as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp, Tyahnybok travelled to Germany and met up with Demjanjuk’s lawyer, presenting the death camp guard as a hero, a victim of persecution ‘’who is fighting for truth’’.
And so it goes on. We can therefore infer that this organization is inveterate fascist. More disturbing Svoboda has links with the so-called Alliance of National European Movements, which includes: Nationaldemokraterna of Sweden, Front Nationale of France, Fiamma Tricolore in Italy, the Hungarian Jobbik and the Belgian National Front. More importantly Svoboda held several ministerial portfolios in the Kiev administration, and Right Sector swaggers around Kiev streets with impunity, and/or are being drafted into a National Guard to deal with the separatist movements in the east, or to beat down anyone who doesn’t conform to their Ayran racial and political ideals.
One would have thought that this mutating revolution in the Ukraine would have drawn attention of the centre-left to the fact that fascism had gained a vital beachhead in Europe, and that the danger signals should be flashing. But not a bit of it; a perusal of the Guardian newspaper quickly reveals that their chief concern has been with a non-existent ‘Russian threat’. One of their reporters – our old friend, Luke Harding -described Right Sector as an ‘’eccentric group of people with unpleasant right-wing views.’’ Priceless! This must rank as the political understatement of the century. In fact, the Guardian was simply reiterating the US-imposed neo-conservative foreign policy. But naturally, this is par for the course. The bald fact of the matter is that there is a de facto alliance between the genuine anti-semites, not only in Ukraine but in the Baltics also, who are now allied with Zionists in the war against the emerging Eurasian bloc.
The Nachtingal (Nightingale) brigade, took part in a three-day massacre of the Jewish population of Lviv from 30 June 1941. Roman Shukhevych was the commander of the Nachtingal and later, in 1943, became commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the “Banderivtsy”) or UPA armed henchmen of the fascist Stepan Bandera, who after the war pretended that they had fought both Nazis and Communists. Members of the division are also accused of having murdered some 800 residents of the Polish village of Huta Pieniacka and 44 civilians in the village of Chłaniów.
Ukraine today is in a sorry state; the poorest country in Europe only kept alive by an IMF drip-feed. The economic and social ramifications of the 2014 coup will be observed insofar as the full weight of the neo-liberal economic policies has been foisted on the Ukraine, courtesy of the IMF. This was already apparent in the early 80s but the trend accelerated after the coup. The standard IMF/WTO Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs) a package of ‘reforms’ and ‘fiscal consolidation’ (I just love these IMF euphemisms) consisted of cuts in government expenditure, accompanied by extensive liberalisation of product and labour markets, together with abandonment of exchange rate control and capital flows. These policies along with political instability have had, among other things, a disastrous effect on population growth. Ukraine’s population was 52 million in 1992 and the decline started in that year. By 2016, this figure had fallen to 42.5 million, its 1960 figure, and was accelerated since the coup of 2014. The current Fertility rate stands at 1.3. Any figure less than 2 will mean a shrinking population. The death rate has also increased, along with mass migration with some 2 million Ukrainian guest workers decamping to Russia and Poland in search of work. This is a slow-motion demographic calamity.
Moreover, none of the economic indicators carry any hope of a long-term revival. The fact of economic disaster as measured in various statistics is, however, unmistakable: 2018 figures indicate per capita income languishing at US$3113.00 (compared to Angola US$3437.00). Debt as a % of GDP minus-2.15 Angola 2.19. Trade Balance for Angola stands at 25.3% Ukraine’s trade balance stands at -7.41% as a percentage of GDP. Unemployment stands at (officially at least) 10%, and in terms of external trade the current account has not been positive since 2003, those glorious days which gave rise to the ‘Orange revolution’. Finally, there are the rating agencies who provide the following ratings for Ukraine’s sovereign bonds– Moody’s B3, S&P B, Fitch B. B means below investment grade if we are being polite, junk bonds if we are not. (3) The currency – the hryvnia, exchange rate against the British pound is £1 = 34, hyrvinia. When I was last in Ukraine (2012) you would get only between 8 and 12 hyrvnia for a £. Ukraine is now the poorest country in Europe being pushed down to bottom by the next basket case above, Moldova. Welcome to the Sunflower Republic.
All of this in spite of the IMF’s loans and its unilateral debt forgiveness of the Ukraine’s outstanding sovereign debt to Russia which had become due. In doing this the IMF infringed its own constitution. As Michael Hudson explains:
‘’The IMF broke four of its rules by lending to Ukraine: (i) Not to lend to a country that has no visible means to pay back the loan (the “No More Argentinas” rule, adopted after the IMF’s disastrous 2001 loan to that country). (ii) Not to lend to a country that repudiates its debt to official creditors (the rule originally intended to enforce payment to U.S.-based institutions). (iii) Not to lend to a country at war – and indeed, destroying its export capacity and hence its balance-of-payments ability to pay back the loan. Finally (iv), not to lend to a country unlikely to impose the IMF’s austerity “conditionalities.” Ukraine did agree to override democratic opposition and cut back pensions, but its junta proved too unstable to impose the austerity terms on which the IMF insisted.’’
This was obviously a political decision made by an organization which is supposed to be politically neutral.
(1) Matthew Raphael Johnson – Euro-Maidan – Liberal Capitalism – and the Ukrainian Fiasco – 08.06.2016